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Captain C. F. Hall.
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SKETCHES OF THE IMPORTANT
FACTS AND INCIDENTS
IN THE LATEST
AMERICAN EFFORTS TO REACH
THE NORTH POLE
FROM THE SI- COX D GRLX.YELL EXPEDITION TO THAT
OF THE POLARIS.
BY REV. Z. A. MUDGE,
AUTHOR OF u VIEWS FROM PLYMOUTH ROCK," u WITCH HILL," "ARCTIC
HEROES," ETC., ETC.
NEW YORK :
NELSON & PHILLIPS.
CINCINNATI: HITCHCOCK & WALDEN.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
NELSON & PHILLIPS,
in the Oflice of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
FOR more than three hundred years an in
tense desire has been felt by explorers to
discover and reveal to the world the secrets of
the immediate regions of the- North Pole. Nor
has this desire been confined to mere adventur
ers. Learned geographers, skillful navigators,
and scientific men of broad and accurate study,
have engaged in these enterprises with enthu
siastic interest. The great governments of the
Christian world have bestowed upon them lib
erally the resources of their wealth and science,
and never to a greater extent than within the last
three years. Failure seems but to stimulate
exertion. Scarcely have the tears dried on the
faces of the friends of those who have perished
in the undertaking before we hear of the de
parture of a fresh expedition. Something like
a divine inspiration has attended these explora
tions from the first, and their moral tone has
This volume sketches the latest American
efforts, second to no others in heroism and suc
cess, and abounding in instructive and intensely
interesting adventures both grave and gay.
We have followed in this volume, as in its
companion volume, " The Arctic Heroes," the
orthography of Professor Dall, of the Smith
sonian Institution, in some frequently-occurring
I. NORTHWARD 9
II. ANCHORED AT LAST 17
III. THRILLING INCIDENTS 23
IV. LOST AND RESCUED 31
V. MORE HEROIC EXCURSIONS 43
VI. THE OPEN SEA.... 53
VII. AN IMPORTANT MOVEMENT 60
VIII. TREATY MAKING 68
IX. ARCTIC HUNTING 75
X. THE ESCAPING PARTY 89
XI. A GREEN SPOT 99
XII. NETLIK 109
XIII. THE HUT 120
XIV. ESQUIMO TREACHERY 131
XV. LIGHTS AND SHADOWS 142
XVI. DRUGGED ESQUIMO 150
XVII. BACK AGAIN 160
XVIII. SCARES 171
XIX. SEEKING THE ESQUIMO 179
XX. DESERTERS 1 86
XXI. CLOSING INCIDENTS OF THE IMPRISONMENT. 194
XXII. HOMEWARD BOUND 201
XXIII. NARROW ESCAPES . 209
XXIV. ESQUIMO KINDNESS 210
XXV. MELVILLE BAY 221
XXVI. SAVED 228
XXVII. OFF AGAIN 234
XXVIII. COLLIDING FLOES 241
XXIX. THE WINTER HOME 249
XXX. GLACIERS 255
XXXI. A STRANGE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT. 263
XXXII. THE CROWNING SLEDGE JOURNEY 270
XXXIII. LAST INCIDENTS OF THE EXPEDITION 279
XXXIV. SOMETHING NEW 287
XXXV. A FEARFUL STORM 295
XXXVI. THE AURORA 304
XXXVII. THE DYING ESQUIMO 311
XXXVIII. CUNNING HUNTERS 317
XXXIX. ROUND FROBISHER BAY ... 326
XL. THE " POLARIS " 333
XLI. DISASTER 344
XLII. THE LAST OF THE POLARIS " 357
XLIII. THE FEARFUL SITUATION 364
XLIV. THE WONDERFUL DRIFT 371
XLV. THE WONDERFUL ESCAPE 380
CAPTAIN C. F. HALL 2
WALRUSES A FAMILY PARTY 81
CAPTAIN BUDDINGTON 337
UNLOADING STORES FROM THE " POLARIS " 345
PERILOUS SITUATION OF THE " POLARIS " 354
THE readers who have been with us before
into the arctic regions will recollect the good
American brig Advance, and her wonderful drift
during five months, in 1851, from the upper waters
of the Wellington Channel, until she was dropped
in the Atlantic Ocean by the ice-field which in
closed her. Dr. Kane, then her surgeon, took
command of this same vessel, in 1853, for another
search for the lost Franklin. We have seen that
the place of Franklin's disasters and death was
found while Kane was away on this voyage, so the
interest of the present story will not connect with
that great commander, except in the noble pur
poses of its heroes.
The Advance left New York on the thirtieth
of May, having on board, all counted, eighteen men.
Kind hearts and generous purses had secured for
her a fair qutfit in provisions for the comfort of
the adventurers, in facilities for fighting the ice
and cold, and in the means of securing desired
scientific results. Of the thousands who waved
io NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
them a kind adieu from the shore many said sad
ly, "They will never return."
We shall make the acquaintance of the officers
and men as we voyage with them, and a very
agreeable acquaintance we are sure it will be.
The rules by which all agreed to be governed
were these and no others : " Absolute obedience
to the officer in command ; no profane swearing ;
no liquor drunk except by special order."
The voyagers touched at St. John's, and among
other kindnesses shown them was the gift by the
governor of a noble team of nine Newfoundland
At Fiskernaes, the first Greenland port which
they entered, they added to their company Hans
Christian, an Esquimo hunter, nineteen years of
age. Hans was expert with the Esquimo spear
and kayak. He will appear often in our story,
and act a conspicuous part ; he at once, however,
prepossesses us in his favor by stipulating with
Dr. Kane to leave two barrels of bread and fifty
pounds of pork with his mother in addition to the
wages he is to receive. The doctor made his cup
of joy overflow by adding to these gifts to his
mother the present for himself of a rifle and new
The expedition next touched at Lichtenfels.
Dr, Kane obtained here a valuable addition to his
outfit of fur clothing. Stopping at Proven, a sup
ply of Esquimo dogs was completed; lying to
briefly at Upernavik, the most northern port of
civilization, their equipment in furs, ice-tools, and
Notthward. 1 1
other necessary articles known to arctic voyagers,
was rendered still more complete. At this last
port the services of Carl Petersen were engaged
for the expedition. We have met this intelligent,
heroic Dane among our "Arctic Heroes." He
will for a long time appear in the shifting scenes
of our story.
On the twenty-seventh of July the " Advance "
drew near to Melville Bay. The reader who has
accompanied the earlier arctic explorers into this
region will remember their terrific experience in
this bay. Every arctic enemy of the navigator
lurks there. Their attacks are made singly and in
solid combinations. At one time they steal upon
their victim like a Bengal tiger; at other times
they rush upon him with a shout and yell, like a
band of our own savages. Giant icebergs; fierce
storms; cruel nips; silent, unseen, irresistible cur
rents; with ever-changing, treacherous "packs"
and " floes," and the all-pervading, relentless cold,
are some of these enemies. A favorite movement
of these forces is to so adjust themselves as to
promise the advancing explorer or whaler a speedy
and complete success; then, suddenly changing
front, to crush and sink him at once, or to bind
him in icy fetters, a helpless, writhing victim, for
days, weeks, or months, and finally, perhaps, to
bury both ship and men in the dark, deep waters
of the bay.
The "Advance" was; at this time treated by
these guardians of the approach to the North Pole
with exceptional courtesy. We suspect that they
12 XORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
secretly purposed to follow them into more north
ern regions, and there to attack them at even great
er advantage. This they certainly did.
But just to show them what it could and was
minded to do, the evil spirit of the bay invited
them at one time to escape impending danger by
fastening to a huge berg. This they did, after
eight hours of warping, heaving, and planting ice-
anchors, a labor of prostrating exhaustion. Hard
ly had they begun to enjoy the invited hospitality
of the berg, when it began to shower upon them,
like big drops from a summer cloud, pieces of ice
the size of a walnut, accompanied by a crackling,
threatening noise from above. A gale from out of
its hiding-place on shore came sweeping upon
them at the same time, driving before it its icy
supporter. Mischief was evidently intended.
The " Advance " retreated from the berg with all
possible haste, and had barely gone beyond its
reach when it launched after it its whole broadside,
which came crashing into the water with a roar
like a whole park of artillery. Could any thing
be rougher ? But then it was true to its icebergy
The " Advance " was not injured, but the ice
held as a trophy more than two thousand feet
of good whale line, which had to be cut in the
These bergs, though thus harsh and treacherous
as a rule, can do a generous thing. May be, like
some people, they are all the more dangerous on
account of exceptional generosity. The loose ice,
Northward, 1 3
soon after this incident, was drifting south, and
would have borne the navigators with it back from
whence they had come, perhaps for hundreds of
miles. But a majestic berg came along whose
sunken base took hold of the deep water current,
and so. impelled by this current, it sailed grandly
northward, sweeping a wide path through the rot
ten floes. It condescendingly offered to do tug
boat service for the "Advance," and invited its
captain to throw aboard an ice-anchor. We won
der he dared to trust it, but he did, and, grappling
its crystal sides, made good headway for awhile
until other means of favorable voyaging were pre
Soon after the explorers parted from this bergy
friend the midnight sun came out over its north
ern crest, kindling on every part of its surface fires
of varied colors, and scattering over the ice all
around blazing carbuncles, sparkling rubies, and
August fifth the "Advance," fairly clearing the
hated Melville Bay, sailed along the western coast
of the " North Water " of Baffin Bay. At North
umberland Island, at the mouth of Whale Sound,
their eyes were again delighted by an exhibition
of beautiful colors, delicately tinted, but this time
not made by a gorgeous sunrise over a gigantic
iceberg. The snow of the island and its vicinity
bore, over vast areas, a reddish hue, and great
patches of beautiful green mosses broke its monot
ony, while here and there the protruding sandstone
threw in a rich shading of brown. So God paints
14 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the dreariest lands in colors of great beauty, and
scatters over them profusely at times the richest
On the sixth of August they passed the frowning
headland of Smith's Sound, known as Cape Alex
ander. It'stands like the charred trunk and limbs
of some mighty oak, at the entrance of an unex
plored, gloomy forest, seen in the murky dark
ness. Cape Alexander seemed a mighty sentinel
of evil purpose, toward all who dared pass to the
mysterious regions beyond. It inspired the sailors
with superstitious fear, and admonished their offi
cers that eternal vigilance must be the price of
safety in the waters beyond.
Arriving at Littleton Island, our explorers built
a monument of stones as a conspicuous object from
the sea, surmounted by the stripes and stars, put
under it a record of their voyage thus far, and, two
miles north and east, upon the mainland, deposited
a metallic life-boat, with provisions and various
stores. These were for a resort in case of acci
dent in their further progress.
While making this deposit they discovered the
remains of Esquimo huts, and graves of some of
their former occupants. The dead had been bur
ied in a sitting posture, their knees drawn close to
their bodies; the few simple implements belonging
to the deceased were buried with them. In one
grave was a child's toy spear. So even the rude
Esquimo child has its toys, and, no doubt, the
mother looks upon its trinkets, as she lays them be
side its dead body, with tearful interest.
Northward. 1 5
Soon after making these deposits in the life-boat,
the "Advance," while making a vigorous struggle
with the broken ice, was borne into a land-locked
inlet, which Dr. Kane called Refuge Harbor. It
was rather a cosy place for an arctic shore, and in
it the explorers waited for the movement of the
While here they were much annoyed by their
dogs, fifty in number. Two bears had been shot,
which were the only game which had been taken
for them. They were now on short allowance, and
were as ravenous as wolves. They gulped down al
most any thing which could go down their throats,
even devouring at one time a part of a feather-bed.
Dr. Kane's specimens of natural history fared hard
at their jaws. He happened once to set down in
their way two nests of large sea-fowl. They were
filled with feathers, filth, moss and pebbles a full
peck, but the dogs made a rush for them and gob
bled down the whole. There were plenty of
wolves not far from the brig, on which they delight
ed to feed. But the hunters had no luck in trying
to take them. Rifle balls glanced from their thick
hides as if they had been peas from a toy gun.
They needed the Esquimo harpoon and the Es-
quimo skill. But fortunately a dead narwhal, or
sea-unicorn, was found. Under its soothing influ
ence, when fed out to them, the dogs became more
After remaining a few days at Refuge Harbor,
a desperate push was made to get the vessel far
ther north and east. For twelve days they man-
1 6 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES. .
fully battled with the ice, and made forty miles.
This brought them to the bottom of a broad shal
low bay, which they named Force Bay. Here they
fastened the brig to a shelving, rocky ledge near
Anchored at Last. 17
ANCHORED AT LAST.
ON Wednesday, August seventeenth, the her
alds of a storm from the South reached the
brig. They made their announcement by hurling
against her sides some heavy floe-pieces. Under
standing this hint of what was coming, the explor
ers clung to their rocky breakwater by three
heavy hawsers. Louder and louder roared the
blast, and more fiercely crashed the ice which it
hurled against the ledge. At midnight one of the
cables, the smaller of the three, parted, and the
storm seemed to shout its triumph at this success as
it assailed the writhing vessel more vigorously.
But the ledge broke the power in a measure of
the wind and ice, and was, indeed, a godsend to
the imperiled men, so they put it down on their
chart as Godsend Ledge.
The next day the huge, human-faced walrus came
quite near the brig in great numbers, shaking their
grim, dripping fronts. The dovekies, more cheer
ful visitors, scud past toward the land. Both wal
rus and fowls proclaimed in their way the terrible-
ness of the increasing tempest. The place of the
broken hawser had been supplied, and the worried
craft strained away at three strong lines which
held on bravely. Everything on board was stowed
1 8 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
,away, or lashed securely, which could invite an as
sault by the wind.
Saturday, late in the afternoon, Dr. Kane, wet,
and weary with watching, went below and threw
himself for rest and warmth into his berth. Scarce
ly had he done this before a sharp, loud twang
brought him to his feet. One of the six-inch haw
sers had parted ; its sound had scarcely been lost
in the uproar before a sharp and shrill " twang !
twang! " announced the snapping of the whale line.
The brig now clung to the ledge by a single cable
a new ten- inch manilla line, which held on
grandly. The mate came waddling down into the
cabin as the doctor was drawing on his last article
of clothing to go on deck. " Captain Kane," he
exclaimed, " she wont hold much longer ; it's blow
ing the devil himself."
All hands now gathered about the brave manilla
line on which their fate seemed to depend. Its
deep Eolian chant mingled solemnly with the rat
tle of the rigging and the moaning of the shrouds,
and died away in the tumult of the conflicting
wind and sea. The sailors were loud in its praises
as they watched it with bated breath. It was sing
ing its death song, for, with the noise of a shotted
gun, and a wreath of smoke, it gave way, and out
plunged the brig into the rushing current of the
Two hours of hard and skillful labor were be
stowed on the vessel to get her back to the ledge ;
first by beating, or trying to do so, up into the
wind ; and then by warping along the edge of the
Anchored at Last. 19
solid floe, but all in vain. A light sail was then
set, that they might keep command of the helm,
and away they scud through a tortuous lead filled
with heavy, broken ice.
At seven o'clock on Sunday morning the vessel
was heading, under full way, upon huge masses of
ice. The heaviest anchor was thrown out to stay
her speed. But the ice-torrent so crowded upon
the poor craft that a buoy was hastily fastened to
the chain, and it was slipped, and away went " the
best bower," the sailor's trusted friend in such dan
The vessel now went banging and scraping
against the floes, one of which was forty feet
thick, and many of which were thirty feet. These
collisions smashed in her bulwarks, and covered
her deck with icy fragments. Yet the plucky lit
tle brig returned to the conflict after every blow
with only surface wounds.
These assaults failing to turn back or to de
stroy the little invading stranger, the arctic warri
ors now brought into the field their mightiest
champions. Not far ahead, and apparently clos
ing the lead, was a whole battalion of icebergs.
It was an unequal fight, and down upon them,
with pnwilling haste, came the "Advance." As
it approached it was seen that a narrow line of
clear water ran between the bergs and the solid,
high wall of the floe. Into this the vessel shot,
with the high wind directly after it. The sailors,
caps in hand, were almost ready to send to the
baffled enemy a shout of triumph, when the wind
2O NORTH-POLE VOYAGES..
died away into a lull, which amounted, for a mo
ment, to almost a dead calm. But on that mo
ment the fate of the expedition appeared to hang.
The enemy saw his opportunity and began to
close up. There seemed no possible escape for
the brig. On one side was the steep ice-wall of
the floe, on which there could be no warping. On
the other were the slowly but steadily advancing
bergs in a compact line. Just in time, the anx
ious, waiting, and almost breathless crew, hailed
their deliverer. It was a broad, low, platform-
shaped berg, over which the water washed. It
came sailing swiftly by, and into it they planted an
ice-anchor attached to a tow line. Away galloped
their crystal racer, outrunning the " pale horse "
which followed them ! So narrow became the
channel between the bergs and floe e'er they
reached the open water beyond, that the yards
had to be " squared " to prevent them from being
carried away, and the boats suspended over the
sides were taken on deck to prevent them from be
ing crushed. They came round under the lee of a
great berg, making the enemy of a moment ago
their protector now. Dr. Kane says: " Never did
heart-tried men acknowledge with greater grati
tude their merciful deliverance from a wretched
But the fight was not over. A sudden flaw
puffed the "Advance" from its hiding-place, and
drove it again into the drifting ice along the edge
of the solid floe. Once she was lifted high in the
air on the crest of a great wave, and, as it slipped
. Anchored at Last. 21
from under her, she came down with tremendous
force against the floe. The masts quivered like,
reeds in the wind, and the poor craft groaned like
a struck bullock.
At last they reached a little pond of water near
the shore. They had drifted since morning across
Force Bay, ten miles. A berg, with pretended
friendliness, came and anchored between the brig
and the storm. The situation seemed to warrant
a little rest, and the men went below and threw
themselves into their bunks. Dr. Kane was yet
on deck, distrusting the treacherous ice. Scarcely
had the men begun to sleep before the vessel re
ceived a thump and a jerk upward. All hands
were instantly on deck. Great ice-tables, twenty
feet thick, crowding forward from the shore side
with a force as from a sliding mountain, pressed
the vessel against the shore front of the berg ; had
this been a perpendicular wall, no wood and iron
wrought into a vessel could have prevented a gen
eral crash. But the unseen Hand was apparent
again. The berg was sloping, and up its inclined
plane the vessel went, in successive jerks. The
men leaped upon the ice to await the result.
Personal effects, such as could be carried and were
deemed indispensable, were in readiness in the
cabin for leave-taking. Sledge equipments and
camping conveniences were put in order and
placed at hand. The explorers had experienced
a midnight assault, and were ready for the flight.
But Dr. Kane bears warm testimony concerning
the coolness and self-possession of every man.
22 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
While awaiting the fate of the vessel, on which
hung their own fate also, not a sound was heard
save the roaring of the wind, the crashing ice, and
the groaning of the vessel's timbers, as she re
ceived shock after shock, and mounted steadily up
the ice-mountain. Having attained a cradle high
and dry above the sea, the brig rested there sev
eral hours. Finally she quietly settled down into
her old position among the ice rubbish of the
When the escape was apparent, there was for a
moment a deep-breathing silence among the men,
before the rapturous outburst of joyful congratu
While this last thrilling incident had been tran
spiring, four of the men were missing. They had
gone upon the ice some hours before to carry out
a warp, and had been carried away on an ice-
raft. When the morning came, and the vessel
grounded in a safe place, a rescue party was sent
out, who soon returned with them. A little rest
was now obtained by all.
Thrilling Incidents. 23
AFTER a brief rest our explorers continued
their voyage. They warped the vessel round
the cape near which they found shelter, into a bay
which opened to the north and west. Along the
shore of this bay they toiled for several days and
reached its head. It seemed impossible to go far
ther, for the ice was already thick and the winter
at hand. A majority of the officers, in view of
these facts, advised a return south. But Dr. Kane
thought they might winter where they were, or
further north if the vessel could be pushed through
the ice, and their explorations be made with dog-
sledges. To learn more fully the practicability of
his view he planned a boat excursion. While this
was in contemplation an incident came near end
ing all further progress of the expedition. The
brig grounded in the night, and was left suddenly
by the receding tide on her beam ends. The
stove in the cabin, which was full of burning coal,
upset and put the cabin in a blaze. It was choked
by a pilot-cloth overcoat until water could be
brought. No other harm was done than the loss
of the coat and a big scare.
About the first of September the doctor and seven
volunteers started in the boat " Forlorn Hope "
24 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
to see the more northern shore-line.. The boat
was abandoned at the end of twenty-four hours,
all the water having turned to ice, and the party
tramped many a weary mile, carrying their food
and a few other necessary things. Dr. Kane at
tained an elevation of eleven hundred feet, from
which; with his telescope, he looked north beyond
the eightieth degree of latitude, and through a
wide extent of country east and west. From this
observation he decided that sledging with dogs
into and beyond this region was practicable.
This had seemed doubtful before. He therefore
returned with the decision to put the " Advance "
into winter-quarters immediately.
A few facts interesting to the scientific were
learned on this excursion. A skeleton of a musk
ox was found, showing they had been, at no dis
tant time, visitors to this coast. Additions were
made to their flowering plants, and up to this date
twenty-two varieties had been found.
The brig was now drawn in between two islands,
and the mooring lines carried out. The explorers
were in a sheltered, and, as to the ice, safe winter
home. They called it Rensselaer Harbor. Near
them an iceburg had anchored as if to watch their
movements. A fresh-water pond on the upland
promised them its precious treasure if they would
cut for it. An island a few rods distant they
named Butler Island, and on this they built a store
house. A canal was cut from the brig to this isl
and, and kept open by renewed cutting every
morning. They then run the boat through this
Thrilling Incidents. 25
canal, thus transferring the stores from the hold to
While one party was thus engaged, others were
equally busy in other directions. The scientific
corps selected a small island which they called
Fern Rock, and put up a rude " observatory," from
which not only the stars were to be watched, but
the weather, the meteors, and the electrical cur
rents were to be noted.
While this outside work was going on Dr. Kane
was taxing his ingenuity to arrange the brig, now
made roomy by the removal of the stores, so as to
have it combine the greatest convenience, warmth,
and healthfulness. A roof was put over the upper
deck, which was then made to answer for a prom
enade deck for pleasure and health.
Even the wolfish Esquimo dogs were remem
bered in this general planning. A nice dog house,
cozy and near, was made for them on Butler Isl
and. But the dogs had notions of their own
about their quarters. Though so savage at all
'times as to be willing to eat their masters if not
kept in abject fear, yet they refused to sleep out
of the sound of their voices. They would leave
their comfortable quarters on the island and hud
dle together in the snow, exposed to the severest
cold, to be within the sound of human voices. So
they had to be indulged with kennels on deck.
While these matters were being attended to the
hunters scoured the country to learn what the
prospect was for game. They extended their
excursions ninety miles, and returned with a
26 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
report not very encouraging. They saw a few rein
deer, and numerous hares and rabbits. It was
plain that hunting would not make large returns.
The winter came on with its shroud of darkness.
On the tenth of September the sun made but a
short circuit above the horizon before it disap
peared again. In one month it would cease to
show its disk above the surrounding hills; then
would come a midday twilight for a few days, fol
lowed by nearly a hundred days of darkness in
which no man could work. Even now, at noon,
the stars glowed brightly in the heavens, though
but few of them were the familiar stars of the
While the work of which we have spoken was
going on Dr. Kane's thoughts were much upon the
necessity of establishing, before the winter nights
fully set in, provision depots at given distances
northward for at least sixty miles. These would
be necessary for a good start in the early spring
of a dog-sledge journey North Poleward. For the
spring work the Newfoundland dogs, of which he
had ten, were in daily training. Harnessed to a
small, strong, beautifully made sledge called " Lit
tle Willie," the doctor drove his team around the
brig in gallant style. These Newfoundlanders
were a dependence for heavy draught. The Es-
quimo dogs were in reserve for the long, peril
ous raids of the earnest exploration into darkness
and over hummocks.
While all this busy preparation was going on
the morning and evening prayers were strictly
Thrilling Incidents. 27
maintained, bringing with them a soothing assur
ance of the Divine care.
On the twentieth of September the provision de
posit party started on an experimental journey. It
consisted of seven men in all, M'Gary and Bonsall
officers. They carried about fourteen hundred
pounds of mixed stores for the " cairns." They
took these stores upon the strong, thorough-built
sledge " Faith," and drew it themselves, by a har
ness for each man, consisting of a " rue-raddy," or
shoulder-belt, and track-line. The men then gen
erously did a service they would in future have
the dogs do.
While this party was gone the home work went
on, enlivened by several incidents involving the
most appalling dangers, yet not without some
The first was occasioned by rats. What right
these creatures had in the expedition is not appar
ent ; nor do we see what motive impelled them to
come at all. If it was a mere love of adventure,
they, as do most adventurers, found that the results
hardly paid the cost. They were voted a nuisance,
but how to abate it was a difficult question. The
first experiment consisted of a removal of the men
to a camp on deck for a night, and a fumigation
below, where the rats remained, of a vile compound
of brimstone, burnt leather, and arsenic. But the
rats survived it bravely.
The next experiment was with carbonic acid
gas. This proved a weapon dangerous to han
dle. Dr. Hays burnt a quantity of charcoal, and
28 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the hatches were shut down after starting three
The gas generated below rapidly, and nobody
was expected, of course, to go where it was. But
the French cook, Pierre Schubert, thinking his
soup needed seasoning, stole into the cook room.
He was discerned by Morton, staggering in the
dark ; and, at the risk of his own life, he sprung to
his relief, and both reached the deck bewildered,
the cook entirely insensible.
Soon after this Dr. Kane thought he smelt a
strange odor. The hatches were removed and he
went below. After a short tour between decks, he
was passing the door which led to the carpenter's
room, and he was amazed to see three feet of the
deck near it a glowing fire. Beating a hasty re
treat, he fell senseless to the floor at the foot of the
stairs which led to the upper deck. The situa
tion was critical. A puff of air might envelope the
hold in flames, with the doctor an easy victim;
but the divine Hand still covered him. Mr.
Brooks, reaching down, drew him out. Coming to
the air the doctor recovered immediately and
communicated his startling discovery quietly to
those only near him. Water was passed up from
the " fire-hole " along side, kept open for just such
emergencies. Dr. Kane and Ohlsen went below,
water was dashed on, and they were safe.
The dead bodies of twenty-eight rats were the
net result of this onslaught with carbonic acid gas.
But they were but few among so many. The rat
army was yet in fighting order.
Thilling Incidents. 29
The other incident was less serious, yet quite on
the verge of fatal consequences. Several Esqui-
mo dogs became the mothers of nice little fam
ilies. Now these young folks in the kennels were
considered intruders by the master of the vessel
rather hard on them since they were not to blame
in the matter. But it happens with dogs as with
the human race, that they sometimes suffer with
out fault of their own. Six puppies were thrown
overboard ; two died for the good their skins might
do as mittens ; and, alas ! seven died more dread
ful deaths they were eaten by their mammas !
Whether these puppy calamities bore heavily upon
the brains of the dog mothers or not we cannot tell,
but the fact recorded is that one of them went
distracted. She walked up and down the deck
with a drooping head and staggering gait. Finally
she snapped at Petersen, foamed at the mouth,
and fell at his feet. " She is mad ! " exclaimed
Petersen. " Hydrophobia ! " was the dreadful cry
which passed about the deck. Dr. Kane ran for
his gun. He was not a moment too soon in reap
pearing with it. The dog had recommenced her
running and snapping at those near. The New
foundland dogs were not out of her reach, and the
hatches leading below were open. But a well-di
rected shot ended at once her life and the danger.
It was now the tenth of October. The sun,
though just appearing above the horizon to the sur
rounding country, only sparkled along the edge of
the hill-tops to the gazers from the " Advance."
The depot party had been gone twenty days, and
3O NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Dr. Kane was beginning to feel anxious about
them. He harnessed four of his best Newfound
landers into the " Little Willie," and, accompanied
by John Blake, started in search of them.
For a little time the party progressed very well.
But after awhile the new ice between the broken
floes was found thin. The seams thus frozen had
to be leaped. Sometimes they were wide, and the
dogs in their attempts to. spring across broke in.
Three times in less than as many hours one had
received an arctic bath. The men trotted along
side, leaping, walking, running, and shouting to
the dogs. Extended and exhausting diversions
were made to avoid impassable chasms or too
steep hummocks. Thus four days had passed in
a fruitless search for the missing ones.
On the morning of the fifth day, about two hours
before the transient sun showed his glowing disk,
Dr. Kane climbed an iceberg to get a sight of the
road ahead. In the dim distance on the snow a
black spot was seen. Is it a bear? No, it now
stretches out into a dark line. It is the sledge
party ! They see their leader's tent by the edge
of a thinly-frozen lead ; into this they launch their
boat and come on, singing as they come. The doc
tor, in breathless suspense, waits until they draw
near, and counts them : one, two, three, four, five,
six, seven ! They are all safe ! Three cheers go
up from both parties, followed by hearty hand
shaking and congratulations. The depot enter
prise was a success.
Lost and Rescued. 3 1
LOST AND RESCUED.
THE sun had disappeared, but the moon com
pleted her circuit in the heavens with great
beauty. Her nearest approach to the horizon was
twenty-five degrees. For eight days after the re
turn of the party to the vessel it shone with almost
unclouded brightness, as if to give them a joyful
When November came our explorers were well
settled in their winter-quarters. They had made
them by judicious ventilation and a careful distri
bution of heat tolerably comfortable. Below decks
they had a uniform temperature of sixty-five de
grees above zero, and under the housing of the
upper deck it never went below zero, while out
side the thermometer averaged twenty-five degrees
While shut up in the darkness, relieved only by
the light from the sparkling stars and the glowing
moon, the daily routine of the ship's duties were
strictly performed. Each had his assigned work.
The monotonous meals came at the stated hour,
and the bell noted the changing watches. The
morning and evening prayers, and the religious
observance of the Sabbath, were pleasant and
profitable prompters to serious thought. These
32 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
became more and more needed as the inactive sea
son progressed. The continued darkness without,
made dense often by heavy clouds, wore upon
the spirits of the men ; besides, their light within
became less cheerful by the failure of the supply
of oil. The lamps refused to burn poor lard, and
muddy corks and wads of cotton floating as tapers
in saucers filled with it gave but a lurid light and
emitted an offensive smoke and odor. It would
be strange, indeed, if in this ice-imprisoned com
pany there were no homesick ones, however brave
ly the feeling might be suppressed. Hans, the
Esquimo, at one time packed his clothes and
shouldered his rifle to bid the brig's company
good-bye. A desperate, lone journey homeward
he would have had of it ! It was whispered that
in addition to his drawings to his mother there
was at Fiskernes a lady-love. He, however, was
persuaded to stay on shipboard, and Dr. Kane
gave him for his sickness a dose of salts and pro
motion. They worked well, and he seems to have
been very contented afterward.
The usual resort was had to dramatic perform
ances, fancy balls, and the publication of a paper
called the " Ice-blink." A favorite sport was the
" fox-chase," in which each sailor in turn led off
as fox in a run round the upper deck, followed by
the rest in chase. Dr. Kane offered a Guernsey
shirt as a prize to the man who held out the long
est in the chase. William Godfrey sustained the
chase for fourteen minutes, and wore off the shirt.
November twenty-seventh the commander sent
Lost and Rescued. 33
out a volunteer party under Bonsall to see if the
Esquimo had returned to the huts which had
been seen in the fall. The darkness at noon
day was too great for reading, and the cold was
terrible. The party returned after one night's
encamping, the sledge having broken, and the
tent and luggage being left behind. A few days
after Morton started alone to recover the lost ar
ticles. In two days and a half he returned bring
ing every thing. He tramped in that time, with the
cold forty degrees below zero, sixty-two miles,
making only three halts. The darkness during
the time was such that a hummock of ice fifty
paces ahead could hardly be seen.
The effect of the darkness on the dogs was very
marked, but so long as there was any sledging for
them to do their spirits kept up. One of the
Newfoundlands, named Grim, was a character. He
was noted for a profound appreciation of his din
ner, of which he never had enough, for a disrelish
for work, and a remarkable knowledge of the arts
of hypocrisy. His cunning fawning, and the be
seeching wink of his eye, procured for him warm
quarters in the deck-house, and a bed on the cap
tain's fur coat, while his fellows had to be content
with their kennel. Though Grim thus proved his
knowledge of the best place at the dog-.table, and
the best bits it afforded, as well as the best place
to sleep, he never could understand a call to the
sledge-harness. He always happened at such
times to be out of the way. Once, when the dog-
team was about to start, he was found hid in a
34 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
barrel, and was bid join the party. But Grim was
equal to the occasion. He went limping across
the deck, as much as to say, Would you have a
poor lame dog go? The joke was so cute that he
was allowed to remain at home, and after that he
became suddenly lame as soon as a movement to
ward the sledges was made. Grim thus attained
the usual success of shallow-brained, flattering
hypocrisy many favors and universal contempt.
His end, too, was very befitting his life. His mas
ter, thinking he was becoming too fat in his lazy
dignity, commanded him to join a sledge party.
Grown presumptuous by indulgence, he refused,
and showed his teeth, besides pleading lameness.
But the order was peremptory this time, and a
rope was put round his body and attached to the
sledge, and he was made to trot after his faithful
fellows. At the first halt he contrived to break
the rope, and, carrying a few feet of it dragging
after him, started in the darkness for the ship.
Not having come home when the party returned,
search was made for him with lanterns, as it was
thought the rope might have caught and detained
him in the hummock. His tracks were found not
far from the vessel, and then they led away to the
shore. Old Grim was never seen again.
Grim could be spared, but the explorers were
much alarmed soon after his death by a strange
disease among the whole pack. They were at
times frenzied, and then became stupid. They
were taken below, nursed, tended, and doctored
with anxiety and care, for on them much de-
Lost and Rescued. 35
pended. But all died except six. Their death
threw a cloud over the prospect of further success
But a still darker event threatened the explor
ers. Every man was more or less touched with
the scurvy, except two, and some were prostrate.
It was with great joy, therefore, that, on the twenty-
first of January, 1854, they saw the orange-colored
tints of the sun faintly tracing the top of the dis
tant hills. Daylight and game would be impor
tant medicines for the sick. A month later and
Dr. Kane made a long walk, and a hard scramble
up a projecting crag of a headland of the bay, and
bathed in his welcome rays. It was about a week
later before he was seen from the deck of the
A very busy company now was that on board
the brig, making preparations for spring work.
The carpenter was making and mending sledges ;
the tinker making and mending cooking appa
ratus for the journeys; many busy hands were at
work on the furs and blankets for a complete
renewed outfit for wearing and sleeping. But
though March had come, the average cold was
greater than at any time before. Still a sledge
party was in readiness to start by the middle of
the month, to carry provisions for a new deposit
beyond those made in the fall. The party con
sisted of eight men. A new sledge had' been
made, smaller than the " Faith," and adapted to the
reduced dog-team. To this the load was lashed,
a light boat being placed on top. The men har-
36 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
nessed in but could hardly start it. The boat was
then removed and two hundred pounds of the
load, and thus relieved away they went, cheered
by the hearty " God bless you ! " of their ship
mates. Dr. Kane had added to their provisions
by the way, as an expression of good-will, the
whole of his brother's " great wedding cake."
But as they started their ever watchful com
mander thought he saw more good-will than
ability to draw the load, and a suspicion, too, im
pressed him that the new sledge was not all right.
So he followed, and found them in camp only five
miles away. He said nothing about any new or
ders for the morning, laughed at the rueful faces
of some of them, and heard Petersen's defense of
his new sledge as the best which could be made.
He saw them all tucked away in their buffaloes,
and returned to the brig. We have before re
ferred to a sledge called the " Faith." It was built
by Dr. Kane's order, after an English pattern, ex
cept that the runners were made lower and wider.
It had been thought too large for the present
party. The doctor now called up all his remaining
men. The " Faith " was put on deck, her runners
polished, lashings, a canvas covering, and track-
lines were adjusted to her. By one o'clock that
night the discarded two hundred pounds of pro
visions and the boat were lashed on, and away
the men went for their sleeping comrades. They
were still sound asleep when the " Faith " arrived.
The load of the new boat was quietly placed upon
it, all put in traveling order, and it was started off
Lost and Rescued. 37
on an experimental trip with five men. The suc
cess was perfect. The sleepers were then awak
ened, and all were delighted at the easier draught
of the heavier load. Dr. Kane and his party re
turned to the vessel with the discarded sledge.
Ten days slipped away, and no tidings from the
depot party. The work of clearing up the ship,
and putting the finishing touch to the preparation
for the distant northern excursion, which was to
crown the efforts of the expedition, and unlock, it
was hoped, at last, some of the secrets of the
North Pole, progressed daily. At midnight of
the eleventh day a sudden tramp was heard on
deck, and immediately Sontag, Ohlsen, and Peter-
sen entered the cabin. Their sudden coming was
not so startling as their woe-begone, bewildered
looks. It was with difficulty that they made their
sad tale known. Brooks, Baker, Wilson, and Schu
bert were all lying on the ice, disabled, with Irish
Tom Hickey, who alone was able to minister to
their wants. The escaped party had come, at the
peril of their own lives, to get aid. They had
evidently come a long distance, but how far, and
where they had left the suffering ones, they could
not tell, nor were they in a condition to be ques
While the urgent necessities of the new comers
were being attended to, Dr. Kane and others were
getting ready the "Little Willie," with a buffalo
cover, a small tent, and a package of prepared
meat called pemmican. Ohlsen seemed to have
his senses more than the others, though he was
38 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
sinking with exhaustion, having been fifty hours
without rest. Dr. Kane feeling that he must have
a guide or fail to find the lost ones, Ohlsen was
put in a fur bag, his legs wrapped up in dog-skins
and eider down, and then he was strapped on the
Off dashed the rescue party, nine men besides
their commander, carrying only the clothes on
their backs. The cold was seventy-eight degrees
below the freezing point.
Guided by icebergs of colossal size, they hurried
across the bay, and traveled sixteen hours with
some certainty that they were on the right track.
They then began to lose their way. Ohlsen, ut
terly exhausted, had fallen asleep, and when
awakened was plainly bewildered. He could tell
nothing about the way, nor the position of the lost
ones. He had before said that it was drifting
heavily round them when they were left. The
situation of the rescue party was becoming critical,
and the chance of helping the lost seemed small
indeed ; they might be anywhere within forty
Thus situated Dr. Kane moved on ahead, and
clambered up some ice-piles and found himself
upon a long, level floe. Thinking the provision
party might have been attracted by this as a place
to camp, he determined to examine it carefully.
He gave orders to liberate Ohlsen, now just able to
walk, from his fur bag, and to pitch the tent ; then
leaving tent, sledge, and every thing behind, ex
cept a small allowance of food taken by each man,
Lost and Rescued. 39
he commanded the men to proceed across the floe
at a good distance from each other. All obeyed
cheerfully and promptly, and moved off at a
lively step to keep from freezing; yet somehow,
either from a sense of loneliness, or involuntarily,
there was a constant tendency of the men to hud
dle together. Exhaustion and cold told fearfully
upon them ; the stoutest were seized with trem
bling fits and short breath, and Dr. Kane fell
twice fainting on the snow. They had now been
eighteen hours out without food or rest, and the
darkness of their situation seemed to have no ray
of light, when Hans shouted that he thought he
saw a sledge track. Hardly daring to believe that
their senses did not deceive them, they traced it
until footsteps were apparent ; following these
with religious care they came after awhile in sight
of a small American flag fluttering from a hum
mock. Lower down they espied a little Masonic
banner hanging from a tent pole barely above the
drift. It was the camp of the lost ones ! It was
found after an unfaltering march of twenty-one
hours. The little tent was nearly covered by the
Dr. Kane was the last to come up, and when he
reached the tent his men were standing in solemn
silence upon each sme of it. With great kindness
and delicacy of feeling they intimated their wish
that he should be the first to go in.
He lifted the canvas and crawled in, and in the
darkness felt for the poor fellows, who were
stretched upon their backs. A burst of welcome
4<D NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
within was answered by a joyful shout without.
" We expected you," said one, embracing the
doctor ; " we knew you would come ! " For the
moment all perils, hunger, and exhaustion were
forgotten amid the congratulations and gratitude.
The company now numbered fifteen, the cold
was intense, but one half the number had to keep
stirring outside while the rest crowded into the
little tent to sleep. Each took a turn of two hours,
and then preparations were made to start home
They took the tent, furs for the rescued party,
and food for fifty hours, and abandoned every
thing else. The tent was folded and laid on the
sledge, a bed was then made of eight buffalo skins,
the sick, having their limbs carefully sewed up in
reindeer skins, were then put in a reclining posi
tion on the bed, and other furs and blanket bags
thrown around them. The whole was lashed to
gether, allowing only a breathing place opposite
the mouth. This embalming of the sufferers, and
getting them a good meal, cost four hours of ex
posure in a cold that had become fifty-five degrees
minus. Most of the rescuers had their fingers
nipped by the frost. .
When all was ready the t^ole company united
in a short prayer.
Now commenced the fearful journey. The
sledge and its load weighed elev-en hundred
pounds. The hummocks were many ; some of
them were high, and long deviations round them
must be made ; some which they climbed over,
Lost and Rescued. 41
lifting the sledge after them, were crossed by nar
row chasms filled with light snow fearful traps
into which if one fell his death was almost certain.
Across these the sledge was drawn, some of them
being too wide for it to bridge them, so it had to
be sustained by the rope, and steadily too, for the
sick could not bear to be lashed so tight as not to
be liable to roll off, and the load was top-heavy.
In spite of these obstacles all went bravely for six
hours. The abandoned tent was nine miles ahead,
the sledge on which life depended bravely bore
every strain, the new floe was gained, and the
traveling improved, so that good hope was enter
tained that the tent, its covert and rest, would be
gained. Just then a strange feeling came over
nearly the whole party. Some begged the privi
lege of sleeping. They were not cold, they said ;
they did not mind the wind now ; all they wanted
was a little sleep. Others dropped on the snow
and refused to get up. One stood bolt upright,
and, with closed eyes, could not be made to speak.
The commander boxed, jeered, argued, and repri
manded his men to no purpose. A halt was made
and the tent pitched. No fire could be obtained,
for nobody's fingers were limber enough to strike
fire, so no food or water could be had.
Leaving the company in charge of M'Gary,
with orders to come on after four hours' rest, Dr.
Kane and Godfrey went forward to the tent to get
ready a fire and cooked food. They reached the
tent in a strange sort of stupor. They remem
bered nothing only that a bear trotted leisurely
42 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ahead of them, stopping once to tear a jumper to
pieces which one of the men had dropped the day
before, and pausing to toss the tent contemptuously
aside. They set it up with difficulty, crept into
their fur bags, and slept intensely for three hours.
They then arose, succeeded in lighting the cook
ing lamp, and had a steaming soup ready when
the rest arrived.
Refreshed with food and rest, the feeble re-ad
justed, they commenced the home stretch. Once
the old sleepiness came over them, and they in
turn slept three minutes by the watch and were
benefited. They all reached the brig at one
o'clock P. M. All were more or less delirious
when they arrived, and could remember nothing
of what had happened on the way, with slight ex
ception. The rescue party had been out seventy-
two hours ; of this time only eight hours were
spent in halting. They had traveled about eighty-
five miles, most of the distance dragging their
Dr. Hayes took the sick in hand. Two lost one
or more toes ; and two, Jefferson Baker, a boyhood
playfellow of Dr. Kane, and Pierre Schubert, the
French cook, died.
More. Heroic Excursions. 43
MORE HEROIC EXCURSIONS.
ON the seventh of April, a week after the
return of the party just noted, our explorers
were startled by shouts from the shore. Dark fig
ures were seen standing along the edges of the
land ice, or running to and fro in wild excitement.
It was not difficult to make them out as a company
of Esquimo. Dr. Kane, seeing by their wild ges
ticulations that they were unarmed, walked out
and beckoned to a brawny savage, who seemed to
be a leader, to approach. He understood the sign,
and came forward without fear. He was full a
head taller than the doctor, and his limbs seemed
to have the strength of those of the bear. He
was dressed with a fox skin, hooded jumper,
white bear-skin trousers, and bear-skin boots tipped
with the claws. Though he had evidently never
before seen a white man, he manifested no fear.
His followers soon crowded around and began to
use great freedom, showing an inclination to rush
on board the ship. This they were made to un
derstand they must not do. Petersen came out
and acted as interpreter, and matters went on
more smoothly. The leader, whose name was
Metek, was taken on board, while the rest remained
on the ice. They brought up from behind the
44 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
floes fifty-six dogs and their sledges, and, thrusting
a spear into the ice, picketed them about the vessel.
While Dr. Kane and Metek were having their
interview in the cabin, word was sent out that
others might come on board. Nine or ten mounted
the ladder with boisterous shouts, though ignorant
of how Metek had fared. They went every-where,
handled every thing, talked and laughed inces
santly, and stole whatever they could. Finally all
hands had to be mustered, and restraint laid upon
the Esquimo to keep them within due bounds.
This they took good naturedly; ran out and in the
vessel, ate, and finally sat down like tired children,
their heads drooping upon their breasts, and slept,
snoring the while most famously.
In the morning, before they departed, the com
mander assembled them on deck for an official
interview. He enlarged upon his wonderful qual
ities as a chief, and the great benefits to his visit
ors of his friendship. He then entered into a
treaty with them, the terms of which were very few
and simple, that it might be understood, and the
benefits mutual, that it might be kept. He then
showed his beneficence by buying all their spare
walrus meat and four dogs, enriching them in com
pensation with a few needles, beads, and treasures
of old cask staves. The Esquimo were jubilant.
They voted, in their way, Dr. Kane a great cap
tain, promised vociferously to return in a few days
with plenty of walrus meat, and loan their dogs
and sledges for the great northern journey, all of
which they never remembered to do.
More Heroic Excursions. 45
When ^fie visitors had gone, it was ascertained
that an ax* a saw, and some knives, had gone
with them. Besides, the store-house on Butler
Island had been entered, and a careful survey of
the vicinity revealed the fact that a train of sledges
were slyly waiting behind some distant hummocks
for a freight of its treasures.
All this had a hard look for friendly relations
with the Esquimo; but our explorers felt that con
ciliation, with quiet firmness, was their best poli
cy. The savages could do their sledge excursions
much harm, and, if they would, could greatly aid
The next day there came to the vessel five na
tives two old men, a middle aged man, and two
awkward boys. They were treated with marked
kindness, some presents were given them, but they
were told that no Esquimo would in future be ad
mitted to the brig until every stolen article was
restored. They were overjoyed at the gifts, and
departed, lifting up their hands in hoi)'' horror on
the mention of theft ; yet in passing round Butler
Island they bore away a coal barrel. M'Gary was
watching them, and he hastened their departure
by a charge of fine shot. Notwithstanding all this,
one of the old men, known afterward as Shung-hu,
made a circuit round the hummocks, and came
upon an India-rubber boat which had been left
upon the floe, and cut it in pieces and carried off
the wood of the frame-work.
Soon after this a sprightly youth, good-looking,
with a fine dog team, drove up to the vessel in
46 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
open day. When asked his name, he replied
promptly, " Myouk I am." He spoibifjeely of his
place of residence and people, but when asked
about the stolen articles he affected great igno
rance. Dr. Kane ordered him to be confiried in
the hold. He took this very hard, at first refusing"
food. He soon after began to sing in a dolorous
strain, then to talk and cry, and then to sing again.
The hearts of his captors were made quite tender
toward him, and when in the morning it was found
that the prisoner had lifted the hatches and fled,
taking his dogs with him, even the commander
April twenty-fifth, M'Gary and five men started
with the sledge "Faith, "on another exploring excur
sion. They took a small stock only of provisions,
depending on the supply depots which had been
made in the fall. The plan this time was, to fol
low the eastern coast line a while, which run north
and west, cross over Smith Sound to the American
side, where it was hoped smooth ice would be
found ; and once on such a highway, they antici
pated that the Polar Sea would greet their delighted
vision, and may be speak to them of the fate of the
Two days after M'Gary's party left, Dr. Kane
and Godfrey followed with the dog sledge loaded
with additional comforts for the journey, the men
trotting by its side. Only three dogs remained of
the original supplies, which, harnessed with the
four purchased of the Esquimo, made a tolerable
More Heroic Excursions. 47
Ten men, four in health and six invalids, were
left to kd%>i^e vessel. Orders were left by the
commander to treat the Esquimo, should they
come again, with fairness and conciliation, but if
necessity demanded to use fire arms, but to waste
no powder or shot. The credit of the gun must
be sustained as the bearer of certain death to the
white man's enemies.
Dr. Kane and his companions overtook the ad
vanced party in two days. They pushed forward
together with tolerable success for four days more,
when they all became involved in deep snow-drifts.
The dogs floundered about nearly suffocated, and
unable to draw the sledge. The men were com
pelled to take the load on their backs, and kick a
path for the dogs to follow. In the midst of these
toils the scurvy appeared among the men, and
some of the strongest were ready to yield the con
flict altogether. The next day, May fourth, Dr.
Kane, while taking an observation for latitude
fainted, and was obliged to ride on the sledge.
Still the party pushed on ; but they soon met with
an obstacle no heroism could overcome. They
were without food for further journeying ! The
bears had destroyed their carefully deposited stores.
They had removed stones which had required the
full strength of three men to lift. They had broken
the iron meat casks into small pieces. An alcohol
cask, which had cost Dr. Kane a special journey in
the late fall to deposit, was so completely crushed
that a whole stave could not be found.
On the fifth of May Dr. Kane became delirious,
48 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
and was lashed to the sledge, while his brave,
though nearly fainting, men took the buck track.
They arrived at the brig in nine days, and their
commander was borne to his berth, where he lay
for many days, between life and death, with the
scurvy and typhoid fever. Thus closed another
effort to unlock the secrets of the extreme polar
Hans made himself exceedingly useful at this
time. He was promoted to the post of hunter, and
excused from all other duties ; he was besides
promised presents to his lady-love on reaching his
home at Fiskernaes. He brought in two deer, the
first taken, on the day of this special appoint
ment. The little snow-birds had come, of which
he shot many. The seal, too, were abundant, and
some of them were added to the fresh provisions.
These wonderfully improved those touched by the
One day Hans was sent to hunt toward the Es-
quimo huts, that he might get information con
cerning the nearness to the brig of clear water.
He did not come back that night, and Dr. Hays
and Mr. Ohlsen were sent with the dog-sledge to
hunt him up. They found him lying on the ice
about five miles from the vessel, rolled up in his
furs and sound asleep. At his side lay a large
seal, shot, as usual, in the head. He had dragged
this seal seven hours, and, getting weary, had made
his simple camp and was resting sweetly.
May twentieth, Dr. Hays and Godfrey started
with the dog team, to make another attempt to
More Heroic Excursions. 49
cross Smith Strait and reach, along the American
side, the ifnknown north. The doctor was a fresh
man, not having been with any previous party.
The dogs were rested, well fed, and full of wolfish
energy. The second day he fortunately struck
into a track free from heavy ice, and made fifty
miles ! But this success was after the arctic fash
ion, made to give bitterness to immediate fail
ure. On the third day they encountered hum
mocks, piled in long ridges across their path ; some
of them were twenty feet high. Over some of
these they climbed, dragging after them both
sledge and dogs. Long diversions were made at
other times, and their path became in this way so
very tortuous that in making ninety miles advance
northward they traveled two hundred and seventy
Snow-blindness seized Dr. Hays in the midst of
these toils. But, nothing daunted, after short halts,
in which his sight improved, he pushed on. But
Godfrey soon broke down, though one of the hard
iest of explorers. Their dogs, too, began to droop ;
the provisions were running low, and so the home
ward track was taken. Before they reached the
vessel they were obliged to lighten their load by
throwing away fifty pounds weight of furs, the
heaviest of which had been used as sleeping bags.
This excursion resulted in valuable additions to
the extreme northern coast-line survey.
On the afternoon of June fourth, M'Gary, with
four men, started on a last desperate effort to push
the survey, on the Greenland side, a hundred miles
5o NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
farther, by which Dr. Kane thought the limits of
the ice in that direction might be reached. Mor
ton, one of the company, was to keep himself as
fresh as possible, so that when the rest came to a
final halt he might be able to push on farther.
Hans was kept at the vessel until the tenth, four
days later, when he started light with the dog-
sledge to join them. His part was to accompany
Morton on the final run.
The hunter of the vessel being gone, Dr. Kane,
who was now much better, took his rifle to try his
skill at seal hunting. This animal is not easily
taken by unpracticed game seekers. He lies near
the hole which he keeps open in the ice, and at
the slightest noise plunges out of sight. Seeing
one lying lazily in the sun, the doctor lay down
and drew himself along softly behind the little
knobs of ice. It was a cold, tedious process, but
finally getting within a long rifle shot, the seal
rolled sluggishly to one side, raised his head, and
strained his neck, as if seeing something in an op
posite direction. Just then the doctor saw with
surprise a rival hunter. A large bear lay, like him
self, on his belly, creeping stealthily toward the
game. Here was a critical position. If he shot
the seal, the bear would probably have no scruples
about taking it off his hands, and, perhaps, by way
of showing that might makes right, take him before
his rifle could be reloaded. While the doctor was
debating the matter the seal made another move
ment which stirred his hunter blood, and he pulled
the trigger. The cap only exploded. The seal,
More Heroic Excursions. 51
alarmed, descended into the deep with a flounder
ing splash ; and the bear, with a few vigorous leaps,
stood, a disappointed hunter, looking after him
from the edge of the hole. Bruin and Dr. Kane
were now face to face. By all the rules of game-
taking the bear should have eaten the man ; he
was the stronger party, the gun was for the mo
ment useless, he was hungry, and had lost his din
ner probably by the intrusive coming of the stran
ger, and, as to running, there was no danger of his
escape in that way. But the bear magnanimously
turned and ran away. Not to be outdone in court
esy, Dr. Kane turned and ran with all his might
in the opposite direction.
On the twenty-sixth, M'Gary, Bonsall, Hickey,
and Riley returned. The snow had almost made
them blind ; otherwise they were well. They had
been gone about three weeks, had made valuable
surveys, and fully satisfied the expectations of their
commander. Hans caught up with them after two
weeks of heroic travel alone with his dogs and
sledge. He and Morton had, in accordance with
the programme, pressed on farther northward.
The returned party had their adventure with a
bear to tell. They had all lain down to sleep in
their tent after a wearisome day of travel. The
midnight hour had passed when Bonsall felt some
thing scratching at the snow near his head, and,
starting up, ascertained that a huge bear was mak
ing careful observations around the outside of the
tent. He had, in looking round, already observed,
no doubt, the important fact that the guns, and
$2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
every thing like a defensive weapon, were left on
the sledge some distance off, though perhaps the
importance to him of this fact he did not appreci
ate. There was consternation, of course, in the
camp, and a council of war was called. It had
hardly convened before bruin, as a party con
cerned, thrust his head into the tent door. A
volley of lucifer matches was fired at him, and a pa
per torch was thrust into his face. Without mind
ing these discourteous acts, the bear deliberately
sat down and commenced eating a seal which had
been shot the day before and happened to be in
his way. By the laws of arctic hospitality this
should have been considered fair by the tent's
company, for strangers are expected to come and
go as they please, and eat what they find, not even
saying, "By your leave." But the stranger did not
conform to the usage of the country. Tom Hick-
ey cut a hole in the back of the tent, seized a boat-
hook r which made one of its supporters, and at
tacked the enemy in the rear. He turned on his as
sailant and received a well-aimed blow on his nose,
by which he was persuaded to retire beydnd the
sledge and there to pause and consider what to do
next. While the bear was thus in council with him
self, Hickey sprang forward, seized a rifle from the
sledge, almost under the nose of the enemy, and
fell back upon his companions. Bonsall took the
deadly weapon and sent a ball through and through
the bear, and the disturber of the rest of our ex
plorers afforded them many bountiful repasts.
The Open Sea. 53
THE OPEN SEA.
MORTON and Hans returned to the brig on
the tenth of July, after having been on
their separate exploration three weeks and a half.
Their story is full of thrilling incidents and im
The first day they made twenty-eight miles, and
were greatly encouraged. The next day the arctic
enemies of exploration appeared on the field, skir
mishing with deep snow through which dogs and
men had to wade. Next came a compact host of
icebergs. They were not the surface-worn, dingy-
looking specimens of Baffin Bay, but fresh pro
ductions from the grand glacier near which they
lay. Their color was bluish white, and their out
lines clearly and beautifully defined. Some were
square, often a quarter of a mile each side.
Others were not less than a mile long, and narrow.
Now and then one of colossal size lifted its head
far above its fellows, like a grand observatory.
Between these giant bergs were crowded smaller
ones of every imaginable size and form.
Through these our explorers had to pick their
way. Beginning one night at eight, they dashed
along through a narrow lane, turning this way and
that, for seven hours. Then they came against
54 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the face of a solid ice-cliff, closing the path alto
gether. Back they urged their weary dogs, and
their own weary selves, looking for an opening by
which they might turn north, but none appeared
until they reached the camp from which they had
started. Resting awhile, they commenced anew.
Sometimes they climbed over an ice hillock,
making a ladder of their sledge. Morton would
climb up first, and then draw up the dogs, around
whose bodies Hans tied a rope ; then the load was
passed up ; lastly Hans mounted, and drew up the
Having broken through the bergy detachment
of their arctic foes and reached smoother ice,
other opposing columns met them. Dense mists,
giving evidence of open water, chilled and bewil
dered them ; but the welcome birds, giving other
proof of the nearness of the Polar Sea, cheered
The next attack was in the form of insecure
ice. The dogs were dashing on in their wild
flight when it began to yield beneath them. The
dogs trembled with fear and lay down, as is their
habit in such cases. Hans, by a skillful mingling
of force and coaxing, succeeding in getting the
party out of the danger.
At one time a long, wide channel presented its
protest to their farther progress. To this they
were obliged so far to yield as to go ten miles out
of their way to reach its northern side.
Their right of way was also challenged by seams
in the ice often four feet deep, filled with water,
The Open Sea. 55
and too wide for their best jumping ability. These
they filled up by attacking the nearest hummocks
with their axes and tumbling the fragments into
it until a bridge was made. This work often
caused hours of delay.
The signs of open water became more and more
apparent. The birds were so plenty j;hat Hans
brought down two at one shot. Soon they struck
the icy e$g|%of a channel. Along this they
coasted on the land side. It brought them to a
cape around which the channel run close to a
craggy point. Here they deposited a part of their
provisions to lighten the sledge. Morton went
ahead to learn the condition of the land-ice round
the point. He found it narrow and decaying, so
that he feared there would be none on their re
turn ; yet, forward ! was the word. The dogs were
unloosed and driven forward alone ; then Hans
and Morton tilted the sledge edgewise and drew it
along, while far below the gurgling waters were
rushing southward with a freight of crushed ice.
The cape passed, they opened into a bay of
clear water extending far and wide. Along its
ehore was a wide, smooth ice-belt. Over this the
dogs scampered with their sledge and men with
wonderful fleetness, making sixty miles the first
day ! The land grew more and more sloping to
the bay as they advanced until it opened from the
sea into a plain between two elevated rocky ranges.
Into -this they entered, steering north, until they
struck the entrance of a bay; but the rugged ice
across their path forbid farther sledge-travel in
56 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
that direction. So they picketed, securely, as they
thought, the dogs, took each a back load of pro
visions, and went forward. Their trusty rifles
were in hand, and their boat-hook and a few sci
entific instruments were carefully secured to their
persons. Thus equipped, they had tramped about
nine miles from the last camp when an exciting
scene occurred. It was a bear fight, shaded this
time with the tender and tragic. A mother-bear
and her child came in sight. They were a loving
couple, and had plainly been engaged in a frolic
together. Their tracks were scattered profusely
about, like those of school children at recess in a
recent snow. There were also long furrows down
the sloping side of an ice-hill, upon and around
which the footprints were seen. Morton declared
that they had been coasting down this slope on
their haunches, and this opinion was supported by
the fact that Dr. Kane did, at another time, see
bears thus coasting !
Five of the dogs had broken away from their
cords and had overtaken their masters. So they
were on hand for the fight.
Mother and child fled with nimble feet, and the
dogs followed in hot pursuit. The bear, being
overtaken by her enemies, began a most skillful
and heroic skirmishing. The cub could not keep
up with its mother, so she turned back, put her
head under its haunches and threw it some dis
tance ahead, intimating to it to run, while she faced
the dogs. But the little simpleton always stopped
just where it alighted, and waited for mamma to
The Open Sea. 57
give it another throw ! To vary the mode of
operation, she occasionally seized it by the nape
of the neck and flung it out of harms way, and
then snapped at the dogs with an earnestness that
meant business. Sometimes the mother would
run a little ahead and then turn, as if to coax the
little one to run to her, watching at the same time
For a while the bear contrived to make good
speed ; but the little one became tired and she
came to a halt. The men came up with their
rifles and the fight became unequal, yet the moth
er's courage was unabated. She sat upon her
haunches and took the cub between her hind
legs, and fought the dogs with her paws. " Nev
er," says Morton, " was animal more distressed ;
her roaring could have been heard a mile ! She
would stretch her neck and snap at the nearest
dog with her shining teeth, whirling her paws like
the arms of a windmill." Missing her intended
victim, she sent after him a terrific growl of baffled
When the men came up the little one was so
far rested as to nimbly turn with its mother and
so keep front of her belly. The dogs, in heartless
mockery of her situation, continued a lively frisk
ing on every side of her, torturing her at a safe
distance for themselves.
Such was the position of the contending parties
when Hans threw himself upon the ice, rested
upon his elbows, took deliberate aim, and sent
a ball through the heroic mother's head. She
58 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
dropped, rolled over, relieved at once of her
agony and her life.
The cub sprung upon the dead body of its moth
er and for the first time showed fight. The dogs,
thinking the conflict ended, rushed upon the pros
trate foe, tearing away mouthfuls of hair. But
they were glad to retreat with whole skins to their
own backs. It growled hoarsely, and fought with
The dogs were called off, and Hans sent a ball
through its head ; yet it contrived to rise after fall
ing, and climbed again upon its mother's body.
It was mercifully dispatched by another ball.
The men took the skin of the mother and the
little one for their share of the spoils, and the dogs
gorged themselves on the greater carcass.
After this incident the journey of our explorers
soon ended. Hans gave out, and was ordered to
turn leisurely aside and examine the bend of the
bay into which they had entered. Morton contin
ued on toward the termination of a cape which
rose abruptly two thousand feet. He tried to get
round it, but the ice-foot was gone. He climbed
up its sides until he reached a position four hun
dred and forty feet, commanding a horizon of forty
'miles. The view was grand. The sea seemed al
most boundless, and dashed in noisy surges below,
while the birds curveted and screamed above.
Making a flag-staff of his walking-stick, he threw
to the wind a Grinnell flag. It had made the far
southern voyage with Commodore Wilkes, and had
come on a second arctic voyage. It now floated
The Open Sea. 59
over the most northern known land of the
Feasting his eyes with the scenery for an hour
and a half, Morton struck his flag and rejoined
Hans. The run home had its perils and narrow
escapes, but was made without accident, and with
some additional surveys.
60 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
AN IMPORTANT MOVEMENT.
IT was now well into July. The last proposed
survey was made, and all hands were on ship
board. But the arctic fetters still bound the " Ad
vance," with no signs of loosening. The garb of
midwinter was yet covering land and sea, and in
every breeze there was a dismal whisper to the ex
plorers of another winter in the ice. The thought
was appalling to both officers and men. They
had neither health, food, nor fuel for such an ex
perience. To abandon the vessel and try to es
cape with the boats and sledges was impossible in
the prostrate condition of the men.
Having carefully studied the situation Dr. Kane
resolved to try to reach Beechy Island, and thus
communicate with the British exploring expedition,
or by good luck with some whaler, and so secure
relief. This island we have often visited in our
voyages with the "Arctic Heroes." It is, it will
be recollected, at the mouth of Wellington Chan
When this plan was announced to the officers it
was approved cordially. Both officers and men
were ready to volunteer to accompany him ; he
chose five only M'Gary, Morton, Riley, Hickey,
and Hans. Their boat was the old " Forlorn
An Important Movement. 6 1
Hope." The outfit was the best possible, though
poor enough. The " Hope " was mounted on the
sledge " Faith ; " the provisions were put on a
"St. John's sledge." The "Faith" started off
ahead ; the smaller sledge, to which Dr. Kane and
two of the men attached themselves, followed.
It took five days of incessant toil, with many
head flows, to reach the water' and launch the
" Hope," though the distance from the brig was
only twenty miles.
The boat behaved well, and they reached Lit
tleton Island, where they were rejoiced to see nu
merous ducks. Watching their course as they flew
away, the explorers were led to several islets,
whose rocky ledges were covered with their nests,
and around which they hovered in clouds. The
young birds were taking their first lesson in flying,
or were still nestling under their mothers' wings.
In a few hours over two hundred birds were taken,
the gun bringing down several at one shot, and
others were knocked over with stones. But the
men were not the only enemies of the ducks.
Near by was a settlement of a large, voracious spe
cies of gull. They swooped down, seized, gob
bled up, and bore away to their nests the young
eiders, without seeming to doubt that they were
doing a fair and, to themselves, a pleasant busi
ness. The gulls would seize the little eiders with
their great yellow bills, throw their heads up, and
then their victims would disappear down their
throats, and in a few moments after they would
be ejected into their nests and go down the throats
62 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
of their young. The ducks fought the gulls brave
ly in the interests of their brood, but the victory
was with the stronger.
Our voyagers pitied, of course, the bereaved
eider mothers, despised the cormorant gulls, but
gladly increased their stock of needed provisions
with both. They filled four large india rubber
bags with these sea-fowl after cleaning and rudely
Leaving this profitable camping place, the boat
was soon in the open sea-way. One day's pleas
ant sailing was quite as much in that way as expe
rience taught them to expect. A violent storm
arose, the waves ran high, and their clumsy boat,
trembling under the strain, was in danger of sink
ing at any moment. The safety of the whole
company depended entirely upon the skill and
nerve of M'Gary. For twenty-two successive
hours he held in his strong grasp the steering oar
and kept the head of the boat to the sea. A break
of the oar or a slip from his hand and all was
lost! They finally grappled an old floe in a
slightly sheltered place, and rode out the storm.
For twelve days heroic exertions were made to
get the boat through the pack which now beset
them, with the view of working south and west. Lit
tle progress was made and the men, wet, weary, and
worn, began to fail. In view of this state of things
the commander directed his course to Northum
berland Island, near which they were coasting.
Here they found three recently occupied, but now
forsaken, Esquimo huts. The foxes were abun-
An Important Movement. 63
dant, and their young ones greeted the strangers
with vociferous barking. They found here, too,
what was more valuable the scurvy grass. Rest,
fresh fowl, and cochlearia greatly refreshed the
whole party. Seeing the utter impossibility of go
ing south, they made the best of their way back to
the brig. It was a sad and joyful meeting with
their old comrades. Their return safely was joy
ful, but the return spoke of another winter.
By great exertions the brig was loosened from
her icy cradle and warped to a position more fa
vorable for an escape should the open water reach
the vicinity. On the seventeenth of August, in
stead of a glad breaking up of the old ice, came
the formation of new ice, thick enough to bear a
man. The question of an escape of the brig
seemed settled. The allowance of wood was fixed
to six pounds a meal ; this gave them coffee
twice a day and soup, once. Darkness was ahead,
and if the fuel utterly failed it would be doubly
cheerless. The Sabbath rest and devotions be
came more solemn. The prayer, " Lord, accept
our gratitude and bless our undertakings," was
changed to, " Lord, accept our gratitude and re
store us to our homes."
Affairs looked so dark that Dr. Kane deemed it
wise to leave a record of the expedition on some
conspicuous spot. A position was selected on a
high cliff which commanded an extensive view
over the icy waste. On its broad, rocky face the
words, " 'Advance,' A. D. 1853-54," were painted
in large letters which could be read afar off, A
64 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
pyramid of heavy stones was built above it and
marked with a cross. Beneath it they reverently
buried the bodies of their deceased companions.
Near this a hole was worked into the rock, and a
paper, inclosed in a glass vessel sealed with lead,
was deposited. On this paper was written the
names of the officers and crew, the results in gen
eral thus far of the expedition, and their present
condition. They proposed to add to the deposit
a paper -containing the date of their departure,
should they ever get away, and showing their plans
Now, more earnestly than ever, the winter and
what to do was looked in the face. Some thought
that an escape to South Greenland was still possi
ble, and even the best thing to do. The question
of detaching a part of the company to make the
experiment was debated, but the commander ar
rived at a settled conviction that such an enter
prise was impracticable.
In the mean time the ice and tides were close
ly examined for a considerable distance, for the
slightest evidence of a coming liberation of the
poor ice-bound craft.
As early as August twenty-fourth all hopes of
such a liberation seemed to have faded from
every mind. The whole company, officers and
crew, were assembled in council. The command
er gave the members his reasons in full for deem
ing it wise to stand by the vessel. He then gave
his permission for any part of the company who
chose to do so to depart on their own responsibil-
An Important Movement. 65
ity. He required of such to renounce in writing
all claims upon the captain and those who re
mained. The roll was then called, and nine out
of the seventeen decided to make the hazardous
experiment. At the head of this party was Dr.
Hayes and Petersen. Besides the hope of a suc
cessful escape, they were influenced in the course
they were taking by the thought that the quarters
in the brig were so straitened that the health and
comfort of those remaining would be increased,
and the causes of disease and death diminished by
their departure ; and still further, if the withdraw
ing party perished, an equal number was likely to
die if all remained.
The decision having been made, Dr. Kane gave
them a liberal portion of the resources of the
brig, a good-bye blessing, with written assurances
of a brother's welcome should they return. They
left August twenty-eight.
Those who remained with Dr. Kane were Brooks,
M'Gary, Wilson, Goodfellow, Morton, Ohlsen,
Hickey, and Hans. The situation of these was
increasedly dreary on the departure of half of
their companions. They felt the necessity of im
mediate systematic action to drive away despond
ing thoughts, as well as to make the best possible
preparation for the coming struggle with darkness,
cold, poverty, and disease. The discipline of the
vessel, with all its formality of duties, was strictly
maintained. The ceremonies of the table, the
religious services, the regular watching, in which
every man took his turn unless prevented by sick-
65 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ness, the scientific observations of the sky, the
weather and the tides, the detailed care of the fire
and the lights, all went on as if there was no bur
dens of mind to embarrass them.
In view of the small stock of fuel, they com
menced turning the brig into something like an Es-
quimo igloe or hut. A space in the cabin measur
ing twenty feet by eighteen was set off as a room
for all hands. Every one then went to work, and,
according to his measure of strength, gathered
moss. With this an inner wall was made for the
cabin, reaching from the floor to the ceiling. The
floor itself was calked with plaster of Paris and
common paste, then two inches of Manilla oakum
was thrown over it, and upon this a canvas carpet
was spread. From this room an avenue three feet
high, and two and a half feet wide, was made. It
was twelve feet long, and descended four feet,
opening into the hold. It was moss-lined, and
closed with a door at each end. It answered to
the tossut of the Esquimo hut, or the sort of tunnel
through which they creep into their one room.
All ingress and egress of our explorers were
through this avenue on their hands and knees.
From the dark hold they groped their way to the
main hatchway, up which, by a stairway of boxes,
they ascended into the open air.
The quarter-deck also was well padded with
turf and moss. When this was done, no frost king
but the one presiding over the polar regions could
have entered. Even he had to drop his crown of
icicles at the outer door of the avenue.
An Important Movement. 67
The next step was to secure, so far as possible, a
supply of fuel for the coming darkness. A small
quantity of coal yet remained for an emergency.
They began now, September tenth, to strip off
some of the extra planking outside of the deck,
and to pile it up for stove use.
Having thus put the brig itself into winter trim,
they went diligently to work to arrange its imme
diate vicinity on the floe. Their beef-house came
first, which was simply a carefully stowed pile of
barrels containing their water-soaked beef and
pork. Next was a kind of block-house, made
of the barrels of flour, beans, and dried apples.
From a flag-staff on one corner of this fluttered a
red and white ensign, which gave way on Sundays
to a Grinnell flag. From the block-house opened
a traveled way, which they called New London
Avenue. On this were the boats. Around all this
was a rope barrier, which said to the outside world,
Thus far only shalt thou come ! Outside of this
was a magnificent hut made of barrel frames and
snow, for the special use of Esquimo visitors. It
was in great danger of a tearing down for its
68 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE stock of fresh provisions was now alarm
ingly low. To secure a fresh supply, Dr.
Kane and Hans started with the dog team on a
seal hunt. The doctor was armed with his Ken
tucky rifle, and Hans with a harpoon and attached
line. They carried a light Esquimo boat to secure
the prey if shot. They expected to find seal after
a ten miles' run, but the ice was solid until they
had traveled another hour. Now they entered
upon an icy plain smooth as a house floor. On
the dogs galloped, in fine spirits, seeming to antici
pate the shout which soon came from Hans
" Pusey, puseymut!" seal, seal! Just ahead
were crowds of seals playing in the water. But
the joy of the hunters was instantly turned into a
chill of horror. The ice was bending under the
weight of the sledge, and rolling in wavy swells
before it, as if made of leather. To pause was
certain death to dogs and men. The solid floe
was a mile ahead. Hans shouted fiercely to his
dogs, and added the merciless crack of his whip
to give speed to his team ; but the poor creatures
were already terror-stricken, and rushed forward
like a steam-car. A profound silence followed, as
painful as the hush of the wind before the de-
Treaty Making. 69
structive tornado. Nothing more could be done ;
the faithful dogs were doing their utmost to
save themselves and their masters. They passed
through a scattered group of seals, which, breast-
high out of water, mocked them with their cu
rious, complacent gaze. The rolling, crackling
ice increased its din, and, when within fifty paces
of the solid floe the frightened dogs became dis
mayed, and they paused ! In went the left runner
and the leading dog, then followed the entire left-
hand runner. In the next instant Dr. Kane, the
sledge and dogs, were mixed up in the snow and
water. Hans had stepped off upon ice which had
not yet given way, and was uttering in his broken
English, piteous moans, while he in vain reached
forward to help his master. He was ordered to
lay down, spread out his hands and feet, and draw
himself to the floe by striking his knife into the
ice. The doctor cut the leader's harness and let
him scramble out, for he was crying touchingly,
and drowning his master by his caresses. Relieved
of the dog he tried the sledge, but it sunk under
him ; he then paddled round the hole endeavor
ing to mount the ice, but it gave way at every
effort, thus enlarging the sphere of operation most
uncomfortably, and exhausting his strength. Hans
in the mean time had reached solid footing, and
was on his knees praying incoherently in English
and Esquimo, and at every crushing-in of the ice
which plunged his master afresh into the sea ex
claimed, " God ! " When the fatal crisis was just
at hand, deliverance came by a seeming accident.
jo NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
How often does- God deliver by such seeming acci
dents ! One of the dogs still remained attached
to the sledge, and in struggling to clear himself
drew one of the runners broadside against the
edge of the circle. It was the drowning man's
last chance. He threw himself on his back so as
to lessen his weight, and placed the nape of his
neck on the rim of the ice opposite to but not far
from the sledge. He then drew his legs up slowly
and placed the ball of his moccasin foot against
the runner, pressing cautiously and steadily, list
ening the while to the sound of the half-yielding
ice against which the other runner rested, as to
a note which proclaimed his sentence of life or
death. The ice, holding the sledge, only faintly
yielded, while he felt his wet fur jumper sliding
up the surface ; now his shoulders are on ; now
his whole body steadily ascends ; he is safe.
Hans rubbed his master with frantic earnestness
until the flesh glowed again. The dogs were all
saved, but the sledge, Esquimo boat, tent, guns,
and snow-shoes were all left frozen in to await a
return trip. A run of twelve miles brought them,
worn and weary, but full of gratitude, to the brig.
The fire was kindled, one of the few remaining
birds cooked, a warm welcome given, so that the
peril was forgotten except in the occasion it gave
for increased love to the Deliverer.
We have had no occasion to notice the Esqui
mo since the escape from prison of young Myouk.
Soon after Dr. Hayes's party left, three natives came.
They had evidently noted the departure of half
Treaty Making. 71
of the number of the strangers, and came to learn
the condition of those left behind. It was Dr.
Kane's policy to conciliate them, while carrying
toward them a steady, and when needed, as it was
often, a restraining hand.
These visitors were quartered in a tent in the
hold. A copper lamp, a cooking-basin, and a full
supply of fat for fuel, was given them. They ate,
slept, awoke, ate and slept again. Dr. Kane left
them eating at two o'clock in the. morning when
he retired to the cabin to sleep. They seemed
soon after to be sleeping so soundly that the watch
set over them also slept. In the morning there
were no Esquimo on board. They had stolen the
lamp, boiler, and cooking-pot used at their feast ;
to these they added the best dog the only one
not too weary from the late excursion to travel.
Besides, finding some buffalo robes and an india-
rubber cloth accidentally left on the floe, they took
them along also.
This would not do. The savages must be
taught to fear as well as to respect and love the
white men. Morton and Riley, two of the best
walkers, were sent in hot pursuit. Reaching the
hut at Anoatok, they found young Myouk with
the wives of two absent occupants, the latter mak
ing themselves delightfully comfortable, having
tailored already the stolen robes into garments
worn on their backs. By searching, the cooking
utensils, and other articles stolen from the brig
but not missed, were found.
The white officers of the law acted promptly,
72 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
as became their dignity. They stripped the women
of these stolen goods and tied them. They were
then loaded with all the articles stolen, to which
was added as much walrus meat of their own as
would pay their jail fees. The three were then
marched peremptorily back to the brig; though
it was thirty miles they did not complain, neither
did their police guardians in walking the twice
thirty. It was scarcely twenty-four hours after
these thieves had left the brig with their booty
before they were prisoners in the hold. " A dread
ful white man " was placed over them as keeper,
who never spoke to them except in words of terri
fying reproof, and whose scowl exhibited a studied
variety of threatening and satanic expressions.
The women were deprived of the comfort of even
Myouk's company. He was dispatched to Metek,
" head-man of Etah and others," " with the mes
sage of a melo-dramatic tyrant," to negotiate for
their ransom. For five long days the women sighed
and cried, and sung in solitary confinement, though
their appetites continued excellent. At last the
great Metek and another Esquimo notable arrived,
drawing quite a sledge load of returned stolen
goods. Now commenced the treaty making. There
were u big talks," and a display on the part of Dr.
Kane of the splendors and resources of his capital,
its arts and sciences, not forgetting the "fire-
death," whose terrific power so amazed the Etah
dignitaries. On the part of the Esquimo there
were many adjournments of the diplomatic con
ferences to eat and sleep. This was well for the
Treaty Making. 73
explorers no doubt, as plenty of sleep and a good
dinner are very pacific, it is well known, in their
influence even on savages. In the final result
the Esquimo agreed : Not to steal, to bring fresh
meat, to sell or lend dogs, to attend the white men
when desired, and to show them where to find the
game. On the part of Kablunah (the white men)
Dr. Kane promised : Not to visit the Inuit (Esqui
mo) with death or sorcery ; to shoot for them on
the hunt ; to welcome them on board the ship ;
to give them presents of needles, pins, two kinds
of knives, a hoop, three bits of hard wood, some
kinds of fat, an awl, and some sewing-thread ; to
trade with them of these, and all other things they
might want, for walrus and seal meat of the first
Dr. Kane sent Hans and Morton to Etah, on
the return of Metek, as his representatives, and this
treaty was there ratified in a full assembly of its
This treaty was really of much importance to
the famishing, ice-bound, scurvy-smitten strangers.
It was faithfully kept on the part of the natives, but
it was believed that the example of the white man's
prodigious power given by Morton and Riley, in
the tramp of sixty miles in twenty-four hours, had
quite as much to do with its faithful observance
as any regard to their promise. They might not
understand the binding nature of promises how
ever solemnly made, but they could comprehend
the meaning of strong arms and swift feet.
Having made peace with the Etahites, Dr. Kane
74 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES:
sent M'Gary and Morton to the hut at Anoatok
on a like errand. They found there of men, My-
ouk, Ootuniah, and Awatok Seal Bladder who
were at first shy. The rogue, Myouk, suspected
their visit might mean to him another arrest. See
ing it : df not, all went merry as a marriage-bell.
The treaty was ratified by acclamation.
Arctic Hunting. 75
EARLY in October the Esquimo disappeared
from the range of travel from the brig.
Hans and Hickey were sent to the hunting grounds,
and they returned with the unwelcome news, no
walrus, no Esquimo. Where could they have
gone? Were they hovering on the track of the es
caping party under Dr. Hayes ? and where were
these ? Would the natives return from atrip south,
and bring any news of the battle they were fight
ing with the ice and cold ?
While such queries may have been indulged by
the brig party, they had serious thoughts concern
ing their own condition. Their fresh provisions
were nearly exhausted. Without walrus or bear
meat, their old enemy, scurvy, would come down
upon them like an armed man. There was now
plainly another occasion for one of those acci
dental occurrences, through which the eye of a
devout Christian sees God's kind hand. In the.
midst of these painful thoughts the shout by Hans
was heard ringing through the brig : " Nannook !
nannook ! "
" A bear ! a bear ! " chimed in Morton.
The men seized their guns and ran on deck.
The dogs were already in battle array with the
76 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
bear, which was attended by a five-months-old
cub. Not a gun was in readiness on the instant,
and while they were being loaded the canines
were having rough sport with bruin. Tudla, a
champion fighter, had been seized twice by the
nape of his neck, and made to travel several yards
without touching the ground. Jenny, a favorite
in the sledge, had made a grand somerset by a
slight jerk of the head of the bear, and had
alighted senseless. Old Whitey, brave but not
bear-wise, had rushed headlong into the combat,
and was yelping his utter dissatisfaction with the
result while stretched helpless upon the snow.
Nannook considered the field of battle already
won, and proceeded, as victors have always done,
to a very cool investigation of the spoils. "She
first turned over a beef barrel, and began to nose
out the choice bits for herself and child. But
there was a party interested in this operation whom
she had not consulted. Their first protest was in
the form of a pistol ball in the side of her cub.
This, to say the least, was rather a harsh beginning.
The next hint was a rifle ball in the side of the
mother, which she resented by taking her child
between her hind legs and retreating behind the
beef-house. Here, with her strong forearms, she
pulled down three solid rows of beef barrels which
made one wall of the house. She then mounted
the rubbish, seized a half barrel of herring with
her teeth, and with it beat a retreat. Turning her
back on the enemy was not safe, for she immedi
ately received, at half pistol range, six buck shots
Arctic Hunting. 77
She fell, but was instantly on her feet again, trot
ting off with her cub under her nose. She would
have escaped after all but for two of the dogs.
These belonged to the immediate region, and had
been trained for the bear hunt. They embar
rassed her speed but did not attack her. One
would run along ahead of her, so near as to pro
voke the bear to attempt to catch him, and then
he would give her a useless chase to the right or
left, the other one, at the right moment, making a
diversion by a njp in her rear. So coolly and sys
tematically was this done that poor Nannook was
hindered and exhausted without being able to
hurt her tormentors in the least.
This game of the dogs brought again Dr. Kane
and Hans on the field of conflict. They found
the bear still holding out in the running fight, and
making good speed away from the brig. Two rifle
balls brought her to a stand-still. She faced
about, took her little one between her fore legs,
and growled defiance. It took six more balls to
lay her lifeless on the blood-stained snow !
This method of conquering the foe was no doubt,
from the bear point of view, mean and cowardly ;
instead of the hand-to-paw fight, recognized as the
Arctic lawful way of fighting, it was sending fire-
death at a safe distance for the attacking party.
With her own chosen weapons two powerful arms,
and a set of almost resistless teeth the bear was
the stronger party. But then it was the old game
of brains against brute force, with the almost sure
result. As to the cruelty, the bear had no reason
78 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
to complain. She came to the brig seeking, if
haply she might find, a man, or men, to appease
her craving hunger and feed her child. The men
sought and obtained her life that they might stay
the progress of their bitter enemy, the scurvy, and
save their own lives !
When the mother fell, her child sprung upon
her body and made a fierce defense. After much
trouble, and, we should think, some danger from
her paws and teeth, both of which she used as if
trained for the fight, she was caught with a line
looped into a running knot between her jaws and
the back of her head, somewhat as farmers catch
hogs for the slaughter. She was marched off to
the brig and chained outside, causing a great up
roar among the dogs.
The mother-bear's carcass weighed when cleaned
three hundred pounds ; before dressing, the body
weighed six hundred and fifty. The little one
weighed on her feet one hundred and fourteen
pounds. They both proved most savory meat,
and were eaten with gratitude, as the special gifts
of the great Giver.
This bear capture was soon followed by one no
less exciting and truly Arctic in its character. It
was the hunt and capture of a walrus, the lion of
the sea, as the bear is the tiger of the ice. The
story is as follows :
About the middle of October Morton and Hans
were sent again to try to find the Esquimo.
They reached on the fourth day a little village be
yond Anoatok, seventy miles from the brig. Here
Arctic Hunting. 79
they found four huts, two occupied and two for
saken. In one was Myouk, his parents and his
brother and sister ; in the other was Awahtok,
Ootuniah, their wives, and three young children.
The strangers were made to feel at home. Their
moccasins were dried, their feet rubbed, two lamps
set ablaze to cook them a supper, and a walrus skin
spread on the raised floor for them to stretch and
rest their weary limbs. The lamps and the addi
tion to the huts' company sent the thermometer
up to ninety degrees above zero, while outside it
was thirty below. The natives endured this de
gree of heat finely, as the men and children wore
only the apparel nature gave them, and the women
made only a slight, but becoming, addition to it.
The strangers after devouring six small sea-birds
a piece enjoyed a night of profuse perspiration
and sound sleep.
. In the morning Morton perceived that Myouk
and his father were preparing for a walrus hunt,
and he cordially invited himself and Hans to go
with them. The two strangers accepted the in
vitation thus given, and the party of four were
A large size walrus is eighteen feet long, with a
tusk thirty inches. His whole development is
elephantine, and his look grim and ferocious.
The Esquimo of this party carried three sledges ;
one they hid under the snow and ice on the way,
and the other two were carried to the hunting
ground at the open water, about ten miles from
the huts. They had nine dogs to these two
80 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
sledges, and by turns one man rode while the oth
As they neared the new ice, and saw by the
murky fog that the open water was near, the Es-
quimo removed their hoods and listened. After a
while Myouk's countenance showed that the wished-
for sound had entered his ear, though Morton, as
attentively listening, could hear nothing. Soon
they were startled by the bellowing of a walrus
bull ; the noise, round and full, was something be
tween the mooing of a cow and the deep baying
of a mastiff, varied by an oft-repeated quick bark.
The performer was evidently pleased with his own
music, for it continued without cessation while
our hunters crept forward stealthily in single file.
When within half a mile of some discolored
spots showing very thin ice surrounded by that
which was thicker, they scattered, and each man
crawled toward a separate pool, Morton on his
hands and knees following Myouk. Soon the
walruses were in sight. They were five in number,
at times rising altogether out of the deep, break
ing the ice and giving an explosive puff which
might have been heard, through the thin, clear at
mosphere, a mile away. Two grim-looking males
were noticeable as the leaders of the group.
Now came the fight between Myouk, the crafty,
expert hunter, and a strong, maddened, persistent
walrus. Morton was the interested looker-on, fol
lowing the hunter like a shadow, ready, if it had
been wanted, to put in his contribution to the
fight in the form of a rifle-ball. When the
Walruses A Family Party.
Arctic Hunting. 83
walrus's head is above water, and peering curiously
around, the hunter is flat and still. As the head
begins to disappear in the deep he is up and stir
ring, and ready to dart toward the game. From
his hiding-place behind a projecting ice knoll the
hunter seems not only to know when his victim
will return, but where he will rise. In this way,
hiding and darting forward, Myouk, with Morton
at his heels, approaches the pool near the edge
of which the walruses are at play. Now the stolid
face of Myouk glows with animation ; he lies still,
biding his time, a coil of walrus hide many yards
in length lying at his side. He quickly slips one
end of the line into an iron barb, holding the other,
the looped end, in his hand, and fixes the barb to
a locket on the end of a shaft made of a unicorn's
horn. Now the water is in motion, and only
twelve feet from him the walrus rises, puffing with
pent up respiration, and looks grimly and compla
cently around. What need he fear, the mighty
monarch of the Arctic sea ! Myouk coolly, slowly
rises, throws back his right arm, while his left arm
lies close to his side. The walrus looks round
again and shakes his dripping head. Up goes the
hunter's left arm. His victim rises breast-high to
give one curious look before he plunges, and the
swift, barbed shaft is buried in his vitals ! In an
instant the walrus is down, down in the deep, while
Myouk is making his best speed from the battle
field, holding firmly the looped end of his har-.
poon-line, at the same time paying out the coil as
he runs. He has snatched up and carries in one
84 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
hand a small stick of bone rudely pointed with
iron ; he stops, drives it into the ice and fastens
his line to it, pressing it to the ice with his
Now commence the frantic struggles of the
wounded walrus. Myouk keeps his station, now
letting out his line, and then drawing it in. His
victim, rising out of the water, endeavors to throw
himself upon the ice, as if to rush at his tormenter.
The ice breaks under his great weight, and he
"roars fearfully with rage. For a moment all is
quiet. The hunter knows what it means, and he
is on the alert. Crash goes the ice, and up come
two walrusses only a few yards from where he
stands ; they aimed at the very spot but will do
better next time. But when the game comes up
where he last saw the hunter he has pulled up his
stake and run off, line in hand, and fixed it as
before, but in a new direction. This play goes
on until the wounded beast becomes exhausted,
and is approached and pierced with the lance by
Four hours this fight went on, the walrus re
ceiving seventy lance thrusts, dangling all the
while at the end of the line with the cruel har
poon fixed in his body. When dying at last,
hooked by his tusk to the margin of the ice, his
female, which had faithfully followed all his bloody
fortune, still swam at his side ; she retired only
when her spouse was dead, and she herself was
pricked by the lance.
Morton says the last three hours wore the
Arctic Hunting. 85
aspect of a doubtful battle. He witnessed it with
The game was, by a sort of " double purchase,"
a clever contrivance of the Esquimo, drawn upon
the ice and cut up at leisure. Its weight was esti
mated at seven hundred pounds.
The intestines and the larger part of the car
cass, were buried in the crevices of an iceberg a
splendid ice-house ! Two sledges were loaded
with the remainder, and the hunters started toward
home. As they came near the village the women
came out to meet them ; the shout of welcome
brought all hands with their knives. Each one
having his portion assigned, according to a well
understood Esquimo rule, the evening was giv
en up to eating. In groups of two or three
around a forty pound joint, squatting crook-legged,
knife i-n hand, they cut, ate, and slept, and cut and
ate again. Hans, in his description of the feast
to Dr. Kane, says: "Why, Cappen Ken, sir, even
the children ate all night You know the little
two-year-old that Aroin carried in her hood the
one that bit you when you tickled it? "
" Well, Cappen Ken, sir, that baby cut for her
self, sir, with a knife made out of an iron hoop,
and so heavy it could hardly lift it, cut and ate,
sir, and ate and cut, as long as I looked at it."
Morton and Hans returned to the brig with two
hundred pounds of walrus meat and two foxes, to
make glad the hearts of their comrades.
Besides these Arctic monsters of the sea, and
86 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
shaggy prowlers of the land and ice, there was
another sort of game, requiring a different kind
of hunting, found nearer home.
We have related the experiment, a year before
this, of the explorers with the rats. They had
failed to smoke them out by a villainous com
pound, and, as the experience came near burning
up the vessel, it was not repeated. They bred
like locusts in spite of the darkness, cold, and
short rations, and went every-vvhere under the
stove, into the steward's drawers, into the cush
ions, about the beds, among the furs, woolens, and
specimens of natural history. They took up their
abode among the bedding of the men in the fore
castle, and in such other places as seemed to them
cosy and comfortable. When their rights as ten
ants were disputed they fought for them with
boldness and skill.
At one time a mother rat had chosen a bear
skin mitten as a homestead for herself and family
of little ones. Dr. Kane thrust his hand into it
not knowing that it was occupied, and received a
sharp bite. Of course his hand left the premises
in rather quick time, and before he could suck the
blood from his finger the family had disappeared,
taking their home with them.
Rhina, a brave bear-dog, which had come out
of encounters with his shaggy majesty with special
honors, was sent down into the citadel of the rats.
She lay down with composure and slept for a
while. But the vermin gnawed the horny skin
of her paws, nipped her on this side, and bit her
Arctic Hunting. 87
on that, and dodged into their hiding-places.
They were so many, and so nimble, that poor
Rhina yelled in vexation and pain. She was taken
on deck to her kennel, a cowed and vanquished
Hans, true to his hunter's propensity, amused
himself during the dreary hours of his turn on the
night watch, by shooting them with his bow and
arrow. Dr. Kane had these carefully dressed and
made into a soup, of which he educated himself
to eat, to the advantage of his health. No other
one of the vessel's company cared to share his
Hans had one competitor in this " small deer "
hunting, as the sailors called it. Dr. Kane had
caught a young fox alive, and domesticated it in
the cabin. These " deer " were not quick enough
to escape his nimble feet and sharp teeth. But
unfortunately he would kill only when and what
he wanted to eat.
December came in gloomily. Nearly every man
was down with the scurvy. The necessary work
to be done dragged heavily. The courage of the
little company was severely taxed but not broken.
But where were the escaping party under Dr.
Hayes? Were they yet dragging painfully over
their perilous way ? were they safe at Upernavik ?
or had they perished ?
While such queries might have occupied the
thoughts of the dwellers in the " Advance." on
the seventh of the month Petersen and Bonsall
of that party returned ; five days later Dr. Hayes
88 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
arrived, with the remainder of his company.
Their adventures had been marvelous, and their
escape wonderful. It will be a pleasant fancy for
us to consider ourselves as sitting down in the
cabin of the u Advance," and listening to their
story from the lips of one of their party.
The Escaping Party. 89
THE ESCAPING PARTY.
HAVING, as has been seen, provided for all
the contingencies of our journey as well as
circumstances permitted, we moved slowly down
the ice-foot away from the brig. The companions
we were leaving waved us a silent adieu. A strong
resolution gave firmness to our step, but our way
was too dark and perilous for lightness of heart.
At ten miles distance we should reach a cape near
which we expected to find open water, where we
could exchange the heavy work of dragging the
sledges for the pleasanter sailing in the boat.
This we reached early the second day. But here
we experienced our first keen disappointment.
As far as the eye could reach was only ice. Be
fore us, a thousand miles away, was Upernavik, at
which we aimed, the first refuge of a civilized char
acter in that direction. As we gazed at this in
tervening frozen wilderness it did indeed seem afar
off. Yet every man stood firm through fourteen
hours of toil before we encamped, facing a strong
wind and occasional gusts of snow. After this the
shelter of our tent, and a supper of cold pork and
bread with hot coffee, made us almost forget the
wind, which began to roar like a tempest. '
We looked out in the morning, after a good night's
go NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
rest, hoping to see the broken floe fleeing before
the gale, giving us our coveted open sea. But no
change had taken place. We had no resort but to
weary sledging. We carried forward our freight
in small parcels, a mile on our journey, finally
bringing up the boat.
We took from under a cliff of the cape the boat
" Forlorn Hope," which Dr. Kane had deposited
there. It was damaged by the falling of a stone up
on it from a considerable height. Petersen's skill
ful mending made it only a tolerable affair. Thus
wearied and baffled in our efforts at progress, we
returned early to our tent, and slept soundly until
three o'clock in the morning, when we were
aroused by shouting without. It came from three
Esquimo, a boy eighteen years old, and two wom
en. The boy we had before seen, but the women
were strangers. They were filthy and ragged in
fact scarcely clothed at all. The matted hair of the
women was tied with a piece of leather on the top
of the head ; the boy's hair was cut square across
his eyebrows. One of the women carried a baby
about six months old. It was thrust naked, feet
foremost, into the hood of her jumper, and hung
from the back of her neck. It peered innocently
out of its hiding-place, like a little chicken from
the brooding wing of its mother.
They shivered with cold, and asked for fire and
food, which we readily gave them, and they were
soon off down the coast in good spirits.
These visitors were only well started when Hans
rushed into our camp, excited and panting for
The Escaping Party. 91
breath. He was too full of wrath to command his
poor English, and he rattled away to Petersen in
his own language. When he had recovered some
what his breath, we caught snatches of his excla
mations as he turned to us with, " Smit Soun Es-
quimo no koot ! no koot ! all same dog ! Steal me
bag ! steal Nalegak buffalo."
The fact finally came out that our visitors had
been to the brig and stolen, among other things, a
wolf-skin bag and a small buffalo skin belonging
to Hans, presents from Dr. Kane. Hans took a
lunch, a cup of coffee, and continued his run after
The ice had now given way a little, and small
leads opened near us. Loading the boat, we tried
what could be done at navigation. But the water
in the lead soon froze over and became too thick
for boating, while yet it was too thin for sledging ;
so after trying various expedients we again un
loaded the boats and took to the land-ice. But
this was too sloping for the sledges, so we took
our cargo in small parcels on our backs, carrying
them forward a mile and a half, and finally bring
ing the sledges and ]?oat. Bonsall had, on one of
these trips, taken a keg of molasses on the back of
his neck, grasping the two ends with his hands.
This was an awkward position in which to com
mand his footing along a sideling, icy path. His
foot slipped, the keg shot over his head, and
glided down into the sea. Coffee without molasses
was not pleasant to think of, and then it was two
hours after our day's work was done before we
92 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
could find even water. Our supper was not eaten
and we ready to go to bed until ten. We slept the
better, however, from hearing, just as we were re
tiring, that Bonsall and Godfrey had recovered
the keg of molasses from four feet of water.
The next morning we resolved to try the floe
again. It was plain we could make no satisfac
tory progress on the land-ice, so we loaded first
the small sledge and run it safely down the slippery
slope. Then the large sledge, " Faith," was packed
with our more valuable articles. Cautiously it was
started, men in the rear holding it back by ropes.
But the foothold of the men beting insecure, they
slipped, lost their control both of themselves and
the sledge, and away it dashed. The ice as it
reached the floe was thin ; first one runner broke
through, now both have gone down ; over goes the
freight, and the whole is plunged into the water !
Fortunately every thing floated. A part of our
clothes were in rubber bags and was kept dry ;
all else was thoroughly wet. -No great damage
was done except in one case. Petersen had a bed
of eider-down, in which he w r as wont snugly to
stow himself at night. When moving it was com
pressed into a ball no larger than his head. It
was a nice thing, costing forty Danish dollars. It
was, of course, spoiled. So rueful was his face
that, though we really pitied him, we could not re
press a little merriment as he held up his dripping
treasure. Seeing a smile on Dr. Hayes's face, he
hastily rolled it up into a wad, and, in the bitter
ness of his vexation, hurled it among the rocks,
The Escaping Party. 93
muttering something in Danish, of which we could
detect only the words " doctor " and " Satan."
Our situation seemed gloomy enough. The
men's courage was giving way, and one took a
final leave and returned to the " Advance." Yet
we pressed forward ; we were not long in readjust
ing the load of the " Faith," and met with no fur
ther accident during the day ; but our fourteen
hours toil left us six more hours of ice-travel be
fore we could reach what seemed to be a long
stretch of clear sea.
Hans returned from his pursuit, having over
taken the thieves, but did not find about them the
stolen goods. He proposed to remain and help
us, but we could go no farther that night. We
encamped, and obtained much needed rest and
We were awakened at midnight to a new and
unexpected discouragement. M'Gary and Good-
fellow arrived from the " Advance " bringing a
peremptory order from Dr. Kane to bring back
the " Faith." We could not understand this. We
had been promised its use until we reached the
open sea. We had only one other, which was very
poor and utterly insufficient for our pifrpose. We
were sure it was not needed at the brig ; what
could the order mean? But there it was in black
and white, so we delivered it up, and the messen
gers returned with it on the instant.
This journey of Goodfellow and M'Gary was a
wonderful exhibition of endurance. They had
worked, hard all day ; having eaten supper, they
94 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
were dispatched with the message. They were
back to the brig to breakfast, having traveled in
all to and fro thirty miles without food or rest.
Our sledging, almost insufferable before, was
more difficult now. Petersen exhausted his skill
in improving our poor sledge with little success.
We made about six miles during the day, gained
the land at the head of Force Bay, and pitched
our tent. We had shipped and unshipped our
cargo, and had experienced the usual variety of
boating and sledging. Several of us had broken
through the ice and been thoroughly wet. Old
rheumatic and scurvy complaints renewed their
attacks upon the men.
While the supper was cooking, three of the offi
cers climbed a bluff and looked out upon the icy sea.
To our joy they reported the open water only six
miles away. With a good sledge we could reach
it in one day's pull. With our shaky affair it
would take three. Indeed, it seemed a hopeless
task to make at all six miles with it. Such was
the situation when our supper was eaten and we
had lain down to sleep. Its solace had scarcely
come to our relief when Morton's welcome voice
startled us. He had come to bring back the
"Faith." How timely ! And then he brought also
a satisfactory explanation of its being taken away.
Dr. Kane had been informed that a dissension
existed among us, and that the sledge was not in
the hands of the officers. The next morning the
good sledge "Faith" was loaded, and the men,
now in good spirits, made fine speed toward the
The Escaping Party. 95
open sea. Morton pushed on after the thieves.
Late in the afternoon he returned with them. He
had overtaken them where they had halted to turn
their goods into clothing. They had thrown aside
their rags, and were strutting proudly in the new
garments they had made of the stolen skins.
Morton soon left, with his prisoners, to return to
We did not reach the open water until mid
night. Every thing was now put on board the
boat, and we sailed about two miles and drew up
against Esquimo Point, pitched our tent on a
grounded ice-raft, and obtained brief rest.
In the morning, Riley, who had been sent to us
for that purpose, returned to the " Advance " with
the " Faith." We packed away eight men and
their baggage in the " Forlorn Hope." It was an-
ordinary New London whale-boat rigged with a
mainsail, foresail, and a jib. Her cargo and pas
sengers on this occasion brought her gunwale
within four inches of the water. But for five
miles we made fine progress. Then suddenly the
ice closed in upon us, compelling us to draw the
" Hope " up upon a solid ice-raft, where we en
camped for the night. Near was a stranded berg
from which we obtained a good supply of birds,
of which we ate eight for supper.
In the morning, while our breakfast was cook
ing, the ice scattered and a path for us through
the sea was again opened, and we bore away joy
ously for the capes of " Refuge Harbor." With
varying fortune, we passed under the walls of
96 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Cape Heatherton, and sighted the low lands of
Life-boat Bay. There, as has been stated, in
August, 1853, Dr. Kane left a Francis metallic life
boat. Could we reach this bay and possess our
selves of this life -boat, a great step would have
been taken, we thought, toward success. For
awhile all went well ; then came the shout from
the officer on the lookout, " Ice ahead ! " We
run down upon it before a spanking breeze, and
got into the bend of a great horseshoe, while seek
ing an open way through the floe. We could turn
neither to the right nor left, and we were too deep
in the water to attempt to lay-to. The waves
rolled higher and higher, and the breeze was in
creasing to a tempest. Our cargo, piled above the
sides of the boat, left no room to handle the oars,
if they had been of any use. There was no resort
but to let her drive against the floe. John sat in
the stern, steering-oar in hand ; Petersen stood on
the lookout to give him steering orders ; Bonsall
and Stephenson stood by the sails ; the rest of us,
with boat-hooks and poles, stood ready to " fend
off." The sails were so drawn up as to take the
wind out of them. Petersen directed the boat's
head toward that part of the ice which seemed
weakest, and on we bounded. " * See any opening,
Petersen ! ' * No sir.' An anxious five minutes
followed. ' I see what looks like a lead. We
must try for it.' 'Give the word, Petersen.' On
flew the boat. ' Let her fall off a little off ! Ease
off the sheet so steady ! A little more off so !
Steady there steady as she goes.'"
The Escaping Party. 97
Petersen, cool and skillful, was running us
through a narrow lead which brought us into a
small opening of clear water. We were beginning
to think that we should get through the pack
when he shouted, " I see no opening ! Tight
every -where ! Let go the sheet ! Fend off."
Thump went the boat against the floe ! But the
poles and boat-hooks, in strong, steady hands,
broke the force of the collision. Out sprang every
man upon the ice.
No serious damage was done to our craft. Our
first thought was that we were in a safe, ice-bound
harbor. But no ! See, the floe is on the move !
We unshipped the cargo in haste, and drew up the
" Hope " out of the way of the nips. The stores
were next removed farther from the water's edge,
the spray beginning to sprinkle them. The whole
pack was instantly in wild confusion, ice smiting
ice, filling the air with dismal sounds. But it was
a moment for action^ not of moping fear. Our
ice-raft suddenly separated, the crack running be
tween the cargo and the " Hope ! " This would
not do ! A boat without a cargo, or a cargo with
out a boat, were neither the condition of things
we desired; but as the ice bearing the boat shot
into the surging water, it was evident no human
power could hinder it. Yet divine power, could
and did prevent it just that Hand always so ready
to help us in our time of need, and seeming now
almost visible. The boat's raft, after whirling in
the eddying waters, swung round, and struck one
corner of ours. In a minute of time the " Hope "
98 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
was run off, and boat, cargo, and men were once
Soon the commotion brought down a heavy
floe against that on which we had taken refuge,
and no open water was within a hundred yards
A Green Spot. 99
A GREEN SPOT.
WE seemed now to be in a safe resting-place.
Dr. Hayes and Mr. Bonsall, accompanied
by John and Godfrey, took the advantage of this
security to go in search of the life -boat, which
they judged was not more than two miles away.
After a walk over the floe of one hour they
found it. It had not been disturbed, and the arti
cles deposited under it were in good order. There
were, besides the oars and sails, two barrels of
bread, a barrel of pork, and one of beef; thirty
pounds of rice, thirty pounds of sugar, a saucepan,
an empty keg, a gallon can of alcohol, a bale of
blankets, an ice anchor, an ice chisel, a gun, a
hatchet, a few small poles, and some pieces of wood.
They took of these a barrel of bread, the saucepan
filled with sugar, a small quantity of rice, the
gun, the hatchet, and the boat's equipments. They
were to carry this cargo, and drag the life-boat,
back to the camp, unless a fortunate lead should
enable them to take to the boat.
They ascended a hill, before starting, to get a
view of the present state of the fickle ice. All
was fast in the direct line through which they
came. But, a mile away, washing a piece of the
shore of Littleton Island, was open water. They
IOO NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
concluded to push forward in that direction, and
wait the coming of their companions in the
They reached this open water in six hours
a slow march of one mile but it must be remem
bered that they had to carry their cargo, piece by
piece, then go back and draw along the boat, thus
going over the distance many times. Besides,
they had to climb the hummocks with their load,
and lower it down the other side and tumble
about generally over the rough way.
The island thus reached was three fourths of a
mile in diameter. They landed in a tumultuous
sea, which only a life-boat could survive. There
was no good hiding-place from the storm, which
was increasing. They were completely wet by the
spray, and ready to faint with cold and hunger.
In a crevice of the rock a fire was kindled, the
saucepan half filled with sea water, and an eider
duck John had knocked over with his oar was put
into it to stew. To this was added four biscuit
from the bread barrel. The hot meal thus cooked
refreshed them, but it was their only refreshment.
Bonsall and Godfrey crept under the sail taken
from the boat, and, from sheer exhaustion, fell
asleep. John and Dr. Hayes sought warmth in a
run about the island. Dr. Hayes wandered to a
rocky point, which commanded a view of the chan
nel between the island and the " Hope." He watched
every object, expecting to see her and her crew
adrift. He had not watched long before a dark
object was seen upon a whirling ice-raft. After a
A Green Spot. 101
close and careful second look, he saw that it was
John. He called but received no answer. John's
raft now touched the floe and away he went, jump
ing the fearful cracks, and disappearing in the
darkness. What could inspire so reckless an ad
venture ? Had he seen the " Hope " in peril, and
was this a manly effort to save her and his com
rades ? He was going in the direction in which he
had left them.
Bonsall and Godfrey were soon frozen out of
their comfortless tent, and joined Dr. Hayes on
the rocky point. They took places of observation
a short distance apart, and watched with intense
anxiety both for the " Hope " and John. The
morning came, the sea grew less wild, and the
wind subsided, but nothing was seen of the
Leaving Dr. Hayes and his party thus watching
on the island, we will glance at the experience of
those of us who were left in the camp.
Soon after they left, the wind and the waves
played free and wild. The spray wet our clothes,
buffaloes, and blankets, as it flew past us in dense
clouds. Our bread-bag, wrapped in an india rub
ber cloth, was kept dry. We pitched our tent in
the safest place possible, but were driven out by
the increasing deluge of spray. We tried to cook
our supper, but the water put out the lamp. So we
obtained for thirty hours neither rest nor a warm
meal. Dry, hard bread without water, was our
only food. Finally the floe broke up, and, hastily
packing, ourselves and stores into the " Hope," we
IO2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
went scudding through the leads, earnestly desir
ing but scarcely daring to hope that we should fall
in with Dr. Hayes and his party. As we ap
proached Littleton Island the lead closed, and the
pack for a moment shut us in. As we waited and
watched, we saw a dark object moving over the
floe in the misty distance. Had we been on the
lookout for a bear, we might have sent a bullet
after it at a venture. But a moment only inter
vened before John, nimbly jumping the drifting
ice-cakes, sprung into the boat ! He brought the
welcome news of the whereabouts of our compan
ions with the life-boat, and his needed help in our
peril. Soon a change of tide brought open water,
through which, with all sails set, we bore down on
the island. About eight o'clock we saw Dr. Hayes
watching for our coming from his bleak, rocky
So rough was the sea that we could not land, but
rowed round Cape Ohlsen, the nearest main-land,
where we found a snug harbor with a low beach.
The life-boat and her crew followed. The cargoes
were taken from the boats, and they were hauled
up. From a little stream of melted snow which
trickled down the hill-side our kettles were filled.
The camp was set ablaze, some young eiders and
a burgomaster, shot just before we landed, were
soon cooked, a steaming pot of coffee served up,
and we talked over our adventures as we satisfied
our craving hunger. John was questioned con
cerning his wild adventure. He had not seen the
" Hope," nor did he know where she was. But he
A Green Spot. 103
was concerned about her, and " wanted to hunt
After dinner we set ourselves at work, preparing
the boats for a renewed voyage, which we had
some reason to hope would be one of fewer inter
ruptions. The " Hope " was repatched and calked
by Petersen. A mast and sail was put into the
life-boat, which we named the " Ironsides." The
heavier part of the freight was put on board the
" Hope," of which Petersen took command, with
Sontag, George Stephenson, and George Whipple
as companions and helpers. Dr. Hayes command
ed in the " Ironsides," with whom was Bonsall,
John, Blake, and William Godfrey.
Having spread our sails to a favoring breeze, we
gave three cheers and bore away for Cape Alex
ander, about fourteen miles distant. As we sped
onward the scene was delightful. On our left was
Hartstene Bay, with its dark, precipitous shore
line, and white glacier fields in the background.
The outlines of Cape Alexander grew clearer over
our bows, and cheered us onward. But a dark,
threatening cloud crept up the northern sky, send
ing after us an increasing breeze, and tipping the
waves with caps of snowy whiteness. The storm-
king came on in frequent squalls, giving earnest of
his wrath. We could not turn back, nor did such
a course at all accord with our wishes ; nor could
we run toward the shore on the left, where only
frowning rocks awaited us. We could only scud
before the tempest toward Cape Alexander, come
what would. The wind roared louder and the
io4 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
waves rolled higher, yet on we flew. We came
within half a mile of the cape unharmed. Now
the current, as it swept swiftly round the cape, pro
duced a "chopping sea." The "Hope," being
made for a heavy sea, rounded the point in good
style. The " Ironsides " was shorter, stood more
out of the water, and was, therefore, less manage
able. John, who was intrusted with the steering-
oar, in minding the business of Bonsall and God
frey instead of his own, let it fly out of the water,
and so permitted the boat to come round broad
side' to the current. Of course the sea broke over
us at its pleasure, filling every part which could
be filled and sinking us deep in the water. But
for its metallic structure and air-tight apartment
we should have sunk ; as it was we held fast to
the sides and mast to prevent being washed over
board, and thus we drifted ingloriously round the
Here we found our consort, ready to come to
our assistance ; but as the water was smooth under
sheltering land, we bailed out our boat, took in our
sails, unshipped the mast, and rowed for a small
rock called Sutherland's Island, hoping to find a
harbor. But we found none, nor was it safe to
land anywhere upon the island. There was noth
ing to do but to pull back again in the face of the
wind. The men were weary and disheartened ;
the sun had set and it was growing dark; our
clothes were frozen and unyielding as a coat of
mail; cutting sleet pelted our faces, and we were
often compelled to lose for a moment part of what
A Green Spot. 105
we had with such toil gained. But the sheltering
main-land of the cape was at last gained, and we
coasted slowly along for some distance looking for
a haven. We finally came to a low rocky point,
behind which lay a snug little harbor. "A harbor !
here we are boys; a harbor! " shouted the lookout.
The men responded with a faint cheer they were
too much exhausted for "a rouser."
The boats were unladen and drawn upon the
land. Every thing in the " Ironsides " was wet,
but the stores of the " Hope " were in perfect or
der. We pitched our tent, cooked our supper,
and lay down to sleep. The sea roared angrily as
its waves broke upon the rocky coast, and the
wind howled as it came rushing down the hill-side ;
but they did but lull us to rest as we slept away
our weariness arid disappointment.
Two days we were detained in this place. Once
a little fox peered at us from the edge of the cliff,
which set our men upon a fruitless hunt for either
his curious little self or some of his kindred. We
greatly desired a fox stew, but fox cunning was
too much for us.
We started for Northumberland Island on the
eighth of September. To reach it we must pass
through a wide expanse of sea which was now
clear ; not a berg greeted our vision, no fragments
of drifting ice-packs met our sight. The wind
was nearly " after us," and the boats glided through
the waves as gloriously as if carrying a picnic
party in our own home waters. The spirits of the
men run over with glee. "Isn't this glorious?"
106 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
cried Whipple as the boats came near enough to
gether to exchange salutations ; " we have it watch
and watch about."
"And so have we," replied Godfrey.
"We're shipping a galley and mean to have
some supper," shouted Stephenson.
" And we have got ours already ! " exclaimed
John. " Look at this ! " he added, flourishing in
the air a pot of steaming coffee.
But these joys were emphatically of the arctic
kind, which are in themselves prophecies of ill.
Bergs were soon seen lifting their unwelcome
heads in the distance, and sending through the
intervening waters their tidings of evil. Next
came long, narrow lines of ice ; then these were
united together by a thin, recent formation. We
were now compelled to dodge about to find open
lanes. Coming to a full stop, the officers climbed
an iceberg to get a view of the situation. The
pack was every-where, though in no direction was
it without narrow runs of open water. Then and
there they were compelled, after careful consulta
tion, to decide a question deeply concerning our
enterprise. It was this : Should we take the outer
passage, or the one lying along shore. The first
would afford a better chance of open water, but if
this failed us, as it was even likely to do at this late
season, we must certainly perish. . The second gave
us a smaller chance of boating, but some chance
to live if it failed. But we were on a desperate
enterprise, and were inclined to desperate meas
ures. But Petersen, who had twenty years' experi-
A Green Spot. 107
ence in these waters, counseled the inner route,
and by his counsel the officers felt bound to abide.
While this consultation was going on the sea
became calm, and the boats could be urged only
by the oars. It was night before we found a shel
tered, sloping land behind a projecting rock. The
boats were anchored in the usual way by taking
out their loads and lifting them upon the land.
The tents were pitched upon a terrace a few
yards above the boats. This terrace, we were sur
prised to find, was covered with a green sod, full
of thrifty vegetation. The sloping hill-side above
had the same greenness. A little seeking brought
to our wondering sight; an abundant supply of
sorrel and " cochlearia" anti-scurvy plants which
our men much needed. Some of the men soon
.filled their caps with them. A fox had been shot
and was already in the cook's steaming pot, to
which a good supply of the green plants was added.
Such a supper as we had ! Nothing like it had
been tasted since we left home ! Our scurvy
plague spots disappeared before its wonderful
healing power. The men became as hilarious as
boys when school is out. They reveled and rolled
upon the green arctic carpet like young calves in
a newly found clover field. They smoked their
pipes, "spun yarns," and laughed cheerily, as if
their lives had not just now been in peril, and as
if no imminent dangers lay at their door. Our
camp had indeed been pitched by the all-guiding
Hand in a goodly place. The men declared on re
tiring that they felt the healing cochlearia in their
io8 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
very bones, and it is certain that we all felt the
glow of our changed condition throughout our
The next day two of us climbed the highest
land of the island for a glance at our situation.
We found it as depressing as our paradise of green
ness had been encouraging. We could see south
ward the closed ice-pack for twenty miles, and
faint indications of the same condition of the sea
could be discerned for twenty more miles.
We returned, and a council was called in which
all, men and officers, were called upon freely to
discuss, and finally to decide by vote, the ques
tion, Shall we go forward or attempt to return
to the "Advance." All the facts so far as known
were fairly brought out. Upernavik was six
hundred miles in a straight line ; the brig was
four hundred. Dangers, if not death, were every
where, yet none desponded. Whipple, or " Long
George," as his messmates called him, made a he
roic speech which expressed the feelings of all.
He exclaimed: " The ice can't remain long; I'll
bet it will open to-morrow. The winter is a long
way off yet. If we have such luck as we have had
since leaving Cape Alexander, we shall be in
Upernavik in two weeks. You say it is not more
than six hundred miles there in a straight line.
We have food for that time and fuel for a week.
Before that's gone we'll shoot a seal."
We voted with one voice " Upernavik or noth
ing." The decision was made.
WE were unwillingly detained on the island
several days more. During the detention
we were visited by an Esquimo, who came most
unexpectedly upon us. His name was Amalatok.
He had been at the ship last winter, and had seen
Dr. Kane in his August trip. His dress was strik
ingly arctic a bird-skin coat, feathers turned in ;
bear-skin pants, hair outward ; seal-skin boots ;
and dog-skin stockings. He carried in his hand
two sea birds, a bladder filled with oil, some half-
putrid walrus flesh, and a seal thong. He sat
down on a rock and talked with animation. While
thus engaged he twisted the neck from one of the
birds, inserted the fore-finger of his right hand
under the skin of its neck, drew it down its back,
and thus instantly skinned it. Then running his
long thumb nail along the breastbone, he produced
two fine fat lumps of flesh, which he offered in turn
to each of our company. These were politely de
clined, to his great disgust, and he bolted them
down himself, sending after them a hearty draught
of oil from the bladder. The other bird, the re
maining oil, and the coil of seal-hide we purchased
of him for three needles.
Soon after Amalatok's wife came up with a boy
no NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
her nephew. The woman was old, and exceed
ingly ugly looking ; the boy was fine looking, wide
awake, and thievish we watched him narrowly.
In the evening the Esquimo left for their home
on the easternly side of the island.
In the afternoon of the fourteenth of Septem
ber we left the island, and set our course toward
Cape Parry. The sky had been clear, the air soft
and balmy, and the open sea invited us onward.
But a cold mist soon settled down upon us, suc
ceeded by a curtain of snow, shutting out all land
marks, and leaving us in great doubt as to our
course. The compass refused to do its office, the
needle remaining where it was placed. We struck
into an ice-field and became perfectly bewildered.
As we groped about we struck an old floating
ice-island, about twelve feet square. On this we
crawled and pitched our tent. The cook contrived,
with much perseverance and delay, to light the
lamp, melt some snow, and make a pot of coffee.
This warmed and encouraged us. But as the
snow fell faster and faster, we could not unwrap
our bedding without getting it wet ; so we huddled
together under the tent to keep each other warm.
None slept, and the night wore slowly away as our
ice-island floated we knew not whither. There
was great occasion for despondency, but the men
were wonderfully cheerful. Godfrey sung negro
melodies with a gusto ; Petersen told the stories
of his boyhood life in Copenhagen and Iceland ;
John gave items of a " runner's " life in San Fran
cisco ; Whipple related the horrors of the fore-
Netlik. 1 1 1
castle of a Liverpool packet ; and Bonsall " brought
down the house " by striking up,
" Who wouldn't sell his farm and go to sea?"
During this merriment a piece of our raft broke
off, and came near plunging two of the men into
The morning dawned and showed the dim out
lines of some large object near us, whether ice
berg or land we could not tell. Before we could
well make it out we were near a sandy beach cov
ered with bowlders. We tumbled into the boats
and were soon ashgre. As we landed, Petersen's
gun brought down two large sea-fowl. We were
in a little time high on the land, our tent pitched,
and all but John, the cook, lay down in the dry,
warm buifalo-skins and slept away our weariness.
John in the meantime contended through six long
hours with the wind, which put out his lamp, the
snow, which wet his tinder when he attempted to
relight it, and the cold, which froze the water in
the kettle during the delay, as well as chilled his
fingers and face, and cooked us at last a supper
of sea- fowl and fox. As we ate with appetites
sharpened by a fast of twenty-four hours, we heard
the storm, which raged fearfully, with thankful
ness for our timely covert. God, and not our wis
dom, had brought us hither.
When the morning broke we learned that we
had drifted far up Whale Sound, and were camped
on Herbert Island. After a little delay we entered
our boats, rowed for several hours through " the
12 NOK I II I'd I VM\ MiKS.
.hi .h " the -.now had < nal. .1 m n lln- '.Imi, , ami
lli. -n |pr< ftding "in eanvas, we sailed Im tin- main
i md We struck the coast twenty miles above
< ' ape Tarry.
\\'e had .. at < r I \ him- In jdam e at nil! Ml Mat i. m
b.i fore W( he ird the " i ini. ' i ini. ' i ini. ' " oi~ Ks-
i pi iinn vi IK (;. 1 1 was I he hailiii!', < i y ol a m m and
n boy who - um- i iinnin" i.> MI. ihore. \\'ini.- iv
I. i tefl I all. fd wil Ii I In- man, tin- 1 >\ K ampei , . 1 . iff
The man was K a h 1 1 1 1 1 1 a h , "the \ n ; . I . n I , n i
priest "I hi , 1 1 ibe. lie had I >rrn, a . \vd I br i erol-
i. , i, d. M tin ihip m iin- \\ Intel 1 i'- stid <he. vil-
>iil\ a |hOI I dilt ii" '' "p 'he bay, win ae
ilenty >f biubi>< i and me !, \\in< h we might
it we would allow him to enter our " oomiak
and pilot in thin '
While we WeW talking with Kalnlnnah, Ihr boy
had .pie ii I til.- in u . nl nil i vial fhiniii'h tin- vil
( m i ame a ti.mp nl men, \vnim-n, ami ellil-
dii-n. rushing Along !>.- ihore^ md throwing then
aim. abiiiit, ami ihOUting n" iiil\, \\illi Imwlm;;
dn- . ai tin ii hi-els. 'I'he "Kabhinah" and
"()nmial. " \\lnli- men and -.hip had 00011 ""'
they \\ en- h.i|tpy.
\\ . I. ml, nn l.n.iid I. alntnnah limn a ro< 1; v
pni nl , 1 1. Im e I In- i i n\\ d mild i eai h il , ami pir.hed
nil ami rowed up the btj < >m p > nengei w
d< Ir-hl e.|, ha \ im; ne\ ei before voyaged m thil
I I StOOd up "I I'"' bn.it ami < .dh -d In hi;
i a i \ i n i r , i . 1 1 1 n I i \ i m n who i a n . 1 1 > i e a . I < > I US QlOnfl
iin- ihore, ' ., Itiming, " See me ! !
\\ e landed in :i little < \ a-, at (he
we pit. hod oni lent I'he sail. MS drew up the
boat over tho gentle slope, shouting. " 1 leave oh ! "
At tin-, the natives biokeont ifttO UtprOArioUl '
ter. Nothing oi ail the strange ihouttand
; ht io then notioo so pleased them. They
took hold ol the ropes , of the boats, and
d iwa| . " i-c-u! 1-e n i .
thv nearest approach they could make to the
ml ot the wluto la, es.
\ short distam o horn the boaeh. on tho slope,
lood the ,Ttf///W#/ ~tWO Ston,- hnts twenty vaids
.ip.ut l'he\ \veie surrounded b\ ro< ks and bo\\ 1
iloi -. looking in, -u- liko tho Imkim; plaoos of \\ild
. than thi ol men
The enteitamineni given us b\ oin no\\ friends
was most eordial V YOU m* woman to the
valley N ith a troop ol bov. and ; .-i '. , at hoi
,uid tilh-d ,MII kettles \\ilh watei Kalntnnah''.
\\ 1 1 , 1 M , M i : \ 1 1 1 u . o a I a n d a : . , M < ,1 1 \ p i e i ' e
ot li\ ei I'he hoil at oui , an\ as
\M, k hunp, uttorevl and slo\\ Iv burnevl, ami
tho > : Ughtei ran otl and brought then lamp
ot dnod moss .ind seal tat.
We gave them tome ot ,MH siippov. as they CX-
iv, led oi oourse that we \\onid rhej made \\ M
faoos at tho ootVee, and onl\ sipped a little; bm
1\ a 1 n I n n \ 1 1 With i n o i > ~ > ; ' . _ : \ \ : \ pe I' se VCl'cd and
dianlv freelv ol u \\ o passod round some hard
IM ., ml. wlni h th.-\ did not regard as lood until
tlu'v ->a\\ !!< oat thorn l'h,-\ thon nibblrd a\\ \.
laM^Jnn:'. and nibbbn;-. .nvhilr until thru
seemed to bo sote I'he) dun thrust them into
1 14 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
their boots, the general receptacles of curious
After supper the white men lighted their pipes.
This to the natives was the crowning wonder.
They stared at the strangers, and then looked
knowingly at each other. The solemn faces of
the smokers, the devout look which they gave at
the ascending smoke from their mouths as it curled
upward, impressed the Esquimo that this was a
religious ceremony. They, too, preserved a be
coming gravity. But the ludicrous scene was too
much for our men, and their faces relaxed into
smiles. This was a signal for a general explosion.
The Esquimo burst into loud laughter, springing
to their feet and clapping their hands. The relig
ious meeting was over.
The " Angekok," who seemed desirous to show
his people that he could do any thing which the
strangers could, desired to be allowed to smoke.
We gave him a pipe, and directed him to draw in
his breath with all his might. He did so, and was
fully satisfied to lay the pipe down. His awful
grimaces brought down upon him shouts and
laughter from his people.
The mimic puffs, and the poorly executed echoes
of the sailors' " Heave-oh," went merrily round
Having established good feeling between our
selves and the Esquimo, we entered upon nego
tiations for such articles of food as they could
spare. But they in fact had only a small supply.
They wanted, of course, our needles, knives, wood,
and iron, and were profuse in their promises of
what they would do, but their game was in the
It was midnight before the Esquimo retired
and we lay down to sleep. Dr. Hayes and Stephen-
son remained on guard, for our very plausible
friends were not to be trusted where any thing
could be stolen. The stars twinkled in the clear
atmosphere while yet the twilight hung upon the
mountain, and all nature was hushed to an oppress
ive silence, save when it was broken by the sud
den outburst of laughter from the Esquimo, or the
cawing of a solitary raven.
Leaving Stephenson on guard, Dr. Hayes walked
toward the huts. Kalutunah hearing his foot
steps came out to meet him, expressing his wel
come by grinning in his face and patting his back.
The huts were square in front and sloped back into
the hill. They were entered by a long passage
way tossut of twelve feet, at the end of which
was an ascent into the hut through an opening in
the floor near the front. Into this the chief led
the way, creeping on all fours, with a lighted torch
of moss saturated with fat. Snarling dogs and
half-grown puppies were sleeping in this narrow
way, who naturally resented in their own amiable
way this midnight disturbance. Arriving at the
upright shaft, the chief crowded himself aside to
let .his visitor pass in. A glare of light, suffocating
odors, and a motley sight, greeted the doctor.
Crowded into the den, on a raised stone bench
around three sides, were human beings of both
u6 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
sexes, and of all ages. They huddled together still
closer to make room for the stranger, whom they
greeted with an uproarious laugh. In one of the
front corners, on a raised- stone bench, was a
mother-dog with a family of puppies. In the other
corner was a joint of meat. The whole interior
was about ten feet in diameter, and five and a half
high. The walls were made of stone and the
bones of animals, and chinked with moss. They
were not arched, but drawn in from the foundation,
and capped above with slabs of slate-stone.
The doctor's visit was one of curiosity, but the
curiosity of the Esquimo in reference to him was
more intense and must first be gratified. They
hung upon his arms and legs and shoulders ; they
patted him on the back, and stroked his long
beard, which to these beardless people was a
wonder. The woolen clothes puzzled them, and
their profoundest thought was at fault in deciding
the question of the kind of animal from whose
body the material was taken. They had no con
ception of clothing not made of skins.
The boys' hands soon found their way into the
doctor's pockets, and they drew out a pipe, which
passed with much merriment from hand to hand,
and mouth to mouth.
Kalutunah drew the doctor's knife from its
sheath, pressed it fondly to his heart, and then
with a mischievous side glance stuck it into his
own boot. The doctor shook his head, and it was
returned with a laugh to its place. A dozen times
he took it out, hugged it, and returned it to its
place, saying beseechingly, " Me ! me ! give me ! "
He did want it so much ! The visitor's pistol was
handled with great caution and seriousness. They
had been given a hint of its power at the sea-shore,
wheje Bonsall had brought a large sea-fowl down
into their midst by a shot from his gun.
While this examination of the doctor was going on
he examined more closely the objects about him.
There was a window, or opening, above the en
trance, over which dried intestines, sewed togeth
er, were stretched to let in light. The wall was
covered with seal and fox skins stretched to
There were in the hut three families and one or
two visitors, in all eighteen or twenty persons.
The female head of each family was attending in
different parts of the hut, to her family cooking.
They had each a stone, scooped out like a clam
shell, in which was put a piece of moss soaked in
blubber. This was both lamp and stove, and was
kept burning by feeding with fat. Over this a
stone pot was hung from the ceiling, in which the
food was kept simmering. These, and the animal
heat of the inmates, made the hut intensely warm.
Seeing the white man panting for breath, some
boys and girls laid hold of his clothes to strip him,
after their own fashion. This act of Esquimo
courtesy he declined. They then urged him to
eat, and he answered, " Koyenuck" I thank you
at which they all laughed. Though he had dreaded
this invitation, he did not think it good policy to
declare it. A young girl brought him the con-
n8 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
tents of one of the stone pots in a skin dish, first
tasting it herself to see if it was too hot.
All eyes were upon the visitor. Not to take
their proffered pottage would be a great affront.
To him the dose seemed insufferable, though of
necessity to be taken. Shutting his eyes, and
holding his nose, he bolted it down. He was aft
erward informed that it was one of the delicacies
of their table, made by boiling together blood, oil,
and seal intestines !
After thus partaking of their hospitality, the doc
tor left the Esquimo quarters, escorted by " the
Angekok " and his daughter.
We were astir at dawn, preparing to leave this
little village known as Netlik. We had obtained a
valuable addition to our slender store of blubber,
and a few pairs of fur boots and mittens, for which
we amply paid them.
Knowing that the Esquimo had never heard of
the commandment, " Thou shalt not covet," and
that they did not understand well the law of
" mine " and " thine," we watched them closely as
our stores were being passed into the boat. When
we were ready to push off it was ascertained that
the hatchet was missing. Petersen openly charged
them, as they stood upon the shore, with the theft.
They all threw up their hands with expressions of
injured innocence. " My people never steal ! " ex
claimed the affronted chief.
One fellow was so loud in his protestations of
innocence that Petersen suspected him. The
Dane approached him with a flash of anger in his
Netlik. 1 19
eye, which told its own story. The Esquimo
stepped back, stooped, picked up the hatchet, on
which he had been standing, and gave it to Peter-
sen with one hand, and with the other presented
him a pair of mittens as a peace-offering.
We pushed off, and they stood shouting upon
the beach until their voices died away in the dis
tance as we pulled across the bay.
120 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
WE now made for Cape Parry with all speed,
though this was slow speed. The young
ice which covered the bay was too old for us, or,
at any rate, it was too strong for easy progress. It
was sunset when we reached the cape. Beyond
this there had been open water seen by us for many
days past, from the elevated points of observation
which we had sought. From this point, therefore,
we expected free sailing southward, and rapid
progress toward safety and our homes. But here
we were at last at Cape Parry against a pack which
extended far southward. In our desperation we
tried to force the boats through. The " Ironsides "
was badly battered, and the " Hope " made sadly
leaky by the operation, and no progress was made.
We then pushed slowly down the shore through a
lead, and having gone about seven -miles, darkness
and the ice brought us to a stand, and we drew up
for the night.
In the morning we observed a lead going south
from the shore at a point twelve miles distant.
For six days, bringing us to the twenty-seventh of
September, we fought hard to reach the lead, but
failed. We could now neither retreat nor go for
ward . Ice and snow were every-where. The sun
The Hut. 121
was running low in the heavens, seeming to rise
only to set ; and soon the night, which was to have
no sunrise morning until February, would be upon
us. Our food was sufficient for not more than two
weeks, and our fuel of blubber for the lamp only
was but enough for eight or ten days. Our con
dition seemed almost without hope, but it had en
tered into our calculations as a possible contingen
cy, and we girded ourselves for the struggle for
life, trusting in the Great Deliverer.-^g^s...^
We were about sixteen miles below Cape Parry,
and about midway between Whale Sound and
Wolstenholme Sound. We pitched our tent thirty
yards from the sea on a rocky upland. After se
curing in a safe place the boats and equipments,
we began to look about us for a place to build a
hut. It was, indeed, a dreary, death-threatening
region. Time was too pressing for us to think of
building an Esquimo hut, if, indeed, our strength
and skill was sufficient.
While we were looking round and debating what
to build and where, one of our party found a crev
ice in a rock. This crevice ran parallel^with the
coast, and was opposite to, and near, the landing.
It was eight feet in width, and level on the bottom.
The rock on the east side was six feet high, its face
smooth and perpendicular, except breaks in two
places, making at each a shelf. On the other
the ocean side the wall was scarcely four feet
high, round and sloping ; but a cleft through it
made an opening to the crevice from the west.
We at once determined to make our hut here,
122 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
as the natural walls would save much work in its
construction. The only material to be thought of
was rocks. These we had to find beneath the
snow, and then loosen them from the grasp of the
frost. For this we fortunately had an ice-chisel
a bar of iron an inch in diameter and four feet
long, bent at one end for a handle, and tempered
and sharpened at the other. With this Bonsall
loosened the rocks, and others bore them on their
shoulders to the crevice. When a goodly pile
was made we began to construct the walls. In
stead of mortar we had sand to fill in between the
stones. This was as hard to obtain as the stones
themselves, as it had to be first picked to pieces
with the ice-chisel, then scooped up with our tin
dinner plates into cast-off bread-bags, and thus
borne to the builders.
This work was done by four of us only, the
other four being engaged in hunting, to keep away
threatened starvation. In two days our walls were
up. They run across the crevice, that is, east and
west, were fourteen feet apart, four feet high, and
three thick. The natural walls being eight feet
apart, our hut was thus in measurement fourteen
feet by eight. The entrance was through the
cleft, from the ocean side. We laid across the top
of this door-way the rudder of the " Hope," and
erected on it the " gable." One of the boat's
masts was used for a ridgepole, and the oars for
rafters. Over these we laid the boats' sails,
drew them tightly, and secured them with heavy
stones. Being sadly deficient in lumber, Petersen
The Hut. 123
constructed a door of light frame-work and cov
ered it with canvas ; he hung it on an angle, so
that when opened it shut of its own weight. A
place was left for a window over the door-way,
across which we drew a piece of old muslin well
greased with blubber, and through which the som
ber light streamed when there was any outside.
We then endeavored to thatch the roof and
" batten " the cracks every-where with moss. But
to obtain this article we had to scour the country
far and near, dig through the deep snow, having
tin dinner plates for shovels, wrench it from the
grip of the frost with our ice-chisel, put it in our
bread-bags and " back it " home.
In four days, in spite of all obstacles, our hut
assumed a homelike appearance at least home
like compared with our present quarters. We
said : " To-morrow we shall move into it and be
comparatively comfortable. "But that day brought
the advance force of a terrific storm of wind and
snow. It caught some of us three miles from the
tent. We huddled together in our thin hemp can
vas tent and slept as best we could. Two of our
company crawled out in the morning to prepare
our scanty meal. They found the hut half full of
snow, which had sifted through the crevices. But
they brought to the tent's company a hot break
fast after some hours' toil ; we ate and our spirits
We tried all possible expedients to pass away
the time, but the hours moved slowly. The storm
continued to howl and roar about us with unceas-
124 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ing fury for four days. Our little stock of food
was diminishing, our hut was unfinished, and win
ter was upon us in earnest. Our situation was
one of almost unmitigated misery.
On Friday, October sixth, the storm subsided,
and nature put on a smiling face. We renewed
our work on the hut, clearing it of snow with our
dinner-plate shovels, and then, under greater diffi
culties than ever, because the snow was deeper and
our strength less, we finished it. The internal ar
rangements were as follows : an aisle or floor, three
feet wide, extended from the door across the hut.
On the right, as one entered, was a raised platform
of stone and sand about eighteen inches high.
On this we spread our skins and blankets. Here
five of us were to sleep. On the back corner of the
other side was a similar platform, or " breck " as
the Esquimo would call it; here three men were
to sleep. In the left-hand corner, near the door,
Petersen had extemporized a stove out of some
tin sheathing torn from the " Hope," with a funnel
of the same material running out of the roof. This
sort of fire-place stove held two lamps, a sauce
pan, and kettle. On a post which supported the
roof hung a small lamp.
Into this hut we moved October ninth. Com
pared with the tent it was comfortable. It was
evening when we were settled. At sundown Pe
tersen came in with eight sea-fowl, so we celebrated
the occasion with a stew of fresh game, cooked in
our stove with the staves of our blubber kegs, and
we added to our meal a pot of hot coffee.
The Hut. 12 5
The supper done, we talked by the dim light of
our moss taper. A storm, which was heralded
during the day, was raging without in full force,
burying us in a huge snow-bank. We discussed
calmly our duties and trials, and we all lay down
prayerfully to sleep.
What shall we do now ? was the question of the
morning. Indeed, it was the continual question.
John reported our stores thus : " There's three
quarters of a small barrel of bread, a capful of
meat biscuit, half as much rice and flour, a double
handful of lard and that's all." Our vigilant
hunting thus far had resulted in seventeen small
birds ; that was all. Some of us had tried to eat
the " stone moss," a miserable lichen which clung
tenaciously to the stones beneath the snow. But
it did little more than stop for awhile the gnawings
of hunger, often inducing serious illness ; yet this
seemed our only resort.
The storm still raged. We were all reclining
upon the brecks except John, who was trying to
cook by a fire which filled our hut with smoke,
when we were startled by a strange sound. " What
is it ? " we asked. We could not get out, so we list
ened at the window. "It was the wind," we said,
for we could hear nothing more. In a half hour
it was repeated clearer and louder. We opened
the door "by drawing the snow into the house,
and made a little opening through the drift
so we could see daylight. " It was the barking
of a fox," says one. "No," said another, "it was
the growling of a bear." Whipple, who was
126 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
half asleep, muttered, " It was just nothing at
While these remarks were being made the Es-
quimo shout was clearly recognized. Petersen
put his mouth to the aperture in the snow and
shouted, "Huk ! huk ! huk ! " After much shout
ing, two bewildered Esquimo entered our hut.
They were from Netlik, the village we had last
left, and one was Kalutunah. Their fur dress
had a thick covering of snow, and, hardy though
they were, they looked weary almost to faintness.
They each held in one hand a dog-whip, and in
the other a piece of meat and blubber. They
threw down the food, thrust their whip-stocks un
der the rafters, hung their wet outer furs upon
them, and at once made themselves at home. The
chief hung around Dr. Hayes, saying fondly,
" Doctee ! doctee ! "
John put out his smoking fire, at the Angekok's
request, and used his blubber in cooking a good
joint of the bear meat. We all had a good meal
at our guests' expense. Necessity was more than
courtesy with hungry men.
While the cooking and eating were going on, we
listened to the marvelous story of the Esquimo.
They left Netlik, forty miles north, the morning of
the previous day on a hunting excursion with two
dog-sledges. The storm overtook them far out
upon the ice in search of bear, and they sheltered
themselves in a snow hut for the night. Fearing
the ice might break up they turned to the land,
which they happened to strike near our boats and
The Hut. 127
tent. Knowing we must be near, they picketed
their dogs under a sheltering rock and commenced
tramping and shouting.
The supper eaten, the story told, and the curi
osity of our visitors satisfied in closely observing
every thing, we made for them the best bed pos
sible, tucked them in, and they were soon snoring
In the morning we tunneled a hole from our
door through the snow. Kalutunah and Dr.
Hayes went to the sea-shore. The dogs were
howling piteously, having been exposed to all the
fury of the storm during the night without the lib
erty of stirring beyond their tethers. Besides, they
had been forty-eight hours without food, having
come from hom.e in that time through a widely
deviating track. Every thing about them was
carefully secured which could be eaten, and they
Dr. Hayes turned toward the hut, and having
reached the snow-tunnel he was about to stoop
down to crawl through it, when he observed the
whole pack of thirteen snapping, savage brutes
at his heels. Had he been on his knees they
would have made at once a meal of him. They
stood at bay for a moment, but seeing he had no
means of attack, one of them commenced the as
sault by springing upon him. Dr. Hayes caught
him on his arm, and kicked him down the hill.
This caused a momentary pause. No help was
near, and to run was sure death. It was a fearful
moment, and his blood chilled at the prospect of
128 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
dying by the jaws of wolfish dogs, whose fierce
and flashing eyes assured him that hunger had
given them a terrible earnestness. His eye im
proved the moment's respite in sweeping the circle
of the enemy for the means of escape, and he
caught a glimpse of a dog-whip about ten feet off.
Instantly he sprang as only a man thus situated
could spring, and clearing the back of the largest
of the dogs, seized the whip. He was now mas
ter of the situation. Never amiable, and terribly
savage when prompted by hunger, yet the Esqui-
mo dog is always a coward. Dr. Hayes's vigorous
blows, laid on at right and left with much effect
and more sound and fury, sent the pack yelping
In our discussions of the question of subsist
ence, we had about decided that we must draw
our supplies from the Esquimo or perish. Our
hunting was a failure, and our supply of food was
about exhausted. So when Kalutunah came back
we proposed to him through Petersen to pur
chase blubber and bear meat with our treasures
of needles, knives, etc., so valuable in the eyes of
the natives. He looked at our sunken cheeks and
desolate home with a knowing twinkle of his eye,
and a crafty expression on his besotted face. This
was followed by the questions, *' How much shoot
with mighty guns ? how much food you bring from
ship ? " These questions, and the speaking eye and
tell-tale face, were windows through which we
saw into the workings of his dark heathen mind.
They meant, as we understood them, " If you are
The Pint. 129
going to starve we had better let you. We shall
then get your nice things without paying for
But Petersen understood and outmanaged the
" How we going to live? " he boldly exclaimed,
facing the questioner. " Live ! Shoot bear when
we get hungry, sleep when we get tired ; Esqui-
mo will bring us bear, we shall give them pres
ents, and sleep all the time. White man easily get
plenty to eat. Always plenty to eat, plenty sleep."
The glory of life from the Esquimo point of
view is plenty to eat. and nothing to do. They
held those who had attained to this high estate in
profound respect. The starving could scarcely be
brought within the range of their consideration.
Hence the policy adopted by Petersen, and it had
its desired effect. Kalutunah and his companion
tarried another night, and departed promising to
return with such food as the hunt afforded, and
exchange it for our valuables.
Two weeks days of misery passed before
their return. We set fox-traps, constructed much
after the style of the rabbit-traps of the boys at
home, tramping for this purpose over the coast
line for ten miles. One little prisoner only re
warded our pains, while the saucy villains showed
themselves boldly by day, barking at us from the
top of a rock, dodging across our path at the right
and left, and even following us within sight of the
hut. But all this was done at a safe distance from
130 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Petersen went far out to sea on the ice, but
neither bear nor seal rewarded his toil. We had
burned up our lard keg for our semi-daily fire to
cook our scanty meals, and now, with a sorrow that
went to our hearts, began to break up the " Hope."
We knew this step argued badly for the future, but
what could we do ? Besides, it was poor, water-
soaked fuel, and would last but a little while. We
saved the straightest and best pieces for trade with
Our scanty meals, badly helped by the stone
moss, told upon our health. Stephenson gasped
for breath with a heart trouble.; Godfrey fainted,
and was happily saved a serious fall by being
caught in John's arms.
Esquimo Treachery. 131
THE kind Providence which had interfered
for us in so many cases came with timely
help. October twenty-sixth, Kalutunah and his
companion returned. They had been south to
Cape York, nearly a hundred miles, calling on
their way at the village called Akbat, thirty miles
off. They had killed three bears, the most of
which they had upon their sledges. They sold
us, reluctantly, enough for a few days. We ate of
the refreshing meat like starving men, as we real
ly were. Our sunken eyes and hollow cheeks
seemed to leave us at a single meal. The faint re
vived, and our despondency departed. Our past
sufferings were for the moment at least forgotten,
and we looked hopefully upon the future.
The next day the Esquimo called and left a lit
tle more meat and blubber. We caught two small
foxes, one of them in a trap, and the other was
arrested by a shot from Dr. Hayes's gun. The
audacious little fellow run over the roof of our
hut and awoke the doctor, who, without dressing,
seized his double-barreled gun, and bolted into
the cold without. It was dark, and he fired at
random. The first shot missed, but the second
wounded him, and he went limping down the hill.
132 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The doctor gave chase and returned with the
game, but came near paying dear for his prize,
barely escaping without frozen feet.
On Sunday, the twenty-ninth, in the midst of
pensive allusions, and more pensive thoughts, con
cerning home, in which even Petersen's weather-
beaten face betrayed a tear, an Esquimo boy came
in from Akbat. His bearing was manly, his coun
tenance fresh and agreeable, if not handsome, and
Jiis dress, of the usual material, was new. He
drove a fine team with decided spirit. He was
evidently somebody's pet, and we thought we saw
a mother's partial stamp upon him. He was on
his way to Netlik, and our curious inquiries brought
from him the blushing acknowledgment that he
was going " a courting!" He was nothing loath
to talk of his sweetheart, and he bore her a bundle
of bird-skins to make her an under garment as
love-token. We gave him a pocket-knife and a
piece of wood, to which we added two needles
for his lady-love. He was full of joy at this good
fortune, but when Sontag added a string of beads
for her his cup run over. He had on his sledge
two small pieces of blubber, a pound of bear's
meat, a bit of bear's skin. These he laid at
our feet, and dashed off toward Netlik in fine
When he was gone we renewed our ever-return
ing, perplexing, never-settled question, What shall
we do ? We could agree on no plans of escape,
for all seemed impossible of execution. Yet we
did agree in the expediency of opening a commu-
Esquimo Treachery, 133
nication with the brig. But how to do it was the
Our dependence upon the Esquimo growing
more humiliatingly absolute every day, pained us.
We feared their treachery, of which we already
saw some signs. u What shall we do ? " was ever
While thus perplexed, Kalutunah made his ap
pearance. With him were a young hunter, and a
woman with a six months' old baby. The little
one was wrapped in fox-skin, and thrust into its
mother's hood, which hung on her neck behind.
It peered out of its hiding-place with a contented
and curious expression of face. Its mother had
come forty miles, sometimes walking over the
hummocky way, with the thermometer thirty-eight
degrees below zero, with a liability of encounter
ing terrific storms, and all to see the white men
and their igloe. Mother and child arrived in good
We conversed with the chief about our plan of
going to Upernavik on sledges, and proposed to
buy teams of his people, or hire them to drive us
there. He received the proposal with a decided
dissent, amounting almost to resentment. His
people, he said, would not sell dogs at any price ;
they had only enough to preserve their own lives.
This we knew to be false. We offered a great
price, but he scorned the bribe, and talked with
an expression of horror about our plan of passing
with sledges over the Frozen Sea, as he called
134 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
While we were urging the sale by him of dogs
and sledges he looked quizzically at our emaci
ated forms and sunken cheeks, and turning to
the woman with a significant twinkle in his eye,
he sucked in his cheeks. She returned the
knowing glance, and sucked in her cheeks. This
meant : We shall get all the white men's coveted
things without paying when we find them starved
and dead. This was a comforting view of the
case for them.
We dropped the plan of going south, and pro
posed to the chief to carry some of our party to
the ship. This he readily assented to, and said
at least four sledges should go with Petersen, if to
each driver should be given a knife and piece of
wood. We closed the bargain gladly, and Peter-
sen was to start in the morning.
Guests and entertainers now sought rest. We
gave the mother and child our bed in the corner.
This was to us a self-denying act of courtesy,
compelled by policy. We had usually given a
good distance between us and such lodgers on
account of certain specimens of natural history
which swarmed upon their bodies, which, though
starving, we did not desire. But to put her in a
meaner place would be a serious affront, for which
we might be obliged to pay dearly.
About midnight voices were heard outside, and
soon our young lover, the boy-hunter, entered, ac
companied by a widow who was neither young
nor beautiful. The hut was in instant confusion.
There was but little more sleep for the night, which
Esquimo Treachery. 135
was peculiarly hard on Petersen, who was to start
in the morning on his long journey.
We had no food with which to treat our guests,
which they saw, and so supped upon the provis
ions which they brought. The widow ate raw
young birds, of which she brought a supply saved
over from the summer. The Angekok had de
cided that her husband's spirit had taken tempo
rary residence in a walrus, so she was forbidden
that animal. She chewed choice bits of her bird
and offered them to us. We tried politely to de
cline the kindness, but our refusal plainly offended
The widow's husband had been carried out to
sea on an ice-raft on the sudden breaking up of
the floe, and had never been heard from. When
ever his name was mentioned she burst into tears.
Petersen told us that, according to Esquimo cus
tom in such cases, we were expected to join in the
At the first attempt our success was very in
different. On the next occasion we equaled in
sincerity and naturalness the expressed sorrow of
the heirs of a rich miser over his mortal remains.
Even the tears we managed so well that the wid
ow, charitably forgetting our former affront, offered
us more chewed meat.
In the morning Petersen was off, Godfrey ac
companying him at his own option.
The same evening John and Sontag went south
with the widow and young hunter. Thus four of
us only were left in the hut, and of these, one,
136 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Stephenson, was seriously sick. His death at any
time would not have been a surprise to us. The
hut was colder than ever, and our food nearly
gone. A few books, among which was a little
Bible, the gift of a friend, were a great source of
In a few days John and Sontag returned. They
had fared well during their absence. They were
accompanied by two Esquimo, who brought us
food for a few days, for which they demanded an
exorbitant price. They, like people claiming a
higher civilization, took advantage of our neces
sity. When they were about to depart on a bear
hunt, Dr. Hayes proposed that two of us accom
pany them with our guns, but they declined. We
went with them to the beach, saw them start,
watched them as they swiftly glided over the ice,
and, dodging skillfully around the hummocks,
faded into a black speck in the distance.
The day was spent as one of rest by four of our
number, while two of us visited the traps, return
ing as usual with nothing. The evening came.
A cup of good coffee revived us. The tempera
ture of our den came up to the freezing point.
We were in the midst of this feast of hot coffee
and increased warmth, when we heard a footfall.
We hailed in Esquimo, but no answer. Soon the
outer door of our passage way opened, a man
entered and fell prostrate with a deep moan. It
was Petersen. He crept slowly in as we opened
the door, staggered across the hut, and fell ex
hausted on the breck.
Esquimo Treachery. 137
Godfrey soon followed, even more exhausted.
They both called piteously for " water ! water ! "
They were in no condition to explain what had
happened. We stripped them of their frozen gar
ments, rubbed their stiffened limbs, and rolled
them in warm blankets. We gave them of our
hot coffee, and the warmth of the hut and dry
clothes revived them, but the sudden and great
change was followed by a brief cloud over their
minds. They fell into a disturbed sleep, and their
sudden starts, groans, and mutterings, told of some
Petersen, while sipping his coffee, had told us
that the Esquimo had thrown off their disguise
and had attempted to murder them ; that he and
Godfrey had walked all the way from Netlik with
the Esquimo in hot pursuit. We must watch, he
said, for if off our guard they might overwhelm us
This much it was necessary for us to know ; the
details of their terrible experience he was in no
mood to give.
We immediately set a watch outside, who was
relieved every hour; he was armed with Bonsall's
rifle. Our other guns we fired off and carefully
reloaded, hanging them upon their pegs for in
Petersen and Godfrey awoke once, ate, and lay
down to their agitated sleep. No others slept, or
even made the attempt. The creak of the boots
of the sentinel as he tramped his beat near the
hut, on a little plain cleared of snow by the wind,
138 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
was the only sound which broke the solemn si
lence. The enemy would not dare attack us ex
cept unawares, knowing, as they did, that there
were eight of us, armed with guns. At midnight
noises were heard about the rocks of the coast.
They were watching, but seeing the sentinel, and
finding it a chilling business to wait for our cessa
tion of vigilance, they sneaked away. In the
morning one of our men visited the rocky coverts
and found their fresh tracks.
We received at the earliest opportunity the de
tails of Petersen's story. They left us on the
third of November, and were gone four days.
They arrived in Netlik in nine hours, and were
lodged one in each of the two igloes. Their wel
come had a seeming heartiness. They had a full
supply set before them of tender young bear-steak
and choice puppy stew. Many strangers were
present, and they continued to come until the
huts were crowded.
The next day the hunters all started early on
the chase, to get, as Kalutunah said, a good sup
ply for their excursion to the ship, as well as a
store for their families. This looked reasonable,
but when night came the chief and a majority of
the men returned not, nor did they appear the
next day. The moon had just passed its full, no
time could be spared for trifling, and Petersen
grew uneasy. This feeling was increased by the
strangers which continued to come, the running
to and fro of the women, the side glances, and the
covert laugh among the crowd.
Esquimo Treachery. 139
Kalutunah returned on the evening of the third
day of our men at the hut. Several sledges ac
companied him, and one of them was driven by a
brawny savage by the name of Sipsu. He had
shown his ugly face once at our hut. He was
above the usual height, broad-chested and strong
limbed. He had a few bristly hairs upon his chin
and upper lip, and dark, heavy eyebrows over
shadowed his well set, evil-looking eyes. He was
every inch a savage. While the crowd laughed,
joked, and fluttered curiously about the strangers,
Sipsu was digniried, sullen, or full of dismal
stories. He had, he said, killed two men of his
tribe. They were poor hunters, so he stole upon
them from behind a hummock, and harpooned
them in the back.
Whatever shrewdness Sipsu possessed, he did
not have wit enough to hide his true character
from his intended victims.
About twelve sledges were now collected, and
Petersen supposed they would start early in the
morning for the "Advance"," so he ventured to try
to hurry them a few hours by suggesting midnight
for the departure. To this suggestion they replied
that they would not go at all, and that they never
intended to go. The crowd in the hut greeted
this announcement with uproarious laughter.
Petersen maintained a bold bearing. He rose
and went to the other hut and put Godfrey upon
the watch, telling him^ what had happened. He
then returned and demanded good faith from the
chiefs. They only muttered that they could not
140 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
go north ; they could not pass that " blowing
place " Cape Alexander. He then asked them
to sell him a dog-team ; he would pay them well.
They evaded this question, and Sipsu said to
Kalutunah, in a side whisper, " We can get his
things in a cheaper way."
Now commenced the game of wait and watch
between the two parties ; the chiefs waited and
watched to kill Petersen, and he waited and
watched not to be killed. He had his gun outside,
because the moisture of the hut condensing on the
lock might prevent it from going off. He had told
the crowd that if they touched it it might kill
them, and this fear was its safety. Those inside
thought he had a pistol concealed under his gar
ments. They had seen such articles, and witnessed
their deadly power. Their purpose now was to
get possession of this weapon, and Sipsu was the
man to do it.
Petersen, cool as he was prompt and skillful, had
not betrayed his suspicions of them; so he threw
himself upon the breck and feigned himself asleep,
to draw out their plans.
The strategy worked well. The gossiping
tongues of men, women, and children loosened
when they thought him asleep, and they revealed
all their secrets. Petersen and Godfrey were to
be killed on the spot, and our hut was to be sur
prised before Sontag and John returned from the
south. Sipsu the while moved softly toward Pe
tersen to search for the pistol. Just at this moment
Godfrey came to the window and hallooed to
Esquimo Treachery. 141
learn if his chief was alive. Petersen rose from
his sham sleep and went out. A crowd were at
the door and about the gun, but they dared not
touch it. The intended victims kept a bold front,
and coolly proposed a hunt. This the natives de
clined, and they declared they would go alone.
It was late in the night when our beset and
worried men started. They were watched sullen
ly until they were two miles away, and then the
sledges were harnessed for the pursuit. Fifty
yelping dogs mingled their cries with those of the
men, and made a fiendish din in the ears of the
flying fugitives. What could they do if the dogs
were let loose upon them, having only a single
rifle ! One thing they intended should be sure ;
Sipsu or Kalutunah should die in the attack.
When the pursuers seemed at the very heels of
our men, that one gun made cowards of the Esqui
mo chiefs. They seemed to understand their dan
ger. The whole pack of dogs and men turned
seaward, and disappeared among the hummocks.
. They meant a covert attack.
Keeping the shore and avoiding the hiding-
places, Petersen and Godfrey pressed on. The
night was calm and clear, but the cold was over
fifty degrees below zero. When half way, at Cape
Parry, they well-nigh fainted and fell. But en
couraging each. other, they still hurried onward,
and made the fifty miles (it was forty in a straight
line) in twenty-four hours. The reader under
stands why they arrived in such distress and ex
142 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
DURING the two days following the return
of Petersen and Godfrey we spent our work
ing hours in building a wall about our hut. It
was made of frozen snow, sawed in blocks by our
small saw. This wall served a double purpose,
that of breaking the wind from our hut, 'and as a
defense against the Esquimo. It gave our abode
the appearance of a fort, and we called it Fort
Desolation. John muttered : Better call it Fort
Starvation ! This was in fact no unfitting desig
nation. Our food was nearly gone. Those who
alone could keep us from starving were seeking
our lives. A feeble, flickering light made the
darkness of our hut visible. Darkness, and damp
ness, and destitution were within, and without
were fears. We could not be blamed, perhaps, if
the death which threatened us seemed more de
sirable than life. Yet we could not forget Him
who had so often snatched us from the jaws of our
enemies cold, hunger, and savages and we
trusted him to again deliver us. And this he did,
for the next day Kalutunah and another hunter
appeared. They did not come as enemies, but
as angel messengers of mercy from the All-Mer
Lights and Shadows. 143
The chief was at first shy, nor could he so far
lay aside the cowardice of conscious guilt as to lay
down for a moment his harpoon, at other times
left at the hut door. He brought, to conciliate us,
a goodly piece of walrus meat. After spending an
hour with us he dashed out upon the ice on a
moonlight hunt for bears.
Petersen spent the day in making knives for the
Esquimo, in anticipation of restored friendship.
With an old file he filed down some pieces of an
iron hoop, punching rivet holes with the file, and
whittling a handle from a fragment of the " Hope."
Though the knife, when done, was not like one of
" Rogers's best," it was no mean article for an Es
quimo blubber and bear meat knife.
The next day four sledges and six Esquimo
made us a call. One of them was our old friend
the widow, with her bundle of birds under her
They were all shy at first, showing a knowledge
at least of the wrong intended us, but we soon
made them feel at home. It was indeed for our
interest to do so. They bartered gladly walrus,
seal, bear, and bird meat, a hundred pounds in all.
It made a goodly pile, enough for four days, but,
alas ! the duty of hospitality, which we could not
wisely decline, compelled us to treat our guests
with it, and they ate one third! In three hours
they were off toward Netlik.
The next day an Esquimo man came from
Northumberland Island ; we had not seen him be
fore, and he did not appear to have been in the
144 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
council of the plotters against us. He sold us wal
rus meat, blubber, and fifty little sea fowl.
Our health absolutely demanding a more gener
ous diet, we ate three full meals, such as we had
not had since leaving the ship. Our new friend's
name was Kingiktok which is, by interpretation,
a rock. Mr. Rock was a man of few words, and
of very civil behavior. We fancied him, and
courted his favor by a few presents for himself and
wife. They were gifts well bestowed, for he at
once opened his mouth in valuable and startling
communications. He said that he and his brother
Amalatok were the only two men in the tribe who
were friendly to us. Amalatok was the man we met
on Northumberland Island, who will be remem
bered as skinning a bird so adroitly, and offering
us lumps of fat scraped from its breast-bone with
his thumb nail.
Mr. Rock's talk run thus : He and this brother
were in deadly hostility to Sipsu. The reason of
this hostility was very curious. The brother's wife,
whom we thought decidedly hag-like in her looks,
was accounted a witch. Why she was so regarded
was not stated. Now the law of custom with this
people is that witches may be put to death by
any one who will do it by stealth. She may be
pounced upon from behind a hummock and a har
poon or any deadly weapon may deal the fatal
blow in the back, but a face to face execution was
not allowed. It was understood that Sipsu as
sumed the office of executioner, and was watching
the favoring circumstances. On the other hand
Lights and Shadows. 145
the husband, and his brother, Mr. Rock, watched
with courage and vigilance in behalf of the ac
cused, while she lacked neither in her own watch
ing. Thus the family had no fraternal relations
with the villagers, though visits were exchanged
Concerning the conspiracy, Mr. Rock thus testi
fied : Sipsu had for a long time counseled the
tribe not to visit nor sell food to the white men,
holding that they could not kill the bear, walrus,
and seal, and would soon starve,, and so all the
coveted things would fall into Esquimo hands.
Kalutunah, on the other hand, held* -that their
" booms " guns could secure them any game,
and that our poverty of food was owing to a dis
like of work.
There had arisen, too, a jealousy about the
presents we gave. Sipsu's let-alone policy caused
his wife to complain that she only of the women
was without even a needle. This drove him to a
reluctant visit to us in which he got but little, so
the matter was not bettered.
Besides this, the condition of apparent starva
tion, in which the visitors found us from time to
time, finally gave popularity to Sipsu's position,
and Kalutunah yielded to the older and stronger
When Petersen and Godfrey arrived at Netlik,
Kalutunah went fifty miles to inform Sipsu at his
home of the good occasion offered to kill them.
Sipsu was to lead the attack, and Kalutunah fol
low. The arrangement was as we have stated,
146 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
but failed on account of Sipsu's fear of the " au-
leit " pistol. Having failed, his chagrin and
anger led to the hot pursuit, in which he intended
to set the dogs upon our men. But this failed
when he saw how near he mast himself venture to
the " boom."
This story agreed so well with what Petersen
and Godfrey saw and suspected that we fully be
Mr. Rock left us in the morning, and that even
ing eleven natives, one of whom was Kalutunah,,
called upon us on their way from Akbat to Netlik.
The Angekok was full of talk and smiles. He
gave us a quarter of a young bear, for which we
gave him one of Petersen's hoop-iron knives. He
was not pleased with it, for he had learned before
the difference between iron and steel. He at
tempted to cut a piece of frozen liver with it and
it bent. He then bent it in the form of a U, and
threw it spitefully away, grunting, " No good." We
satisfied him with a piece of wood to patch his
Among our guests were two widows having each
a child. One of the little ones was stripped to
the skin, and turned loose to root at liberty. It
was three years old, and plainly the dirt upon its
greasy skin had been accumulating just that length
One of the hunters was attended by his wife
and two children a girl four, and boy seven years
The fat fires of the several families were soon
Lights and Shadows. 147
in full blaze, which, added to the heat of nineteen
persons, warmed our hut as it was never warmed
before. The heat set the ceiling and walls drip
ping with the melted frost-work, and every thing
was wet or made damp. Besides, the air became
insufferable with bad odors. It was now Fort
But the frozen meat at which we had been nib
bling was soon thrown aside for hot coffee, steam
ing stew, and thawed blubber. Strips of blubber
varying from three inches to a foot in length and
an inch thick circulate about the hut. Strips of
bear and walrus also go round. These strips are
seized with the fingers, the head is thrown back,
and the mouth is opened, one end is thrust in a
convenient distance, the teeth are closed, it is cut
off at the lips, and the piece is swallowed quickly,
with the least possible chewing, that dispatch may
be made, and the process repeated. The seven-
year-old boy stood against a post, astride a big
chunk of walrus, naked to the waste, as all the
guests were. He was sucking down in good style
a strip of blubber, his face and hands besmeared
with blood and fat, which ran in a purple stream
off his chin, and from thence streamed over the
shining skin below. Our disconsolate widow
supped apart, as usual, on her supply of sea-fowls.
Four, each about the size of a half-grown domestic
hen, was all she appeared to be able to eat !
We all ate, and had enough. Then followed
freedom of talk such as is wont to follow satisfied
appetites, and jokes and songs went round. God-
148 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
frey amused the women and children with negro
melodies, accompanied by a fancied banjo. Dr.
Hayes and Kalutunah try to teach each other their
languages. Bonsall looks on and helps. The
chief is given " yes " and " no," and taught what
Esquimo word they stand for. He tries to pro
nounce them, says " ee's " and " noe," and inquir
ingly says, " tyma ? " (right ?) Dr. Hayes nods,
" tyma " with an encouraging smile, at which the
chief laughs at the " doctees " badly pronounced
They try to count, and the Angekok says "une "
for one, strains hard at " too " for two, and fails
utterly at the " th " in three.
The " doctee " tries the Esquimo one, gets pat
ted on the back with " tyma ! tyma ! " accompanied
with merry laughs. The chief tries again, gets
prompted by punches in the ribs, and significant
commendation in twitches of his left ear.
Having reached ten, the Esquimo numerals are
exhausted. Sontag, with the help of Petersen,
questions one of the hunters about his people's
astronomy. The result in part is as follows, and
is very curious.
The heavenly bodies are the spirits of deceased
Esquimo, or of some of the lower animals. The
sun and moon are brother and sister. The stars
we call " the dipper " are reindeer. The stars of
" Orion's belt " are hunters who have lost their
way. The " Pleiades " are a pack of dogs in pur
suit of a bear. The aurora borealis is caused by
the spirits at play with one another.
Lights and Skadoivs. 149
It has other teachings on the science of the
heavens equally wise. But they are close observ
ers of the movements of the stars. We went out
at midnight to look after the dogs, and Peter-
sen asked Kalutunah when they intended to go.
He pointed to a star standing over Saunders
Island, in the south. Passing his finger slowly
around to the west he pointed at another star, say
ing, " When that star gets where the other is we
Our guests at last lay down to sleep, but we could
not lie down near them nor allow them our blank
ets ; so we watched out the night.
150 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE visitors left in the morning. We were
now all well except Stephenson. Though
we had just eaten and were refreshed, in a few
days we might be starving, so we renewed our
planning. To open a communication with the
"Advance " seemed a necessity. Petersen volun
teered to make another effort if he could have one
companion. Bonssll promptly answered, " I will
be that companion," at which we all rejoiced, as
he was the fittest man for the journey next to the
A dog-team and a sledge were an acquisition now
most needed for the proposed enterprise. In a
few days an old man came in whom we had never
seen, belonging far up Whale Sound ; then came a
hunter from Akbat with his family. Of these men
after much bartering we purchased four dogs.
Petersen commenced at once the manufacture of
a sledge out of the wood left of the " Hope." All
of his excellent skill was needed to make a serv
iceable article with his poor tools and materials^.
On the twentieth of November the sledge was
nearly finished, and a breakfast on our last piece
of meat assured us that what was done for our
rescue must be done soon. But God's hand was,
Drugged Esquimo. 151
as usual, opened to supply us ; in the evening a fox
was found in our trap. Stephenson, who had been
cheered by our tea, received the last cup.
We were reduced to stone-moss, boiled in blub
ber, and coffee, and a short allowance of these,
when two hunters left us three birds, on which we
We were now out of food. The Esquimo had,
most of them, gone north, owing to the failure of
game at the south ; soon all would be gone. Fur
ther discussion led us to the conclusion that we
must all return to the " Advance," and start soon
unless we chose to die where we were. So we
commenced preparations for the desperate enter
To carry out this plan it was absolutely neces
sary to have two more dogs, for which we must
trust to our Esquimo visitors. A sledge drawn
by six dogs could convey our small outfit and poor
invalid Stephenson. We purposed to direct our
course straight for Northumberland Island, which
we hoped to reach by lodging one night in a snow-
hut. For each person there must be a pair of
blankets. Our clothing was wholly insufficient
for such a journey, so we set at work to improve
it the best we could. Our buffalo robes had been
spread upon the stone breck for beds. They were
of course frozen down; in some places solid ice of
several inches' thickness had accumulated, into
which they were imbedded. When disengaged,
as they had to be with much care and great labor,
the under side was covered with closely adhering
152 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
pebble-stones. The robes were hung up to dry
before we could work upon them. We now slept
on a double blanket spread on the stones and peb
bles a sleeping which refreshed us as little as our
We now, under the instructions of Petersen, cut
up the buffalo robes and sewed them into gar
ments to wear on our journey. We refreshed our
selves with frequent sips of coffee, of which, fortu
nately, we had a. plenty, and made out one meal at
night on walrus hide boiled or fried in oil, as we
fancied. It was very tough eating.
At the close of the second day's tailoring four
hunters came in from Akbat, with five women and
seven children. We stowed them all away for the
night, and gladly did so for the opportunity of
purchasing forty-eight small birds, a small quanti
ty of dried seal meat, and some dried seal intes
tines imperfectly cleansed; but better, if possible,
was the purchase of two dogs. Our team of six
was complete. The hand of the great Provider
was plainly manifested.
The visitors were soon gone, but the four hunt
ers came back the next day. They were bent on
mischief. They stole, or tried to steal, whatever
they saw, and seemed glad to annoy us. Unfor
tunately for us, close upon their heels came an
other party, from the south also, and equally bent
on mischief. Among them was an old evil-eyed
woman. Whatever she saw she coveted, and all
that she could she stole. Going to her sledge as
the party was about to start, we found a mixed
Drugged Esquimo. 153
collection of our articles, some of which could
have been of no use to her. But we had missed
two drinking cups which we could not find. We
charged her with the theft, but she protested inno
cence. We threatened to search her sledge, and
she straightway produced them, and, to conciliate
us, threw down three sea-fowl. We were gladly
The whole party became so troublesome that we
were compelled to drive them away. The hunters
lingered about, intending, we feared, to steal our
dogs, two of which were purchased of them. We
set a watch until they seemed to have left the
vicinity, but no sooner was the sentinel's back
turned than one of them and one of the dogs
were seen scampering off together. Bonsall seized
his rifle, and a sudden turn round a rock by the
thief saved him from the salutation of an ounce
On the twenty-ninth of November we were
ready for a start. Our outfit was meager enough.
It consisted of eight blankets, a field lamp and
kettle, two tin drinking cups, coffee for ten days,
eight pounds of blubber, and two days' meat.
This last consisted of sea-fowls boiled, boned,
and cut into small pieces. They were frozen
into a solid lump. We hoped to be at North
umberland Island in two days, and get fresh
The sled was taken out through the roof of the
hut, loaded, and the load well secured, and poor
Stephenson carried out and placed on top of it.
154 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The dogs were then harnessed, and we moved
The thermometer was forty-four degrees below
zero when we left the hut, but it was calm, and
the moon shone with a splendid light. We were
weary and ready to faint at the end of one hour,
how then could we endure days of travel ! The
sledge was a poor one, the runners, the best our
material afforded, were rough, and the dogs could
not drag the sledge without two of us pushed,
which we did in turn. We had thus gone about
eight miles when Stephenson said he would walk.
This we refused to let him do, knowing his ex
treme weakness. But soon after he slid off the
sledge. Dr. Hayes assisted him to rise, and sup
ported his attempt to walk. He had thus gone
about a mile when he fell and fainted.
Near us was an iceberg in whose side was a
recess something like a grotto. Into this we bore
our companion, and added to the shelter by piling
up blocks of snow. The lamp was lighted to pre
pare him hot coffee. For some time he remained
insensible, and when he came to himself he begged
us to leave him and save ourselves. He could
never, he said, reach the " Advance," and he
might as well die then as at a later hour.
Go without Stephenson we would not. Go with
him seemed impossible. In fact we were all too
weary to take another step, so we concluded to
camp. But this, after unloading our sledge and
making some effort, we could not do. We had no
strength to make a hut, and we were already bit-
Drugged Esquimo. 155
ten by the frost; so we resolved to repack the
sledge and return to the hut.
All arrived at the hut that day, but ho\v and
exactly at what time we did not know, only that
some were an hour behind others, and that several
finished the journey by. creeping on their hands
and knees. We had just enough consciousness
left to bring in our blankets and spread them on
those we left on the breck, and to close up the
hole in the roof. We then lay down and slept
through uncounted hours.
When we awoke it was nearly noon. Though
hungry, cold, and weak, we were not badly frost
bitten. The first desirable thing was a fire. The
tinder-box with its fixings could not be found.
The one having it in charge remembered it was
used at the berg> and this we all knew, and that
was all any one knew about it. Without this we
could have no fire. Never before in all our exi
gencies was such a feeling of despair expressed
on our countenances. In this plight one in at
tempting to walk across the tent struck something
with his foot. We all knew the tinder-box by its
rattle. Our lamp was soon lighted, coffee ivas
made, and half of our meat warmed. The other
half was given to Petersen and Bonsall, who
started immediately to go, as we had once before
planned, to the brig, while the rest remained in
Dr. Hayes and Sontag accompanied them to
the shore. The last words of the noble Petersen
: If we ever reach the ship we will come
156 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
back to you, or perish in the attempt, so sure as
there is a God in heaven."
Four days passed, after our companions left
us, of accumulating misery. The hut was colder
than ever, and we were in utter darkness the most
of the time Our food was now scraps of old
hide, so hard that the dogs had refused it.
In this our condition of absolute starvation,
three hunters, with each a dog-team, came to us
from Netlik, one of whom was Kalutunah. They
entered our hut with only two small pieces of
meat in their hands, enough for a scanty meal for
themselves. We appropriated one piece to our
selves without ceremony. The visitors frowned
and protested, but this was not a moment with us
for words. We soon satisfied, or seemed to satisfy.
them by presents, and both pieces were soon
Dr. Hayes renewed his proposal for the Netlik
people to carry us to the "Advance." Kalutunah
refused curtly. Would they let teams to us for
that purpose? No! The spirit of the refusal
was, We wont help you. We know you must
starve, and we desire you to do so that we may
possess your goods. It was evident they under
stood our desperate condition perfectly.
These convictions of their purposes and feel
ings were confirmed when one of our number
found buried in the snow, near their sledges,
several large pieces of bear and walrus meat.
This they were evidently determined we should
Drugged Esquimo. 157
Kalutunah did not pretend that destitution or
short supplies at Netlik made a journey to the
brig inconvenient, but, as if to taunt us, said that
a bear, a walrus, and three seals had been taken
the day before.
The case then, as we saw it, stood thus : Six
civilized men must die because three savages,
who had plenty, choose to let them, that they
might be benefited by their death. We at once
and unanimously decided that it should not be so,
and that the Esquimo should not thus leave us.
Not willing to do them unnecessary harm, Dr.
Hayes proposed to give them a dose of opium ;
then to take the dogs and sledge and push for
ward to Northumberland Island, leaving them to
come along at their leisure when they awoke. We
could, we thought, push forward fast enough to be
out of the reach of any alarm that might reach
To this proposal all agreed. To carry it into
execution we became specially sociable, and free
with our presents. To crown the freeness of our
hospitality we set before them the stew just pre
pared, into which Dr. Hayes had turned slyly when
it was over the fire a small vial of laudanum. To
prevent any one getting an over dose it had been
turned out into three vessels, an equal portion for
each. It was, of course, very bitter.
They at first swallowed itvery greedily, but
tasting the bitter ingredient only ate half of it.
The next few moments were those of intense
anxiety. Would it stupefy them ? Soon, however,
158 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
their eyes looked heavy, and their heads drooped.
They begged to lie down, and we tucked them up
this time in our blankets.
We were in our traveling suits ready for a start,
dog-whips at hand. As a last act Godfrey reached
up to a shelf for a cup, and down came its entire
contents with a startling noise. Dr. Hayes put
out the light with his mitten, and cuddled down
instantly by the side of Kalutunah. The chief
awoke, as was feared, grunted, and asked what was
the matter. The " doctee " patted him and whis
pered, "Singikok," (sleep.) He laughed, mut
tered something, and was soon snoring.
Fearing from this incident that we could not
trust the soundness nor length of time of their
sleep, we carried off their boots, coats, and mit
tens, that they might be detained in the tent until
relief came. Stephenson was, most fortunately,
better than he had been for some time, being able
to carry a gun and walk. All the firearms being
secured, Dr. Hayes stood at one side of the door
outside with a double-barrelled shot-gun, and
Stephenson on the other with a rifle. The pur
pose was if they awoke to compel them, at the
mouth of the guns, to drive us north.
Sontag and the others brought up the most of
the meat which was buried in the snow, and put it
in the passage way. This would, last five or six
days, and keep tht prisoners from starving until
help came. The dogs being harnessed, we mount
ed the sledges and once more turned our backs
on Fort Desolation.
Drugged Esquimo. 159
The dogs objected decidedly to this whole pro
ceeding; they especially disliked their new mas
ters, and were determined on mischief. John and
Godfrey were given by their team a ride a mile
straight off the coast instead of along-side of it, as
they desired to go. Dr. Hayes was worse used
by his. They drew in different directions, went
pell-mell, first this way, then that, at one time car
rying him back nearly to the hut. Finally they
became subdued apparently, and sped swiftly in
the way they were guided. The other sledges had
in the mean time dropped into the desired course.
All seemed to be going well, when, just as the
doctor's dogs had shot by the other teams, they
suddenly turned round, some to the right and
others to the left, turning the sledge over back
ward, and rolling the men into a snow-drift. The
doctor grasped firmly the " up-stander " of the
sledge, and was dragged several yards before he
recovered his feet. As the dogs at this moment
were plunging through a ridge of hummocks, the
point of the runner caught a block of ice. The
traces of all the dogs excepting two snapped,
and away went the freed dogs to their imprisoned
masters. They yelped a taunting defiance as they
disappeared in the distance.
The doctor and Mr. Stephenson, taking each a
dog, went to the N other teams, and we were again
on the fly, leaving the third sledge jammed in the
hummock. We reached in safety the southern
point of Cape Parry, found a sheltering cave, and
160 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
WE tarried in our camp full two hours. We
obtained a pot of hot coffee and rest. The
whips had been used so freely that they required
repairing, for without their efficient help there
could be no progress.
All being in readiness, we were about starting
when three Esquimo came in sight. They were
those we had left asleep in our hut ! Dr. Hayes
and Mr. Sontag seized their guns, and rushed
down the ice-foot to meet them. They stood
firm until our men, coming within a few yards,
leveled their guns at them. They instantly turned
round and threw their arms wildly about, exclaim
ing in a frantic voice, " Na-mik ! na-mik ! na-mik ! "
don't shoot! don't shoot! don't shoot!
Dr. Hayes lowered his rifle and beckoned them
to come on. This they did cautiously, and with
loud protestations of friendship. By this time
Whipple had come up. Each of our men seized
a prisoner, and marched him into the camp.
Reaching the mouth of the cave, the doctor turned
Kalutunah round toward his sledge, pointed to it
with his gun, and then turning north, gave him to
understand, mostly by signs, that if he took the
whip which lay at his feet, and drove us to the
Back Again. 161
" Ooraeaksoak " (ship) he should have his dogs,
sledge, coat, boots, and mittens ; but if they did
not do so that he and his companions would be
shot then and there ; and to give emphasis to
his words, he pushed him away and leveled his
The chief went sideling off, crying, " Na-mik,
na-mik ! " at the same time imitated the motion
of a dog driving with his right hand, and pointed
north with the other. His declaration was, " Don't
shoot ! I'll drive you to the ship ! "
Dr. Hayes seeing he was understood, told Kalu-
tunah that the dogs and sledges were the white
men's until the promise was fulfilled, to which he
answered, " tyma " all right, approaching with
smiles and the old familiarity, as though some great
favor had been done him. He could respect pluck
and strength if nothing else.
The prisoners had been awakened by our es
caped dogs, which, on arriving at the hut, run over
the roof and howled a startling alarm. Their mas
ters starting up, found means of lighting a lamp, and
being refreshed by sleep and the food we left, en
tered at once on the pursuit. Coming to the aban
doned sledge, they harnessed the dogs and made
good time on our trail, bringing away with them as
many of our treasures as they could well carry.
They were rare looking Esquimo just at this
moment. They had cut holes in the middle of
our blankets and thrust their heads through. One
had found a pair of cast-off boots and put them
on ; the others had bundled their feet up in pieces
1 62 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
of blanket. Neither of them had suffered much
We expressed our confidence in their promises
by restoring their clothes. They jumped into
them, happy as Yankee children on the Fourth of
July. They were as obedient, too, as recently
whipped spaniels. They touched neither dogs,
sledge, nor whip until they were bidden. " On
ward to Netlik ! " we shouted as we mounted our
sledges and dashed away. Our distant approach
was greeted by the howling of a pack of dogs,
which snuffed our coming in the breeze. As we
drew nearer, men, women, and children ran out
to meet us. As soon as we halted fifty curious
and wondering savages crowded around us, press
ing the questions why we were brought by their
friends, and why we came at all. But our bearing
was that of those who came because they pleased
to come without condescending to give reasons
why. We told Kalutunah that three of us would
go to each of the two huts, and stop long enough
to eat and sleep, and then we would continue our
journey. A renewed leveling at him of our guns,
and pointing northward, brought out the prompt
" tyma," giving the gaping bystanders a hint of the
nature of our arguments for the services of their
When we had entered the huts, the crowd rushed
in too, making quite too many for comfort or safety.
We told our hosts to order out all but the regular
occupants of the huts, as many strangers had come
in who were lodging in the adjoining snow-huts.
Back Again. 163
They did not understand our right to give such a
command until a hint about our " booms " con
vinced them. Ours was the right of self-preserva
tion by superior strength.
We had traveled fifteen successive hours, mak
ing in the time fifty miles. So weary were we that
even these Esquimo dens, affording as they did re^
freshment and rest without danger of freezing,
were delightful places of entertainment. The
women kindly removed our mittens, boots, and
stockings, and hung them up to dry. They then
brought us frozen meat, which intense hunger
compelled us to try to eat, but the air of the hut
was one hundred and twenty degrees warmer than
that without, and we fell asleep with the food
between our teeth. Having taken a short nap we
were aroused by the mistress of the house, who
had prepared a plentiful meal of steaming bear-
steak. We ate and slept alternately until the stars
informed us that we ' had rested twenty-seven
hours. We intimated to Kalutunah that we would
be going, and in a few moments he had every
thing in readiness.
Our next halting place was Northumberland Isl
and, a distance, as we traveled, of thirty miles,
which we made in six hours. Here we found two
huts belonging to our old friends, Amalatok and
his brother, " Mr. Rock." We divided ourselves
into companies of threes as before, and made our
selves at home in the two households. Mr. Rock,
aided by his wife, and the witch-wife of his broth
er, was kindly attentive. Our fare was varied
164 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
by abundant supplies of sea-birds, which in their
season swarm here. We tarried until our physical
strength was sensibly increased. We learned that
Petersen and Bonsall had been at this hospitable
halting-place, eaten and rested, and pushed north
ward under the guidance of Amalatok.
Our next run was to Herbert Island, and, pass
ing round its northwestern coast, we struck across
to the mainland, and halted near Cape Robertson,
at the village of Karsooit. We were on the north
ern shore of the mouth of Whale Sound. We had
made a run of fifty miles, halting to eat our frozen
food only once. We had walked much of the
way to prevent being frozen, and to lighten the
load of the dogs over a rough way.
The village consisted of two huts half a mile
apart. One of them belonged to Sipsu, our old
enemy. He received us gruffly, and because
he felt that he must. His only kindness was a
fear of our booms. The huts were crowded, there
being here, as at Netlik, many stranger visitors from
the south. We were almost suffocated on entering,
passing as we did from a temperature of fifty de
grees below zero to one seventy-five above. Our
entertainers immediately laid hold of our clothes
and began to strip us. They were much surprised
at our persistence in retaining a certain part of
them. We feasted on seal flesh, slept, were re
freshed and encouraged.
Our stay was short, and our next run was to a
double hut, a distance of thirty miles, which we
made in five hours. We had been joined at Kar-
Back Again. 165
sooit by an old hunter named Ootinah. We were
on four sledges, the dogs were in good condition,
the ice smooth, the drivers full of merriment and
shouts of " Ka ! ka ! " by which their teams were
Our next run was to be one of sixty miles, in
cluding the rounding of Cape Alexander, and end
ing at Etah. It was to be a terrific adventure we
well knew. At the mention of it our drivers
shrugged their shoulders. The natives dread the
storms of this cape, with their blinding snows, as the
wandering Arabs of the desert do a tempest-cloud
The first twenty miles was made comfortably.
But we were yet many miles from the rocky for
tress guarding the Arctic Sea, when we were saluted
with a stunning squall. It cut us terribly, though
it was but an eddy, for the wind was at our backs ;
it was only a rough hint of what we might expect
when the giant of the cape sent his blast squarely
in our faces. The night came on, lighted only by
the twinkling stars. The ice was smooth, and the
wind at our backs drove our sledges upon the
heels of the dogs, who ran howling at the top of
their speed to keep out of their way. The cliffs, a
thousand feet above us, threw their frowning shad
ows across our path, pouring upon the plain clouds
of snow sand, and shouting in the roaring wind
their defiance at our approach. Yet we sped
swiftly on, until a dark line was seen ahead with
wreaths of " frost-smoke " curling over it, " Emerk !
emerk ! " shouted the Esquimo. " Water ! water ! "
*66 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
echoed our men. Our teams " reined up " within
a few yards of a recently opened crack, now twenty
feet across and rapidly widening. We were quite
near Cape Alexander, but between it and us was
ice, across which numerous cracks had opened.
Against the cape was open water, whose sullen
surges fell dismally upon our ears. It was plain
that we could not go forward upon the floe ; to
mount the almost perpendicular wall to the land
above was impossible ; to turn back and thus face
the storm would be certain death. Our case
seemed desperate. Even the hardy Esquimo
shrunk at the situation and proposed the return
trail, against which to us, at least, ruinous course
they couki not be persuaded until the pistol argu
ment was used.
In our peering through the darkness for some
way of escape we caught a glimpse of the narrow
ice-foot, hanging over the water at the bottom of
the cliff. Along this we determined to attempt a
We ascended this ice-foot by a ladder made of
the sledges. Then we ran along the smooth sur
face and soon passed the open water below ; but
we had advanced a short distance only before a
glacier barred our progress and turned us to the
floe again. A short run on this brought us to
another yawning crack with its impassable water.
We ran along its margin with torturing anxiety,
looking for an ice bridge. Finding a place where
a point of ice spanne : d the chasm, within about
four feet, Dr. Hayes made a desperate leap to gain
Back Again. 167
the other side. Lighting upon this point, it proved
to be merely a loose, small ice-raft which settled
beneath his feet. Endeavoring to balance himself
upon it to gain the solid floe beyond he fell back
ward, and would have gone completely under the
water ; but Stephenson, standing on the spot from
which the doctor jumped, caught him under the
arms and drew him out. As it was he had sunk
deep into the cold stream, filling his boots and
wetting his pants.
In the mean time a better crossing was found,
and Dr. Hayes followed the last of the party to
the other side.
We returned to the ice-foot and found a level
and sufficiently wide drive-way, and made good
progress, soon reaching and running along that
part of the icy road which overlooked the open
water below. We met with no interruption until
we came to the extreme rocky projection of the
cape. Here the ice-foot was sloping, and for sev
eral feet was only fifteen inches wide ! Twenty
feet directly below was the- icy cold, dark water,
sending up its dismal roar as it waited to receive
any whose foot might slip in attempting the peril
ous passage. The wind howled fearfully as it
swept over the cliff and along the ice-foot in our
rear, pelting us incessantly with its snow sand.
"Halt!" was passed along the line, and the
whole party, men and dogs, crouched under the
overhanging rocks, seeming for the moment like
beings doomed to die a miserable death in a horrid
1 68 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
There was no time for indecision, and the pause
was but for a moment. Dr. Hayes, taking off his
mittens, and clinging with his bare hands to the crev
ices of the rock, was the first to make the desperate
experiment. His shout announcing his safe land
ing on the broad belt beyond the dangerous place,
welling up as it did from a heart overflowing with
emotions of joy and gratitude, sent a thrill of glad
ness along the shivering and shrinking line, of
which even our poor dogs seemed to partake.
The teams, each driven by its master, were next
brought up, as near as safety permitted, to the nar
row, slippery pathway. The dogs were then
seized by their collars, and one by one dragged
across safely. Next the sledges were brought for
ward. Turning them upon one runner, they were
pushed along until the dogs could make them feel
the traces ; then a fierce shout from their drivers
caused a sudden and vigorous spring of the ani
mals, which whirled the sledges beyond the danger
of sliding off the precipice. Cautiously, one by
one, then came the remaining members of the par
ty, all holding their breath in painful suspense, and
each, we trust, in silent prayer, until all were safe
over. The Divine arm and eye had been with us !
We could not have gone back, nor have turned to
the right or left. A few inches less of width in*
the ice-foot, or slightly more slope, and we had all
Except some frost bites on our fingers, every
man was all right. We had traveled five miles on
the ice shelf above the foaming sea. We now had
Back Again. 169
a smooth, safe ice-foot, which conducted us soon to
the solid ice-field of Etah Bay. Across this, fif
teen miles, we scampered with joyous speed, and
arrived at the village of our old Esquimo friends,
a worn and weary, but thankful party.
Good news met us at the hut. Petersen and
Bonsall had, we were told, preceded us, and ar
rived safely at the ship.
But our trials were not ended. There was a
sledge journ-ey of ninety-one miles yet awaiting us.
Dr. Hayes's frosted feet gave him intense pain and
he could not sleep. There was danger, if the heat
of the hut thawed them, that he would lose them
altogether. So, after only four hours' rest, he
whispered his intention of a speedy departure to
ward the "Advance," to Sontag, who was to take
charge of the party ; he then crept stealthily out
of the hut, accompanied by Ootinah, the faithful
Esquimo from Karsooit. Sontag was not to men
tion his departure to his comrades until they were
rested and refreshed.
He had hardly started before the rest of our
company were at his heels. They did not wish
their leader to endure the perils of the journey
without them ; besides, they too had reason for a
desire to be speedily at the brig.
The wind was high, the floe full of hummocks,
the cold intense, and altogether the journey was
not unlike in its dangers that already endured.
Whipple, ere they had reached the end, began to
whisper that he was not cold, and finally fell from
the rear sledge, benumbed and senseless, and was
170 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
not missed until he was a hundred yards behind.
He was lifted again to the sledge, but others gave
signs of the approach of the same insensibility.
But the track becoming smoother, the drivers
cracked their whips and shouted fiercely, goading
onward their teams to their utmost speed in the
fearful race for life. Now old familiar landmarks
are passed ; the hull of the dismantled ship opens
in the distance, and its outlines grow clearer
until we shout with feeble voices, but in glad
ness of heart, " Back again ! " During the last
forty hours we had been in almost continual ex
posure, with the thermometer eighty degrees be
low zero, in which time we had traveled a hun
dred and fifty miles. During the run of ninety-
one miles from Etah to the "Advance" we en
camped once only, but failing to light our lamp,
or to secure any protection from the cold, we im
mediately decamped and finished our run of forty-
WHEN the Esquimo arrived with Bonsall
and Petersen, Dr. Kane resolved at once
to send them back with supplies for the remain
ing portion of Dr. Hayes's company, supposed to
be, if living, at the miserable old hut. Petersen
and Bonsall were utterly unable to accompany
them. Of the scanty ship's store he caused to be
cleaned and boiled a hundred pounds of pork ;
small packages of meat-biscuit, bread-dust, and
tea were carefully sewed up, all weighing three
hundred and fifty pounds; and the whole was
intrusted to the returning convoy, who gave em
phatic assurances that these treasures, more pre
cious than gold to those for whom they were in
tended, should be promptly and honestly deliv
ered. But this promise, we have seen, they did
not keep, and, probably, did not intend to keep ;
they ate or wasted the whole. This untrustworthy
trait of the Esquimo character goes far to show
that nothing but Dr. Hayes's " boom " could have
assured their help in his desperate necessities.
When Dr. Hayes arrived it was midnight. Dr.
Kane met him at the gangway and gave him a
brother's welcome. All were taken at once into
the cabin. Ohlsen was the first to recognize
172 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Hayes as he entered, and, kissing him, he threw
his arms around him and tossed him into the warm
bed he had just left. The fire was set ablaze,
coffee and meat-biscuit soup were prepared, and,
with wheat bread and molasses, were set before
them. In the mean time their Esquimo apparel
was removed and hung up to dry. They ate and
slept ; but many weary days passed, under skillful
treatment by Dr. Kane, and kind care by all, be
fore they fully recovered from the strain of their
terrible exposures and fearful journey.
When the returned comrades were duly cared
for, Dr. Kane turned his attention to the concilia
tion of the Esquimo who had accompanied them
back. They, of course, had their complaints to
make, and, may be, meditated revenge, though
they were, as usual, full of smiles. It was the
white chief's policy to impress them with his great
power and stern justice. He assembled both par
ties, the Hayes men and their Esquimo, in con
ference on deck. Both were questioned as if it
were a doubt who had been the offenders. This
done, he graciously declared to the savage mem
bers of the council his approval of their conduct,
which he made emphatic, in the Esquimo way, by
pulling their hair all around.
The great Nalekok having thus expressed his
good will, showed it still further by introducing
his guests, now to be considered friends, into the
mysterious igloe below where they had not before
been permitted to enter. Their joy was that of
indulged children during a holiday. They were
Scares. 1 73
seated in state on a red blanket. Four pork-fat
lamps burned brilliantly ; ostentatiously paraded
were old worsted damask curtains, hunting knives,
rifles, chronometers, and beer-barrels, which, as
they glowed in the light, astonished the natives.
With a princely air, which, no doubt, seemed to
the recipients almost divine, he dealt out to each
five needles, a file, and a stick of wood. To the
two head men, Kalutunah and Shunghu, knives
and other extras were given. A roaring fire was
then made and a feast cooked. This eaten, buffa
loes were spread about the stove, and the guests
slept. They awoke to eat, and ate to sleep again.
When they were ready to go, the white chief ex
plained that the sledges, dogs, and some furs,
which his men had taken, had been taken to save
life, and were not to be considered as stolen
goods, and he then and there restored them.
They laughed, voted him in their way a good fel
low, and, in fine spirits, dashed away, shouting to
their wolfish dogs. They had taken special care,
however, to add to the treasures so generously
given, a few stolen knives and forks.
As the whole company are now crowded into
the little cabin, and the darkness is without, so
that the days pass without much incident, except
that all are crowded with heavy burdens upon mind
and body, we will listen to a few of the yet untold
stories of the earlier winter.
At one time Dr. Kane attempted a walrus hunt.
Morton, Hans, Ootuniah, Myouk, and "a dark
stranger," Awahtok, accompanied him. He took
a light sledge drawn by seven dogs, intending to
reach the farthest point of Force Bay by day
light. But as the persistency of the Esquimo had
overladen the sledge, they moved slowly, and were
overtaken by the night on the floe in the midst of
the bay. The snow began to drift before an in
creasing storm. While driving rapidly, they lost
the track they had been following; they could see
no landmarks, and in their confusion, turned their
faces to the floating ice of the sound.
The Esquimo, usually at home on the floe,
whether by night or by day, were quite bewildered.
The dogs became alarmed, and spread their panic
to the whole party. They could not camp, the
wind blew so fiercely, so they were compelled to
push rapidly forward, they knew not whither.
Checking, after a while, their speed, Dr. Kane
gave each a tent-pole to feel their way more cau
tiously, for a murmur had reached his ear more
alarming than the roar of the wind. Suddenly
the noise of waves startled him. " Turn the
"dogs ! " he shouted, while at the same moment a
wreath of frost smoke, cold and wet, swept over
the whole party, and the sea opened to them with
its white line of foam, about one fourth of a mile
ahead. The floe was breaking up by the force of
the storm. The broken ice might be in any direc
tion. They could now guess where they were,
and they turned their faces toward an island up
the bay. But the line of the sea, with its foaming
waves, followed them so rapidly that they began to
feel the ice bending under their feet as they ran
at the sides of the sledge. The hummocks before
them began to close up, and they run by them at
a fearful risk as they hurried cautiously forward,
stumbling over the crushed fragments between
them and the shore. It was too dark to see the
island for which they were steering, but the black
outline of a lofty cape was dimly seen along the
horizon, and served as a landmark. As they ap
proached the shore edge of the floe they found it
broken up, and its fragments surging against the
base of the ice-foot to which they desired to
climb. Being now under the shadow of the land,
it was densely dark. Dr. Kane went ahead, grop
ing for a bridge of ice, having a rope tied round
his waist, the other end of which was held by
Ootuniah, who followed, at whose heels came the
rest of the party. The doctor finally succeeded
in clambering upon the ice-foot, and the rest one
after another followed with the dogs.
The joy of their escape broke out into exulta
tion when they ascertained that the land was
Anoatok, only a short distance from the familiar
Esquimo huts. God had guided them with his
all-seeing eye to where they would find needed
refreshment ! In less* than an hour they were
feasting on a smoking stew of walrus meat.
Having eaten their stew and drank their coffee
they slept slept eleven hours! Well they might
" after an unbroken ice-walk of forty-eight miles,
and twenty haltless hours ! " The Esquimo sung
themselves to sleep with a monotonous song, in
compliment to the white chief, the refrain of which
1 76 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
was, " Nalegak ! nalegak ! nalegak ! soak ! " Cap
tain ! captain ! great captain ! "
Without further special incident the party re
turned to the brig.
At one time an alarm was brought to Dr. Kane
that a wolf was prowling among the meat barrels
on the floe. Believing that a wolf would be more
profitably added to their store of meat than to
have him take any thing from it, he seized a rifle
and ran out. Yes, there he is, a wolf from the tip
of his nose to the end of bis tail ! Bang goes the
rifle, whiz goes the ball, making the hair fly from
the back of one of the sledge-dogs! He was
not hurt much, but he came near paying with his
life for the crime of running away from Morton's
The fox-traps made occasion for many long
walks, great expectations of game, and grievous
disappointment. Dr. Kane and Hans were at one
time examining them about two miles from the
brig. They were, unfortunately, unarmed. The
doctor thought he heard the bellow of a walrus.
They listened. No, not a walrus, but a bear!
Hark, hear him roar ! They sprung to the ice
foot, about ten feet above the floe. Another roar,
round and full ! He is drawing nearer ! He has
a fine voice, and, no doubt, is large, and fat, and
savory ! But then a bear must be killed before
he is eaten, and that is just where the difficulty
lies. It don't do for two men to run, for that is
an invited pursuit, and bears are good runners.
" Hans ! " exclaimed Dr. Kane, " run for the brig,.
and I will play decoy ! " Hans is a good runner,
and this time he did "his level best."
Dr. Kane remains on the ice-foot alone. It is
too dark to see many yards off, and the silence is
oppressive, for the bear says nothing, and so Kane
makes no reply. He queries whether, after all,
there is any bear. How easy it is for the imagi
nation to be excited amid these shadowy hum
mocks, and this dreary waste through which the
wind roars so dismally ! He gets down from his
comparatively safe elevation upon the floe, puts
his hand over his eyes, and peers into the darkness.
No bear after all ! But what's that rounded, shad
owy thing? Stained ice? Yes, stained ice ! But
the stained ice speaks with a voice which wakes
the Arctic echoes, and charges on our explorer.
It is a hungry bear! Dr. Kane's legs are scurvy-
smitten affairs, but this time they credit the fleet-
ness of those of the deer. He drops a mitten, and
his pursuer stops to smell of it, to examine it care
fully, and to show his disgust at such game, by
tearing it to pieces. These bears are famous for
losing the bird by stopping to pick up his feathers.
The man stops not, but drops another mitten as
he flies. Before these articles are duly examined
he has reached the brig. Dr. Kane has escaped,
and the bear has lost his supper.
It is now bruin's turn to run, for fresh hunters
and loaded rifles are after him. He does run, and
But if there were fears without the brig, there
were fightings with a fearful enemy within. The
178 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
crowded condition of the cabin, after the Hayes
party returned, made it necessary for the pork-fat
lamps to be set up outside the avenue, in a room
parted off in the hold for their use. A watch was
set over them, but he deserted his post, the fat
flamed over and set the room ablaze. Eight of
the men lay in their berths at the time helplessly
disabled. The fire was only a few feet from the
tinder-like moss which communicated with the
cabin. The men able to work seized buckets,
and formed a line to the well in the ice always
kept open. In the mean time Dr. Kane rushed
into the flames with some fur robes which lay at
hand, and checked it for the moment. The water
then came, and the first bucket full thrown caused
a smoke and steam which prostrated him. For
tunately, in falling he struck the feet of the fore
most bucket-man. He was taken to the deck, his
beard, forelock, and eyebrows singed away, and
sad burns upon his forehead and palms. Nearly
all received burns and frost-bites, but in a half
hour the fire was extinguished. The danger was
horrid, and the escape wonderful ! Neither wild
beasts nor the flames hurt whom God protects !
Seeking the Esquimo. 1/9
SEEKING THE ESQUIMO.
DECEMBER twenty-fifth came, and our ice
bound, darkness-enshrouded, sick, or, in a
measure, health-broken explorers tried to make
it a merry Christmas. They all sat down to din
ner together. "There was more love than with
the stalled ox of former times, but of herbs
none." They tried, at least, to forget their dis
comforts in the blessings they still retained, and
to look hopefully on the long distance, and the
many conflicts between them and their home and
Immediately after Christmas a series of attempts
were commenced to open a communication with
the Esquimo at Etah, ninety-one miles away.
The supply of fresh meat was exhausted. The
traps yielded nothing, and Hans's hunting could
not go on successfully in the dark. The scurvy-
smitten men were failing for the want of it, and so
every thing must be periled to make the journey.
The first thing to be done was to put the dogs, if
possible, into traveling order. They were now
few in number, for fifty had died, and the surviv
ors had been kept on short rations. Their dead
companions, which had been preserved in a frozen
state, were boiled and fed to them for fresh food.
180 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Dog did eat dog, and relished and grew stronger
on the diet.
Dr. Kane and Petersen made the first attempt,
starting on the twenty-ninth of December. They
had scarcely reached the forsaken huts of Anoatok,
" the wind loved-spot," so often used as a rest
ing place, when the dogs failed. A storm, with a
bitter, pelting snow-drift, confined them awhile.
An incident occurred here one of the many
which happened to the explorers which shows
plainly the unseen, but ever present, eye and
hand which attended them.
They were just losing themselves in sleep when
Petersen shouted : " Captain Kane, the lamp's
out ! " His commander heard him with a thrill
of horror ! The storm was increasing, the cold
piercing, and the darkness intense. The tinder
had become moist and was frozen solid. The
guns were outside, to keep them from the moisture
of the hut. The only hope of heat was in relight
ing the lamp. A lighted lamp and heat they must
have. Petersen tried to obtain fire from a pocket-
pistol, but his only tinder was moss, and after re
peated attempts he gave it up. Dr. Kane then
tried. He says :
" By good luck I found a bit of tolerably dry
paper in my jumper; and, becoming apprehensive
that Petersen would waste our few percussion
caps with his ineffectual snappings, I took the pis
tol myself. It was so intensely dark that I had to
grope for it, and in doing so touched his hand.
At that instant the pistol became distinctly visible.
Seeking the. Esquimo. 181
A pale, bluish light, slightly tremulous but not
broken, covered the metallic parts of it, the bar
rel, lock, and trigger. The stock too was clearly
discernible, as if by the reflected light, and, to
the amazement of both of us, the thumb and two
fingers with which Petersen was holding it, the
creases, wrinkles, and circuit of the nails, clearly
denned upon the skin. The phosphorescence was
not unlike the ineffectual fire of the glowworm.
As I took the pistol my hand became illuminated
also, and so did the powder- rubbed paper when I
raised it against the muzzle.
" The paper did not ignite at the first trial, but
the light from it continuing, I was able to charge
the pistol without difficulty, rolled up my paper
into a cone, filled it with moss sprinkled over with
powder, and held it in my hand while I fired.
This time I succeeded in producing flame, and we
saw no more of the phosphorescence,"
When the storm subsided they made further
experiment to reach Etah. But dogs and men
found the wading impossible, and they returned
to the brig, the dogs going ahead and the men
walking after them. They made the forty-four
miles of their circuitous route in sixteen hours !
Thus closed the year 1854.
The three following weeks were mainly occu
pied by Dr. Kane in a careful preparation for an
other attempt to reach Etah, this time with Hans.
Old Yellow, one of the five dogs on which success
in a measure depended, stalked about the deck
with "his back up," as much as to say, "I must
1 82 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
have more to eat if I am going." Jenny, a mother
dog, had quite a family of little ones. Yellow
being very hungry, and not seeing the use of such
young folks, gobbled one of them down before his
master could say, " Don't you." Dr. Kane taking
the hint, and thinking that the puppies would not
be dogs soon enough for his use, shared with
Yellow the rest of the litter. So both grew
stronger for the journey.
The new year, 1855, came in with a vail of
darkness over the prospects of our explorers.
The sick list was large, and threatened to include
the whole party. A fox was caught occasionally,
and beyond this stinted supply there was no fresh
meat. On Tuesday, January twenty-third, the
commander and Hans, with the dog-team, turned
their faces toward the Esquimo. All went well
for a while, until hope rose of accomplishing the
journey, getting savory walrus, and cheering their
sinking comrades. Suddenly, Big Yellow, in spite
of nice puppy soup, gave out, and went into con
vulsions. Toodla, the next best animal, failed
soon after. The moon went down, and the dark
night was upon the beset but not confounded
heroes. Groping for the ice-foot, they trudged
fourteen wretched hours, and reached the old
igloe at Anoatok. The inevitable storm arose,
with its burden of snow driven by a strange,
moistening southeast wind, burying the hut deep
and warm. The temperature rose seventy de
grees ! An oppressive sensation attacked Dr.
Kane and Hans, and alarming symptoms were de-
Seeking the Esquimo. 183
veloped. Water ran down from the roof, the
doctor's sleeping bag of furs was saturated, and
his luxurious eider down, God's wonderful cold
defier, was "a wet swab."
After two days in this comfortless hut, the storm
having subsided, they once again pushed toward
Etah ! Their sick, failing comrades were the spur
to this desperate effort. But it was in vain, for
the deep, moist snow, the hummocks and the wind,
defied even desperate courage. They returned to
the hut and spent another wretched night.
In the morning, in spite of short provisions, ex
haustion, continued snowing, they climbed the
ice-foot, and for four haltless hours faced toward
the Esquimo ! But in vain. Dr. Kane says : " My
poor Esquimo, Hans, adventurous and buoyant
as he was, began to cry like a child. Sick, worn
out, strength gone, dogs fast and floundering, I am
not ashamed to admit that, as I thought of the
sick men on board, my own equanimity was at
Dr. Kane scrambled up a familiar hill that was
near and reconnoitered. He was delighted to see,
winding among the hummocks, a level way ! He
called Hans to see it. With fresh dogs and fresh
supplies, they could certainly reach Etah. So,
after another night at the hut; they returned to
the brig, comforting the sick with the assurance
that success would come on the next trial.
The month closed with only five effective men,
including the commander, and of these some were
about as much sick as well. Dr. Kane could not
1 84 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
be spared from his patients, so, February third,
Petersen and Hans tried another Etah adventure.
In three days they returned, with a sorrowful tale
from poor Petersen of heroic efforts ending in ex
haustion and defeat.
But God always sent many rays of light through
the densest darkness besetting our explorers to
cheer them and inspire hope. The yellow tints
of coming sunlight were at noonday faintly painted
on the horizon. The rabbits prophesied the
spring by appearing abroad, and two were shot.
They yielded a pint of raw blood, which the sick
est drank as a grateful cordial. Their flesh was
also eaten raw, and with great thankfulness.
Following these moments of comfort came a
dismal and anxious night. Thick clouds over
spread the sky, a heavy mist rendered the dark
ness appalling, followed by a drifting snow and a
fearful storm. The wind howled and shrieked
through the rigging of the helpless, battered brig,
as if in mockery of her condition and the suffer
ings of her inmates. Goodfellow had gone inland
with his gun during the brief day, and had not
returned. Roman candles and bluelights were
burned to guide him homeward. Altogether it
was a night to excite the superstitious fears of the
sailors, and they proved to be not beyond the
reach of such fears. Tom Hickey, the cook, hav
ing been on deck while the gale was in its full
strength, to peer into the darkness for him, ran
below declaring that he had seen Goodfellow mov
ing cautiously along the land-ice and jump down
Seeking the Esquimo. 185
on the floe. He hurried up his supper to give the
tired messmate a warm welcome, but no one came.
Dr. Kane went out with a lantern, looked carefully
around for some hundreds of yards, but found no
fresh footsteps. Tom seriously insisted that he
had seen Goodfellow's apparition !
Such was the state of things when one of the
sailors went on deck. There was hanging in the
rigging an old seal-skin bag containing the rem
nant of the ship's furs. Its ghostly appearance in
ordinary darkness had been the occasion of much
jesting. Now, to the excited imagination of the
sailor, it pounded the mast like the gloved fist of
a giant boxer, glowed with a ghastly light, and
muttered to him an unearthly story. He did not
stop to converse with it, but hastened below with
the expression of his fears. His messmates laughed
and jeered at his tale, but their merriment was but
the whistling to inspire their own courage.
The morning came and so did Goodfellow, none
the worse for his night's experience. The storm
subsided, Hans killed three rabbits, they all tasted
a little and felt better, and the seal-skin bag was
never known from that time to utter a word.
Fears may endure for a night but joy cometh in
the morning ! Dr. Kane devoutly remarks : " See
how often relief has come at the moment of ex
tremity ; see, still more, how the back has been
strengthened to its increasing burden, and the
heart cheered by some unconscious influence of
an unseen POWER."
1 86 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
HANS had been for some time promising the
hungry company a deer. He had seen their
tracks, and he was watching for them with a good
rifle, a keen eye, and a steady hand. He came in
on the evening of February twenty-second with the
good news that he had lodged a ball in one at a
long range, and that he went hobbling away. He
was sure he should find him dead in the morning.
The morning came and the game was found, hav
ing staggered, bleeding, only two miles. He was
a noble fellow, measuring in length six feet and
two inches, and five feet in girth. He weighed
about one hundred and eighty pounds when
dressed. The enfeebled men with difficulty drew
him on board. His presence caused a thrill of
joy, and his luscious flesh sent its invigoration
through their emaciated frames.
The following Sunday, as Dr. Kane was stand
ing on deck thinking of their situation, he lifted
up his eyes toward a familiar berg, for many
months shrouded in darkness, and saw it sparkling
in the sunlight. The King of Day was not yet
above the intervening hills, but he had sent his
sheen to proclaim his coming. Glad as a boy whom
the full mid-winter moon invites to a coasting
frolic, he started on a run, climbed the elevations,
and bathed in his refreshing rays.
During the month of February, Petersen, Hans,
and Godfrey had been sent out on the track of
the Esquimo, but they returned and declared that
Etah could not be reached. Their commander
said, " Nay, it can ! "
By the sixth of March the brig was again with
out fresh meat. The sick were once more suffer
ing for it, and the well growing feeble. Hans, the
resort in such emergencies, was given a light
sledge, the two surviving dogs, and to him was
committed the forlorn hope. His departure called
forth from his commander a " God bless you ! "
and prayers followed him.
His story is simple and touching. He lodged
the first night in the "wind-loved," forsaken, des
olate, yet friendly hut of Anoatok. - He slept as
well as he could in a temperature fifty-three de
grees below zero. The next night he slept in a
friendly hut at Etah. The oft-tried feat was ac
complished. But he found the Etahites lean and
hungry. Hollow cheeks and sunken eyes spoke
of famine. The skin of a young sea-unicorn, their
last game, was all of food which remained to the
settlement. They had even eaten their light and
fire blubber, and were seated in darkness, gloom
ily waiting for the sun and the hunt. They had
eaten, too, all but four of their ample supply of
They hailed the coming of Hans with a shout.
He proposed to join them in a hunt, but they
1 88 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
shook their heads. They had lost a harpoon and
line in the attempt to take a walrus the day before.
The ice was yet thick, and the huge monster in
his struggles had broken the line over its sharp
edge. Hans showed them his " boom," and bid
ding them come on, started for the hunting-grounds.
Metek Mr. Eider Duck speared a fair-sized
walrus, and Hans gave him five conical balls in
quick succession from a Marston rifle, and he sur
rendered at discretion.
The return of the hunters caused great joy in
the city of Etah, whose two huts poured out their
inhabitants to greet their coming, and aid in ren
dering due honors to the game itself. As usual
they laughed, feasted, and slept, to awake, laugh,
eat, and sleep again. Hans and his boom were
great in their eyes, but the Kablunah, whose rep
resentative he was, rose before their vision as
the glorious sun which scatters the long winter
Hans obtained a hunter's share, and his appear
ance on the deck of the " Advance," heralded by
the yelping of the dogs, sent a thrill of joy through
every heart. As Dr. Kane grasped his hand on
the deck, and began to listen to his story, he ex
claimed : " Speak louder, Hans, that they may hear
in the bunks ! " The bunks did hear, and feel
too, as the good news came home to their hunger-
wa:ted bodies in refreshing food.
As the commander had requested, Hans brought
Myouk with him to assist in hunting. The smart
young hunter was delighted to be with the white
Deserters. 1 89
men, though his itching fingers would secrete cups,
spoons, and other valuables, which were made to
come back to their proper places by sundry cuffs
and kicks, which, though perhaps not altogether
pleasant of themselves, caused him to cuddle down
in his buffalo at his master's feet like a whipped
spaniel, and their relations grew daily more en
Hans and Myouk made soon after an unsuc
cessful hunt. This made the fresh meat question
come up again with its emphatic importance. The
fuel question, too, was becoming more and more a
cause of concern. The manilla cable had been
chopped up and burned, and such portions of the
brig as could be spared, and not destroy her sea
going value, had gone in the same way. Now the
nine feet of solid ice in which she was imbedded
seemed to say that she would never float again, so
she might as well yield her planks to the fire.
But to see her thus used went to the hearts of her
On the nineteenth of March Hans was dis
patched to the Esquimo, well supplied with the
first quality of cord for their harpoons, and such
other prompters to, and helps in, the walrus hunt
as occurred to his commander. He would bless
thereby and please these starving people, hoping
that the blessing would return in the form of fresh
walrus to him and his suffering men.
During the absence of Hans there were unusual
and painful developments at the brig. William
Godfrey and John Blake had given Dr. Kane much
igo NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
trouble from the first. They were now evidently
bent on mischief, and made constant watchfulness
over them a necessity. Just as Hans left they
feigned sickness, and were suspected of desiring
rest and recruited strength for desertion. Their
plan was believed to be to waylay Hans and get
his sledge and dogs. Dr. Kane contrived so
shrewdly to keep one of them at work under his
eye, and the other in some other place, that they
did not perceive his suspicions of them. One
night Bill was heard to say that some time during
the following day he should leave, and this was re
ported to the commander by a faithful listener.
He was, of course watched, and at six o'clock
was called to prepare breakfast. This he com
menced doing uneasily, stealing whispers with
John. Finally he seemed at his ease, and cooked
and served the breakfast. Dr. Kane believed he
meant to slip out the first opportunity, meet John
on deck, and desert ; he therefore armed himself,
threw on his furs, made Bonsall and Morton ac
quainted with his plans, and crept out of the dark
avenue and hid near its entrance. After an hour
of cold waiting John crept out, grunting and limp
ing, for he had been feigning lameness, looked
quickly round, and seeing no one, mounted nim
bly the stairs to the deck. Ten minutes later
Godfrey came out, booted and fur-clad for a
journey. As he emerged from the tossut his com
mander confronted him, pistol in hand. He was
ordered back to the cabin, while Morton com
pelled John's return, and Bonsall guarded the door
preventing any one passing out. In a few mo
ments John came creeping into the cabin, aw
ful lame and terribly exhausted in his effort to
breathe a little fresh air on deck. He looked
amazed as by the glare of the light he saw the sit
The commander then explained to the company
the offenses of the culprits, giving from the log
book the details of their plotting. He had pre
pared himself for the occasion, and Bill, the prin
cipal, was punished on the spot. He confessed his
guiltiness, promised good behavior, and in view of
the few men able to work, his hand-cuffs were re
moved and he was sent about his customary busi
ness. In an hour after he deserted. Dr. Kane
was at the moment away hunting, and his escape
was not noticed until he was beyond the reach of
a rifle ball.
The next two weeks were weary, anxious weeks,
though the ever-watchful Hand tendered in good
time occasion for hope. Six sea-fowl and three
hares were shot by Petersen, and gave indispen
sable refreshment to the sick.
On the second of April, just before noon, a man
was seen, with a dog-sledge, lurking behind the
hummocks near the brig. Dr. Kane went out
armed to meet him. It proved to be Godfrey the
deserter, who, seeing his old comrades, left the
sledge and run. Leaving Bonsall with his rifle to
make sure of the sledge, the doctor gave chase,
and the fugitive, seeing but one following, stopped
and turned around. He said he had made up his
I Q2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
mind to spend the rest of his life with Kalutunah
and the Esquimo, and that no persuasion nor force
should prevent him. A loaded pistol presented at
his head did, though, persuade him to return to the
brig. When he reached the gangway he refused
to budge another step. Petersen was away hunt
ing, Bonsall and Dr. Kane were so weak that they
could barely stand, and all the other men, thirteen,
were prostrated with the scurvy, so that they could
not compel him by physical force. As the doctor
was desirous not to hurt him, he left him under the
guardianship of Bonsall's weapons while he went
below for irons. Just as he returned to the deck
Godfrey turned and fled. Bonsall presented his
pistol, which exploded the cap only. Kane seized
a rifle, but being affected by the cold, it went off
in the act of cocking. A second gun, fired in haste
at a long range, missed its mark. So the rebel
made good his retreat.
He had come back with Hans' sledge and dogs,
and reported him sick at Etah from over exhaus
tion. But there was one consolation in the affair
the sledge was loaded with walrus-meat. The
feast that followed revived the drooping men
wonderfully. They ate, were thankful, and looked
hopefully on the future.
Godfrey was suspected of having come back to
get John. The desertion of two well men when
so many were sick would imperil the lives of all.
The commander felt that the safety of the whole
required the faithfulness of each man, he therefore
explained the situation to the men and declared
Deserters. 1 93
his determination to punish desertion, or the at
tempt to desert, by the "sternest penalty."
Hans became now the subject of anxiety. Some
unfair dealing toward him on the part of Godfrey
was feared. It was thought but just that he should
be sought, and, if in trouble, relieved. But who
should go? Dr. Kane finally resolved to go after
him himself. Besides, the question of more walrus
was again pressing.
April tenth the doctor was off. The first eleven
hours the dogs carried him sixty-four miles, a most
remarkable speed for their short rations.
While thus speeding along, far out on the floe,
he spied a black speck in-shore away to the south.
Was it some cheat of refraction. He paused, took
his gun, and sighted the object, a device of old
Arctic travelers to baffle refraction. It is an animal
yes, a man ! Away went the dogs, ten miles an
hour, while the rider cheated them with the shout,
" Nannook ! nannook ! " a bear ! a bear ! In a
few moments Hans and the doctor were in grate
ful, earnest talk. He had really been sick. He
had been down five days, and, as he expressed it,
still felt " a little weak." He took his command
er's place on the sledge and both went to the
friendly hut at Anoatok, where hot tea and rest
prepared both for the return to the brig.
194 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
CLOSING INCIDENTS OF THE IMPRISONMENT.
HANS had his story of adventure while at
Etah. But the most important item in his
estimation, and that which might prove far reach
ing in its results, was the fact that a young daugh
ter of Sunghu appointed herself his nurse during
his sickness, bestowing upon him care, sympathy,
and bewitching smiles. She had evidently done
what Godfrey, tried in vain to do she had en
trapped him, at the expense, too, of a young Es-
quimo lady at Upernavik.
Hans had been successful in the hunt, and, be
sides what he had sent by Godfrey, had deposited
some walrus at Littleton Island. He was at once
sent after this, and intrusted at the same time with
an important commission. Dr. Kane had been for
some time meditating another trip toward the po
lar sea. To do this he desired more dogs. The
Esquimo had been reducing their stock to keep
away starvation, but Kalutunah had retained four.
These, and such others as he could find, Hans was
authorized to buy or hire, at almost any price.
This northern trip made, the next move might
be toward the abandonment of the "Advance."
She could never float, it was plain, for now, late
in April, the open water was eighty miles south.
Closing Incidents of the Imprisonment. 195
While Hans was gone, the sick, yet numbering
two thirds of the whole, and in a measure all of the
other third, except the commander, were without
fresh food, as they had been for several days. Yet
the sunshine and the occasional supplies had put
them all on the improving list. They could sit up,
sew or' job a little, making themselves useful, and
keeping up good spirits. But, hark ! what sound
is that breaking on the still, clear air. It comes
nearer. Bim, bim, bim, sounds upon the deck. It
is Hans, whose coming is ever like the coming of
the morning. A rabbit-stew and walrus liver fol
low his arrival, and over such royal dainties good
cheer pervades the family circle.
Hans brought Metek with him, and Metek's
young nephew, Paulik, a boy of fourteen. Metek
and Hans spoke sadly of the condition of the Es-
quimo settlements. We have seen that the escap
ing party found those of the south flying north
ward from starvation. The report now was that
they had huddled together at Northumberland
Island until that yielded to the famine, and now
they had come farther north. It was a sad sight
to see men, women, and children fleeing over the
icy desert before their relentless foe. Yet, says
Hans, they sung as they went, careless of present
want, and thoughtless of the morrow. Many had
died, and thus year by year these few, scattered,
improvident people decline, giving earnest that in
a few years all will be gone.
Though light-hearted, death did bring its sor
rows to these benighted heathen. Kalutunah lost
1 96 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
a sister; her body was sewed up in skins, not in a
sitting posture but extended, and her husband,
unattended, carried it out to burial, and, with his
own hand, placed upon it stone after stone, mak
ing at once a grave and a monument. A blubber
lamp was burning outside the hut while he was
gone, and when he returned his friends were
waiting to listen to his rehearsal of the praises
of the dead, and to hear the expressions of his
sorrow, while they showed their grief by dismal
If sorrow did not keep the deceased in the
memory of the living, imposed self-denials did.
The Angekok, or medicine man, as our Indians
would call him, determines the penance of the
mourner, who is sometimes forbidden to eat the
meat of a certain bird or beast, under the idea
that the spirit of the departed has entered into it ;
at another time the mourner must not draw on his
hood, but go with uncovered head ; or he may be
forbidden to go on the bear or walrus hunt. The
length of time of these penances may be a few
months or a year. The reader will recollect the
widow with her birds, who appeared so often in
the narrative of the escaping party.
Though thus mourning for the dead, these Es-
quimo do not hold life as a very sacred trust. The
drones and the useless are sometimes harpooned
in the back merely to get rid of them. Infants
are put out of the way when they greatly annoy
their parents. Hans, on one of his returns from
Etah, had a story to tell illustrative of this. Awah-
Closing Incidents of the Imprisonment. 197
tok, a young man of twenty-two, had a pretty wife
pretty as Esquimo beauty goes sister of Kalu-
tunah, arid about eighteen years old. Dr. Kane
had regarded this couple with some interest, and
the husband "stuck to him as a plaster." Their
first-born was a fine little girl. Well, Hans re
ported with becoming disgust and indignation that
they had buried it alive under a pile of stones !
When Dr. Kane next visited Etah he inquired of
his friends Awahtok and his wife after the health
of the baby, affecting not to have heard about its
hard fate. They pointed with both hands earth
ward, but did not even shed the cheap, customary
tear. The only reason reported for this murder
was, that certain of its habits, common to all in
fants, were disagreeable to them !
Such is the mildest heathenism without Chris
tianity. These and other similar gross sins were
common among the South Greenland Esquimo,
but have disappeared before the teachings of the
Hans returned with the walrus he had deposited
at Littleton Island, but he had made no progress
in getting dogs, so Dr. Kane resolved to go to
Etah for that purpose himself. Besides, having
learned that Godfrey was playing a high game
there and defying capture, and also fearing his in
fluence over the friendly relations of the Esquimo,
he resolved to bring him back to the brig. Metek
was just starting for Etah, so he invited himself
to return with him, while Paulik, his nephew, re
mained with Hans. This arrangement effected,
198 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Dr. Kane was soon approaching Etah, perfectly
disguised in the hood and jumper of Paulik, whose
place on the sledge he occupied. The whole city
ran out to meet their chief, among whom was the
deserter, who shouted, and then threw up his arms
with the most savage of them. He did not per
ceive his commander until a certain well under
stood summons entered his ear, and a significant
pistol barrel gleamed in the sunlight near his eyes.
He' surrendered to this " boom " argument without
discussion, and trotting or walking, he kept his
assigned place ahead of the sledge through the
eighty and more miles to the brig, halting only at
Anoatok. We hear nothing of further attempt at
A little later Dr. Kane made another visit to
Etah. The hunt had become successful, and the
famine was broken ; all was activity and good
cheer. The women were preparing the green
hides for domestic use. Great piles of walrus
tushes were preserved for various useful purposes;
some of these the children had selected as bats,
and were-- engaged in merry sport. Their game
was to knock a ball made of walrus bone up the
slanting side of a hummock, and then, in turn, hit
it as it rolled down, and so keep it from reaching
the floe. They shouted and laughed as the game
went on, much as our boys do over their sports.
'Dr. Kane observed on this trip a way of taking
walrus which has not, we think, been noted before.
The monster at this early season sometimes finds
the ice open near a berg only. He comes on the
Closing Incidents of the Imprisonment. 199
ice to sun himself; finds the change from the cold
sea very agreeable, stays too long, the water freezes
solid, and he cannot return. As he is unable to
break the ice from above, he either waits for the
current about the berg to open the ice again, or
works himself clumsily to some already open place.
In this helpless state the dogs scent him afar off,
and the hunters, following their lead, make him an
Hans came in on the twenty-fourth of April,
accompanied by Kalutunah, Shanghee, and Tat-
terat, each of the Esquimo having sledges, and
sixteen dogs in all. Hans had been sent to Cape
Alexander, where Kalutunah was sojourning, to
invite him to the brig in order to secure his aid in
the proposed northern trip. He was fed well,
and propitiated by a present of a knife and nee
dles. He said, " Thank you," and added, " I love
you well," which might uncharitably be taken to
mean, " I love your presents well." The result
of the presents, feasting, and flattery was a start
north by the three Esquimo, with Dr. Kane and
Hans, all the dog teams accompanying. The old
route across- Kennedy Channel to the west side,
and so north-poleward, was attempted. First came
a very fair progress ; then came the hummocks,
over which, by the aid of their dogs, they clam
bered until thirty miles from the brig had been
made. Then Shanghee burrowed into a snow
bank and slept, the cold being thirty degrees
below zero ; the rest camped in the snow and
lunched. Just as a fair start was again made, the
200 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
party neared a huge male bear in the act of lunch
ing on seal. In vain the doctor attempted to
control either dogs or drivers. " Nannook ! nan-
nook!" shouted the Esquimo as they clung to
their sledges, and the dogs flew over the ice in
wild and reckless pursuit. After an exciting chase
the bear was brought to a halt and to a fight, which
the rifles and spears soon terminated against bruin.
A feast by dogs and men, and a night's halt on
the ice followed, to Dr. Kane, at least, both vexa
tious and comfortless.
The next day he, would press on to the north.
But bear tracks were every-where, and the savage
chiefs preferred hunting to exploring; besides,
they had, they said, their families to support, and
there was no use trying to cross the channel so
high up. The English of it was, we are " going
in " for the bears, and. you may help yourself. A
day more was spent in a wild hunt among the
bergs, and the party returned to the brig.
A little later still another attempt was made to
unlock further the secrets of 'the extreme icy
north, this time by only Kane and Morton with a
six-dog sledge, the explorers walking. This, the
last effort of the kind, ended in the usual way, ex
cepting some additions to the surveys.
Homeward Bound. 20 1
THE final escape from the brig must now be
commenced. From the early fall its neces
sity had been thought of, and preparations for it
commenced. Since the sick had begun to im
prove, the work in reference to it had been going
on with system. Coverlets of eider down, beds,
or furs which could be used as such, boots, mocca
sins, a full supply to meet emergencies, were pre
pared. Provision bags were made and filled with
powder, ship-bread, pork-fat, and tallow melted
down, and cooked concentrated bean soup. The
flour and meat biscuit were put in double bags.
Two boats had been made from the ship's beams
twenty-six feet long, seven feet across, and three
feet deep. Incredible toil by weak and sick men
had been expended upon these boats. A neat
"housing" of light canvas was raised over each
of them. One other boat, the "Red Eric," was
in readiness. There was no assurance that either
of these boats would long float, yet all was done
which the circumstances allowed to make them
The three boats were mounted on sledges.
The necessary outfit, so far as they could bear,
was to be stowed away in them.
2O2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Every thing being in readiness, a vast amount
of thinking having been employed by the com
mander in reference to all contingencies, a peremp
tory order of march was issued for the seventeenth
of May. The men were given twenty-four hours
to get ready eight pounds of such personal effects
as they chose. From the date of starting the
strictest discipline and subordination was to be
observed, which came hard upon the long-in
dulged, improving sick ones. The perfectness of
the preparations had a good effect, yet there were
many moody doubters. Some insisted that the
commander only meant to go further south, hold
ing the brig to fall back upon ; some thought he
would get the sick nearer the hunting grounds ;
others believed that his purpose was to secure some
point of look-out for the English explorers, or
When the memorable day of departure came,
the boats were in the cradle on the sledges, and
the men, with straps over their shoulders and drag-
ropes from these to the sledges, started for the
ice-foot along which they were to travel They
had not yet received their loads, so they glided
off easily, exciting a smile on some rueful counte
In twenty-four hours the boats were laden, on
the elevated drive-way, covered with their canvas
roof, and, with a jaunty flag flying, were ready for
a final leave the next day. The exhausted men,
for nearly all of them were yet invalids, returned
to the vessel, ate the best supper the supplies
Homeward Bound. 203
afforded, " turned in," prepared for their first
effort at dragging the boat-laden sledges.
But one sledge could be moved at once, with all
hands attached ; the first day they made two miles
only with this one. For several days they made
short distances and returned early to a hearty
supper and warm beds in their old quarters, so
that they marched back to the drag-ropes in the
morning refreshed. The weather was, by the
kind, overruling Hand, " superb."
The final leave-taking was somewhat ceremoni
ous. All the men were assembled in the dis
mantled room which had been so long both a
prison and providential home. It was Sunday ;
all listened to a chapter of the Bible, and prayers.
Then, all silently standing, the commander read, a
prepared report of what had been done, and. the
reasons for the step about to be taken. He then
addressed the company, honestly conceding the
obstacles in the way of escape, but assuring them
that energy and subordination would secure suc
cess. He reminded them of the solemn claims
upon them of the sick and wounded ; called to
their minds the wonderful deliverance granted
them thus far by the infinite Power, and exhorted
them still confidently to commit all to the same
The response to this appeal was most cheering
to Dr. Kane. The following engagement was
drawn up by one of the officers and signed by
every man :
"The undersigned, being convinced of the in>
2O4 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
possibility of the liberation of the brig, and equally
convinced of the impossibility of remaining in the
ice a third winter, do fervently concur with the
commander in his attempt to reach the south by
means of boats.
" Knowing the- trials and hardships which are
before us, and feeling the necessity of union, har
mony, and discipline, we have determined to abide
faithfully, by the expedition and our sick com
rades, and to do all that we can, as true men, to
advance the objects in view."
The party now went on deck, hoisted a flag and
hauled it down again, and then marched once or
twice around the vessel. The figure head the
fair Augusta "the little blue girl with pink
cheeks," was taken by the men and added to their
load. She had been nipped and battered by the
ice, and a common suffering made her dear to
them. When Dr. Kane remonstrated against the
additional burden, they said : " She is, at any
rate, wood, and if we cannot carry her far we can
The final departure was too serious for cheers,
and when the moment came they all hurried off to
the boats and the dragrropes.
Four men were sick, and had to be carried;
and Dr. Kane was with the dog-team the common
carrier and courier, as we shall see, so that there
were but twelve men to the boats; these were
organized into two companies, six each, for the
two sledges; M'Gary having command of the
" Faith," and Morton command of the " Hope."
Homeward Bound. 205
Each party was separate in matters of baggage,
sleeping, cooking, and eating ; both were concen
trated, in turns, upon each sledge under the com
mand of Brooks. Both morning and evening of
each day all gathered round, with uncovered
heads, to listen to prayers. Every one had his
assigned place at the track-line ; each served in
tuin as cook, except the captains.
From an early day of the preparations, Dr. Kane
had been at work refitting and furnishing the
broken-down, forsaken hut at Anoatok. For this
purpose many trips were made to it with the dog-
team ; it was made tight as possible ; the filth care
fully removed ; cushions and blankets were spread
upon the raised floor at the sides and a stove set
up ; blankets were hung up against the walls,
and the whole made to look as cheerful as possi
ble. While the sledges were approaching this place
by short stages, Dr. Kane, with his team, brought
to the hut the four sick men ; they were Goodfel-
low, Wilson, Whipple, and Stephenson. Dr. Hayes,
yet limping on his frozen foot, bravely adhered to
the sledges. When the sick entered the hut none
could wait upon the others, except Stephenson,
who could barely light the lamp, to melt the snow
and heat the water. But Dr. Kane made them
frequent visits, supplying their wants, and report
ing the daily progress toward them of their whole
company. They grew better, and were able to
creep out into the sunshine. Besides carrying the
sick to Anoatok, Dr. Kane had, with his dogs, con
veyed there and stocked near the hut most of the
2O6 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
provisions for their march and voyage; eight hun
dred pounds out of fifteen were now there, and he
^proposed to convey the rest. This was done to
relieve the overladen sledges.
The red boat " Red Eric " joined the party
on the floe a few days after the start, increasing
their burden, but assuring them of increased com
fort and safety when they reached the open water.
One incident of this period will illustrate its
hardships and the Christian courage with which
they were met.
It was soon after the last sick man was borne to
the hut that Dr. Kane, having, in one of his dog-
team trips, camped on the floe, came upon the
boat party early in the morning. They were at
prayers at the moment, and, as they passed to the
drag-ropes, he was pained at the evidence of in
creased scurvy and depression. Brooks's legs were
sadly swollen, and Hayes ready to faint w r ith ex
haustion. They must have more generous meals,
thought the noble-hearted commander. Taking
Morton, he hastened back to the brig. As they
entered a raven flew croaking away ; he had al
ready made his home there. Lighting the fires in
the old cook-room, they melted pork, cooked a
large batch of light bread without salt, saleratus, or
shortening, gathered together some eatable, though
damaged, dried apples and beans, and, the dogs
having fed, hastened back to the men on the floe.
Distributing a good supper to their comrades as
they passed, and taking Godfrey along with them,
they hastened to the hut. The poor fellows con-
Homeward Bound. 207
fined in it were rejoiced to see them. They had
eaten all their supplies, their lamp had gone out,
the snow had piled up at the door so that they
could not close it, and the arctic wind and cold
were making free in their never-too-warm abode. ,
The poor fellows were cold, sick, and hungry. The
coming of their commander was as the coming of
an angel messenger of good tidings. He closed
their door, made a fire of tarred rope, dried their
clothes and bedding, cooked them a porridge of
pea-soup and meat-biscuit, and set their lamp-
wick ablaze with dripping pork fat. Then, after
all had joined in prayer of thankfulness, a well rel
ished meal was eaten. This was followed by a
cheerful chat, and a long, refreshing forgetfulness in
their sleeping-bags of all privations. When they
awoke the gale had grown more tempestuous, with
increasing snow. But they went on burning rope
and fat until every icicle had disappeared, and
every frost mark had faded out.
On their arrival at the hut the night before, Dr.
Kane, seeing the condition of things, sent Godfrey
forward to Etah for fresh supplies of game. After
a time he returned with Metek, and the two
sledges well laden with meat. A part of this was
hurried off to the toilers at the drag-ropes.
Having blessed by his coming these weary
voyagers, Dr. Kane, with Morton, Metek, and his
sledge, went once more to the brig. They baked a
hundred and fifty pounds of bread and sent it by
Metek to Mr. Brooks, and the faithful messenger,
having delivered it, returned immediately for an-
2O8 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
other load. While he was gone, a hundred pounds
of flour pudding was made, and two bagfuls of
pork- fat tried out. This done, the three lay down
upon the curled hair of the old' mattresses, they
having been ripped open and their contents drawn
out to make the most comfortable bed the place
afforded. They slept as soundly " as vagrants on
The next day they set their faces toward the
sledge company and Anoatok, both sledges having
heavy loads, which included the last of the fifteen
hundred pounds of provisions.
Dr. Kane had made one of his last trips to the
brig : he would return for provisions only ; but all
his specimens of Natural History, collected with
much toil, his books, and many of his well-tested
instruments, he was compelled to leave. His six
dogs had carried him, during the fortnight since
the company left the brig, between seven and eight
hundred miles, averaging about fifty-seven miles a
day. But for their services the sick could scarcely
have -been saved, and the rest would have suffered
Leaving, as usual, a part of the food with Mr.
Brooks's party, they hastened on to replenish the
stores and cheer the hearts of the lonely dwellers
in the hut.
Narrow Escapes. 209
HAVING brought forward the provisions to
Anoatok, Dr. Kane, with the help of Metek
and his dogs, began to remove them still farther
south, making one deposit near Cape Hatherton,
and the other yet farther, near Littleton Island.
But an immediate journey to Etah for walrus had
become necessary. The hard-working men were
improving on this greasy food, and they wanted it
in abundance. Dr. Kane found the Etahites fat
and full. He left his weary, well-worn dogs to re
cruit on their abundance, and returned with their
only team, which was well fed and fresh. They
made the trade without any grumbling.
When he came back the Brooks party were
within three miles of Anoatok. They were getting
along bravely and eating voraciously, and the old
cry, " more provisions !" saluted the commander.
Leaving the dogs to aid in transferring the stores to
the southern stations, Dr. Kane and Irish Tom
Hickey started afoot to the brig to do another
baking. It was a sixteen hours' tramp. But ere
they slept they converted nearly a barrel of flour,
the last of the stock, into the staff of life. An old
pickled-cabbage cask was used as a kneading
trough, and sundry volumes of the " Penny Cyclo-
2IO NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
pedia of Useful Knowledge " were burned during
the achievement. Tom declared the work done
to be worthy of his own country's bakers, and he
had been one "of them same," so he deemed that
praise enough. When the doctor lamented that
the flour so used was the last of the stock, Tom
exclaimed : " All the better, sir, since we'll have
no more bread to make."
Godfrey came to the brig on the third day, with
the dogs, to carry back the baking. But a howling
storm delayed them all on board. It was Sunday,
and the last time that Dr. Kane expected to be in
the cabin with any of his men. He took down a
Bible from one of the berths and went through
the long-used religious service. The dreary place
was less dreary, and their burdened hearts were
no doubt made lighter by thus drawing near to
The commander and Tom left the next day
with the sledge load, leaving Godfrey to come on
after farther rest. But scarcely had the sledge
party delivered their load of bread, and begun the
sound sleep which follows hard work, when God
frey came in out of breath with the hot haste of
his journey. He reluctantly confessed the occa
sion of his sudden departure from the brig. He
had lain down on the contents of the mattresses
to sleep. Suddenly Wilson's guitar, left with other
mementoes of two winters' imprisonment, sent
forth music soft and sad. Bill was sure he heard
aright, for he was awake and in his right mind.
He fled on the instant, and scarcely looked behind
Narrow Escapes. 211
until he reached his companions. He had never
heard of the musical genius of Eolus, and it was
not strange that the old forsaken, mutilated, ghostly,
looking brig should excite the imagination of the
The invalids of the huts were now doing well.
Their housekeeping assumed a home-like appear
ance after the fashion of Arctic homes and they
welcomed the doctor with a dish of tea, a lump
of walrus flesh, and a warm place. The Brooks
party were not afar off.
A storm which out-stormed all they had yet seen
or felt of storms came down upon our explorers
at this time.
When the storm had blown past, Morton was
dispatched to Etah with the dogs, accompanied
by two Etahites who had been storm-bound with
the boat-parties. His mission was to demand aid
of these allies on the ground of sacred treaty stip
ulations, and well-recognized Esquimo laws of
mutual help. Dr. Kane took his place with the
men on the floe. Sledging was now not only made
by the storm and advancing season more labori
ous, but very dangerous ; around the bergs black
water appeared, and over many places there were
to be seen pools of water. The boats were un
laden, and their cargoes carried in parcels by
sledges, yet serious accidents occurred. At one
time a runner of the sledge carrying the " Hope "
broke in, and the boat came near being lost ; as it
was, six men were plunged into the water. Sick
and well men worked for dear life, and affairs were
212 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
growing more than cloudy when the helping hand
of the great Helper was seen as it had been so
often. Morton returned from Etah, having been
entirely successful in his appeal to the natives for
aid. They came with every sound dog they pos
sessed, and with sledges loaded with walrus. The
dogs alone were equal to ten strong men added to
the expedition. Dr. Kane took one of the teams,
and with Metek made his last trip to the brig, and
on his return commenced bringing down the inva
lids of the hut to the boats. As he came near the
floe-party he found Ohlsen sitting on a lump of ice
alone, some distance in their rear. He had pre
vented the " Hope's " sledge from breaking through
the ice by taking for a moment its whole weight on
a bar which he had slipped under it. He was a
strong man, and the act was heroic, but he was
evidently seriously injured. He was pale, but
thought his only difficulty was " a little cramp in
the small of his back," and that he should be bet
ter soon. Dr. Kane gave him Stephenson's seat
on the sledge, carried him to the boat, and gave
him its most comfortable place, and muffled him
up in the best buffalo robes. Dr. Hayes gave him
tender and constant attention all that night, but
he declined rapidly.
Having stowed the sick away in the boats, the
morning prayers being offered, the men on the
sixth of June started anew at the drag-ropes.
Two hours' drawing sufficed to show all hands
their insufficiency for the task. Just, then a spank
ing breeze started up. They hoisted the sails of
Narrow Escapes. 213
the boats, and the wind increased to a gale and
blew directly after them. Away the sledges sped
toward the provision depot near Littleton Island.
Ridges in the ice which would have delayed them
at the drag-ropes for hours, but gave them the rise
and fall as they glided over them of a ship on the
waves. God, who " holds the wind in his fist,"
had unloosed it for their benefit. The foot-sore,
weary men, who a few moments ago felt that an
almost impossible task was theirs, were now jubi
lant, and broke out into song the first sailor's
chorus song they had sung for a year. They came
to a halt at five o'clock P. M., having made under
sail the distance of five drag-rope days.
While here they were joined by old Nessark,
and by Sipsu, the surly chief who appears so con
spicuously in the narrative of Dr. Hayes's escap
ing party. They came with their fresh dog-teams,
and offered their services to the explorers. Nes
sark was sent after the last of the sick men at the
The following five or six days were those of
peril and discouragement. At one time a sledge
had broken in, carrying with it several of the
men, bringing affairs to a gloomy crisis. But
the men scrambled out, and, to still further lift
the burdens from the party, five sturdy Esquimo
appeared, with two almost equally strong women.
They laid hold of the drag- ropes with a will, and
worked the rest of the day without demanding
any reward. So there was always help in their
time of need.
214 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Nessark came in good time with Wilson and
Whipple, the last of the sick ; the old hut was now
deserted, and all were with the boats except one.
Hans had been missing for nearly two months.
Early in April he came to his commander with a
long face and a very plausible story ; he had, he
said, no boots ; he wanted to go to one of the Es-
quimo settlements a little south to get a stock of
walrus-hides. He did not want the dogs ; he
would walk, and be back in good time. But the
hitherto faithful and trusted Hans had not returned.
When inquiry was made of the people of Etah
they said he certainly called there, and engaged
of one of the women a pair of boots, and then
pushed on to Peteravik, where Shanghee and his
pretty daughter lived. The last information they
had of him they gave with a shrug of the shoul
ders and a merry twinkle of the eye. He had
been seen by one of their people once since he
left Etah ; he was then upon a native sledge,
Shanghee's daughter at his side, bound south of
Peteravik. He had forsaken the explorers for a
The party were one day feeling their way along
cautiously, pioneers going ahead and trying the
soundness of the ice by thumping with boat
hooks and narwhal, horns. Suddenly a shout of
distress was heard. The " Red Eric " had broken
in ! She contained the document box of the ex
pedition, the loss of which would make their
whole work profitless to the world even should
the party be saved. She had on board too many
Narrow Escapes. 21$
provision bags. But, after great exposure and
labor, all was saved in good condition, and the
boat hauled upon the ice. Several of the men
had narrow escapes. Stephenson was caught as
he sunk by the sledge runner, and Morton was
drawn out by the hair of his head as he was dis
appearing under the ice. A grateful shout went
up from all hands that nothing serious resulted
from the accident.
2l6 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE company made slow and tiresome prog
ress by Littleton Island, and were carrying
their entire load forward in parcels to the main
land at the northern opening of Etah Bay, when
the sad news was whispered to Dr. Kane, who was
with the advanced party, that Ohlsen was dead.
A gloom spread over the whole company. The
fact was carefully concealed from the Esquimo,
who were sent to Etah under the pretext of bring
ing back a supply of birds, the entire dog force
being given them to hasten their departure.
The funeral service, though attended by sincere
grief, was necessarily brief. The body was sewed
up in Ohlsen's own blankets, the burial service
read, the prayer offered, and it was borne by his
comrades in solemn procession to a little gorge on
the shore, and deposited in a trench made with
extreme difficulty. A sheet of lead, on which his
name and age was cut, was laid upon his breast ; a
monument of stones was erected over it, to pre
serve it from the beasts of prey, and to mark the
spot. They named the land which overshadowed
the spot Cape Ohlsen.
Having given two quiet hours, after the funeral
service, to the solemn occasion, the work at the
Esquimo Kindness. 217
drag-ropes was continued. The Esquimo re
turned in full force, and with abundant provis
ions. They took their turn at the drag-ropes with
a shout ; they carried the sick on their sledges,
and relieved the whole expedition from care con
cerning their supplies. They brought in one week
eight dozen sea-fowl little auks caught in their
hand-nets, and fed men and dogs. All ate, hun
ger was fully satisfied, care for the time departed,
the men broke out into their old forecastle songs,
and the sledges went merrily forward with laugh
Passing round Cape Alexander, down Etah
Bay, a short distance toward the settlement, the
expedition encamped. The long-sought, coveted
open water was only three miles away ; its roar
saluted their ears, and its scent cheered their
hearts. The difficult and delicate work of prepar
ing the boats for the sea-voyage now commenced.
In the mean time the people of Etah, men,
women, and children, came and encamped in their
midst, leaving only three persons two old women
and a blind old man in the settlement. They
slept in the " Red Eric," and fed on the stew
cooked for them in the big camp-kettle. Each
one had a keepsake of a file, a knife, a saw, or
some such article of great value. The children
had each that great medicine for Esquimo sick
ness, a piece of soap, for which they merrily
shouted, " Thank you, thank you, big chief." There
was joy in the Esquimo camp which knew but
one sorrow that of the speedy departure of the
2l8 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
strangers. At the mention of this one woman
stepped behind a tent screen and wept, wiping
her teary face with a bird-skin.
Dr. Kane rode to Etah to bid the aged invalids
good-bye. Then came the last distribution of
presents. Every one had something, but the great
gift of amputating knives went to the chief,
Metek, and the patriarch, Nessark. The dogs
were given to the community at large, excepting
Toodla-mik and Whitey ; these veterans of many
well-fought battle-fields were reserved to share
the homeward fortunes of their owners. Toodla
was no common dog, but earned for himself a
place in dog history. As we are to meet the dogs
no more in our narrative, we will give Toodla's
portrait to be set up with our pen sketches. He
was purchased at Upernavik, and so he received
the advantages of, at least, a partially civilized
education. His head was more compact, his nose
less pointed than most dogs of his kind, and his
eye denoted affection and self-reliance, and his
carriage was bold and defiant. Toodla, at the
commencement of the cruise, appointed himself
general-in-chief of all the dogs. Now it often
happens, with dogs as well as with men, that to as
sume superiority is much easier than to maintain it.
But Toodla's generalship was never successfully
disputed. The position, however, cost him many
a hard-fought battle, for the new comers naturally
desired to test his title to rule. These he soundly
whipped on their introduction to the pack. He
even often left the brig's side, head erect, tail
Esquimo Kindness. 219
gracefully curled over his back, and moved toward
a stranger dog with a proud, defiant air, as much
as to say, " I am master here, sir ! " If this was
doubted, he vindicated his boasting on the spot.
Such tyranny excited rebellions of course, and
strong combinations were formed against him ;
but dogs which had been trounced individually
make weak organizations, and the coalitions gave
way before Toodla's prowess. It is but fair, how
ever, to say that he had strong allies upon whom
he fell back in great emergencies the sailors.
Toodla died in Philadelphia, and still lives that
is, his stuffed skin still exists in the museum of
the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.
His reputation is of the same sort as that of many
of the heroes of history, and worth as much to the
Dr. Kane having distributed the presents and
disposed of the dogs, there was nothing now but
the farewell address to render the parting cere
mony complete. Dr. Kane called the natives
about him and *poke to them through Petersen as
interpreter. He talked to them as those from
whom kindness had been received, and to whom a
return was to be made. He told them about the
tribes of their countrymen farther south whom
he knew, and from whom they were separated by
the glaciers and the sea; he spoke of the longer
daylight, the less cold, the more abundant game,
the drift-wood, the fishing-nets, and kayaks of
these relatives. He tried to explain to them that
under bold and cautious guidance they might,
22O NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
in the course of a season or two, reach this happier
During this talk they 'crowded closer and closer
to the speaker, and listened with breathless atten
tion, to his remarks, often looking at each other
Having thus parted with the natives, our explor
ing party hauled their boats to the margin of the
ice. The " Red Eric " was launched, and three
cheers were given for " Henry Grinnell and Home
ward Bound." But the storm king said, " Not
yet ! " He sounded an alarm in their ears, and
they drew the " Eric " from the water and retreated
on the floe, which broke up in their rear with great
rapidity. Back, back, they tramped, wearily and
painfully, all that night, until the next day they
found a sheltering berg near the land, where they
made a halt. Here they rested until the wind had
spent its wrath, and the sea had settled into a pla
cid quiet. Their voyaging on the floe with drag-
ropes and sledges was ended.
Melville Bay. 221
ON the nineteenth of June the boats were
launched into the sea, now calm, the " Faith "
leading under Kane, and the " Eric " under Bon-
sail, and the " Hope " under Brooks following.
The sea birds screamed a welcome to the squad
ron, and flew about them as if to inquire why they
came back in three vessels instead of one, as when
they sailed northward two years before. But there
was no leisure for converse with birds. They had
just passed Hakluyt Island, when the " Eric " sunk.
Her crew, Bonsall, Riley, and Godfrey, struggled
to the other boats, and the " Faith " took the sunk
en craft in tow. Soon after Brooks shouted that
the " Hope " was leaking badly, and threatening
to sink. Fortunately the floe was not far off, and
into one of its creek-like openings they run the
boats, fastened them to the ice, and the weary men
lay down in their bunks without drawing the boats
from the water and slept.
The next day they drew their leaking crafts
ashore, and calked them for another sea adventure.
For several days they struggled with varying for
tunes until they brought up, weary, disheartened,
and worn down by work and an insufficient diet
of bread-dust, and fastened to an old floe near the
222 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
land. Scarcely were they anchored when a vast
ice raft caught upon a tongue of the solid floe
about a mile to the seaward of them, and began to
swing round upon it as a pivot, and to close in upon
our explorers. This was a new game of the ice-
enemy. Nearer and nearer came the revolving
icy platform, seeming to gather force with every
whirl. At first the commotion that was made
started the floe, to which they were fastened, on a
run toward the shore as if to escape the danger.
But it soon brought up against the rocks and was
overtaken by its pursuer. In an instant the collis
ion came. The men sprang, by force of discipline,
to the boats and the stores, to bear them back to
a place of safety, but wild and far-spread ruin was
around them. The whole platform where they
stood crumbled and crushed under the pressure,
and was tossed about and piled up as if the ice-de
mon was in a frenzy of passion. Escape for the
boats seemed for the moment impossible, and none
expected it ; and none could tell when they were
let down into the water, nor hardly how, yet they
found themselves whirling in the midst of the
broken hummocks, now raised up and then shaken
as if every joint in the helpless, trembling boats
was to be dislocated. The noise would have
drowned the uproar of contending armies as ice
was hurled against ice, and, as it felt the awful
pressure, it groaned harsh and terrific thunder.
The men, though utterly powerless, grasped their
boat-hooks as the boats were borne away in the tu
multuous .mass of broken ice and hurried on to-
Melville Bay. 223
ward the shore. Slowly the tumult began to sub
side, and the fragments to clear away, until the al
most bewildered men found themselves in a stretch
of water making into the land, wide enough to en
able them to row. They came against the wall of
the ice-foot, and, grappling it, waited for the rising
tide to lift them to its top. While here the storm
was fearful, banging the boats against the ice-wall,
and surging the waves into them, thus keeping the
imperiled men at work for dear life in bailing out
the water. They were at last lifted by the tide to
the ice-foot, upon which they pulled their boats,
all uniting on each boat. They had landed on
the cliff at the mouth of a gorge in the rock ; in
to this they dragged the boats, keeping them
square on their keels. A sudden turn in the cave
placed a wall between them and the storm, which
was now raging furiously. While they were draw
ing in the last boat, a flock of eider ducks glad
dened their hearts as they flew swiftly past. God
had not only guided them to a sheltered haven, but
had assured them of abundant food on the morrow.
They were in the breeding home of the sea-fowl.
Thus comforted they lay down to sleep, though
wet and hungry. They named their providential
harbor the " Weary Man's Rest," and remained in
it three days, eating until hunger was appeased, and
gathering eggs at the rate of twelve hundred a day,
and laughing at the storms which roared without.
On the fourth of July, after as much of a patri
otic celebration as their circumstances allowed,
they again launched into the sea.
224 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
For some days they moved slowly south, but it
was only by picking their way through the leads,
for they found the sea nearly closed. As they ap
proached Cape Dudley Digges their way was en
tirely closed. They pushed into an opening that
led to the bottom of its precipitous cliff. Here
they found a rocky shelf, overshadowed by the tow
ering rocks, just large enough and in the right posi
tion at high tide to make a platform on which they
could land their boats. Here they waited a whole
week for the ice toward Cape York to give way.
The sea-fowl were abundant and of a choice kind.
The scurvy-killing cochlearia was at hand, which
they ate with their eggs. It was indeed a "provi
dential halt," for the fact was constantly forced
upon them that they had come here, as they had to
" Weary Man's Rest," by no skill or knowledge of
It was the eighteenth of July before the condi
tion of the ice was such as to make the renewal of
their voyage possible. Two hundred and fifty
choice fowl had been skinned, cut open, and
dried on the rocks, besides a store of those thrown
aboard as they were caught.
They now sailed along the coast, passing the
" Crimson Cliffs " of Sir John Ross. The birds
were abundant, their halting-places on the shore
were clothed with green, and the fresh-water
streams at which they filled their vessels were
pouring down from the glaciers. They built great
blazing fires of dry turf which cost nothing but
the gathering. After a day's hard rowing the
Melville Bay. 225
sportsmen brought in fresh fowl, and, gathered
about their camp-fire, all ate, and then stretched
themselves on the moss carpet and slept. They
enjoyed thankfully this Arctic Eden all the more
as they all knew that perils and privations were
just before them.
They wisely provided during these favored days
a large stock of provisions, amounting to six hun
dred and forty pounds, besides their dried birds.
Turf fuel, too, was taken on board for the fires.
They reached Cape York on the twenty-first of
July. From this place they were to try the dan
gers of Melville Bay, across which in their frail
boats they must sail. It had smiled upon their
northward voyage ; would it favor their escape
now? It certainly did not hold out to them flat
tering promises. The inshore ice was solid yet,
and terribly hummocky. The open sea was far to
the west, but along the margin of the floe were
leads, and fortunately there was one beginning
where they had halted. The boats were hauled
up, examined, and as much as possible repaired.
The " Red Eric " was stripped, her cargo taken
out, and her hull held in reserve for fuel. A bea
con was erected from which a red flannel skirt was
thrown as a pennant to the wind to attract atten
tion. Under this beacon records were left which
told in brief the story of the expedition. This
done, and the blessing of God implored, the
voyagers entered the narrow opening in the ice.
For a while all went well, but one evening Dr.
Kane was hastily called on deck. The huge ice-
226 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
bergs had bewildered the helmsman in the leading
boat, and he had missed the channel, and had
turned directly toward the shore until the boat
was stopped by the solid floe. The lead through
which they had come had closed in their rear, and
they were completely entangled in the ice !
Without telling the men what had happened,
the commander, under the pretense of drying the
clothes, ordered the boats drawn up, and a camp
was made on the ice.
In the morning Kane and M'Gary climbed a
berg some three hundred feet high. They were
appalled by their situation; the water was far away,
and huge bergs and ugly hummocks intervened.
M'Gary, an old whaleman, familiar from early man
hood with the hardships of Arctic voyaging, wept
at the sight.
There was but one way out of this entangle
ment; the sledges must be taken from the sides
of the boats, where they had been hung for such
emergencies, the boats placed on them, and the
old drag-rope practice must be tried until the ex
pedition reached the edge of the floe. One sledge,
that which bore the " Red Eric," had been used
for fuel ; so the " Red Eric " itself was knocked to
pieces, and stowed away for the same use. About
three days were consumed in thus toiling before
they reached the lead which they had left, launched
once more into waters, and sailed away before a
Thus far the boats had kept along the outer
edge of the floe, following the openings through
Melville Bay. 227
the ice. But as this was slow work, though much
safer, they now ventured a while in the open sea
farther west ; but they were driven back to the
floe by heavy fogs, and on trying to get the boats
into a lead, one of those incidents occurred so
often noticed, in which God's hand was clearly
seen. All hands were drawing up the " Hope,"
and she had just reached a resting-place on the
floe, when the " Faith," their best boat, with all
their stores on board, went adrift. The sight pro
duced an almost panic sensation among the men.
The " Hope " could not possibly be launched in
time to overtake her, for she was drifting rapidly.
But before they could collect their thoughts to
devise the means of her rescue, a cake of ice
swung round, touched the floe where they stood,
reaching at the same time nearly to the "Faith, '
thus bridging over the chasm. Instantly Kane
and M'Gary sprung upon it, and from it into the
escaping boat. She was saved.
228 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
MATTERS were getting into a serious con
dition. The delays had been so many that
the stock of birds had been eaten, and the men
had been for several days on short allowance,
which showed itself in their failing strength. They
were far out to sea, midway of the Melville Bay
navigation, and the boats were receiving a rough
handling, and required continual bailing to keep
them from sinking.
It was just at this crisis that the ever timely aid
came. A large seal was seen floating upon a small
patch of ice, seeming to be asleep. A signal was
given for the " Hope " to fall astern, while the
" Faith " approached noiselessly upon him, with
stockings drawn over the oars. Petersen lay in
the bow with a large English rifle, and as they
drew near, the men were so excited that they
could scarcely row ; the safety of the whole com
pany seemed staked upon the capture of that seal.
When within three hundred yards, the oars were
taken in, and the boat moved silently on by a
scull-oar at the stern. The seal was not asleep,
for when just beyond the reach of the ball he
raised his head. The thin, care-worn, almost de
spairing faces of the men showed their deep concern
as he appeared about to make his escape. Dr.
Kane gave the signal to fire; but poor Petersen,
almost paralyzed by anxiety, was trying nervously
to get a rest for his gun on the edge of the bow.
The seal rose on his fore-flipper, looked curiously
around, and coiled himself up for a plunge. The
rifle cracked at the instant, and the seal at the
same moment drooped his head one side, and
stretched his full length on the ice at the brink
of his hole. With a frantic yell the men urged
the boats to the floe, seized the seal, and bore him
to a safer place. They brandished their knives,
cut long strips of the seal, and went dancing about
the floe, eating and sucking their bloody fingers
in wild delight. The seal was large and fat, but
not an ounce of him was wasted. A fire was built
that night on the floe, and the joyous feast went
on until hunger was appeased ; they had driven
away its gnawings, and, happily, it returned no
On the first of August they had passed the ter
rible bay, and sighted land on its southern side.
Familiar landmarks of the whalers came in sight.
They passed the Duck Islands and Cape Shack-
elton, and coasted along by the hills, seeking a
cove in which to land. One was soon found, the
boats drawn up, a little time spent in thanksgiving
and congratulations, and then they lay down on the
dry land and slept.
They continued to coast near the shore, dodg
ing about among the islands, a'nd dropping into the
bays, and landing for rest at night. It was at one
230 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
of these sleeping-halts on the rocks that Petersen
saw one of the natives, whom he recognized as an
old acquaintance ; he was in his kayak seeking
eider-down among the rocks. Petersen hailed
him, but the man played shy. "Paul Zacharias,"
shouted Petersen, " don't you know me? I am
Carl Petersen ! "
'"No," replied the man; "his wife says he's
The native stared at the weather-beaten, long-
bearded man for a moment as he loomed up
through the fog, and then turned the bow of his
boat, and paddled away as if a phantom was pur
Two days after this the explorers were rowing
leisurely along in a fog, which had just began to
lift and dimly reveal the objects on shore. At
this moment a familiar sound came to them over
the water. It was the " huk " of the Esquimo, for
which they had often taken the bark of a fox
or the startling screech of the gulls; but this
" huk ! huk ! " died away in the home-thrilling
" halloo ! "
" Listen, Petersen ! what is it ? "
Petersen listened quietly for a moment, and
then, trembling with emotion, said, in an under
tone, " Dannemarkers ! "
Then the whole company stood up and peered
into the distant nooks, in breathless silence to
catch the sound again. The sound came again,
and all was a moment silent. It was the first
Christian voice they had heard beyond their own
party for two years. But they saw nothing. Was
it not a cheat after all of their nervous, excited
feelings ? The men sat down again and bent to
their oars, and their boats swept in for the cape
from which the sound proceeded. They scanned
narrowly every nook and green spot where the
strangers might be found. A full half hour passed
in this exciting search. At last the single mast of
a small shallop was seen. Petersen, who had kept
himself during the search very still and sober,
burst into a fit of crying, relieved by broken ex
clamations of English and Danish, gulping down
his words at intervals, and wringing his hands all
the while. " 'Tis the Upernavik oil-boat ! " " The
Mariane has come ! and Carlie Mossyn "
Petersen had hit the facts. The annual ship,
Mariane, had arrived at Proven, and Carlie Mos
syn had come up to get the year's supply of blub
ber from Kinqatok.
Here our explorers listened while Carlie, in an
swer to their questions, gave them a hint of what
had been going on in the civilized world during
their long absence. The Crimean war had been
begun and was in bloody progress, but " Sebasto-
pol wasn't taken ! " " Where and what is Sebasto-
pol?" they queried. "But what of America?"
Carlie didn't know much about that country, for
no whale ships were on the coast, but said " a
steamer and a bark passed up a fortnight ago seek
ing your party."
" What of Sir John Franklin ? " they next in
quired. Carlie said the priest had a German
232 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
newspaper which said traces of his boats and dead
had been found ! Yes, found a thousand miles
away from the region where our explorers had
been looking for them !
One more row into the fog and one more halt
ing on the rocks. They all washed clean in the
fresh water of the basins, and brushed up their
ragged furs and woolens. The next morning they
neared the settlement of Upernavik, of which
Petersen had been foreman, and they heard the
yelling of the dogs as its snowy hill-top showed
itself through the mist, and the tolling of the
workmen's bells calling them to their daily labor
came as sweet music to their ears. They rowed
into the big harbor, landed by an old Brewhouse,
and hauled their boats up for the last time. A
crowd of merry children came round them with
cheerful faces and curious eyes. In the crowd
were the wife and children of Petersen. Our ex
plorers were safe ; their perils were over !
Having lived in the open air for eighty-four
days, they felt a sense of suffocation within the
walls of a house. But divided among many kind,
hospitable homes, they drank their coffee and
listened to hymns of welcome sung by many
The people of Upernavik fitted up a loft for the
reception of the wayfarers, and showed them great
kindness. They remained until the sixth of Sep
tember, and then embarked on the Danish vessel
" Mariane," whose captain was to leave them at
the nearest English port on his way to Denmark.
The boat " Faith " was taken on board, as a relic
of their perilous adventure ; the document box
containing their precious records, and the furs on
their backs these were all that were saved of the
heroic brig "Advance."
The " Mariane " made a short stay at Godhavn.
The searching company under Captain Hartstene
had left there for the icy north on the twenty-
first of July, since which nothing was known of
The " Mariane " was on the eve of leaving with
our explorers when the lookout shouted from the
hill-top that a steamer was in the distance. It
drew near with a bark in tow, both flying the stars
and stripes. The " Faith " was lowered for the
last time, and, with Brooks at the helm, Dr. Kane
went out to meet them. As they came alongside
Captain Hartstene hailed : " Is that Dr. Kane ? "
" Yes ! " Instantly the men sprung into the rig
ging and gave cheers of welcome ; and the whole
country, on the arrival of the long-lost explorers,
repeated the glad shout of welcome ; and the
Christian world echoed, " Welcome ! "
234 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
DR. KANE'S party came home, as we have
seen, in the fall of 1855. Dr. Hayes, with
whom we have become acquainted as one of that
number, began immediately to present the desir
ableness of further exploration in the same direc
tion to the scientific men of the country, and to
the public generally. His object was to sail to
the west side of Smith's Sound, instead of the
east, as in the last voyage, and to gather addi
tional facts concerning* the currents, the aurora,
the glaciers, the directions and intensity of " the
magnetic force," and so to aid in settling many
interesting scientific questions. He aimed also,
of course, to further peer into the mysteries of
the open Polar Sea.
These efforts resulted in the fitting out for this
purpose, in the summer of 1860, the schooner
" United States," and the appointment of Dr. Hayes
as commander. She left Boston July sixth, manned
by fourteen persons all told. The vessel was
small, but made for arctic warfare, and as she
turned her prow North Poleward, she bore a defi
ant spirit, and, like all inexperienced warriors,
reckoned the victory already hers. But if the
vessel was " green " her commander was not. He
Off Again. 235
was well able to help her in the coming battle with
icebergs and floes.
Among her men were only two besides the doc
tor who had seen arctic service, one of whom was
Professor August Sontag, who had been of Kane's
party, and had also been of the number who ac
companied Dr. Hayes in the attempt to escape.
Of the rest of the crew were two young men
nearly of an age, about eighteen, who are repre
sented as joining the expedition because they
would, and in love of adventure. Their names
were George F. Knorr, commander's clerk, and
Collins C. Starr. Both pressed their desire to go
upon Dr. Hayes, and Starr told him that he would
go in any capacity. The commander told him he
might go in the forecastle with the common sail
ors, and the next day, to the surprise .of the doc
tor, he found him on board, manfully at work with
the roughest of the men, having doffed his silk
hat, fine broadcloth, and shining boots of the ele
gant young man of the day before. The com
mander was so pleased with his spirit that he pro
moted him on the spot, sending him off to be
In a little less than four weeks of prosperous
sailing, the "United States" was at the Danish
port of Proven, Greenland. It was the intention
of the commander to get a supply here of the
indispensable dog-teams, but disease had raged
among them, and none could be bought. The ves
sel was delayed, in order that the chief trader, Mr.
Hansen, who was daily expected from Upernavik,
236 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
might be consulted in the matter. When he ar
rived he gave a gloomy account of the dog -mar
ket, but kindly gave the expedition his own teams.
The couriers which had been sent out to scour the
country for others, returned with four old dogs and
a less number of good ones.
On the evening of the twelfth of August the ex
plorers arrived at Upernavik. The Danish brig
" Thialfe " lay at anchor in the harbor, about to
sail for Copenhagen with a cargo of skins and oil,
so the first letters to the dear ones at home were
hastily written to send by her. They bore sad
news to at least one family circle. Mr. Gibson
Caruther retired to his berth well on the evening
of their arrival, and in the morning was found
dead. He had escaped the perils of the first Grin-
nell Expedition under Capt. De Haven to die
thus suddenly ere those of his second voyage
had begun. He was beloved, able, and intelli
gent, and his death was a great loss to the enter
prise. His companions laid him away in the
mission burial-ground, the missionary, Mr. Anton,
Before leaving Upernavik, Dr. Hayes secured the
services of an Esquimo interpreter, one Peter Jen
sen, who brought on board with him one of the best
dog-teams of the country ; and soon after he came,
two more Esquimo hunters and dog-drivers were
enlisted ; and a still better addition to the expedi
tion were two Danish sailors, one of whom is our
old friend whom we left here some five years ago
rejoicing in re-union with wife and children Carl
Off Again. ,237
Christian Petersen. Petersen enlisted as carpen
ter as well as sailor.
With these six persons added to her company,
making it twenty in all, the " United States " left
Upernavik to enter upon the earnest work of the
expedition. The settlement had scarcely faded in
the distance, when the ice-bergs were seen marshal
ing their forces to give the little voyager battle.
A long line of them was formed just across her
course, some more than two hundred feet high and
a mile long. They were numberless, and at a dis
tance seemed to make a solid, jagged ice-wall.
When the schooner was fairly in among them, the
sunlight was shut out as it is from the traveler in
a dense forest. She felt the wind in a "cat's-
paw " now and then, and so the helm lost its con
trol of her, and she went banging against first one
berg and then another. The bergs themselves
minded not the little breeze which was blowing,
but swept majestically along by the under current.
The navigators were kept on the alert to keep the
vessel from fatal collision with its huge, cold, de
fiant enemies, as the surface current drove it help
lessly onward. Sometimes, as they approached
one, the boats were lowered, and the vessel was
towed away from danger ; at another crisis, as it
neared one berg, an anchor was planted in an
other in an opposite direction, and she was warped
into a place of security. Occasionally they tied
up to a berg and waited for a chance for prog
While thus beset with dangers, there were occa-
238 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
sions of some pleasant excitement. The birds were
abundant and of many varieties, affording sport for
the hunters and fresh food for the table ; the seals
sported in the clear water, and were shot for the
larder of the dogs ; and Dr. Hayes and Professor
Sontag found employment with their scientific in
Such had been the state of things for four days,
when one morning the vessel was borne toward a
large berg, of a kind the sailors called " touch-me-
nots." It was an old voyager, whose jagged sides,
high towers, deep valleys and swelling hills, showed
that time, the sun, and the tides, had laid their hands
upon it. Such bergs are about as good neighbors
as an avalanche on a mountain side, just ready for
a run into the valley below. Warps and tow-boats,
instantly and vigorously used, failed to stop the
schooner's headway. She touched the berg, and
down dropped fragments of it larger than the ves
sel, followed by a shower of smaller pieces ; but
they went clear of the vessel. Now the berg be
gan to revolve, turning toward the explorers, and
as its towering sides settled slowly over them, frag
ments poured upon the deck a fearful hail-storm.
There was no safety for the men except in the
forecastle, and there appeared to be no escape for
the schooner. But just in time an immense sec
tion of the base of the berg, which seemed to be
far below the water line, broke off, and rose to the
surface with a sudden rush, which threw the sea
into violent commotion. The balance of the berg
was changed ; it paused, and then began, slowly at
Off Again. 239
first but with increasing rapidity, to turn in the op
posite direction. If this was intended as a retreat
of the bergy foe, it defended well its rear. At its
base, from which the piece had just been broken,
was an icy projection toward the vessel ; as the
berg revolved, this tongue came up and struck the
keel. It seemed intent upon tossing the vessel
into the air, or rolling her over and leaving her bot
tom side up upon the sea. The men seized their
poles and pushed vigorously to launch the vessel
from the perilous position, but in vain. Just in
time again the unseen Hand interfered for their
deliverance. Deafening reports, like a park of ar
tillery, saluted their ears, and a misty smoke arose
above the berg. Its opposite side was breaking up,
and launching its towering peaks into the sea. The
berg paused again and began to roll back, and
thus for the moment released the vessel. The
boat had in the meantime fastened an anchor in
a grounded berg, and the welcome shout came,
" Haul in ! " Steadily and with a will the men
drew upon the rope, and the vessel moved slowly
from the scene of danger, not, however, before the
returning top of the berg had launched upon her
deck a shower of ice-fragments, in fearful assurance
that its whole side would soon follow and bury
them as the shepherd's hut is buried by a moun
tain slide. A few moments later and the side
came down with a tremendous crash, sending its
spray. over the escaped vessel, and tossing it as
the drift-wood is tossed in the eddies beneath a
240 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
All that day the roar of the icy cannon was con
tinued, as if a naval battle was in progress for the
empire of the north, and berg after berg went
down, strewing the sea with their shattered frag
ments, while misty clouds floated over the field of
Colliding Floes. 241
AFTER this ice encounter the expedition put
into a little port called Tessuissak, to com
plete their outfit of dogs. An impatient tarry of
two days enabled them to count, on the deck of
the little vessel, thirty first-class, howling dogs,
whose amiable tempers found expression in biting
each other, and making both day and night hide
ous with their noise.
This port was left on the twenty-third of Au
gust, and, much to the joy of all, the dreaded
Melville Bay was clear of the ice-pack ; the ice
bergs, however, kept their watch over its storm-
tossed waters. Through these waters driven before
a fierce wind, and buried often in. a fog so dense
that the length of the vessel could not be seen, the
" United States " sped. Its anxious commander
was on deck night and day, not knowing the mo
ment when an icy wall, as fatal to the vessel as
one of granite, might arrest its course and send it
instantly to the bottom of the sea. Once they
passed so near a berg just crossing their track
that the fore-yard grazed its side, and the spray
from its surf-beaten wall was thrown upon the
deck. A berg at one time hove in sight with an
arch through it large enough for a passage-way for
242 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the schooner. The explorers declined, however,
the novel adventure. The passage of Melville
Bay was made, with sails only, in fifty-five hours.
The pack which had invariably troubled explorers
seemed to have been enjoying a summer vacation,
and the bergs were off duty. The expedition
had reached the North Water and lay off Cape
The ocean current which sweeps past this cape,
and opens the way to the other side of Baffin Bay,
is wonderful. It is the great Polar current which
comes rushing down through Spitzbergen Sea, along
the eastern coast of Greenland, laden with ice, and
taking the waters of its rivers with their freight of
drift-wood as it passes. Leaving most of the wood
along its shore, a welcome gift to the people, it
sweeps around Cape Farewell, courses near the
western shore in its run north until it has passed
Melville Bay. When it has crossed over to the
American shore near Jones Strait, it joins the cur
rent from the Arctic Sea, turns south, and makes
the long journey until it reaches our own coast,
dropping its ice freight as it goes, and sending
its cooling air through the heat-oppressed atmos
phere of our summer.
As our explorers approached the shore of Cape
York they looked carefully for the natives. Soon
a company of Esquimo were seen making their
wild gesticulations to attract attention. A boat
was lowered,' and Dr. Hayes and Professor Sontag
went ashore, and as they approached the landing-
place one of the Esquimo called them by name.
Colliding Floes. 243
It was our old friend Hans, of the Kane voyage,
who, the reader will recollect, left his white friends
for an Esquimo wife. The group consisted, be
sides Hans, of his wife and baby, his wife's moth
er, an old woman having marked talking ability,
and her son, a bright-eyed boy of twelve years.
Hans had found his self-imposed banishment among
the savages of this extreme north rather tedious.
He had removed his family to this lookout for the
whale ships, and had watched and waited. It
was the dreariest of places, and his hut, pitched
on a bleak spot the better to command a view of
the sea, was the most miserable of abodes. It
had plainly cost him dear to break his faith with
his confiding commander and the friends of his
early Christian home.
Dr. Hayes asked Hans if he would go with the
expedition. He answered promptly, "Yes."
" Would you take your wife and baby ? "
" Would you go without them ? "
He was taken on board with his wife and baby.
The mother and her boy cried to go, but the
schooner was already overcrowded.
Leaving Cape York, the vessel spread her sails
before a "ten-knot " breeze, and dodging the ice
bergs with something of a reckless daring, seemed
bent on reaching the Polar Sea before winter set
in. At one time what appeared to be two ice
bergs a short distance apart lay in the course of
the vessel. The helmsman was ordered to steer
244 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
between them, for to go round involved quite a
circuit. On dashed the brave little craft for the
narrow passage. When she was almost abreast of
them the officer on the lookout shuddered to see
that the seeming bergs were but one, and that the
connecting ice appeared to be only a few feet below
the surface. It was too late to stop the headway of
the vessel, or to turn her to the right or left. She
rushed onward, but the water of the opening
proved to be deeper than it appeared, and her
keel but touched once or twice, just to show how
narrow was the escape.
Hans was delighted with his return to ship life.
His wife seemed pleased and half bewildered
by the strange surroundings. The baby crowed,
laughed, and cried, and ate and slept like other
The sailors put the new comers -through a soap-
and-water ordeal, to which was added the use of
scissors and combs. Esquimo do not bathe, nor
practice the arts of the barber, and consequently
they keep numerous boarders on their persons.
When this necessary cleansing and cropping was
done, they donned red shirts and other luxuries
of civilization. With the new dresses they were
delighted, and they were never tired of strutting
about in them. But the soap and water was not
so agreeable. At first it was taken as a rough
joke, but the wife soon began to cry. She in
quired of her husband if it was a religious cere
mony of the white men.
The vessel made good time until she came
Colliding Floes. 245
within three miles of Cape Alexander. It was
now August twenty-eighth, and so it was time
these Arctic regions should begin to show their
peculiar temper. A storm came down upon them,
pouring the vials of its wrath upon the shivering
vessel for about three days. During a lull in the
storm the schooner was hauled under the shelter
of the highlands of Cape Alexander and anchored.
She rocked and plunged fearfully. At one time
when these gymnastics were going on, the old
Swedish cook came to the commander in the cabin
with refreshments, but he was hardly able to keep
his "sea legs." He remarks as he comes in, *' I
falls down once, but de commander sees I keeps
de coffee. It's good an' hot, and very strong, and
go right down into de boots."
" Bad night on deck, cook," remarks the captain.
"O, it's awful, sar! I never see it blow so hard
in all my life, an' I's followed de sea morn'n forty
years. An' den it's so cold ! My galley is full of
ice, and de water, it freeze on my stove."
" Here, cook, is a guernsey for you. It will
keep you warm."
" Tank you, sar ! " says the cook, starting off
with his prize. But encouraged by the kind bear
ing of his captain, he stops and asks, " Would the
commander be so kind as to tell me where we is ?
De gentlemen fool me."
" Certainly, cook. The land over there is Green
land ; the big cape is Cape Alexander; beyond
that is Smith's Sound, and we are only about eight
hundred miles from the North Pole."
246 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
" De Nort Pole ! vere's dat ? "
The commander explains as well as he can.
" Tank you, sar. Vat for we come to fish ? "
" No, not to fish, cook; for science."
" O, dat it ! Dey tell me we come to fish. Tank
The old cook pulls his greasy cap over his bald
head and thinks. " Science ! " " De Nort Pole ! "
He dont get the meaning of these through his
cap, and he " tumbles up " the companion-ladder,
and goes to the galley to enjoy his guernsey.
Dr. Hayes and Knorr went ashore and climbed
to the top of the cliffs, twelve hundred feet. The
wind was fearfully breezy, and Knorr's cap left
and went sailing like a feather out to sea. The
view was full of arctic grandeur, but not flattering
to the storm-bound navigators. Ice was evidently
king a little farther north.
Soon after the explorer's return to the vessel
the storm gathered fresh power, and the anchors
began to drag. Soon one hawser parted, and
away went the schooner, with fearful velocity, and
brought up against a berg. The crash was appall
ing, and the stern boat flew into splinters. The
spars were either bent or carried away ; and, as
they attempted to hoist the mainsail, it went to
pieces. The crippled craft was with difficulty
worked back into the projecting covert of Cape
Alexander. Her decks were covered with ice,
and the dogs were perishing with wet and cold,
three having died.
Having repaired damages as well as they could,
Colliding Floes. 247
they again pushed into the pack of Smith's Sound,
which lay between them and open water, visible
far to the north. Entering a lead under full sail,
they made good progress for awhile ; but suddenly
a solid floe shot across the channel, and the vessel,
with full head-way, struck it like a battering ram.
The cut-water flew into splinters, and the iron
sheathing- of the bows was torn off as if it had
Pushing off from the floe, and passing through
a narrow lead, they emerged into an area of open
water. But the floe was on the alert. This began
to close up, and, taking a hint of foul play, the
explorers steered toward the shore. But the ice
battalions moved with celerity, piled up across the
vessel's bow, and closed in on every side. In an
hour they held her as in a vice, while the reserve
force was called up to crush her to atoms. The
foe was jubilant, for the power at his command
was kindred to that of the earthquake. An ice
field of millions of tons, moved by combined wind
and current, rushed upon the solid ice-field which
rested against the immovable rocks of the shore.
Between these was the schooner less than an
egg-shell between colliding, heavily laden freight
trains. As the pressure came steadily, in well
assured strength, she groaned and shrieked like a
thing of conscious pain, writhing and twisting as
if striving to escape her pitiless adversary. Her
deck timbers bowed, and the seams of the deck-
planks opened, while her sides seemed ready to
248 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Thus far the closing forces were permitted to
strike severely on the side of the helpless vessel,
to show that they could crush her as rotten fruit
is crushed in a strong man's hand. Then He,
without whose permission no force in nature
moves, and at whose word they are instantly
stayed, directed the floe under the strongly tim
bered " bilge " of the hull, and, with a jerk which
sent the men reeling about the deck, lifted the
vessel out of the water. The floes now fought
their battle out beneath her, as if they disdained,
like the lion with the mouse in his paw, to crush
so small a thing. Great ridges were piled up
about her, and one underneath lifted her high into
the air. Eight hours she remained in this situa
tion, while the lives of all on board seemed sus
pended on the slenderest thread.
Then came the yielding and breaking up of the
floes. Once, at the commencing of the giving
way, an ice prop of the bows suddenly yielded,
let the forward end of the vessel down while the
stern was high in the air. But finally the battered
craft settled squarely into the water.
She was leaking badly, and the pumps were
kept moving with vigor. The rudder was split,
and two of its bolts broken ; the stern-post
started, and fragments of the cut-water and keel
were floating away. But, strange to say, no essen
tial injury was done. She was slowly navigated
into Hartstene or Etah Bay, where we have been
so often, anchored safely, and repairs immediately
The Winter Home. 249
THE WINTER HOME.
ONE more effort, after the repairs were fin
ished, was made to push through the ice
floe of Smith's Sound. This resulting in failure,
it was plainly impossible to get farther north.
The vessel was brought into Etah Bay again, a
harbor found eight miles north-east of Cape Alex
ander, and eighty by the coast from the harbor of
the " Advance," though only twenty in a straight
line, and preparations were at once begun for win
ter. Peter, the Esquimo dog-driver, and Hans
were appointed a hunting party. Sontag, the
astronomer, with three assistants, was mainly en
gaged in scientific observations and experiments.
There was work for all the rest. Some were en
gaged in unloading the cargo and lifting it by a
derrick to a terrace on the shore, far above the
highest tide, where a storehouse was made for it.
The hold of the schooner was cleared, scrubbed,
and white-washed, a stove set up, and made a
home for the sailors. The sails and yards were
" sent down," the upper deck roofed in, making a
house eight feet high at the ridge, and six and a
half at the sides.
The crew moved into their new quarters on the
first of October. The event was celebrated by a
250 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
holiday dinner. There was joy on shipboard;
thankful for escapes granted by the great Pro
tector, trustful for the future, and, greatly encour
aged by present blessings, none were unhappy.
The hunters were very successful, bringing in
every day game of the best kind, and in great
abundance. A dozen reindeer were suspended
'from the shrouds, and clusters of rabbits and
foxes were hung in the rigging; besides these,
deposits of reindeer were made in various direc
tions. The hard-working men ate heartily of the
relishing fresh food, and laughed to scorn the
scurvy. They called the place of their winter
quarters Port Foulke.
When the floe became frozen, the sledges were
put in readiness for the dog-teams. The dogs
having been well fed, were in fine condition.
Blocks of ice were used to make a wall about
the vessel, from the floe to the deck, between
which and her sides the snow was crowded, mak
ing a solid defense against the cold.
On the fifteenth of October the sun bade them
farewell for four months, and they anticipated the
coming darkness under circumstances certainly
much better than had been often granted to arctic
As there was yet a long twilight, dog-trips were
very exhilarating. Dr. Hayes once rode behind
his dogs twelve measured miles in an hour and
one minute, without a moment's halt. Sontag and
the captain raced their teams, the captain beat
ing, as was becoming, by four minutes.
The Winter Home. 251
The dogs were made to know their masters a
knowledge quite necessary for the good of all.
Jensen observed that one of his team was getting
rebellious. "You see dat beast," he said. "I
takes a piece out of his ear." The long lash un
rolls, the sinewy snapper on its tip touches the tip
of the dog's ear, and takes out a piece as neatly as
a sharp knife would have done.
The same day Jensen's skill at dog driving was
put to a severe test. A fox crossed their path.
Up went their tails, curling over their backs, their
short ears pricked forward, and away they went in
full chase. In such a case woe be to the driver
who cannot take a piece of flesh out of any dog in
the team at each snap of his merciless whip. Jen
sen was usually master of such a situation, but it
so happened that a strong wind blew directly in
the face of the team and carried the lash back be
fore it reached its victim. Missing its terrible
bite, the dogs became for a while unmanageable
and raced after the fox at full speed. To make
matters worse, treacherous ice lay just ahead.
The dogs were already on the heels of the fox, and
about to make a meal of him, when Jensen regained
full control of his whip. It stung severely, now
this one and then that. Their tails dropped, their
ears drooped, and they paused and obeyed their
master. But they were greatly provoked at the
loss of the game, and at the harsh subjection, and,
with characteristic amiability, they commenced to
snap at and bite each other. Jensen jumped from
the sledge and laid the whip-stock on them, knock-
252 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ing them to the right and left, until, it is presumed,
made very loving by the process, they went about
their assigned business.
Parties 'of the explorers were out nearly every
day, hunting, or pursuing the scientific inquiries.
Knorr, the secretary of the commander, was
off with Hans. He had his adventure to talk about
on his return. He wounded in the valley a rein
deer, which hobbled on three legs up a steep
hill. 'The young hunter followed, and, getting
within easy range, brought it down by a well-aimed
shot. The deer being in a line with Knorr, came
sliding down the hill, and, knocking against him,
both went tumbling down together. Fortunate
ly he carried no broken bones, but only bruises
to the vessel as mementoes of his deer hunt.
Sontag, on the same day, had his perilous inci
dent. He had climbed to the top of a glacier by
cutting steps in the ice. Across the ice was a
crack, bridged over with thin ice, but entirely con
cealed by it. Stepping on this he broke through
and fell into the chasm ; fortunately it was a nar
row one, and the barometer which he carried,
crossing the creek, broke the fall and probably
saved his life. On what a slender thread hangs
this mortal existence !
During this sledging season Dr. Hayes visited
the homes of our old acquaintance at Etah, which
was only four miles from the schooner; but they
were deserted. Near the huts was a splendid
buck, busily engaged in pawing up and eating the
moss from under the snow. He seemed so unsus-
The Winter Home. 253
pecting, and withal so honestly engaged, that the
doctor, though he had crept on the leeward side,
within easy range, was reluctant to fire. Twice
he aimed, and twice dropped his gun from its lev
el. Bringing it to sight the third time he fired, and
the ball went crashing through the noble animal.
We hear nothing of compunction in eating him on
the part of any on shipboard, and probably the
pitying reader would have had none.
Our old friend Hans does not appear so favor
ably in the present narrative as he did in that of
Dr. Kane. His five years of chosen exile among
his purely heathen countrymen does not seem to
have left many traces of his Christian education.
Some allowance, however, must be made for a dif
ference of estimate of his character by his former
and present commander. In Dr. Hayes's judg
ment, " he is a type of the worst phase of the Es-
Hans's domestic relations are represented as
not of the most happy kind. His wife's name is
Merkut, but is known to the sailors as " Mrs.
Hans." She passes for a u beauty," as Esquimo
beauty goes ; has a flush of red on rather a fair
cheek when, exceptionally, she uses soap and
water enough for it to be seen through the usual
coating of dirt. Their baby, ten months' old, bears
the pleasant name of Pingasuk " Pretty One."
Hans has a household of his own. He pitched a
tent, when the schooner went into winter-quarters,
under the roof of the upper deck. The Esquimo
Marcus and Jacob make a part of his family.
254 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Here, wrapped in their furs, where they choose
to be, they huddle together, warm " as fleas in
a rug," though the temperature is seldom higher
than about the freezing point. Little " Pretty
One " creeps out of the tent about the deck, hav
ing for covering only the ten months' accumula
tion of grease and dirt, not unfrequently accompa
nied by its mother, who on such occasion is guilt
less of "costly array," or much of any whatever.
Hans's gentlemen lodgers were taken on board
as dog-drivers, but they seemed to have been of
no possible use except to give occasion for the
mirthful jokes of the sailors.
Peter, chief dog manager, a converted Esquimo,
brother to Jacob, gave his commander excellent
satisfaction and stood high in his esteem. He was
skillful, industrious, and trustworthy. Between him
and Hans an intense jealousy existed. Hans had,
under Dr. Kane, no rival in his sphere. Peter was
now, at least, a peer, and so the glory of his exal
tation from Esquimo hut-life was greatly eclipsed.
His master even preferred Peter before him ; but
Prof. Sontag clung, with a little of the Dr. Kane
partiality, to the favorite of the former voyage.
Hans had no reason, however, to complain of the
consideration shown him by his chief. At one
time he gave him, to quiet his jealousy, a new suit
of clothes, with the very reddest of flannel shirts.
In these he appeared at the Sunday inspection
and religious service, quite as elated at his per
sonal adornment, though probably not more so, as
the " fine gents " of our home Sabbath assemblies.
THE glacier is one of the wonderful things
of the northern regions. We will visit one
with Dr. Hayes, and, on .our return to the vessel,
listen to some curious and interesting facts con
cerning it. Although there was no sunshine at the
time of the first glacier excursion, the twilight was
long and clear ; it was October twenty-first. The
run was made to the foot of the glacier from the
vessel, with the dogs, in forty minutes. It ap
peared here as a great ice-wall, one hundred feet
high and a mile broad. The glacier in descend
ing the valley extended in breadth not quite to
the slope of the hills, so it left between them and
each of its sides a gorge. It is very curious that
the ice should not lean against the hills as it
slips along and thus fill up all the valley as water
Our party first stopped and examined the front
face of the glacier. It was nearly perpendicular,
but bulging out a little in the middle. It was
worn in places by the summer streams which run
over it, and marred in other parts by the fall of
great fragments into the valley below. While our
visitors were gazing at it a crystal block came
down as an angry hint for them to stand from
256 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
under. Wisely heeding the warning, they turned up
one of the gorges between the glacier side and the
hill. Here was rough traveling, and, we should
think, dangerous too. There were strewed along
in their path ice fragments from the glacier on
one side, and rocks and earth which had slid
down the hill on the other. If the glacier was as
evil disposed as its children, the icebergs, it might
let loose some of its projecting crags on their heads.
Finding a favorable place, they began to cut
steps in the side of the glacier in order to mount
to its surface. Having reached the top they cau
tiously walked to the center of the icy stream,
drove two stakes on a line in it, and then two half
way between these and the sides of the glacier.
Then they measured the distance of these stakes
from each other, and sighted from their tops fixed
objects on the hills. They purposed to come in the
spring and examine the distance apart of the stakes,
and sight from them the fixed objects, so as to de
termine how fast the frozen river was moving down
the valley. Having set the stakes they scampered
back to the vessel.
After a little rest another journey to the glacier
was made, this time without the dogs, the sledges,
having a light outfit, being drawn by the men.
These were young Knorr, the sailor M'Donald,
Mr. Heywood, a landsman from the west an am
ateur explorer the Dane, Petersen, and the Es-
quimo, Peter. When they arrived at the gorge,
the way was so rough that they were compelled to
carry the sledge loads in parcels on their backs.
It was rough work, and they sought an early camp ;
but with the frowning ice-cliffs on one side and hill-
crags on the other, both evil-minded in the use of
their icy and rocky missiles, and with also the un
even bed of rocks beneath them, no wonder they
did not sleep. They were soon astir, pushed far
ther up the gorge, and finding a favorable place,
began to cut steps up the glacier. The first one
who attempted to mount reached some distance, .
then slipped, and in sliding down carried with
him his companions who were following, and
the whole company were promiscuously tumbled
into the gorge. The one going ahead had better
luck the next trial, carrying a rope by which the
sledge was drawn up, and all mounted in safety.
They now started off up this ice-river toward
the great sea of ice from whence it flowed. The
surface was at first rough, and of course slightly
descending toward its' front edge. Dr. Hayes
walked in advance of the sledge party, carrying a
pole over his head grasped by both hands, being
fearful of the treacherous cracky hidden by their
ice. Soon down he went into one, but the pole
reached across the chasm and he scrambled out.
The depth of the chasm remains a mystery to this
day. The ice grew smoother as they proceeded,
and they made about five miles, pitched their can
vas tents, cooked with their lamp a good supper,
made coffee, ate and drank like weary men, crept
into their fur sleeping bags, and slept soundly
though the thermometer was about fifteen degrees
below zero. The next day they traveled thirty
258 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
miles, and came upon an even plain where the
surface of the ice-sea was covered with many feet
of snow, the crust of which broke through at every
step. This made very hard traveling, yet the fol
lowing day they tramped twenty-five miles more.
Now came the ever-at-hand Arctic storm. They
camped, but lower and lower fell the temperature,
and fiercer and fiercer blew the wind. They could
not sleep, so they decided to turn their faces home
ward. The frost nipped their fingers, and assailed
their faces as they hastily packed up and started.
They were five thousand feet above the level of
the sea, and seventy miles from the coast, and
were standing in the midst- of a vast icy desert.
There was neither mountain nor hill in sight. As
in mid-ocean the sailor beholds the sea bounded
only by the sky, so here they beheld only ice, which
stretched away to the horizon on every side truly
a sea of ice. Clouds of snow whirled along its
surface, at times rising and disappearing in the
cold air, or drifted across the face of the setting
moon beautiful clouds of fleecy whiteness to the
eye, but " burning " the flesh as .they pelted the
retreating explorers, like the fiery sand-clouds of
the Great Sahara. They scud before the wind,
which they dared not for a moment face, nor
halted until they had traveled forty miles and
descended two thousand feet. They then pitched
their tents, the cold and wind having lessened
though yet severe. They arrived at the ship the
next evening, not seriously the worse for their dar
ing " sea-voyage " on foot.
Having been refreshed by food and rest, no
doubt our explorers discussed the great glacier
problem, and pleasantly chased away many an
hour in talk about what they had seen and what
they had read on this interesting subject. We
think their conversation included some of the fol
lowing facts :
The ice upon which they had been voyaging is
a part of a great ocean of ice covering the cen
tral line of Greenland from Cape Farewell on the
south to the farthest known northern boundary,
a distance of at least twelve hundred miles. In
stead of being formed of drops of water like more
southern oceans, it is made up of crystallized dew-
drops and snow-flakes, which have been falling for
ages, and which in these cold regions have no
summer long enough, nor of sufficient heat, to con
vert them into water again.
But if the crystal dews and snows continue to
fall for ages, and never melt, what prevents them
from piling up to the sky, and sinking the very
continent ? The all-wise Director of the universe
has made a very curious arrangement to prevent
such a result. This ice-ocean runs off into the
sea in great ice-rivers which find their way to the
shore on both sides of the continent, just as the
water does which falls from the clouds on the top
of the Andes of South. America. There we see
the mighty Amazon, one of its rivers, almost an
ocean of itself, as it sweeps along its banks be
tween mountains, and through immense forests.
Greenland has its Amazons in vastness and grand-
26O NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
eur, as well as its smaller rivers and little streams.
It has also its lakes and sublime Niagaras, its falls
and cascades. But they are ice instead of water;
that is all the difference between this Arctic cir
culation and that of warmer regions.
But of course this ice is not like that which
many of the readers see every winter. It is a half-
solid, pasty kind of substance. It holds together,
yet slides along from the higher land where it ac
cumulates, filling up the valleys, breaking through
the openings in the mountain and hilly ridges, and
pouring over the precipices; slowly, silently, but
with mighty force, ever pressing onward until it
reaches the sea.
These ice rivers move very slowly. It will be
remembered that Dr. Hayes drove some stakes
down in the one he visited in October. In the
following July he visited the glacier again, and
compared the relation of these to the landmarks
he had noted. He thus found that this ice-river
moved over one hundred feet a year. It had
come down the valley ten miles. Two more
miles would bring it to the sea. Some glacier
streams which they visited were yet many miles
from the shore, one as far away as sixty miles.
The Great Glacier of Humboldt, farther north,
was several times visited by Dr. Kane and parties
of his explorers. Its face is a solid, glassy wall
three hundred feet above the water-level, and
extending from Cape Agassiz, a measured dis
tance north, of sixty miles, and then disappear
ing in the unknown polar regions. Surely this
must be the mouth of the Amazon of glacier
But the history of these rivers does not end
when they reach the sea. When their broad and
high glassy front touches the water it does not
melt away nor fall to pieces, but goes down to the
bottom, and if it be a shallow bay or arm of the
sea, pushes the water back and fills up the whole
space, it may be for many miles. When it reaches
water so deep that more than seven eighths of its
front is below the surface, it begins to feel an up
ward pressure, just as a piece of wood when forced
below its natural water-line will spring back. So
after a while this upward pressure breaks off the
massive front, perhaps miles in extent, and many
hundred feet in height. As this is launched into
the sea its thunder crash is heard for miles, and
the water boils like a caldron, while the disengaged
.mass rolls and plunges until, finding its equilib
rium, it sails away a majestic ICEBERG. Here
after the snow will at times cover it with a mantle
of pure whiteness ; the fierce storms will beat upon
its defiant brow ; the beams of the rising and set
ting sun will display their sparkling glories on
its craggy top, or, falling upon the misty cloud
which envelopes it, will encircle it with all the
varying hues of the rainbow. As it voyages in
stately dignity southward, anchored, it may be, at
times for months, it will pass in sullen silence the
drear, long, dark Arctic night, and emerge into
the brief summer to be enlivened as the home
of innumerable sea-fowl, who will rear their young
262 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
upon its cold breast. Ultimately it will go back
to the drops of water from which it came, to make
a part of the great ocean, and possibly to sail
away in clouds over the frozen regions, and to
drop again upon its glassy plain in sparkling
A Strange Dream and its Fulfillment. 263
A STRANGE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT.
THE winter was fully settled down upon Port
Foulke, but the dwellers in the schooner
" United States " knew nothing of the anxieties
and suffering from cold and hunger which most of
the arctic voyagers have known. There was one
foe, however, which they, in common with all who
had gone before them, had to fight ; namely, de
pression of mind produced by the weeks of inac
tivity and darkness. We have seen how many
means were used by earlier as well as later explor
ers to meet and vanquish this foe. Dr. Hayes
availed himself of the hints given by his prede
cessors, and had some devices peculiarly his own.
To the " school of navigation," dramatic perform
ances, and the publishing of a weekly " news
paper," was added the pleasant stimulus of a cele
bration of the birthday of every man on board.
Such occasions were attended by special dinners,
the passing of complimentary notes of invitations
to the intended guests, which included all, and by
fun-making, at which all laughed as a matter of
On Sunday all assembled in their clean and
best suits. Brief religious service was performed
in the presence of all, and the day was spent in
264 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
reading or conversation, save the performance of
the necessary routine work.
During the favoring light of the moon some
excursions were attempted. One was made by
Professor Sontag, accompanied by Hans and Jen
sen with two dog sledges. The object was to
reach the harbor where Dr. Kane's "Advance"
had been left, and ascertain if possible her fate.
He started early in November, but returned in a
few days, baffled by the hummocks and wide
intervening, treacherous ice-cracks. The party
had an encounter with and captured a bear and
her cub. The mother fought with maternal fury
for her child, tossed the dogs one after another
until some of the stoutest and bravest retired
bleeding and yelping from the field, and at times
charged upon and scattered the whole pack, while
the cub itself behaved bravely in its own defense.
When the men came up they threw in, of course,
the fatal odds of rifle balls. Once Hans, his gun
having failed to go off, seized an Esquimo lance
and ran at the beast. Accepting the challenge of a
hand-to-hand fight, she made at him with such
spirit that he dropped the lance and ran, and
nothing saved the cub from supping on Esquimo
meat but two well-directed balls, which whizzed at
the right moment from the guns of Sontag and
Jensen. The bears made a splendid resistance to
the unprovoked attack upon them in the peace
able pursuit of an honest calling, that of getting
a living, but were conquered and eaten.
Among the sad events of the winter was a fatal
A Strange Dream and its Fulfillment. 265
disease among the dogs. They all died but nine
by the middle of December. This was alarming,
for upon them depended mainly the spring excur
sions North Poleward. Such being the situation,
Sontag took at this time the surviving dogs, and,
on a sledge with Hans as a driver, started south
in pursuit of Esquimo. If they could be brought
with their dogs into the vicinity of the ship and
fed, there would be a fair chance of having dog-
sledges when they were wanted. The nearest
known Esquimo family was at Northumberland
Island, a hundred miles off, and others were at
the south side of Whale Sound, fifty miles farther
perhaps all had gone to the most distant point.
They departed in fine spirits, and well equipped.
Hans cracked his whip, and the dogs, well fed
and eager for a run, caused the sledge to glide
over the ice with the velocity of a locomotive.
Their companions sent after them a "hip! hip,
hurrah!" and a "tiger." The moon shed her.
e serene light on their path, and all seemed to prom
ise a speedy and successful return.
The second night after their departure the
solicitous commander had a strange, disquieting
dream. He says in the journal of the following
morning : " I stood with Sontag far out upon the
frozen sea, when suddenly a crash was heard
through the darkness, and in an instant a crack
opened in the ice between us. It came so sud
denly and widened so rapidly that he could not
spring over it to where I stood, and he sailed away
on the dark waters of a troubled sea. I last saw
266 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
him standing firmly upon the crystal raft, his erect
form cutting sharply against a streak of light
which lay upon the distant horizon."
Christmas came and was duly regarded. Stores
of nice things, the gifts of friends far away, were
brought out from secret corners where they had
been hid. The tables were loaded with that
which satisfied the appetite and gratified the eye,
while the rooms of officers and men blazed with
cheerful lights. Outside a feeble aurora seemed
to be trying to exhibit an inspiring illumination,
which contrasted strongly* with its cloudy back
January, 1861, came, and half its days passed,
yet no tidings came from Sontag. The twilight
had returned, and already the coming sun was
heralded along the golden horizon. The com
mander was becoming uneasy concerning the
missing ones, and began to devise ways of know
ing what had become of them. Mr. Dodge was
sent to follow their tracks, which he did as far as
Cape Alexander, where he lost them and returned.
A party was instantly put in readiness for farther
search, and was about to start on the morning of
January twenty-seventh, when a violent storm
arose, detaining it two days. As it was on the
instant of starting again, two Esquimo suddenly
appeared at the vessel's side. One of them was
Ootiniah, who appears so creditably in the narrative
of Dr. Hayes's boat voyage. They were bearers
of sad news. Professor Sontag was dead. Hans
was on his way to the vessel with his wife, father
A Strange Dream and its Fulfillment. 267
and mother, and their son, a lad who was left be
hind with mother when Hans was first taken on
board of the schooner. Some of the dogs had
died, and the family were necessarily moving
Two days later Hans came in with the boy
only, having left the dogs and the old people near
Cape Alexander and come on for help. He was
very cold and much exhausted, and both were
sent below for food, warmth, and rest, before be
ing questioned concerning the disastrous journey.
The large sledge, drawn by fresh men, was sent for
those left behind. The old people were found
coiled up in an excavation made in a snow bank,
and the dogs huddled together near them, neither
dogs nor Esquimo being able to stir, and so all
were bundled in a heap on the sledge and drawn
to the schooner. The hardy savages soon re
vived under the influence of good quarters and
good eating, but the dogs, five in number, the
remnant of the strong force of thirty- six, lay on
the deck unable to stir, and not disposed to eat.
Hans's story was this :
They made a good run the first day, passing
Cape Alexander, and camped in a snow hut on
Sunderland Island. The next day they reached
an Esquimo settlement, but found its huts for
saken. Resting and eating here, they started for
Northumberland Island, and having traveled about
five miles, Sontag, becoming chilled, sprang from
the sledge and ran ahead of the dogs for warmth
by exercise. Hans having occasion to halt the
268 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
team to disentangle a trace fell some distance be
hind. He was urging forward his team to over
take his master when he saw him sinking. He
had come upon thin ice covering a recently open
crack, and had broken through. Hans hastened
up and helped him from the water. A light wind
was blowing, which disposed Sontag not to attempt
to change his wet clothes the fatal error. They
hastened back to the hut in which they had spent
the night. At first the professor ran, but after a
while jumped on the sledge, and when he reached
the hut he was stiff and speechless. Hans lifted
him into the hut, drew off his wet clothes, and
placed him into his sleeping bag. Having tightly
closed the hut, he set the lamp ablaze, and ad
ministered to him a portion of brandy from a
flask found on the sledge. But the cold had done
its fatal work ; he remained speechless and uncon
scious for nearly twenty-four hours, and died.
Hans closed up the hut to prevent beasts of
prey from disturbing the body, continued south,
and on the second night came upon a village where
he was rejoiced to find several native families, who
were living in the midst of abundance. Here
Hans rested until two Esquimo boys, whom he
hired with the Sontag presents, could go to Cape
York after his wife's parents and their son. They
over-drove or starved four of the dogs, which were
left by the way.
The natives whom he found were ready on the
moment of his arrival to return to the vessel with
him, and Ootiniah and his companion were the
A Strange Dream and its Fulfillment. 269
first to show their good-will by starting with Hans
on his return.
A few weeks later the body of Sontag was brought
to the vessel, a neat coffin was made for it, and
the whole ship's company followed it, mourning,
to its last resting-place. The burial service was
read, and it was carefully secured from molesta
tion. At a later period a mound was raised over it,
and a chiseled stone slab, with his name and age,
marked the head.
August Sontag was only twenty-eight years of
age when thus suddenly cut off. His loss to the
expedition was very great.
Hans's parents and brother were added to his
own family on deck, and proved to be much more
efficient helpers in domestic affairs than Mrs.
Hans. The boy was washed and scrubbed and
combed by the sailors, with whom he became a
great favorite, filling much the place on board as a
pet monkey, and proved to be full as annoying to
the old cook, who, in his extreme vexation at his
mischievous tricks, threatened to " kill him a
le-e-t-le" The old folks getting tired of the close
quarters on board, built after a while a snow hut
on the floe, and set up housekeeping for them
270 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE CROWNING SLEDGE JOURNEY.
u r n*HE glorious sun " reappeared February
JL eighteenth, tarrying only a moment, but
giving a sure prophecy of a coming to stay. Scarce
ly less welcome was the appearance soon after of
Kalutunah, Tattarat, and Myouk, all old acquaint
ance whom the reader will not fail to recognize.
Kalutunah was Angekok and Nalegak priest and
chief. His gruff old rival, who advised the starva
tion policy toward the escaping party in the miser
able old hut, had been harpooned in the back and
buried alive under a heap of stones. These com
ers brought the much-desired dogs, and they were
followed by other old friends from Northumber
land Island with additional dog-teams. These
natives were treated with consideration they were
made content with abundant food and flattered
with presents, all of which told favorably upon the
success of the enterprise of the generous donors.
In the middle of March the northward excur
sions commenced. The first consisted of a party
of three, Dr. Hayes and Kalutunah driving a team
of six dogs, and Jensen with a sledge of nine. It
was to be a trial trip, and the experiment began
rather roughly. A few miles only had been made
when Jensen, whose team was ahead, broke through
The Crowning Sledge Journey. 271
the ice, and dogs and man went floundering to
gether into a cold bath. The other team, fortu
nately, was just at hand, so they were drawn out,
and all returned to the vessel for a fresh and warm
start. The next trial they were gone four days,
and traversed the Greenland shore to Cape Ag-
assiz and to the commencement of the Great
Glacier. The cold at one time was sixty-eight and
a half degrees below zero. Yet the sun's rays
through even such an atmosphere blistered the
skin ! The grains of snow became like gravel, and
the sledge runners grated over it as if running on the
summer sand of our own sea-shore. Kalutunah had
an ingenious remedy for this. He dissolved snow
in his mouth, and pouring the water into his hand
coated the runners with it. It instantly freezing,
made something like a glass plating for them.
Kalutunah was greatly puzzled in attempting to
understand why this journey was made. But his
perplexity took the form of disgust when the fresh
tracks were seen of a bear and cub, and the white
chief forbade the chase. He argued in the inter
est of Dr. Hayes, who might thereby have a new
fur coat, pointed to the hungry dogs, and finally
pleaded for his own family, who were longing for
bear meat. But all in vain. The circumstances had
changed since, in the same spot nearly, he had
urged the dogs after a bear in spite of Dr. Kane,
and thus defeated the purpose of his long trip.
On their return they turned into Van Rensselaer
Harbor, the place made so famous by Dr. Kane's
expedition. Every thing there was changed. In-
2/2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
stead of smooth ice, over which Dr. Kane's party
came and went so often, there were hummocks
piled up every-where in the wildest confusion.
Where the " Advance " was left when her men took
a last look at her was an ice-pile towering as high
as were her mast-heads. Old localities were un-
discernible from the snow and icy aggressions.
A small piece of a deck-plank picked up near
Butler Island was all that could be found of the
" Advance." The Esquimo told nearly as many
diverse stories of her history after the white men
left her as there were persons to testify, and some
individuals, apparently to increase the chance of
saying some item of truth, told many different
stories. According to these witnesses she drifted
out to sea and sunk, (the most probable statement,)
she was knocked to pieces so far as possible and
carried off by the Esquimo, and she was accident
ally set on fire and burned. The graves of Baker
and Pierre remained undisturbed, but the beacon
built over them was broken down and scattered.
The result of this experimental trip was the de
cision of the commander not to attempt to reach
the Open Polar Sea by the Greenland shore, but
to cross Smith Sound at Cairn Point, a few miles
north of the schooner. To this point provisions
were immediately carried on the sledges for the
summer journey beyond.
On the third of April the grand effort to reach
the North Pole commenced. The party consisted
of twelve persons, who were early at their assigned
positions alongside of the schooner. Jensen was
The Crowning' Sledge Journey. 273
at the head of the line of march, on the sledge
" Hope," to which were harnessed eight dogs;
Knorr came next, " the whip " of the " Persever
ance," with six dogs. Then came a metallic life
boat with which the Polar Sea was to be navigated,
mounted on a sledge and drawn by men each with
shoulder strap and trace. Flags fluttered from
boat and sledges, all was enthusiasm, and at the
word "march " the dogs dashed away, the men
bent bravely to their earnest work, the "swivel"
on deck thundered its good-bye, and the party were
soon far away.
The very first day's exposure nearly proved
fatal to several of the party. One settled himself
down in the snow muttering, "I'm freezing," and
would have proved in a half hour his declaration
had not two more hardy men taken him in charge.
The spirits of the men ran low, and they were
two hours in building a snow-hut in which to hide
from the pitiless wind. A rest at Cairn Point and
increased experience gave them more energy, and
the next snow-hut was made in less than one hour.
They proved the snow-shovel a fine heat generator.
On the fifth night out they were overtaken by a
storm, and were detained two days in their hut.
This was a pit in the snow eighteen feet long, eight
wide, and four deep. Across its top were placed
the boat-oars ; across these the sledge was laid ;
over the sledge was thrown the boat's sails ; and
over the sails snow was shoveled. They crawled
into this hut through a hole which they filled up
after them with a block of snow. Over the floor
274 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
' a leveled snow floor they spread an India-rub
ber cloth ; on this was laid a carpet of buffalo-
skins, and over this another of equal size. Be
tween these they crept to sleep, the outside man
of the row having no little difficulty in preventing
his companions from "pulling the clothes off."
The wind without blew its mightiest blow, and
piled the snow up over the poor dogs, which were
huddled together for mutual warmth, and were
kept restless in poking their noses above the drift.
The cooks were obliged to call to their help the
commander in order to keep the lamp from being
puffed out, and two hours were consumed in get
ting a steaming pot of coffee. But after a while
the bread and coffee, and dried meat and potato
hash, were abundantly and regularly served, and
the men contrived to pass in talk and song and
sleep the hours of the really dreary imprisonment.
Before the storm had fully subsided, the party
went on the back track to bring up to this point a
part of the provisions they had been obliged to
deposit. This done, they put their faces to the
opposite, or American side of the sound. But the
difficulties were truly fearful. The ice, like great
bowlders, was scattered over the entire surface,
now piled in ridges ten, twenty, and even a hun
dred feet high, and then scattered over a level
area with only a narrow and ever-twisting way
between them. Over these ridges the sledges
had to be lifted, the load often taken off and car
ried up in small parcels, and the sledges and boat
drawn up and let down again. Frequently in the
The Crowning Sledge Journey. 2/5
midst of this toil a man would fall into a chasm
up to his waist ; another would go out of sight in
one. These terrible traps were so covered with a
crust of snow that they could not be discerned.
The boat was, of course, capsized often, and much
battered. When a ridge had been scaled, and the
party had picked their way for a time through the
winding path among the ice-bowlders, they would
come to a sudden impassable barrier, and be
obliged to retrace their steps. A whole day of
gigantic exertion, and of many miles of zigzag
travel, would sometimes advance them only a rifle
shot in a straight line.
Of course it was simply impossible to carry the
boat, and it was abandoned. They were yet only
about thirty miles from Cairn Point, but had trav
eled perhaps five times that distance.
For several days after this the heroic explorers
struggled on. A fresh snow with a half-frozen
crust was added to their other obstacles. Hum
mocks and ridges and pitfalls grew worse and
worse. The sledges broke, the limbs of the men
were bruised and sprained, their strength exhausted,
and at last their spirits failed. They had toiled
twenty-five days, advanced half way across the
sound, and brought along about eight hundred
pounds of food.
On the twenty-eighth of April the main party
were sent homeward. Dr. Hayes, Knorr, M 'Don
ald, and Jensen, pushed on toward the American
shore. Their way was, as one of the party re
marked, like a trip through New York over the
276 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
tops of the houses. They progressed a mile and a
half, and traveled at least twelve, carrying their pro
visions over the ground by repeating the journey
many times. Such was the daily experience, va
ried by many exciting incidents. Jensen sprained
a leg which had been once broken ; the dogs were
savage as the wildest wolves with hunger, though
having a fair amount of food ; once Knorr in feed
ing them stumbled and fell into the midst of the
pack, and would have doubtless been devoured as
a generous morsel of food tossed to them, had not
M 'Donald pounced upon them at the moment with
lusty blows from a whip-stock. All four of the
explorers held out bravely in this fearful strain on
mind and body, even young Knorr never shrink
ing from the hardest work, nor the longest con
On the eleventh of May the party encamped
under the shadow of Cape Hawkes, on Grinnell
Land, off the American coast. The distance from
Cairn Point, in a straight line northwest, was eighty
miles. They had been traveling thirty-one days,
and made a twisting and clambering route of five
The travel up the coast had the usual variety
of dangers, hair-breadth escapes, and exhausting
toil. A little flag-staff, planted by Dr. Hayes dur
ing the Kane expedition, was found bravely look
ing out upon the drear field it was set to designate,
but the flag it bore had been blown away. Re
mains of Esquimo settlements long deserted were
found. A raven coaked a welcome to the strangers,
The Crowning Sledge Journey. 277
or it may be a warning, and followed them sev
On the fourth day up the coast Jensen, the
hardiest of the vessel's company, utterly failed.
He had strained his back as well as leg, and
groaned with pain. What could be done ? The
party could not proceed with a sick man, nor
would they for a moment think of leaving him
alone. So the following course was adopted by
the commander: M'Donald was left in the snow-
hut with Jensen, with five days' food and five dogs,
with orders to remain five days, and then, if Hayes
and Knorr, who were to continue on, had not re
turned, to make his best way with Jensen back
to the vessel.
The journey of Dr. Hayes and Knorr was con
tinued two full days. On the morning of the third
day they had proceeded but a few miles when they
came to a stand. They had on their left the ab
rupt, rocky, ice-covered clifts of the shore ; on
their right were high ridges of ice, through which
the waters of an open sea broke here and there
into bays and inlets which washed the shore.
Farther progress north by land or ice was impos
sible. They climbed a cliff which towered eight
hundred feet above the sea, whose dark waters
were lost in the distance toward the north-east.
North, standing against the sky, was a noble head
land, the most northern known land, and only
about four hundred and fifty miles from the North
Pole. The spot on which our explorers stood was
about one degree farther north than that occupied
278 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.,
by Morton, of Kane's Expedition, yet on the shore
of the same open water. Now, if they only had
the boat they were obliged to leave among the
hummocks in Smith Sound, with the provisions
and men they had hoped to bring to this point, how
soon would they solve the mystery locked up from
the beginning, and in the keeping of his Frosty
Majesty of the Pole itself! But, alas! there were
neither boat nor provisions, and the movement of
the treacherous floes warned the daring strangers
that the bridge of ice over which they had come
to this side might soon be torn away, and make a
return impossible. They built a monument of
stones, raised on it a flag of triumph, deposited
beneath it a record of their visit placed in a bottle,
and turned their faces homeward.
Last Incidents of the Expedition. 279
LAST INCIDENTS OF THE EXPEDITION.
DR. HAYES and Knorr were buffeted by a
fierce storm soon after starting. They were
over fifty miles from M 'Donald and Jensen, only
ten of which were traversed before they were
obliged to encamp. But. the storm howled, and
tossed the snow-clouds about them, making it im
possible to build a snow hut. After a brief halt,
and feeding the dogs with the last morsel of food
which remained, they pushed on. The snow was
deep, often nearly burying the dogs as they plunged
along ; the hummocks and rocks over which they
climbed lay across their path, and the wind blew
with unabated fury ; yet they halted not until the
remaining forty or more miles were accomplished,
and they tumbled into the hut of their compan
ions. The dogs rolled themselves together on the
snow the moment they were left, utterly ex
hausted. The weary men slept a long, sound
sleep. When they awoke a steaming pot of coffee
and an abundant breakfast awaited them. They
had fasted thirty-four hours, and traveled in the
last twenty-two over forty miles, which the hum-
* mocks and deep snow made equal to double that
distance of smooth sledging. The last few miles
were made in a state of partial bewilderment, so
280 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
their final safety was another of their many marked
deliverances. The remaining run to the vessel
had its daily perils and escapes. As they were
approaching the American shore they stepped
across a crack on the ice. They had traveled but a
short distance when they perceived that there was
an impassable channel between them and the land
ice. They ran back to recross the crack, and
that had become twenty yards wide. They were,
in fact, on an ice-raft, and were sweeping help
lessly out to sea! They had hardly collected
their thoughts after this terrifying surprise before
one of the shore corners of their raft struck a
small grounded iceberg, and on this, as on a pivot,
the outer edge swung toward the shore, struck its
margin, allowed them to scamper off, and then
immediately swung again into the open water, and
shot out to sea.
The poor dogs, being insufficiently fed, and
necessarily overworked, now began to fail. Jen
sen's lameness compelling him to ride, increased
their burden. One died just before the party left
the hummocks, and two soon after. A fourth hav
ing failed, the commander, thinking to shorten his
misery, shot him. The ball only wounding him,
he set up a terrible cry, at which his companions
flew at him, tore him in pieces, and, almost before
his last howl had died away in the dreary waste,
they had eaten the flesh from his bones.
They arrived at the schooner safely after two
months' absence, during which they had traveled
thirteen hundred miles.
. Last Incidents of the Expedition. 281
The commander was cheered to learn that the
party who returned under M'Cormick had reached
Port Foulke in safety. The whole ship's com
pany were in good health. The vessel was imme
diately thoroughly examined and put in sailing
order. As the summer came on, the birds, the
green mosses, hardy little flowers, several species
of moths and spiders, and even a yellow winged
butterfly, appeared to greet its coming. The open
water was daily coining nearer the schooner.
While awaiting the loosening of its icy fetters, a
boat's crew had an exciting walrus hunt. Dr.
Hayes had been on a hill-top which overlooked
the bay, when the hoarse bellowing of distant wal
rus saluted his ears. Drifting ice-rafts were com
ing down the sound, on which great numbers of
these monsters could be seen. He hurried to the
vessel, and called for volunteers. Soon a whale-
boat was manned, and the men, armed with three
rifles and a harpoon and line, dragged it to the
open water, launched it, and rowed into the midst
of the drift-ice. The first cake of ice which
they approached contained a freight of twenty-
four walruses, pretty well covering it. The lubber
ly, ugly looking sea-hogs appeared as content as
their very distant relatives of our sties, while they
huddled together and twisted for the sunniest spot,
and bellowed in one another's ears. Our hunters
were all eager for the fight as they approached
with muffled oars, but on coming near to the floe,
it was apparent that the hunt was not to be all
fun, nor the fighting on one side only. The hides
282 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
of the monsters looked like an iron plating, and
were, in fact, an inch thick, smooth, hairless, and
tough, suggesting a good defensive ability ; while
their great tusks, projecting from a jaw of elephan
tine strength, hinted unpleasantly to the invaders
that their antagonists were prepared for assault as
well as defense. Very likely if one could have
seen at that moment the countenances of our
boat's crew, they would have shown more of a
wish to be in the vessel's cabin than they would
have cared to confess with their lips. But there
was no flinching. There were two male walruses
in the herd huge, fierce-looking fellows, which
roused up a moment to scan the strangers, and
then, giving each other a punch in the face with
their tusks, stretched out again upon the ice to
In this walrus party there were, besides the two
fathers, mothers with children of various ages,
from the " little ones " of four hundred pounds,
to the "young folks." Of course they were a lov
ing, happy group. The boat came within a few
times its length of the ice-raft. Miller, an old
whaleman, was in the bow of the boat with a har
poon. Hayes, Knorr, and Jensen stood in the
stern with their rifles leveled each at his selected
victim, while the oarsmen bent forward to their oars.
At the word the rifles cracked, and the oarsmen at
the same moment shot the boat into the midst of
the startled walrus. Jensen hit one of the males
in the neck, not probably doing him much harm ;
Hayes's ball struck the other bull in the head, at
Last Incidents of the Expedition. 283
which he roared lustily. Knorr killed a baby wal
rus dead, but he disappeared from the raft with
the rest, probably pushed off by his mamma.
When the old fellow which was wounded by the
commander rolled into the water, Miller planted
his harpoon in him with unerring skill, and the
line attached spun out over the gunwale with
fearful velocity. There were a few moments of
suspense, and then up came the herd, a few yards
from the boat, the wounded bull with the har
poon among them. They uttered one wild, united
shriek, and answering shrieks from thousands of
startled walruses, on the walrus laden ice-rafts for
miles around, filled the air. It was an agonized
cry for help, and the answering cry was, " we
come ! " There was a simultaneous splash from
the ice-rafts, and the hosts, as if by the bugle call,
came rushing on, heads erect, and uttering the
defiant " huk, huk, huk ! " They came directly at
the boat, surrounding it, and blackening the waters
with their numbers. The wounded bull, attached
still to Miller's line, led the attack. The hunters
had aroused foemen worthy of their steel, and
they must now fight or die. It seemed to be the
purpose of the walruses to get their tusks over the
side of the boat, and so easily tear it to pieces or
sink it, and then, having its audacious crew in the
water, make short work of them. As they came on,
Miller, in the bow, pricked them in the face with
his lance, the rowers pushed them back with their
oars, while Hayes, Jensen, and Knorr sent, as fast
as they could load and fire, rifle-balls crashing
284 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
through their heads. At one time a huge leader
had come within a few feet of the boat. Hayes
and Jensen had just fired, and were loading, but
Knorr was just in time to salute him with a ball.
The men were becoming weary, while the walrus
assaulting column was constantly supplied with
fresh troops. The situation was now critical,
when, as if to crush his enemy and end the con
flict in victory on his side, a walrus Goliath, with
tusks three feet long, led on a solid column of un
dismayed warriors. Two guns had just been fired,
as before. His terrible weapons were fearfully
near the gunwale, when Knorr's gun came to the
rescue ; its muzzle was so near his open mouth
that the ball killed him instantly, and he sunk like
lead. This sent consternation through the walrus
ranks. They all dov.e at once, and when they
came up they were a considerable distance off,
their tails to their foes, and retreating with a wild
shriek. The battle was ended, and the saucy ex
plorers were victors. The sea in places was red
with blood. The harpooned bull and one other
were carried as trophies to the vessel.
On the twelfth of July the schooner floated,
after an ice imprisonment of ten months. The
Esquimo seeing that the white friends were about
to leave them, gathered on the shore in sorrowful
interest. They had been the receivers of gifts
great in their estimation, and they had rendered
the strangers no small favors, especially in the use
of their dogs, without which no excursions of im
portance could have been made. Kalutunah actu-
Last Incidents of the Expedition. 285
ally wept on parting with Dr. Hayes. He had
enjoyed under his patronage the Esquimo para
dise "plenty to eat, plenty sleep, no work, no
hunt." He spoke feelingly of the fading away of
his people. " Come back," he said, " and save us ;
come soon or we shall be all gone."
He had reason to express these fears concerning
his people. Since Dr. Kane left thirty-four had
died, and there had been in the same time only
nineteen births. There seemed to be in all the
settlements, from Cape York to Etah> only a
The explorers bid adieu to Port Foulke on the
fourteenth, and sailed away to the west side of Smith
Sound, and reached a point about ten miles south
of Cape Isabella. The hope was entertained by
the commander that he might work his way with
the vessel north through the now loosening ice
over which he had just been traveling with sledges,
get through even Kennedy Channel, to the open
sea on the shore of which he had so lately stood,
and then sail away to the North Pole. What a
stimulating thought ! But he found the schooner
ice-battered, and, weakened by the " nips " she had
experienced, was unequal to the required fight
with the defiant pack which every-where filled
the sound. So the explorers turned homeward.
They arrived at Upernavik on the twelfth of Au
gust after many exciting incidents but no accident.
Here they learned the startling news of the com
mencement of the great Rebellion. During their
absence President Lincoln had been inaugurated,
286 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the black cloud of war had settled heavily over the
whole country, and the bloody battle of Bull Run
had been fought. They were now to return home
and transfer their interest in fighting ice-packs,
bergs, and Polar bears, to the conflicts of civil
Something New. 287
WHILE the civilized world were awaiting
with deep interest the results of the search
for Sir John Franklin, and while learned geogra
phers and practical navigators to the regions of
cold were devising new methods of search for him,
a young engraver was working out a problem in
reference to this great enterprise peculiarly his
own. Without special educational advantages,
without the resources of wealth or influential
friends, but with the inspiration of one feeling, " a
divine call " to the undertaking, he matured his
plans and began to publish them abroad. He
seems to have at once imparted his own enthusi
asm to others. The mayor of his own city, Cin
cinnati, the governor and senator of his own State,
Ohio, the latter the eminent Salmon P. Chase, late
Chief-Justice of the United States, became his
patrons. Coming east, many of the great and
wise men of our large cities gave him an attentive
hearing, and not a few encouraged his project.
The princely merchant, Henry Grinnell, who had
already done so much in the Franklin search, took
him at once into kindly sympathy.
From New York he went to New London. From
the old whalemen, at least from individuals of
288 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
them of marked character and large experience
in Arctic navigation, he obtained encouraging
His.^plan of search which thus so readily corn-
mendeo itself was this : He would go into the re
gion where it was now known that Franklin and
some of his men had died ; he would live with the
Esquimo, learn their language, adopt their habits
of life, and thus learn all that they knew of the
history of the ill-fated expedition. He assumed
that many of its men might yet be alive, and if
they were, the natives would know it, know where
they were, and could guide him to them.
To prepare himself for this work he became
conversant with Arctic literature, learning all that
the books on the subject taught ; he applied him
self closely to the study of the practical science
bearing on his enterprise, learning the use of its
instruments. He sought interviews and corre
spondence with returned explorers and whalemen.
In fact, his heart was in the work with a down
The marked features of his plan seemed to be
two it was inexpensive and new. As to the man
ning of his expedition, he proposed to go alone ; as
to vessels, he asked none. He only asked to be con
veyed to the proposed Esquimo country, and to
be left with its natives. We might name a third
attractive feature of this plan, one which always
inspires interest it was bold, bordering on the
We need hardly say to our readers that the
Something New. 289
name of this new candidate for Arctic perils and
honors was Charles Francis Hall a name now
greatly honored and lamented.*
Mr. Hall was born in Rochester, New Hamp
shire, in 1821, where he worked a while at the
blacksmith's trade, but left both the trade and his
native place in early life for the Queen City of the
West. The result of Mr. Hall's enthusiastic ap
peals was an offer by the firm of Williams & Ha
ven, whale-ship owners of New London, to convey
him and his outfit in their bark " George Henry "
to his point of operations, and if ever desired, to
give him the same free passage home in any of
their ships. The " George Henry " was going, of
course, after whales, and proposed thus to convey
him as an obliging incident of the trip.
This proposal was made in the early spring of
1860. On the twenty-ninth of May he sailed.
His outfit was simple, and had the appearance of
a private, romantic excursion. It consisted of a
good sized, staunch whaleboat built for his special
use, a sledge, a few scientific instruments, a rifle,
six double-barreled shot-guns, a Colt's revolver,
and the ammunition supposed to be necessary for
a long separation from the source of supply. A
start was given him in a small store of provisions ;
beyond that he was to supply himself. A tolerable
supply of trinkets were added as a basis of trade
with the natives. What funds this miniature ex
ploring expedition required was given largely by
* Sec Frontispiece.
2QO NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The " George Henry " was accompanied by
a tender, a small schooner named the " Rescue,"
having already an Arctic fame. The officers and
crew of both vessels numbered twenty-nine, under
command of Captain S. O. Buddington.
We have spoken of Mr. Hall as the only man
of his exhibition ; he had after all one companion.
The previous year Captain Buddington had brought
home an Esquimo by the name of Kudlago, who
was now returning to his fatherland and to his
wife and children. Upon him Mr. Hall largely
depended as an interpreter, a friend, and guide, in
The run of the " George Henry " to the Green
land coast was made with but one marked inci
dent. That was to Mr. Hall a very sad one,
giving him the fir?t emphatic lesson in the uncer
tainty of his most carefully devised schemes. It
was the death and burial at sea of Kudlago. He
had left New London in good health, taken
cold in the fogs of Newfoundland, and declined
rapidly. He prayed fervently to be permitted to
see his wife and children only that, and he would
die content. He inquired daily while confined to
his berth if any ice was in sight. His last words
were, " Teiko seko? teiko scko? " Do you see ice ?
do you see ice ? The Greenland shore was just
in sight when he departed, and his home and
family were three hundred miles away.
The " George Henry " and her tender, the " Res
cue," sailed north, along the Greenland coast, as
far as Holsteinberg, where. Mr. Hall purchased six
Something New. 291
Esquimo dogs. The vessel then stood southwest
across Davis Strait and made, August eighth, a
snug harbor, which Mr. Hall called Grinnell Bay,
a little north of what is known as Frobisher Strait.
Here Mr. Hall was to land and commence his Es
quimo life, alone and far away from a Christian
home, while the vessel went about its business
capturing whales. His feelings on the voyage are
indicated by the following extract from his diary :
" A good run with a fair breeze yesterday. Ap
proaching the north axis of the earth ! Aye, near-
ing the goal of my fondest wishes. Every thing
relating to the arctic zone is deeply interesting to
me. I love the snows, the ices, the icebergs, the
fauna and the flora of the North. I love the cir-.
cling sun, the long day, the arctic night, when the
soul can commune with God in silent and reverential
awe ! I am on a mission of love. I feel to be in
the performance of a duty I owe to mankind, my
self, and God! Thus feeling I am strong at heart,
full of faith, ready to do or die in the cause I have
espoused." How he felt when actually engaged in
his " mission of love," we shall see.
We musf not, however, think of Mr. Hall.in a re
gion comparable to that which included the winter-
quarters of Kane and Hayes in the expeditions we
have just described. They were at least twelve de
grees farther north, Mr. Hall being south of the
arctic circle, so that his winter nights were shorter
and milder. His present field of operation was on
a coast visited by the whale-ships, and whage they
at times wintered. Besides, natives had ^ren for
2Q2 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
many years in contact with white men, and were in
some respect more agreeable companions. He will
therefore, as we follow him, lead us into new scenes
of peculiar interest, and show us novel features in
the character of the Esquimo.
The whale-ship " Black Eagle," Captain Allen, lay
in Grinnell Bay on the arrival of our voyagers, and
the captain soon appeared on the deck of the
" George Henry," with several Esquimo. One of
these natives, named Ugarng, especially attracted
Mr. Hall's attention. He was intelligent, possess
ing strong lines of character, and a marked physical
development. He had spent a year on a visit to
the United States. Speaking of New York, he said
with a sailor's emphasis : " No good ! too much
horse ! too much house ! too much white peo
ple ! Women ? Ah ! women great many good ! "
Ugarng will become a familiar acquaintance.
Mr. Hall had giving special attention on the
voyage across Davis Strait to his dogs, and they
were now to become a chief dependence. He fed
them on capelin, or dried fish. One day he called
them all around him, each in his assigned place,
to receive in turn his fish. Now there was one
young, shrewd dog, Barbekark, who had not
heard, or had never cared to heed the proverb that
" honesty is the best policy." He said to himself,
" If I can get two of the fish while the other dogs
get but one, it will be a nice thing to do ; " so, tak
ing his place near the head of the row, he was
served with his capelin. Then, slipping out, he
crowded between the dogs farther down, and with
Something New. 293
a very innocent look awaited his turn. His master
thought this so sharp in young Barbekark that he
pretended not to see the trick, and dealed him a fish
as if he had received none. On going the round
again his master found him near the head of the ro\v
and then at the foot, so the rogue obtained Benja
min's portion. Seeing his success, he winked his
knowing eye as much as to say, "Ain't I the smartest
dog in the pack! " But Barbekark had entered on
a rough road with many turns, as all rogues do.
After going round several times, during which the
trick was a success, Mr. Hall skipped the trickster
altogether. It mattered not what place he crowded
into, there was no more fish for him. The upshot
was that he received many less than did his com
panions. Never did a dog look more ashamed.
From that time he kept his place when fish were
Mr. Hall, making the vessel his home, made fre
quent visits ashore, and received many Esquimo
visitors on board, and was thus becoming ac
quainted with the people. An early visitor was
Kokerjabin, wife of Kudlago, accompanied by her
son. She had learned in her tent that her anxious
ly awaited husband had been left in the deep sea.
She entered the cabin and looked at her husband's
white friends, and at the chest which contained
his personal goods, with deep emotion ; but when
Captain Buddington opened the chest, the tears
flowed freely ; and when she, in taking out things,
came to those Kudlago had obtained in the States
for herself and her little girl, she sat down, buried
294 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
her face in her hands, and wept with deep grief.
She soon after went ashore with her son to weep
Another very marked character was Paulooyer,
or, as the white men called him, Blind George.
He was now about forty years of age and had been
blind nearly ten years, from the effects of a severe
sickness. To this blindness was added domestic
sorrow. His wife Nikujar was very kind to him for
five years after his loss of sight, sharing their con
sequent poverty. But Ugarng, who had already
several wives, offered her a place in his tent as his
" household wife " the place of honor in Esqui-
mo esteem. The offer was tempting, for Ugarng
was "a mighty hunter," and rich at all times in
blubber, in furs and skin tents and snow huts.
So she left poor George, taking with her their little
daughter, called Kookooyer. This child became a
pet with Ugarng, as she was with her blind father.
A Fearful Storm. 295
A FEARFUL STORM.
WHILE the " George Henry " lay at Grinnell
Bay, Mr. Hall talked much with the mas
ters of the whale-ships and with the most intelli
gent of the natives concerning his proposed jour
ney to King William's Land. This was a far-away
region, where the remains of the Franklin expedi
tion had been found. He proposed to secure the
company of one or more Esquimo and make an
attempt to reach it with a dog-sledge, and to take
up his abode with its natives in search of informa
tion of the lost ones. But both his white and Es
quimo advisers agreed that it was too late in the
season to begin such a journey. Mr. Hall would
then take the whale-boat built for him, man it with
natives, and make the attempt by water. But this
was deemed impracticable until spring. So he de
cided to make his home on board the vessel so
long as she remained on the coast, and pursue his
study of the Esquimo language and his survey of
the region of country, with this home as a base of
On his return from one of his inland excursion's
with Kudlago's son, whom the whites called cap
tain, he saw his widow, apart from all the people,
weeping for her great bereavement. Her son ran
296 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
to her and tried to comfort her, but she would not
be comforted. When Mr. Hall approached she
pointed to the spot where their tent was pitched
when Kudlago left for the United States. She
also showed him the bones of a whale which he
had assisted in capturing.
Soon after this the widow visited the vessel
with her daughter, Kimmiloo, who had been the
idol of her father. She looked sad on the mention
of her father's name, but, child-like, her eyes
gleamed with joy on seeing the fine things his
chest contained for her. Captain B.'s wife had
sent her a pretty red dress, necktie, mittens, belt,
and other like valuables of little white girls. But
Mr. Hall suggested that Kimmiloo's introduction
to the dress of civilization should be preceded by
soap and water. The process of arriving at the
little girl through layers of dirt was very slow.
When this was done, her kind friend Hall took a
very coarse comb, and commenced combing her
hair. This had never been done before, and of
course the comb " pulled " in spite of the care of
the operator, but Kimmiloo bore it bravely. Her
locks were filled with moss, greasy bits of seal,
and disgusting reindeer hairs, besides other things
both active and numerous. A full hour was spent
on the hair, but when the comb went through it
easily, then the little girl run her fingers into it
and braided quickly a tag on each side of her
head ; she then drew these through brass rings
whicli Mr. Hall had given her. Her Esquimo fur
trowsers and coat were thrown off, and the now
A Fearful Storm. 297
clean and really beautiful girl put on the red
dress. Her happiness would have been complete
had her father been there to share her joy.
Mr.' Hall's kindly nature led him to study the
natives in these incidents, and to record them in
his journals. Ugarng was one time in the cabin
when Mr. Hall had put a few small balls of mer
cury on a sheet of white paper. It was a new
article to the Esquimo, and he tried to pick it up
with his thumb and ringer, but it escaped his
grasp. His efforts would scatter it over the sheet
in small globules, and then as he lifted the cor
ners of the paper it would run together, and
Ugarng would commence catching it with new
vigor. He continued his efforts for a full half hour.
Amused at first, but finally losing his temper, he
gave it up, exclaiming petulantly that there was an
evil spirit in it.
Blind George became a constant visitor. At
one time Mr. Hall gave him a much worn coat,
showing one of the several holes in it. George
immediately took a needle, and, bringing his
tongue to the aid of his hands, threaded it, and
mended all of the rents very neatly. At another
time Mr. Hall put into George's hand a piece of
steel with a magnet attached. The way the steel
flew from his hand to the magnet amazed him.
At first he seemed to think it was not really so ;
but when he clearly felt the steel leap from his
fingers, he threw both steel and magnet violently
upon the floor. But feeling he was not- hurt, and
that some little girls laughed at him, he tried it
298 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
again more deliberately, and was better satisfied.
Mr. Hall next gave him a paper of needles, desir
ing him to bring the magnet near them. He did
so, and when the needles flew from his hand by
the attraction he sprung to his feet as if an
electric current had touched him, and the needles
were scattered in every direction over the floor.
He declared that' Mr. Hall was an " Angekok."
On the fourteenth of August another whaling
vessel belonging to the owners of the " George
Henry " arrived at Grinnell Bay. Her name was the
11 Georgiana," Captain Tyson ; so there were now
four vessels near each other the " Rescue " and
"Black Eagle," besides those just named. There
were social, merry tim^es. But Captain Budding-
ton, having built a hut here that some of his men
might remain to fish, took his vessels farther south,
for winter-quarters, into a bay separated from
Frobisher Bay on the south by only a narrow strip
of land. This Mr. Hall named Field Bay. Here,
snugly hid in an inlet of its upper waters, the ves
sels proposed to winter. The Esquimo were not
long in finding the new anchorage of the whites,
and in a few days a fleet of kayaks containing
seven families appeared. Among them was Kud-
lago's oldest daughter, now married to a native
the sailors called Johnny Bull. She had hot heard
of her father's death, and stepped on deck elated
at the thought of meeting him. "Where is my
father?" she inquired of Ugarng's wife. When
she was tenderly told the sad story of his death
she wept freely.
A Fearful Storm. 299
Mr. Hall was at once busy visiting the " tupics,"
summer tents made of skins, pitched by the na
tives near the shore. He also rowed to the islands
in various directions, generally accompanied by
one or more Esquimo. On one of these visits to
an island with a boy he had a narrow escape.
After several hours' ramble they returned to the
landing, where they had left their boat fastened to
a rock. The tide had risen and the boat was danc
ing on the waves out of reach. Here was a " fix ! "
They were far away from the vessel, the night,
cold and dark, was coming on, and they were
without shelter. But necessity sharpens one's
wits. After some delay and perplexity, Mr. Hall
hit upon this plan : He took the seal-skin strings
from his boots, and the strings by which various
scientific instruments were attached to his person,
tied them together, and thus made quite a long
and strong line. To this he tied a moderate sized
stone. Holding one end of the line in his hand,
he tossed the stone into the boat and gently drew
it to him, jumped into it, and was soon at the ves
sel. If Mr. Hall had not been a green boatman
he would not have fastened his boat below high-
water mark when the tide was coming in ! He
probably did not again.
One day the crew of the " Henry " captured a
whale in the bay, and the Esquimo joined with
others in towing the monster to the ship. In one
of the boats was an Esquimo woman with a babe ;
she laid her child in the bow of the boat and
pulled an oar with the strongest of the white men.
3OO NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
Before they reached the vessel the wind blew a
gale, the sea ran high, and at times the spray shot
into the air and came down in plentiful showers
into the boat. The mother cast anxious glances
at her child, and, as if it was for its life, rowed with
giant strength. At last the prize was safely moored
to, the "Henry," and the natives were rewarded
with generous strips of its black skin, which they
ate voraciously, raw and warm from the animal.
They carried portions of it to their tupics on shore
for future use. This skin is about three fourths
of an inch thick, and, in even Mr. Hall's estima
tion, is " good eating " when raw, " but better
soused in vinegar."
Soon after this, Captain Tyson brought the
" Georgiana " round into Field Bay, and the crews
of the two vessels were often together when a
whale made its appearance, a circumstance some
times the occasion of strife when he is captured.
One day Smith, an officer of the " Henry," fastened
a harpoon in a whale, and was devising means to
secure his prey. Captain Tyson, who was near in
his boat, killed the monster with his lances, and
without a word, left Smith to enjoy the pleasure of
taking it to his vessel. The generous act was ap
preciated on board the " Henry."
On the twenty-sixth of December a terrible
storm commenced, causing the boats which were
cruising for whales to scud home. The three ves
sels the " Henry," " Rescue," and " Georgiana "
were anchored near each other, and near an island
toward which the wind was blowing. It was about
A Fearful Storm. 301
noon when the storm began, and as the day de
clined the wind increased, bringing on its wings a
cloud of snow. When the night came on it was in
tensely dark, and the waves rose higher and higher
as, driven by the tempest, they rolled swiftly by and
dashed upon the rocky shore. The vessels la
bored heavily in the billows and strained at their
anchors, now dipping their bows deep in the water,
then rising upon the top of a crested wave, and
leaping again into the trough of the sea, as if im
patient of restraint and eager to rush upon the
rocks to their own destruction. The roar of the
sea and the howling of the winds through the
shrouds were appalling to all on board, while they
awaited with breathless interest the integrity of
the anchors, on which their lives depended.
As the night wore on the watch on deck, peer
ing through the darkness, saw the dim outlines of
the " Rescue " steadily and slowly moving toward
the shore. " She drags her anchors ! " were the
fearful words which passed in whispers through the
" George Henry." But all breathed easier to hear
the repoit from the watch soon after that she had
come to a pause nearly abreast of the " Henry."
About midnight the storm put forth all the fury
of its power, and the small anchor of the " Geor-
giana " gave way, and the others went plowing
along their ocean beds, and, as the vessel neared
the island, her destruction and the loss of all on
board seemed certain. The endangered craft
\vorried round a point of rocks, pounding against
them as she went, and reached smoother and safer
302 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
waters, where her anchors remained firm. The
ghostly-looking forms of her men were soon after
seen on the island, to which they had escaped !
In the mean time the men on the " Henry " were
in constant fear that their vessel would be dashed
Just as the morning was breaking the " Rescue "
broke away and went broadside upon the island.
With a crash the breakers hurled her against the
rocks, and seemed to bury her in their white foam.
She was at once a hopeless wreck, but her crew
still clung bravely to her. When the morning
light had fully come, at the first lull in the storm,
while yet the waves rolled with unabated fury, a
whaleboat was lowered into the sea from the stern
of the " Henry " with a strong line attached, and
mate Rogers and a seaman stepped into it. Cau
tiously and skillfully it was guided to the stern of
the "Rescue." Into it her men were taken, and
drawn safely to the " Henry." All were saved ! A
shout of joy mingled with the tumult of the ele
The " Henry " safely outrode the storm. The
" Georgiana " was not seriously injured, and her
men returned to her and sailed away for other
winter-quarters. The " Rescue " was a complete
wreck, and, what was a stunning blow to the en
terprise of Mr. Hall, his expedition boat, in which,
with an Esquimo crew, he had hoped to reach the
far-away land of his lone sojourn and search for
the Franklin men, was totally wrecked too ! What
now should he do ? That was to him the question
A Fearful Storm. 303
of questions. One thing he resolved not to do
he would not abandon his mission. Captain Bud-
dington thought at first that he might spare him
one of the ship's boats in which to reach King
William's Land ; but, on careful inquiry, he found
that the only one he could part with was rotten
and untrustworthy. So waiting and watching be
came his present duty.
304 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
MR. HALL had an eye for the beautiful in
nature. The aurora deeply impressed him,
inspiring feelings of awe and reverence. It will be
noticed that explorers in the low latitude of Fro-
bisher Bay are treated to displays of the aurora on
a scale of magnificence and beauty never seen
in the high latitudes of the' winter-quarters of
Dr. Kane and Hayes. Night after night through
the months of October, November, and December
Mr. Hall's sensitive nature was in raptures at
the wonderful sights. The heavens were aglow.
The forms of brightness, and colors of every hue,
changed with the rapidity of fleecy clouds driven be
fore the wind. Before the mind had comprehended
the grandeur of one scene, it had changed into an
other of seeming greater beauty of form, color, and
brightness. Thousands of such changes occurred
while he gazed. No wonder he exclaims : " Who
but God could conceive such infinite scenes of
glory ! Who but God execute them, painting the
heavens in such gorgeous display ! "
Again he exclaims : " It seemeth to me as if
the very doors of heaven have opened to-night, so
mighty and beauteous and marvelous were the waves
of golden light which swept across the azure
The Aurora. 305
deep, breaking forth anon into floods of wondrous
glory. God made his wonderful works to be re
Mr. Hall had been on deck several times, wit
nessing the enrapturing display, and had returned
into the cabin to go to bed, when the captain
shouted down the companion-way : " Come above,
Hall, at once ! The world is on fire ! " Mr. Hall
hastened on deck. He says : " There was no sun,
no moon, yet the heavens were flooded with light.
Even ordinary print could be read on deck. Yes,
flooded with rivers of light ! and such light ! light
all but inconceivable ! The golden hues predom
inated ; but in ra'pid succession prismatic colors
" We looked, we saw, and we trembled ; for even
as we gazed the whole belt of aurora began to be
alive with flashes. Then each pile or bank of
light became myriads ; some now dropping down
the great pathway or belt, others springing up,
others leaping with lightning flash from one side,
while more as quickly passed into the vacated
space ; some, twisting themselves into folds, en
twining with others like enormous serpents, and
all these movements as quick as the eye could fol
low. It seemed as though there was a struggle
with these heavenly lights to reach and occupy
the dome above our heads. Then the whole arch
above became crowded. Down, down it came !
nearer and nearer it approached us ! Sheets of
golden flames, coruscating while leaping from the
auroral belt, seemed as if met in their course by
306 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
some mighty agency that turned them into the col
ors of the rainbow.
" While the auroral fires seemed to be descend
ing upon us, one of our number exclaimed,
' Hark ! hark ! ' Such a display, as if a warfare
were going on among the beauteous lights, seemed
impossible without noise. But all was silent."
After the watchers, amazed at what they saw,
retired to the cabin, they very naturally com
menced a lively conversation on what they had wit
nessed. Captain Buddington declared that, though
he had spent most of his time for eleven years in
the northern regions, he had never witnessed so
grand and beautiful a scene. And he added in an
earnest tone " To tell you the truth, friend Hall,
I do not care to see the like again ! "
In November Mr. Hall became acquainted with
two remarkable Esquimo whom we shall often
meet. Their names were Ebierbing and his wife
Tookoolito, but were known among the white
people as Joe and Hannah. They had been taken
to England in 1853, and lionized there for two
years. They had visited the great and good of
that land at their homes, and had aptly learned
many of the refinements of civilization. Queen
Victoria had honored them with an audience, and
they had dined with Prince Albert. Joe declared
that the queen was " pretty yes, quite pretty ; " and
the prince was "good very good." They made
their visit on shipboard in a full-blown English
dress, but when Mr. Hall returned their visit in
their tuple on shore they were in the Esquimo cos-
The Aurora. 307
tume. Yet Tookoolito busied herself with her
knitting during his call. She said, as they con
versed : " I feel very sorry to say that many of
the whaling people are bad, making the Innuits bad
too ; they swear very much, and make our people
swear. I wish they would not do so. Americans
swear a great deal more and worse than the En
glish. I wish no one would swear. It is a very
bad practice I believe."
Tookoolito's spirit and example had done much
to improve her people, especially the women ;
these, many of them, had adopted her habit of
dressing her hair, and of cleanliness of person and
abode. In her and her husband, whom we shall
meet often, we shall see the Esquimo as modified
by a partial Christian civilization.
Mr. Hall made frequent visits to the Esquimo
village on shore, mingling with the people, con
forming to their habits, and studying their char
acter. Their summer, skin-covered huts tupics
had now given way to the igloos, the snow-house,
essentially like those we have before seen. We
will accompany Mr. Hall in a visit made in Octo
ber. He found on creeping into a hut a friend
whom he knew as a pilot and boatman ; his name
was Koojesse. He was sitting in the midst of a
group of women drinking with a gusto hot seal
blood. Our white visitor joined them, and pro
nounced the dish excellent. On going out he
was met by blind George. " Mitter Hall ! Mitter
Hall ! " shouted the blind man on hearing Mr.
Hall's voice. There was a pensive earnestness in
308 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
the call which arrested his attention. " Ugarng
come to-day!" continued George. "He come
to-day. My little Kookooyer way go ! She here
now. Speak-um, Ugarng ! My little pickaninny
way go ! Speak-um."
The facts were these : Ugarng, who, as we have
stated, had married George's wife, and taken with
the mother his little daughter, was at the village
attended by the latter. George, who was very
fond of the child, desired her company for a while.
Mr. Hall did of course " speak-um." Ugarng and
the darling Kookooyer were soon seen in happy in
timacy with her father.
Mr. Hall's attention was attracted by an excited
crowd, who were listening to the harangue of a
young man. He was evidently master of the sit
uation, for at one moment his audience clenched
their fists and raved like madmen, and then, un
der another touch of his power, they were calm
and thoughtful, or melted to tears. He was an
Angekok, and was going through a series of ankoot-
ings, or incantations. His bowlings and gesticu
lations were not unlike those of the heathen priests
of the East, and of the medicine men of our In
dians. On seeing Mr. Hall the Angekok left his
snow-platform, from which he had been speaking,
and ran to him with the blandest smiles and hon
ied words. He put his arm in his and invited
him into his tent, or place of worship, as it might
be called ; others ran ahead, and it was well filled
with worshipers. Koojesse, who was passing at
the time with water for the ship, on a wave of the
The Aurora. 309
Angekok's hand set his pail down and followed.
All faithful Esquimo in this region obey the Ange-
kok. If he sees one smoking, and signifies that
he wishes the pipe, the smoker deposits it in the
When in the tent the Angekok placed Koojesse
on one side, and Mr. Hall facing him on the other
side. Now commenced the service. The Ange
kok began a rapid clapping of his hands, lifting
them at times above his head, then passing them
round in every direction, and thrusting them into
the faces of the people, muttering the while wild,
incoherent expressions. The clapping of his
hands was intermitted by a violent clapping of the
chest on which he sat, first on the top, then on the
sides and end. At times he would cease, and sit
statue-like for some moments, during which the
silence of death pervaded the audience. Then
the clapping and gesticulations broke forth with
increased violence. Now arid then he paused, and
stared into the farthest recess of the tent with the
fiery eyes and the hideous countenance of a de
mon. At the right time, to heighten the effect, the
wizard, by a quick sign or sharp word, ordered
Koojesse to fix his eyes on this point of the tent,
then on that, intimating in mysterious undertones
that in such places Kudlago's spirit shook the skin,
covering ! Koojesse, though one of the most mus
cular and intelligent of the natives, obeyed with
trembling promptness, while the profuse swe?t
stood in drops upon his nose, (Esquimo perspire
freely only on the nose,) and his countenance
3io NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
beamed with intense excitement. The climax
was at hand. The Angekok's words began to be
plain enough for Mr. Hall's ears. Kudlago's spirit
was troubled. Would the white man please give
it rest ? One of his double-barreled guns would
do it ! White man ! white man ! give Kudlago's
spirit rest ! Give the double-barreled gun !
The cunning wizard ! But Mr. Hall, who, though
brimful of laugh, had been a sober-looking listener,
was not to be caught with this chaff, except in his
own interest. He whispers to Koojesse, " Would
the Angekok be a good man to go with me in the
spring to King William's Land? "
"Yes," was the reply.
Then Mr. Hall turned to the Angekok and said
aloud, " If you go with me next spring on my ex
plorations you shall have one of my best guns."
Thinking the gift was to be given immediately,
his crafty reverence shouted, thanked Mr. Hall,
threw his arms about his neck, and danced with
an air of triumph about the tent, seeming to say
as he looked upon his amazed followers, " I have
charmed a kablunah " white man.
Mr. Hall tried to set him right about the terms
of the gift that it was to be when he had served
him in the spring. But he would understand it as
he would have it. His joy found a fullness of ex
pression when, pointing to his two wives, he said
to Mr. Hall, "One shall be yours; take your
choice." He was disgusted when the white man
told him that he had a wife, and that kabluna
wanted but one wife.
The Dying Esquimo. 311
THE DYING ESQUIMO.
/CHRISTMAS and New Year's (1861) were
\*^s not forgotten as holidays by the sojourners
in the regions of cold and ice. Mr. Hall gave
his friend Tookoolito a Bible as a memento of
December twenty-fifth. She was much pleased,
and at once spelled out on the title-page, Holy
Mr. Hall having heard that an Esquimo named
Nukerton was seriously sick, invited Tookoolito
to visit her with him. Sitting down with the sick
one, with Tookoolito as an interpreter, Mr. Hall
spoke to her of Jesus and the resurrection, while
many of her friends stood listening with intense
interest. Tookoolito bent over her sick friend
weeping, and continued the talk about God, Christ,
and heaven, after Mr. Hall had ceased.
Mr. Hall visited the sick one daily, administer
ing to her bodily and spiritual wants. Going to
see her on the fourth of January, he found that
a new snow-hut had been built for the dying one,
and her female friends had carried her into it,
opening, to pass her in, a hole on the back side.
It was at once her dying chamber and her tomb.
For this purpose it was built in conformity to the
Esquimo usage. He found Nukerton in her new
312 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
quarters of stainless snow, on a bed of snow cov
ered with skins, happy at the change though she
knew that she had been brought there to die, and
to die alone, as was the custom of her people. Mr.
Hall proposed to carry her to die on board the
ship. But even Tookoolito objected to this. It
was better she should die alone ; such was the
custom of their fathers. Mr. Hall remained to
watch atone with the dying one, but, on his leav
ing her igloo to do an errand at a neighboring
tent, her friends sealed up its entrance. He threw
back the blocks of snow piled against it and crept
in. Nukerton was not dead ; she breathed feebly ;
the lamp burned dimly, and the cold was intense ;
the solemn stillness of the midnight hour had
come ; sound of footsteps were heard, and a rus
tling at the entrance. Busy hands were fastening
it up, not knowing, perhaps, that Mr. Hall was
within. "Stop! stop!" he shouted, arid all was
silent as the grave. " Come in ! " he again said.
Koodloo, Nukerton's cousin, and a woman came
in. They remained a few moments and left. Mr.
Hall was alone again, and remained until the spirit
of the dying woman departed. He gently closed
her eyes, laid out the body as if for Christian
burial, closed up the igloo, and departed.
Mr. Hall knew cases, later in his stay with this
people, in which the dying were for some time
alone before the vital spark was extinguished.
The only attendance that the sick have is the howl
ing and mummery of the Angekoks, who are some
times women. They give no medicine.
The Dying Esquimo. 313
Mr. Hall made several sledge excursions with
his Innuit friends. One to Cornelius Grinnell
Bay was full of thrilling incidents, of storms, of
perils by the breaking up suddenly of the ice on
which he had encamped, and one showing the
wolfish rapacity of Esquimo dogs. He also had
a bear chase and capture. But these, though full
of exciting interest, are similar to those of other
explorers, already related. The Esquimo them
selves, with all their knowledge of the ice and
storms, have many desperate adventures. A party
of them was once busily engaged in spearing wal
rus, when the floe broke up and they went out to
sea, and remained three months on their ice-raft!
The walrus were plenty, and they had a good time
of it, and returned safely.
We have given our readers an incident relat
ing to Mr. Hall's dog, Barbekark a not very
creditable incident, it will be remembered, so far
as that dog's discernment of moral right is con
cerned. But then we must remember that heathen
dogs are not supposed to know much in that re
spect. Barbe, as we will call him for shortness,
appears again in our story in a way which shows
that he was very knowing about some matters at
One day, at nine in the morning, a party of the
ship's company, attended by the native Koojesse,
started for an excursion into Frobisher Bay. When
well out of sight of the vessel a blinding storm
arose, making farther progress both difficult and
dangerous. Koojesse counseled an immediate
314 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
construction of a snow-hut, and a halt until the
storm subsided, which was the right thing to do.
But the white leader ordered a return march.
The dogs, as they generally will with a fierce wind
blowing in their face, floundered about in reckless
insubordination. Their leader, a strong animal,
finally assumed his leadership, and dragged them
for a while toward some islands just appearing in
sight. But Barbe set back in his harness, pricked
up his ears, and took a deliberate survey of the
situation. To be sure he could see only a few rods
in any direction, but his mind was made up. He
turned his head away from the islands, and drew
with such vigor and decision that all, both men
and dogs, yielded to his guidance. Through the
drifts, and in the face of bewildering clouds of
snow which darkened their path, he brought the
party straight to the ship ! A few hours more of
exposure and all would have perished.
Young Barbe was a brave hunter as well as
skillful guide. On a bright morning in March,
the lookout on the deck of the " Henry " shouted
down the gangway that a herd of deer were in
sight. Immediately the excitement of men and
dogs was at fever-heat. The dogs, however, did
not get the news until Koojesse had crept out, and
from behind an island had fired upon the deer.
His ball brought down no game, but the report of
the gun called out Barbe with the whole pack of
wolfish dogs at his heels, in full pursuit of the fly
ing, frightened deer. The fugitives made tortuous
tracks, darting behind the islands, now this way,
The Dying Esquimo. 315
and then off in another direction. But Barbe
struck across their windings along the straight line
toward the point at which they were aiming, while
the rest of the dogs followed their tracks, and so
fell behind. Koojesse returned to the vessel, the
hope which just now was indulged of a venison
dinner was given up, and the affair was nearly for
gotten, except that some anxiety was felt lest the
dogs should come to harm in their long and reck
About noon Barbe came on board having his
mouth and body besmeared with blood. He ran
to this one, and then to that, looking beseechingly
into their faces, and then running to the gangway
stairs, where he stopped and looked back, as much
as to say, " An't you coming ? Do come, I'll show
you something worth seeing ! " His strange move
ments were reported to Mr. Hall in the cabin,
but being busy writing he took no notice of it.
One of the men having occasion to go toward the
shore Barbe followed him, but finding that he did
not go in the right direction he whined his disap
pointment, and started out upon the floe, and then
turned and said as plainly as a dog could speak,
" Come on ; this is the way ! "
A party from the ship determined now to fol
low. Barbe led them a mile northward, then, leav
ing them to follow his foot-prints in the snow, he
scampered off two miles in a western direction.
This brought the men to an island, under the
shelter of which they found the dogs. Barbe was
sitting at the head of a slaughtered deer, and his
316 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
companions squatting round as watchful sentinels.
The deer's throat had been cut with Barbe's teeth,
the jugular vein being severed as with a knife. The
roots of the tongue, with bits of the windpipe, had
been eaten, the blood sipped up, but nothing more.
Several crows were pecking away at the carcass
unforbidden by Barbe, who petted crows as his
Barbe wagged his tail and shook his head as the
men came up, and said in expressive dog-language,
" See here, now ! didn't I tell you so ! "
The disturbed and blood-stained snow around
showed that the deer had fought bravely. One of
his legs was somewhat broken in the bloody con
flict, which incident might have determined Barbe's
The men skinned the deer, and bore the skin
and dissected parts to the vessel.
Cunning Hunters. 317
OUR sketch of Mr. Hall's Esquimo life brings
us to the early summer of 1861. He had
made many excursions in and about Frobisher
and Field Bays which we have not noted. Their
results were mainly valuable for the relics obtained
of the visits here of the famous old explorer Fro
bisher, nearly three hundred years ago. There
were, too, he ascertained, traditions among the
natives of these visits, as well as that of Parry,
nearly fifty years before, which so well accorded
with. the known facts as to show the reliability of
An incident occurred during one of these ex
cursions which illustrates the deceitful effect of
refraction in the northern atmosphere. He landed
on a headland in Frobisher Bay, and secured an
enchanting view of land and sea. Points of his
toric interest Were under his eye, and nature was
clothed with a wild Arctic beauty. But an ob
ject of still more thrilling interest comes in view.
A steamer ! Yes, there is her hull and smoke-
pipe, all very unmistakable ! See, she tacks, now
.this way, then that, working her way no doubt to
ward the land on which he stands.
Mr. Hall ran to the camp, and told the good
318 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
news to Koojesse and Ebierbing, his companions.
His mind was fairly bewitched with visions of
news from civilization, from his country, and per
haps letters from his dear ones of the family circle.
Each shouldered his loaded gun, and walked
round to the point on the shore toward which the
steamer was coming. They would make a loud
report with their guns, and compel those on board
to notice them. When they reached the spot
there was no steamer. The Esquimo looked with
blank amazement, and turned inquiringly toward
Mr. Hall. Had she sailed away ? No, that was
impossible. It was only that rock yonder, half
buried in snow! There, it does e^$n now look
like a steamer! Wait a while. No, it- no more
looks like a steamer than it looks like a cow ! It
is a cruel " sell ! "
It will be recollected that the " George Henry "
had made her winter-quarters in a little nook in
Field Bay called Rescue Harbor. From his
home in her cabin Mr. Hall was going forth on his
explorations. But the whalers had made a " whal
ing depot " on a cape of Frobisher Bay, which
commanded a view of its waters and of the waters
of Davis Strait. Here they watched for whales, or
made excursions after them. To this depot Mr.
Hall made an excursion with Koojesse about the
middle of June. On their way over the ice, Koo
jesse gave illustrations of two Esquimo methods of
taking seal that were very peculiar. The dogs
scented the seal and broke into a furious run, mak
ing the sledge " spin " over the ice. Soon Koo-
Cunning Hunters, 319
jesse perceived him lying with his head near his
hole. On the instant the dogs and their driver set
up a vociferous, startling yell. The seal lifted up his
head, frightened almost out of his wits, so that the
dogs were within a few rods of him before he so
far recovered his senses as to plunge into his hole
Koojesse said that only young seals are so
caught. In this case fright had nearly cost the
poor seal his life.
At another time Koojesse saw a seal sunning
himself, and lying, as is their habit, near his hole.
The hunter stopped the sledge, took his gun, and,
keeping back the dogs, lay down and drew him
self along upon his breast, making at the same
time a peculiar, plaintive sound, varied in intona
tion. To this "seal talk," as the Esquimo term it,
the animal listens, and is charmed into a pleasant
persuasion that some loving friend is near. He
looks, listens, and then lays his head languidly upon
the ice. So the wily hunter approaches within
easy range, the rifle cracks, and the fatal ball goes
through the vitals of the confiding seal. Thus
seals, like men, sometimes die of alarm, and are
sometimes taken in the flatterer's snare.
Mr. Hall found the whale depot a busy place.
Numerous tents of the white men and Esquimo
were grouped together, in the midst of which, on
a substantial flag-staff, the stars and stripes were
waving. The Esquimo and dogs proclaimed their
welcome in their peculiar way, and the officers
and crew made the visitor feel at home.
32O NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The question soon discussed concerned a boat
for Mr. Hall's journey to King William's Land.
Captain Buddington said seriously that the ques
tion had been much on his mind, and had been
anxiously considered, and his painful conclusion
was that he had no whale-boat adequate for the
undertaking. The boat made on purpose for that
service, which had been lost when the " Rescue "
was wrecked, was the only one brought into those
waters which could convey him safely. To go in
any other would be to throw away his life. So
Mr. Hall said heroically : " I will make the best of
my stay here, in explorations and study of the Es-
quimo traits and language. Do you return to the
States, get another suitable boat, and, God will
ing, I will yet go to King William's Land."
Touching incidents of Innuit life were constant
ly passing before Mr. Hall. Here is one. There
was a young man, Etu, about twenty-five years of
age, whom our old acquaintance, Ugarng, had
taken into his favor. Etu had the misfortune to
be born spotted all over his body, precisely like
the snow-white and black spotting of the skin of
one species of seal. His heathen parents seemed
on this account to have loathed their child, for,
after enduring his presence a few years in the
family, the father carried him to an unfrequented
barren island to die. But God, who cared for the
child Ishmael and the little Moses, watched over
Etu. He caught the sea-birds which flocked to the
land with his hands an extraordinary exploit. The
summer thus passed and winter came, and the
Cunning Hunters. 321
boy yet lived. It so happened shall we not the
rather say, God so ordered that a kayak of na
tives rowed that way. They were surprised when
they saw a boy alone on a drear island, and the
child was frightened at their presence. But when
they made friendly signs he rushed into their
The boy returned to his people, but being
shunned and slighted he became discouraged and
indolent. Such was his situation when Ugarng
took him into his family. One day Mr. Hall entered
the tent of Ebierbing and found there a girl thir
teen years of age, Ookoodlear, weeping as though
her heart would break. She also was of Ugarng's
family, but had been staying with the kind Tooko-
lito, wife of Ebierbing. Her trouble was that
Ugarng was coming to take her away and make
her the wife of Etu ! Marry a seal-spotted man !
the thought was awful ! Then, she was so young !
Ebierbing took with him a friend, and called
upon Etu and told him the dislike felt toward him
of the girl. Poor Etu ! Then Tookoolito agreed
with Ugarng to take charge of Ookoodlear, so the
marriage was prevented.
Marriage contracts among the Esquimo are made
by the parents or other friends, often in the child
hood of the parties. Those immediately con
cerned seldom have any thing to do or say in the
matter. Among the Esquimo of Whale Sound the
proposed bridegroom was sometimes required to
be able to carry off to his igloo, in spite of herself,
his intended bride. The resistance in such cases
322 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
on the part of the woman is supposed to depend
There is no marriage ceremony. In these Esqui-
mo communities the two great events, marriage and
death, transpire without special note. Among the
natives of the region we are now visiting the new
born child generally first sees the light alone with
its mother, and in an igloo built expressly for her.
Late in July the ice broke up and liberated the
" George Henry " from her icy prison. The sail
ors returned on board, and she sailed away on a
whaling cruise. Mr. Hall was left alone with his
Innuit friends. He had planned a voyage of ex
ploration in his whale-boat with a crew of them,
to be absent about two months. On his return, if
he found the whalers in those regions he would
go to the States in one of them ; if not, he would
remain in Esquimo life until their return.
Ebierbing and Tookoolito were of course to be
of his party. But Ebierbing was taken seriously
sick and so was prevented from accompanying him,
much to his regret. His crew, as finally selected,
were Koojesse and wife, Charley (his Esquimo
name is too long to write) and his wife, Koodloo,
and a widow, Suzhi, remarkable for her great size
and strength, weighing two hundred,
The party were off the ninth of August. They
passed through Lupton Channel, a narrow run of
water connecting Field Bay with Frobisher Bay.
A white whale preceded them, leisurely keeping
the lead, as if conscious that there were no har
poons in the boat ; perhaps he assumed his safety
Cunning Hunters. 323
from the presence of the women. The sea-fowl
were abundant. The Esquimo, to save ammuni
tion, adopted one of their own amusing yet cruel
ways of capturing them. They rowed softly and
swiftly to a cluster of them in the water. Just as
the birds were about to fly the whole crew set up
a most terrific yell, at the same time stamping and
throwing their arms about with wild gesticulations.
Down go the frightened birds, diving, instead of
flying, to escape the enemy. The crew now seize
their oars, and the steerer guides the boat by the
disturbed surface of the water to the spot where
they come up. The moment they show their
heads the uproar is renewed. Down go the birds
again without taking breath. This course, though
exciting sport to the hunters, is soon death
to the poor birds, which, exhausted and finally
drowned, are picked from the surface of the water.
One of the ducks taken in this way was a mother
with a fledgeling. As the parent gasped in its
dying agony, the child would put its little bill in
her mouth for food, and then nestle down under
her for protection.
The explorers having entered Frobisher Bay,
sailed west along its northern shore. They camped
at night on the land, and made slow progress by
day. The Esquimo were in no hurry, while Mr.
Hall would make good time to the extreme west
of the bay and survey that line of coast, as the
waters had hitherto been deemed a strait. But
his free and easy companions were more disposed
to have a good time than to add to geographical
324 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
knowledge. At one time Koojesse, taking up
Mr. Hall's glass, saw a bear some miles away on an
island. Fresh duck was plenty on board, and a
chase after " ninoo " at the expense of time was
unnecessary. But it would be fun ; that settled
the matter. Away sped the rickety old whale-boat,
impelled by strong hands. Bruin soon snuffed the
strangers, stood and looked, then comprehending
the danger, turned and ran over to the other side
of the island. Soon the boat was in sight of him,
and he plunged into the water. The Esquimo
now adopted a part of the game they had played
so successfully on the ducks. They occasionally
made a sudden and deafening uproar. Ninoo
would stop and turn round to see what was the
matter, and so time was gained by his pursuers.
But he made good speed for the main land, and
after a while began so far to comprehend the situ
ation that no noise arrested his course. On he
went for dear life. The balls soon reached him and
dyed his coat in crimson, yet he halted not un
til one struck his head. This enraged him ; he
deemed the play decidedly foul. He turned,
showed his teeth, and this brought the boat to a
stand-still. The hunters did not care for a hand-
to-paw fight. The rifle settled the unequal con
flict, and ninoo's body was towed ashore.
The bladder of the bear was inflated, and with
some other charms, put on a staff to be elevated on
the top of the tupic when the party encamped, and
in the bow of the boat when sailing. This insured
good luck according to Esquimo notions.
Cunning Hunters. 325
The explorers were, while in camp at one time,
in want of oil for their lamp. Koodloo found
some strips of sea-blubber and carried it to Suzhi,
who was " in tuktoo " that is, in bed. She sat
up, rested upon her elbows, put a dish before her,
took the blubber, bit off pieces, chewed it and
sucked the oil out, and then spirted it out into the
dish. In this way she " milled " oil enough to fill
two large lamps. This done she lay down again
and slept, with unwashen hands and face. There
were no white sheets to be soiled.
326 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ROUND FROBISHER BAY.
THE explorers found occasionally during their
voyage encampments of natives. In these
many incidents occurred illustrating Esquimo hab
its. At one place the women were busily employed
on seal- skins, making women's boots. One of
them was diligently sewing while her big boy stood
at her breast nursing !
Before reaching the head of the bay Mr. Hall's
party was joined by a boat load of Esquimo, and
several women canoes. A beautiful river emptied
into the bay here which abounded w T ith salmon,
which proved most excellent eating. Vegetation
was abundant. The women brought Mr. Hall a
good supply of berries, resembling, in size and
color, blueberries. They were deemed a great
luxury. Wolves barked and howled about the
camp. The aurora danced and raced across the
heavens in strange grandeur. The deer roamed
about the rocky coast undisturbed except by the
occasional visits of the Innuits.
Mr. Hall, having pretty thoroughly explored
the head of the bay, purposed to return on the
side opposite that on which he came. Here were
hills covered with snow. It had no attractions for
his Esquimo companions, and they muttered th'eir
Round Frobisher Bay. 327
discontent at the route. Ascending one of these
hills, Mr. Hall planted on it, with much enthusi
asm, a flag-staff from which floated the stripes and
stars. On returning to the encampment he found
his tent occupied by several Esquimo busily
engaged in various items of work. One of the
women having done him a favor he gave her some
beads, asking her at the same time what she had
done with those he had given her on a former oc
casion. She said she had given them to the Ange-
kok for his services in her sickness. Mr. Hall
went to a tin box and took out a copy of the Bible
and held it up before the woman, saying, " This
talks to me of heaven ! " Instantly, as though a
light from heaven had flashed upon them all, both
men and women left their work, and springing to
their feet looked at Mr. Hall. At first they seemed
terrified ; then a smile of joy came over their
faces, and they said, " Tell us what it talks of
As well as he was able, with but a slight knowl
edge of their language, he unfolded to them the
great truths of Revelation. When he paused one
of his hearers pointed downward, inquiring if it
talked of the grave, or perhaps meaning the place
of the wicked. When he answered "Yes," they
looked at each other with solemnity and surprise.
But an incident which occurred soon after
showed that these Esquimo did not feel the pres
ence of eternal things. A white whale had been
seen and chased by the men and women. He
escaped, and the men returned in bad humor.
328 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
As one of the women was helping to unload the
boat her husband threw a seal-hook at her with
great force. She parried the blow, and it caught
in her jacket. She calmly removed it, and con
tinued at her work as if nothing had happened.
Esquimo men are generally the mildest, if not
the most affectionate, of savages in their rela
tion of husbands ; yet in their fits of passion they
throw any thing that is at hand at their wives, a
hatchet, stone, knife, or spear, as they would at a
At one time the Esquimo men all left Mr. Hall's
boat on a hunt. He continued his voyage with
the three women rowers. The boat was pleasantly
gliding along, when in passing an island it fell into
a current which rushed over a bed of slightly cov
ered rocks with the rapidity of a mill-race, seething
and whirling in its course. The women, though
frightened, rowed with great vigor, Suzhi showing
herself more than an ordinary man in the emer
gency. For some time the struggle was fearful
and uncertain. To go with the current was cer
tain death; to gel out of it seemed impossible.
At last slowly, steadily, they gained on the rushing
current, and then the boat shot into a little cove
in tranquil waters. They landed and rested six
Mr. Hall had now, September twelfth, been out
thirty-five days, and he determined to return to
Rescue Harbor, hoping to find that the " George
Henry " had returned from her whaling trip. This
pleased the Esquimo, but they did not like his
Round Frabisher Bay. 329
south-side route. Koojesse would, in spite of Mr.
Hall, steer the boat toward the opposite side, and
the rowers enjoyed the joke. At one time our
explorer wished to stop and make further exami
nation of a certain locality, but Koojesse was head
ing the boat northward. His captain urged him
to stop, and he replied with savage sharpness,
"You stop; I go!" Even the women rowers
when alone with Mr. Hall set up an independent
authority at one time, and it was only after con
siderable urging that they yielded to the white
man. Once when Koojesse was acting contrary
to orders, Mr. Hall turned upon him with tones
of authority and a show of determination. He
yielded, and five minutes afterward the whole
Esquimo crew were as jovial as if nothing had
occurred. Yet it was not quite certain that this
was a safe course. The life of the lone white man
was in their hands.
During this voyage Mr. Hall was treated with
out stint to the delights of one Esquimo practice.
We have spoken of the wild songs of their incanta
tions, rising often into a dismal howl. One of the
crew, a woman, had a gift in this way, and when
she ankooted the rest accompanied, or came in on
the chorus. In this way they often made the
night of their encampment hideous. One day the
boat was gliding smoothly along under the steady
strokes of the rowers. The unemployed were
nestling down in their furs, dreamily musing, while
the dreary expanse of sky and sea was profoundly
still, save the distant screech of the sea-fowl, and
330 NORTH-POL'E VOYAGES.
the occasional bark of the seal. Suddenly the
female enchanter commenced her mystical song.
Her voice was shrill as a night-bird's, and varied by
sharp and sudden cracks, like fourth-of-July fire
crackers. The Esquimo crew came in on the
chorus, and the rowers put forth at the same time a
frantic energy, their eyes glaring and countenances
fearfully distorted. The whole scene was intensely
demoniac. The enchanters seemed intoxicated
with their bowlings, and continued them through
the night and most of the two following days.
Only one incident more of a noticeable character
occurred on this excursion. When one of their
nightly encampments had just commenced a gold
fever seized the Esquirno, and shook the little com
munity as if they had been white folks. A huge
lump of gold had been found ! It was precisely the
article for which the sovereign of England and her
savans had sent here, three hundred years before,
the sturdy Frobisher, with a fleet of empty ships.
It was emphatically fool's gold.
Friday, September twenty-seventh, 1861, the ex
plorers arrived at Rescue Harbor. The " George
Henry " was already there. Her energetic officers
and crew had toiled through all the season and
taken nothing ! The explorer and the ship's com
mander, after a warm supper, sat in the cabin talk
ing over the incidents of their experience while
separated until a late hour of the night. The
whole community were jubilant at their return,
as fears were indulged that the crazy craft had
sunk with all its occupants.
Round Frobisher Bay. 331
Mr. Hall was not long in finding the tupic of
his friends, Ebierbing and wife. When the wife of
Tookoolito saw him she buried her face in her
hands and burst into tears so great was her joy.
While chatting with them, Mr. Hall heard the
plaintive sound of an infant voice. Turning back
the folds of Tookoolito's fur wrapper a little
boy was seen only twenty-four days old, an only
October twentieth came, and the whalers had
secured three whales an encouraging success
after a long failure. But her captain had not in
tended to stay another winter. His time was out,
and so, nearly, were his provisions. Bat while
Rescue Harbor was yet clear of ice, and he was
getting ready to return, purposing to take with
him the still enthusiastic explorer, the heavy
" pack/' was outside of the harbor in Davis Strait.
It had come, an untimely, unwelcome voyager from
the north. While the anxious whalemen were
looking for a " lead " to open and permit them to
sail homeward the Frosty King of the north
waved his icy scepter, and Davis Strait was as un-
navigable as the solid land. Another winter was
spent in Rescue Harbor, and it was not until early
in August, 1862, that the vessel was set free and
spread her sails for home. This year, too, was dil
igently improved by Mr. Hall in explorations and
the further study of the Esquimo language and
character. He confidently expected to return,
after a short stay in the United States, and carry
out his proposed plan of explorations in King Will-
332 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
iam's Land. He took home with him Ebierbing
and Tookoolito, with their infant boy, Tuk-e-lik-
e-ta. The dog Barbekark made one of the return
They arrived in New London September thir
teenth, 1862, after an absence of two years and
three and a half months.
The "Polaris" 333
WE have seen that Mr. Hall's enthusiasm for
arctic research was unabated when he re
turned from his first adventure. In 1864 he was
off again. He sailed from New London in the
whaler " Monticello," accompanied by his Esquimo
friends, Ebierbing and Tookoolito. The " Monti-
cello " entered Hudson Bay, landed the daring ex
plorers on its northern shores, and left them to their
fortunes. From thence they made the long, dreary
journey to King William's Land, where the relics
of Franklin's party had been found, some of whom
Hail hoped to find alive. For five years he lived
an Esquimo life, experiencing many thrilling ad
ventures, and escaping many imminent dangers.
At one time he saved his own life only by shoot
ing an assailant who was leading against him a
party who had conspired to murder him. The re
sult of his long sojourn in this region of cold was a
store of knowledge of the Esquimo habits and
language, but nothing important relating to the
fate of the Franklin expedition. Many sad con
firmations were indeed found of the fact before
generally accepted, that they had all miserably
On his return, Mr. Hall, nothing daunted by
334 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
hardships and failures, commenced writing and
lecturing on the theory of an open Polar Sea. As
he had done before, so now he succeeded in im
pressing not only the popular mind but scientific
men and statesmen with the plausibility of his
theory and the practicability of his plans. An
other North Pole expedition was proposed ; Con
gress appropriated to it fifty thousand dollars, and
Mr. Hall was appointed its commander. A craft of
about four hundred tons, being larger than either
of its predecessors on the same errand, was selected,
and named the " Polaris." She was a screw-pro
peller, and rigged as a fore-topsail schooner. Her
sides were covered with a six-inch white oak plank
ing, nearly doubling their strength. Her bows
were nearly solid white oak, made sharp, and
sheathed with iron. One of her boilers was fitted
for the use of whale or seal oil, by which steam
could be raised if the coal was exhausted. She
was supplied with five extraordinary boats. One
of these must have been the last Yankee invention
in the boat line. It is represented as having a
capacity to carry twenty-five men, yet weighing
only two hundred and fifty pounds; when not in
use it could be folded up and packed snugly away.
The " Polaris " was, of course, amply equipped
and ably manned, and great and useful results
were expected from her. President Grant is said
to have entered with interest into this enterprise
of Captain Hall, and the nation said, " God bless
him and his perilous undertaking ! " though many
doubted the wisdom of any more Arctic expedi-
The " Polaris r 335
tions. A few days before his departure Mr. Hall
received from the hand of his friend, Henry Grin-
nell, a flag of historic note. It had fluttered in
the wind near the South Pole with Lieutenant
Wilkes, in 1838; had been borne by De Haven
far northward ; it had gone beyond De Haven's
highest in the Kane voyage, and was planted still
farther North Poleward by Hayes. " I believe,"
exclaimed Captain Hall, on receiving it, "that this
flag, in the spring of 1872, will float over a new
world, in which the North Pole star is its crown
The "Polaris" left New York June 29, 1871,
tarried for a few days at New London, and was
last heard from as she was ready to steam north
ward, the last of August, from Tussuissak, the
most northern of the Greenland outposts. At
this place Captain Hall met our old acquaintance,
Jensen, of the Hayes expedition. He was flour
ishing as "governor" of a few humble huts occu
pied by a few humbler people, and he put on
consequential airs in the presence of his white
brother. He would not be a dog-driver again to
an Arctic exploration not he ! Hall says he had
"a face of brass in charging for his dogs." But
the full complement of sixty was made up here,
and his stock of furs was increased.
As our voyagers are now about to enter upon
the terribly earnest conflicts of North Pole ex
plorers, and as their complement of men and
women are complete, we will further introduce
them to our readers.
336 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The commander, Hall, they know ; he is well-
proportioned, muscular, of medium height, quiet,
but completely enthusiastic in his chosen line of
duty, believing thoroughly in himself and his en
terprise, yet believing well too easily of others,
especially of the rough men of his command, some
of whom have grown up under the harsh discipline
of the whale-ship or the naval service. The next
in command is the sailing-master, Captain S. O.
Buddington of our last narrative. Captain Tyson,
commissioned as assistant navigator to the expe
dition, has been introduced to the reader at Fro-
bisher Bay, while in command there of a whale-
ship. We shall have occasion to become very inti
mate with him. Here is our old acquaintance,
William Morton, whom we knew so favorably by
his heroic deeds in the Dr. Kane expedition ; he
is second mate now.
Of course, Captain Hall's old friends of his first
and second Arctic experience, Ebierbing and
Tookoolito, his wife, are here. They are now
known as Joe and Hannah, and although it does
some violence to our taste to drop their Esquimo
names, we will conform to the usage about us, and
know them in this narrative by these English
names. They are accompanied by an adopted
daughter from among their people, about ten years
old, whom they call Puney.
And here, too, is our old friend Hans, taken on
board at Upernavik. Having been with Kane and
Hayes, nothing daunted by the perils of their
voyages, he is here to see, if possible, with Hall,
The ^Polaris." 339
the North Pole, though no doubt thinking much
more of his twenty-five dollars a month as hunter
and dog-driver than of the desired discoveries.
His wife and their three children are with him, for,
like a good husband and father, he would not be
separated from his family. The children are Au-
gustina, a girl about thirteen years, heavy built,
and most as large as her mother ; Tobias, a boy
of perhaps eight, and a little girl, Succi, of four
years. Think of such a group daring the known
and unknown perils of Arctic ice and cold !
With the rest of the ship's company we shall
form acquaintance as our narrative progresses.
On the twenty-fourth of August the " Polaris "
left Tussuissak, and fairly began her Arctic fight
in the ice, current, and wind encounters of Mel
ville Bay. But on she steamed, passing in a few
days through the Bay into the North Water, into
Smith Sound, passing Hayes's winter-quarters, yet
steaming on by Dr. Kane's winter-quarters, not
even pausing to salute our old friends Kalutunah
and Myouk, sailing up the west side of Kennedy
Channel, the scene of Dr. Hayes's conflicts and
heroic achievements, the " Polaris " finally brings
up in the ice barriers of north latitude 82 16'.
The highest points of previous voyages in this
direction are far south. That new world of which
the North Pole star is "the crowning jewel," is
less than six hundred miles farther. If that open
sea located in this latitude by. confident explorers
was only a fact, how easily and how soon would
the brave " Polaris " be there ! But the ice-floe,
340 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
strong and defiant, and the southern current, were
facts, and the open sea nowhere visible. The
"Polaris " was taken in hand by the ice and cur
rent in the historic, Arctic fashion, and set back
about fifty miles. The Ice King had said, " Thus
far and no farther," and pointed with his frosty
The " Polaris " early in September was glad to
steam in under the land, anchor to an ice-berg,
and make her winter-quarters. Captain Hall
called the harbor " Thank-God Harbor," and the
friendly anchorage "Providence Berg." He had
a right here now, for a little farther north, at a
place he called " Repulse Harbor," he went ashore,
threw the stripes and stars to the breeze, and took
possession of the land " in the name of God and
the President of the United States." We shall
not expect to hear that a territorial representative
from this land enters the next Congress. If this
part of our national domain has a representative
in the life- time of our distinguished acquaintance,
Kalutunah, we nominate him for the position, as
one of the nearest known inhabitants.
Now commenced in earnest preparations for an
Arctic winter. We have seen how this is done,
and Hall and some, at least, of his officers knew
how to do it. The hunters were abroad at once,
and an early prize was a musk-ox weighing three
hundred pounds. His meat was tender and good,
having no musky odor. This was but the begin
ning of the good gunning afforded by this far
northern region. Two seals were soon after shot.
The u P olaris r 341
The country was found to abound in these, and in
geese, ducks, rabbits, wolves, foxes, partridges, and
bears. The scurvy was not likely to venture near
A pleasant incident occurred on shipboard
about this time which the reader will better ap
preciate as our story progresses. It was Septem
ber twenty-fourth. The Sabbath religious service
of the preceding day had been conducted by Chap
lain Bryant in his usual happy manner. At its
close Commander Hall made some kind, earnest
remarks to the men by which their rough natures
were made tender, and they sent a letter from the
forecastle to the cabin expressing to him their
thanks. To this he replied in the following
" SIRS : The reception of your letter of thanks to
me of this date I acknowledge with a heart that
deeply feels and fully appreciates the kindly feel
ing that has prompted you to this act. I need not
assure you that your commander has, and ever will
have, a lively interest in your welfare. You have
left your homes, friends, and country ; indeed, you
have bid farewell for a time to the whole civil
ized world, for the purpose of aiding me in dis
covering the mysterious, hidden parts of the earth.
I therefore must and shall care for you as a pru
dent father cares for his faithful children."
October tenth, after careful preparation, Captain
Hall started northward on an experiment in the
342 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
way of sledging. He purposed more extended
sledge journeys in the spring, until the Pole itself
should be reached. He took two sledges, drawn
by seven dogs each. Captain Hall and Joe accom
panied one, and Mr. Chester, the mate, and Hans,
the other. Their experience on this trip was sim
ply of the Arctic kind, of which we have seen so
much. Deep snows, treacherous ice, which was in
a state of change by the action of winds and cur
rents, intense cold, and vexed and vicious dogs,
all put in their appearance. But Captain Hall
says, " These drawbacks are nothing new to an
Arctic traveler. We laugh at them, and plod on
determined to execute the service faithfully to the
end." The sledge expedition was gone two weeks,
and traveled north fifty miles. They discovered
a lake and a river. They came to the southern
cape of a bay which they had seen from the " Po
laris " in her drift from above. They named the
bay Newman Bay, and attached Senator Sumner's
name to the cape. From the top of an ice-berg
they surveyed the bay, and believed it extended
inland thirty miles. Crossing the mouth of the
bay they clambered up its high northern cape,
which they called Brevoort. Here they looked
westward over the waters up which a good dis
tance past this point the " Polaris " had sailed, and
which they had named Robeson Strait. They
peered longingly into the misty distance, and
fondly hoped to penetrate it with sledge or steamer
in the spring. Joe, the architect of the journey,
built here their sixth snow-hut. It was warmer than
The "Polaris" 343
at Thank-God Harbor, and birds, musk-oxen,
foxes, and rabbits, were seen, and bear and wolf
tracks were in the vicinity. Captain Hall was
joyous at the future prospect. He wrote a dis
patch from this high latitude in which he says,
"We have all been well up to this time." A copy
of it was placed in a copper cylinder and buried
under a pile of stones. The party turned their
faces homeward; Captain Hall's Arctic explora
tions were ended.
344 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
ABOUT noon of October twenty-fourth Cap
tain Hall and his party were seen in the dis
tance approaching the ship. Captain Tyson, the
assistant navigator, went out to meet them. Not
even a dog had been lost, and Captain Hall was
jubilant over his trip and the future of the expe
dition. While he was absent the work of bank
ing up the " Polaris " with snow as an increased
defense against the cold, the building of a house
on shore for the stores, and their removal to it
from the ship, had gone forward nearly to comple
tion. He looked at the work, greeted all cheer
fully, and entered the cabin. He obtained water,
and washed and put on clean underclothes. The
steward, Mr. Herron, asked him what he would
have to eat, expressing at the same time a wish to
get him "something nice." He thanked him, but
said he wanted only a cup of coffee, and com
plained of the heat of the cabin. He drank a
part of the cup of coffee and set it aside. Soon
after he complained of sickness at the stomach,
aud threw himself into his berth. Chester, the
mate, and Morton, second mate, watched with him
all night, during which he was at times delirious.
It was thought he was partially paralyzed. The
surgeon, Dr. Bessel, was in constant attendance,
but after temporary improvement he became wildly
delirious, imagining some one had poisoned him,
and accused first one, then another. He thought
he saw blue gas coming from the mouths of per
sons about him. He refused clean stockings at
the hand of Chester, thinking they were poisoned,
and he made others taste the food tendered him
before taking it himself, even that from sealed cans
opened in his cabin. During the night of Novem
ber seventh he was clear in his mind, and as Sur
geon Bessel was putting him to bed and tucking
him in, he said in "his own kind tone, " Doctor, you
have been very kind to me, and I am obliged to
you." Early in the morning of November eighth
he died, and with his death the American North
Polar Expedition was ended.
The grave of their beloved commander was dug
by the men under Captain Tyson, inland, south
east, about a half mile from the " Polaris." The
frozen ground yielded reluctantly to the picks, and
the grave was of necessity very shallow.
On the eleventh a mournful procession moved
from the " Polaris " to the place of burial. Though
not quite noon it was Arctic night. A weird,
'electric light filled the air, through which the stars
shone brilliantly. Captain Tyson walked ahead
with a lantern, followed by Commander Budding-
ton and his officers, and then by the scientific
corps, which included the chaplain, Mr. Bryan;
the men followed, drawing the coffin on a sled,
one of their number bearing another lantern. The
348 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
fitting pall thrown over the coffin was the Ameri
can flag. Following the sled were the Esquimo
last in the procession but not the least in the depth
and genuineness of their sorrow. At the grave,
Tyson held the light for the chaplain to read the
burial service. As the solemn, yet comforting
words were uttered, " I am the resurrection and
the life, saith the Lord," all were subdued to tears.
Only from the spirit of the Gospel, breathing its
tender influence through these words, was there
any cheerful inspiration. The day was cold and
dismal, and the wind howled mournfully. Inland
over a narrow snow-covered plain, and in the
shadowy distance, were huge masses of slate-rock,
the ghostly looking sentinels of the barren land
beyond. Seaward was the extended ice of Polaris
Bay, and the intervening shore strown with great
ice-blocks in wild confusion. About five hundred
paces away was the little hut called an observa
tory, and from its flag-staff drooped at half-mast
the stars and stripes.
Far away were his loved family and friends,
whose prayers had followed him during his adven
tures in the icy north, who even now hoped for his
complete success and safe return ; and far away
the Christian burial place where it would have been
to them mournfully pleasant to have laid him. But
he who had declared that he loved the Arctic re
gions, and to whose ears there was music in its wail
ing winds, and to whose eyes there was beauty in its
rugged, icy barrenness, had found his earthly rest
ing-place where nature was clothed in its wildest
Arctic features. A board was erected over his
grave in which was cut :
C. F. HALL,
Late Commander of the North Polar Expedition.
Died November 8, 1871,
Aged fifty years."
When the funeral procession had returned to
the ship, all moved about in the performance of
their duty in gloomy silence. It is sad to record
that the great affliction caused by the death of
Hall was rendered more intense by the moral con
dition of the surviving party. Two hideous spec
ters had early in the expedition made their ap
pearance on board the " Polaris." They were the
spirits of Rum and Discord ! Commander Hall
had forbidden the admission of liquor on ship
board, but it had come with the medicines whether
of them or not. It was put under the key of the
locker, but it broke out no, we will not do injus
tice even to this foulest of demons : an officer,
selected to guard the safety and comfort of the
ship's company, broke open the locker and let it
out. This brought upon him a reprimand from
Captain Hall, and later a letter of stricture upon
his conduct. The doctor's alcohol could not be
safely kept for professional purposes, which raised
" altercations " on board. So Rum and Discord,
always so closely allied, went stalking through the
350 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
ship, with their horrid train. Insubordination, of
course, was from the first in attendance. Hall had,
it would seem, in part persuaded into submission
this ghastly specter. Where, on shipboard, the
lives of all depend upon submission to one will,
rebellion becomes, in effect, murder. We have
seen that Dr. Kane argued down this bloody in
truder by a pistol in a steady hand leveled at the
head of the chief rebel ; and that Dr. Hayes saved
his boat party by the same persuasive influence
over Kalutunah. But Hall was not reared in the
navy, and was cast in a gentle mold.
On the Sunday following the burial of Hall
it was announced that from that time the Sunday
service would be omitted. " Each one can pray
for himself just as well," it was remarked. The
faithful chaplain, however, seems to have held re
ligious service afterward for such as pleased to
attend. Hall had taken great pleasure in it, and
it had, we think, attended every Arctic expedition
through which we have carried the reader.
After such a purpose to dismiss public worship
from the vessel we are not surprised to learn
that "the men made night hideous by their carous-
ings." Nature without had ceased to distinguish
night from, day, and our explorers did not follow
the example of their predecessors in this region,
and make day and night below decks by requiring
the light to be put out at a stated hour. So the
noise and card-playing had all hours for their own.
Under these circumstances, as if to make the
" Polaris " forecastle the counterpart of one of
our city " hells," pistols were put into the hands
of the men. Discord was now armed, and Alco
hol was at the chief place of command.
The Christmas came, but no religious service
with it. New- Year's day brought nothing special.
The winter dragged along but not the wind, which
roared in tempests, and rushed over the floe in
currents traveling fifty-three miles an hour. It
played wild and free with the little bark which had
intruded upon its domains, breaking up the ice
around it, and straining at its moorings attached
to the friendly berg.
Spring came at last. Hunting became lively
and successful. His majesty, the bear, became
meat for the hunters after a plucky fight, in which
two dogs had their zeal for bear combat fairly sub
dued. Musk-oxen stood in stupid groups to be
shot. White foxes would not be hit at any rate.
Birds, trusting to their spread wings, were brought
low, plucked and eaten. Seals coming out of their
holes, and stretching themselves on the ice to en
joy dreamily a little sunshine, to which they inno
cently thought they had a right as natives of the
country, were- suddenly startled by the crack of
the rifles of Hans and Joe, and often under such
circumstances died instantly of lead. It seemed
hardly fair. In fact we are confident that the ani
mals about Polaris Bay contracted a prejudice
against the strangers, except the white foxes, who
could not see what hurt these hunters did at least
to foxes and they were of a mind that it was
decided fun to be hunted bv them.
352 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
The Esquimo have been in this high latitude in
the not distant past, as a piece of one of their
sledges was found.
Soon after Hall's death the chief officers had
mutually pledged in writing that, " It is our hon
est intention to honor our flag, and to hoist it
upon the most northern point of the earth."
During the spring and summer some journeys
northward were made, but were not extended be
yond regions already visited. The eye which
would have even now looked with hope and faith
to the region of the star which is the " crowning
jewel " of the central north, was dim in death.
Captain Buddington, now in chief command, had
faith and hope in the homeward voyage only.
On the twelfth of August, 1872, the "Polaris "
was ready, with steam up, for the return trip. On
that very day there was added to the family of
Hans a son. All agreed to name him Charlie
Polaris, thus prettily suggesting the name of the
late commander and of the ship. Little Charlie
was evidently disgusted with his native country,
for he immediately turned his back upon it, the
ship steaming away that afternoon. The " Polaris "
had made a tolerably straight course up, but now
made a zig-zag one back. On she went, steaming,
drifting, banging against broken floes, through the
waters over which we have voyaged with Kane
and Hayes, until they came into the familiar re
gions of Hayes's winter-quarters. On the after
noon of the fifteenth of October the wind blew a
terrific gale from the north-west. The floe, in
an angry mood, nipped the ship terribly. She
groaned and shrieked, in pain but not in terror,
for with her white oak coat of mail she still de
fied her icy foe, now rising out of his grasp, and
then falling back and breaking for herself an
easier position. The hawsers were attached to
the floe, and the men stood waiting for the result
of the combat on which their lives depended. At
this moment the engineer rushed to the deck with
the startling announcement that the ** Polaris "had
sprung a leak, and that the water was gaining on
the pumps. " The captain threw up his arms, and
yelled the order to throw every thing on the ice."
No examination into the condition of the leak
seems to have been made. A panic followed, and
overboard went every thing in reckless confusion,
many valuable articles falling near the vessel, and,
of course, were drawn under by her restless throes
and lost. Overboard went boats, provisions, am
munition, men, women, and children, nobody knew
what nor who. It was night an intensely dark,
snowy, tempestuous night.
It was in this state of things, when the ship's
stores and people were divided between the floe
and her deck, that the anchors planted in the floe
tore away, and the mooring lines snapped like
pack-thread, and away went the " Polaris " in the
darkness, striking against huge ice-cakes, and drift
ing none knew where. " Does God care for spar
rows ? " and will he not surely care for these im
periled explorers, both those in the drifting
steamer, and those on the floe whom he alone can
356 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
save, unhoused in an Arctic night on which no sun
will rise for many weeks, exposed to the caprice
of winds, currents, and the ever untrustworthy
ice-raft on which they are cast?
We will leave the floe party awhile in His care,
and follow the fortunes of the brave little vessel
and her men.
The Last of the ^ Polaris r 357
THE LAST OF THE "POLARIS."
THOSE left on board of the " Polaris " were
oppressed with fears both for themselves and
those on the floe. The leak in the ship was seri
ous, and the water was gaining in the hold, and
threatened to reach and put out the fires, and thus
render the engine useless. Besides, the deck
pumps were frozen up, and only two lower ones
could be used. But "just before it was too late,"
hot water was procured from the boiler and poured
in buckets-full into the deck-pumps, and they were
thawed out. The men then worked at the pumps
with an energy inspired by imminent danger of
death. They had already been desperately at
work for six unbroken hours, and ere long the
fight for life was on the verge of failure. Just then
came to the fainting men the shout " steam's up,"
and tireless steam came to the rescue of weary
As the dim light of the morning of October
sixteenth dawned on the anxious watchers, they
saw that they had been forced by the violent wind
out of Baffin Bay into Smith Sound.
Not until now, since the hour of separation, had
they counted their divided company. The assist
ant navigator, the meteorologist, all the Esquimo,
358 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
and six seamen were missing ; part of the dogs
had also gone with the floe party. Fourteen men
remained, including the commander and the mate,
the surgeon, and the chaplain.
Men were sent to the mast-head to look for the
missing ones, but the most careful gaze with the
best glass failed to discern them. Hope of their
safety was inspired by the fact that they had all
the boats, even to the little scow ; yet it was not
certainly known that the boats had not been sunk
or drifted off in the darkness, and thus lost to
them. So all was tantalizing uncertainty.
An examination revealed the encouraging fact
that a good supply of fuel and provisions remained
on board. A breeze sprung up at noon by whose
aid the " Polaris " was run eastward, through a
fortunate lead, as near to the land as possible.
Here lines were carried out on the floe and made
fast to the hummocks, all the anchors having been
lost. She lay near the shore, and grounded at low
water. An examination showed that the vessel
was so battered and leaky, that surprise was ex
cited that she had not gone down before reaching
the shore. It was decided at once that she could
not be made to float longer. The steam-pumps
were stopped, the water filled her hold, and de
cided her fate.
The sheltered place into which the " Polaris "
had by Divine guidance entered was Life-Boat
Cove, only a little north of Etah Bay, every mile
of which we have surveyed in former visits. The
famous city of Etah with its two huts was not far
The Last of the "Polaris" 359
away, but out of it and its vicinity had come timely
blessings to other winter-bound explorers.
Our party at once commenced to carry ashore
the provisions, clothing, ammunition, and all such
articles from the vessel as might make them com
fortable. The spars, sails, and some of the heavy
wood-work of the cabin, were used in erecting a
house. When done their building was quite com
modious, being twenty-two feet by fourteen. The
sails aided in making the roof, which proved to be
water-tight, and the snow thrown up against the sides
made it warm. Within, it was one room for all,
and for-all purposes. " Bunks " were made against
the sides for each of the fourteen men. A stove
with cooking utensils was brought from the ship
and set up; lamps were suspended about the
room, and a table with other convenience from
the cabin were put in order.
But before this was done a party of Esquimo with
five sledges made their appearance. They stopped
at a distance, and signified their friendly purpose
by their customary wild gesticulations and antics.
The white men at first took them for the floe party,
and raised three rousing cheers of welcome. We
doubt not, though it is not stated, that they were
led on by our special friend, Kalutunah. The
surly Sipsu, it will be remembered, had received
what he had sought to give to another, a harpoon
planted in the back, and was dead. So there was
left none to rival Kalutunah. Myouk, the boy
that was, in Kane's day, was reported as an old
man now. Esquimo grow old rapidly. The whole
360 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
party went to work with a will, having pleasant
visions before them of a new stock of needles,
knives, and other white-man treasures. They
clambered oyer the hummocky floe, bringing loads
of coal from the ship, and with their sleds brought
fresh-water ice for the melting apparatus. Sev
eral families finally came, built their huts near the
vessel, and spent the winter. The ship-wrecked
whites had nearly worn out their fur suits, and
their supply had been greatly reduced by the
losses on the floe. So the Esquimo replenished
their stock, and their women repaired the worn
ones. Thus God makes' the humblest and the
weakest able at times to render essential help to
the strong, and none need be useless.
The winter wore off. There was no starvation,
nor even short rations. The coal burned cheer
fully in the stove until February, and then fuel
torn from the " Polaris " supplied its place. The
friendly natives brought fresh walrus meat, and
scurvy was kept away. For all their valuable
services the Esquimo felt well repaid in the cov
eted treasures which were given them.
The time during the sunless days was passed
in reading, writing, amusements, and discussions,
according to the taste and inclination of each. Of
course there were some daily domestic duties to
be done. The scientific men pursued their in
quiries so far as circumstances allowed.
The dismal story which has so often pained our
ears concerning the Esquimo was true of them
generally during the winter they were suffering
The Last of the "Polaris" 361
with cold and hunger, and three, one of whom was
Myouk, died. The explorers returned the Esqui
mo kindness by sharing with them, in a measure,
their own stock of provisions.
The spring came, and with it successful hunting.
One deer was shot, and some hares caught. Ches
ter, the mate, who seems to have been the Yan
kee of the party, planned, and assisted the car
penter in building two boats. The material was
wrenched from the "Polaris." They were each
twenty-five feet long and five feet wide, square
fore and aft, capable of carrying, equally divided
between them, the fourteen men, two months' pro
visions, and other indispensable articles. When
these were done they made a smaller boat, and
presented it to the Esquimo ; it would aid them
in getting eggs and young birds about the shore.
Clear water did not reach Life-Boat Cove until
the last of May. On its appearance in the imme
diate vicinity the waiting explorers put every
thing in readiness for their departure. The boats
were laden, and each man assigned his place.
Bags were made of the canvas sails in which to
carry the provisions. What remained of the " Po
laris " was given to the Esquimo chief we guess
to our friend Kalutunah as an acknowledgment
of favors received. On the third of June, in fine
spirits and good health, the explorers launched
their boats and sailed southward. At first the
boats leaked badly, but they sailed and rowed
easily, and proved very serviceable. It was con
tinuous day, and the weather favorable. Seals
362 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
could be had for the pains of hunting them, and
the sea-fowl were so plenty that ten were at times
brought down at a shot. On the downward trip
old localities were touched, such as Etah, Hakluyt
Island, and Northumberland Island. The average
amount of Arctic storms were encountered, the
drift ice behaved in its usual manner, though not
as badly as it has been known to do. The little
crafts had their hair-bradth escapes, and were
battered not a little. Every night, when the toils
of the day were over, the boats were drawn upon
the floe, every thing taken out, and the only hot
meal of the day was prepared. Each boat carried
pieces of rope from the " Polaris," and a can of
oil. With these a fire was made in the bottom of
an iron pot. Over this fire they made their steam
ing pots of tea.
The party halted a while at Fitz Clarence Rock
in Booth Bay, about sixteen miles south of Cape
Parry, and within sight of the high, bleak plain on
which Dr. Hayes's boat-party spent their fearful
winter. On the tenth day of their voyaging they
had reached Cape York. In comparison to Dr.
Kane's trip over the same waters, theirs was as a
summer holiday excursion. But Melville Bay was
now before them with its defiant bergs, hummocks,
currents, stormy winds, and blinding snows a
horrid crew ! No wonder that the fear prevailed
among them that if not rescued they could never
reach any settlement. Chester, however, said,
"We can, and will." But the rescuers were not
afar off. For another ten days they were made to
The Last of the "Polaris" 363
feel that their battle for life was to be a hard-
fought one. On the twenty-third they saw, away
in the distance, what appeared to be a whaler.
Could it be ! They dared scarcely trust their eyes,
for the object was ten miles away. Yes, it was a
steamer, and beset, too, so she could not get away.
New courage was inspired, and they toiled on.
But for this timely spur to their zeal they would
have lost heart, for one of the boats in being lifted
over the hummocks was badly stove, and their
provisions were giving out, though they had cal
culated that they had two months' supply. Soon
after they saw the steamer they were seen by the
watch from the mast-head. They were taken for
Esquimo, but a sharp lookout was kept upon their
movement, which soon showed them to be white
men. Signals of recognition were immediately
given, and eighteen picked men were sent to their
relief. Seeing this, Captain Buddington sent for
ward two men, and the rescuers soon met and re
turned with them. With even this addition to
their strength, it took six hours to drag the boats
the twelve miles which intervened between them
and the whaler. They were received with a kind-
hearted welcome by the noble Scotchman, Cap
tain Allen, of the " Ravenscraig," of Dundee.
Their toils were over, and their safety insured.
We will return to those on the floe.
364 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE FEARFUL SITUATION.
ONE of the anchors of the " Polaris," in start
ing on the night of the separation, tore off a
large piece of the floe with three men upon it.
As the " Polaris " swept past them they cried out
in agony, " What shall we do ? " Captain Bud-
dington shouted back, " We can do nothing for
you. You have boats and provisions ; you must
shift for yourselves." This was the last word from
the " Polaris."
Seeing the sad plight of these men, Captain
Tyson, who from the first had been upon the floe,
took " the donkey," a little scow which had been
tossed upon the ice, and attempted to rescue them.
But the donkey almost at once sunk, and he
jumped back upon the floe and launched one of
the boats. Some of the other men started in the
other boat at the same time, and the three men
were soon united to the rest of the floe party.
One of the last things Tyson drew out of the
way of the vessel as its heel was grinding against
the parting floe were some musk-ox skins. They
lay across a widening crack, and in a moment
more would have been sunk in the deep, or crushed
between colliding hummocks. Rolled up in
one of them, and cozily nestling together, were
The Fearful Situation. 365
two of Hans's children ! Does not God care for
Our darkness and storm-beset party did not dare
to move about much, for they could not tell the
size of the ice on which they stood, nor at what
moment they might step off into the surging waters.
So they rolled themselves up in the musk-ox skins
and slept ! Captain Tyson alone did not lie down,
but walked cautiously about during the night.
The morning came, and with it a revelation of
their surroundings. Hugh bergs were in sight
which had in the storm and darkness charged
upon the floe, and caused the breaking up of the
preceding night. It had been a genuine Arctic
assault. Their own raft was nearly round, and
about four miles in circumference, and immovably
locked between several grounded bergs. It was
snow-covered, and full of hillocks and intervening
ponds of water which the brief summer sun had
melted from their sides. Those who had laid
down were covered with snow, and looked like
little mounds. When the party roused, the first
thing they thought of was the ship. But she was
nowhere to be seen. A lead opened to the shore
inviting their escape to the land. Captain Tyson
ordered the men to get the boats in immediate
readiness, reminding them of the uncertainty of
the continued opening of the water, and of the
absolute necessity of instant escape from the floe
in order to regain the ship and save their lives.
But the men were in no hurry, and obedience to
orders had long been out of their line. They
366 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
were hungry and tired, and were determined to eat
first; and they didn't want a cold meal, and so
they made tea and chocolate, and cooked canned
meat. This done they must change their wet
clothes for dry ones.
In the mean time the drifting ice was in a hurry
and had shut up in part the lead. But Tyson was
determined to try to reach the shore though the
difficulties had so greatly increased during the
delay. The boats were laden and launched, but
when they were about half way to the shore the
lead closed, and they returned to the floe and
hauled up the boats. Just then the " Polaris "
was seen under both steam and sail. She was
eight or ten miles away, but signals were set to
attract her attention, and she was watched with a
glass with intense interest until she disappeared
behind an island. Soon after, Captain Tyson sent
two men to a distant part of the floe to a house
made of poles, which he had erected for the stores
soon after they began to be thrown from the ves
sel. In going for these poles the steamer was again
seen, apparently fast in the ice behind the island.
She could not then come to the floe party, being
beset and without boats, and so Tyson ordered the
men to get the boats ready for another attempt to
reach the land, and thus in time connect with the
vessel. He lightened the boats of all articles not
absolutely necessary, that they might be drawn to
the water safely and with speed. He then went
ahead to find the nearest and best route for em
barking. The grounded bergs in the mean while.
The Fearful Situation. 367
relaxed their grasp upon the explorers' ice-raft,
and they began to drift southward. With mali
cious intent, on came a terrific snow-storm at the
same time. Tyson hurried back to hasten up the
men. They were in no hurry, but, with grumbling
and trifling, finally made ready ?s they pretended,
one boat crowded with every thing both needful
and worthless. When at last it was dragged to-
the water's edge, it was ascertained that the larger
part of the oars and the rudder had been left at
the camp far in the rear. In this crippled condi
tion the boat was launched. But not only oars
and rudder, but will on the part of the men was
wanting. So the boat was drawn upon the floe,
and left with all its valuables near the water. The
night was approaching, the storm was high, and
the men were weary, so no attempt was made to
return it to the old camp. All went back to the
middle of the floe. Tyson, Mr. Meyers, one of
the scientific corps, and the Esquimo, made a can
vas shelter, using the poles as a frame, and the
others camped near them. Captain Tyson, after
eating a cold supper, rolled himself in a musk-ox
skin, and lay down for the first sleep he had sought
for forty-eight hours. His condition seemed to be
a specially hard one. While, on the night of the
great disaster, he was striving to save the general
stores, the saving of which proved the salvation
of the company, others were looking after their
personal property, so they had their full supply of
furs and fire-arms, while his were left in the ship.
He, however, slept soundly until the morning,
368 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
when he was startled by a shriek from the Esqui-
mo. The floe had played them an Arctic trick;
it had broken and set the whole party adrift on an
ice-raft not more than one hundred and fifty yards
square. What remained of their old floe of four
miles' circumference contained the house made of
poles, in which remained six bags of bread, and
the loaded boat, in which were the greater part of
their valuables. Here was a fearful state of things !
Yet one boat remained with which they might have
gone after the other one, but the men seemed in
fatuated and refused to go. Away the little raft
sailed, crumbling as it went, assuring its passengers
that they must all stow away in their one boat or
soon be dropped in the sea. For four days they
thus drifted, during which the Esquimo shot sev
eral seals. On the twenty-first Joe was using the
spy-glass, and suddenly shouted for joy. He had
spied the lost boat lodged on a part of the old floe
which had swung against the little raft of our party.
He and Captain Tyson, with a dog-team, instantly
started for it, and after a hard pull returned with
boat and cargo. Soon after, their old floe, in an
accommodating mood, thrust itself against the
one they were on, the boats were passed over,
and every thing was again together boats and
Let us now look around upon our party more
critically. The whole number was twenty, includ
ing the ten weeks' old Charlie Polaris, who, of
course, was somebody. As we have stated, all the
Esquimo were of this party. Both the cook and
The Fearful Situation. 369
steward were here. Much the larger number of
the dogs belonging to the expedition were on the
floe, but no sledges. Fortunately, in addition to
the two boats, one of the kayaks had been saved.
It might, in the skillful hands of a Joe, meet some
As there was only faint hope now of again see
ing the " Polaris," and as their ice-boat seemed to
sail farther and farther from the shore, they began
to make the best winter-quarters their circum
stances allowed. Under the direction of Joe, as
architect and builder, several snow houses were
put up. One was occupied by Captain Tyson and
Mr. Myers ; one by Joe and family ; a larger one
by the men; and one was used for the provisions,
and one for a cook house. All these were united
by an arched passage way. Hans and family lo
cated their house apart from the others, but near.
The huts erected, their next pressing need was
sledges. The men, with great difficulty, dragged
some lumber from the old store-house, and a
passable one was made.
Though the quantity of provisions was quite large,
yet with nineteen persons to consume it, (not to
reckon little Charlie's mouth, who looked else
where for his supply.) and with possibly no addi
tion for six months, it was alarmingly small. Be
sides, in their unprincipled greed, some of the
party broke into the store-room and took more
than a fair allowance. So the party agreed upon
two meals a day, and a weighed allowance at each
370 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
It was now the last of October. The sun had
ceased to show his pleasant face, and the long
night was setting in. To add to their discomfort,
the question of light and fuel assumed a serious
aspect. The men, either from want of skill or
patience, or both, did not succeed well in using
seal fat for these purposes, in the Esquimo fash
ion; so they began, with a reckless disregard to
their future safety, to break up and burn one of
Hans, with a true Esquimo instinct, when the
short allowance pinched him, began to kill and
eat the dogs. He might be excused, however.
Four children, with their faces growing haggard,
looked to him for food.
Thus situated, our floe party drifted far away
from the land drifting on and on, whether they
slept or woke drifting they knew not to what
The Wonderful Drift. 371
THE WONDERFUL DRIFT.
EARLY in November Captain Tyson saw
through his glass, about twelve miles off to
the southeast, the Gary Islands, so they were in
the " North water " of Baffin Bay, and south-west
from Cape Parry, where we have been so many
times. From this cape, or a little south of it, it
would not be a great sledge trip to where they last
saw the " Polaris," and where they had reason to
think she now was. So our party made one more
effort to reach the shore. The boats being in
readiness the night before, they started early in
the morning. Of course their day was now only
a noon twilight, and the morning was most mid
day. But the floe was not in a favoring mood.
The hummocks were as hard in their usage of the
boats and men as usual. The deceitful cracks in
the ice at one time put the lives of the dogs and
men in great peril ; and, as if these obstacles were
not enough, a storm brought up its forces against
them. They had dragged the boats half way to
the shore when they retreated "before superior
Their huts being of perishable material, were
reconstructed. A little later the men built a large
snow hut as "a reserve." All were weak through
372 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
insufficient food. Mr. Meyers was nearly pros
trate, and went to live with the men ; Captain
Tyson, whose scanty clothing, added to care and
short rations, caused him to suffer much, took up
his quarters with Joe and Hannah, and their little
Puney. Not the least of the trial in the Esquimo
huts were the piteous cries of the children for
food. Joe and Hans were out with their guns
every day during the three hours' twilight, hunting
seals. The first one captured was shot by Joe,
November sixth. Nearly two weeks passed before
any further success attended the hunters; then
several were shot, and Captain Tyson, who was
ready to perish, had one full meal a rneal of un
cooked seal meat, skin, hair, and all, washed down
with seal blood. Some others had not been so
long without a full meal, as the bread continued
to be stolen.
The home Thanksgiving Day came. A little
extra amount of the canned meat was allowed
each one, and all had a taste of mock-turtle soup
and canned green corn, kept for this occasion, to
which was added a few pieces of dried apple.
How far it all fell short of the home feast may be
judged by the fact that Captain Tyson, to satisfy
the fierce hunger which remained after dinner,
finished " with eating strips of frozen seals' en
trails,, and lastly seal skin, hair and all."
The hunters had seen tracks of bears, so they
were on the lookout for them while they hunted
seal. One day Joe and Hans went out as usual
with their guns. They lost sight of each other
The Wonderful Drift. 373
and of the camp. Joe returned quite late, expect
ing to find Hans already in his hut. When he
learned that he had not returned, he, as well as
others, felt concerned about him. Accompanied
by one of the men, he went in search of him. As
the two, guns in hand, were stumbling over the
hummocks, they saw in the very dim twilight, as
they thought, a bear. Their guns were instantly
leveled and brought to the sight, and their mouths
almost tasted a bear-meat supper. " Hold on
there! That's not a bear! what is it?" "Why,
it's Hans ! " Well, he did look in the darkness
like a bear, as in his shaggy coat he clambered,
on all-fours, over the ice-hills.
December came in with its continuous night.
Seals could not be successfully hunted in the dark
ness, and where seals could not be seen bears
would not make their (pearance. The rations be
came smaller than ever, and ghastly, horrid starva
tion seemed encamped among our drifting, forlorn
party. Under these circumstances a specter even
worse than starvation appeared to Joe. To him,
at least, it was a terrifying reality. It was the
demon form of Cannibalism ! He had looked
into the eyes of the men in the big hut, and they
spoke to him of an intention to save themselves
by first killing and eating Hans and family, and
then taking him and his. He and Hannah were
greatly terrified, and he handed his pistol to Cap
tain Tyson, which he was not willing to part
with before. He was assured that t the least
child should not be touched for so horrid a pur-
374 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
pose without such a defense as the pistol could
Christmas came. The last ham had been kept 1
for this occasion, and it was divided among all,
with a few other dainties, in addition to the usual
The shore occasionally appeared in the far away
distance. They were drifting through Baffin Bay
toward the western side, so that their craft evidently
did not intend to land them at any of the familiar
ports of Greenland. It seemed to have an ambi
tion to drop them nearer home.
As the year was going out, and Joe's family were
gnawing away at some dried seal skin, submitted,
to be sure, to a process Hannah called cooking, a
shout \vas heard from him. " Kayak ! kayak ! " he
cried. He had shot a seal, and it was floating
away. Fortunately the kayak was at hand, and the
game was bagged. As usual, it was divided among
all. The eyes were given to Charlie Polaris, and
they were nice in his eyes, and mouth, too.
New Years came, and Captain Tyson dined on
two feet of frozen seal entrails, and a little seal
fat. There was now nothing to burn except what
little seal blubber they could spare for that pur
pose. One boat had been burned, their only sled
had gone the same way, and the reckless, desper
ate men could hardly be restrained from burning
the only one now remaining, and thus cut off all
good hope of final escape. To be sure, their
provocation to this act was very great ; the tem
perature was thirty-six below zero ! In their strait,
The Wonderful Drift. 375
the desperate expedient was entertained of trying
to get to land. The emaciated men would have to
drag the loaded boat over the hummocky ice with
out a sledge. The women and children must be
added to the load or abandoned. It would be a
struggle for life against odds more fearful than
that which now oppressed them. But what should
they do ! God knew ! Hark ! what shout is that !
" Kayak ! kayak ! " The kayak was at hand, but it
had to be carried a mile. Yet it paid, for a seal
shot by Joe was secured just in time to keep the
men from utter desperation. To this item of com
fort another was added a few days later. The sun
reappeared January nineteenth, after an absence
of eighty-three days, and remained shining upon
them two hours. He brought hope to fainting
hearts. Through January there was a seal taken at
long intervals, but one always came just before it
was too late ! The men continued to grumble and
deceive themselves with the idea of soon getting
to Disco, "where rum and tobacco were plenty."
How sad that man can sink below the brute, which,
however hungry, never cries out for " rum and
tobacco ! "
Leaving for a moment the white men, let us
look into the Esquimo huts and see how the terri
ble condition of things affects them. The men
are almost always out hunting, but just now, as we
step into Joe's snow dwelling, he is at home. The
only light or fire is that which comes from the
scanty supply of seal oil. Captain Tyson is trying
to write with a pencil in his journal, but he ap-
3/6 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
pears cold in his scanty covering of furs, and looks
weak and hungry. Joe and Hannah are striving
to pass away the weary hours by playing checkers
on an old piece of canvas which the captain has
marked into squares with his pencil. They are
using buttons for men, and seem quite interested
in the game. Little Puney is sitting by, wrapped in
a musk-ox skin, uttering at intervals a low, plaint
ive cry for food. It is the most cheerful home
" on board " the floe, but surely it is cheerless
We shall not wish to tarry long in the hut of
Hans, for besides the unavoidable misery of the
place, Mr. and Mrs. Hans are noted for the board
ers they keep about their persons. Under the
most favorable circumstances they regard bathing
as one of the barbarous customs of civilization.
The reader will recollect that the first experience
Mrs. Hans had of a personal cleansing was on
board Dr. Hayes's vessel, and she then thought it
a joke imposed by the white people's religion, too
grievous to be borne. On another exploring ves
sel she and her husband were cruelly required to
put off their long-worn garments, wash and put
on clean ones, and put the old "in a strong
pickle," for an obvious reason. It is not certainly
known that they were ever washed at any other
Mrs. Hans's hut is not in the most tidy order,
but the circumstances must be taken into the ac
count,' and also the fact of the sad neglect of her
early domestic education. We have just drifted
The Wonderful Drift. 377
from her native land or, rather, ice where she
was married, in Dr. Kane's time, it being a run
away match, at least on the part of the hus
Well, here they are, father, mother, and four
children, on a voyage unparalleled in the history of
navigation. Mr. and Mrs. Hans do not play any
household games; they do not know what to do at
home, except to eat, and feed the children, and
make and mend skin clothing. We know full well
to what sad disadvantage the eating is subjected
at the time of our call, and we are authorized to
say, to the credit of Mrs. Hans, that as to the
making and mending, she has been of real service
to the men on this voyage.
The children of Hans cannot fail to attract our
attention and sympathy. Augustina, the first-born,
usually fat and rugged if not ruddy, is thin and
pale now, and sits chewing a bit of dried seal
skin, or something of the sort, and trying to get
from it a drop of nourishment ; her brother, Tobias,
has thrown his head into her lap as she sits on the
ground. The poor little fellow has been sick,
unable to eat even the small allowance of meat
given him, and has lived, one hardly knows how,
on a little dry bread. Succi, the four-year-old
girl, pquats on the ground that is, the canvas-
covered ice floor hugging her fur skin about her,
and in a low, moaning tone repeats, " I is so hun
gry ! " Her mother is trying to pick from the
lamp, for the children, a few bits of " tried-out "
scraps of blubber. Little Charlie's head is just
378 KORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
discernible in the fur hood which hangs from the
mother's neck at her back. If he gets enough to
eat, which we fear is not the case, he is sweetly
ignorant of the perils of this, his first trip, in the
voyage of life. We shall not want to stay longer
in this sad place.
February was a dreadful month on board the
floe. The huts were buried under the snow. It
was with difficulty that Joe and Hans, almost the
entire dependence of the party, could go abroad
for game, and when they did they secured a few
seals only, very small, and now and then a dovekie
a wee bit of a. pensive sea-bird. Norwhal, the sea
unicorn, were shot in several instances, but they
sunk in every case and were lost. Hunger and
fear seemed to possess the men in the large tent,
and Joe and Hannah began to be again terrified
by the thought that these hunger-mad men would
kill and eat them.
Now, will not God appear to help those in so
helpless a condition ? Yes, his hand has ever
been wonderfully apparent in all Arctic perils. On
the second of March, just when the dark cloud of
these drifting sufferers was never darker, it parted,
and a flood of light burst upon their camp. Joe
shot an oogjook, belonging to the largest species of
seal. He was secured and dragged by all hands
to the huts. He measured nine feet, weighed
about seven hundred pounds, and contained, by
estimation, thirty gallons of oil. There was a
shout of seal in the camp ! The warm blood was
relished like new milk, and drank freelv. All eat
The Wonderful Drift. 379
and slept, and woke to eat again, and hunger de
parted for the time from the miserable huts it had
so long haunted. Joe and Hannah dismissed their
horrid visions of cannibalism. God was the helper
of these hungry ones, and they were helped.
380 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
THE WONDERFUL ESCAPE.
OUR voyagers needed all the strength and
courage which the timely capture of the
great seal had given them. They had drifted into
a warmer sea, and windy March was well upon
them. Their floe began to herald its fast ap
proaching dissolution. The weary and anxious
drifters were startled by day, and awakened sud
denly by night, by a rumbling, mingled with
fearful grindings and crashes underneath them.
Heavy ice-cakes, over-rode by the heavier floe,
ground along its under surface, and when finding
an opening of thin ice, rushed with a thundering
sound to the upper surface. The din was at times
so great that it seemed to combine all alarming
sounds : -
" Through all its scale the horrid discord ran ;
Now mocked the beast now took the groan of man."
On the eleventh a storm commenced. Whole
fleets of icebergs, having broken away from the icy
bands in which the floe had held them, hovered
round to charge upon the helpless campers. The
vast area of ice on which they had been riding
for so many months was lifted in places by mighty
seas beneath, causing it to crack with a succession
The Wonderful Escape. 381
of loud reports and dismal sounds, some of which
seemed to be directly under them. The wind
drove before it a dense cloud of snow, so that one
could scarcely see a yard. Night came with a
darkness that could be felt. The icy foundation
of their camp might separate at any momert, and
tumble their huts about their ears, or plunge them
in the sea. They gathered their few treasures to
gether, and stood ready to fly but where? Death
seemed to guard every avenue of escape. Sud
denly, soon after the night set in, the disruption
came. Their floe was shattered, with a fearful up
roar, into hundreds of pieces, and they went surg
ing off among the fragments on a piece less than
a hundred yards square. They were within twenty
yards of its edge, but God had kindly forbid the
separation to run through their camp and sever
them from their boat or from each other.
After raging sixty hours the storm abated, and
their little ice-ship drifted rapidly in the pack. A
goodly number of seals were shot, and they began
to breathe more freely. After a short time another
oogjook was captured, so food was plenty.
March wore away, seals were plenty, and readily
taken ; and though the bergs ground together and
made fierce onsets into the pack, our ice-ship held
gallantly on her way. One night the inmates of
Joe's hut were about retiring, when a noise was
heard outside. " What is it, Joe ? is the ice break
ing up ? " Joe does not stop to answer, but rushes
out. But in ten seconds he comes back in a greater
hurry, pale and breathless. " There's a bear close
382 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
to my kayak," he exclaims in an excited tone. Now
the situation was this : The kayak was within ten
paces of the entrance to the hut, and the loaded
guns, which can never be kept in an Esquimo hut
on account of the moisture, were in and leaning
against the kayak. If the bear should take a no
tion to put his nose at the hut door, and, liking
the odor, knock down the snow wall with his
strong paw, and commence a supper on one of its
inmates, what was to hinder him ? But bears, like
many young people, often fail to improve their
golden opportunities. He found some seal fat and
skins in the kayak, and these he pulled out, and
walked off with them a rod or two to enjoy the
feast. Joe crept out of the hut, and ran to alarm
the men. Captain Tyson followed, slipped softly
up to the kayak and seized his gun, but in taking
it he knocked down another one and alarmed the
bear, who looked up and growled his objections to
having his supper disturbed. Tyson leveled his
rifle, snapped it, but it missed fire. He tried a
second and third time, and it did not go but he
did, for his bearship was taking the offensive.
Content to see his enemy flee, the bear returned
to his supper. How many foolish bears have we
seen on our explorations lose their lives by an un
timely eating ; but some men, more foolish, lose
more than life BY DRINKING. The captain returned
to the field with a new charge in his gun. This
time it sent a ball through the bear ; the ball enter
ing the left shoulder and passing through the heart,
came out at the other side. He staggered, but
The Wonderful Escape. 383
before he fell Joe had sent another ball into his
vitals. He dropped dead instantly. This affair
occurred when it was too dark to see many yards,
and was much pleasanter in its results than in its
The seal hunting was successful, and with bear
meat and blubber, a full store, there was no hun
ger unappeased ; but the wind blew a gale, and
the sailless, rudderless, oarless little ice-ship, now
banging against a berg, and now in danger of be
ing run down by one, all the while growing alarm
ingly smaller, finally shot out into the open sea
away from the floe. This would not do. So, feel
ing that they might soon be dropped into the sea,
they loaded the boat with such things as was
strictly necessary, and all hands getting aboard,
sailed away. A part of their ammunition, their
fresh meat, a full month's supply, and many other
desirable things, were abandoned. The boat, only
intended to carry eight persons, was so overloaded
with its twenty, including children, that it was in
danger of being swamped at any moment. The
frightened children cried, and the men looked so
ber. They sailed about twenty miles west, and
landed on the first tolerably safe piece of ice which
they met. Hans and family nestled down in the
boat, and the rest, spreading on the floe what skins
they had, set up a tent, and all, after eating a dry
supper of bread and pemmican, lay down to rest.
Thus, boating by day, and camping on the ice at
night for several days, they drew up on the fourth
of April upon a solid looking floe. Snow-huts
384 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
were built, seals were taken, and hope revived.
But what is hope, resting on Arctic promises ?
The gale was abroad again, the sea boisterous, and
their floe was thrown into a panic. Fearful noises
were heard beneath and around them, and their
icy foundations quaked with fear. Joe's snow-hut
was shaken down. He built it again, and then lot
and house fell off into the sea and disappeared.
Thus warned, the camp was pushed farther back
from the water. But they did not know where the
crack and separation would next come. Thus
they lived in anxious watchings through weary
days, the gale unabated. Finally, one night, the
feared separation came. All hands except Mr.
Meyers were in the tent ; near them, so near a man
could scarcely walk between, was the boat, con
taining Meyers and the kayak ; but with mischiev-
oustintent, the crack run so as to send the boat
drifting among the breaking and over-lapping ice.
Mr. Meyers could not manage it, of course, under
such circumstances, and the kayak was of no use
to any but an Esquimo, so he set it afloat, hoping
it would drift to the floe-party. Here was a fear
ful situation ! The floe-party, as well as Mr. Meyers,
was sure to perish miserably if the boat was not
returned. There was only a dim light, and objects
at a short distance looked hazy. It was a time for
instant and desperate action. Joe and Hans took
their paddles and ice-spears and started for the
boat, jumping from one piece of floating, slippery
ice to another. They were watched in breathless
suspense until they seemed, in the shadowy distance,
The Wonderful Escape. 385
to have reached the boat, and then all was shut
out in the darkness.
The morning came, and the floe party were glad
to see that the boat had three men in it. It was a
half mile off, and the kayak was as far away in an
other direction. It was soon clear that the boat
could not be brought back without a stronger
force. Tyson led the way, and finally all but two
of the men made the desperate passage of the
floating ice to the imperiled craft. It was with
difficulty that, with their combined force, the boat
was returned to the floe. The kayak was also
For a brief time there was quiet all around.
The aurora gleamed, and displayed its wonderful
beauty of form and motion; while the majestic
icebergs, in every varied shape, reflected its spark
ling light. The grandeur of se'a and sky seemed
a mockery to the danger-beset voyagers. The
elements might be grand, but they had combined
to destroy them, for a new form of peril now ap
peared. The sea came ^aboard of their icy craft.
They were sitting one evening under their frail
tent, the boat near, when a wave swept over theirV
floe, carrying away tent, clothing, provisions
every thing except what was on their persons or
in the boat. The women and children had been
put on board in fear of such an occurrence, and
the men had just time to save themselves by
clinging to the gunwale. The boat itself was
borne into the middle of the floe. When the wave
subsided the boat was dragged back, lest another
386 NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
push by a succeeding one might launch it into the
sea from the other side. It was well they did this,
for another wave bore it to the opposite edge and
partly slipped it into the water. This game of
surging the boat from one side to the other of the
floe, was kept up from nine o'clock in the evening
to seven in the morning. All this time the men
were in the water, fighting the desperate battle for
its safety, and the preservation of their own lives ;
the conflict being made more terrible by the
fact that every wave bore with it ice-blocks from
a foot square to those measuring many yards,
having sharp edges and jagged corners, with which
it battered their legs until they were black and
blue. It was the severest test of their courage
and endurance yet experienced. But God was
their helper. Not one perished, and when the de
feated sea was by his voice commanded to retire,
and the day appeared, they were not seriously
harmed. But they were cold and wet, without a
change of clothes and utterly provisionless.
It is not surprising that after their rough hand
ling on the floe they should seek a larger and
safer one. This they did, launching their crowded
boat into the turbulent sea, and, working carefully
along, succeeded in landing safely on one stronger
looking; nothing worse happening than the tum
bling overboard of the cook, who was quickly
rescued. Here, cold, half-drowned, hungry, and
weary to faintness, they tried to dry and warm
themselves in the feeble rays of the sun, and wait
for their food at the hand of the great Provider
The Wonderful Escape. 387
in the use of such means as were yet left to them.
They had preserved their guns and a small supply
of powder and shot. Snow and rain came on, and
continued until noon of the next day, April twen
ty-second. Their hunger was fearful. Mr. Mey
ers had been slightly frost-bitten when drifting
away alone in the boat, his health seemed broken,
and he was actually starving.
In the afternoon of this day Joe went as usual
with his gun. He had caught nothing on this
floe, and now there were no signs of seals, though
it was his fourth time out that day. What should
they do ? God had their relief all arranged. Joe
saw what he did not expect to see, and what was
seldom seen so far south a bear ! He ran back
to the boat, called Hans with his trusty rifle, and
the two lay down behind the hummocks. All
were ordered to lie down, keep perfectly quiet,
and feign themselves seals, the Esquimo helping
out the deception by imitating the seal bark.
Bruin came on cautiously. He, too, was hungry.
What are those black objects, and what is that
noise, he seemed to say ? They don't look quite
like seals ! The noise is not/ky/ like the seal cry !
But hunger is a weighty reason with men and
bears, on the side of what they desire to believe,
so the bear came on. When fairly within an easy
range both rifles cracked, and he fell dead. The
whole party arose with a shout. Polar was
dragged to the boat and skinned. His warm blood
slaked their raging thirst. His meat, tender and
good, satisfied their gnawing hunger, They were
388 NORTH- POLE VOYAGES.
saved from a terrible death ! Seals were secured
soon after, and hope again revived.
It was not long before their ice-craft crumbled
away, so they were obliged to repeat the experi
ment, always full of danger, of launching into the
sea and making for a larger and safer one. April
twenty-eighth they were beset by a fleet of bergs,
which were crashing against each other with a
thundering noise, and occasionally turning a threat
ening look toward the frail craft of our drifters.
So angrily at last did one come down upon them
that they abandoned their floe and rowed away.
Surely there is no peace for them by night or day.
on the floe or afloat in their boat. They dare not
lie down a moment without keeping one half of
their number on the watch. But what is that in
the distance ? A steamer ! A thrill of joy goes
through the boat's company. Every possible sig
nal is given, but she does not see them, and an
other night is spent on the floe. The next morn
ing every eye was straining to see a whaler. Soon
one appears. They shout, raise their signals, and
fire every gun at once. But she passes out of
sight. April thirtieth, as the night was setting in
foggy and dark, the shout from the watch of
"steamer" brought all to their feet. She was
right upon them in the fog before she was seen.
Hans was soon alongside of her in his kayak, tell
ing their story as best he could. In a few mo
ments the whaler was alongside of their piece of
ice. Captain Tyson removed his old well-worn
cap, called upon his men, and three cheers were
The Wonderful Escape. 389
given, ending with a " tiger " such as the poor fel
lows had not had a heart to give for many long
mo-nths. The cheers were returned by a hundred
men from the rigging and deck of the vessel. It was
the sealer " Tigress," Captain Bartlett, of Concep
tion Bay, Newfoundland. They soon had the planks
of a good ship beneath them instead of a treach
erous floe ; curious but kind friends beset them,
instead of threatening bergs ; and every comfort
succeeded to utter destitution. They had been
on the floe six months, and floated more than six
teen hundred miles.
They were speedily conveyed, by the way of
Conception Bay and St. Johns, to their own homes,
the telegraph having flashed throughout the length
and breadth of the land their coming, and the
nation rejoiced. But there were tears mingled
with the joy, that one, the noble, the true, the
Christian commander of the expedition, Charles
Francis Hall, lay in his icy grave in the far north.
As speedily as possible the " Tigress " was pur
chased and fitted out by the United States Govern
ment in search of the "Polaris" party. Captain
Tyson and Joe were among her men. She reached
Life-boat Cove about two months after Captain
Buddington and his men had left. They learned
that, much to the grief of the natives, the
" Polaris " had floated off and sunk. The Bud
dington party arrived home in the fall, by the way
As we may not meet our Esquimo friends again,
with whom we have made so many voyages, the
3QO NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.
reader will want to know the last news from them.
Hans and his family returned to Greenland in the
"Tigress." Joe has bought a piece of land and
a house near New London, Connecticut, and in
tends, with his family, to remain there, getting a
living by fishing.
Thus ended the last American North Pole Ex
pedition. The last from other Governments have
not been more successful. Yet, while we write,
England and Austria are reported as getting ready
further North Polar expeditions to start in the
spring of 1875. It must be allowed that the icy
sceptered guardian of the North has made a good
fight against the invaders into his dominions. But
the nations of the earth are determined to send
men to sit on his throne, though they find it a bar
ren and worthless, as well as a cold domain.
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William the Taciturn.
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Life of Oliver Cromwell.
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Lady Huntington Portrayed.
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Romance without Fiction.
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Peeps at our Sunday -Schools.
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Afternoons with Grandma.
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My Sister Margaret.
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Through Trials to Triumph.
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LITTLE DOOE-KEEPEE LIBEAEY. "
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Little Door-keeper. I Joe Witless.
Captain Christie's Granddaughter. | False Shama,
Miracles of Heavenly Love in Daily Live.
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