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Title: Andrée and his Balloon
Author: Lachambre, Henri, Machuron, Alexis
Language: English
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ANDRÉE AND HIS BALLOON



[Illustration: THE DEPARTURE OF THE BALLOON.

Copyright Archibald Constable & Co.]



                             ANDRÉE AND HIS
                                 BALLOON

                           By HENRI LACHAMBRE
                           and ALEXIS MACHURON

                     WITH COLOURED FRONTISPIECE AND
                   FORTY-FOUR FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
                                  FROM
                               PHOTOGRAPHS

                               Westminster
                        ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO.
                                  1898

                            BUTLER & TANNER,
                       THE SELWOOD PRINTING WORKS,
                           FROME, AND LONDON.



    TO A. S. ANDRÉE

    A FERVENT BELIEVER IN THE
    AËRIAL CONQUEST OF THE NORTH
    POLE WE DEDICATE THIS BOOK

    H. LACHAMBRE
    A. MACHURON



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                      PAGE

    THE DEPARTURE OF THE BALLOON, 11TH OF JULY, 1897         _Frontispiece,
                                                                in Colours_

    SALOMON AUGUSTE ANDRÉE                                               9

    VIEW OF THE LOWER PART OF THE BALLOON                               21

    VALVES FOR WORKING THE BALLOON                                      27

    THE BALLOON IN THE 96 FEET GALLERY OF THE CHAMP DE MARS EXHIBITION  35

    START OF THE “VIRGO” FROM GOTHENBURG, 7TH OF JUNE, 1896             41

    STAFF-OFFICERS OF THE EXPEDITION                                    47

    THE FIRST FLOATING ICEBERGS                                         55

    DANE’S ISLAND AND THE PIKE HOUSE                                    63

    DANSK-GATT                                                          69

    ARRIVAL OF A GENERATOR                                              77

    ARRIVAL OF A GAS GENERATOR                                          83

    THE “EXPRESS”, THE “ERLINE JARL”, THE “VIRGO”, DEPARTURE OF THE
      “VICTORIA”                                                        91

    DANE’S ISLAND                                                       97

    SMEERENBURG GLACIERS                                               103

    THE “VIRGO”. AMSTERDAM ISLAND                                      109

    ARRIVAL OF THE CAR                                                 115

    AN EXCURSION TO MAGDALEINA BAY                                     123

    SOLAR OBSERVATIONS AT MAGDALEINA BAY                               129

    THE “VIRGO” DECKED FOR THE 14TH OF JULY FÊTE                       135

    STRINDBERG                                                         141

    THE CUPOLA OF THE BALLOON (TOP OF THE SHED)                        147

    THE BALLOON IN THE SHED DURING ITS DEFLATION                       155

    THE SHED AND THE BALLOON CASE                                      161

    THE SWEDISH GUNBOAT “SVENSKSUND”                                   169

    A LAPLANDERS’ CAMP                                                 175

    A WHALE                                                            181

    DEPARTURE FOR A HUNTING EXPEDITION                                 189

    ON THE ICEBERGS                                                    195

    DANE’S ISLAND SEEN BY THE MIDNIGHT SUN                             203

    SHIPS AMONG THE ICE                                                209

    THE BALLOON CASE IN THE ICE                                        217

    LANDING THE CAR                                                    223

    VIEW OF THE APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING HYDROGEN GAS FOR THE BALLOON   229

    PLACING A GENERATOR                                                235

    THE GAS APPARATUS                                                  243

    SKETCH OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HYDROGEN GAS-PRODUCING
      APPARATUS                                                        247

    GETTING THE BALLOON CASE ASHORE                                    249

    ON THE TOP OF THE BALLOON                                          257

    THE INFLATED BALLOON IN ITS SHED, THE NORTHERN PART OF WHICH HAS
      BEEN REMOVED IN ORDER TO FACILITATE ITS DEPARTURE                267

    THE MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION                                      275

    ON THE BRIDGE OF THE “SVENSKSUND,” MESSRS. FRAENKEL, ANDRÉE,
      SVEDENBORG AND STRINDBERG                                        283

    K. FRAENKEL                                                        291

    VIEW OF THE BALLOON TAKEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER ITS DEPARTURE          297

    FACSIMILE OF ANDRÉE’S LAST MESSAGE                                 304



[Illustration: ANDRÉE

SALOMON AUGUSTE ANDRÉE.]



Introduction


On the afternoon of Sunday, the 11th of July, 1897, the balloon _Ornen_
left the port of Virgo, Spitzbergen, carrying in its car Messrs. Andrée,
Strindberg, and Fraenkel, the bold explorers, starting for the conquest
of the North Pole.

All the papers of the day were immediately filled with discussions in
various strains, pessimistic or favourable comments and prognostications,
articles full of hope or criticism,—each, in short, looking upon this
extraordinary expedition from its own point of view.

The first part of this bold enterprise is accomplished, and now we are
confronted with the terrible question: Where are they?

The comments took their usual course. However, towards the middle of
August we heard that one of the carrier pigeons belonging to Andrée’s
expedition had been killed, on the 22nd of July, by one of the seamen of
the fishing boat _Alken_, between the Spitzbergen North Cape and the
Seven Isles, in about 80° N. Lat. This pigeon carried a message, which
was confirmed, more than a month later, when the whaler _Alken_ returned
to Hammerfest; it was couched in the following terms:—

“_13th July_, 12.30 _p.m._, 82.2° _N. L._, 15.5° _E. Long._ Good progress
towards the north. All goes well on board. This message is the third
brought by a pigeon.—ANDRÉE.”

Andrée, therefore, appears to have despatched three pigeons in less than
three days, and the balloon seems to have covered, during this time, a
distance of scarcely 187½ miles—a fact which is accounted for by the calm
which reigned on the second day.

No other trustworthy news has since come to hand. Much noise was made
about a telegram originating from Krasnoïarsk in Siberia, which announced
that a balloon, believed to be Andrée’s, had been sighted on the 14th of
September, for some minutes, in the province of Jēnisseisk.

This message was rather vague. Supposing that the balloon remained in
the air for more than sixty days (which is still within the limits of
possibility), it ought to have crossed, in order to arrive at that point,
over 625 miles of inhabited land, without being perceived, which is
rather doubtful. On the other hand, Andrée would not travel such a long
way in regions where communications are comparatively easy and where
he would have been in perfect safety, without effecting a landing and
stopping on his journey.

Knowing the temperament of these heroes, who start with high courage
towards the unknown, in order to try to lift the veil which still hides
those mysterious regions from mortal eyes, and after having read the
narrative of the wonderful voyage of Nansen and his companions, shall we
despair?

Has not Andrée already been highly favoured by chance and accident? Has
he not already, in his career as an aeronaut, escaped from dangerous
situations in which many others, perhaps, would have perished? Let us
hope, then, that his lucky star will not forsake him, and that fortune,
which favours the brave, will bring back to us, victorious, the three
_savants_ who have a full claim to our unstinted admiration.

I may add that the preparatory stages of the expedition were very
troublesome; obstacles of all kinds, bad weather, and, in particular,
contrary winds, made two attempts futile. Only on the third attempt were
the explorers able to leave _terra firma_ finally and float in space
towards this inaccessible pole, the search for which has already cost
science so many illustrious lives.

In fact, a first expedition organized in June, 1896, went to Spitzbergen,
at which place a balloon and all the plant necessary for its inflation
were fitted up. But after a long wait for the south wind, which did not
come, the explorers were compelled to return to Europe, as the season was
too far advanced.

Now, before narrating the preliminaries of the second expedition and
commencing the story of our voyage across the polar sea, it seems
expedient briefly to recapitulate the history of the Swedish expedition
to which we have had the honour to belong, and to give some details as to
the construction of the aerial ship, and the work accomplished last year
on Dane’s Island.

An undertaking bristling with so many difficulties could not possibly be
carried through in an inhospitable country in a season which lasts barely
two months; and this fact the reader will be able to appreciate later on.

                                                                    H. L.



The Engineer Andrée

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES


Salomon-Auguste Andrée was born on the 18th of October, 1854, at Grenna,
a little town in the province of Smoiland. His father was a chemist. The
rather severe training received at the hands of their father, imbued
the children of the Andrée family at an early age with the spirit of
obedience and punctuality. Their father died some years ago, and their
mother, a distinguished lady, died in the spring of 1897.

After finishing his educational course young Andrée entered the
technical school, an institution exclusively intended for civil
engineers,—artillery and army engineers’ officers having a separate
Higher School. He chose the mechanical engineering section of the
school, and left it an engineer. He thereupon worked for some time (as
is frequently the custom in Sweden) as a simple mechanic in a workshop,
sharing in every respect the life of an ordinary workman. Later on, he
travelled abroad for purposes of study.

The knowledge he thus acquired, both theoretical and practical, procured
him the distinction of being appointed, at the early age of twenty-six,
assistant professor of pure and applied physical science at the technical
school.

At the age of twenty-eight, in 1892, he took part in a Swedish
meteorological expedition to Spitzbergen. He wintered there until the
next year, directing the experiments and observations on atmospheric
electricity.

In 1884, Andrée was appointed chief engineer to the Patent Office,—being
a newly created post,—and from 1886 to 1889 he occupied, at the same
time, a professor’s chair at the technical school of Stockholm.

However, his position at the Patent Office, being a post of the highest
importance, claimed all his time and energy, and Andrée found himself
obliged to resign the professorship.

But he could not give up the idea of scientific aerostation, a problem
which had always haunted his mind since his early youth.

The Swedish Academy of Science, which counts among its members famous men
like A. Nordensjold, G. Retzius, G. Mittaz-Leffler, the mathematician,
H. Hildebran and O. Montelius, the antiquarians, and others known and
esteemed by the learned world, turned their attention to Andrée’s
projects, and in 1892 he received from the Academy and the “L. J. Hjerta
Memorial Foundation,” a subvention for the purpose of undertaking
scientific aerial navigation—an honour which was unprecedented in Sweden.

From that time Andrée devoted himself to aerial navigation, and made his
first ascent at Stockholm in the summer of 1893.

He has since made a number of ascents for scientific purposes, some of
which were of a most perilous nature—one resulting in a disaster in the
Baltic. On another occasion he was carried from Gothenburg over the
Baltic, after having traversed the whole of Sweden. The reefs round the
Isle of Goëland presented the greatest difficulties to his landing. This
last attempt nearly cost Andrée his life; but these “little accidents”
were not calculated to discourage a man of his temperament.

He made several experiments at steering by means of a guide-rope and a
sail, and came to the conclusion that it would be possible to direct the
course of the balloon even while keeping it at a low altitude.

Thereupon, early in 1895, Andrée presented to the Academy of Sciences a
well matured project for exploring the regions of the North Pole with the
aid of a balloon; the start was to be made from Spitzbergen, where the
inflation of the balloon was to be effected. The estimated cost amounted
to about £7,177.

A National subscription was opened, which was completed in a few days by
four generous donors.

Mr. A. Nobel, of lamented memory, subscribed £3,588.

The King of Sweden, wishing to show the interest taken by him in the
expedition, gave £1,656.

Baron Dickson, well known for his liberality, also gave £1,656.

The sum was completed by Mr. R. Lamm and some other donors.

Mr. R. Lamm, moreover, undertook to supply all the mechanical part of the
various apparatus.

Having once settled the financial aspect of the question, Andrée made
several journeys all over Europe, in order to obtain personal interviews
with foreign scientific celebrities and gain them over to his views
concerning this bold enterprise. He visited, one by one, the aeronautical
establishments, procuring at the same time samples of the tissues
employed, and obtaining the opinions of various constructors.

Thereupon, on his return to Stockholm, he carefully tested the samples
which he had brought with him; he felt interested in the English and
German products, but gave preference to the French industry. Finally
his choice fell on Chinese Pongee silk, cemented together in double,
threefold, and fourfold layers, and varnished, this tissue having
been advocated and experimented with for several years past by M. H.
Lachambre, to whom Andrée entrusted the construction of the balloon on
condition that M. Lachambre should follow the expedition to Spitzbergen,
where the benefit of his experience would be at Andrée’s service.



The Aerial Vessel

DESCRIPTION OF THE BALLOON FOR ANDRÉE’S POLAR EXPEDITION, AND THE
APPLIANCES CONSTRUCTED AT THE AEROSTATIC WORKSHOPS OF VAUGIRARD.


After studying the question for a long time, Andrée finally decided to
give his balloon the cubical contents of 158,924 feet, and the shape of a
sphere terminating in a slightly conical appendage.

This sphere, fitted with two lateral regulating valves, one lower
automatic valve, and a “rending flap,” measures 22 yards in diameter, by
1,431 yards surface; it is enclosed in a net of hemp cord, terminating in
systems of “crow feet,” and suspending ropes attached to the car by means
of a “load ring.”

The upper part of the balloon is protected against rain and snow by a
varnished silk cover, the apex of which is fixed to the upper pole of
the envelope, and the lower margin to the meshes of the net.

THE ENVELOPE.—In making up the envelope, 600 pieces of best quality
Pongee silk, each from 18 to 19 yards long by about 18 inches wide, were
used. From each of these a piece was cut off which was tried in both
directions—that of the chain and that of the weft; then the pieces were
classified according to their strength, in order to be subjected to the
operation of cementing or joining together.

All these pieces, after being cemented together, were tried again before
being used. The trials were made by means of a Perreaux dynamometer,
with strips about 2 inches wide by 4 inches long, under the control of
Messrs. P. de Nordenfeld and Noël, engineers of the Nordenfeld Company,
to whom Andrée had entrusted the task of testing the materials used in
the construction of his balloon.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE LOWER PART OF THE BALLOON.]

The tests gave the following results:—For double tissue, the breaking
strains varied from 5,291 lbs. to 7,936 lbs. per yard, for threefold
tissue from 6,854 to 12,125, and for fourfold tissue, made up of the
best single pieces found, from 13,227 to 15,873 lbs. per yard.

The minimum resistance demanded by Andrée was fixed at 2,204 lbs. per
yard and per single thickness of Pongee. This minimum was therefore
greatly exceeded.

The cemented pieces were classified according to their strength, for
distribution over the surface of the balloon as the strain demanded.

The upper part of the envelope is a disc 19 feet 8 inches in diameter,
formed by twenty-four widths of fourfold silk. The adjoining part,
consisting of threefold silk up to 13 feet 1 inch below the equator of
the sphere, is composed of forty-one zones made up of forty-eight widths
each.

The remainder of the balloon, down to the lower parallel, having a
diameter of 23 feet, is of double material, being made up of twenty-two
zones of forty-eight widths; and finally the lower part, including
the appendage, is of threefold silk, and consists of five zones of
forty-eight widths, and three zones of twenty-four widths each.

The portions made up of threefold and double Pongee are joined together
by an intermediate zone in which the various widths of material are
alternately made up, half of threefold and half of double tissue.

In each zone the various widths, or pieces of material, are identical in
shape; twenty-seven different templates had to be designed in order to
determine the exact shape of the various pieces or widths of material,
the total number of which is 3,360. The cutting out of these pieces
was effected with the aid of a cutting blade guided by a steel rule,
following the outlines of a template. At first those belonging to one and
the same zone were joined together, and the zones were then joined so
that the various pieces or widths overlapped each other in such a manner
as to give the balloon the aspect of a structure of bricks or freestone.

The cemented joints of the various pieces are ½ inch wide; they are then
sewn by a machine, with three seams made with fine silk in the double or
threefold material, and four rows of stitches in the fourfold material.

These joints or seams are then covered, outside and inside, with a
strip of single silk 1⅕ inches wide, cemented on with a special varnish
recently discovered by M. Lachambre.

The strips cemented by this new process have the double advantage
of rendering the seams impermeable and restoring to the joints the
resistance of which the stitching deprives them.

The varnish used for this cementing meets all requirements; it preserves
the natural suppleness of the material, is unaffected by the balloon
varnish, which has linseed oil for its basis, and is proof against water
and changes of temperature.

The tests made with the joints thus constituted, proved that their
resistance was greater than that of the adjoining parts, and Andrée,
who only desires an equal strength throughout, naturally was very well
satisfied with this result.

The seams are 4,811 yards long, with three or four rows of stitching,
representing a line of single stitching equal to a length of 15,310
yards, and the total length of the cemented strips is nearly 9,842 yards.

The two hemispheres of the balloon were first formed; their weight was
2,116 lbs., and before proceeding to the last equatorial closing seam,
they were given three coats of Arnoul’s varnish (the best balloon
varnish hitherto tried); a fourth coat being given after the two halves
had been joined together, on the premises of the “Palais du Champ de
Mars,” remaining from the 1889 Exhibition.

NET.—The net of the polar balloon is composed of 384 hemp cords, ⅙ inch
thick by 211 feet 7 inches long, each having a breaking strain of not
less than 873 lbs. (in the tests made the minimum result was 925 lbs.,
while the maximum was 1,190 lbs.).

Each cord is jointless; its two ends are fixed, at the upper pole, to a
cordage ring or crown measuring 26 inches in diameter and 2⅓ inches in
thickness. There are no knots in this net, the cords being interwoven at
their crossing points, one being passed through the other; it was in this
way that the “Henri Giffard” captive balloon was finished in 1878.

The crossing points are strengthened by ligatures of fine twine.

[Illustration: VALVES FOR WORKING THE BALLOON.]

The circumference of the net, all the way up, consists of 192 meshes,
the dimensions of which vary according to the area of the zone they are
to cover. These meshes, the number of which is no less than 19,000,
represent a length of twine amounting to nearly 16,404 yards.

The lower part of the net is formed by a system of three zones of
crowfeet or cringles, each zone reducing, by one-half, the number of
meshes composing the next upper zone.

The first row of crowfeet is mounted on thimbles of nickeled brass, the
second and the third on wooden pulley-blocks, having sheaves of lignum
vitæ; and forty-eight suspending cords, each fitted at its end with an
eye, complete the net and form points for tying it to the retaining ring
by means of toggles. These suspending cords have a diameter of ⁷⁄₁₀ inch,
and a bearing-strain of no less than 6,613 lbs.

The net thus constituted weighed 776 lbs. In order to preserve the
cordage from moisture it was impregnated with vaseline, except in the
upper part, which was covered with a projecting cover of varnished silk;
after this operation the weight of the net was 974 lbs.

Eight detachable equatorial cringles were fixed to the equator of the
net. They were to serve for holding up the balloon, and preventing it
from oscillating, in the shed which was to shelter it at Spitzbergen,
while awaiting a favourable wind for the departure of the expedition.

PROTECTING COVER.—A spherical _calotte_ of single silk, varnished with
four coats and vaselined, and having an area of 1,560 square feet, covers
the upper part of the balloon. It is finished in the same way as the
balloon, being composed of overlapping widths to the number of 720.

The seams, having a width of ¼ inch, are hooked together, and sewn
with two rows of stitching with silk thread. They are not covered with
cemented strips. Their total length is 656 yards.

The vertex of the protecting cover, of conical shape, is of double silk.
It rests on a small wooden structure, likewise of conical shape, the base
of which, placed on the material at the upper pole of the balloon, is
surrounded and held in place by the crown of the net.

The lower zone, terminating the protecting cover, is of double silk. Its
extreme edge is put round a hemp bolt-rope, ³⁄₁₀ inch in diameter, which
is sewn into the material; ninety-six eyes made above this bolt-rope are
intended to receive thongs for fixing the protecting cover to the meshes
of the net.

This protecting cover weighs 88 lbs. Its object is to protect the top of
the balloon against rain, and more especially to prevent incrustation
with snow between the meshes of the net.

VALVES.—The balloon has no valve at the top, because its action would
probably be affected by snow; but it is provided with two manipulating
valves, of equal dimensions, one being placed at the equator, and the
other one metre above the equator. These are at 150 degrees angular
distance from each other.

These valves, constructed on a system of Andrée’s, measure 9⅘ inches in
external diameter. Each is formed by a disc of aluminium bronze, 9 inches
in diameter, and under normal conditions rests on a circular piece of
walnut wood, but can be withdrawn therefrom by moving it along a screw
which occupies the centre. This movement is effected from the car of
the balloon by means of two cords for each valve, passing through the
interior of the balloon and issuing from it near the appendage through
four tubes, arranged in pairs.

Gas-tightness is obtained by a circular rubber band, against which the
outer margin of the valve disc rests. The orifice for the escape of
gas measures 7⅘ inches in diameter. In order to fix the valves to the
balloon, two openings, 7⅘ inches in diameter, are made in the material.
The margin around these openings is strengthened by collars, 19⅖ inches
in diameter, of threefold material, cemented and sewn on; the seat of
each valve is applied internally to the material of the balloon, the
margin of which is caught between two rubber bands, and thereupon pressed
against the seat by an external wooden hoop and bolts.

These valves do not present any external projection against which the
cord of the net might catch.

The automatic valve closing the appendage was suggested to Andrée by M.
Lachambre, and was adopted. It measures 39 inches in external diameter,
with a discharge orifice 34 inches in diameter. The valve disc, of
threefold Pongee silk, is 35⅘ inches in diameter. It is provided with two
glazed windows, in order to enable the aeronauts to inspect the interior
of the balloon. This disc, which is slightly conical, is fitted upon
a walnut-wood ring, which acts as a seat, in which it is held by the
traction of six spiral springs of steel wire, fastened on one side to the
end of the wooden spokes of the valve, and on the other side to the top
of a small frame fixed on the seat. The frame, mounted on the wooden ring
or crown, is formed by twelve nickeled steel tubes.

The valve is guided in its course by a central steel tube, sliding in
another tube, which serves as an axis for the frame. A small cotter
limits its action, the length of which is equal to one-half of the
radius of the discharge orifice. The joint is rendered gas-tight at the
periphery of the valve by means of a brass blade resting on a rubber band
stretched in a groove of the seat.

The valve commences to open under the action of an internal pressure
corresponding to ³⁄₁₀ inch water column. In order to fix it to the
balloon, it is placed in the interior of the appendage, the margin of
which, held between two rubber bands, is kept tight against the seat by
an external belt or ring of brass, fastened by bolts.

“RENDING FLAP.”—The rending flap is 4½ yards high, and has a surface
of 4⁷⁄₁₀ square yards. It is formed of threefold Pongee silk, and is
rectangular in shape, terminating in a curvilinear triangle, the point
of which is turned upwards. Its vertical axis is at an angular distance
of 105 degrees from each of the two manipulating valves; the lower base,
which is 35⅖ inches wide, reaches down to 19⅗ inches above the equator.
The seams joining the material of the “rending flap” to that of the
balloon are similar to the seams of the various widths, and are likewise
covered with cemented strips.

In the interior of the balloon the upper extremity of the “rending flap”
is of fourfold silk; its edge is put round a stick of hard wood, to which
a rope for pulling is fixed, by means of which the rent is made. This
rope descends to the car after having passed through the lower part of
the envelope, near the appendage, in a tube.

In order to make the rent with ease, which will require an effort equal
to a traction of about 220 or 250 pounds, Andrée intends to use a small
grapnel, which he will attach to the end of this rope and throw to the
ground at the proper moment.

[Illustration: THE BALLOON IN THE 96 FEET GALLERY OF THE CHAMP DE MARS
EXHIBITION.]

Thereupon the balloon will be emptied very rapidly, and all dragging
along the ground will be avoided, however violent the wind may be.

Of course Andrée will not make use of the “rending flap” until he is
travelling over hospitable regions and wishes to terminate his aerial
voyage and alight definitely.

BANDS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST WATER.— SUNDRY DETAILS.—Above the appendage,
at the parallels measuring 16 feet 4 inches and 22 feet 11 inches
respectively in diameter, there are fixed, by one of their edges, two
vertical circular bands nearly 4 inches high.

These bands are of single silk; their purpose is to form gutters for
carrying off any water which might run down the material of the balloon,
and thus protect the car in which the observers are stationed from rain.
In the interior of the appendage there is another band, differently
placed, forming a circular trough, intended to receive any water that
might result from a strong condensation of the gases contained in the
balloon, and thus prevent any accumulation of such water over the
automatic valve. Between the external band, of 16 feet 4 inches in
diameter, and the appendage, and facing the tube through which the
rending cord passes, the inflating nozzle, which is 19 feet 8 inches
long, is fixed.

The two cords which control each of the manipulating valves are worked
by pulling: one, being that which opens the valve, is painted blue; the
other, which closes it, retains the natural colour of the hemp.

The cord acting upon the rending flap is coloured red.

Along a meridian traced on the envelope coloured marks are made, with
figures indicating every 546 yards of cubic contents of the segment above
each mark. This will admit of the progress of inflation at Spitzbergen
being rapidly ascertained.

On two other meridians, suitably situated, are shown the positions for
the straps to support the sails with which the polar balloon is to be
provided.

THE CAR.—In the construction of the car, the use of iron or steel was
prohibited, so as to avoid interfering with the action of the magnetic
instruments. Its form is cylindrical, measuring two metres in diameter,
from centre to centre of its sides, which are of cane basket-work
mounted on a framework of chestnut-wood; eight handles of wicker-work are
attached to the cylindrical part, at a convenient height, to facilitate
the transport.

The bottom is strengthened by wooden crossbeams placed externally and
fastened to the basket-work by bolts and brass plates put on the inside.

The cylindrical part is truncated on one side, having a plane surface
which is to form part of an inclined plane intersecting the lower floor
of the car, and extending from this floor to midway up the cylinder, the
length of the chord formed by the plane intersecting the base being 51
inches.

When the balloon touches the ground, rolling of the car will be avoided
by this flat surface, which will rest and drag on the ground. Internally,
the upper margin of the side is fitted all round with about 100 cords
terminating in buckles or eyes. To these cords, which are passed through
the basket-work, instruments and various objects are to be attached. The
roof of the car is a disc or cover, likewise of basket-work, slightly
convex in order to prevent any accumulation of water. The margin of the
periphery of this cover forms a cavity into which the margin of the car
is inserted, thus preserving its peculiar shape. Cross-pieces of wood
fixed inside the cover or roof impart to it the necessary rigidity to
support the observers; entrance to the car and exit therefrom is effected
by means of a trap-door which moves on hinges.

Above the flattened part, the cylindrical side of the car is fitted
with two square windows with glass panes of 5¾ inches side; the bottom
of the car has two square openings of 7⅘ inches side, closed by wooden
trap-doors.

The car is covered with tarpaulin having openings corresponding to those
in the basket-work.

The tarpaulin of the roof forms a vertical rim 3⁹⁄₁₀ inches in width,
perforated with holes for draining off rain-water. The car is suspended
by six hemp ropes 1¹⁄₁₀ inch thick. Their respective strength is from
17,636 lbs. to 19,841 lbs. They are interwoven with the basket-work, and
joined together at the bottom of the car by a hexagon of rope.

[Illustration: START OF THE VIRGO FROM GOTHENBURG, 7TH OF JUNE, 1896.]

Above the roof they are joined to each other by five horizontal ropes
placed at equal distances and forming a kind of balustrade 3 feet 3
inches high, which was to be covered in later on either with tarpaulin or
some other enclosing material.

The thickness of these horizontal ropes is ⅕ inch, except the uppermost
rope, which is ³⁄₁₀ inch thick.

About 6 feet 6 inches above the roof, the hexagon formed by the six ropes
is drawn together by a hexagon of rope-work measuring 3 feet 3 inches
inside diameter.

The upper end of the suspending ropes terminates in an eye or loop
joining it to the ropes of the load ring.

On the circumference of the upper edge of the car six brass balls are
fastened, at equal distances from each other, forming the lower part of a
system of ball links which are to carry a structure intended to support
the scientific instruments. This structure was made at Stockholm under
the supervision of Andrée.

The fitting up and equipment of the car was also carried out under his
supervision.

The aeronauts will generally be on the flooring of the roof, for the
purpose of observations. The interior of the car forms their sleeping
apartment, where they will each rest in turn.

MARKS OF THE EXPEDITION.—All the articles comprising the aerostatic
equipment are marked with the words “ANDRÉE’S POLAR EXPEDITION 1896,”
which are branded upon wooden articles, engraved on metal articles, and
painted with a durable paint on the protecting cover, the envelope, the
tarpaulin of the car, and the ballast bags.

Some ropes of the net and the suspending rope are fitted with small
plates strongly fixed to them, on which the above mark is engraved.

The articles not affording sufficient space for the whole mark bear the
abridged mark “AÉE’S EXP 1896.”

The following articles were made at Stockholm; viz., the “load
ring” connecting the balloon with the car, the provision basket,
the guide-ropes, sails, etc., as well as the plant for making pure
hydrogen gas, a description of which will be found later on. Only the
gas conducting pipes, which are of silk, and the ballast bags, were
manufactured at Paris, being supplied from the Vaugirard factory.

EXHIBITION OF THE EQUIPMENT AND PLANT AT THE CHAMP DE MARS (Old Buildings
of the 1889 Exhibition).—The order for the articles described above
was given by Andrée to M. H. Lachambre at the end of December, 1895,
and delivery was to be effected between the 15th and 20th of May,
1896, failing which the contractor made himself liable to an enormous
progressive fine, in proportion to the number of days of delay, and
if delivery was not made before the 3rd of June the order could be
cancelled. But the work was executed within the stipulated time, and
towards the end of April the whole plant was conveyed to the Champ de
Mars, into the 30 m. gallery, in order to be examined there by the
Commission.

According to a clause of the agreement the envelope was to be inflated
with air, and before the last varnishing to be submitted to an internal
pressure equal to 3 inches water-column.

This trial took place on the 3rd of May, in the presence of Messrs.
de Nordenfeld, engineer of the Nordenfeld Company, Gaston Tissandier,
Colonel Renard and Commander Renard, managers of the Central
Establishment of Military Aerostation of Chalais-Meudon. The openings
of the balloon were provisionally closed; the valve in the appendage was
replaced by a wooden hoop covered by a disc of material containing a
glazed window, 7⅘ inches in diameter, thus permitting inspection of the
interior of the balloon. The latter was inflated by means of a ventilator
supplying about 70,633 cubic feet of air per hour.

Andrée’s experts, who had followed up the manufacture step by step,
then examined minutely all the parts, and declared the material to be
faultless, and quite in accordance with the desires expressed by Andrée.

After this examination, which showed that the envelope inflated with air
did not lose its contents to any appreciable extent, the balloon was
emptied, and was then given the last coat of varnish. This having been
done, it was again inflated for the purpose of drying.

The net suspended by the crown, in the centre of the central dome,
and with the suspending ropes attached to the balustrade of the first
gallery, presented the appearance of a vast tent, the summit of which was
131 to 164 feet above the ground.

[Illustration: STAFF-OFFICERS OF THE EXPEDITION.]

The car, the valves, and in short all the articles made at Paris were
exhibited at the Champ de Mars. A little balloon of 1,148 feet, fully
equipped, and inflated with air, suspended by the side of the polar
balloon, served for comparison. This exhibition, which was not arranged
with a view to profit, was thrown open to the public from the 10th to the
14th of May.

The 10th of May was reserved for special guests, and M. Félix Faure,
President of the French Republic, was the first visitor. He took much
interest in the various parts of the balloon, which he examined at
length, and in the details of its construction. He expressed his best
wishes for the success of this interesting expedition.

There were present at the same time as the President, M. de Nordenfeld,
Swedish engineer, M. Gaston Tissandier, Colonel Renard, and Commander
Renard, who had also watched the work in its various stages, and had
co-operated therein to a certain extent.

The Swedish colony was represented by M. Dué, minister plenipotentiary,
and Gustav Nordling, vice-consul.

Among the other guests were Messrs. Poubelle, Prefect de la Seine,
Admiral Sallandrouze de Larmornaix, General Mathieu, M. Decauville,
senator, M. Coulet, solicitor to the Swedish Legation, etc.

During the next four days over 30,000 persons came to see the _North
Pole_ balloon, and expressed their good wishes for the success of the
three bold Swedish explorers whose courage is universally admired.

                                                                    A. M.



FIRST PART

_TWO MONTHS AT SPITZBERGEN_



I

The Departure


I left Paris on the night of the 2nd of June, 1896, to accompany Andrée
and his companions to Spitzbergen, as had been arranged. My mind was much
taken up with speculations as to the ultimate fate of the expedition, and
the responsibility I had undertaken weighed rather heavily upon me.

Without stopping at the various stages of my journey, Cologne, Hamburg,
and Copenhagen, though all of them very interesting towns, I arrived
at Gothenburg, where I was received by Captain Andrée, brother of the
explorer; and although much fatigued by forty hours’ railway and boat
travelling, my first visit was to the good ship _Virgo_, which was to be
my home for several months, and convey me towards the northern regions.

Andrée, who left nothing to chance, had chosen his vessel well, and his
brother superintended her loading and equipment.

When I arrived work was proceeding with feverish activity, and it is
almost impossible to conceive the quantity of goods which were stowed
away in this small vessel of 300 tons. I was present at the embarkation
of the barrows of sulphuric acid which had been brought from England.

We have a select crew, composed almost entirely of engineering students
from the technical school of Stockholm, and officers who have taken
berths as ordinary sailors in order to follow the expedition; one can
see that there will be no more lack of brave and generous hearts than of
scientific heads.

On the morning of the 5th of June, the three explorers arrived from
Stockholm. At night a grand fête brought us together at Baron Dickson’s,
one of the generous promoters of the enterprise.

_Saturday evening, 6th of June._—Popular fête at Lorensburg Park;
numerous speeches and enthusiastic toasts; reading of telegrams and
kind wishes for the success of the expedition. The tables are adorned
with magnificent bouquets of natural flowers enclosed in pyramids of
ice. The effect is most picturesque, and this is certainly an idea
which has never yet suggested itself, as far as I know, to the minds of
the managers of our great culinary establishments; I now give them the
benefit thereof. What can be more attractive than the picture of flowers
and chandelier-lights reflected in these miniature icebergs?

_Sunday, June 7th._—I arrived at the port at 8 a.m. The _Virgo_ has been
dressed in her gala bunting; her masts are resplendent with many-hued
streamers. At the stern proudly floats the splendid silk flag presented
by the ladies of Gothenburg. The deck is adorned with flowers and
ribbons; I am touched at the sight of my national colours.

All the vessels in port are dressed with bunting, and crammed with
spectators. An army of photographers, who all have their cameras pointed
at the _Virgo_, are preparing to immortalize the vessel as she now
appears.

The launches and all the boats, large and small, are making the _Virgo_
their rendezvous. The rest of the population is on the quays and the
neighbouring buildings.

M. Vieillard, a friend, who came to accompany me, left me at nine
o’clock; we arranged to meet at Spitzbergen.

I saluted Baron Dickson, his daughter and his niece, who were on the
quay. His son came to the _Virgo_ to shake hands, and wish me a good
voyage.

The three explorers also arrived with their friends crowding round them.
The partings were very touching, and the emotion, in which all present
shared, reached its height when precisely at ten o’clock the signal for
starting was sounded.

The _Virgo_ is slowly moving.

The enthusiasm becomes indescribable. An immense hurrah, four times
repeated, is volleyed from every panting breast. Handkerchiefs and hats
are waved frantically, the cheers burst forth with redoubled vigour.
Andrée, Ekholm, and Strindberg, appear at the bulwarks with their
bouquets and their ribbons: they signal their adieux and acknowledge
ours.

[Illustration: THE FIRST FLOATING ICEBERGS.]

Then we, too, have our share in this grand and most impressive
manifestation.

The flag of the _Virgo_ dips by way of salute, and then rises again, and
at this moment the _cortége_ of vessels and boats forms up around our
vessel, which has progressed a little towards the open sea.

Something like a hundred boats follow in our wake. On several of them
bands are playing, and a regular procession commences. Those who have no
boats follow along the quays; it is a veritable tide of human beings.

A few inevitable collisions occurred between some of the impetuous small
craft, but most happily no serious accident is to be regretted.

The sun is shining gloriously; the sky, too, has put on its festive garb,
and seems desirous of encouraging the bold explorers leaving for the
conquest of the North Pole.

We are now out in the open sea.

At one o’clock we are assembled on the quarter-deck, and the
introductions commence:—

Herr Andrée, former pupil of the higher technical school of Stockholm,
Director of the Patent Office, and commander of the expedition;

Herr Ekholm, doctor of natural philosophy, chief of the Meteorological
Office of Stockholm;

Herr Strindberg, former student of Upsala University, second master at
the Free University of Stockholm;

Herr Svante Arrhénius, hydrographer, chief of the Stockholm University,
professor of natural philosophy;

Herr Grumberg, naturalist, master at the Stockholm University, higher
school;

Dr. Carl Ekelund, physician to the expedition;

Captain Hugo Zachau, commander of the _Virgo_, which ordinarily plies
between Gothenburg and Hull.

Nor must we forget the stewardess Charlotte, a complaisant Swede, wearing
a coquettish little white toque, of the comic-opera style, trimmed with a
pretty ribbon bearing the badge of the expedition. This charming person
made me three pretty curtsies, and an acquaintance was soon formed
between us. It is she who will wait on us at table. She seems much at
her ease on board the _Virgo_, and she has better sea-legs than I have.
She has made a napkin ring with ribbons for each of us; mine bears the
French colours. She is, moreover, very amusing. There is also the cook,
who excels in the preparation of _omelettes aux anchois_—but I must not
anticipate.

After the introductions we taste the brandy and whisky; we drink toasts
for the success of the polar expedition; then several speeches are made.
At three o’clock we assemble for dinner in the dining saloon. The captain
does the honours at the table; he is a jolly amphitryon, and robust both
physically and morally. The meal passed off very gaily.

I was seated near Strindberg and Professor Arrhénius, with whom I can
speak in my own language, and also learn a few words of Swedish. This,
in fact, is simply by way of retaliation, as I have been appointed
“professor of the French language” by acclamation.

We take our coffee on deck, smoking delicious Havannahs presented to the
expedition. Gently cradled by the waves, I abandon myself to revery. How
many things I have seen since my departure, and how far away from home I
am already! Nevertheless, I have only reached the first stage, and much
excitement is still in store for me.

I have taken possession of my cabin, which adjoins the kitchen and dining
saloon, and am settling down there as comfortably as possible, but not
without difficulty, as the place allotted to me is very small.

At eight o’clock the dinner bell once more unites us round the table, and
the evening is spent in frankest cordiality. The voyage commences very
promisingly.



II

Out at Sea


_June 8th, 1896, 10.30._—We have been under way for twenty-four hours; we
are in sight of Norway, off the Forsund, at a distance of nine miles from
the coast, but the mist prevents us from seeing very far. The fir-clad
mountains are vaguely outlined to our right, and the _Virgo_ is heading
due north-west. There is nothing for us to do but take life as it comes.
I commence my diary in my cabin. The sea, though a little rough, has not
yet troubled me. Andrée alone has already paid his tribute.

_Tuesday, June 9th, Coasts of Norway._—Sea rough, general discomfort,
moral prostration; I am unable to write. The _Virgo_ rolls heavily. At
the present moment, 6 p.m., it is as light as at midday.

_Wednesday, June 10th, 6.30._—The temperature has gone down considerably;
we have crossed the polar circle. A steamer has kept company with us
this morning at a distance of 7½ miles on our port side. Sea rough.

_Thursday, June 11th, 10 a.m._—In sight of the Loffoden Islands; sky
overcast; some few rays of the sun; sea smoother; the vessel still rolls.

_Friday, June 12th, 9.30._—At last we are in the straits which lead to
Tromsö. I was so ill to-night that I should have thrown myself into the
sea had I forgotten, for one moment, my duty and my family.

[Illustration: DANES ISLAND AND THE PIKE HOUSE.]

At 11 p.m. I sent for the doctor; it seemed to me that I was going to
die all alone in my narrow cabin. He ordered me champagne and sleep.
Charlotte, the stewardess, brought me some oranges, and took off my
boots, which I had not had the courage to take off for four days. Oh,
Charlotte, my fair Scandinavian maid, with your clear eyes, your engaging
smile, your gay face, and your lithe but robust physique, how you must
have pitied “the French gentleman,” as they called me, who but the other
day was so nimble, so sure of himself to all appearance, and who has
suddenly become more inert and helpless than an old cap that has been
cast away by the skipper!

And in spite of the horrible tortures I suffered, I was vaguely conscious
of the strange humour of the situation of having my boots removed by
dainty female hands better adapted for millinery than for such a rough
task.

Have you ever been sea-sick? If you have, you will understand me. How
well I then understood what is narrated of Cicero, who, having taken
refuge on board a vessel in order to escape the assassin sent out for him
by Marc-Antony, preferred returning to Gaeta, to face the death which he
feared, to enduring any longer the tortures of sea-sickness.

The bay bristles with high granite mountains with snow-capped summits.
The _Virgo_ makes signals for a pilot, who is a long time coming; she
stops from five o’clock to nine awaiting him, and strange to say, when
the noise of the engine ceases we have a feeling of sadness. It is as if
something was wanting from our lives.

At last, at half-past nine the much-wished-for pilot arrives, and the
_Virgo_ resumes her route towards Tromsö, the promised land.

We are now floating on a lake whose banks are clad with verdure. I behold
with some amount of pleasure the objects surrounding me.

What a contrast! On the right a group of well-built, brick pilots’
houses, on the mountain slope, facing the sea. Heavy cumuli cover the
summits of the rocks; above, the sky is of a pure blue, and the bright
sun pours floods of golden light over the landscape.

On the left there is a church standing all alone, the rendezvous of the
fishermen who inhabit the coast in summer.

The sailors are getting ready the boat which is to set us ashore, as
there is no quay at Tromsö, and the _Virgo_ will remain at anchor in the
roads.

The bay is getting narrower and villages succeed each other, with
telegraph lines on both banks. Numerous Norwegian fishing boats are
ploughing the sea. The air is pure and dry.

The _Virgo_ glides majestically over the waves like a large bird. The
landscape becomes animated and really fairy-like.

At eleven o’clock we sight Tromsö with its steeple, its wooden houses
and villas rising in tiers one above the other on the slope of a very
fertile mountain. The pilot is still steering the _Virgo_. Objects appear
larger and more distinct; there is the harbour, with its vessels at
anchor.

At ten minutes past one we arrive opposite Tromsö. We drop anchor at
about five furlongs from the shore. As I have already mentioned, there is
no landing stage. We are already surrounded by several boats. There is M.
Aagaard, the consul, coming to welcome us. Then the telegraph messenger
appears, to hand Andrée a package of telegrams. Lastly there are the
friends of the explorers, and the members of the Geological Commission,
who are going to travel with us as far as the Ice-Fjord.

We take a seat in a boat which puts us ashore in a few minutes.

_June 14th._—We left Tromsö at 1 a.m. in splendid weather. The farewells
of the inhabitants, who came flocking in crowds to cheer us, were very
touching, and the _Virgo_ resumed her course towards the north.

The sun was shining so brilliantly, as I have said, that I could
scarcely realize whether it was midday or midnight.

Although less solemn than at Gothenburg, our departure was very
imposing. The whole town was assembled on the quays, and all the boats
of the port were formed in line to do us homage. There were tourists in
steam-launches and fishing boats. In short, the whole populace of Tromsö
had made a point of being there to wish us God-speed.

In the boats there were many well-dressed ladies; in one boat,
in particular, there were five females frantically waving their
handkerchiefs to the sailors.

Then Tromsö receded into the background, and will soon be nothing to us
but a memory, a vision looked back to with regret.

Sunday passed without any incident. On Monday night we fell in with the
first icebergs, and progress became more difficult.

[Illustration: DANSK-GATT.]

_June 16th, noon._—Since the morning we have been running along the
coast of Spitzbergen, my future home, the place of my temporary exile.
The progress of the boat is slow and perilous, in the midst of floating
ice-blocks, which threaten to crush us at every moment. It requires all
the experience of the captain and all the vigilance of the man at the
wheel to avoid a catastrophe.

The ice pilot is on the look-out in the rigging, and indicates by signal
the open channels.

We have seen a large number of birds, whales throwing up an immense
stream of water, seals, etc. Three of these animals were disporting
themselves on an ice-floe within gunshot. They were at once saluted by a
discharge of guns, which did not hit them.

A variety of birds, very common in these regions, among them the auk,
or fulmar (a kind of wild duck), which dives immediately it is pursued.
This is, moreover, the way in which these birds seek their food, like all
birds of the polar regions, for they live on fish. The steward of the
vessel has just killed two with one shot. These birds have a very clumsy
flight, their tail is very short, and it is only with the aid of their
web feet that they steer themselves.

Yesterday, while passing near the Isle of Beeren-Eiland, which was hidden
from our view by the fog, we saw myriads of birds of all kinds, among
others a large number of sea-gulls.

This morning the thermometer stood at 2° above zero (Centigrade), 35·6
Fahr.

There was hoar-frost all along the rigging, and the sailors on the watch
above cannot be overwarm.

We met a Norwegian sailing boat which was hunting walrusses, and had been
cruising for several days in sight of Spitzbergen; they gave us some
useful hints as to the state of the ice. Every now and then a sailor took
soundings; the depth was from 15 to 20 fathoms.

The _Virgo_ has just stopped her engines; the officers are holding a
council. We are at the 76th degree of latitude, and we have not much
further to go in order to reach Ice-Fjord, where we shall put in first
before proceeding to Norsk-Oarna.

To the right the mountains covered with eternal snow; in front of us
an impassable ice-field. There is an open passage near the coast, but
the captain does not know the depth of water there. He is examining his
charts. We shall have to wait. However, I fear a delay which will not
suit Andrée.



III

The Installation


_Wednesday, June 17th, in lat. 77° N._—After having vainly sought a
passage during the whole of yesterday, the captain considered it wise to
take refuge in the Horn-Sund Bay, a small natural port to the south-east
of Spitzbergen, where he cast anchor this morning at four o’clock.

Here we are secure from all danger, and shall patiently wait till the sea
is open, which will not be long.

Our little harbour is a marvel of creation; a ring of mountains covered
with snow, the summits of which were this morning veiled in mist. Immense
glaciers, from which portions detach themselves with a fearful crash,
animate this white landscape, while at the same time they inspire us with
a feeling of vague dread. Gigantic icebergs, resembling in their shape
and bluish colour immense crystals of copperas, are drifting about in
the middle of the bay—a veritable oasis, where the temperature is very
mild, notwithstanding the snow which covers the ground almost entirely.

The sun is very hot, casting a golden reflection over the whole of this
charming picture, which the birds enhance by their glad song, as if to
testify to their joy and love of life.

At 9 a.m. we set foot on _terra firma_ with undisguised satisfaction.
Andrée, Ekholm, and Strindberg go ashore equipped with their instruments.
They fix our bearings and determine the magnetic declination.

In fact, they have been working incessantly since we went to sea. They
are true men of science, in love with their work, learned, yet making no
show of their knowledge. The geologists have found a vast field for their
researches, and the botanists have been able to collect at their ease.
However, while the fauna is varied enough, the flora is very scanty,
being confined to a few lichens, with mosses of a pretty green colour,
cochlearias, and dwarf saxifrages, the tiny violet flowers of which are
charming to behold.

Some climbed the mountains and descended the slopes on ski, the beloved
snow-shoes of the Scandinavian. Others went hunting with the arms
presented by Swedish armourers to the Polar Expedition. As for myself,
I was content to admire this imposing nature, and tried to utilise
my modest talents as an amateur photographer, in order to perpetuate
on negatives the splendid picture in which the _Virgo_ was set, now
appearing reduced to Liliputian proportions.

Our general quarters were established on the ruins of an encampment which
had belonged to a party of Siberian hunters who spent the whole of last
year on this spot.

There are many fragments of driftwood cast ashore by the waves, and
numerous bones; a sailor picked up an enormous vertebra of a whale, and
the doctor extracted a molar from the jaw of a bear (the bear was no
longer there to protest).

The pilot went to explore the sea from the top of the mountains. No
change this morning in the state of the ice.

We reassembled on the _Virgo_ for lunch at two o’clock. Andrée went in
the ship’s boat to shoot seals, but without hitting any. After lunch we
returned to the shore, and each of us occupied himself according to his
taste. The sky cleared up, and a very cold and cutting east wind arose.
The boat was tossed about a good deal as we returned, and the current
drove before it all the pieces of ice floating in the bay. At 11.30 p.m.,
at the moment when I am writing these lines, a sun-ray is falling through
my porthole, and the wind is whistling with some violence.

_Saturday, June 20th, 4 a.m._—Pleasant awakening at the mouth of the Bay
of Ice-Fjord, opposite the _Raftsund_, which has been at anchor since
last night.

Weather dull, a fine cold rain. A boat comes towards us, bringing a
correspondent of the paper _Aftonbladet_, of Stockholm, who is to
accompany us to Norsk-Oarna.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL OF A GENERATOR.]

A small boat brings my friend Vieillard, who is the bearer of despatches
for me. We spend two hours together, and my joy is great at seeing him
again, and at last hearing news from my family. Then the moment of
parting comes. M. Vieillard rejoins his vessel in order to return to
France; he takes with him my letters and despatches. I take several
negatives of the _Raftsund_, a splendid boat; and the _Virgo_ then
continues her course towards the north, after having exchanged the
customary salutes.

The sea is free from ice, and the _Virgo_ is now going ahead full speed.

_Sunday, 21st._—Towards 2 a.m. we arrive in sight of the Norsk-Oarna
Islands, the place intended for the erection of the shed and the future
centre of our operations.

During the morning we take a reconnoitring trip by boat round the islands
in order to find a favourable place, accessible to our vessel, the
unloading of which will be very difficult in the absence of a landing
quay and all the plant usually available in any port.

The charts which we possess of this region are very inaccurate. Andrée
takes a survey of several points of the coast. The huntsmen in the
boat bagged about ten eider-geese. We gave up the idea of establishing
ourselves here, and in the afternoon we reached the Isle of Amsterdam, 7½
miles to the south-west.

The sky is clear, the air is keen and cutting.

_Monday morning._—The three explorers made a fresh survey, and Andrée
finally decided on the little vale of Dansk-Gatt as the point where we
are to establish ourselves.

The place is sheltered on all sides by high mountains, opening out to
the north only upon the open sea. A wooden hut, formerly constructed by
an Englishman, Mr. Pike, will serve us as a shelter, and we shall leave
there the surplus of our reserve store of provisions. This hospitable
little house already possesses a depôt of preserved provisions, coal, and
various articles. The ground is strewn with pieces of rock and covered
with snow, into which one sinks up to one’s knees.

_Tuesday, June 23rd._—At 6 a.m. the vessel began to unload; all the
boats are out at sea. The _Virgo_ cannot approach nearer than within 164
yards of the bank. The disembarkation of the balloon and the gas plant
will present very serious difficulties, and will certainly take up much
precious time.

Thermometer 2° (35·6 Fahr.) above freezing point. Barometer 29·92 inches.
Wind south-west, fresh. Sky cloudy, clear patches at rare intervals.
Sun very hot. Sea calm. The steam launch has got up steam. Mr. Pike’s
yacht came to visit the house on the 16th inst. This little structure,
built entirely of wood like the Norwegian houses, is comfortable enough;
it contains a dining-room, bed-rooms, and a kitchen. There are stoves
in all the rooms, and our sailors have lighted them in order to dry the
walls; the lock shuts badly, and the door is kept to with a piece of ice.
The garret serves excellently as a dove-cot, and we install our pigeons
there, but they will not be so comfortable there as in their ordinary
pigeon-house; nevertheless, it will be a convenient shelter for them.
These pigeons have been trained at Hammerfest. We have already despatched
several while at sea, but do not know yet whether they have returned to
Norway.

_Wednesday, June 24th._—The unloading of the vessel proceeds rapidly. The
site for the shed is ready, and the carpenters are starting work.

This shed, intended to shelter the balloon, deserves special mention.
Designed in a very ingenious manner, it was erected at Gothenburg, where
the inhabitants of the town could inspect it before it was dismantled for
shipment. It is of octagonal shape, and consists of four storeys, each
measuring 196·8545 inches in height. The various storeys are joined to
each other by means of bolts; the last storey is surmounted by a balcony
all round.

In order to facilitate re-erection in Spitzbergen, the component parts of
each storey are marked with marks of different colour. The floor of the
shed is composed of timber work, all meeting in the centre, and made fast
on the rocks with pieces of wood, for the ground is very irregular, and
it is impossible to level it.

On the east and west sides, two staircases lead to the balcony, and at
the same time serve to strengthen the structure.

The re-erection of this shed at Dane’s Island was very laborious. It was
carried out with much skill by the two master carpenters, assisted by the
crew.

It was necessary, first of all, to remove the snow which covered the
ground, to lay foundations, and join together the beams, which were put
up and shifted by means of a hand-winch placed in the centre of the
structure, and slewing all round.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL OF A GAS GENERATOR.]

The work was frequently interfered with by storms, which compelled the
carpenters to interrupt their task.

The framework, when once put up, was closed in with large panels of wood
prepared in Sweden.

The upper part of the shed is carried up on the south side, above the
rest of the structure, by means of beams 16 feet 4 inches high, carrying
a canvas cover, intended to protect the top of the balloon against a
violent wind.

A movable roof or canvas awning, sliding on wire cables, was intended to
protect the balloon against snow. Unfortunately time did not permit of
putting it up in position.

_June 26th._—In the morning the sun appeared; the sky is very clear, and
the snow is slowly melting. The temperature is pleasant to-day; but now,
in the afternoon, the cirri are approaching, and I believe that the fine
weather will not last long.

The _Virgo_, relieved of part of its cargo, was able to get within 66
yards of the shore. The crew then proceeded to discharge the heavy
packages, hydrogen generators, and the case containing the balloon. The
three ship’s boats, coupled together, were made up into a kind of raft,
hauled by the steam launch.

In order to bring ashore these packages, which weighed from two to three
tons, it was found necessary to form a roadway (or a kind of inclined
plane), with the aid of two large pine logs brought from Norway, and to
haul them by means of a pulley tackle drawn by the whole of the crew.

One is struck with the calm and intense stillness which reigns in these
regions remote from all civilization. The mountain birds alone break its
monotony, and give us a joyous concert.

In roaming over the islands, one is surprised at the number of tumuli
and human remains to be met with. This is because Spitzbergen, too, has
its history, and that a rather troubled one; but we will not speak of it
here.



IV

The _Victoria_—Bear Hunting


On the 27th of June, in the afternoon, our attention is attracted by the
arrival of a vessel coming from the north. It is always a pleasant event
to come across other navigators in these distant regions; it makes one
feel less lonely and isolated. It is Mr. Pick’s _Victoria_, commanded
by Captain Nilson, who hunts bears and seals on these shores. She casts
anchor near the _Virgo_. We enter a boat and go to welcome the travellers.

Andrée obtains some information from the captain as to the state of the
ice in the north. I pay a visit to the boat, which, though otherwise
plain and rough, is nevertheless fitted up to perfection for the peculiar
nature of her expeditions. She contains various objects which are not
without interest for me, who am a new-comer to these regions, such as
skins of bears and various birds; also a live young bear, captured at
the Norwegian islands, which utters ominous growls, and seems to protest
energetically against this outrage upon its liberty.

Sunday, the 28th of June, was an eventful day, and full of emotions. The
_Victoria_ left at 9 a.m. for Ice-Fjord, taking with her an enormous
parcel of letters, with our best wishes for our nearest and dearest.

After an early lunch we started for an excursion. Strindberg, Grumberg,
Arrhénius, Dr. Ekelund, two engineers, two sailors, and myself, went off
in the steam launch.

The weather was superb, the sea calm, the sky a little misty; some pretty
cumuli touched the summits of the mountains. We steamed round Dane’s
Island, and shaped our course towards Smeerenburg.

Our little boat goes ahead full speed, and gives herself up to a mad race
among floating ice-blocks which cover the surface of the bay.

The spectacle is marvellous. We are surrounded by imposing rocks, whence
the snow descends in capricious veins and furrows, and whose craggy
summits, gilded by a glowing sun, are set off against an azure sky of
exceeding purity. These granite rocks, of grotesque and erratic shape,
throw the most fantastic shadows upon the white surface of the glaciers.

The atmosphere is so transparent that it is very difficult to estimate
distances merely by the eye. The mountains are from 2,000 to 3,000 feet
high, and yet at first sight one would think that they are very easy to
climb. I have very often been misled by this optical illusion. Sounds can
be heard very clearly at a great distance.

We cross the course of the little sailing boat of Stadling, the
correspondent of the Stockholm _Aftonbladet_, and the colombophile of the
polar expedition.

He is also starting on a journey of discovery, together with two
companions.

We take our course towards the east, and land on a little islet covered
with moss.

Our guns bring down several eider-geese, and on setting foot ashore we
came across several nests of these birds, containing three or four eggs
of the size of goose eggs and of a greyish-green colour.

But our survey is soon made, and we resume our course in a south-easterly
direction, where we can already see the outline of the Isle of Moffen,
which is the goal of our excursion.

This isle presents a singular contrast with the surrounding mountains,
owing to the vigour of its colouring, which changes from a light-green to
a dark-brown.

The mosses of different varieties, interspersed with yellowish lichens
and saxifrages of a delicate violet tint, offer us a soft carpet,
inviting to rest, and delighting to the eye.

Thousands of birds, making a deafening noise, inhabit this enchanted land.

But their tranquillity is disturbed by our prosaic and insatiable
hunters, who give themselves up to a veritable hecatomb of game. They
have scarcely got ashore, and about one hundred eider-geese are already
lying on the ground. They are so numerous and so unsuspecting that they
will scarcely move away more than a few yards from us; one can easily see
that their solitude is rarely disturbed by visitors of our species, or at
least of an equally bellicose character.

[Illustration: THE _EXPRESS_, THE _ERLINE JARL_, THE _VIRGO_, DEPARTURE
OF THE _VICTORIA_.]

They much resemble our domestic ducks, and one might easily imagine one’s
self in the midst of a park or a poultry yard. At one moment I had about
ten around me, come to drink or bathe in a little brook of clear water,
which babbled in a cascade over the moss and pebbles.

At every step one comes across a nest made of moss and feathers,
sheltered by a fragment of rock. The female bird has plucked off her
softest down to protect her eggs or her brood against the frost. The
brooding bird is scarcely disturbed by our approach. She covers up her
eggs and hides them under the down before taking her flight, if she is
given time to do so. The reports of the gun repeated again and again by
the echo reverberating from the mountains resemble the rolling of thunder
and make a hideous din.

At four o’clock, a lunch, highly appreciated, is served out on a bank
of moss. This meal, partaken with vigorous appetite, consists of ham,
caviar, and slices of smoked reindeer-flesh; the whole being washed down
with light beer, and seasoned by the most unrestrained gaiety. A pure
Havannah cigar completes this most unconventional feast.

We fill our lungs with the pure air, and feel it a joy to live.

But time glides swiftly by, and we must think of returning. We are two
hours’ journey from the _Virgo_.

Our sailors make an extensive raid upon the nests, and return loaded with
baskets full of eggs and down. The game is put on board and we depart.

As we run along, the coast and glaciers are covered with seals, but the
noise of our engine frightens them and they flee at our approach.

The sea has become rough, and the wind, which takes us port, sends up
waves which threaten to swamp the boat. We are much tossed about, but I
can now stand the rolling of the vessel like an old mariner. However,
we must not boast: one cannot be too sure of anything. The temperature
has gone down perceptibly, and the cumuli, which a short time ago were
hovering on the sides of the mountains, are now lowering down upon the
sea, and soon envelop us completely. We are now in the midst of a very
dense and cold fog. We can scarcely see a few yards in front of us, and
we must slacken speed in order to avoid collision with the icebergs
detached from the glaciers. The sun, which, a moment ago, still showed
very feebly, has completely disappeared. We are plunged into utter
darkness, and in spite of compass and charts we have, for the moment,
lost our bearings. What a change, after the aspect of the sky a short
while ago! The engineer whistles by way of a call to the _Virgo_, but
there is no response from that vessel.

Without being actually desperate, our situation is becoming critical, as
we no longer know exactly what distance we have covered.

We run a risk of passing our island without perceiving it, and of getting
lost at sea!

At last, after several detours, we recognise the lagoons of the Isle of
Amsterdam on the right, and soon a sailor points out the _Virgo_, which
looms in the semi-darkness at a distance of fifty yards or so in front of
us.

At this moment it is 8 p.m. The captain, Andrée, and Ekholm are on the
deck. Without being alarmed at our fate, they were glad enough to see us
back again; but Stadling’s boat has not yet come back.

The mist becomes thicker and thicker, and one can scarcely see from one
end of the vessel to the other. One of the crew is ringing the bell
every few moments, in order to indicate the route to the three belated
tourists. The supper passes off very gaily. Each recounts his adventures
and describes his impressions; mine have been of a very lively nature.
But the day had still a far more remarkable event in store for us.

We were beginning to be rather troubled about the fate of our friends,
when at about 10 p.m., having gone up on to the gangway to see how the
fog was, I heard, very faintly at first, a murmuring sound, then a song
keeping time with the splash of oars. No doubt it is they; evidently
they, too, have lost their way.

The outline of the gallant little craft appears a few yards away, and the
boat comes on propelled by oars, as they had been compelled to take down
their sail. But what is that shapeless mass, of a doubtful white, spotted
with red, which fills the bottom of the boat?

Although worn out with fatigue, the excursionists are radiant; they have
performed veritable prodigies: they have been bear-hunting, and bring
back three dead bears in their frail boat.

[Illustration: DANES ISLAND.]

They are at once the object of an enthusiastic ovation, while the
animals—a large she-bear and two cubs—are hoisted on board, leaving a
pool of blood in the bottom of the little boat.

You already know Stadling, permit me to introduce his two
companions—Appelberg, engineering student of the Stockholm technical
school, and Axel Stack, chemical engineer at the Stockholm University—and
let the first-named gentleman recount in his own words the circumstances
of this somewhat dramatic adventure:—

“You will remember the charming day we had on the 28th of June; the sun
glistened on the waters of Smeerenburg as on a mirror, the surrounding
mountains enhancing the wildness and grandeur of the scene. You will
also remember the glacier at the bottom of Smeerenburg. I have told you
about the adventure we had opposite this glacier, when in consequence of
a sudden split a detached mass of enormous size produced in the sea an
immense wave, which threatened to engulph our small boat and gave us an
unexpected douche.

“Immediately after this adventure I hastened to take a photo of the
glacier. While searching for a suitable point, I discovered in the snow
on the shore the track of three bears going from east to west, in the
direction of South-Gatt and the open sea. Having informed my companions
of this lucky find, I returned to the boat, followed by my friends, one
of whom was gravely engaged in drying his clothes in the sun, after the
enforced bath caused by the splitting of the glacier.

“Thereupon a rather original chase commenced; my companions rowed, whilst
I held the rudder lines, at the same time observing through my glasses
the tracks on the bank and following their direction. The tracks of the
bears led us continually from east to west. Here and there the animals
evidently had rested in some natural trenches formed in the snow. In
other places there were sloping grooves on the bank, where the bears had
amused themselves by sliding on these natural sledges. Having passed two
promontories and a very old glacier, we arrived at a third promontory,
beyond which there was another glacier about 1¼ mile wide. In front of it
there was an iceberg.

“When we arrived at the extreme point of the promontory, we stopped, as
no further tracks were visible; from this we concluded that the bears
must be somewhere in the neighbourhood.

“Having reconnoitred as far as the firm ice, protected by large icebergs,
I perceived the bears below the glacier, jumping one after another from a
block of ice. The mother, followed by her cubs, was giving herself up to
this exercise either to amuse herself or to give her young ones a lesson
in gymnastics,—I do not know which.

“At any rate I watched with curiosity for some moments this scene of
ursine family life. It was an exceedingly curious sight, I assure you.
But this patriarchal and rustic scene was destined soon to come to an
end, thanks to the huntsman’s instinct which suddenly awoke within me. I
felt bound, at all cost, to kill this interesting family, the mother and
her cubs. Why? Who can reason with passion, who can reason with a hunter!
Without further idle reflection, and as the chief of a gang who has
resolved upon an immediate attack on a long-desired prey, I ordered my
comrades to remain in the boat until I returned, and on my knees I crept
over the ice, behind the fragments of rocks, towards the three animals.
This ice was perforated like a sieve, and the water fell from it in
small cascades with a continuous and monotonous noise; small fragments
were detaching themselves from it every moment, without, however,
retarding my progress.

“Regardless of all risk, I continued to drag myself along behind
fragments of rocks and approached to within about 430 yards of my quarry.
Now I had no longer any shelter; I was exposed to view. Then I took a
long aim, fired and wounded one of the cubs. The mother rushed towards
it, sometimes looking about her, and sometimes licking the poor beast.

“I could see her very closely with my glasses. I fired a second time,
and the mother then turned furiously towards me. My cartridges had got
damp and missed fire. I became nervous. I was obliged to go and fetch
fresh ammunition from the boat. The she-bear gave up her first idea of
attacking me and returned to her cubs.

[Illustration: SMEERENBURG GLACIER.]

“Then, having taken fresh ammunition, we commenced, all three of us,
to drive the animals towards the open water, and at last, to our
delight, saw the mother, followed by her cubs, start swimming. Mr.
Stack remained on the ice armed with an oar, in order to cut off their
retreat; Appelberg and myself gave chase from the boat. The she-bear,
with one of the cubs on her back, swam at a fairly good pace towards us.
We had scarcely had time to row three or four minutes before the mother
had climbed upon a large block of ice floating in the midst of the open
water. Having approached to within fifty or sixty yards I fired again,
and my bullet striking the bear between the two shoulders, passed through
her lungs. The animal uttered a terrible cry, which was re-echoed from
the mountains. In a great fury she threw herself into the sea, swimming
towards us with rage, but only for a few moments. The poor beast soon
died, still carrying on her back the cub which I had first wounded. It
was at once killed, and the other immediately afterwards.

“We thereupon dragged the animals towards the ice-bank, where I
photographed my victims, stretched out lifeless; and it was not without
much difficulty that we succeeded in putting them aboard our frail
boat. At last we started on our return to the _Virgo_, still full of
excitement, when suddenly we were caught in the fog in the midst of the
Smeerenburg waters.”

The next day the ice pilot, an old sea-dog, assisted by Stadling,
proceeded to cut up the three animals, the skins of which were salted,
and enclosed in barrels; after this the most delicate morsels, seasoned
with various sauces by the cook, who displayed all her talents, adorned
the table at several meals. Without being absolutely exquisite, the dish
is appetising, and besides, the chance of dining off polar bear does not
occur very often.



V

The Midnight Sun


_Friday, July 3rd._—I have not put foot on shore to-day. For three days
past we have had terrible weather, and I wonder whether the shed will
be able to resist the fury of such a wind. However, this is an east
south-east wind, which would suit perfectly well for the voyage, though
the start would be very difficult under these circumstances; this delays
the work of the carpenters, and the shed does not rise up very quickly.
I felt very dull to-day, and was happy enough to read again all the old
journals which had served for packing purposes, as I am not very well
stocked with works of a purely literary character, a few volumes only
composing my whole library. I also read again the expedition of the
_Jeannette_, which Andrée had lent me, and the dramatic episodes of that
story were not calculated to raise my spirits. What an extraordinary
climate!

In these regions fine days are very rare, though it is clear all night;
but for a long time past the sun has scarcely been seen. The thermometer
remains near freezing-point.

But the midnight sun! What a never-to-be-forgotten spectacle is presented
by this polar sea in these radiant nights!

As soon as the fog lifts its veil, leaving the eye at full liberty to
roam over the horizon, one sees an endless succession of palaces of ice,
strong castles, cathedrals, and fantastical structures, some majestically
indifferent to the waves which caress their mighty bases, the others
slowly rocking to and fro, notwithstanding their ponderous masses, and at
each oscillation of their sparkling faces emitting from their alabaster
sides rocket-like flashes of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

[Illustration: THE _VIRGO_, AMSTERDAM ISLAND.]

Numerous cascades pour down from the vast sides of these icebergs
into basins formed in the very bases of these enormous ice-mountains,
subsequently losing themselves in the waters of the sea; and all these
waterfalls, large and small, are lit up by the hot, red rays of a
brilliant sun.

This polar nature, which one imagines to be so poor, so icy, so inert, in
regions which we only know from dull and cold narratives of voyages,—this
wonderful nature lavishly spreads out before my eyes the sight of an
endless mass of sparkling and flashing diamonds, a veritable pyrotechnic
display of another world, which the rays of the sun cause to burst forth,
and change twenty times in a minute.

And all this, like a sublime jewel casket, rests on velvet of an
unheard-of variety, delicate green, pale pink, orange red, crimson,
bright red, purple, golden yellow, violet, sky-blue, a marvellous velvet
of deep soft and delicately shaded tints, which the calm and irradiated
water seems to spread out for the greater delight of the eye and the soul.

In the presence of all this grand and mighty nature, what becomes of
man’s most ingenious artifices invented to charm by the excess of
accumulated marvels?

How paltry are the most superb decorations of his theatres compared with
what one sees here—here where the water alone and the sun undertake
the _mise en scène_! What are all the marvels hatched by his brain, by
his sovereign industry, in the presence of miracles of colouring and
brilliancy engendered by a ray of light penetrating a fragment of ice?

_Tuesday, July 7th._—We had very bad weather on Saturday; on Sunday
the atmosphere calmed down a little, and yesterday (Monday) we had a
splendid day. We took advantage of this to make an interesting excursion
in the steam launch to Magdaleina Bay. The peninsula contains an immense
necropolis, dating back several centuries; it is here that the whalers of
Smeerenburg came to bury their dead.

We killed a very large seal, which nearly caused the boat to capsize
when we got him on board. Strindberg killed a black fox at the foot of a
glacier.

We returned at midnight in brilliant sunshine; in fact, at present we
constantly see the sun when the sky is clear. He is describing a circle,
of which the _Virgo_ appears to be the centre, and the sunshine is
sometimes very hot. This morning the temperature was 68° Fahr. in the
sun, and 41° Fahr. in the shade.

The work of erecting the shed is being pushed on as quickly as possible,
but it is a gigantic task. To-day they have reached the second storey;
there are to be two more storeys above that, and these are the most
difficult ones to erect.

In the midst of this feverish work the days pass anxiously by, for I
have had no news from Europe. I am already much perturbed, when at last,
on the night of July 12th, after a very dull day, the watch all at once
signals the arrival of a small sloop, which is sure to bring our mail. In
a few moments everybody is on deck, and the captain of the small boat,
the _Express_, hands us an enormous bundle of letters, which Andrée
distributes among us. I received fourteen, and it would be difficult for
me to express the joy I felt at this moment.

The _Express_ brings six English and German tourists, who have come,
somewhat early, to be present at the departure of the balloon. They are
received on board the _Virgo_, and evince a very lively interest in
Andrée’s project.



VI

National Fête


_On board the “Virgo,” July 14th, at night._—The bad weather continues,
and the squall is so violent that the little sloop _Express_ has been
unable to put to sea. We have a very gay lunch. Andrée made a little
speech, which greatly moved me. He spoke of the national fête in France
and of aerostation, which I represent. He praised the self-denial which I
had exhibited, and finally expressed to me the pleasure he felt in seeing
the bonds of friendship becoming closer day by day. He did not forget
either family or friends.

The captain ordered the French _tricolore_ to be hoisted on the mainmast
and the ship to be dressed with bunting. Champagne sparkled in the
glasses.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL OF THE CAR.]

Strindberg played the national air, and those present overwhelmed me with
kind attentions. The following letter will give an idea of the close
friendship which reigned amongst us:—

                                “On Board the _Virgo_, Dansk-Gatt,
                                                 _July 14th, 1896._

    “To MADAME LACHAMBRE, Paris.

    “DEAR MADAME,—

    “To-day being the national _fête_ day of your native country,
    _la belle France_, we gladly seized the welcome opportunity
    to present to M. Lachambre our sincere thanks for the great
    services which he has rendered to our expedition by the careful
    and excellent work which he has executed, and for his personal
    attendance here in order to give us the benefit of his valuable
    experience. Certainly, this voyage has been a great sacrifice,
    both for you and for him, and it is, therefore, our duty to
    thank you as well as M. Lachambre.

    “We have this day drunk the health of M. and Madame Lachambre,
    at the same time hoisting the tricolour and singing the
    ‘Marseillaise.’ On this occasion Andrée has had the honour
    of fixing on M. Lachambre’s breast the decoration of the
    Academical Palms, and we have congratulated him with enthusiasm
    on receiving this well-merited distinction.

    “We beg you will rest assured, Dear Madame, that we are doing
    our best to minimise the inconveniences resulting to M.
    Lachambre from a life in these very inhospitable regions.

    “We are, Dear Madame,

                     “Yours most respectfully,

                                (Signed) “S. A. ANDRÉE; NILS
                                          EKHOLM; NILS STRINDBERG;
                                          ZACHAU, captain of the
                                          _Virgo_; GOSTE GRUMBERG,
                                          zoologist; CARL EKELUND,
                                          physician; SVANTE
                                          ARRHÉNIUS, hydrographer.”

And while Strindberg strummed on his violin the most poetical and
impassioned Swedish tunes, the wind raged outside and the vessel rocked
and creaked fearfully.

_Dansk-Gatt, on board the “Virgo,” July 16th, noon._—The storm, after
calming down for a short time, burst forth again last night with renewed
violence, and the _Express_, which left at eight, was obliged to return
in haste some hours afterwards to take shelter near the _Virgo_.

The _Virgo_ is a strong vessel, capable of braving a storm, but it
is otherwise with the small sloop, which already has barely escaped
shipwreck in coming here.



VII

The Inflation


_July 21st._—To-day for the first time we were able to commence devoting
our attention to the balloon, which, since its disembarkation, has
remained enclosed in its case at the foot of the shed.

It is now brought to the entrance and extended on the floor, covered with
a thick layer of felt.

It is spread out after the manner of a cast-net, the valves are fitted to
it, together with their rigging, the net is placed in position, as well
as the protecting cover.

The inflating pipes, passing through an opening made in the middle of the
floor, are joined to the gas apparatus situated 87 yards away below the
shed, behind Pike House.

This very difficult work (the envelope alone of the balloon weighs nearly
3,086 lbs., and the net 992 lbs.) was finished in the evening of the
22nd, in a fine and penetrating rain. On the morning of the 23rd snow
commenced to fall in large flakes. The balloon is covered by it with a
thick layer, when about a hundred cubic feet of gas commence to raise
with difficulty the heavy envelope of silk. This operation commences even
before the shed is quite finished. Part of the upper enclosures is still
wanting, and Andrée abandons the idea of having the canvas awning put up,
which, however, would have been very useful; but time presses, and every
delay may jeopardize the departure.

The car, installed in an annex to the shed, is marvellously devised.
The lower part is completely surrounded with sailcloth. It receives its
light through two lateral windows. The middle is occupied by a kind of
mattress, covered with a sleeping sack of reindeer skins.

All around are compartments for holding books, charts, and instruments,
toilet articles, and the kitchen utensils, arms, ammunition, etc. It
is entered through a trap-door made in the ceiling. Above, at a height
of one metre, a ring, mounted on jointed railings, which keep it in a
horizontal position, forms a balcony, in the centre of which two of the
explorers will remain while the third is resting. To this circle the
instruments,—compasses, sextants, theodolites, barometers, thermometers,
photographic appliances, etc., are attached.

The six ropes, by which the car is suspended, are joined at the upper
part by a cable, which brings them nearer to the centre, while keeping
them away from the balcony; they then extend from this hexagon towards
the suspension ring, which is fastened to the net.

Six canvas pockets, with compartments, are fixed between the suspending
ropes from the ceiling of the car up to the balcony, for the reception of
any articles or instruments which the aeronauts may require to have at
hand at any moment.

The load ring carries a table or board divided into compartments occupied
by four baskets intended to hold a number of accessories, buoys,
grapnels, ropes, etc.

In the centre of the platform a square opening leaves room for a rope
ladder, attached to the appendage of the balloon, and facilitates the
inspection of the interior through windows let into the safety valve.
This platform may, if necessary, serve as a refuge for the aeronauts,
should they be compelled to abandon the car.

The load ring supports a differential pulley for moving the guide-ropes,
the action of which, combined with that of the sail, is to afford the
possibility of a certain deviation from the direction of the wind.

The sails are fixed to the net by hemp straps.

The three guide-ropes are attached to this pulley by a very ingenious
piece of mechanism. With the aid of a crank and a bevel gear, the
guide-ropes, which are composed of several sections joined to each other
by screw connections, can be turned. Should the end of a guide-rope get
caught between the ice to such an extent as to arrest the flight of the
balloon, the aeronauts can release themselves by exerting an effect of
torsion on this guide-rope by means of the crank, and abandoning the
length of rope caught; a fresh length of guide-rope will then be added at
the top if necessary, making use of spare lengths of rope.

[Illustration: AN EXCURSION TO MAGDALEINA BAY.]

In order to prevent the guide-ropes becoming detached at an inopportune
moment, Andrée has devised the plan of providing a spring consisting of
a flat piece of steel which exerts a pressure upon the connecting screw
nut; the pressure of these springs is graduated, increasing upwards, so
that it will always be the lowest length of rope which will detach itself
first. These guide-ropes are impregnated with vaseline, which renders
them insubmersible and greatly facilitates their gliding over the ice.

Above the ring, victuals and provisions of all kinds are stored in
canvas bags divided into compartments and strongly fastened between the
suspending ropes; all the articles are fixed so that no shock can throw
them out.

The number of suspending ropes is forty-eight, forming forty-eight equal
intervals, of which thirty-six are occupied by bags of provisions, and
twelve by sledges, boats, spars, etc.

The provisions comprise tins of preserved food of all kinds, chocolate,
compressed bread, condensed milk, champagne, claret, alcohol, fresh
water, not forgetting butter, an indispensable article of diet in the
polar regions.

All these bags are weighed, classified, and labelled, and make up a
weight of 2,204 lbs. What is not consumed will serve as ballast, Andrée
having considered it more practical to carry provisions in place of
ballast.

The apparatus for cooking the food consists of a cylinder suspended by a
strap 32 feet 6 inches in length, along which a rubber tube runs; inside
the cylinder a spirit lamp is lighted by being brought in contact with a
match ignited with the aid of a small and very simple contrivance worked
by a cord.

A small cooking pot filled with water, and enclosed in the cylinder, can
be made to boil in a few moments. The lamp can be extinguished from the
car by blowing down the rubber tube, and a mirror, arranged at an angle
of 45 degrees, enables the occupants of the car to see whether the lamp
is well extinguished before hoisting the apparatus up into the car.



VIII

The _Erline Jarl_


_Dansk-Gatt, July 23rd._—The south wind, which has blown almost
constantly since our arrival at Dansk-Gatt, ceased on the 19th of July,
and north and north-easterly winds are now blowing, with their usual
accompaniment of rain or snow.

The gas-working apparatus acts very regularly, yielding about 78 cubic
yards per hour.

The work is divided into spells of six hours at a time, the first watch,
from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., being entrusted to me. I am assisted by two seamen
only, one of whom speaks French fairly well,—viz., a Mr. Knos, engineer,
who has signed for the voyage. My place is then taken by Strindberg, who,
in his turn, is relieved by Andrée, whom I succeed again.

At 11 p.m. the sound of a siren breaks the stillness of the night,
awakening the echoes of the mountains. I then see the _Erline Jarl_,
a splendid boat, flying the Norwegian flag, coming on slowly and
majestically, in order to cast anchor at some distance from the _Virgo_.

Around the place where the sulphates and residues of the hydrogen
apparatus discharge into the sea, the sea-water has assumed a rusty
colour for a distance of several miles. This peculiarity causes great
astonishment among the new arrivals, who imagine that they can see the
sea-bottom.

Captain Zachau, of the _Virgo_, goes to welcome the new-comers, and
returns on board his vessel with a load of letters for our crew.

The snow falls thicker and thicker, and the shed does not afford the
least protection. I have a kind of sentry-box rigged up for me in the
packing-case for the net of the balloon.

We experienced much difficulty at the commencement of the inflation, and
I am frequently compelled to obtain assistance from the gas works, the
material of the balloon being so very heavy to shift about.

[Illustration: SOLAR OBSERVATIONS AT MAGDALEINA BAY.]

I may mention one incident in particular. The balloon had already
absorbed 1,308 cubic yards of gas, when the apparatus suddenly stopped
and absolutely refused to act, which caused great excitement among the
members of the expedition. What does it mean? Here is the solution of the
enigma.

The pump, which draws its supply from the sea, has taken up such a
quantity of shrimps that all the cocks are choked up. We scarcely
expected to see shrimps interfere in this matter.

Andrée, who had thought of everything else, had forgotten to reckon with
these diminutive factors. The generators and valves are cleared out and
cleaned, and the suction pipe is fitted with a rose, whereupon work goes
on without any further hitch.

For the production of the hydrogen 55,115 lbs. of sulphuric acid and
33,069 lbs. of iron shavings have been used. All that chemistry and
physical science has hitherto produced by way of purifying, weighing, and
testing instruments is embodied in Andrée’s plant.

On the morning of the 24th of July the tourists brought over by the
_Erline Jarl_ begin to arrive on the island; there are about sixty of
them, from all countries. Several of them bring me news from my friends,
and an acquaintance is soon struck up. We are assailed with questions on
all hands. Andrée does the honours of the establishment with much grace,
and propounds his theories as to the means he proposes to adopt in his
endeavours to reach the pole. He explains the instruments and apparatus,
while I distribute among the tourists some samples of the material
employed for the balloon.

We hear news from Europe, always acceptable to a degree which no one can
conceive who has never been far away from his native country. Besides, in
these wild regions everything tends to augment the unconscious longing
for all that one has left behind, and those who come from a region more
or less near to one’s native country at once assume something of the
nature of long-expected personal friends.

The night of the 24th is spent very pleasantly. I dine on board the
_Erline Jarl_, and hear a concert given by real artistes. My thoughts
wander back to scenes of the past, and I say to myself that had some
one sitting next to me at a concert in Paris told me at the time that
in so many months, or at such and such a time, I should hear the same
instruments and enjoy the same tunes at Spitzbergen, I should have been
very much surprised at such a suggestion.

_Saturday, 25th._—At noon the small sloop _Express_ arrives, carrying
mails. At 1 p.m. the _Erline Jarl_ leaves on a trip towards the north.
The programme consists in approaching close to the ice-field, and the
amiable Captain Bade offers me a place on board his ship. But, however
much inclined to accept, I cannot leave Andrée at this moment, as the
balloon demands all our attention.

_Sunday, 26th._—Andrée lectures to our crew. His spirited and expressive
language, his technical explanations, given with perfect clearness,
frequently elicit loud applause.

_Monday, 27th._—The inflation is completed at the moment when the _Erline
Jarl_ returns from her trip.

The _Victoria_ arrives at night, and the simultaneous presence of the
four vessels gives Dansk-Gatt a festive air, which is greatly enhanced by
the lovely sunshine. Our little international colony is very lively.

After waiting a week in order to witness the start of the balloon, the
tourists lose patience. They want to be at Vadso on the 9th of August to
see the eclipse of the sun.

On July 30th a sumptuous dinner is given us on board the _Erline Jarl_,
and on the 31st the tourists come in a body to the foot of the shed.

To the right and to the left of the entrance the crews of the _Virgo_ and
the _Erline Jarl_ are formed up in line; at the back the passengers are
grouped round the explorers. Several speeches are made by the captain of
the _Erline Jarl_ and some of the tourists; thereupon a young lady, who
is travelling with her _fiancé_ and a relative, attaches to Andrée’s arm
a blue ribbon, and then hands him for the journey a bottle of the best
wine, a cake, and a rose-tree with four roses, one for each explorer.

Captain Bade, of the _Erline Jarl_, then addressed Andrée as follows:—

“If you reach the mysterious point for which you are bound, deposit there
the fourth of the roses, as a token of peace with the old world.”

“My dear friend,” Andrée replied, in accents full of emotion, “you who
have come so far to see me set out for the conquest of the unknown, my
dear friends, I thank you!

[Illustration: THE _VIRGO_ DECKED FOR THE 14TH OF JULY FÊTE.]

“Mademoiselle, you have adorned me with a ribbon on the eve of my
departure; this ribbon shall be my talisman. I have been called a great
man, but it will be difficult for me to earn this title if the north
winds still continue to blow for some weeks as they do now. Our greatness
will fly with them—far, far away! What can we do to remedy this? If we
cannot make a start, we shall, at least, be able to say that we have
done all that is humanly possible, and you will be able to bear witness
thereto.

“You are about to return to the south, and if you meet the winds we are
so urgently in need of, send them on to us here, and we shall welcome
them as messengers from our good friends on board the _Erline Jarl_.

“My friends of the _Virgo_, a fourfold cheer for our friends who will
send us a South Wind!”

During this touching speech the _Erline Jarl_ fires off a salvo of
twenty-one guns in honour of the Andrée Expedition, the report of which
shook the valleys to the echo.

Thereupon, the speeches being over, we leave the isle in order to spend
the rest of the night on board the _Erline Jarl_, which is dressed, as
is also the _Virgo_, with a multitude of flags, as on great gala days,
and I never feel weary of contemplating the noble colours of the French
flag proudly floating at the head of the splendid vessel,—a delicate
compliment to me on the part of the captain, which moves me more than I
can tell.

How full of meaning to me is this flag! How full of souvenirs and
consolation! And how well one can understand, when far away from his
native country, all the silent eloquence of this impersonal being, this
glorious symbol! Amidst all these people, speaking languages which I do
not understand, amidst all this group of men isolated at the world’s
end, and I myself feeling lost in the midst of them, so to speak, owing
to the difficulty of making myself understood by them, it contains a
living embodiment of my native land, the very representative of the soil
of France—her flag hoisted on a foreign vessel in token of the esteem in
which the children of this noble country are held. And this flag seems to
say to me: “You are not alone; I am here too! You are no longer isolated;
we are _some one_; we are taken into account here!”

We go on board, and soon the peaceful reports of champagne corks—another
reminder of French soil—accentuate the numerous toasts which follow
each other in the large saloon. Then our spirits becoming more and more
elated, there are songs, cheers, the loud hum of animated conversation,
wishes of good luck, plans for future meetings, and we leave the
hospitable vessel in order to return to the _Virgo_ at a very advanced
hour.

What a day! And how hearts are drawn to each other under circumstances
like these, when at rare intervals, few and far between, the oppressive
and monotonous loneliness of arduous travels in these frigid solitudes is
suddenly broken by boisterous meetings of persons, hitherto strangers,
who are so speedily transformed into old friends!

_August 1st, 9 a.m._—Under a misty sky, heavy with snow, the _Erline
Jarl_ hoists her anchor, sweeps round majestically, sends us her last
farewells and good wishes, and then slowly glides away over the waters,
leaving behind her a foamy wake. The throbs of her engine become more
and more regular; soon we no longer hear them; and it is with a choking
sensation in our bosom, which will readily be understood, that we see
this fine vessel outlined and gradually disappearing on the horizon,
which, for a short moment, had come to bring life and joy into our midst.

Yet a long time after, leaning with my arms on the handrail of the
gangway, I followed with my eyes the black cloud of smoke which the
_Erline Jarl_ trails over the waves; I still hear a last salute from the
siren, and return in deep thought to my cabin, in a sadder frame of mind
than I should care to admit.

Grumberg, the naturalist, is working unceasingly to enrich his
collection; he dredges, fishes, hunts, and sets snares for foxes. He has
succeeded in capturing two very young animals, which he has installed
on the island, in a nice improvised cage, to which some anonymous wag
has attached a card bearing one of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer in
Swedish: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

[Illustration: STRINDBERG.]

Grumberg watches his protégés with jealous care, and intends to offer
them to a zoological garden in Stockholm; but on the night of the
departure the foxes, who for a long time past had been working to effect
their escape by gnawing through the boards of the cage, made good their
escape and fled into the mountains, pursued by the sailors, who gave
chase. They are not caught yet. I much doubt whether Grumberg will be
able to catch them again next summer.

But who knows; Fate is so fitful! You ought, said some one, to have
attached a “favour” to their tails, so as to recognise them again. I,
on my part, remarked that these young foxes might, perhaps, have been
acquainted with La Fontaine’s fable, entitled “The Little Fish and the
Fisherman,” and that they would be sure to return to him as soon as
they had grown to a reasonable size. And I amused myself by producing a
revised copy of this fable, specially re-edited to meet the circumstances.

    TRANSLATION.

    The little fox will grow a big fox,
    Provided God will grant him life;
    But to release him in the meantime
    I think would be foolish indeed.

    Two foxes that were but foxlets, as yet,
    Quite young little things,
    Were captured by chance
    By the good Doctor Grumberg
    On the Isles of Spitzbergen.

“All is fish that comes to the net,” said he, on beholding his prey.

    They will serve to start a collection;
    Let us make a pretty cage for them.

One of these foxlets, regretting his captivity, said to him, in his own
fashion,—

“What are you going to do with us? We should make a very poor present for
a small museum.

“Let us grow up into foxes; you can catch us later on, some fine day, and
a good museum will pay you a good price for us.

“Whereas, in order to make a gift worth giving, you would have to get
about a hundred of our size, which gift, after all, would be little
worth.”

Little worth? “Well then,” replied the hunter, “that may be.

“My good friend, Renard, you who preach so well, you must go into the
cage; and you may say what you like, it will be made at once.

“‘One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’—one is sure and the
other is not.”

But the two foxlets, deaf to these remarks,—possibly they did not
understand the doctor’s language,—worked so hard and so well, that one
day the learned man, in search of curiosities, found an empty cage.

The amiable Dr. Ekelund has rarely had any occasion to act in his
professional character, as apart from a few jammed fingers and other
minor injuries the state of health is excellent. Hence he employs his
leisure time in pulling nails out of cases, or else he prepares for
stuffing the birds of various species which he has killed when out
hunting. During the inflation of the balloon, he superintends the action
of the gas apparatus, and takes turns in this duty with Professor
Arrhénius and Stake.

These gentlemen are also taking their share in the meteorological service
which is carried on regularly by the staff of the expedition.

The observations are minutely recorded every hour in the ship’s
log. On the Isle of Amsterdam the snow is tinged with red for a
considerable distance, and the _savants_ are collecting it to examine
it microscopically. It presents, in fact, certain peculiarities; it is
thought that it contains very small plants. Scoresby, the famous whaler,
had already remarked this.



IX

The Snow


_Dansk-Gatt, August 4th._—The _Express_ left last night, carrying away
our last letters; and as the season is advanced, we have now no hope of
receiving at Dansk-Gatt any more news from Europe.

The north wind is still blowing, and has brought a regular snowstorm; the
mountains have donned their winter mantle, and nature seems to prepare
for sleep. Birds are becoming rare, and their joyful cries are no longer
to be heard. A white hood covers the top of the balloon, which only
awaits a current of wind from the south to take flight; but this wind,
which was blowing during July, has now completely subsided. What an
irony of fate! Who could foresee such a _contretemps_, and how admirably
successful the expedition would have been were we in possession of the
secrets of the gods.

[Illustration: THE CUPOLA OF THE BALLOON (TOP OF THE SHED).]

At present the sky is overcast and dark in the north; it is a long time
since the sun has shown itself. The sea is very rough.

The flag hoisted on top of the mountain, behind the balloon-shed, to
indicate the direction of the wind, was blown down last night by the
squall. It was the opinion of the ice-pilot that we were in no danger
of being packed in the ice until the end of the month; but the captain,
who was answerable for the safety of the men, declared that the _Virgo_
should weigh anchor on the 20th at the latest, at any cost, to resume her
voyage southwards, no matter what the fate of the polar expedition might
be.

Andrée and his two companions were patiently waiting for the clouds to
break up and for a fresh southern wind, in order to take their flight.
They have the faith which gives courage. The balloon seems anxious to be
freed from her fetters to show her strength and her power. Everything is
ready, weighed and anticipated; everything is seen to and checked in the
smallest details by Andrée; provisions, instruments, and outfits, all are
in their places.

We have only to suspend the car and to pull down the northern part of the
shed. This would not take many hours, but we want a favourable wind, and
for this we are waiting in vain. The delay, unavoidable though it is,
endangers the success of Andrée’s expedition, and is very regrettable,
for the sun is very low, and the polar night is approaching.

_August 5th, noon._—The snow keeps on falling, but the wind is turning
to the south-west. It is almost what is required, and hope is quickly
reviving. May Fate soon open the route to the north to Andrée, and return
me to my country and my anxious family! At seven o’clock in the evening
the state of the atmosphere remains unchanged; the snow is whirling
about, and the sky is gloomy.

_Dansk-Gatt, August 6th._—A small balloon, launched at 6 o’clock, having
ascended to the height of 325 yards, took an easterly direction. The gas
apparatus is working; the balloon which has been inflated for ten days,
is full. It is covered with snow and there is not a single spot on the
balloon shed that is not white. The car is, however, protected by an
awning, but the whirling snow penetrates everywhere.

It is impossible to stop on deck, for the wind is raging, and the day
goes by in monotony and gloom. Every one longs for the end of this
campaign which seems interminable; so long as tourists and whaling boats
were moored near us, and brought with them life and movement to this
solitary spot, our stay was very agreeable—it was a lively and cheerful
international colony. Now Dansk-Gatt has resumed its mournful and
forsaken aspect. “And the snow was still falling,” as Xavier de Montépin
would say.

Then, confined within the walls of my cabin, my dominion of two square
metres, I begin to peruse the few books I have and which, alas! I know
already by heart, but still hoping to find therein something very
interesting, if not new, at least old. And I was not disappointed, for I
read over with great interest _La Mer_, by my playfellow, the excellent
poet Jean Richepin, whose verses on snow were very much to the point.

It is long, long since, when sitting on the benches in our little school
at Belleville, we were looking together over the top of the map of Europe
at this small archipelago, named Spitzbergen, which appeared to my
childest imagination to be an inaccessible point.



X

A Long Wait


_Smeerenburg, Friday, August 7th._—Noon. The sky is bright and the sun is
sending us a few rays which are reviving our hopes a little. The snow is
melting; but the wind, though slight, is still blowing from the west. The
balloon which holds its gas well is dripping little by little.

I made a long excursion on the east side of Dane’s Island. The island
of Fogll-Sund is glittering in the midday sun. The birds have awakened.
I saw several flocks of eiders. At six o’clock four pilot balloons are
launched, three were driven south-west at 547 yards and one towards the
sea at 65 yards.

_Saturday, 8th, 10 o’clock._—Sky overcast, wind slight and uncertain,
with tendency to turn S.E. Thermometer 7° (44·6 Fahr.).

Afternoon, S.E. wind at 1,093 yards; on land wind still, or slightly to
the north.

At nine o’clock in the evening the upper wind is still S. Let us hope
that it will descend and that, at last, our plans may be realized.

_Sunday, August 9th._—Morning, S. wind slight; afternoon, dead calm;
hardly any need to say every one is weary. Ekholm declares that the
balloon is losing about 66 lbs. per day; he thinks it able to stand a
voyage of from forty to fifty days’ duration. But under the circumstances
it is really very little; yet the envelope is solid and well finished.

_Monday, August 10th._—Balloon very full although no gas was let in since
last Friday (sixty-five yards). Temperature somewhat higher. S. wind,
very slight, barometer at a standstill.

_4 o’clock p.m._—Wind on land, nil.

A pilot balloon launched at 2 o’clock. Rose to 109 yards; direction N.
Speed from thirteen to fourteen feet per second. Evening, 7 p.m., S.
wind, pretty strong in the upper regions.

Then a complete change, the north wind prevailing.

What, then, are we going to fail at the last moment?

Must we pack up this balloon, ready to take her flight to a land around
which so many vain efforts have been made for centuries past?

“My kingdom for a horse!” cried Richard III., in one of those struggles
in which the human wretch thinks he acquires so much glory by massacring
his fellow-man and by spreading death in his path. And what would not
the three hardy explorers have given for a breath of favourable wind,
which would have enabled them to carry on the struggle they had commenced
against the unknown!

What bitter reflections came into my mind!

In a smiling country, where everything bespeaks work and prosperity,
where each one trusts to the future, happy in the labours undertaken,
happy in his daily tasks, suddenly there arises this very wind so much
longed for here, and in a few minutes the tempest in its blind fury has
sown death and ruin where life and wealth were working together!

Here science stood in need of a little of this destructive wind, of ever
so little, but none came.

And possibly, further away, ships were being wrecked and lives destroyed
by it.

[Illustration: THE BALLOON IN THE SHED DURING ITS DEFLATION.]

Oh, for a balloon that could be steered! Why have we not one here?

_Friday, August 14th (19th day of inflation), 7 a.m._—The lieutenant
has just informed us that a south wind is blowing; in fact it is pretty
strong. The gas apparatus is set to work to complete the inflation.

The snow is falling gently, but it melts quickly. At nine o’clock Andrée
launches a small balloon which takes a northerly course at an elevation
of forty to fifty yards, but it immediately turns off to the east as it
rises, _then the wind turns due west and we cease to hope_.

Our joy was of short duration. Besides, the season is now too far
advanced to attempt such a voyage. It is winter.



XI

The _Fram_


At half-past nine the ice-pilot signalled a three-master off the eastern
cape of the Isle of Amsterdam.

Great excitement prevails on board the _Virgo_. What object has this
vessel in coming to these regions visited only by whalers and tourists?
She stops and hoists the Norwegian flag on her main mast. One cry went up
from all hearts: “Nansen! Nansen coming back from the Pole.”

Those who had seen the photo of the ship _Fram_, recognise her perfectly
well in the steamer which is lying at a distance of 2½ miles from us.

The snow is falling fine and thick. The captain and Andrée, Ekholm and
Strindberg, are leaving in a steam launch to receive their valiant
compatriots. When a few fathoms from the _Fram_, Andrée and his
companions raise a vigorous cheer in honour of Nansen, but the faces
of the sailors on board are saddened with a painful expression. Nansen
is not with them. On the 14th of March, 1895, he left them at 84° lat.,
accompanied by the young lieutenant, Johannsen, taking with him sledges,
twenty-eight dogs, and provisions for 120 days. He directed his steps
towards the North Pole in the hope of returning by way of Franz-Josef
land, where the Jackson Expedition was to winter.

After the exchange of greetings of welcome and when the emotion of the
first moment had subsided, the members of the two expeditions indulged
in a friendly conversation, happy and surprised at the same time to meet
again in the glacial Arctic Ocean, free at last.

The _Fram_, which only a day before was packed in the ice at 81°, heard
of our presence from a whaler; as soon as she was in open water she made
for Dansk-Gatt in the hope of getting news of Nansen.

Captain Sverdrup, Lieutenant Hansen, the doctor and five other members of
the crew, take their places in the launch. The remaining three men stay
on board, while the small party are coming to visit our quarters and the
balloon, which is waiting in the shed.

It is easy to imagine how greatly these brave men are astonished.

Then the expedition comes on board the _Virgo_ where champagne soon foams
in glasses. It is a pleasure to look at these brave sailors who, after
three years and two months passed amidst the polar ice, are so happy to
find themselves in the company of their “brothers in arms, and companions
in peril.”

I am proud to be one of the first to greet the _Fram_ on her return to
these distant regions. I had the good fortune to converse at some length
with Lieutenant Hansen, who speaks French fairly well. He is an amiable
man, of about thirty years of age, a little over medium height, dark,
with bright eyes and intelligent forehead, and pleasing manner.

He put numerous questions to me concerning the events which had taken
place in Europe during the last three years. I informed him of the death
of Alexander III., of the assassination of President Carnot, etc., and
I spoke to him also of new discoveries and inventions: cinematographe,
X-rays, etc., etc.

[Illustration: THE SHED AND THE BALLOON CASE.]

All this seemed to greatly interest him. Then in a few words he told me
the extremely touching story of the _Fram’s_ voyage.

Andrée made a speech and proposed a toast to Nansen and his gallant
companions. The captain and the lieutenant replied in a few vigorous and
moving words, and I felt myself struck with admiration for these brave
men who have carried the European colours to the 86th degree of latitude.

They are happy to see their country and their homes again, but they are
calm and patient as becomes true heroes. The lieutenant has a _fiancée_
awaiting him, Andrée hands him a letter, only just arrived, from his
mother. He also hands Captain Sverdrup a letter addressed to Nansen, and
bearing the inscription, “The North Pole.”

The _Fram’s_ library contains the _Five Weeks in a Balloon_, by Jules
Verne, and the crew had often dreamt of the possibility of a balloon
expedition coming to their relief. The dream was very near reality. In
life everything is unforeseen, yet everything happens. If the polar
balloon had started a few days ago it would have surely noticed the
_Fram_ on its way. “Man proposes and God disposes.”

It is painful to think that we shall have to take the aerostatic material
back to Sweden and wait.

Disappointment for Andrée’s polar expedition: joy and triumph for the
Nansen expedition if their commander returns soon.

Andrée places in the captain’s button-hole a sweet-scented rose, “La
France,” a rare flower in Spitzbergen, and offers him a box of excellent
cigars, a present which is greatly appreciated by our genial guests. Then
the launch takes them back to their vessel amidst the hurrahs of the crew
of the _Virgo_.

At five p.m., in a fine chilling snow, we pay our visit to the _Fram_ and
take photos of her.

When we are near the ship about twenty Siberian dogs, ranged in her bow,
receive us with loud barks, but soon they recognise that we are friends
and their bark is rather one of joy than any indication of hostility.
They are all pleased at our caresses. Captain Sverdrup does the honours
of his ship, which, if she has not the refined elegance of the _Erline
Jarl_, yet inspires confidence by her sturdy appearance. She is the
traditional Norwegian ship, with wooden hull well strengthened, her masts
and her bulwarks roughly cut; in the bow the upturned boats, placed on
frames, form a kind of shelter under which are suspended a couple of
dozen bears’ hams, partly cured and dried; birds freshly killed for
eating, casks and articles of every description, winch, anchors, cables,
etc. In the stern the tiller is placed in a square hole made in the hull
of the ship. On one side a spare tiller consisting of a massive piece of
wood; compass, instruments, and the necessary rigging.

I stop at the observation post where the lieutenant tells us about his
work and shows us the charts of the voyage; then we descend into the
cabins, passing near the kitchen from which proceeds a very agreeable
odour.

Traversing about ten steps of a very dark staircase, I find myself in the
saloon, which has a hexagonal shape not devoid of originality. A lamp,
with a reflector, fixed on the central pillar, emits a vague light to
which my eyes accustom themselves with difficulty.

The wainscotting is of a primitive style of decoration, painted white,
picked out with bright colours, in which red and green predominate.
There is a very comfortable sofa in the background, placed opposite a
table, at which the crew take their meals. The walls are adorned with
several pictures, one of which is an illustration of a Norwegian legend:
three princes, who have metamorphosed themselves into white bears in
order to win the hearts of three coy princesses whose hair seems to be
flying heavenwards. The bears, good princes as they are, are licking
their feet. Another picture is the portrait in crayons of Mrs. Nansen and
her child. The saloon is heated by a stove, which keeps it at an even
temperature of 15 to 16 degrees. Air and light are admitted by a glazed
skylight running across the stern deck.

On the left there is an automatic harmonium with a keyboard, to amuse the
crew on dull days. One of our hosts, the engineer, improvised several
tunes for us; it is wonderfully original, and if it were not for the
respect due to Nansen, we would have invited the fair Charlotte, the
stewardess with whom the reader is already acquainted, to have a dance,
as the ladies were with us.

For more than three years woman had not entered Nansen’s ark, and the
crew were demonstratively gallant. The cabins of the crew are situated
around the saloon whence they receive their supply of air, having no
other communication with the outside; they are lighted by lamps fixed
on the walls. The cabins of the captain, lieutenant and doctor, with
their maps, instruments, arms, and different other objects, are very
interesting: photographs and hundreds of weird objects constitute a droll
_ensemble_.

In every cabin there is a portrait of the loved one.

The captain showed us the chart of the _Fram’s_ voyage as made out by the
observations; and after that a collection of very curious photographs
representing the life and the stirring wanderings of the crew since their
departure in 1893. The vessel in the midst of the ice, their winter
quarters, the encampment, the glaciers, the icebergs, the observations,
the mirage, the aurora borealis, the _Fram_ buried under the ice which
almost annihilated her, the crew working fifteen days with pickaxes to
clear away the ice, the sledges, the dogs, the windmill at the mizzen
mast for driving the electric dynamo, the moonlight, Nansen’s departure,
etc., are so many pictures which one cannot look at without heartfelt
emotion, and which leave far behind everything written or pictured by
Jules Verne in _Captain Hatteras_.

We leave the _Fram_ at nine p.m. after hearty farewells.

During the night the Nansen expedition peacefully took its course to the
south. They have still on board provisions and coal for three years.

_Sunday, August 16th._—The snow ceased falling, and the sun who does not
renounce his rights, comes for an instant to restore another glimmer of
hope; the wind, although mild, vacillates and appears to tend northwards.
Another disappointment.

At last, on _Monday, August 17th_, after twenty-one days of waiting
in feverish anxiety, Andrée resigns himself to open the valves of the
balloon, which is quite full; and it is with regret, easily understood,
that I watch the escape of 17,658 cubic feet of gas, to produce which
gave us so much labour.

[Illustration: THE SWEDISH GUNBOAT _SVENSKSUND_.]

The folding and packing are not easy work. And then, as the case of the
balloon had been destroyed, it was necessary to improvise one and take
the whole material back on board the _Virgo_. The planks of the shed,
except those of the second storey, required for the stability of the
edifice, have been removed. The gas apparatus is covered over, and all
the delicate or fragile parts are shipped on board.

_Thursday, August 20th._—The _Virgo_ is loaded. The morning was spent in
solidly tying up all objects which might be shifted by rolling. Andrée is
working in the shed up to the last moment; he is tying down the boards,
shrouding the frames; he has the half of the floor carried off so that
the wind may sweep away the snow. Then he leaves, fixed to a post, a
framed placard stating the ownership and the object of the shed, which he
commends to the care of the few fishermen who are still in the islands of
the North.

Finally, after lunch, at four o’clock, the _Virgo_ weighs anchor. We
take a last photograph, and a last look at Dane’s Island, which soon
disappears in the fog. The expedition is at an end.



XII

The Storm


The barometer has undergone a rapid depression since last night. Hardly
had we rounded Amsterdam Island, taking a south-west course, when the
vessel began to roll, and a few moments later the storm struck us. The
sky darkened and the _Virgo_ lurched terribly. I was again a prey to
terrible sea-sickness and retired to my cabin. All the kitchen utensils
and earthenware vessels are dancing a jig round me. The _Virgo_ which has
lost some of her ballast is rolling frightfully. The captain has had a
small jib placed at the bow which lessens the rolling.

The wind is raging and furious waves are sweeping the deck. Only a few
of the crew have escaped sickness, and in the evening the dining-room is
empty.

Every two hours the ship is stopped and Professor Arrhénius takes
samples of water at various depths; when the engine stops the rolling is
still worse. We are overtaken by a snowstorm and darkness is complete.
After twenty-four hours on a south-westerly course, which is taking us
away from Tromsö, the _Virgo_ returns south-east, and the storm begins to
subside. We see ships at a distance, and the temperature rises as we draw
nearer to Norway.

It was on the 22nd that we passed near Beren Island, which was hidden by
the fog. A number of birds surrounded our ship which is again sailing
fast.



XIII

My last Night on the _Virgo_


The storm has blown over. I recovered my appetite and my good humour, and
the night of the 23rd-24th was a very pleasant one.

For some time past I had seen no darkness, and this night was not without
poetic surroundings.

A few stars are already twinkling in the zenith, when at about ten
o’clock the sun disappeared from the horizon leaving a long twilight
which lasted until dawn.

[Illustration: A LAPLANDERS’ CAMP.]

The sky was tinted with purple hues forming an immense rainbow,
stretching from west to east. Grey clouds of the weirdest forms travelled
through space, and lent animation to a view which it would be difficult
to paint. The full moon, which appeared as the sun set, shone brightly,
casting her white light on the silvery waves. The disc was extremely
large, and the outlines of the land were shown very distinctly.

Alone on the bridge, I gave myself up to my dreams. The temperature
having perceptibly risen, I experienced the greatest comfort in sailing
thus in the direction of the land. My companions were hardly able to
rouse me from my contemplation and induce me to go down and play cards
in the dining-room, where a lamp was lit for the first time. The sea was
as calm as a lake, and navigation was a pleasure in this calm after the
storms we have endured.

_August 24th._—It is dawn, the moon is waning and the day-star resumes
possession of the scene. Birds still accompany us and whirl round the
_Virgo_, the black smoke of which unrolls itself like a plume of feathers.

We are approaching the Norwegian coast, and can see the cliffs. Vessels
and craft of every description are moving to and fro. We are coming back
to life; we feel that we are returning to civilization. The breakfast
at nine o’clock is very animated. The weather is warm, and we are all
preparing to make our entrance into Tromsö.

At eleven o’clock we are at last in sight of the town, and by noon the
_Virgo_ is berthed in the port opposite the _Fram_, which we had met at
Dansk-Gatt on the 14th of August.



XIV

The Return


We are at once surrounded by friends, and learn with pleasure that Nansen
is a guest on board the small white yacht _Otaria_, anchored near the
_Fram_, which she brought in tow from Hammerfest.

I much regret not being able to shake hands with him, but I am leaving
my companions after sincere and heartfelt farewells to take my passage
on the mail boat _Haakon Jarl_, which is leaving in a few minutes. Dr.
Ekelund accompanies me to Trondhjem. One of the officers on board hands
me letters and papers from France. Now, then, I am going to have a
foretaste of the pleasure of again seeing those dear to me; I already
feel that they are near me.

The _Haakon Jarl_ is a superb steamer, conducting the mail service along
the coasts of Norway, where railways are unknown.

Navigation through the fjords is full of charms and surprises. The
landscape is of the most varied description: at one time tall rocks,
snow-capped like the mountains of Spitzbergen; at another, green
wooded hills, fertile prairies with large herds of cattle grazing,
and arable land in all its luxuriance. Little hamlets on the mountain
sides, villages, châlets nestling mid fir trees and beeches suggest the
picturesque scenery of Switzerland.

The vessel threads her way through the islands, and touches at all the
stations on her route.

The plaintive sound of the siren re-echoes from the mountains, announces
her arrival, and small vessels surround the steamer to receive and
deliver dispatches, to take off passengers and their luggage, and then to
make for their various destinations.

[Illustration: A WHALE.]

The fore-deck is one mass of cases, heaps of bricks, casks, bales, bark,
and articles of every description. With the exception of a few tardy
tourists going from Tromsö to Trondhjem, as it is already late in the
season, passengers seem to change at every station. In some places the
banks on either side are quite near, and it requires all the skill of
the captain to make his way between the beacons, and avoid the numerous
rocks scattered along the course. During the winter the passage is
lighted by the lighthouse, but just now the nights are short, and there
is very little darkness. We pass a great many vessels going through the
Loffoden Islands.

Meals are served in a sumptuous saloon, and the traditional amateur
concert takes place after dinner. The evening is spent in smoking cigars
on deck, where Nature is the leading feature on the programme. The scene
is as full of variety as of surprises.

First the sun, whose immense scarlet disc sinks slowly into the wave,
leaving in its track a fiery horizon. The whole sky is coloured with
tints running the gamut from violet to light grey. Clouds assume
fantastic forms, merge into one another, transform their outlines,
then disappear; then the pale moon appears, and its silvery glimmer is
reflected on the waters.

I stand for hours together in an ecstasy of admiration before these
changing pictures, so little known to Parisians. A few stars are shining
in the firmament; the air is pure, the night calm, and the atmosphere
pleasant.

I can breathe freely and enjoy life. The light breeze, which brings us
the perfumes from the pine woods, is barely enough to stir the surface of
the sea. In the wake of the ship is a long phosphorescent track. Every
turn of the propeller brings me nearer to my country, the main object of
my thoughts.

The _Haakon Jarl_ stayed a few hours at Bodo, a small Scandinavian town,
beginning to show traces of civilization. Doctor Ekelund and I landed.
We were pleased to find some newspapers, in which a meeting of Andrée
and Nansen at Tromsö was referred to, also the Polar voyage chart of the
celebrated Norwegian explorer. We afterwards attended an open-air concert
given by a family of German artists.

During our passage to Torghatten, a small troupe of the Salvation Army
came on board, and amused us a good deal with some of their musical
performances, and their devout, though rather extravagant, practices.

The captain, a respectable lady, with her head concealed at the farther
end of a huge poke-bonnet, which would not be out of place at Madame
Tussaud’s, was gravely seated in a rocking-chair, and presided over the
spiritual concert given by the members of the congregation. The devout
musicians, leaning against a heap of dried cod-fish, sang in more or
less plaintive tunes the praises of the Lord, who doubtless understands
all languages. For my part, I did not understand a single word of these
hymns, but I could judge by the faces of the audience that the music,
which _emollit mores_, did not convince them. It was a wonder we did
not throw them some small change; we expected that one of the pleasant
company would go round, hat in hand, to make a collection for the
expenses of the institution, or for any other more prosaic purpose.

A pretty young girl, of sixteen or seventeen years of age, with her hair
arranged after the fashion of Miss Helyett (doubtless the captain’s
niece), followed in a book, though with a distracted sort of devotion,
the songs of the Salvation Army.

However, the amusements on board were not very numerous, and this was
the chief item, as far as I was concerned, in the passage from Tromsö to
Trondhjem, where the main body of the army awaited their brethren, who
were coming from the North to gain souls for Paradise.

_Thursday, August 27th._—About four p.m. the town of Trondhjem appeared
to be south-east. This is the haven so long wished for, although I have
no right to complain of this latter portion of my voyage, during which no
one suffered from the rolling of the vessel. The largest northern town
in Norway, where the houses and buildings are made entirely of wood, has
really an original appearance, and I sincerely regretted that I could not
make a longer stay; but a few hours afterwards I left my amiable guide,
Dr. Ekelund, and took a quick train on the single-line railway which was
to carry me, within seventeen hours, over the 310 miles that divided me
from Christiania.

The train started with some difficulty, and could only ascend the
first incline with the aid of a locomotive coupled on behind. At last
it proceeded at its normal rate of speed; the line was so bad that my
carriage was shaken terribly. The pinewood structures seemed extremely
fragile, and the bridges thrown over the lakes and streams made one
giddy.

After our two months stay at Spitzbergen, where the vegetable kingdom is
represented by moss and lichen, it was pleasant to come back to verdure,
trees and flowers. Here Nature is displayed in all her splendour, and I
should never tire of admiring the marvellous landscapes, the châlets,
the torrents and the waterfalls which all contribute to the grandeur of
Norwegian scenery.

The farmers gathering in the harvest, the wood-cutters cutting down
trees which they send down from the top of the mountain by the river,
which conveys them to a port where they will be received and either sent
to a saw-mill or shipped on board a trading vessel—all here is life
and movement. What a contrast to the frozen solitudes of Spitzbergen!
Hamar is the terminus of the narrow railway. Here we entered the elegant
carriages that cross to Elsinore; and lastly, a few hours later, we
neared Christiania and descended at full speed such a steep incline that
at each moment we asked ourselves with terror where we should go if the
brakes failed to act.

On getting out at Christiania, we found ourselves in the midst of
civilization. At the station I was assailed by an army of touts, from
whom I only escaped by taking refuge in the fly from the Grand Hotel,
where French is spoken, and where I found a degree of comfort to which I
had become unaccustomed—the refined luxury of great cities. At breakfast
I listened to a concert that would not have been out of place on our
_grands boulevards_. I visited the town, which is very interesting, and
made purchases of furs and articles of which Norway has the monopoly,
various knick-knacks and little trifles that afterwards serve to remind
us of our wanderings. I stayed two hours in Copenhagen, and at last
on Sunday the 30th of August I embarked, at dawn, at the mouth of the
canal at Kiel, on board the mail-boat _Skiruer_, on which I made my last
passage. All the passengers on the boat were on deck to see the German
fleet which was drawn up at this station. Twenty ironclads, a great many
despatch-boats and torpedo-boats lying at the entrance of the canal
excited great curiosity; moreover the spectacle was new to me as well as
to most of the passengers, and it is not one that can be seen every day.

[Illustration: DEPARTURE FOR A HUNTING EXPEDITION.]

At last I arrived at Hamburg and came on to Paris, passing through
Cologne and Liège.

The polar balloon was returned to me a little while after, to be kept
until the time when M. Andrée should start on his expedition.

By my advice, Andrée agreed that I should increase the volume of his
balloon as much as possible by adding to its equator two zones of silk of
treble thickness, thus bringing the cubic measurement of the balloon to
about 176,582 feet. The result of this addition was an increase in the
ascending power of nearly 650 lbs., which is not to be despised.

The outer envelope was then re-varnished inside and out, and, the
repairing being completed, the balloon was sent off towards the end of
April, 1897, to Gothenburg to be shipped on board the _Svensksund_.

Andrée’s new companions, M. Fraenkel, acting member, and M. Svedenborg,
assistant, came to Paris in the spring[1] to go through a course of
balloon practice. They made a series of ascents for practice from the
aerostatic park at Vaugirard in the “Nobel” and the “Fram,” under the
direction of Messrs. Machuron, Lair and myself.

Notwithstanding my desire to revisit the polar regions, I gave up my
place to my nephew and collaborator, who, more fortunate than myself,
witnessed the departure of the balloon.

Awaiting the return of the courageous explorers, I conclude the account
of this voyage which will constitute an epoch in my life and will leave
behind it ineffaceable memories.

                                                         HENRI LACHAMBRE.

PARIS, _October 14th, 1897_.

[1] As Strindberg did last year.



SECOND PART



I

Departure of the Second Expedition


On the 18th of May the town of Gothenburg prepared to witness the
second departure of the Polar Expedition. On the quays of the port the
inhabitants assembled in crowds testified to Andrée their admiration for
his ever memorable undertaking.

The rebuffs he experienced last year had not shaken his faith; he still
stood firm, and was still the same, with his eagle eye and his iron will.

Notwithstanding his modesty, Andrée could not help being moved by the
enthusiastic manifestations that were showered upon him. His perseverance
disarmed the most sceptical. The good wishes of everybody followed him
and his companions. People at last understood that this innovator is a
man.

At six p.m. the _Svensksund_, which had no other decoration than the
national flag, weighed anchor amidst the tumultuous acclamations of the
public. Most of the ships were decorated with flags and saluted the
_Svensksund_ as she passed them.

We rapidly left them behind.

As was the case last year, a number of vessels laden to the water’s edge
crowded round the port. Some filled with friends and relations of the
explorers accompanied us as far as the open sea, where the last adieux
were said. One boat came alongside and took the telegrams which we wished
to send to our families and friends.

Soon the shores of Sweden, gilded by the rays of a beautiful sunset,
gradually disappeared from the horizon, and we were steaming along on the
open sea at full speed.

The _Svensksund_ is a Swedish gun-boat of 300 tons, solidly built, which
in winter renders great service to merchant vessels by cutting passages
through the ice, with which the port of Gothenburg is blocked during the
period of frost.

[Illustration: ON THE ICEBERGS.]

This boat, which is manned by picked men, and admirably suited for
cruising in the Arctic regions, has been graciously placed at the
disposal of the Andrée Expedition by His Majesty the King of Sweden.

On board were all kinds of valuable articles, scientific instruments and
the aerostatic apparatus; the balloon was placed in the best ventilated
position, and will be able to make the voyage without the least danger.
If our vessel is strongly built and calculated to resist the pressure
of ice, its flat form is less suited to the open sea, and causes
considerable rolling. I soon felt the first symptoms of sea-sickness,
and retired to my cabin where I remained until the following evening.
On the 20th of May I woke up relieved, although my brain was still
somewhat clouded, but this feeling was soon dissipated on the deck by a
fresh breeze and a bright sun. We were in sight of the Norwegian coast;
and we soon entered the fjords where the voyage became more enjoyable
between the high mountains that fringe the two opposite shores. Very
little vegetation; moreover the snow still covered all the more elevated
parts and those that do not catch the rays of the sun; spring was just
commencing at this latitude.

Along the shore are scattered a few habitations, generally low and
surrounded sparsely by shrubs which were just beginning to put forth
their first green leaves.

At noon we arrived at Bergen, an important Norwegian port, which is
advantageously situated, the vegetation being much more advanced here
than in the districts we had been passing through. Here the banks were
green and beautifully tinted; the background consisting of snow-covered
mountains, which reflect a dazzling light.

We left Bergen at two o’clock, after having engaged a pilot to steer us
through the fjords.

The sky was clear, the sea calm and still; moreover, here, the wind has
no sweep, and there is no fear of storms. We saw on all sides birds
and wild ducks of various species, and occasionally dolphins showed
themselves disporting in the water.

Suddenly the scene was changed.

We passed into a fog, which was slight at first, but gradually became
denser and denser; we had to slacken speed, and at four o’clock were
obliged to stop, the course becoming dangerous amidst the numerous
islets and reefs with which the fjords are studded.

The captain anchored his vessel for the night in a little bay sheltered
by high and precipitous mountains (latitude 60° 48´, longitude East
of Greenwich 4° 48´ 30´´). This delay enabled us to attend a grand
dinner given by the officers of the vessel, Captain C. A. Ehrensvärd,
Lieutenants G. Norselius and G. Celsing, and Dr. J. Chr. Lembke, to
welcome the members of the expedition, M. S. A. Andrée, engineer, and
head of the expedition; Messrs. Nils Strindberg, of the University of
Stockholm, and Knut Fraenkel, civil engineer, the companions of Andrée;
Lieutenant Svedenborg, assistant; and the engineer, Stake, to whom is
entrusted the erection and management of the gas apparatus. M. Fraenkel,
in the name of his mother, who conceived the idea of this delicate
attention, presented each member of the expedition with a souvenir. This
was a silver napkin ring, bearing on one side, in Swedish, SOUVENIR OF
THE POLAR EXPEDITION, 1897, and on the other, engraved in a shield, the
name of the recipient.

The dinner, which was extremely well arranged, did credit to Lieutenant
Celsing, the steward of the ship; we had set before us the best of claret
and champagne, the greater part of which was supplied from presents sent
to the expedition.

Captain Ehrensvärd, in the name of all the officers, wished us welcome,
and enthusiastic toasts were drunk in honour of Andrée and his
companions, and also to the success of their undertaking. The members of
the expedition were toasted, those engaged to be married in particular;
these last toasts concerned Strindberg and myself more especially.

Andrée read several telegrams received at the time of the departure from
Gothenburg, which contained the last expressions of sympathy from distant
friends.

The dinner went on amidst great gaiety. I felt delighted with the very
cordial attitude of my neighbours, who spoke French, as far as their
acquaintance with our language permitted, so as to enable me to join in
their conversation and follow what they said as far as possible.

Notwithstanding the fog that surrounded us it was still daylight at 11
p.m. After having partaken on the bridge of the traditional Swedish
punch, we all retired for the night.

The next morning, May 21st, as the fog had not lifted, the captain gave
the order to leave the fjords and continue the voyage in the open sea.
Slowly we quitted our haven, the last narrow creek was cleared, and we
were soon scudding northwards at full speed, some miles from the shore.

On May 22nd we returned to the route through the fjords, which were now
free from fog. We sighted Aalesund, an important fishing port. On the
outskirts of the port we saw on the beach several large square surfaces,
of a whitish colour, symmetrically arranged in wooden frames. These we
found were quantities of salted cod being dried in the open air. This
industry constitutes one of the greatest resources of the inhabitants of
these regions, who export the fish in large quantities to all parts of
Europe.

In the evening we proceeded on our course in company with a Norwegian
mail-boat, which saluted the _Svensksund_ several times. The passengers
cheered Andrée lustily, thus testifying their interest in the expedition.

Next day, at one o’clock, we passed Brono, a little Norwegian port
(latitude 65° 28´). At this point the passage between the two shores is
very narrow, and much care is required to avoid striking against the
rocks, that can be seen under the water; happily we had nothing to fear
with our officers, who acted with consummate skill.

_May 24th._—A splendid morning, but in these parts snow must have fallen
the night before, for the banks were quite covered. The vegetation was
not so advanced here as in the districts we had passed, and there were
fewer trees.

[Illustration: DANES ISLAND SEEN BY THE MIDNIGHT SUN.]

We crossed the limit of the Arctic circle, and the event was celebrated
by drinking champagne. In the evening the sky became overcast, and a
fine, light rain began to fall; later on, at a few hours’ journey from
Tromsö, we had some heavy falls of snow, followed by gleams of sunshine,
which reminded me of our snowstorms in France. But on entering the port
of Tromsö there was a blinding fall of snow, and the _Svensksund_ had to
grope its way in, as it was impossible to see our course. At last, at 11
p.m., we cast anchor, and received a visit from the harbour-master, who
brought us a voluminous packet of letters, telegrams, and newspapers.
I received news from France that gave me great pleasure. This was the
last port at which we should touch, as we were then going direct to
Spitzbergen, where we should receive no communications for several weeks.

_May 25th._—The snow-fall continues. The inhabitants of Tromsö declared
that it was a favourable omen for Andrée, and augured well for his
success, for at the time of Nansen’s visit, in 1893, a great deal of snow
fell, which was a rare occurrence at that time of the year.

We went through the town, and much admired a number of little villas
surrounded by clusters of trees, which reminded us of the sunny slopes of
Meudon.

The town was very lively and very busy. Ladies and young girls, most
elegantly dressed, were walking about the streets, and also fishermen,
sailors, etc. We even met a cyclist. Where shall we find the limit of the
bicycle? I was astonished to see one in a country that has no practicable
roads and very few fine days.

Below, on the sea, were docks built on piles; a little port where about
fifty fishing boats were lying. Further out was a mail-boat arriving from
Trondhjem.

We visited the Museum, which contains all kinds of animals and birds
belonging to the polar regions, teams of reindeer, Esquimaux huts, arms,
and fishing tackle of the most remote periods. All the houses in Tromsö
are built of wood, and one wonders what would be left of the town if a
fire should ever break out. Every year tribes of Laplanders come from the
North to exchange goods with the traders; they bring chiefly skins of
reindeer, foxes, wolves, and white bears, and many articles made of bone
and reindeer’s horns, which are always carved with representations of
polar animals.

Later on, on July 2nd, on our return from Spitzbergen, we had the
opportunity of visiting, at a few leagues from Tromsö, an encampment of
these interesting nomads.

The excursion was organized and directed by our friend, Lieutenant
Norselius. The party consisted of Dr. Lembke, Lieutenant Svedenborg, the
engineer, Stake, and myself. Herr Aagaard, the brother of the Consul of
Tromsö, was kind enough to accompany us. As he knew a few words of the
Lapp language, he offered to act as interpreter. Some of the crew went
with us.

I will not dwell here on the customs of these people, as they have
already been described in several works. The Laplanders are very friendly
and peaceably inclined towards strangers.

In our honour they collected their reindeer together, a herd of 400 to
500, which were feeding on a mountain in the distance. A chief, who
was provided with a little telescope, used it skilfully to follow the
movements of this great herd, which was driven by only two children
and a few dogs. We saw these animals on a distant slope, all collected
together, and advancing towards us like a swarm of ants in motion. A
hill hid them from us for about half an hour; they then reappeared at a
distance of a few hundred yards, in the midst of a few scattered shrubs.
The herd approached; their horns, which are very large, kept interlacing,
freeing themselves, and then becoming entangled with the shrubs which
were shaken by the compact and moving mass. It seemed like a moving
forest. A fenced enclosure is set apart for the animals. When they had to
be driven into their pen, a Laplander approached the head of the herd,
caught one of the reindeer with the aid of a lasso, which he used as
skilfully as the hunters of the Pampas, and then pulled it in, ringing a
bell.

The effect was then most curious. The attention of the rest of the herd
was attracted to the captive which they followed at a distance, step
by step, hesitating, and advancing as if under the influence of some
peculiar fascination. The whole herd was thus enticed into the enclosure,
the outlet of which was then shut.

[Illustration: SHIPS AMONG THE ICE.]

The captive reindeer which led the others in was then released, and great
excitement seemed to prevail amongst all the animals. About a dozen
of them got on to a little mound in the middle of the enclosure, and
remained there the prisoners of the others who kept walking round them.
This performance lasted for more than half an hour. In the meantime some
of the Laplanders, armed with lassos, caught some of the does in order
to milk them, and the whole herd was then set at liberty. The reindeer
dispersed into the thickets, quickly climbed the mountain, and soon
disappeared from view. We bought a few trifles from these people, who are
very honest in their dealings, and at the same time very business-like.
They lose no opportunity of doing a stroke of business; they even
demanded payment if they were photographed, and if this was refused, they
tried to screen themselves from our cameras. The instantaneous process
dismayed them very much.

After having left the camp of the Laplanders, on our return to the
seashore, our curiosity was attracted by an enormous whale, which had
been brought to the beach to be cut up. This mammal, which was not less
than 70 feet long, had been killed a few days before in the Northern
Seas.



II

Arrival at Spitzbergen


_May 26th._—We were waiting in the port of Tromsö for news of the
_Virgo_, which had left Gothenburg two days after us, on May 20th.

The day before, the _Svensksund_ had laid in a stock of provisions and
coal. On the after-deck a large cage had been made for the reception of
some sheep. We also took a great many fowls on board, so that we should
be provided with fresh meat during our stay at Spitzbergen, as a change
from tinned provisions.

As we had not received any news of the _Virgo_, we left Tromsö at 3 p.m.
to go and meet her at an appointed place. A splendid day cheered our
hearts, and most of the inhabitants of the town came running along the
quays, and cheered the _Svensksund_ as she departed.

The captain then had a cask hoisted on to the top of the foremast, in
which the look-out man, who had orders to give notice of any passing
vessel amongst the floating ice, took up his station.

After this had been done, warm clothes were distributed amongst the crew.
Each received large boots, a fur hood, gloves, etc. Our sailors seemed
quite delighted with their new outfit.

At five o’clock we arrived at the appointed place, but the _Virgo_ was
not there. We accordingly took shelter in a bay whilst waiting for her.

The next day, May 27th, having awoke at 3 o’clock in the morning, I went
on shore with Lieutenant Svedenborg. We went hunting over the mountains,
amidst boulders of rock and deep ravines. We saw very little vegetation;
a few scattered bushes of prickly shrubs, putting forth a few miserable
shoots; a great deal of moss and grass in the damp parts surrounding
the pools formed by the melting snow. Many springs swelled the streams,
which formed numerous waterfalls on their way down to the sea. We brought
down several birds, but lost some eiders, for these birds, when wounded
and pursued, dive to reappear no more. They hide their bodies from their
foe, perishing at the bottom of the sea by entangling themselves in the
seaweed.

The _Virgo_ joined us at 2 p.m. Her captain came on board for
instructions. At 6 o’clock we weighed anchor, and set out for
Spitzbergen. Andrée hoped that we should get there quickly, and without
hindrance. The north north-east wind which had been blowing violently for
some days, would, he thought, drive away the floes of ice from the coast
of Greenland.

For three days we were tormented by a strong north wind, which blew a
gale. The sea was very rough. I was ill, and could eat nothing for two
days—a victim to sea-sickness. However, I got up in the evening of May
30th. The vibrations of the vessel were then imperceptible to me. I was
surprised at first, and then pleased. I seemed to be waking from a bad
dream.

Our boat rolled terribly, with sudden movements due to its flat
shape—movements which were all the more frequent owing to the waves being
very choppy in the northern seas. I could not, in spite of myself, help
thinking of the smooth and easy motion of our transatlantic liners, where
one is quite at one’s ease.

I was astonished, on arriving on deck, to see the mountains that fringe
Spitzbergen, and to hear that in three hours we should reach Dansk-Gatt,
a strait between Dane’s Island and the Island of Amsterdam, to the
north-west of Spitzbergen, in latitude 79° 43´.

The _Virgo_ followed us at some distance; she too rolled a great deal.
The wind was high and cold; some blocks of ice floated here and there,
but not many. By a fortunate circumstance the Arctic Ocean was quite
free. Andrée had predicted that it would be so, and he was pleased to see
that he would lose no time this year. Nevertheless, those who had never
visited these shores were somewhat deceived; they had expected to be
encountering icebergs, and meeting with unheard-of difficulties. In fact
they looked for something very different to ordinary voyages, something
which would keep constantly before their minds the fact that they were in
the Frozen Ocean.

Our wishes were soon granted; the prevailing north-east wind had driven
the ice floes into the open sea; the ice round the coast, being sheltered
by the mountains, remained, and the entrance to the Dansk-Gatt was quite
blocked up.

We had to slacken our speed; the vessels could only cut a passage
through, pushing before them blocks of scattered ice driven one against
another, and breaking with a loud report, terrifying the various polar
birds and disturbing the siesta of various seals, which quickly dive and
disappear behind other floes.

I took some photographs, the success of which was doubtful, as it snowed
fast. Fortunately we were quite close to Virgo Bay, and after an hour of
slow, winding, and difficult progress, going round large masses of ice
that could not be driven aside, we perceived the balloon shed; it was
still standing! To the right was Pike House half-hidden by snow.

We each provided ourselves with a telescope or field-glass. The shed
especially occupied our attention; it had suffered some damage, we
noticed an alteration in it, but at that distance it was impossible to
ascertain the extent of the injury.

As we slowly approached the coast, we took soundings every minute, and
at last, at 6 p.m., the captain gave the order to stop. The anchors were
cast, as we should probably remain there some time; only about a hundred
yards separated us from the shore.

[Illustration: THE BALLOON CASE IN THE ICE.]

The _Virgo_, which should have followed us closely in order to profit
by the passage made by the _Svensksund_, remained some distance behind;
she seemed to be impeded by the ice and advanced very slowly. She pushed
along for another hour before casting her anchor. Less fortunate than we
were, her screw, which had neither the flexibility nor the resistance of
ours, had been sorely damaged by the ice.

The various emotions produced by this eventful voyage and the keen air of
Spitzbergen had sharpened all our appetites. Lieutenant Celsing ordered
us a grand dinner, washed down with good wine and champagne, to celebrate
our arrival at Dane’s Island. I own that, for my part, I did justice to
it, after having been so severely tried by the sea.

After dinner we went on shore. Our boat found a passage through the ice
after much groping and winding; we at last reached the shore, which was
edged with ice covered by a layer of snow, in which we sank half-way
up to our knees. After a rapid glance at Pike House, which we found
in good condition, we directed our steps towards the balloon shed
which interested us more. The poor shed, the base of which had partly
disappeared under the snow, had suffered greatly; it had been wrenched
round and seemed to lean towards the east. Last year the boarding of the
second floor had been left to strengthen it; several of these planks
had been broken or torn away by the wind, some had been carried to some
distance—we could see ends sticking up here and there in the snow.

On the western side we discovered a split in a beam where it joined the
framework. It was this accident that had caused the wrenching of the
roof-timbers and occasioned the greater part of the damage. However, this
damage could be repaired, and Andrée, after his examination, expressed
great satisfaction with the work of Svedberg, the builder of this frail
edifice, which was not intended to withstand a winter, and must have
resisted great stress of wind and weather. It is true that last year,
before leaving Spitzbergen, Andrée had strengthened the shed as much as
his resources and the materials at his disposal allowed, as has been seen
by the foregoing account.



III

Preparations at Dane’s Island


_May 31st._—The day after we arrived every one set to work.

We first turned our attention to carpentering; with the aid of pulleys
and screw-jacks we succeeded in restoring to a certain extent the beams
of wood to the positions they had normally occupied, and they were then
fixed by steel guys.

A detachment of sailors cleared away the snow, which in the shed was over
six feet deep. This work was rendered long and tedious by a thick layer
of ice under the snow, which had to be broken with the ice-pick; the snow
was taken away in sledges.

There was a great deal to do, but our workmen were skilful and were
directed by experienced masters. Andrée did not leave the scene of
operations all day, and watched every detail attentively; in the evening
he was happy to inform us that the damage would be more easily repaired
than he had at first thought, and that in a fortnight the shed would be
ready to receive the balloon.

_June 1st._—The work was resumed and carried on diligently.

While the carpenters were busy repairing the shed, detachments of sailors
proceeded to unload the materials contained in each vessel. This last
operation was greatly hindered by the floating ice, which, under the
action of the wind, was continually changing its position, and sometimes
threatened to crush our little boats, which had to be hoisted on deck
when we were not using them. Then the wind, which had been north-east,
veered round to the east; it drove the ice in another direction, and
seemed to be trying to send it out of our way. Every now and then came
gusts of snow, but these did not stop the work.

The temperature varied from 30 Fahr. to 35·6; that of the sea-water was
28·4 Fahr.; the wind alone seemed to cut our faces.

[Illustration: LANDING THE CAR.]

Not being able to take part in the work that was going on, I passed my
time as best I could. Pike House, the description of which has already
been given, was a curiosity which attracted my attention. I read the
visitors’ names inscribed on its walls; amongst them I was pleased to
find my uncle’s signature, and I yielded to the temptation of adding my
own.

I spent the morning in transforming one of the rooms into a photographic
laboratory.

The carrier pigeons of the expedition were placed in the attic which they
had occupied last year.

Behind Pike House, buried under the snow, were the remains of the gas
apparatus. After clearing away the snow we found that the parts had not
suffered much, and that they could be used with the apparatus we had
brought.

That evening, accompanied by Strindberg, Fraenkel, and Svedenborg, we
set out on an excursion over the snow and ice, along the east coast. We
went as far as the little Albert Island, which was still united to Dane’s
Island by ice. Strindberg, who is a very good shot, succeeded in killing
a seal, which we could not take with us for want of a boat; he returned
to the _Svensksund_ for a boat, but the distance was great, and the dead
seal soon sank.

On returning to the vessel, we saw a fine silver fox, which was sniffing
along our tracks. He was out of the reach of our bullets, and, as soon
as he saw us, he ran off, greatly terrified by such unexpected visitors.
He stopped from time to time to turn round and make sure that he had not
been the victim of an illusion, and then went on his way more swiftly
still, and escaped to the mountains.

On our return to Virgo Bay, it was difficult to reach the _Svensksund_;
the wind, which had gone round to the north a little while before,
had brought a good deal of ice. There were no longer any passages
sufficiently wide to allow a boat to be steered through them; we stepped
on to one mass of ice, and, by jumping from one to the other, we were
able to regain the vessel.

_June 2nd._—The wind had changed again from north to east. The bay had
become cleared of a great portion of the ice with which it was filled a
few hours before.

A little steam launch brought by the _Svensksund_ was then able to render
useful service. The unloading went on more quickly; we hastened on that
of the _Virgo_ especially, as she was to leave us directly afterwards,
carrying news of us to our friends.

Strindberg was engaged in some photographic studies of the snow and ice;
I spent part of the day with him developing the plates.

_June 3rd._—The sky was very clear at two o’clock in the morning; there
was not a cloud upon the horizon, and there was nothing to warn us that a
few hours later a strong north wind would bring us violent squalls laden
with snow, and at the same time bring back the ice that had been driven
away from us. This bad weather somewhat hindered the work during the
morning. After breakfast there was a little interlude at the expense of
a seal which had gone to sleep on a block of ice. It was more than 200
yards from the ship, happily for itself, for ten guns or carbines were
levelled at it from the deck, and at the word of command from the captain
a volley saluted the new-comer, who immediately disappeared, having no
doubt formed a bad opinion of the human race.

In the evening the captain and the first lieutenant of the _Virgo_ came
to dine with us. At this meal some bread was eaten called “French
bread,” supplied to the expedition by M. Schumacher, a Stockholm baker;
a large quantity of it was taken on board. This bread, sealed up
hermetically in light boxes of tinned copper, was in a perfect state of
preservation, although then a month old.

_June 4th._—During the night we experienced a violent north-east wind,
which drove the ice into our bay, quite stopping the unloading of large
packages. By means of planks a road was formed on the ice, and all the
light packages were carried on the men’s backs.

This violent wind, however, rendered us real service, and did a great
deal towards the repairing of the shed; it quite restored to their places
the roof-timbers, and they were soon fixed in their places by guys, and
at the same time the planks were replaced so as to increase the solidity
of the structure.

_June 5th._—The weather was very fine; the thermometer showed 37·4 Fahr.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING HYDROGEN GAS FOR THE
BALLOON.]

Strindberg made the ascent of a neighbouring hill situated to the
west of the place occupied by our ship. At the summit, 656 feet above
the sea-level, he fixed a mast, on which was placed an apparatus for
observing the direction of the wind. This ingenious instrument consists
of a vane carrying with it in its movements a horizontal disc divided
into eight equal sectors. On the outer circumference, at the points of
division, are fixed vertically the figures from 1 to 8, cut into plates
of copper. The diameter 1-5 falls in the vertical plane of the vane,
and figure 5 always faces the wind. It is easy by means of a compass to
determine the direction from any point from which we can read the figures
of the disc. It is sufficient to observe the angle that is made with the
magnetic meridian by the visual radius, going to the number facing you,
and to deduce from it by a very simple calculation the angle of the line
1-5, _i.e._, the angle of the direction of the wind with the north. For
instance, supposing we are to the east of the post of observation, and
number 3 is facing us, number 5, which always faces the wind, will be at
the north, the point from which the wind comes. Every day the explorers,
by turns, every four hours, made meteorological observations. All the
instruments were examined, and the results carefully noted. Strindberg
set up a tent on the shore, where he spent several hours a day taking
magnetic observations.

Work was suspended during June 6th and 7th for the Whitsuntide holidays.

Every one sought for some amusement to pass the time; some of the sailors
found one, which was somewhat rough. They ascended a hill covered with
snow situated behind the shed; on arriving at the summit they slid down,
toboggan fashion, from a height of 656 feet, each trying to make a record
speed. This game was not without its comic side; often one of the men
lost his position, rolling over and over to the bottom; fortunately in
the snow there was no danger.

On June 8th all the little colony went back to work; the weather was
fine, with a north wind that piled up the ice round the ships. The
greater number of light packages were, however, unloaded, but there was
still heavy luggage which could not be moved.

On June 9th one of the gas generators was taken off, a large wooden
tank lined with lead, which had to be handled with care, its own weight
rendering it fragile. After it had been let down into a boat, a passage
was with difficulty cut for it through the ice to the shore.

The next day other parts of the gas apparatus, no less bulky, were taken
off the _Virgo_; the difficulties attending their unloading were still
greater than before. Armed with ice-picks, some of the sailors tried to
break up the smaller pieces; others, provided with saws made specially
for the purpose, attacked enormous masses. The boat advanced very slowly,
but this extra work involved an expenditure of precious time.

At last by the evening of that day all the parts of the gas apparatus
were landed. The engineer, Stake, assisted by the mechanics, proceeded
to fix it up. Before this could be done, it was necessary to clear away
an enormous quantity of snow which occupied the space allotted to this
installation, and which, when swept in a circle round it, formed a
regular enclosure, a temporary fortification.

_June 11th._—Strindberg and Fraenkel turned their attention to the
carrier pigeons, and, with the aid of india-rubber wafers, fixed
to the wing and tail feathers several labels bearing the following
inscriptions:—

    “ANDRÉE.”

    _Aftonbladet._

    “STOCKHOLM.”

The pigeons, moreover, were numbered consecutively; their destination was
the office of the _Aftonbladet_, and they came from a dove-cot situated
at Maréchamm, belonging to M. Uno Godenhejlm, formerly a post-master.

I gave myself up on this day to the study of a sport which is quite
Scandinavian, the “ski” (snow-shoes); Strindberg kindly gave me both
theoretical and practical lessons. After many tumbles on snowy slopes,
my course of instruction was completed; I only needed practice. This
agreeable mode of locomotion is very useful for making long journeys over
the snow.

[Illustration: PLACING A GENERATOR.]

I employed part of the day in making a fox-trap, consisting simply of a
box closed on one side by a metal grating, and on the other by a sliding
door. This latter would close automatically when the animal touched it, a
bird fastened to the bottom of the cage serving as a bait. In the evening
I tried the sledges which were to be taken in the balloon. I harnessed
myself to one of them, and took my trap half a league away to the hills,
where I set it so as to be able to observe it from the _Svensksund_,
whence I could see by means of a telescope when the door of the cage was
shut.

I had not long to wait; the next morning the cage was closed. I went up
to the mountain, and soon perceived through the grating of the cage a
cunning little head and two bright eyes, which were attentively watching
all my movements.

The prisoner was a young fox; there were several species of them at
Spitzbergen. We had already seen three kinds: one was a fine glossy
black, another silvery white, and a third had yellow and brown spots. The
little captive belonged to this last category. Seeing himself discovered,
my fox darted against the grating, growling at my approach and showing
his pretty little sharp teeth. With many precautions, putting my hands
through the bars of the cage, I succeeded in muzzling him and in tying
his paws together with cords. Having thus made it impossible for him to
do any harm, I led him over the snow to Pike House, where my arrival with
my prisoner at the end of a long string excited much curiosity and caused
considerable mirth.

I hoped to take this young fox back to France. He was put in a cage,
where he received many visits from persons interested; one of the latter
not having closed the door with sufficient care, the Spitzbergen fox,
in no way inferior to those of our own country in point of cunning,
succeeded in opening it and recovered his liberty. He was even seen to
pause ironically for a few moments in front of the balloon shed, where
the changes that had been made seemed to interest him.



IV

The Landing and Preparation of the Balloon—The Inflation


_June 12th._—Two weeks had elapsed since our arrival at Dane’s Island.
The work connected with the shed had been pressed forward, and as Andrée
had announced, the shed was ready to receive the balloon. A large
canvas tent, made in eight equal sections, was fixed over its entire
circumference half-way up the shed; it was drawn up in the centre by
the aid of pulleys connected with the top of the building. We were thus
comfortably sheltered from snow or rain whilst getting the balloon ready.

The unloading of the _Virgo_ was finished, and the ship was ready to
start as soon as the ice should disperse. We went on board to drink
coffee and take a parting glass of punch.

_June 13th._—On Sunday we had arranged to take a trip with the steam
launch, but it was impossible to leave our prison; the north wind, which
had blown with more violence during the last few days, had brought
us enormous blocks of ice, detached from the ice-field and from the
glaciers. Strindberg and I took several photographs of the floating ice,
which occupied our whole day.

The _Virgo_ still a prisoner.

_June 14th._—We could not wait any longer and lose the advantage of our
hard work; the case containing the balloon had to be landed.

This enormous package, weighing no less than 4,409 lbs., was pretty
easily let down from the ship on to a boat; the great difficulty was to
get it on land, although the distance to be traversed scarcely exceeded a
hundred and twenty yards.

The streams left between the ice were too narrow, and sometimes they were
even completely blocked up.

Lieutenant Norselius, at the head of a band of picked men, directed
the operations. The picks and saws did their work, widening the narrow
streams into which the boat was pushed along the cleared space, until a
fresh obstacle was encountered. It was a real wall of ice with which
we had to deal now; ice-picks and saws were powerless to open a path.
Lieutenant Norselius thought of an ingenious plan, which he at once put
into execution. With the aid of a dynamite cartridge carefully laid, he
succeeded in breaking into small pieces this portion of the ice-field; it
was then easy to part the pieces of ice, and the boat slowly advanced,
but the surrounding pieces, which had been held back by the larger mass,
drew together, and the boat was caught between them and then lifted up;
the case leant over on one side and threatened to fall over. Some of the
sailors hung on to the other side, trying to restore its equilibrium,
whilst others pulled or pushed the boat, which was still blocked up. The
case was tied with cables, one end of which was connected with the ship
and the other with the shore, then the whole party harnessed themselves
to a third rope, trying by their united efforts to start the boat. At
last we felt it move; it was a moment of anxiety for us all; then it
glided unchecked over the ice into an open space, once more narrowly
escaping being capsized with its burden. Happily some of the sailors
had time to hang on to the end of a long pole laid across the top of the
case, and with the help of the cables, equilibrium was preserved.

Our fears then dispersed, all serious obstacles were surmounted, and the
rest of the work was easy. A few more hours of toil and patience, and
after a whole day’s labour the balloon was at length landed.

Every one was glad to see her in safety after the dangers she has passed
through. Andrée warmly thanked Lieutenant Norselius for the zeal and
skill he had displayed in this difficult operation.

_June 15th._—The balloon case, which had been left on the bank on the
previous evening, had now to be conveyed to the shed erected a few yards
higher up. The first part of the distance was soon covered, as the case
is dragged over greased timbers laid down in the snow; the remainder of
the journey was rendered difficult by the huge stones by which the route
is obstructed. These difficulties, however, were as nothing compared
with those of last night, and the case was soon got below the shed, and
afterwards hoisted on to the flooring.

[Illustration: THE GAS APPARATUS.]

A few hours later the balloon was stretched and the folds spread out.
It was in perfect condition; the apertures were closed up with discs
consisting of wood, or with false valves; it was then partially inflated
with air with a very simple inflator designed by Andrée, but the process
was a very lengthy one, as the inflator was very feeble.

_June 16th._—I spent the day inside the balloon, where, with the help of
ten seamen, I put another coat of varnish on the seams.

The _Virgo_, which has been waiting four days in her prison of ice, can
at last start to-day; in fact, her time is up, for she must be at Tromsö
before the 20th of June, otherwise Andrée will have to pay a heavy fine
for every day’s delay.

It took two days to re-varnish the seams. On the 18th of June all the air
in the balloon was let out so as to prepare for the inflation by gas; the
net is again placed over it, and the valves inserted. The inflating tubes
are brought under the floor of the shed and connected with the nozzle
through an opening made in the centre of the floor. The inflation by gas
began at seven on the morning of the 19th of June.

Stake, the engineer, is superintending the manufacture of the hydrogen.
It is produced by the action of sulphuric acid diluted with water on
iron. The acid, the strength of which is 60°, is brought in iron drums,
each containing 220 lbs. We have 176,369 lbs. of it, and 66,138 lbs.
would suffice to inflate the balloon.

The gas apparatus was constructed at Stockholm from well-known designs.
The acid is raised, by means of a hand pump, into a mixing tank “C,” made
to hold 2,817 pints, and meanwhile water is introduced which reduces the
contents to a solution representing about 16°.

The acidulated compound passes thence into two lead-lined generators “G,”
containing the iron, which is dropped in as required through a hopper
placed half-way up, and closed with a hydraulic joint. The iron shavings
put into the outside part of this hopper are pushed down, thus forcing
the shavings in the inner part into the generator. Each generator is
closed by a lid with a hydraulic joint. The apparatus is freed from the
mud deposited at the bottom by means of a self-closing cock.

The hydrogen produced by this reaction passes into a purifier “L,” filled
with coke, and provided with a tapering grate; through this grate the
gas makes its way into the washing compartment, and passes through the
column of coke in which is circulating the water that falls from the rose
attached to the top.

[Illustration: SKETCH OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HYDROGEN GAS-PRODUCING
APPARATUS.]

The overflow runs away through a pipe at “U” at the bottom of the
apparatus. A steam-pump feeds the purifier and the mixing tank with
sea-water, which, by the way, is quite suitable for this process.

On leaving the purifier the hydrogen traverses a chamber “H,” from which
two tubes lead to the dryers “S”; these dryers consist of rectangular
boxes containing purifying materials and quicklime laid on a grating near
the bottom.

Before being conveyed into the balloon the gas thus prepared passes
through two testing chambers “E,” each of which contains a thermometer,
a hygrometer, and some litmus-paper; glass sight-holes are provided to
facilitate inspection.

Pressure gauges fixed in various positions show the pressure of the gas
current.

This voluminous apparatus is capable of producing 5,297 to 7,000 cubic
feet of gas per hour, but Andrée will not allow the output to exceed
2,118 cubic feet per hour, his object being to secure a gas which has had
ample time for proper washing and purifying.

_June 20th._—During the first twenty-four hours about 42,379 cubic feet
of gas were generated.

Andrée and Fraenkel are busy to-day superintending the inflation of
the balloon; the rest are preparing for a trip northwards with the
steam-barge commanded by Lieutenant Norselius.

[Illustration: GETTING THE BALLOON CASE ASHORE.]

They propose reaching Red Bay, to the N.E. of Spitzbergen, near 80°
parallel.

We left Virgo Bay at nine in the morning, and steered to the north along
the coast of Smeerenburg. As we went along the guns brought down several
birds. At one o’clock we were at Red Bay, which was one immense ice plain
reaching up to the islands at the entrance to the bay. It was on one of
these islands, not shown in any polar chart, that we landed and scared
away a flock of eiders and a fox which was lying in ambush for them.

From our position we commanded a full view of the entire expanse of the
gulf.

Here nature presents a wilder aspect than we have ever seen her under.
The bay opens out towards the north.

East and west the bay is flanked with lofty mountains whose summits are
lost in the fog; wide fissures afford shelter to enormous numbers of
birds of various species, who build their nests at different altitudes.
Some perch on the sharp edges of the rock, while others describe huge
curves or shoot along after the manner of birds of prey. We noticed some
wild geese, some goelands, the “king of the algæ,” the auk, and others,
all filling the air with sharp piercing cries, deafening one with their
fiendish concert.

About six and a half miles to the south, and forming the background to
the gulf, a gigantic glacier, indented with crevices, rises like a mighty
wall. The glacier is lit by a few rays of the sun filtering through a
curtain of fog, and reflects them in tints of blue.

We take a long look at this great pale-looking expanse imperceptibly
gliding towards the sea, impelled by a slow and mysterious force, while
from it huge ice tracts are always breaking away and crashing down with a
roar that seems like an earthquake.

It would be interesting to make the tour of Red Bay, but we are short of
time, and we ought to be provided with snow-shoes to carry us over the
snow which covers the ice. We saw in the snow very recent footprints of
bears, but we vainly searched the horizon with our glasses. Bruin was
invisible.

After a frugal repast on a rock in the open air, we made ready for our
return. A cold, chilling fog settled down on the sea and enveloped us for
two hours. We were very anxious to get back on board the _Svensksund_ to
warm ourselves once more, for we had not brought any warm clothing.

_June 21st and 22nd._—The inflation of the balloon still progressing. As
it fills we re-varnish the outside seams.

Meantime, Andrée is preparing and fitting out the car, adjusting the
suspension ring and the rope attachments. On the other hand, Strindberg,
Fraenkel and Svedenborg are busy coating the guide-ropes with a compound
of grease and vaseline.

To save time in the work to be done when starting, the carpenters are
demolishing the upper portion of the shed on the north side, as Andrée
thinks this useless.



V

Amusements at Spitzbergen—Testing the Gas-Tightness of the
Balloon—Arrival of the Vessels _Express_ and _Lofoten_


The inflation of the balloon was completed on the 22nd of June at
midnight. The dome can be seen above the shed; our balloon is now only
awaiting a suitable moment for launching forth into space.

Next morning two Swedish flags float triumphantly over the shed. But
before a start can be made, many minor matters still remain to be
attended to, small details which always take up a very long time, and
to-day work was stopped at noon. In compliance with Swedish custom we
have been celebrating the eve of the feast of St. John, one of the most
important Scandinavian festivals.

Time hangs heavily during these days of rest. Amusements are rare, and
but little varied at Spitzbergen. The sailors themselves are compelled to
forego one of their favourite sports; the snow on the mountains having
partly melted, has laid bare large sharp-edged stones, among which it
would be dangerous to practise tobogganing. However, they have found
another amusement. On the summit of a neighbouring mountain rising up
almost in a peak, which they succeed in climbing, they displace enormous
pieces of rock, and these roll down dragging with them an avalanche of
stone, accompanied by prolonged and deafening sounds which are re-echoed,
like the rolling of thunder; and thus do our sailors amuse themselves.

We are no less limited than the sailors in our choice of amusements in
these deserted regions, far away from all that makes life seem worth
living. We are longing for our nearest and dearest; it is now a month
since we became exiles.

Absorbed by vague thoughts, my looks mechanically tend towards the open
sea, hoping to descry a sail coming to call on us and bring us news from
home. But the horizon is bare, except that here and there a few icebergs
are floating on the waves.

All around us, mountains, barren rocks, snow, and glaciers; no vegetation
to gladden our sight, nothing but a few varieties of moss bearing tiny
white, violet, and yellow flowers; the yellow ones, larger than the rest,
resemble very much the butter-cups, with which our meadows are dotted
in spring. The flora is excessively poor in these icy regions. What a
contrast to the luxuriant vegetation of Brazil, the rich and prolific
nature of which country I was admiring three years ago, being then
engaged on a mission on behalf of the Brazilian Military Authorities!

[Illustration: ON THE TOP OF THE BALLOON.]

In order to overcome the melancholy which seems to come over me to-night,
I am glad to start with Fraenkel on a boating excursion. We take some
provisions with us, and at nine o’clock we set off hap-hazard, in
glorious sunshine. We shoot some birds, chiefly eider-geese. Near the
Albert Isle, in the Smeerenburg, a group of seals, disporting themselves
on the ice, attracts our attention. It is impossible to get near them by
water; we therefore alight and drag our boat up on to the ice. But the
wary animals plunge under as soon as we approach. It is no use waiting
for them over their holes, as the seal will travel a long way under
water, in order to re-emerge some hundreds of yards away from the place
where it dives. It then proceeds to make a fresh hole; with its breath
alone, emitted and inhaled repeatedly, it can pierce masses of this ice,
measuring at least a yard in thickness.

Not far from the place where the seals disappeared, there is an opening
free from ice; we decide, at all events, to wait some minutes on the
brink of this pond. Two of the seals appear, and are at once greeted by
us with bullets; the water is dyed red with blood over a large expanse,
but the two animals, though wounded in the head, have strength enough
left to dive under the ice, there to die.

Baffled in this attempt, we return to our boat and continue our trip
in the Smeerenburg in a south-easterly direction; we wish to reach the
glaciers haunted by bears, but a thick fog surprises us on our way and
stops our progress. We have no compass; in order to get back and avoid
losing ourselves in the fog we are obliged to follow the coast-line,
which considerably increases the distance to be covered. Objects are
beginning to assume fantastic forms in the fog. At one part of the coast
which I know perfectly well, having roamed over it several times, a
rock of from sixteen to nineteen feet high appears to us a mountain of
respectable dimensions; further on, the ice round the coast is about
six feet above the water, and this looks to us like a colossal glacier;
then we come across some eider-geese, which animals seem to assume awful
dimensions, appearing to us about thirty-two feet high. Finally, becoming
more and more subject to these curious effects of optical illusion,
taking small blocks of ice for enormous icebergs, we imagine we can
identify a walrus in a moving mass which appears to be the size of a
small whale: we approach the animal, whose true nature we recognise when
its size still appears to be thirteen or sixteen feet—it is a small bird
of the size of a pigeon.

After several hours of a dispiriting journey made in the damp and
penetrating cold, tossed to and fro by the waves, which have become very
rough, while the water, lashed by a contrary wind, is constantly dashing
in our faces, we arrive near Virgo Bay at the very moment when the fog
commences to clear, and with it these phantasmagoric effects gradually
disappear.

We feel as if we had awakened from a hideous nightmare, and are glad to
see the sun once more, shedding its warm rays upon us.

We return on board the _Svensksund_ at 6 a.m., after roaming about on the
sea for nine hours, and just at the time when all on board are waking up.

We celebrate St. John’s day as far as we can under the circumstances; at
night a copious dinner is served, and we are much astonished at seeing
such a variety of dishes set before us, although more than a month has
elapsed since we last renewed supplies; this is a surprise reserved for
us by Lieut. Celsing, who acts as steward on board our craft.

_June 25th._—A most pleasant awakening: a sailor puts into my hands a
parcel of letters and journals—news from France. None but they who have
had the experience of being separated from their nearest and dearest, far
from their native land, in a dull and desolate region like Spitzbergen,
can ever know the joy experienced when a chance mail unexpectedly brings
news from those one holds most dear.

I eagerly scan the letters and journals before troubling myself about
ascertaining the name of the vessel which brought them. I then learn
that it is a little sloop, the _Express_, chartered at Tromsö by three
German tourists, Messrs. Th. Lerner, Dr. Fr. Violet, and G. Meisenbach,
who have come to Spitzbergen for a few weeks. The small steamer has been
severely tried during her passage by a storm which swept away two of her
boats; she leaves to-night for the north, for Mossel Bay, where there is
a “refuge” containing a store of provisions and boats intended for the
shipwrecked; our tourists will find boats there to replace those they
have lost.

_June 26th._—Stake, the engineer, spent yesterday in preparing wide
strips of light material which, after being impregnated with acetate
of lead, are blackened at those parts which come in contact with the
sulphuretted hydrogen gas.

Placed on the seams of the balloon, these strips enabled us to perceive
the slightest traces of an escape of gas. But the practical application
of this method was difficult and required some care. For getting on to
the balloon, the extremities of a horizontal cable crossing the shed
transversely were fixed to the two highest poles at the top; a pulley
supporting a double rope was passed over the cable; we placed one leg on
the loop and slid through space to the balloon. When we wished to return,
two men drew back the pulley by means of a pulley-tackle. Some sailors
found it a quicker and more satisfactory plan to descend by the meshes of
the net.

Eight and sometimes ten of us were at work on the dome of the inflated
balloon, and we had to perform compulsory gymnastic feats in order to
support ourselves amidst the cordage of the net.

The sailors, being accustomed to this kind of exercise, climbed about the
balloon quite at their ease; but I must confess that at first I had a
slight feeling of dizziness; this, however, soon passed off.

It was a curious sight to see so many men on this silken envelope, which
is the only barrier to the gas. The fact is unprecedented in the history
of balloons.

If the work that we were engaged upon was long and difficult, the result
was no less satisfactory. We found in this manner some very slight
escapes of gas, which were at once carefully stopped.

_June 27th, Sunday._—We received a visit from a Norwegian vessel, the
_Lofoten_, commanded by Captain Sverdrup, ex-captain of the _Fram_, who
accompanied Dr. Nansen on his recent expedition to the Polar regions.

Among the passengers on board this vessel were Mr. Stadling, one of the
members of the Andrée expedition last year, and already known to the
reader. He will remain with us henceforth, but there being no room on
board the _Svensksund_, Stadling will take up his residence at Pike House.

The little sloop _Express_ was returning from its voyage northwards to
Mossel Bay; three steamers had met in Virgo Bay, and gave the place an
aspect of cheerfulness and animation rarely observed there.

The _Lofoten_, which had started from Hammerfest on the 23rd of June,
brought us some letters and papers. Unhappily some of the Swedish
journals contained the sad news of the death of Baron Dickson, the
generous Mæcenas of M. Andrée, who, on the eve of our departure from
Gothenburg, invited all the members of the expedition, and was most
profuse in his words of encouragement to the bold explorers.

We take this opportunity of testifying our respect for the great man, the
philanthropist, the _savant_, snatched away from his friends before he
had seen the achievement of the grand work with which he had associated
his name.

Let us offer to his memory the tribute of our respectful admiration and
gratitude.



VI

The Last Preparations—Anticipations


_June 28th._—The balloon had now been inflated for more than five days;
it had undergone a loss of gas which may be approximately estimated at
5,297 to 5,956 cubic feet, or a mean loss of 1,059 to 1,236 cubic feet
every twenty-four hours. When the tests which we were making, and which
were to be continued as far as the equator of the balloon, should be
concluded, it would have become still more air-tight, and the balloon
would then be in excellent condition.

The _Lofoten_ left us this morning at six o’clock, firing off four
salutes from her guns, and with reiterated cheering. From the top of the
balloon I watched the evolutions of the graceful vessel as she described
a parabola round the _Svensksund_; her flags were raised and lowered, and
then the _Lofoten_ rapidly glided away.

[Illustration: THE INFLATED BALLOON IN ITS SHED, THE NORTHERN PART OF
WHICH HAS BEEN REMOVED IN ORDER TO FACILITATE ITS DEPARTURE.]

The work of looking for escapes was concluded on this day.

The cover for protecting the balloon from snow and rain was placed over
the dome.

Andrée has finished adjusting the hoop to the car; the systems of
pulleys, tackle, rigging attachments, etc., had all been most carefully
prepared.

_June 29th._—The hoop was then disconnected in order to be fastened to
the rigging of the net. This operation being effected, we fixed on this
hoop, horizontally, a bamboo pole; to this mast the sails, which already
hung from the ropes, were to be fixed. A system of pulleys and tackle was
arranged to effect the various manipulations required between the car and
the hoop.

The three guide-ropes, weighing 1,984 lbs., were stretched from the shore
to the hoop, and also eight other cables, each 76 yards long and weighing
together 881 lbs. These latter, together with the guide-ropes, serve to
prevent the balloon from coming too close to the earth, giving the effect
of throwing out ballast to the extent of 881 lbs. more than the weight
of the guide-ropes before the car could touch the ground. Under these
conditions, the balloon will always keep its centre of gravity, even
when exposed to a storm. The above-mentioned eight ropes serve another
important purpose: they can be used to lengthen the guide-ropes in case
it should be necessary to sacrifice those parts that fix into the ground
at any time during the journey. Andrée can get rid of the lower part
of the guide-ropes by a screw locked by a spring which connects this
part with the rest of the hoop; a turn given from the top of the car is
sufficient to start the spring and the screw. A second method consists of
a dynamite explosive. This last method is preferable, for, in this case,
only the part connected with the ground is lost.

The storing of the car was almost finished. A number of articles of all
kinds were placed in it: scientific instruments, compasses, sextants,
telescopes; photographic appliances and accessories; pharmaceutical
preparations; culinary articles, lamps and electric batteries, arms,
ammunition, etc., etc.; no space but what is utilised or is set apart for
some particular purpose, and still a large space is left for a bed and
some furs.

The provisions for the expedition were unpacked and exhibited in one of
the rooms of Pike House. As was the case last year, they consisted of
preserved foods and wines of all kinds. Dr. Lembke superintended their
storage. They were packed in labelled pockets made of strong material,
joined together and laid one over another so as to form one long bag;
thirty-six similar bags containing 1,663 lbs. of food were attached to
the top of the hoop by thirty-six suspending ropes.

Andrée is taking enough for four months only. He thinks this is
sufficient, and that, if he should have to winter upon the ice, their
arms will give them the opportunity of laying in a fresh stock of
provisions. Pointing to his cartridges, he said, smiling, “There is some
concentrated food.”

The various provisions left behind were carefully stored in Pike House;
there was a great deal, enough to feed a large party for a whole year.

Twelve remaining ropes were hung with sledges, snow-shoes, a boat formed
of a wooden framework that can be taken to pieces, and covered with a
double covering of water-proofed material of the same nature as the
envelope of the balloon. This very light boat measured six yards in
length; it was a marvel of skilful construction.

Every one was surprised to see the quantity of things that could be
stowed away in the rigging, without causing any confusion, and arranged
over the platform of the hoop, within reach.

On the hoop itself, a number of articles were placed: picks, shovels,
hatchets, anchors, a little windlass, buoys, etc. All these articles are
of bronze or copper; the hatchets have a steel blade, set in copper.
Andrée takes with him twelve despatch buoys, each consisting of a sphere
of cork 7⅘ inches in diameter coated with a thick coat of paint, partly
blue and partly yellow, and protected by a network of copper wire. At
the bottom the buoy is weighted by a cone filled with lead, which gives
it the appearance of a top; at the upper portion is a copper stopper
inscribed with the words “Andrée’s Polar Expedition, 1896,” and a number.
This stopper closes a cavity cut in the cork to receive a tube, in which
will be enclosed documents or messages from the explorers. The buoy is
surmounted by a spiral spring of copper supporting a little Swedish flag
of thin metal.

The buoys will be thrown out at different points of the voyage of the
balloon. A thirteenth, larger than the others, will be left at that point
of the route that shall be the nearest to the geographical pole that can
be reached by the balloon.

_July 1st._—We then proceeded to estimate the ascending power of the
balloon. It was calculated that it could carry 3,747 lbs. of ballast,
including that part of the cordage intended to be used as ballast, and
that it could keep up for a minimum period of thirty to thirty-five
days. This period could be extended in case of need, by sacrificing the
sails and other parts that had become useless, the car if necessary, and
part of the guide-ropes, as the explorers could still take refuge on the
hoop, to which was attached all their provisions and necessaries. In this
manner nearly 1,763 lbs. of supplementary ballast could be obtained,
which would increase the length of the voyage by twenty days.

The aeronauts could thus remain in the air for more than fifty days,
and at the same time keep their food and the necessary apparatus and
cordage. Thus their departure would take place under most promising
conditions.

As to the point of landing, the chances seem to point most to Siberia,
which offers a very large extent of land; next in order of probability
comes Alaska, in North America. Andrée did not think that the balloon
could be drawn towards Greenland, with its gigantic glaciers attaining
to such great altitudes, as the surrounding lower strata of air cool
rapidly by contact with this boundless frozen mass, and currents would be
formed there that would radiate in all directions. Only the currents of
the upper atmosphere would approach these regions; but the Andrée balloon
always travels close to the earth, which is, moreover, another point in
favour of its longevity. We need not fear, therefore, that the explorers
will be lost in the glaciers of Greenland.

[Illustration: THE MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION.]

Variable winds may drive the balloon for several days over the ice-field
and over the ocean, before it can meet with a spot favourable to its
descent. We have already seen that it could keep up for more than fifty
days; therefore, unless any serious accident or unforeseen delay occurs,
there is every reason to hope that before this time the aeronauts will
have set foot on some hospitable ground. If, owing to some unforeseen
cause, they should be obliged to descend on the ice-field, they would
have to return in the same way as Dr. Nansen.

He, after leaving his ship, the _Fram_, in company with Lieutenant
Johannsen, remained for fifteen months on the ice-field with only three
months’ provisions.

Andrée took with him thirty-two carrier pigeons. We expect that some
will return to Dane’s Island, where they have stayed for more than a
month, and that they will bring us news of our friends. But we fear that
these messengers will never return to Sweden; from Spitzbergen alone,
they would have to travel a distance of nearly 1,637 miles in order to
find their dove-cot. Those set free at the Pole would therefore have to
travel more than 2,188 miles, and over the greater part of the journey
they would find neither shelter nor food. Such great distances have
never before, to my knowledge, been traversed by carrier pigeons, and,
probably, those belonging to the expedition will not leave the balloon
where they are lodged and fed, or if they do leave it, it will be to lose
themselves in the Arctic regions and there perish miserably.

Andrée told us, therefore, not to be uneasy if we received no news of him
for a year, as he might descend at a spot from which communication with
other countries would be difficult, which would oblige him to winter with
the Lapps or Esquimaux, or in an uninhabited part, where he would be left
to his own resources, and he would then not be able to return till the
following year.



VII

Before the Departure—Waiting for the South Wind


_June 30th._—Andrée called us together to discuss the methods to be
employed for starting his balloon. One great difficulty was, how to get
the balloon out of its enclosure without the silk running the risk of
being damaged by the wood of the shed.

Every one gave his opinion, and from all the suggestions put forward, the
following conclusions were drawn:—

(1) All projecting parts of the shed against which the balloon might be
injured should be covered with a thick pad of felt, in order to prevent
any accident to the silk.

(2) The balloon, at its equator, should be protected by wide straps,
which should be attached to the south side of the shed, so as to prevent
it rolling against the mooring posts under the action of the wind.

(3) The south side of the shed should be closed as high as possible, and
the highest floor should be provided with canvas to add to the height of
the shelter; the canvas should be stretched out only at the last moment.

(4) For starting, the balloon should be held firmly to the ground by
three cables attached to the hoop. It should be allowed to ascend to
a sufficient height to allow of the car being placed in position, and
then we should only have to free the balloon from its straps and cut the
cables, in order to set it at liberty.

Orders were then given to put into immediate execution the operations
decided upon.

The carpenters at once proceeded to the supports of the shed and padded
all the projecting parts inside, whilst the sailors hastened to prepare
the straps and the required canvas.

The polar balloon was soon ready to be launched into the air. Only the
final operations remained to be carried out: the south side of the
structure would have to be demolished, but this would not take long.
Andrée having already had two floors demolished, only one remained to
be removed; the ground floor, as it was not in the way, would be left to
support the structure.

The placing of the car in position would only take a few minutes.

For the next few days we waited for the favourable wind.

Since our arrival at Spitzbergen, north winds had been blowing
continuously. We had had no breeze from the south worth mentioning;
the direction of the wind had always varied within the west-north-east
sector. Andrée augured favourably from this; he hoped, and was even
persuaded, that this state of affairs could not last much longer, that a
change would soon take place in the atmosphere of the Arctic regions, and
that south winds would prevail in their turn.

These days of waiting were very dull and monotonous. Idleness made us
depressed; we sought for distractions. At meal-times, when all the
members of the large family were assembled together, cheerfulness was
restored, and, on the slightest excuse, we did not fail to give little
entertainments, sometimes original and comic, which gave us all pleasure.

In Sweden, birthdays are always celebrated with great rejoicings, the
person interested receiving presents, congratulations, etc. July 1st was
the birthday of Dr. Lembke, a very genial and agreeable companion, on
whom we had conferred, since our arrival at Dane’s Island, the title of
“King of Spitzbergen,” on account of his corpulence and great stature.

[Illustration: ON THE BRIDGE OF THE _SVENSKSUND_: MESSRS. FRAENKEL,
ANDRÉE, SVEDENBORG, AND STRINDBERG.]

We were all racking our brains to think of a present to offer His
Majesty; but this was very difficult at Spitzbergen, where resources
were necessarily limited. Nevertheless, we made our preparations, and
in the morning, before our doctor was awake, each one brought his
offering. Strindberg’s was a royal crown made out of a piece of silk
gas tubing, the upper part of which he had fashioned most artistically;
Fraenkel’s, a balloon of gold-beater’s skin, inflated with hydrogen,
ornamented with long streamers of gay colours; the engineer Stake’s,
a box of handkerchiefs cut out of the bands of stuff used to test the
impermeability of the balloon; another brought some eiders’ eggs bearing
humorous inscriptions; lastly, boxes of chocolate, biscuits, bonbons,
fruit, etc., etc., and a bouquet composed of mosses and white and violet
flowers, representing all the flora of the region.

At table, the doctor’s place was decorated with a large garland of
different mosses, on which were laid raisins, almonds, oranges, etc.

The offering of the gifts was a very interesting little ceremony; each
gift, more or less original, was received with good-humoured hilarity.
And, in the evening, the champagne flowed merrily to emphasize our good
wishes to the “King of Spitzbergen,” whose fund of amusing and funny
stories seemed inexhaustible, but who asked to be allowed to resign his
crown in order to pass his life more cheerfully and simply amongst his
own people.

_July 5th._—Since our arrival at Dane’s Island, after the first three or
four days we had neither rain nor snow. The temperature, which varied
very little, had always kept a few degrees above freezing point; a
pleasant warmth was felt in the sun, when we were sheltered from the wind.

On this day, the change foretold by Andrée seemed to be coming, and for
the first time since our arrival it rained, and the wind blew from the
south-east.

_July 6th._—The south wind at last, so long awaited, so ardently
desired! It blew a gale. The rain had ceased; heavy clouds were passing
northwards; a few hours would be sufficient to take the explorers to
their destination.

Andrée devoted himself to meteorological observations while the first
preparations were being made. The gas apparatus was set going at once to
fill up the balloon.

Soon everything was ready; they were only waiting for Andrée’s orders
to demolish the shed. He, absorbed by his observations, was meditating
and seemed undecided. He kept going from one instrument to another,
taking the direction of the wind from various points, comparing this
direction with that of the clouds: it seemed difficult to him to come to
a decision. The barometer had fallen too rapidly. Certainly the start
would have to be made during a barometric depression, but we expected it
to be slow and gradual. At last, after two hours’ observations, Andrée
came slowly back to us to tell us the result of his researches. In a
calm, firm voice, he said he should not start that day, because the
wind, then very favourable, would not last long. He was very vexed, but
he hoped that before long there would be other currents of air, more
stable and more favourable. Nevertheless, he said when once the 15th
of July was past, he would start on the first opportunity, even if the
atmospheric conditions were only moderately favourable; but now he feared
to compromise the success of the expedition by a premature departure.

It will be seen that Andrée combined great prudence with his scientific
experience; moreover, his predictions proved correct. The next day, the
south wind was succeeded by a north wind, and we still waited.

_July 9th._—Bad weather, rain and a west wind. A Norwegian sailing vessel
took refuge in our bay. It was returning from the ice-field, where the
crew had been hunting seals, and had killed more than 700. The sailors
were engaged in cutting up the animals; the skins were salted and the fat
stored in barrels to be melted down.

_July 10th._—The bad weather continued, with cold fogs and rain.

The _Lofoten_ visited us for the second time with more tourists. Amongst
them, I was pleased to meet some friends of our family: M. and Mme. H.
Vieillard, and two other French travellers, M. Obermeyer, editor of the
_Figaro_, and his wife. I much regretted not having time to say much
to my fellow-countrymen. The _Lofoten_ is engaged in a regular service
between Hammerfest and Advent Bay; she had little time to spare, having
extended her trip to come to Dane’s Island, and could not stop more than
an hour in Virgo Bay.

In the evening the sky cleared, the rain ceased, and a strong wind blew
from the south-west. The barometer, which had been falling for two days,
still continued to do so slowly. We now had a chance of a wind favourable
to our expedition.



VIII

The Departure


_Sunday, July 11th._—A decided south wind! Would it last this time, or
would it again prove a delusion?

Andrée and his companions consulted for some time the various instruments
from each post of observation. The atmospheric conditions seemed
favourable.

Together with Andrée, we went to the top of the shed to examine carefully
the work that had been done, and to arrange about the preparations for
starting. The wind was very violent. The wooden structure trembled under
our feet; I feared sometimes that it would be blown down, and the balloon
destroyed. But this apparently light structure was really very solidly
built, of which fact it had furnished excellent proofs. Moreover, it was
sheltered by a hill 329 feet high.

After having enumerated the various operations to be performed, Andrée
returned to his observations for a few minutes. The result was
favourable. The direction of the wind seemed quite settled; but he
did not give the order to start. This time he dared not take the sole
responsibility of this decision, so he consulted his fellow-travellers.
It was a very delicate question for the members staying behind,
Svedenborg and myself, to decide; the decision rested rather with those
directly interested. Strindberg and Fraenkel wished to start at once,
and besides, what were we waiting for? Time was passing, the season was
advancing; therefore, the sooner, the better.

Andrée did not express his opinion; it was not necessary, we guessed it.
He was burning to set out for the conquest of the Pole; and he only said,
“The departure is decided upon.”

We returned on board the _Svensksund_, where the sailors in uniform,
and in the presence of the officers, were attending a short religious
service, after having been reviewed as usual on Sunday.

As soon as the decision was known, Captain Ehrensvärd gave orders for the
whole crew to resume their working clothes immediately.

[Illustration: K. FRAENKEL.]

Two Norwegian sailing vessels, returning from the north, entered the bay,
and made ready to cast anchor opposite the shed. Signals were exchanged,
to ask them to take up a different position, so as to leave a free
passage for the Andrée balloon, which would start in a few hours.

The workers are ready, and are being taken ashore by the boats.

The carpenters and a detachment of sailors go quickly up into the shed,
and demolish the northern portion with surprising rapidity.

It is 11 o’clock in the morning. Andrée is standing before the shed,
observing everything. His orders follow one another, brief and rapid; his
voice resounds, rendered still stronger by a speaking trumpet. Nothing is
heard but the crackling of the wood as it is broken away, and the wooden
beams as they come crashing to the ground. A detachment of men clear away
the rubbish as it falls.

On the south side, at the top of the shed, sailors are stretching the
canvas between the masts, thus increasing by 13 feet the height of the
roof.

Everywhere is feverish activity; the preparations go on rapidly.

We now turn our attention to the balloon, which slowly rises, as the bags
of ballast are slowly let down from mesh to mesh until they stop at the
hoop.

The wind becomes more and more violent. Puffs reach the balloon, which
sways greatly from side to side; the equatorial straps support it well,
and restrain its movements.

The cords are then arranged which work the valves and the rending flap.
These delicate parts require constant inspection during these last
operations, in order to prevent their working badly. Stadling hangs over
the circle, on to a horizontal rope, a series of baskets in which were
the carrier pigeons. This preliminary part of the preparations being
concluded, the ballast bags are withdrawn until the balloon is properly
balanced. The hoop remains firmly held to the ground by three cables long
enough to enable it to rise sufficiently high for the car to be fixed in
position. The rest of the ballast bags are collected into three groups,
hung to the hoop by three ropes.

The car, which, with all its contents, weighs nearly 1,102 lbs., is
brought under. It is slipped into its place, and quickly fastened to the
hoop by the six cables supporting it.

Andrée walks round the balloon and round the shed, giving a last glance
at every detail, satisfying himself that everything is ready and in good
working order.

The solemn hour has arrived.

Strindberg, who has always been a great friend of mine, as we have a
mutual sympathy with one another, begs me to send his _fiancée_ proofs of
the last photographs that I shall succeed in developing, and which would
interest her. He shows great emotion while speaking to me; it is not fear
of the perils that he is about to face, but other sentiments that are
agitating him at this moment. It is easy for me to guess what they are.

When will he see again that charming Swedish girl, whose photograph which
he has so often shown me, and carries next his heart?

How many days, how many months, will she be anxiously waiting, and
receiving no news?

What anxiety, what suspense, await that poor young girl?

But what joy will follow the glorious return of her beloved! What
firm bonds of affection will bind them together after this long, hard
separation!

Oh! how I wish them this happiness with all my heart!

Greatly affected myself, I shake convulsively the hand of my friend,
who is leaving all that he holds dearest in the world for the glorious
accomplishment of a scientific enterprise, and with a final clasp I
promise him once again that his wish will be a sacred duty to me!

He gives me a last letter for his _fiancée_; then, controlling the
emotion which was overcoming him, he rejoins Andrée and Fraenkel, who are
also taking leave of their friends.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE BALLOON TAKEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER ITS
DEPARTURE.]

Andrée is thanking all the members of the expedition for the help they
have rendered him in his enterprise. He gives the captain several
telegrams written in haste at the last minute; one, addressed to the King
of Sweden, is worded thus:—

                               “SPITZBERGEN, _July 11th_, 2.25 p.m.

    “At the moment of their departure, the members of the
    expedition to the North Pole beg Your Majesty to accept their
    very humble salutations, and the assurance of their deepest
    gratitude.

                                                         “ANDRÉE.”

Another telegram, addressed to the _Aftonbladet_, Stockholm, said:—

    “In accordance with our decision previously arrived at, we
    commenced on Sunday, at 10.45, the preparations for our ascent,
    and at this moment, 2.30 p.m., we are ready to start.

    “We shall probably be driven in a north-north-easterly
    direction. We hope gradually to reach regions where the winds
    will be more favourable to us.

    “In the name of all our comrades, I send our warmest regards to
    our friends, and to our country!

                                                         “ANDRÉE.”

The last farewells are brief and touching; few words are exchanged, but
hearty handclasps between those whose hearts are in sympathy say more
than words.

Suddenly Andrée snatches himself away from the embraces of his friends,
and takes his place on the wicker bridge of the car, from whence he calls
in a firm voice:—

“Strindberg,—Fraenkel,—let us go!”

His two companions at once take their places beside him. They are all
three armed with a knife for cutting the ropes supporting the groups of
ballast bags.

This being done, Captain Ehrensvärd and Lieutenants Norselius and Celsing
give their sailors orders which are at once put into execution.

The equatorial straps fall at one stroke.

The balloon, freed from this restraint, moves slightly; it quits the
state of torpor in which it seemed to be plunged; it now seems to have
come to life, and, notwithstanding its shelter, it rolls greatly on its
lower moorings, from which it tries to free itself.

We wait a few seconds, in order to seize a moment of calm, before the
order is given to start.

Three of the most adroit sailors, armed with knives, hold themselves in
readiness, at a given signal, to cut the three cables by which alone the
balloon is now held captive.

The entire crew of the _Svensksund_ are present, and also the crews of
the three Norwegian whaling vessels anchored in Virgo Bay.

There is profound silence at this minute; we only hear the whistling
of the wind through the woodwork of the shed, and the flapping of the
canvas, which hangs over the upper part of the south side.

Amongst the cordage of the car are seen the three heroes, standing
admirably cool and calm.

Andrée is always calm, cold, and impassible. Not a trace of emotion is
visible on his countenance; nothing but an expression of firm resolution
and an indomitable will.

He is just the man for such an enterprise; and he is well seconded by his
two companions.

At length the decisive moment arrives.

“One! Two! Cut!” cries Andrée in Swedish.

The three sailors obey the order simultaneously, and in one second the
aerial ship, free and unfettered, rises majestically into space, saluted
with our heartiest cheers.

We rush to the doors to get out of the shed. I have the chance of getting
out first through a secret opening I have made in the woodwork, so as to
be able to rush to my photographic apparatus and have time to take a few
snapshots at this stupendous moment.

Being encumbered with the heavy cordage that it takes with it, the
balloon does not rise to a height of 328 feet.

It is dragged by the wind.

Behind the mountain that is sheltering us stormy winds are raging, and a
current of air sweeps down from the summit and attacks the balloon, which
for a moment descends rapidly towards the sea. This incident, which we
had foreseen before the departure, but the natural cause of which struck
few of the spectators at the moment, produces great excitement amongst
some of us. The sailors rush to the boats to be ready to lend assistance
to the explorers, whom they expect to see engulfed in the waves. Their
alarm was of short duration; the descending movement soon becomes slower,
and the car just touches the water and ascends again immediately.

Unfortunately, the lower parts of the guide-ropes, which were made so as
to become detached if they should be caught in the ground, have remained
on the shore. At the start the ropes were caught in some rocks on the
shore, and the screws for separating the parts worked. But Andrée is well
provided against this loss, so that this accident is not likely to have
serious consequences.

At the edge of the water, on the beach studded with rocks and large
stones, we all stand, breathlessly watching the various phases, rapidly
following one upon another, of the commencement of this stirring and
unprecedented aerial journey.

The balloon, which has now righted itself at about 164 feet above the
sea, is rapidly speeding away; the guide-ropes glide over the water,
making a very perceptible wake, which is visible from its starting point,
like the track made by a ship. The state of affairs seems to us on the
shore to be the best that could be hoped for. We exchange last signals of
farewell with our friends; hats and handkerchiefs are waved frantically.

Soon we can no longer distinguish the aeronauts; but we can see that they
are arranging their sails, as these latter are displayed in succession
on their bamboo mast; then we observe a change of direction. The
balloon is now travelling straight to the north; it goes along swiftly,
notwithstanding the resistance that must be offered by the dragging
ropes; we estimate its speed at from 18 to 22 miles an hour. If it keeps
up this initial speed and the same direction, it will reach the Pole in
less than two days.

The aerial globe seems now no bigger than an egg. On the horizon an
obstacle appears in the route; this is the continuation of a chain of
mountains about 328 feet high right in the path of the balloon, which
seems very close to the obstacle, and some of the sailors round me, who
have never before seen a balloon start on its trip, seem in great terror;
they think the balloon will be hopelessly wrecked. I reassure them,
telling them that the balloon is still far away from the hills, which
will be easily surmounted, without there even being any necessity to
throw out ballast.

The balloon travels on, maintained at the same altitude by the
guide-ropes. In the neighbourhood of the hills there is an upward current
of air; the balloon will follow this; it would only risk striking against
the obstacle if the movement were downwards, which is not the case.
Moreover, the guide-ropes first rest upon the rocks and thus lighten the
balloon, which gradually rises.

We see it clear the top of the hill, and stand out clearly for a few
minutes against the blue sky, and then slowly disappear from our view
behind the hill.

Scattered along the shore, we stand motionless, with hearts full, and
anxious eyes, gazing at the silent horizon.

For one moment then, between two hills, we perceive a grey speck over the
sea, very, very far away, and then it finally disappears.

The way to the Pole is clear, no more obstacles to encounter; the sea,
the ice-field, and the Unknown!

We look at one another for a moment, stupefied. Instinctively we draw
together without saying a word. There is nothing, nothing whatever in
the distance to tell us where our friends are; they are now shrouded in
mystery.

“Farewell! Farewell! Our most fervent prayers go with you. May God help
you! Honour and glory to your names!”

                                                         ALEXIS MACHURON.



The Last Message from Andrée


The following message from Andrée shows the progress made by the hardy
explorer. We reproduce it in facsimile.

[Illustration]

(1)—_The Andrée Polar Expedition to the “Aftonbladet” Stockholm._

_July 13th, 12.30 p.m., 82°2´ north latitude, 15°5´ east longitude. Good
journey eastwards, 10° south. All goes well on board. This is the third
message sent by pigeon._

                                                                  ANDRÉE.

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.



The Pupils of Peter the Great


A History of the Russian Court and Empire from 1697 to 1740

By R. NISBET BAIN

Author of “Gustavus III. and His Contemporaries,” “Charles XII.” “Hans
Christian Andersen: A Biography”

WITH PHOTOGRAVURE FRONTISPIECE AND PORTRAITS

_Demy 8vo, 318 pp. Price 15s. net._

_OPINIONS OF THE PRESS:_

“LIGHT ON A LYCEUM PLAY.”

“Mr. Nisbet Bain’s new volume about the makers of Russia could not have
appeared at a time more opportune for the attraction of popular interest
than the moment when Sir Henry Irving has taken it upon him to interpret
for us, on the stage of the Lyceum, the character of Peter the Great. His
familiarity with the history and politics of Northern Europe in the last
century renders him peculiarly fitted for the task of presenting us with
a picture of the Russian Court and Empire up to the death of the Empress
Anne.”—_Daily Chronicle._

“Mr. Bain has here put together from authentic sources an interesting and
useful book. Without attempting the picturesque, he has written a book
that attracts the reader; his judgment is sound, he is unprejudiced and
tolerant, and he understands the strange world that he is depicting. His
portraits have the great merit of fidelity, and he has a good knowledge
of contemporary European politics.”—_Manchester Guardian._

“An excellent piece of historical study, founded entirely on original
research, sober, broad, and sympathetic in treatment, with a fine sense
of historical proportion, and most illuminating as respects the light it
throws on a dark and ill-known time and country.”—_Spectator._

“A lucid and masterly sketch of the slow development of the modern
Russian State between the year 1697 and 1740.”—_Daily News._

“Mr. Nisbet Bain is, without question, the best informed student of
Northern history who now writes for the British Public, and the volume
before us will add to his reputation.”—_Manchester Courier._

    WESTMINSTER

    Archibald Constable and Co
    2 WHITEHALL GARDENS
    1898



ANNOUNCEMENTS


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With many Illustrations, Portraits, and Maps. 2 vols.

_Demy 8vo, £3 3s. net. (£2 2s. net to subscribers before publication.)_

       *       *       *       *       *

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A Series of Essays on Secondary Education

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Dante’s Ten Heavens

A Study in the Paradiso

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A French View of English Contemporary Art

By E. DE LA SIZERANNE. Translated by H. M. POYNTER.

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Highland Dress and Ornament

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Andrée and his Balloon

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This volume contains an accurate account of the making and equipping of
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preparation and start for the famous flight into the Unknown.

The volume is fully illustrated, and contains a short biography of Andrée.

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This work is being published simultaneously in four different languages.

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Fully Illustrated by E. A. NORBURY, R.C.A., and from Photographs.

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A Northern Highway of the Czar

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Our Troubles in Poona and the Deccan

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_Fully Illustrated. Demy 8vo, 14s._

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       *       *       *       *       *

Two Native Narratives of the Mutiny in Delhi

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINALS BY THE LATE CHARLES THEOPHILUS METCALFE,
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NOW READY AT ALL LIBRARIES


Through China with a Camera

By JOHN THOMSON, F.R.G.S.

With about 100 Illustrations. Foolscap 4to. _One Guinea net._ This work
contains probably the finest series of pictures of China ever published.

_CONTENTS._

  CHAPTER   I. A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE CONDITION OF CHINA, PAST AND PRESENT.

     ”     II. THE CHINAMAN ABROAD AND AT HOME.
                    Chinese Guilds—Hong-kong—Native
                    Boats—Shopkeepers—Artists—Music Halls.

     ”    III. THE CHINAMAN ABROAD AND AT HOME (_continued_).
                    Gambling—Typhoons—The floating population of
                    Hong-kong—North branch of the Pearl River.

     ”     IV. CANTON AND KWANG-TUNG PROVINCE.
                    Tea—Foreign Hongs and Houses—Schroffing.

     ”      V. CANTON (_continued_).
                    Its general appearance—Its population—Streets—Mode of
                    transacting business—Signboards—Work and Wages—The
                    willow-pattern bridge—Juilin, Governor-General
                    of the two Kwang—Clan fights—Hak-kas—The mystic
                    pills—Dwellings of the poor—The Lohang-tang—Buddhist
                    monastic life—On board a junk.

     ”     VI. CANTON (_continued_). MACAO. SWATOW. CHAO-CHOW-FU—AMOY.
                    The charitable institutions of
                    China—Macao—Description of the
                    town—Its inhabitants—Swatow—Foreign
                    settlement—Chao-chow-fu—Swatow
                    fan-painters—Modellers—Chinese art—Village
                    warfare—Amoy—The native quarter—Abodes of the
                    poor—Infanticide—Manure-pits—Human remains in
                    jars—Lekin—Romantic scenery—Ku-lang-su—The foreign
                    settlement.

     ”    VII. FORMOSA.
                    Takow harbour, Formosa—La-mah-kai—Difficulties
                    of navigation—Tai-wan-fu—The Taotai—His
                    yamen—How to cancel a state debt—The Dutch in
                    1661—Sylvan lanes—Medical Missions—A journey to
                    the interior—Old watercourses—Broken land—Hak-ka
                    settlers—Poahbe—Pepohoan village—Baksa
                    valley—The name ”Isla Formosa“—A long march—The
                    central mountains—Bamboo Bridges—”Pau-ah-liau“
                    village—The physician at work—Ka-san-po village—A
                    wine-feast—interior of a hut—Pepohoan dwellings—A
                    savage dance—Savage hunting-grounds—La-lung
                    village—Return journey.

     ”   VIII. FOOCHOW AND THE RIVER MIN.
                    The Japanese in Formosa—Cause of the invasion—The
                    River Min—Foochow Arsenal—Chinese gunboats—Foochow
                    city and great bridge—A City of the dead—Its
                    inhabitants—Beggars—Thieves—Lepers—Ku-shan
                    Monastery—The hermit—Tea plantation on Paeling
                    hills—Voyage up the Min—Shui-kow—An up-country
                    farm—Captain Sheng and his spouse—Yen-ping
                    city—Sacrificing to the dead—Shooting the Yen-ping
                    rapids—A Native passenger-boat.

     ”     IX. SHANGHAI. NINPO. HANKOW. THE YANGTSZE.
                    Steam traffic in the China Sea—In the wake
                    of a typhoon—Shanghai—Notes of its early
                    history—Japanese raids—Shanghai foreign
                    settlement—Paul Sü, or ”Su-kwang-ki“—Shanghai
                    city—Ningpo—Native soldiers—Snowy valley—The
                    Mountains—Azaleas—The monastery of the Snowy
                    Crevice—The thousand-fathom precipice—Buddhist
                    Monks—The Yangtsze, Kiang—Hankow—The Upper Yangtsze,
                    Ichang—The Gorges—The great Tsing-tan rapid—Mystic
                    fountain lights—A dangerous disaster—Kwei-fu—Our
                    return—Kiukiang—Nanking; its arsenal—The death of
                    Tsing-kwo-fan—Chinese superstition.

      ”     X. CHEFOO. PEKIN. TIENTSIN. THE GREAT WALL.
                    The foreign settlement—The Yellow River—Silk—Its
                    production—Taku forts—The Peiho River—Chinese
                    progress—Floods in Pei-chil-li—Their
                    effects—Tientsin—The Sisters’ chapel—Condition of
                    the people—A midnight storm—Tung-Chow—Peking—The
                    Tartar and Chinese divisions of the metropolis—Its
                    roads, shops and people—The foreign hotel—Temple
                    and domestic architecture—The Tsungli
                    Yamen—Prince Kung and the high officers of the
                    empire—Literary championship—The Confucian
                    Temple—The Observatory—Ancient Chinese
                    instruments—Yang’s house—Habits of the ladies—Peking
                    enamelling—Yuen-Ming-Yuen—Remarkable cenotaph—A
                    Chinese army—Li-Hung-Chang—The inn of ”Patriotic
                    Perfection“—The Great Wall—The Ming tombs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Problems of the Far East

JAPAN—COREA—CHINA

By the RT. HON. GEORGE N. CURZON, M.P.

With numerous Illustrations and Maps. _Extra crown 8vo, 7s. 6d._

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       *       *       *       *       *

The Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India

By WILLIAM CROOKE

_With numerous Full-page Plates. 2 Vols. Demy 8vo, 21s. net._

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knowledge at first hand.”—_The Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Household of the Lafayettes

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“Every one who takes any interest in the France of the last quarter of
the eighteenth century should read this well-written book.”—_Publishers
Circular._

       *       *       *       *       *

Medals and Decorations of the British Army and Navy

By JOHN HORSLEY MAYO

(_Late Assistant Military Secretary to the India Office._)

Dedicated by Permission to Her Most Gracious Majesty VICTORIA, QUEEN AND
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With Fifty-five Plates Printed in Colours and many Illustrations in the
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_2 vols. Super-Royal 8vo. Over 600 pp. £3 3s. net._

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       *       *       *       *       *

The Principles of Local Government

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       *       *       *       *       *

Problems of Modern Democracy

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       *       *       *       *       *

Reflections and Comments

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CONSTABLE’S LIBRARY OF Historical Novels and Romances


EDITED BY LAURENCE GOMME.

_Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d., cloth._

After a Design by A. A. TURBAYNE.

With Illustrations of all the principal features, which include
reproductions of royal and historical signatures, coins, seals, and
heraldic devices.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Just Published._

Westward Ho!

By CHARLES KINGSLEY.

With numerous Illustrations.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To be followed by_

Reading Abbey

CHARLES MACFARLANE.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Already Published._

Harold: The Last of the Saxons

By LORD LYTTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Camp of Refuge

CHARLES MACFARLANE.

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best historical novels and romances in our language. Messrs. Archibald
Constable & Co. have had a happy idea in planning such a scheme, which is
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       *       *       *       *       *

Farthest North

By FRIDTJOF NANSEN

A Few Copies of the Library Edition of Farthest North

By FRIDTJOF NANSEN

2 Vols. Royal 8vo, £2 2s. net, are still for sale.

The Library Edition contains:

OVER ONE HUNDRED FULL-PAGE AND A LARGE NUMBER OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS.

THREE PHOTOGRAVURE PLATES.

SIXTEEN COLOURED PLATES IN FACSIMILE OF DR. NANSEN’S OWN WATER-COLOUR,
PASTEL, AND PENCIL SKETCHES.

AN ETCHED PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR.

THREE MAPS.

“A masterpiece of story telling.”—_Times._

“A book for everybody who loves a story of romance and
adventure.”—_Westminster Gazette._

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we have in the second volume of the book.”—_Spectator._

Dr. Nansen’s Great Book contains over 100 Full-page Illustrations, a
large number of Text Illustrations, sixteen Coloured Plates, four Large
Maps, two Photogravure Plates, and an Etched Portrait.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir Henry Wotton: A Biographical Sketch

By ADOLPHUS WILLIAM WARD, Litt.D., LL.D., Principal of the Owens College,
Manchester; Hon. Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

_Fcap. 8vo. 3s. 6d._

“A delightful monograph entirely worthy of its admirable
subject.”—Glasgow Herald.

       *       *       *       *       *

English Schools. 1546-1548

By A. F. LEACH, M.A., F.S.A., Late Fellow of All Souls’, Oxford;
Assistant Charity Commissioner.

_Demy 8vo. 12s._

“A very remarkable contribution to the history of secondary education
in England, not less novel in its conclusions than important in the
documentary evidence adduced to sustain them.”—_The Times._

“This is the most valuable book on the history of English Education that
has seen the light for many a long year.”—_The Journal of Education._

       *       *       *       *       *

Spenser’s Faerie Queene

_Complete in Six Volumes. Fcap. 8vo, cloth, 9s. net._

EDITED BY KATE M. WARREN.

Volumes I., II., and III. now ready, _1s. 6d._ net each.

_Also cloth gilt extra, with Photogravure frontispiece, 2s. 6d. each net._

“For school use especially and as a pocket edition this reprint is just
what the general reader requires.”—_Liverpool Daily Post._

“Miss Warren, however, really explains all that is necessary to an
intelligent understanding of the text.”—_Leeds Mercury._

“The text is good, there is a full and accurate glossary, and the
notes are clear and to the point. The introduction, too, is neatly
written.”—_Catholic Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

Some Observations of a Foster Parent

By JOHN CHARLES TARVER.

_Crown 8vo. 6s._

“A very excellent book on the education of the English boy. The book is
one which all parents should diligently read.”—_Daily Mail._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Chronicle of Villani

TRANSLATED BY ROSE E. SELFE.

EDITED BY THE REV. P. H. WICKSTEED.

_Crown 8vo. 6s._

“The book, picturesque and instructive reading as it is, is not less
interesting and still more valuable for readers of Italy’s greatest
poet.”—_Scotsman._

“Perhaps no one book is so important to the student of Dante as the
chronicle of his contemporary Villani.”—_Athenæum._



_At all Libraries and Booksellers._


Adventures in Legend

Tales of the West Highlands.

By the MARQUIS OF LORNE, K.T., M.P.

Fully Illustrated. _Crown 8vo, 6s._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Just Ready._

The Dark Way of Love

By CHARLES A. GOFFIC. Translated by E. WINGATE RINDER.

_Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d._

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Roaring Reuss: Idylls and Stories of the Alps

By W. BRIDGES BIRTT.

With four Full-page Illustrations. _Crown 8vo, 5s._

       *       *       *       *       *

Odd Stories

By FRANCES FORBES ROBERTSON.

_Crown 8vo, 6s._

“Written for the most part in graceful and vigorous English, veined with
a pretty sentiment, and not seldom rising to dramatic power.”—_Pall Mall
Gazette._

“Charming are the short sketches Miss Frances Forbes-Robertson has
reprinted.”—_Illustrated London News._

“Bright and artistic, some of them original, none commonplace.”—_Sketch._

“The book is steeped in an atmosphere of fantasy, which makes us feel as
if we had been to the edge of the world and smelt the flowers which grow
there.”—_Literature._

       *       *       *       *       *

Dracula

By BRAM STOKER. _Crown 8vo, 6s._

“One of the most enthralling and unique romances ever written.”—_The
Christian World._

“The very weirdest of weird tales.”—_Punch._

“Its fascination is so great that it is impossible to lay it aside.”—_The
Lady._

“The idea is so novel that one gasps, as it were, at its originality. A
romance far above the ordinary production.”—_St. Paul’s._

“Much loving and happy human nature, much heroism, much faithfulness,
much dauntless hope, so that as one phantasmal ghastliness follows
another in horrid swift succession the reader is always accompanied by
images of devotion and friendliness.”—_Liverpool Daily Post._

“A most fascinating narrative.”—_Dublin Evening Herald._

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Tideway

By FLORA ANNIE STEEL (Author of “Miss Stuart’s Legacy,” “On the Face of
the Waters,” etc.). _Crown 8vo, 6s._

“It is too late in the day to speak of Mrs. Steel’s position. This is
assured, but this book adds greatly to an established position. It is
profoundly impressive.”—_St. James’s Budget._

“Wonderfully bright and lively both in dialogue and
incidents.”—_Scotsman._



NEW BOOKS FOR CHILDREN


The King’s Story Book

Edited by G. LAURENCE GOMME. With numerous full-page

Illustrations by C. HARRISON MILLER.

_Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s._

“Mr. Gomme has hit upon a happy idea for a ‘story-book,’ and has carried
it out with signal success.”—_Publisher’s Circular._

“Mr. Gomme’s selection is of great interest.”—_St. James’ Gazette._

“The book is most informative, as well as full of interest.”—_Vanity
Fair._

“We give honourable mention to ‘The King’s Story Book.’ It is a book of
stories collected out of English romantic literature. This is a book
that will thrill more than any modern effort of the imagination; a more
striking collection of stories of daring and valour was never got between
two book covers.”—_Pall Mall Gazette_, Nov. 23, 1897.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Laughter of Peterkin

_Crown 8vo, 6s._

A Re-telling of Old Stories of the Celtic Wonder-world. A book for young
and old.

By FIONA MACLEOD.

“This latest and most excellent piece of work of Miss
Macleod’s.”—_Spectator._

“To no more skilful hands than those of Fiona Macleod could the
re-telling of these old tales of the Celtic Wonderland have been
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“The writing is full of beauty and passion.”—_St. James’ Gazette._

“The book is a charming fairy tale.”—_Athenæum._

“This book has so much charm of style and good writing that it will
be eagerly read by many other than the young folk for whom it is
intended.”—_Black and White._

       *       *       *       *       *

A Houseful of Rebels

A Fairy Tale.

By WALTER C. RHOADES. Illustrated by PATTEN WILSON.

_Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 4s. 6d._

“It is exactly the sort of story which will interest.”—_Weekly Sun._

“A charming story, well told, and is beautifully illustrated by Patten
Wilson.”—_Manchester Courier._

“Readers will laugh till they cry over the first fifty pages of a
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       *       *       *       *       *

Songs for Little People

By NORMAN GALE.

Profusely Illustrated by HELEN STRATTON. _Large Crown 8vo, 6s._

“Miss Stratton has headed, and tailed, and bordered the verses with a
series of exquisitely pictured fancies.”—_Bookseller._

“Simple, charming little verses they are of fairies, animals, and
children, and the illustrations are strikingly original.”—_Pall Mall
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       *       *       *       *       *

London Riverside Churches

By A. E. DANIELL

Profusely illustrated by

ALEXANDER ANSTED

_Imperial 16mo, 6s._

“A little time ago Mr. Daniell gave us a book on the churches of the
City of London. He has now turned his attention to ‘London Riverside
Churches.’ He takes the Thames from Greenwich to Kingston, and tells the
stories of the various notable churches touched by this line. The book is
fully illustrated from sketches by Alexander Ansted.”—_Daily Chronicle._

       *       *       *       *       *

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

London City Churches

With Numerous Illustrations and a Map showing the position of each Church.

_Imperial 16mo, 6s._

“Mr. Daniell’s work will prove very interesting reading, as he has
evidently taken great care in obtaining all the facts concerning the City
churches, their history and associations.”—_London._

“The illustrations to this book are good, and it deserves to be widely
read.”—_Morning Post._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Books of the Bible

IN SEPARATE VOLUMES

_Printed in Red and Black. Cloth, paper label, uncut edges, 1s. net;
cloth gilt, 1s. 6d. net; whole leather, 2s. 6d. net._

THE BOOK OF THE PSALMS

    ST. MATTHEW
    ST. MARK
    ST. LUKE
    ST. JOHN

THE FOUR GOSPELS

In One Volume

_Cloth, paper label, 2s. 6d. net; purple cloth gilt, 3s. net; white cloth
gilt, 3s. net; whole leather, 4s. net._

Others to follow.

“Very tasteful in appearance.”—_Glasgow Herald._

“Exquisite volumes.”—_The Globe._

“The edition is very attractive.”—_Westminster Gazette._

“The idea is excellent.”—_The Record._



THREE NOTABLE REPRINTS


Boswell’s Life of Johnson

EDITED BY AUGUSTINE BIRRELL

WITH FRONTISPIECES BY ALEX. ANSTED. A REPRODUCTION OF SIR JOSHUA
REYNOLDS’ PORTRAIT.

_Six Volumes. Foolscap 8vo. Cloth, paper label, or gilt extra, 2s. net
per Volume. Also half morocco, 3s. net per Volume. Sold in Sets only._

“Far and away the best Boswell, I should say, for the ordinary
book-lover, now on the market.”—_Illustrated London News._

“The volumes, which are light, and so well bound that they open easily
anywhere, are exceedingly pleasant to handle and read.”—_St. James’s
Budget._

“Constable’s edition will long remain the best both for the general
reader and the scholar.”—_Review of Reviews._

       *       *       *       *       *

CONSTABLE’S REPRINT OF

The Waverley Novels

THE FAVOURITE EDITION OF SIR WALTER SCOTT

With all the original Plates and Vignettes (Re-engraved). In 48 Vols.
Fcap. 8vo.

_Cloth, paper label title, 1s. 6d. net per Volume, or £3 12s. net the
Set. Also cloth gilt, gilt top, 2s. net per Volume, or £4 16s. net the
Set; and half-leather gilt, 2s. 6d. net per Volume, or £6 net the Set._

“This is one of the most charming editions of the Waverley Novels that we
know, as well as one of the cheapest in the market.”—_Glasgow Herald._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Paston Letters, 1492-1590

Edited by JAMES GAIRDNER, of the Public Record Office

_3 vols. Fcap. 8vo. With 3 Photogravure Frontispieces, cloth gilt extra,
or paper label uncut, 16s. net._

“This edition, which was first published some twenty years ago, is the
standard edition of these remarkable historical documents, and contains
upwards of four hundred letters in addition to those published by Frere
in 1823. The reprint is in three small and compact volumes, and should
be welcome to students of history as giving an important work in a
convenient form.”—_Scotsman._

“One of the monuments of English historical scholarship that needs no
commendation.”—_Manchester Guardian._



POETRY


Selected Poems

By GEORGE MEREDITH

_Crown 8vo. 6s._

“A volume which abounds in imaginative vision as well as intellectual
strength.”—_Standard._

“His poems are achievements of the intellect ... there is wit in them and
genius.”—_Scotsman._

“We hope that a large public will wake up to the high and serious
beauties and the real genius of Mr. Meredith’s finest poetry.”—_St.
James’s Gazette._

“These Selected Poems are a literary store.”—_Scotsman._

       *       *       *       *       *

Songs of Love and Empire

By E. NESBIT

_Now Ready. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt._

       *       *       *       *       *

New Poems

By FRANCIS THOMPSON

_Fcap 8vo, 6s. net._

“There is in these new Poems a wider outlook, a greater breadth of
sympathy than were discovered in their predecessors.”—_Globe._

“A true poet.... At any rate here unquestionably is a new poet, a wielder
of beautiful words, a lover of beautiful things.”—I. ZANGWILL, in the
_Cosmopolitan_, Sept., 1895.

“At least one book of poetry has been published this year that we can
hand on confidently to other generations. It is not incautious to
prophesy that Mr. Francis Thompson’s poems will last.”—_Sketch._

“Mr. Thompson’s new volume will be welcomed by all students and lovers of
the more ambitious forms of poetry.”—_Glasgow Herald._

       *       *       *       *       *

Whitman. A Study

By JOHN BURROUGHS

_12mo. Cloth gilt, 6s. net._

“Altogether the most complete, the most sympathetic, and the most
penetrating estimate of Walt Whitman that has yet been written.”—_Daily
Mail._

       *       *       *       *       *

Fidelis and Other Poems

By C. M. GEMMER

_Foolscap 8vo, cloth gilt, 3s. 6d. net._

“It has undeniable beauty, and it would have been a pity if this and some
of the shorter poems included in the same collection had not seen the
light. Distinction of tone, careful craftsmanship, and a rich vocabulary
characterise most of them.”—_Manchester Guardian._

“Touched with a dainty grace is “Baby-Land.” ... “A Reverie”
in whose tender pathos and stately movement we find an abiding
charm.”—_Literature._

       *       *       *       *       *

A Tale of Boccaccio and Other Poems

By ARTHUR COLES ARMSTRONG.

_Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 5s. net._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Cyclists’ Pocket Book

For the year 1898.

FULL OF INFORMATION.

_Cloth boards, 1s. Leather, 1s. 6d._

A special feature of the 1898 edition of “THE CYCLISTS’ POCKET BOOK” is a
list of Hotels offering advantages to Cyclists in town and country, also
the “CYCLISTS’ TELEGRAPH CODE” (enlarged and improved).

“A very handy little volume ... in size and shape most convenient ...
an excellent little work. Can highly recommend it to our readers.”—_The
Irish Cyclist._

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“Cyclists will pronounce it to be in its way a gem ... appears complete
in every respect.”—_Scotsman._

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quite a novelty.“—_Daily Mail._

“Neatly arranged ... a handy little volume.”—_The Field._

“The telegraphic code ... a very valuable feature.”—_England._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Art and Pastime of Cycling

By R. J. MECREDY AND A. J. WILSON

With Numerous Illustrations. _Paper, 1s.; cloth, 1s. 6d._

“A very useful and well-compiled guide to cycling.”—_Wheeling._

“The treatise is written in simple language, and its directions are
clearly expressed.”—_Sporting Life._

“Will be of great value both to beginners and devotees of the
wheel.”—_Whitehall Review._

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Game of Polo”

By T. F. DALE (_“Stoneclink” of “The Field”_)

Fully Illustrated

_Demy 8vo One Guinea net_

“A handsome volume.... The author, ‘Stoneclink,’ of _The Field_, is one
of the recognised authorities of the sport, and what he does not know
about it is not knowledge.”—_Pall Mall Gazette._

“A book which is likely to rank as the standard work on the
subject.”—_Morning Post._

“The author writes in a pleasant, spirited style, and may be taken as an
admirable guide. A really charming addition to the library of those who
are devoted to the game.”—_The Globe._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

New Popular Edition

OF THE

Works of George Meredith

_Crown 8vo_, 6/- each

With Frontispieces by BERNARD PARTRIDGE, HARRISON MILLER and Others.

    The Ordeal of Richard Feverel      [_Ready._
    Rhoda Fleming                      [_Ready._
    Sandra Belloni                     [_Ready._
    Vittoria                           [_Ready._
    Diana of the Crossways             [_Ready._
    The Egoist                         [_Just Ready._
    Evan Harrington
    The Adventures of Harry Richmond
    Beauchamp’s Career
    One of Our Conquerors
    Lord Ormont and His Aminta
    The Amazing Marriage
    The Shaving of Shagpat
    The Tragic Comedians
    Short Stories
    Poems





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