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tlje IntJta ffice 







IN entrusting the frail bark of a first literary 
effort to an ocean more formidable than the 
storm-abounding Arctic Sea, I shall reasonably 
incur the charge of rashness. 

As every effort, however, must have a begin- 
ning, I can only prefix a few words of explana- 
tion to my attempt, and tender an apology for 
inviting public notice to a book which, I am 
painfully aware, can pretend to no literary excel- 
lence, but which, I trust, will be judged in the 
same indulgent spirit that the House of Commons 
extends to a " maiden speech." 

In the compilation of the following pages, I 
desired to guide my indulgent friends and readers 
over comparatively unknown waters to the mighty 


Yenesei River, which issues from a region associ- 
ated in the popular mind with much that is 
horrible in climatic severity, and repugnant owing 
to its being pictured as a gigantic and cruel 
prison-house for political exiles ; but this river is 
destined to become one of the great highways of 
the world. 

The ideas generally held of the great conti- 
nent of Siberia are in many respects erroneous. 
Travellers of renown have lately given to us 
their personal experience of this immense country 
and its infinite resources, and have thus helped 
to dispel misconceptions and allay a tendency 
to exaggerate obstacles to its development. 
Siberia is at present undergoing a complete 
transformation through the increased facilities of 
navigation along its mighty rivers, and the 
creation of the great railway now under con- 
struction by the enterprise of the Russian Govern- 
ment. It would be difficult to exaggerate the 
importance of this development. 


The first nine chapters of my book give a 
slight narrative of my voyage through arctic 
waters. These are kindly supplemented with an 
account by Captain Wiggins of his homeward 
journey through Siberia, after he parted from the 
Blencathra at Golchika to proceed up the 
Yenesei ; and he also adds, at my request, some 
notes on Dr. Nansen's expedition. These arctic 
experiences are finally wound up in Chapter XII. 
by a letter from Mr. Jackson, with a sketch of 
the plan for his projected exploration and, if 
possible, arrival at the North Pole, where it is 
his patriotic ambition to be the first to plant 
the standard of his native land and sing " God 

save the Queen." 




WHEN my eldest son was a child of six or seven, 
he slipped on the ice in a Canadian rink, and 
broke a front tooth. After picking him up and 
assuaging his tears, I asked him what had brought 
about the catastrophe. He replied, " Papa, I was 
running after a little girl." Seeking, like a prudent 
parent, to improve the occasion, I told him that 
this should be a lesson to him for the rest of his 
life, as one always comes to grief when " one runs 
after a little girl." 

The echo of this excellent advice recurred to 
my memory as I was drawn by the interest of her 
narrative to follow my godchild, Miss Helen Peel, 
on her voyage past Cape Wrath, the Shetland 


Islands and the North Cape, into the misty terrors 
of the Kara Sea. I remember, as a yachtsman, 
thinking it something of an achievement getting 
as far as Iceland and the Lofoden Islands ; but 
here is a young lady who carries us off to 
Lapland, Waigatz Straits, the northern coasts of 
Asia, and half way through the north-west pas- 
sage, besides casting an occasional sheep's-eye at 
the North Pole. Moreover, so far from her cor- 
sage consisting of " oak and three-fold brass," as 
the ingenuous Horace imagined, our authoress 
seems to have left her sealskin jacket behind her, 
and to have graced the Arctic Circle in a frock of 
Cowes serge. That a last year's debutante should 
thus exchange the shining floors, wax lights, and 
valses of a London ball-room for the silent shores 
of Novaia Zemlia and the Taimyr Peninsula, with 
their accompaniments of ice-floes and winds fresh 
from the cellars of Boreas, exhibits the untamable 
audacity of our modern maidens. However, 
she seems to have been quite satisfied with 


the company she found in these shivering 
regions, in the shape of walruses and uncon- 
ventional Samoyedes ; 

Quae siccis oculis monstra natantia 

. . . vidit et 

Infames scopulos Nordokeraunia. 

In vain, indeed, as Horace adds, " has a prudent 
Deity cut off such lands by the unsociable ocean, 
if the impious yachts " of these young women thus 
disquiet their hyperborean solitudes ! Neverthe- 
less, having once taken the plunge, no one will 
regret following in the wake of the Blencathra 
from the old-world Elizabethan port of Appledore 
to the mouths of the Mongolian Yenesei, under 
the auspices of so enthusiastic and cheerful a 
Minerva, who revels in the discomforts of the 
North Sea as likely to give greater zest to future 
joys, and remains philosophically in bed while her 
ship runs aground on a sand-bank. Once only, 
I observe, does her stoicism falter, when, in order 
to save her own, she threw her arms round the 


neck of her skin-clad Jehu, as she bumped over 
brake and boulder at the tail of a team of mad- 
cap Siberian reindeer. 

In spite of these palpitating experiences, or 
perhaps by reason of them, after what appears to 
have been a delightful cruise, which has made us 
appreciate better than ever the great benefits 
rendered to commerce by her gallant companion 
and fellow-navigator, Captain Wiggins, Miss Peel 
sails back out of the mists of the north, rein- 
vigorated in mind and body, and endeavours in 
these pages to brighten our stay-at-home dulness 
with the stored-up radiance of her midnight suns. 





My anticipations The object of the expedition The Great 
Siberian Railway Its possibilities Our fleet Westward 
Ho I A conference with Captain Wiggins I make acquaint- 
ance with the Blencathra Her history and build Packing 
in haste The first night on board i 


We weigh anchor Crossing the Arctic Circle The beauties of 
the fjords We reach Tromsoe A sleeping town A Com- 
mittee of Taste The Lapps ; their dress and life Provision- 
ing The northernmost town in the world . . .11 


The North Cape The sad death of a red-pole Vardoe at 
last ! Its chief characteristic At chapel A haul of fish 
Whaling Mr. Jackson Russian officers and the Russian 
Consul Society and cakes Off again . . .22 


A crow's nest An arctic aspect Novaia Zemlia A Russian 
man-of-war The island of Waigatz Visiting and storms 


The Samoyedes : their appearance, pursuits, and dress 
On the coast of Siberia Priests and merchants A rough 
drive ....... 35 


The Kara Sea My arctic dress Evenings on board Walrus- 
hunting The Yalmal Peninsula The Pet Straits A 
pleasant greeting at Golchika Some voyages to death 
The expeditions of Captain Wiggins . . .51 


Siberian convicts at work A Samoyede household A monoton- 
ous stay A prospect of adventure ends in disappointment 
About a reindeer sledge A Samoyede cemetery 
Celebration of the Czar's birthday A disaster and a storm 
After ptarmigan A handy vessel I bid farewell to the 
River Yenesei . . . . . .66 


Homeward bound Cold, gales, and fog Aground We again 
meet Mr. Jackson We steer for Archangel The Kola 
Peninsula and the White Sea We surprise the Custom - 
House officers In the Dwina We reach Solombola . 88 


The city of Archangel Its trade, rise, and decline A drive in a 
droshki Lunch and Russian music We visit the Museum 
and the Cathedral Fairs and furs The love of vodka A 
shooting party The Monastery of Solavetski We part 
company with the Orestes . . . . .104 




Calm and storm We call for letters at Vardoe The aurora 
borealis Rounding the North Cape 121 Ibs. of fish for 
two shillings The northernmost lighthouse in the world 
A sail by night to Tromsoe A Norwegian table dh6te 
Adventures on the fjords Trondhyem and Christiansund 
Through troubled waters to Dundee . . .119 


Contributed by Captain Joseph Wiggins. 

I start for Yeneseisk in the Offtzine Our welcome at Yeneseisk 
A thanksgiving-service and banquet Energetic citizens Pre- 
paring for an overland journey Taking farewell Our start 
for home A Christmas dinner at Tomsk New Year's Day 
at Omsk An extraordinary caravan Rail at last A railway 
accident Cheliabinsk A conference at St. Petersburg . 147 


Some Remarks on Dr. Nansen's Polar Expedition . 1 74 


A Letter from Frederick G. Jackson on his proposed Polar 

Expedition . . . . .185 










LAPPS .... 












. Frontispiece 

To face page 8 









1 66 


My anticipations The object of the expedition The Great 
Siberian Railway Its possibilities Our fleet Westward 
Ho! A conference with Captain Wiggins I make ac- 
quaintance with the Blencathra Her history and build 
Packing in haste The first night on board. 

SHE is off to the North Pole! was the ex- 
clamation of my friends, as I left London on 
the 1 8th of July 1893, bound for Siberia, the 
grim and rueful land of many sorrows, as we 
have learned to think of it. 

Youth and love of adventure inspired me 
with a longing for new experiences, regardless 
of unforeseen perils and friendly warnings. 

I only felt elated with the thought of a visit 
to arctic regions, unlike all that I had hitherto 
seen and enjoyed in fairer climes. 

The terrors of the sea to an inexperienced 


and bad sailor are no doubt formidable draw- 
backs, but they were overborne, as were all 
other anticipated dangers, by a weird resistless 
impulse to sail through the icebergs of the 
Kara Sea, up the mighty Yenesei River, and to 
be the first of my sex to do so. All this was 
sufficient to determine me to accept an invita- 
tion for such an enterprise, even though we 
should not exactly reach the goal of so much 
ambition, and solve the problem whether or 
not we might feast on strawberries and cream 
at the North Pole. 

The object of this important expedition, under 
contract with the Russian Government, was to 
take a cargo of 1600 tons of rails for the Great 
Siberian Railway, in course of construction, 
which will probably occupy twelve years to 
build, and entail the enormous expenditure of 
350 million roubles for the seven Cheliabinsk- 
Vladivostock sections. Its total lengths, reckon- 
ing from Libau on the shores of the Baltic Sea 
to Vladivostock on the Pacific coast, will be over 
some 7000 miles, and, when complete, will form 


a continuous iron girdle of railway communica- 
tion encircling the whole earth. The Czarevitch 
cut the first sod at Vladivostock on the 24th of 
May 1891. In reality the Great Siberian Railway 
embraces a very wide zone, the enormous area 
exceeding the whole extent of central Europe, 
Germany, Austro- Hungary, Holland, Belgium, 
and Denmark, and the route chosen connecting 
the extensive basins of such large rivers as the 
Obi, Yenesei, Amour, and part of the Lena. It 
is difficult for the imagination to conceive the 
immense extent of the earth's surface, hitherto 
scarcely known or recognised, which will be 
opened up by this great railroad, or what pro- 
gressive impetus may be given to international 
commercial enterprise by the development of 
such great sources of wealth, and consequent 
happiness, to overgrown populations. 

To the great nation in whose sovereignty these 
new territories are comprised, the railway will 
certainly bring increased political importance, and 
no doubt they will prove to be of service to other 
nations, as well indeed to mankind in general, not 


much less than to the people by whose energy 
and public spirit they have, one may truly say, 
been just called into existence. The prosperity 
of one people, rightly understood and used, will 
turn out to be the prosperity of all others brought 
into mutual commercial relations with them, in 
which colonisation will no doubt play an important 

Accordingly a small fleet of three vessels was 
fitted out. The arctic steam - yacht Blencathra 
was to act as convoy to the Orestes, a large 
powerful steamer of 2500 tons' burden on light 
draught, chartered from London for the purpose 
of conveying rails to Siberia, with another steel 
shallow draught steam -yacht to carry 250 tons' 
cargo and some gold -mining machinery. This 
latter vessel was called the Minusinsk, after a city 
situated on the Yenesei River, being one of the 
Nijni Novgorods of Siberia for trading in 
grains, etc. 

In addition to this little fleet we were to be 
joined at Vardoe, in North Norway, by three 
steamers, under the command of Russian officers 


of the Imperial Navy. Their vessels, built at 
Dumbarton on the Clyde, consisted of a twin- 
screw steamer, Lieutenant Offtzine, under the 
command of Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy ; a paddle- 
steamer, Lieutenant Malyguine, under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant Svede ; and a schooner-barge, 
Scuratoff, commanded by Lieutenant Sunderman. 

These vessels were entirely manned by Russian 
naval officers and sailors, with Russian engineers. 

This imposing fleet of six vessels was to form 
the most important expedition that had ever 
crossed the much dreaded Kara Sea, and the rails 
taken by the Orestes were to be the first cargo 
of such heavy material ever conveyed by sea to 

We may now confidently expect to find a regular 
yearly service between England and Siberia fully 
established, and doubtless in time a trade of 
considerable dimensions will grow up. For the 
natural wealth of Siberia is well known to be 
enormous, and, apart from this, the sea route is 
open to navigation two to three months or more 
out of the twelve. 


Bideford, pleasantly situated in the delicious 
scenery of North Devon, was the place of our 
" rendezvous " and five days' stay. It is far too 
remarkable, alike for its history and unequalled 
attractions, to need any introductory notice, for 
who has not read Kingsley's Westward Ho / a 
tale so closely associated with the old town ? At 
an early period Bideford had achieved fame. In 
Elizabethan and Stuart times it was one of the 
chief naval and commercial ports of England ; and 
among the first settlers of Virginia and Carolina 
were Sir Walter Raleigh and other distinguished 

heroes of that town. 

We lost no time wandering over the exquisite 
country of which Clovelly and Westward Ho 
are in themselves delightful attractions, fanned 
by the fresh ocean breeze of the Atlantic. 

In the conference room of the Royal Hotel, 
which dates from 1688, we discussed our arctic 
expedition with Captain Joseph Wiggins, the 
well-known Sunderland navigator, whose name 
and established reputation are widely recognised. 
Discoverer of the ocean route to Siberia in 1874, 


he is a man of great nautical experience and 
genius, and of delightful conversational powers ; 
his characteristic physique testifies to an enter- 
prising nature, and to thorough acquaintance with 
the perils and dangers of arctic sea life. 

Captain Wiggins impressed me at once, and 
filled us all with such unbounded confidence 
that, had the most perilous circumstances arisen, 
we should have placed ourselves unreservedly 
under his command. 

My first acquaintance with the ship, which was 
to be my home for so many months, took place on 
the 20th of July. It was anchored some two 
miles above the bar, at the meeting of the 
Torridge and the Taw, off the little white fishing 
village of Appledore, which is associated with an 
interesting historical fact, being the port from 
which King Alfred destroyed the Danish fleet in 


All who are interested in yachting have no 

doubt heard of the old Pandora, built in 1867 as a 
gunboat, and then purchased by Sir Allan Young. 
Her name was then changed into that of Blen- 


cathra, the name of a mountain in Cumberland, 
by the present owner, Mr. F. Leybourne Popham, 
to whom I am not only indebted for this interesting 
cruise but for several months of kind hospitality. 

The Blencathra is a three - master rigged 
schooner, 424 tons, 146 feet long, 25 feet broad, 
12 feet depth, and being a vessel intended for 
arctic seas she is entirely built of wood, and was 
fitted with an ice - ram in anticipation of the 
impediments to free progress in the Kara Sea. 

Her deck cabins constituted her great charm ; 
they included four comfortable berths, with bath- 
rooms, and the main cabin, in which most of our 
days were spent, was furnished both with a piano 
and an organum, the attractions of which, during 
the whole of the voyage, were of never-failing 
delight. Her lower cabin was supplied with six 
months' stores, in view of the possibility of being 
nipped in the ice. 

Our party consisted of two ladies and two 
gentlemen, and a crew numbering twenty-four. 

On the 24th of July a sudden and early start 
was made by train to Instow. It was the 


humour of the gentlemen who were of our party 
to think and decide a course of action with impul- 
sive speed. " No sooner said than done" would 
have been a suitable motto. The worst of this 
disposition was that the ladies were expected to 
follow suit, and to pack up their numerous 
impedimenta and carry out the programme set 
before them with the utmost haste. In ten 
minutes we were to be at the station, and the 
scramble, bustle, and confusion that ensued can 
be more easily imagined than described, whilst 
dozens of parcels, boxes, and wraps were strewn 
in untidy appearance on the platform, as we had 
simply pitched everything pell - mell into our 
trunks, heedless of consequences summer 
fripperies and fur -lined snowboots, mosquito 
nets and hot-water bottles jostling one another 
in hopeless confusion, since we were obliged 
to provide ourselves alike against summer heat 
and the cold of an arctic winter. 

A few minutes' rail conveyed us to Instow, 
from which a boat landed us on board the 


My first night at sea will ever remain memor- 

Everything was new and strange to me. 

How small my berth looked, how unsettled I 

Even the invigorating freshness of the sea 
was scarcely relished. I began to realise that 
my golden anticipations would soon reveal them- 
selves under the test of practice. 

No ! my heart failed me as I wondered how 
I could have fallen such a victim to my rashness 
in undertaking the enterprise. Dreams and 
nightmares also capped my imaginings, reveal- 
ing before my eyes visions of waves mountains 
high, gales, polar bears, icebergs, and myself 
denuded of nose, ears, fingers, and toes, and 
consequently exiled as a recluse from all social 
intercourse for the rest of my days. But " no- 
thing venture, nothing have," so I resolved to 
screw up my courage to the sticking point, and 
brave the dangers which perhaps existed only in 
my imagination. 


We weigh anchor Crossing the Arctic Circle The beauties of 
the fjords We reach Tromsoe A sleeping town A Com- 
mittee of Taste The Lapps ; their dress and life Pro- 
visioning The northernmost town in the world. 

AMID loud and hearty cheers the Blencathra 
weighed anchor on the 25th of July from Apple- 
dore, and at 4 P.M. successfully crossed the bar, 
notwithstanding the falling tide. 

On reaching the open sea we encountered a 
heavy storm, so that scarcely had we " shaken 
down " when we were fairly " shaken up " again. 

I did full justice to my reputation as a bad 
sailor, nor did I fail in this respect through- 
out the voyage whenever a sea got up. Our 
skipper, Captain Brown, a native of Dundee, 
took pity on me, and prescribed a bottle of 
Yorkshire relish, but thinking the cure worse 
than the complaint, I declined his offer. 


For twenty-four hours we pitched and tossed 
considerably, but my companions, unaffected by 
the heavy sea into which we dived, kept the 
deck, and delighted in the grandeur of the 
stormy waters. 

On the 27th of July we reached Holyhead, 
and, after stopping to drop our Appledore pilot, 
we resumed our northerly course. A dead calm 
prevailed, and as we coasted along we thoroughly 
enjoyed the wild weird scenery of Scotland's 

Everything was now ship-shape ; we began to 
feel quite at home with one another, as we became 
inured to our surroundings and better acquainted. 

At Cape Wrath, a distance of 500 miles had 
already been accomplished. On the 3Oth July we 
steered east of the Shetlands, and were greeted 
with a nasty head -wind. How we tossed and 
rolled again, as a plaything of the waves, reckless 
of our discomfort. I, with most awkward sea 
legs, was bruised all over. My berth happened 
to be a particularly wide one, a defect which 
greatly interfered with my sleep, for when the 


ship rolled heavily it was all I could do to avoid 
being pitched out, for to cling to both sides was a 
feat not easily accomplished. 

On the 3rd of August we crossed the Arctic 
Circle, which passes through the Fraenen Island, 
in the meridian of 13 degrees east of Greenwich. 
In brilliant sunshine we distinguished the snow- 
capped mountains of Norway, while to our left 
rose the majestic peaks of the Lofoden Islands. 
I must here note that we had provided ourselves 
with a pilot from Bergen, and were thus enabled 
to steer at leisure into the fjords, and our course 
led us through the Vest Fjord, which opened out 
a scene of marvellous grandeur. The view was 
glorious everything still and calm, even the 
water seemed immovable, so perfect were the 
reflections from the sharp outlines of the 

And then from day to day new beauties re- 
vealed themselves. One of the great charms of 
the fjords is the uncertainty of knowing in what 
direction the next turn may lead, as no outlet 
is visible. Sometimes one passes between wild 


perpendicular cliffs, again along smiling shores 
fringed in the distance by well-wooded hills. It 
is the wonderful blending of the gentle and peace- 
ful with the wild, rugged yet sublime aspects of 
nature which is so characteristic of Norwegian 
scenery. Small villages with sparsely scattered 
houses now and again dot the landscape. Built 
of wood and painted terra-cotta and white, they 
appear in the distance like miniature dolls' houses. 

The extraordinary effects of light and shade in 
these high latitudes are quite enchanting. Al- 
though we missed seeing the phenomenon of the 
midnight sun, we enjoyed almost continuous day- 
light. It seemed so strange to think of " turning 
in " while the sun was shining brightly, remind- 
ing me of the late hours of London dances. 

Such thoughts, however, were soon dispelled 
by a further contemplation of the scenery which 
surrounded us. Great was our excitement when, 
for the first time since leaving Appledore, we 
dropped anchor at 3.30 A.M. on the 5th of August at 
Tromsoe. Nestling under the protection of high 
hills, the town is situated by the water's edge, on 


the east side of an island. The approach was 
quite lovely. A number of fishing smacks and 
walrus sloops were anchored off the beach. So 
eager were we to go ashore and get a glimpse of 
Norwegian life that, regardless of the hour, we 
dressed and paraded the town in search of ad- 
ventures : all was, however, shrouded in the dull 
silence of sleep. In vain we rung at hotel doors, 
every portal was locked and bolted. But after 
some patient waiting there appeared signs of life. 
The curiosity of the inhabitants was soon dis- 
played. No wonder ! for the tourist season was 
at an end, and consequently our voices must have 
sounded unfamiliar. On we walked, laughing and 
joking, appearing in the stillness of the town 
somewhat boisterous in our hilarity, followed by 
our three dogs, whose wild spirits, in harmony 
with our own, were not to be checked. We paid 
no regard to the slumbering town, but we were 
not to pass unperceived. Behind every shutter 
lurked a nightcap, under every nightcap peered 
inquisitive eyes, set in delicate pink and white 
frames. Certainly their owners seemed attractive ! 


Finally, tired and hungry, and at the moment 
sorely tried by what we deemed the laziness of the 
inhabitants, we rowed back to the ship, to find on 
our return to Tromsoe, several hours later, the 
town presenting quite a different and most 
animated aspect. The gentlemen formed a Com- 
mittee of Taste, to pass judgment on the young 
and pretty inhabitants of the town, who seemed 
quite to realise their expectations. It happened 
to be market-day, and the crowds about the 
market-place were great. The majority were 
Lapps, who in the summer time leave their en- 
campments to purchase provisions for the winter 
months. The first Lapp I saw was an elderly- 
looking unattractive man, of very diminutive 
stature, and being armed with a camera I instantly 
fixed the lens upon him. He was quite infuriated 
and, I believe, thought it was some infernal 
machine, or that I was bringing him under some 
magical spell, for he squeaked and gesticulated in 
a very comical manner. 

Unfortunately I was at a disadvantage in my 
interpretation of his capers and expressions of 


To face page 16. 


indignation. He was clothed in his winter 
garments, which consisted of a long tunic of rein- 
deer skin falling just below the knees, and belted 
up by a leathern girdle, to which was suspended 
the inevitable knife, with which from time im- 
memorial almost all Scandinavians have been 
armed. The lower part of the dress was a sort 
of legging, also made of reindeer skins. A sub- 
stitute for stockings was found in the soft dried 
grass, called sena, with which the fur shoes were 
well stuffed, and a long narrow band was twisted 
several times tightly round the ankle, to prevent 
the possibility of any snow coming in. His head- 
dress was a sort of cloth cap turned up all round 
with a facing of reindeer fur. In summer the 
Lapps wear a dark blue homespun cloth dress 
decorated with bright colours, which have special 
attractions for them, and coming as we did between 
the cold and warm season, we saw both these 
characteristic toilettes. On wedding and feast 
days in particular they display most gaudy attires. 
It is this variety of colour which makes the Lap- 
land costumes so very picturesque. 


The women are very like the men, both in 
aspect and costume, in fact I could hardly tell the 
difference between them. The average height 
rarely exceeds 5 feet. They have small elongated 
eyes, high cheek-bones, tanned complexions, and 
their hair is generally of a dark colour. A few 
sparse hairs constitute the beards of the men, 
which are thus almost imperceptible. The baby 
Lapps are wrapped in their cradles like little 

The origin of the Lapps is somewhat obscure, 
but they seem to be closely connected with the 
Samoyedes and Eskimos. They depend to some 
extent upon the reindeer for sustenance as well as 
for locomotion ; moreover, nature is so bountiful 
in providing fish that the Lapps are thus also 
liberally supplied. They have large encampments 
in a neighbouring valley, which it would have 
been interesting to visit, but as time pressed we 
were unable to do so. 

At the Russian consulate we engaged two ice- 
masters for the Kara Sea, and attracted much 
interest and curiosity by the rumour of our 


intended cruise to Siberia. The fact of English 
ladies venturing through the Kara Sea, willing 
to encounter obstacles and even perils, with 
nothing apparently to tempt them but adventure, 
quite staggered them, and we were no doubt 
instantly put down as mad and eccentric English- 
women, not likely to be heard of again. 

The Norwegians struck me by their likeness 
to the English, the women more especially so. 
With very fair hair and blue eyes, they have fine 
profiles and elongated faces, with fresh pink and 
white complexions. The universal head-dress is 
a plain or coloured handkerchief tied under the 
chin in a most becoming fashion. The Nor- 
wegians looked serious and sombre, with nothing 
of the vivacity of the children of a southern 

Drunkenness is a vice almost unknown to 
them. I noticed their beautiful little horses, 
which in size are really more like ponies. They 
appear to be in good condition and very gentle 
in temper, probably from the fact of being well 
cared for and kindly treated, whips, I am told, 


being rarely used in Norway, while their harness 
is most primitive, though embracing all essentials. 

Meanwhile the Blencathra had been stocked 
with fresh provisions, and at i P.M. we returned 
on board, delighted with our morning gleanings. 
Two hours later we weighed anchor, steaming 
through scenery simply superb. Such a moving 
panorama can, I am sure, rarely be met with. 
So once again we directed our course toward the 

The next harbour touched at was Hammerfest, 
a nice clean-looking place, very modern in appear- 
ance, from the fact of its having, some four years 
ago, been completely destroyed by fire and conse- 
quently rebuilt; its surroundings are extremely 
barren, hardly a shrub to be seen, and only 
rocks piled upon each other. We lowered the 
boats and rowed ashore, intending to ship another 
ice-master. The pier was crowded with small 
boys and girls, who followed our steps in such 
numbers that we wondered what freak the high 
latitudes had worked in our outward appearance. 
The Russian Consul having been called out of 


church to satisfy our inquiries, we heard that our 
third ice-master had left the day before to join us 
at Vardoe. 

Hammerfest, on closer inspection, revealed 
nothing of interest ; but it has a well-sheltered 
harbour, in which floated several Russian fishing- 
smacks from the White Sea, from whence they 
carry on an active trade. The air was pervaded 
with a strong smell of cod-liver and train oil, a 
faint foretaste of the putrid atmosphere we were 
about to inhale at Vardoe ; so with nothing to 
tempt us ashore we returned on board the Blen- 
cathra, bidding farewell to the most northern 
town in the world. It certainly seemed strange 
to realise that in a few hours we were to find our- 
selves in the same latitude as the island of Jan 


The North Cape The sad death of a red-pole Vardoe at last 1 
Its chief characteristic At chapel A haul of fish 
Whaling Mr. Jackson Russian officers and the Russian 
Consul Society and cakes Off again. 


Yes, indeed, I felt very much like going 
towards the mysterious Pole as we sailed from 
Hammerfest out of reach of civilised life, away 
from all turmoil and feverish bustle, to the land of 
the midnight sun and the aurora borealis. Curious 
sensations took possession of me, most difficult 
to describe. I felt stimulated by the thought of 
unknown regions, and excited by the exhilarat- 
ing air, which seemed not only to purify one's 
thoughts, but also helped to brush away con- 
ventional cobwebs from the brain. 

As we advanced, the coast scenery towards 
the North Cape became wilder and more deso- 


late. The mountains present themselves with 
more deterring ruggedness and become strik- 
ingly Alpine in character, bringing home to me 
panoramas of Swiss scenery, familiar from child- 

What a delightful prospect in view for tourists, 
to whom this wild scenery is yet unknown. 
Variety of form and outline is here displayed at 
every new turn, scene upon scene following each 
other with such rapidity that one never gets 
tired of gazing, but, on the contrary, one's interest 
increases. Often, as I sat up on deck, I felt in- 
clined to regret not being endowed with the 
talent of an artist. What a region indeed for 
the painter's brush ! How glorious the colouring ! 

Instead of rounding the North Cape we 
steamed through a narrow fjord between the 
mainland of Finmark and the wild-looking island 
of Mageroe, in which is situated the North Cape. 
It seemed disappointing at first, but, as it turned 
out, we enjoyed a far finer view of these dark 
perpendicular headlands decked in winter's garb 
on our return voyage. 


It became very cold as we steamed along 
the northern coast of Finmark, and was raining 
heavily. Several little red-poles flew on board 
and settled on the rigging. We happened to 
have an owl, brought with the purpose of intro- 
ducing it into Siberia, and a shivering little red- 
pole was unmercifully caught alive and given to 
the owl, who instantly attempted to swallow it, 
feathers and all. Arriving on the scene at that 
moment, my indignation was aroused by this act 
of cruelty. However, the owl's position was at 
the same time extremely comical there it stood, 
half choking, with open beak and only the bird's 
tail showing. At last after a deal of effort the tail 
disappeared, but fairly did for the owl, who died 
next day. 

At last we came in view of Vardoe, a goal we 
had been ardently looking forward to. On the 7th 
of August we dropped anchor inside the harbour, 
among quite a fleet of fishing boats and sailing 
vessels. We found the Minusinsk, one of the 
ships which formed part of our fleet through 
the Kara Sea, awaiting our arrival. The three 


Russian ships were still on their way north from 
Dumbarton, and the Orestes, under the command 
of Captain Wiggins, was expected from day to 
day. The harbour-master came on board, and 
after all the usual formalities had been observed, 
we went ashore in a pouring rain to get letters 
and send telegrams, and make the acquaintance 
of the British Vice-Consul, who in nationality is 
a Norwegian. 

Vardoe, where we spent more than a fortnight, 
requires only a few words to render its description 

Forming an H -shaped island, situated at some 
distance from the Varanger Fjord, the town 
consists of wooden houses clustering round the 
harbour. None are more than two storeys high, 
as a precaution against the violence of the gales. 
I noticed most of the roofs were of turf, with 
such lovely green grass that goats are to be seen 
grazing away on the top of them. Such a novel 
effect ! 

The old castle of Vardoehiiiis, the most northerly 
fort in Europe, is the one object of slight interest. 


To return, however, to Vardoe's chief charac- 
teristic. Any one who has been there will 
undoubtedly associate it with terrible odours, to 
put it mildly, although a stronger and more 
vulgar appellation would be much more to the 
point, for the air is simply saturated with the 
smell of fish, in almost every stage of decom- 
position, in fact Vardoe may be said to be almost 
made up of wooden frames, on which are hung 
to dry in the sun thousands upon thousands of 
fish and cods' heads, the latter for sale, and to be 
exported as guano. 

The harbour is made very lively with troops 
of fishermen, who carry on an enormous trade. 
The crafts from the White Sea particularly 
attracted my attention, not from a fishing or a 
nasal point of view, but from the fact of the 
Russian fishermen being so extremely handsome 
and kind-looking as to excite my admiration, a 
weakness which on future acquaintance with 
Russians only increased, for being tall and well- 
built, with full long fair beards, they present a 
striking appearance in their pink worsted shirts. 


To face page 26. 


The fortnight spent at Vardoe was anything 
but pleasant, nothing but smell, cold, and rain. 
We made the best of it, however. 

One Sunday morning we attended divine 
service in the Norwegian Church, conducted 
after the Lutheran system. The fashion is 
curious. One aisle is reserved for the women, 
the other one occupied by men. The pastor was 
robed in a black gown with a white ruff-collar, 
recalling the fashion of Queen Elizabeth's time. 
The rapidity of his delivery was astonishing, and 
as not a word of what he said was understood by 
us, we grew extremely impatient. But that was 
not all. The majority of men were Lapps and 
fishermen, who imparted to us every variety of 
smell, which they abundantly wafted from their 
clothes and persons. No sooner was the sermon 
over than we made a rush for the door, to escape 
from this poisonous atmosphere. 

One day we sallied forth on a fishing expedi- 
tion, having previously engaged two Norwegian 
fishermen to show us how the trade was carried 
on. Accordingly we steamed off in the Minu- 


sinsk, and towed at the same time out of the har- 
bour a large Russian cargo boat, whose crew it 
being only a sailing vessel had been waiting for 
more than three weeks for a breeze, and were 
deeply grateful to us for our help. 

Some few miles off the coast we dropped 
our trawls, which were short lines with 1200 
baited hooks attached to them. Leaving them 
for a few hours, we steamed on and began fishing 
merely with bright hooks, pulling them up and 
down as fast as we could. A kind of reel was 
fastened to the side of the ship, thus facilitating 
the hauling up of cod, haddock, halibut, 
plaice, etc. Most of them weighed as much 
as twenty pounds, and a gaff had to be used 
to haul them up. So numerous were they that 
scarcely had we dropped our hooks than we felt 
a fish rushing to meet its fate. The sport was 
most exciting, and the number of fish caught 
almost too great to be believed. 

Returning towards evening to pick up our 
trawls, we found very nearly every hook occu- 
pied, a strange sight. In fact the little rowing 


boat was quite weighed down by them, so that 
the slightest misadventure might have capsized 
it. The water is simply alive with fish, and con- 
sequently the price of the largest cod or haddock 
hardly ever exceeds a penny. 

On another occasion we visited the whaling 
station at some short distance from Vardoe, and, 
as luck would have it, a large whale happened to 
be towed in behind a small whaling steamer. 
They are now captured by means of explosive 
shells. We landed to have a look over the fac- 
tories, determined to brave the terrible nauseous 
obstacle, which to windward was something 
dreadful. The processes of manufacture which 
the poor dead body of the whale has to undergo 
before being ready for shipment is astonishing. 
After almost every part of the body has been 
made use of, the carcasses are left on the beach 
in a state of decomposition, waiting to be shipped 
for uses similar to that of guano. It is this which 
infects the air for miles around. 

On the 7th of August we found the Orestes 
anchored in the harbour. Captain Wiggins had 


arrived during the night straight from Middles- 
borough, having as a passenger a young English- 
man, Mr. Jackson. His object was to take 
advantage of our voyage through the Kara Sea 
to get dropped on the coast of the Yalmal Pen- 
insula, for the purpose of exploring the interior. 

Overmastered by the idea of being the first 
to fly the Union Jack from the North Pole, and 
exasperated at the thought of the probable suc- 
cess of Dr. Nansen depriving him of the glory in 
view, he resolved to spend the winter in these 
high latitudes in order to get acclimatised to the 
rigour of arctic temperature, and to prepare him- 
self for the feat of hoisting the British flag on 
the North Pole in the event of its being unoccu- 
pied by the flag of Norway. 

On the i ;th August great excitement was 
caused at Vardoe by the arrival of the Russian 
naval officers on board three light draught 
steamers, which had just been built on the Clyde 
for Siberian river-work. They consisted of a 
paddle-boat, a screw, and a schooner, and were 
under the command of Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy. 


Anxious to make their acquaintance, we 
proposed to give a dinner party. At 7.30 P.M. 
we sat down to a merry repast, and among 
the invited were Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy ; Mr. 
Holmboe, the Russian Vice-Consul, and his cousin 
Miss Holmboe ; Mr. Bereniskoff, the Russian 
Consul-General, and Dr. Bunge, who has acquired 
great distinction by his scientific inquiries into 
the history of the mammoths during his five 
years' stay on the desolate New Siberian Islands. 
I was delighted with the company ; they struck 
me as being extremely amiable and full of kind- 
ness, and we very soon made closer and more 
familiar acquaintance. After dinner we had 
music, followed next night by another entertain- 
ment on a larger scale. Ten officers came to 
spend the evening, and some of them joined their 
musical capacities to ours, so that besides having 
a piano and an organum, a violin and a flute, 
we had the mandolin, guitar, and human voices. 
It was difficult to conceive our not being in 
familiar surroundings instead of on the thresh- 
old of Polar Seas. 


The Russian Consul was a great character, 
tall and strongly built, and full of humour. One 
Sunday we went in a little steam-launch to 
inspect the rocky island of Horno, situated to 
the right of Vardoe, taking the Consul with us. 
The sea was very rough, and the waves quite 
alarmed me. We landed on the island, teeming 
with sea-birds of all kinds, which filled the air 
with their incessant cries. Never had I seen 
such numbers of gulls and eider ducks. After 
much exertion we climbed to the top of the rocks, 
which are entirely devoid of any shrubs, com- 
manding a splendid view over a large stretch of 
the Arctic Ocean. With the help of the Consul's 
strong arm I quickly descended, and soon all of us 
were seated in a clean wooden hut, refreshing 
ourselves with cream. 

Norwegian hospitality and kindness are almost 
proverbial. While a large spread was being given 
at the Russian Consul's to all the naval officers 
and gentlemen of our party, we were asked by 
Mrs. Holmboe and her daughter to an enter- 
tainment, which was held at i P.M. Our meal 


consisted of chocolate and cakes, certainly most 
delicious. The Norwegians' principal repast is 
usually served at 4 P.M., following the German 
custom. The iron stoves that are found in 
almost every house are terrible pieces of furniture. 
They are several feet high, and in a very few 
minutes the room becomes absolutely stifling. 
Accustomed as English people are to enjoy 
plenty of fresh air, this close atmosphere made 
me feel very uncomfortable. 

Vardoe is not without a history, for it has been 
the rendezvous of distinguished arctic explorers, 
such as Sir Hugh Willoughby, Chancellor, Pet, 
Barents, so long as three centuries ago ; and 
recently and frequently of Captain Wiggins, and 
of Dr. Nansen's expedition in search of the 
North Pole. 

At last we began to think of leaving Vardoe. 
Meantime a fresh stock of provisions had been 
laid in to satisfy our wants during our arctic 
expedition. In fact the front part of the 
ship looked more like a sort of floating farm- 
yard, sheep, hens, ducks, and rabbits were to 



provide us with plenty of fresh food, and a 
dear little goat was to supply us daily with 
fresh milk. 

On the 22nd August the three Russian steamers, 
accompanied by the Minusinsk, sailed out of 
the harbour. Anxious to wait for the mail boat, 
which we hoped might bring us our last good 
tidings from home, we remained till the following 
day, when the Orestes and Blencathra followed 
the rest of the squadron and put out to sea. 


A crow's nest An arctic aspect Novaia Zemlia A Russian 
man-of-war The island of Waigatz Visiting and storms 
The Samoyedes : their appearance, pursuits, and dress 
On the coast of Siberia Priests and merchants A rough 

A BRIGHT sunny morning favoured our departure 
from Vardoe, as the Blencathra and Orestes 
weighed anchor and steamed out of the harbour 
at 4.30 A.M. I was in bed, but from my port-hole 
anxiously caught a last glimpse of the little island 
and all its " fishy" attractions. As usual, head- 
winds and a nasty sea greeted us, and the uncom- 
fortable roll soon found me a ready victim. 

A calm smooth sea was afterwards all the more 
appreciated, as I had learnt from experience that 
no source of happiness can satisfy our ambitious 
desires without a previous antithesis of discomfort. 

My diary of August the 23rd marks an unevent- 
ful day, as we were out of sight of land and it had 


turned very cold, stormy, and foggy. I was told 
that fogs are very prevalent in those high latitudes 
during the summer months, whereas in the winter 
the atmosphere is always brilliantly clear. 

Next day, on going up on deck, I found the 
ship presenting quite an arctic appearance. A 
crow's nest had been fastened on to the main 
topmast to facilitate a good look-out for ice or 
other impediment. The situation fascinated me 
enormously, and my wish was to climb to the 
top, and had it not been for my petticoat encum- 
brances I should not have hesitated to follow in 
the sailors' track. The following day the wind 
dropped. The diversion we enjoyed during the 
morning was exchanging signals with the Orestes 
by means of the code. I soon learnt the alphabet, 
and in fact after a time acquired quite an amount 
of nautical knowledge. The crew interested 
me ; I liked their company and listening to their 
yarns ; I watched all their movements up on deck, 
while the hauling of the sails and the sing-song cries 
of the men as they pulled away at a rope gave 
me ever fresh amusement. Their consideration 


for me during the whole of the voyage will remain 
an enduring feature of my first trip at sea. 

In the afternoon we were towed by the 
Orestes, a delightful sensation. She was going 
full-speed, and we glided behind with scarcely any 
perceptible motion. No land was to be seen, all 
seemed gloom and eternal silence. Kolguiev 
Island was passed, but being at a considerable 
distance west of it we were unable to distinguish 
any outline. 

Early dawn on August the 26th disclosed our 
first wintry scene. A heavy fall of snow was 
covering the rigging and decks, and on the 
horizon several blocks of ice began to foreshadow 
arctic regions, and my wildest expectations 
seemed about to be thoroughly realised. To- 
wards noon, however, the sun was shining 
brightly in a cloudless sky, and so pure and 
clear was the atmosphere that I almost felt as 
though new life had taken possession of me. 
Scarcely had we finished our meals when, one 
and all, we resumed our posts on deck. 

The evening was glorious ; never have I seen 


such magnificent sky effects ; every colour seemed 
harmoniously blended. For a short time we 
were able to distinguish the south coast of 
Novaia Zemlia, a name so closely associated 
with dark schoolroom days, and a place I had 
always looked upon as belonging to quite another 
world, little thinking that in years to come I 
should myself be navigating in the very waters 
surrounding it. 

On the 27th of August I was on deck at 5.30 
A.M., much to the delight of Mr. Popham, whose 
grievance at my being so " lazy " was almost daily 
expatiated upon. Certainly there is nothing like 
the fresh morning air, but most people are too 
fond of cushioned luxury ever to realise the 
delights of early dawn, seeming to agree with 
Charles Lamb's parody on " Home, Sweet 
Home "- 

Be it ever so bedly, there is nothing like bed. 

At 7 A.M. we dropped anchor in a sheltered 
nook, formed by the island of Waigatz, near the 
entrance to the Pet or Yugor Straits, which 
separate the island from the mainland almost at 


the boundary between Russia proper and Siberia. 
We found the three Russian vessels lying at 
anchor, having arrived the previous day, also a 
Russian man-of-war, called Nayesdnick, under 
the command of Captain Pell, and we greatly 
wondered what she might be doing in such an 
outlandish place. We learnt afterwards that she 
had been ordered there from St. Petersburg for 
the purpose of supplying Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy 
with extra fur clothing and provisions for the 
crews of his ships. She was also to receive de- 
spatches from him, and take the opportunity of 
doing some surveying and watching the Straits ; 
for Norwegian sloops had been caught poach- 
ing in Russian waters, and in consequence the 
Kara Sea was now debarred to them for walrus 

The surrounding scenery was dismal and gloomy 
in the extreme. Waigatz Island, which stretched to 
our left, presents a long narrow strip of land, of most 
sombre uninviting appearance, slightly undulated ; 
the surface is covered with mossy tundras. The 
island is inhabited by natives called Samoyedes, 


with whom, shortly afterwards, we became well 
acquainted. They have large herds of reindeer, 
which may be seen grazing away. The coast- 
line to our right looked none the more inviting. 
After breakfast a young Lieutenant from the 
Russian man-of-war came on board the Blen- 
cathra to pay his respects. He was tall, fair, 
and promised to be remarkably handsome, and 
as he had a certain knowledge of French we 
were able to converse with him. He told us 
that Dr. Nansen had anchored some time in 
this vicinity, and had only left to resume his 
polar researches ten days ago. The ice in the 
Kara Sea had up to that date formed a slight 
impediment to his movements, while in our 
case, coming as we did later in the season, it 
presented to us no difficulty whatsoever. The 
young Lieutenant complained bitterly of the 
loneliness and dreariness of the surroundings. 
His man-of-war had been anchored for some 
time, and certainly there seemed little attraction 
for any one, much less for youthful flightiness. 
Through the narrow passage of the Straits de- 


tached ice-floes kept drifting by in all sorts 
of grotesque shapes. 

Anxiously curious to have a look at the ice 
in the Kara Sea, and to judge for ourselves 
the real and exact condition of what we were 
to expect, we resolved to steam through in 
the Blencathra. Being of wood, she feared no 
shock, even had we laid ourselves open to 
any such risk, consequently we weighed anchor 
and set forth. The opening to the Straits is 
very narrow, scarcely exceeding three miles 
in width. The scenery continued to assume 
characteristically arctic appearances. Drift ice 
was encountered to a large extent, but of a 
soft and harmless nature, and, as far as we 
could judge, future prospects looked very 
promising. Elated with the good tidings, we 
returned to our anchorage, a favourable signal 
flying at the topmast for the benefit of all 
our companions, but it was very cold and the 
sea was uncomfortably rough. 

On August the 28th the arrival of the 
Minusinsk greatly reduced our anxiety, for 


no one had come across her since leaving Var- 
doe. However, all had gone well. I spent 
part of the day busily writing letters, not that 
I had so much to relate, but the fact of head- 
ing them with the word "Siberia" sounded 
so grand and uncommon that I gave a free rein 
to my imagination. 

In the afternoon we paid a return call on 
board the Russian man-of-war. The captain 
and officers received us in the most hospitable 
manner, champagne flowing liberally and numer- 
ous toasts being drunk to our good luck and 
success. After entrusting our letters to one of 
the officers, we bade farewell and returned on 
board the Blencathra. The waves meanwhile 
had been lashed to fury, and I felt somewhat 
frightened in the small steam-launch, but found 
no sympathy whatsoever from my friends, who 
were rather amused than otherwise at my alarm. 
The weather all this time had been too unfavour- 
able to allow of our indulging in a stroll ashore. 

At early dawn on the 29th August our little 
fleet weighed anchor and steamed cautiously 


through the Straits. The morning was bright 
but damp. I was up on deck at 6 A.M., and 
two hours later we sighted the small hamlet 
of Khabarova, where we anchored a short time. 
It is situated on the sandy beach, and consists 
of wooden houses and Samoyede tents clustering 
round a little wooden church recently erected 
by a wealthy Siberian, Mr. Siberiakoff. Our 
object in dropping anchor off this quaint settle- 
ment was to land Mr. Jackson and his retinue 
among the natives. Two boat - loads of Samo- 
yedes, men, women, and children, rowed mean- 
while towards the Orestes to wish Captain Wiggins 
a hearty welcome. During his many successful 
trips to the Yenesei River, Captain Wiggins 
had formed great friendships with the natives, 
and his kindly expression and unaffected manner 
had won him a well-deserved popularity. They 
were, one and all, delighted to see him, and 
clambered up on board the Orestes as fast as 
they could ; it was quite touching to witness 
the meeting. 

Before proceeding any further a slight intro- 


duction to the Samoyedes will perhaps be 
of interest. They inhabit a large tract of 
country, stretching from Archangel to the Yenesei 
River, and are numbered among the human 
family under the head of Hyperborean Mon- 
gol idae. By imperial decree they are freed from 
military service, territorial contributions, and from 
taxes in money, only having to pay in skins of 
wild beasts captured by them. The Samoyedes 
are very diminutive and broad shouldered, have 
round flat faces of yellowish colour, prominent 
cheek-bones, tiny black eyes, small open nose, 
thick lips, very little beard, and long coarse black 
hair. In constitution they are weak and get pre- 
maturely old. Their morals are extremely simple, 
and in manners they are good tempered. The 
Samoyedes pass the summer near the rivers and 
lakes, occupied in fishing ; at the approach 
of spring they migrate to near the sea, 
trading in marine animals. Wandering from 
the sea, they disperse over the tundra for 
the capture of bears, foxes, white foxes, ermines, 
and squirrels. Although the Samoyedes by 


such kind of occupation belong to the hunting 
people, yet their prosperity lies in the pasturage 
of reindeer. 

The Samoyedes never remain long in one 
place, but wander about in search of fresh food 
for their reindeer. In such a mode of life there 
is not, nor can there be, any fixed habitation, but 
the natives live in the so-called tchoom or tent, for 
the construction of which they fix . some poles in 
the ground and cover them with reindeer skins, so 
that by such an enclosure the dwelling of the Samo- 
yede has the form of a cone. In the middle of the 
tchoom is a plate of iron, or a kind of stone, in which 
they cook their food. The tchoom is extremely 
dirty inside, and the air most unsavoury. The 
Samoyedes' dress in winter or summer is always 
the same, and is formed of reindeer skins. They wear 
a sort of long tunic, called sovik, having an opening 
to put the head through ; the hair of the garment 
is worn outside in fine weather and inside 
when it rains. A pair of short drawers made of 
reindeer skin, tight round the hips and reaching 
downward to the knee, stockings of peshki (the 


skin of young fawns) with the hair inwards, and 
boots, called poumt leepte, of strong reindeer hide, 
complete the costume. Their garments are 
singularly well adapted to the wants of the inhab- 
itants in these rigorous climes. The Samoyedes 
wear a girdle round the loins, beautifully beaded, 
from which is suspended a knife. 

The garments of the fair sex are adorned 
with various coloured skins, among which a piece 
of European-coloured cloth is found frequently 
inserted. They seem very vain, particularly of 
their hair, which hangs in a long tight plait 
down the back, ornamented with all sorts of pieces 
of metal, giving them a most ludicrous appear- 
ance. Indeed they seem to pick up every kind 
of brass and iron fragments, which make quite a 
chink when they move. 

The Samoyedes live chiefly on reindeer flesh, 
and consider the blood of this animal a delicate 
and wholesome drink. Besides this, they eat 
wolves, bears, foxes, etc., as well as fish and 
birds. As regards intelligence, the Samoyedes up 
to the present live in extreme ignorance ; they 



cannot count time, are illiterate, and, like all 
nomad tribes, inclined to drunkenness. The 
greater number are of the Greek Orthodox 
Church, having been converted by Russian priests 
who visit their localities. Several of them, how- 
ever, still continue to worship idols in the shape 
of dolls, and perform their heathen ceremonies 
through the medium of " Shamans" or medicine 
men. The name Samoyede is said to occur in 
Russian chronicles as far back as the year 1096, 
and means salmon-eaters. 

We were all anxious to go on shore and stand 
on Siberian soil. Steam was got up in the small 
launch, and after breakfast we landed at Khaba- 
rova, where all the inhabitants had collected on 
the beach to see us. A very inharmonious chorus 
of dogs replied to our greeting, whose boisterous 
welcome their masters had difficulty in sup- 
pressing. Our reception was most friendly ; 
they shook hands in a most cordial manner, and, 
notwithstanding their somewhat repulsive appear- 
ance, particularly in the case of the women, one 
could not help taking a lively interest in their 


condition. Among them were several Russian 
traders from the Petchora, who during the short 
summer months trade in European goods in 
exchange for furs, skins, etc. 

The people showed us their tents, reindeer, 
and sledges, and took us over the wooden house 
where their priest resided. His countenance did 
not please me, for he had rather a sinister look, 
with long hair hanging in curls on his shoulders. 
I was told that he was so addicted to drunken- 
ness that he was obliged to be strapped on to 
his bed on account of his violence. Civilisation 
is certainly a beneficent acquisition to the human 
family, not unmixed, however, in its earlier stages 
of development, with consequences which time 
alone can remedy. Russian sloops coming to 
trade from the Petchora have barrels of vodka 
and spirits on board, which the Samoyedes 
sacrifice much to acquire, in order to satisfy 
their craving for the newly-introduced stimulant. 

A Russian merchant, a tall handsome man in 
Samoyede dress, with a cap of reindeer skin, the 
strings of which were ornamented by pieces of 


cloth, offered to take me for a drive in his sledge, 
drawn by six reindeer. I immediately accepted 
his kind offer, seating myself on the narrow seat 
beside him. He carried a long prong instead of 
a whip, and no sooner were we ready to start 
than the reindeer, all harnessed abreast, began to 
pull and gallop at full speed. No snow was then 
covering the ground, so, heedless of obstacles, 
we bumped and jolted in the most fearful manner, 
so much so that to prevent being thrown off the 
sledge I had to cling with both my arms round 
my companion's neck. The soil was very marshy 
and undulating, but nothing seemed to slacken 
the speed of the reindeer, so I shouted at the 
top of my voice, in response to which the 
Russian kept soothing me in terms unfortunately 
unknown to me. This drive was unique, and I 
am sure few people can boast of a similar ex- 
perience. On returning, another prepossessing 
Russian seemed anxious to sledge with me, and 
as it was difficult to resist his pressing invitation, 
I set off on a second trial. It certainly was a case 
of admiration conquering fear. 


Meantime Mr. Jackson was busy landing his 
belongings and provisions, which were to last 
him several months. He took up his abode in 
the priest's house, and his room, adjoining the 
priest's, seemed comfortable enough, although 
with only the bare necessaries of life. After 
seeing him settled down among the Samoyedes, 
without the slightest knowledge of their language 
and without a friend, we left him our blessing 
and bade him farewell. On parting, my Russian 
merchant presented me with a young fox, which 
unfortunately died on the voyage. 

We were now about to enter the Kara or 
Black Sea, nicknamed by the Russian acade- 
mician Von Baer, the great " Ice-cellar." 


The Kara Sea My arctic dress Evenings on board Walrus- 
hunting The Yalmal Peninsula The Pet Straits A plea- 
sant greeting at Golchika Some voyages to death The 
expeditions of Captain Wiggins. 

ON the 2Qth of August at i P.M. we were again 
under way. The Blencathra took the lead, fol- 
lowed in her wake by the Orestes and the 
Minusinsk, the three Russian vessels bringing up 
the rear. 

In the afternoon we entered the Kara Sea, 
which was to me full of interest. First of all, 
the fact that I was the first lady who had navi- 
gated its waters naturally caused me great 
delight ; secondly, it had been pictured to me 
before my departure with every sort of danger, 
a warning which appeared all the more to entice 
me. Far from being seized with a sudden long- 
ing for familiar surroundings and home - like 


scenery, this arctic aspect seemed to produce so 
great a fascination upon me as to be almost un- 
accountable. No one has any idea of the glories 
revealed day after day in those high and, com- 
paratively speaking, almost unknown latitudes. 
I had often been told that when explorers once 
direct their steps northwards they get bitten 
with the desire of returning again and again ; 
and now I can speak for myself, and strongly 
endorse this statement. Our navigation through 
the Kara Sea was perfectly delightful. In fact 
so clear and placid was the water that I felt as 
if I had suddenly been transferred to the Lake 
of Geneva, and our passage through this 
northern sea recalled to my mind the many 
pleasant yachting expeditions I have enjoyed on 
those beautiful southern waters. 

The entrance to the Kara Sea presented a 
most mystic and arctic appearance. Ice-fields, 
low and comparatively level, were to be seen 
floating towards the Straits, while ice-floes and 
icebergs formed a striking feature in the pictur- 
esque aspect of the sea. They were of a bluish- 


green tint, and as the sun was shining, the bright 
light displayed wonderful beauty of form and 
brilliancy. They assume every variety of colour 
and prismatic appearance. Sometimes the top 
is table-shaped with acute cones, with numerous 
clefts and rents, giving the appearance of many 
distinct spires. On the other hand they display 
vast hollows or caverns, occasionally perforated. 
In fact the diversity of form and structure is 
so endless, as to defy altogether my powers of 

I shall never forget the effect produced upon 
me as I stood up on deck and gazed with silent 
delight on the splendid and impressive panorama. 
The silence was alone broken by the motion of 
our little fleet. It kept meandering and dodging 
the ice with skilful precision. No land was visible. 
A deathly stillness was unbroken by the slightest 
sound, and an oppressive loneliness seemed to 
weigh upon one. But not so on board the Blen- 
cathra. A more joyful gathering it would be im- 
possible to find, surrounded as we were by all the 
luxuries which enhance the recreations of life. It 


was difficult to imagine that we were not in 
the very midst of civilisation, but steaming 
pleasantly on the waters of the much dreaded 
Kara Sea. 

Every question put to me on arrival in England 
to the effect, "Was it not dreadfully cold ?" received 
a decided negative answer. The sun shone 
brightly, not a cloud intercepted our view of the 
great vault of heaven, and so mild was the atmo- 
sphere that we slept all night with open port-holes, 
feeling all the better for it. My costume, which 
in fact formed my daily and never-varying dress 
throughout the whole of the voyage, may be 
summed up in very few words. A blue serge 
skirt, jacket to match, which by the way was not 
lined, a red flannel shirt, and a straw sailor-hat, 
constituted my seafaring habiliment. Very slight 
addition to my usual underclothing was made, and, 
I may honestly add, that I scarcely suffered from 
the effects of the cold. In the excitement of my 
departure from England I had omitted to provide 
myself with any furs whatsoever, much to the 
surprise of the Russian officers, who laughed at 


seeing me thus equipped, and suggested that my 
attire was far better adapted for the soft summer 
breezes of the Mediterranean. 

Dulness never once reigned among us ; that 
was a quality we none of us possessed. The mind 
was constantly occupied with fresh scenes and the 
anticipation of new and varied excitements. Most 
of our days were spent up on deck. When, how- 
ever, we were obliged to seek refuge in the main 
cabin, every variety of occupation attended us. 
Musical instruments were a source of great delight. 
Mr. Popham was particularly well gifted, and gave 
full vent to his talent on the violin, whilst I ac- 
companied him on the piano and Mr. James added 
to the chorus his skilful performance on the flute, 
Mrs. James meanwhile constituting our sole but 
competent and appreciative critic. Often also the 
rolls attached to the organum were worked 
by Mr. Popham, who, while playing the violin, 
made use of his legs to blow the windpipes. Our 
evenings were thus delightfully spent, and hours 
sped with such rapidity that the clock almost 
always struck twelve before we thought of retiring. 


Books were also much appreciated. Mr. Popham 
generally read to us aloud, and I meanwhile 
worked at comforters and petticoats for the poor 
in England. 

As we steamed along the ice gradually dis- 
appeared. On the 30th of August we sighted the 
bleak and desolate looking coast line of the Yalmal 
Peninsula, in latitude 72. The weather was lovely, 
the sea perfectly smooth. Towards evening the 
Russian paddle-steamer parted company, having 
received orders to inspect the narrow Strait which 
separates White Island from the mainland. These 
Straits were found to be in the same shallow and 
dangerous condition as when surveyed by Captain 
Wiggins in 1874-76-78, useless for navigation, with 
tortuous channels, boisterous currents, and shoals 
all round. 

Great excitement prevailed one evening while 
we were at dinner. The skipper came to 
inform us that on two ice-floes 200 walruses 
were to be seen lying huddled together. A 
tremendous commotion reigned among the crew. 
Each man that could be spared stood on the prow, 


armed with a gun. We steamed quietly towards 
the first ice-floe ; when comparatively close a 
regular fusilade from the guns was followed by 
the plunge of all the walrus into the water, roaring 
and bellowing, and much infuriated at being thus 
molested. Disappointed at our failure, we re- 
solved to approach more cautiously the next ice- 
floe, where lay as many walrus as on the first one. 
Accordingly an order was given that no shots 
were to be fired. Mr. Popham, however, had the 
dinghy lowered, then sprang into it armed with a 
gun and rowed off towards the scene of action. 
The great art in striking the animal a fatal blow is 
to shoot it in the nape of the neck, death being the 
instantaneous result. The walrus, however, were 
not to be tampered with. They raised their heads, 
and upon seeing the enemy plunged, one and all, 
into the water. The small boat was instantly sur- 
rounded by dozens of huge beasts, but Mr. Popham, 
with the cool calm manner and careless intrepidity 
so characteristic of him, showed no fear of the 
impending danger. On the other hand we 
thought every moment that these fierce sea-lions, 


enraged almost to madness, would make a dash for 
him. Naturally we looked on in breathless emo- 
tion. Such a scene can never be forgotten. Mr. 
Popham kept firing to keep them off, nearly 
deafened by their roaring, as they dived and rose, 
looking fiercely at him. So skilful was he that he 
managed to kill a large female walrus and her 
young one, which by natural instinct had been 
following its mother. Both were seized, towed 
and hauled on to an ice-floe ; and our excitement 
reached its zenith. The skinning process then 
took place. The hide and blubber were taken off, 
and the head was severed from the body to form 
a trophy of sporting prowess and peril escaped. 
Leaving the carcasses behind, we set sail. It had 
become very late, 1 1 P.M., but shortly afterwards 
we had rejoined our fleet. 

The most remarkable point in the walrus is 
the great length of two of its upper teeth, which 
extend downwards for nearly two feet. These 
tusks are used by the walrus for climbing the 
rocks or heaps of ice, and also for digging up 
the seaweed, on which the animal mostly sub- 


sists. The length of the walrus is about sixteen 
feet, but its head is very small in proportion. 
The expression of its countenance is very 
ferocious, principally on account of the enor- 
mous size of the upper lip and the thick bristles 
with which it is covered. Naturally the walrus 
is often hunted for the sake of its flesh, its oil, 
its skin, and its teeth ; but their skin is so strong 
and slippery that even a sharp weapon frequently 
glides off without injuring the animal. The great 
enemy of the walrus is the polar bear, but against 
this foe he is said to defend himself most vigor- 
ously with his tusks. 

After coasting along the Yalmal Peninsula we 
rounded White Island, and soon were out of 
sight of land again. By the ist of September 
we had reached our most northerly point, being 
as far north as latitude 74, only 16 degrees from 
the North Pole. I felt so excited at being com- 
paratively in such close vicinity to the pole, that 
had we suddenly turned our prow northwards 
and changed our goal, the spirit of enterprise 
and adventure would have taken full possession 


of me. The brown colour of the water denoted 
that we were steaming abreast of the estuary of 
the River Obi, and shortly afterwards a wintry 
scene again disclosed itself. It had turned de- 
cidedly colder, and next day the deck and rigging 
were covered with snow and icicles. Again we 
met with ice-fields and ice-floes, which necessi- 
tated careful steering. Sparkling under a blue 
sky and brilliant sunshine, the ice formed a coup 
d'ceil as striking as it was beautiful. It struck 
me as curious that ice abounded in great quantity 
at the entrance to the Pet Straits and between 
the estuaries of the Obi and Yenesei Rivers, with 
open water the whole distance between the two 
boundaries just mentioned, and presenting no 
difficulty whatsoever for navigation. In fact, I 
was on the whole rather disappointed with the 
Kara Sea, as everything was far too plain sail- 
ing ; no adventures occurred on the way, and 
nothing even to cause the slightest anxiety. I 
began to realise the fact that after all one can 
never depend on other people's reports, but to 
go and see for one's self is the best solution to 


any doubt. At the same time I may add, with- 
out hesitation, that I thoroughly enjoyed my 
cruise through the Kara Sea the passage was 
glorious, the floating ice met with proved no 
insuperable barrier, as we were led to believe it 
would, and so calm was the sea that our swing 
table was fixed all the way from the Pet Straits. 

Apart from seeing walrus, which we did in 
large numbers, we also perceived several seals and 
wild duck, which our friends occasionally fired at 
for the sake of sport. I fancied I saw a polar bear 
in the distance, but unfortunately we came into 
no close contact with this formidable antagonist. 

On the 2nd of September we sighted Port 
Dickson and entered the mouth of the mighty 
Yenesei River, which at its estuary expands like 
a lake, with a breadth of forty miles, interspersed 
with islands. The river had hitherto been but 
little navigated, consequently we possessed no 
charts, and our compasses being imperfect, we 
had to rely entirely on Captain Wiggins' ex- 
perience and knowledge, gathered from previous 
voyages. The lead was kept going, showing a 


depth varying from seven to four fathoms. Some 
slight anxiety was attached to the Orestes, for 
had she gone aground, carrying 1600 tons of 
rails, the consequences might have been serious. 
Captain Wiggins' characteristic caution, how- 
ever, allayed all apprehension. 

We were coasting comfortably along the left 
bank at a rate of four knots. The familiar flat 
dreary coast here again met our eyes, only 
slightly varied by white patches of snow. We 
were beginning to grow weary of such slow 
locomotion, and were longing to drop anchor at 
our destination. At last in the distance, on the 
right-hand side, several lights gleamed through 
the darkness, indicating a recognition of our 
arrival. The Russian screw and schooner were 
already lying at anchor, and the River Expedi- 
tion, under the command of Lieutenant Zaly- 
effsky, was there to receive us. We met with 
a most enthusiastic and cordial reception guns 
were repeatedly fired, rockets rent the air, and 
Bengal lights illuminated fantastically the weird 
scenery. We had successfully reached Golchika 


in latitude 71 40" N., dropping anchor on the 
3rd of September at 10.30 P.M., having accom- 
plished a distance of some 3000 miles. 

The evening was beautiful ; a bright moon 
was shining in a clear sky, which seemed to 
add colouring to our much elated spirits. We 
were delighted with our successful enterprise, 
and did full justice to the occasion by, to use an 
amusing phrase, "thoroughly wetting our luck." 

A short summary of some of the noteworthy 
voyages in or across the Kara Sea may interest 
my readers. Unfortunately not all attempts to 
penetrate the great " Ice-cellar " have been suc- 
cessful. The very first effort that was ever made 
by Western Europeans was by our countryman 
Sir Hugh Willoughby in 1553. It ended dis- 
astrously. He was followed forty-five years later 
by the brave Dutch Captain Barents, who was 
obliged to winter on the east coast of Novaia 
Zemlia, his ship having been ice-bound, and he 
eventually died of scurvy. The Austro- Hungarian 
Expedition also met with an unfortunate result. 

Notwithstanding these failures, two names 


stand pre-eminently forward coupled with re- 
markable successes. Every person having ade- 
quate interest in arctic expeditions has heard of 
Captain Joseph Wiggins, so thoroughly associated 
as his name has been with the records of Kara Sea 
navigation, of which indeed he may be said to 
be the original promoter, thereby opening a 
new highway over these waters for the service 
of commercial enterprise amongst nations, and 
general benefit is certain to proceed from the inter- 
course thus created. His voyages are adequate 
testimony to his knowledge and experience of 
the Siberian sea route. His first venturesome 
attempt to navigate these waters was made in 
1874. He entered the Kara Sea as early as 
June 24th, by way of the Kara Straits, in the 
Diana, and cruised about in that sea for eight 
weeks. His subsequent voyages in the Thames, 
Warkworth, Phoenix, Labrador, Orestes, etc., 
sufficiently establish the reputation of Captain 
Wiggins as a great navigator and as an enthu- 
siastic and successful explorer. He has won by 
his kindly manner and extreme modesty the love 


and admiration of all who know him. Indeed I 
feel proud in being able to number myself among 
his many friends and appreciative admirers. 

Another name which deserves special mention 
is that of Professor Nordenskiold, the distin- 
guished Swedish naturalist. He followed in 
Captain Wiggins' track, entering the Kara Sea in 
1875 in the Proeven, and proceeding to the mouth 
of the Yenesei River, doing likewise the following 
year in the Ymer. These voyages ultimately led 
to Professor Nordenskiold's celebrated journey 
through the Behring Straits round the whole 
north of Siberia on board the Vega in 1878. 

The Kara Sea may be said to have been for 
several years the happy hunting-ground of Nor- 
wegian walrus-hunters. 

Dr. Nansen also, in furtherance of his expedi- 
tion towards the North Pole, recently passed 
across the Kara Sea ; and in conclusion let us 
hope that his aim and anticipation will meet with 
success outshining that of all previous expeditions, 
and that he may rank as the greatest arctic 
explorer the world has ever produced. 


Siberian convicts at work A Samoyede household A monoton- 
ous stay A prospect of adventure ends in disappoint- 
ment About a reindeer sledge A Samoyede cemetery 
Celebration of the Czar's birthday A disaster and a 
storm After ptarmigan A handy vessel I bid farewell to 
the River Yenesei. 

NEXT morning we were all on deck early. 
Nothing, however, rewarded our eager gaze. 
A dull barren coast -line was alone distinguish- 
able, and a few wooden houses and reindeer 
tents constituted the small village of Golchika. 
Situated on an island at the mouth of a small 
tributary stream on the right bank of the Yenesei, 
it lies at a distance of 200 miles up the river. 

The weather was anything but pleasant. A 
strong west wind was blowing, and we experienced 
continual snowstorms during the day. In the 
course of the afternoon we went ashore, landing 
in a small creek, and on the shore were numerous 


Siberian convicts and prisoners, sent down the 
river in lighters to help in the trans-shipment of 
the rails from on board the Orestes. They 
certainly did not excite any commiseration, for 
they looked quite happy and contented, as if they 
rather enjoyed the "spree." 

We next directed our steps towards the habit- 
ations, escorted by the Priest of Turukhansk. 
He was robed in long flowing black garments ; 
his hair with serpentine curls encircled his 
shoulders. He had a sly look about him, with a 
rollicking jovial expression, and was as active as 
a kitten. On reaching a wooden hut, which was 
the largest of the group, we stepped in to have 
a look at the inmates. On opening the door a 
pestilential mephitic atmosphere burst upon us. 
In fact the odour of the Samoyede is peculiar to 
himself, and so sickening and overpowering that 
it quite beggars description. 

However we entered, and I feel justified in 
saying that no less than two dozen human beings, 
men, women, and children, were to be seen lying 
indiscriminately huddled together. 


The heat was oppressive, and the air thick 
with smoke. It was difficult to distinguish 
anything. I nevertheless perceived that these 
Samoyedes, familiar objects since our contact 
with them at Khabarova, or St. Nicholai, as it 
is now named, were very slightly clad. The 
children went barefooted and barelegged, with 
merely a transparent loose cotton princess dress 
down to the knees. The women were not better 
off in that respect. But these uncivilised customs 
are not without reason. Born and bred in such 
remote parts, where scarcely any stranger up to 
the present has ever passed their threshold, they 
have to make the best of their existence, and 
depend on the result of their hunting for clothing. 
When they leave their huts to imbibe a little 
fresh air they put on the thickest fur garments 
they can provide, and so hardly feel the difference 
of temperature when they go out to face the cold. 
Once home again they promptly divest themselves 
of them. 

The Samoyedes, whose type is the same as 
those described at Khabarova, seemed delighted 


to welcome us. We of course could not converse 
with them, but our pantomimic efforts seemed to 
produce the same effect as speech, and they 
responded likewise. Never having seen Euro- 
pean ladies before, their curiosity was very much 
aroused by our appearance, dress, and physique. 
They even ventured to touch my blue serge skirt 
and jacket, and wondered what it might be made 
of. But what tickled their fancy more than any- 
thing else was a diamond buckle which I wore on 
my belt, and a sparkling brooch. They seemed 
in raptures over them. I could see their admir- 
ing eyes intently fixed upon them, as they are 
very fond of anything that shines or glitters. 
Our respective relationships seemed to puzzle 
them also very much. The skipper happened to 
be standing behind me, and I suppose he im- 
pressed them with a certain air of paternity, so I 
was put down as his daughter. It was most 
entertaining, as my new acquaintances continued 
to indulge in many varied conjectures regarding 
me and my companions, and these blunders were 
a source of great amusement, for I fairly went 


through several imaginary phases. The Samo 
yedes appeared to be much pitted with small-pox, 
and altogether looked rather unhealthy. As a 
preventive against scurvy they dip the food they 
eat into the reindeer's blood, which is supposed 
to act as an antidote. 

Next to the room where all the natives were 
huddled together was a very clean nice-looking 
chamber inhabited by a priest. It looked very 
comfortable, with the inevitable " ikon " or sacred 
picture hanging up in a corner. We were obliged 
to sit down for a few minutes, and he offered us 
some refreshments, which, however, we declined. 

Golchika seemed infested with Eskimo dogs, 
most of them being white and very much like 
wolves, and from time to time setting up inhar- 
monious wolfish howls. One of them was ex- 
tremely handsome, and Mr. Popham having 
expressed a wish to possess one was presented 
with it before leaving. 

The three weeks anchored off Golchika were 
neither very eventful nor interesting. We ex- 
perienced very nasty gales almost all the time, and 


very rarely could we go ashore. We, however, 
wiled away the time by eating, drinking, reading, 
playing, and sleeping, cooped up as we were from 
morning to night in the main cabin. Notwith- 
standing the dreariness of the situation, a slight 
coating of snow varying the monotone gray of the 
coast-line, I never felt dull. Perhaps it was the 
anticipation of excitement and adventure which 
kept me in spirits. 

Meanwhile, when the river was calm, the 
Orestes was busy discharging her rails on to 
the lighters. The Minusinsk was also getting 
ready to go as soon as posssible up the river to 
Yeneseisk, to take despatches and letters for the 
Russian Government. No news could have been 
received of our little fleet since our leaving the 
Pet Straits, and the much dreaded Kara Sea was 
sure to cause a certain amount of anxiety. 

The sameness of our daily routine was broken 
one day by the announcement of our projected 
intention of all going up the river to Yeneseisk 
and sleighing home via Krasnoiarsk, Tobolsk, 
Tiumen, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. 


This sudden change in our programme naturally 
caused a considerable ebullition of spirits, and for 
several days filled us with the hope of entering the 
very heart of Siberia. We kept discussing sug- 
gested changes and making endless arrangements 
to carry out the project. We even went on board 
the Russian river paddle-steamer to secure accom- 
modation, which was nice though rather primitive. 
However all this fell through after a time, much 
to my disappointment. I was longing to see more 
of Siberian life and people, and something of 
Russia and all her interesting inhabitants. Life 
is said to be made up of one long string of dis- 
appointments, so I cheerfully acquiesced in my 
fate, and should advise all my readers to do like- 
wise under similar circumstances. 

Taking advantage of a fine day, we rowed 
ashore to take a walk over the tundra. On land- 
ing up the creek we found the ground extremely 
swampy, and had it not been for some excellent 
galoshes purchased at Vardoe, I should have 
fared very ill. We found a sledge, to which were 
harnessed five reindeer splendid animals, waiting 


with extreme patience. They are about four feet 
in height, and perhaps four to five feet in length, 
with huge branching antlers, covered at this 
period of the year with soft velvet. The colour 
of those we saw was mostly white, tinged 
with brown all down the back. They are strong 
powerful animals, but looked very gentle and 
good-natured. When alive the animal draws the 
sledge, and when dead its flesh is eaten and the 
skin used for tent and clothing. 

One of the reindeer attached to the sledge 
which we saw, looked lame, and was soon con- 
demned as unfit for service. A Samoyede and 
his wife shortly afterwards appeared on the scene 
and began to remove the fine reindeer from the 
others. Thinking they were only going to pat it 
and take it home, I followed them to see the 
result, but to my horror and amazement the 
uncanny old Samoyede produced a hatchet, and, 
striking the animal a severe blow on the head, 
felled it in a moment. Turning the reindeer over, 
he plunged a knife behind the shoulder into the 
heart, in order to allow the blood to flow straight 


into the stomach, and not saturate the whole 
body, thus in a very few seconds putting an end 
to this graceful animal. It made a great impres- 
sion upon me, and yet I could not tear myself away 
from the scene. I learnt afterwards that this 
sudden act of butchery was owing to the old 
Samoyede wanting to gain a little money from 
our fleet in exchange for a leg or shoulder of 

After this we proceeded on our stroll and came 
across several curious-looking objects dotted about. 
On approaching we found them to be wooden 
sledges, covered up with furs. My curiosity led 
me to make a nearer inspection. To my horror 
I found that these sledges formed the burial-place 
of the Samoyedes. The dead bodies are thus 
placed on them, covered with their furs, and left 
exposed. On removing the rug I also perceived 
the decayed carcass of a dog lying next to the 
corpse. I was told that it was the Samoyede 
custom to kill a favourite Eskimo dog whenever a 
death occurs. We met with many of these burial- 
places, some quite tiny sledges, containing babies, 


others apparently empty, with only bones strewn 
round about. I suspect wild animals are often to 
be seen prowling around. 

The weather was nice and bright, but before 
we had time to return a snowstorm overtook us. 
In rowing back to the Blencathra such nasty 
choppy waves arose that I was alarmed, and on 
our way home we stopped and called on the 
Russian officers on board the schooner. Their 
kind hospitality once again made itself felt, and 
only after we had partaken of wine and various 
refreshments were we allowed to depart. Al- 
though I never indulge in spirits of any kind, I 
could not refuse what was offered, as a token of 
good-will, and as it gave me the chance of raising 
a glass to the happiness and well-being of our 
kind friends. 

The next day, September the nth, was the 
Czar's birthday, and it was similarly acknowledged 
and celebrated with due honour and respect. The 
weather was glorious, a brilliant sunshine illumin- 
ating the weird scenery. Salutes were repeatedly 
fired, and our combined fleets were bedecked 


with flags, looking extremely bright. I could 
hardly believe that I was some 3000 miles dis- 
tant from England, several hundreds of miles from 
civilisation, and only about 19 degrees from the 
North Pole. Yet there I was, body and soul, in 
the very heart of the mighty Yenesei River. In 
the afternoon of the same day the Minu- 
sinsk left for Yeneseisk, a town situated 1500 
miles up the river. She was under the command 
of Robert Wiggins, brother to the eminent navi- 
gator, and, as it turned out, successfully reached 
her destination on October the i3th, having 
accomplished the distance in thirty-three days. 

On the 1 3th of September a strong gale of wind 
sprang up, lasting with extreme violence several 
days. Although at anchor the motion was most 

Two of the Russian barges, which had just 
been loaded with a cargo of rails, unfortunately 
met with a disaster. 

As no assistance could be given, they began 
to sink rapidly, much to our distress. No lives, 
however, were lost. The lighters seemed unfit to 


carry such a weight, especially under unexpected 
circumstances, such as this hurricane. The 
barometer had stood at 29.40, but very shortly 
afterwards had fallen as low as 28.80, a fall which, 
according to the skipper, was not to be looked 
upon with indifference. 

Great excitement prevailed when the news 
spread that the Russian vessels were beginning 
to drag their anchors, and as we were all anchored 
more or less close together, we feared a collision. 
However, what might have proved unpleasant 
was luckily averted. The Russian vessels battled 
heroically with the waves, and the officers, 
deeming it advisable to make for the opposite 
shore, steamed across to seek shelter. 

Next morning we were likewise to meet with 
the same fate. Our anchors began to drag, and 
as the sandy bank extended to some considerable 
distance from the shore, the result might have 
caused some damage to the yacht. At an early 
hour the noise of the sailors up on deck awak- 
ened in me some suspicion. Hearing the gale 
howling, the waves lashing in fury, and sharp 


orders being given, I began to realise what was 
going on, and very soon afterwards a familiar 
voice came to warn me to get up and dress, in 
case of any mishap. 

Throwing a glance out of the port-hole, the 
very look of that nasty cold sea sent shivers 
down my back. Instead of dwelling on any means 
of escape, I merely heaped all the cloaks I could 
find on my bed, and, diving under the bedclothes, 
I calmly awaited events. My idea was, that if 
I were to die or drown, why not do so comfort- 

Fully twenty minutes elapsed before I dared 
uncover my head to listen to what might be going 
on, when, on doing so, I found everything peaceful 
and the yacht anchored off the opposite coast. 
Skilful manoeuvring had dispelled all fear of 
impending danger. Alone the Orestes resisted 
the waves, nobly withstanding their attacks, 
and only from desire to keep company did she 
follow in our wake. It seemed hardly credible 
that one could expect to witness such dreadful 
gales on a river which, on this occasion so 


treacherous, at other times smooth and still as 
a looking-glass, had won our trust and con- 

But very often, as in other cases, appearances 
are deceptive, for I expect that, being so near 
the wide expanse, which extends to a breadth 
of forty miles, it was almost like being in open 
sea, and the wind veering round the corner 
burst as it were upon us in all its fury. 

Lying at anchor, opposite Golchika, we en- 
joyed considerable shelter, and the Orestes was 
able to continue the trans-shipment of the rails, 
which was actively carried on. Several Samoyede 
tents were to be seen clustering near the beach. 

We were longing, after so many days of 
seclusion, to stretch our contracted limbs again, 
and to make acquaintance with the inhabitants 
on the left bank. A lovely bright day favoured 
our intentions. On September the iSth the 
gentlemen, armed with guns, and the ladies 
accompanying them, we all set forth, imbued 
with interest and curiosity, for a day's sport. 
On landing we were greeted by a whole tribe of 


Samoyede women, children, and dogs. The 
men were out fishing. We laughed and joked, 
and soon were on familiar terms by means of 

They asked us into their tents, which are 
entirely made up of reindeer skins. In the roof 
is an aperture for the smoke to escape. On 
either side were wooden benches, covered with 
furs, shared by two families. The smell was 
dreadful, and I could almost see the walls alive 
with vermin. In fact I was told that almost 
every night, on divesting themselves of their 
clothes, the Samoyedes make a regular search 
and hunt after repulsive insects. I was so terri- 
fied at the possibility of their imparting these 
favourites to me that I kept somewhat at a 
respectful distance. Shortly afterwards the men 
appeared on the scene and chimed in most 
amicably. We gave them some tobacco, of 
which they are inordinately fond. 

Meanwhile we had sent for provisions from 
the Blencathra. Their gratitude, on seeing any 
amount of tea, sugar, fancy biscuits, wine, etc., 


. : 

was inexpressible, especially when, after a time, 
they began to realise our friendly intentions. 

It struck me very much to see the old Samo- 
yede, apparently chief of the little colony, in- 
stantly producing several roubles as recompense for 
our gift, no doubt the money he had just received 
for his reindeer from the Russians. We, how- 
ever, declined his offer. Instead Mr. James car- 
ried off a sledge as a curiosity, and Mr. Popham a 
small Siberian dog, an act they seemed fully to 
endorse. The port wine produced a most amus- 
ing effect. Before we had time to offer any 
assistance they had broken the neck of the 
bottle, and spilling half the contents on the 
ground, poured it out into a sort of wooden bowl. 
This they all sipped in turns, highly delighted, 
the result being that their spirits were greatly 

At the close of these comical proceedings we 
began to move over the mosses of the tundras 
in search of sport. Here also the ground was 
extremely marshy, with a stretch of country 
gloomy and uninviting, to which the lack of 


trees gave a peculiar air of desolation. We had 
walked but a short distance when we came upon 
quite a flock of apparently white birds. Our 
approach did not seem to frighten them in the 
slightest degree. The gentlemen waited for a 
favourable moment, and, on firing, several fell 
victims to the guns. The birds proved to be 
ptarmigan, splendid game, and just losing the 
last of their pretty brown plumage in anticipa- 
tion of winter. The whole afternoon we kept 
pursuing them, which presented no difficulty, 
as, unaccustomed to being molested, they were 
quite tame and fearless. Eventually we re- 
turned on board, with a full bag of ptarmigan. 
We feasted on them for several days. The 
flavour was most delicate and delicious, to my 
taste greatly exceeding our grouse in quality. 
In Siberian they are termed " Rabschish." 

I here take occasion, by way of parenthesis, to 
mention with highest commendation the excellent 
capabilities of James' patent folding canvas boat. 
Much was the pleasure and advantage we derived 
throughout our voyage from its use. The 


wonderful little skiff was always ready at a 
moment's notice to convey us through still or 
stormy waters to visit the shore. Diminutive in 
size and light in weight, only two seconds were 
required to get it ready for sea, and yet so strong 
was it that no feeling of insecurity was entertained 
as we committed ourselves to its apparently fragile 
structure. Frequently four persons of our com- 
pany, no feather-weights either, desirous of going 
ashore without appealing to any of the crew for 
aid, and accompanied by several dogs, availed 
themselves of this handy and trustworthy little 
vessel. To any ocean-loving adventurer there- 
fore, whom it may concern, and who may happen to 
read these lines, I strongly recommend James' 
folding canvas boat. 

Later in the afternoon some of the Samoyedes 
came on board to return our visit. The women 
looked very smart in their fur cloaks, made up of 
small bits of various skins, inserted and orna- 
mented with coloured pieces of cloth. They 
seemed so proud, and kept showing themselves 
off, greatly rejoicing in our admiration of them ; 


and I am sure they were quite unable to take 
in all they witnessed on board the Blencathra, 
for they looked amazed. It was with quite a 
feeling of regret that we bade them good-bye. 
For a moment I tried to imagine myself in their 
position, left alone during the terrible long arctic 
winter, away from civilisation and means of easy 
sustenance. How dreadful the awful solitude 
must be, with life thus spent in patient endurance, 
year after year ! The thought that I was return- 
ing to the land of plenty, with every comfort and 
enjoyment, made me feel all the more sensitive 
to the dreary joyless existence led by these 
distant tribes. Poor uncivilised human beings, 
left on the cold howling tundra ! are they perhaps 
happier thus, living in ignorance of the pomps 
and vanities of our civilised world ? Nature is 
all they can look to and live for. May they never 
know worse. 

Time was now drawing on, and days were 
beginning to close in. We also were soon to 
take a last farewell of our Siberian surroundings, 
and direct our course once more homewards. 


Final arrangements had been concluded. 
Captain Wiggins decided on accompanying the 
Russian fleet up the river to Yeneseisk, much to 
our regret, as his familiar voice and face would 
be sorely missed on our return voyage. The 
Russian naval officer, Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy, 
offered him a berth on board the paddle-steamer, 
where he was to meet with every kindness and 

On September iQth our stay, by no means 
without interest, was brought to a close. The 
three weeks anchored in the Yenesei River will 
ever remain a memorable feature of my youthful 
days, and in years to come will form an enduring 
and eventful episode in my life. My mind had 
certainly grown richer by a thousand new im- 
pressions, never likely to fade. 

In the evening Captain Wiggins and the 
Russian officers came on board the Blencathra 
to bid us farewell. It was not without emotion 
that we parted after so many pleasant days. It 
seemed strange to imagine our little fleet thus 
split up, with only the Orestes and Blencathra to 


face the homeward voyage through the Kara 
Sea ; while, on the other hand, the three Russian 
vessels with three lighters in tow were to accom- 
plish a voyage of 1 500 miles up the river before 
ultimately reaching their destination. Up on 
deck late at night I witnessed for the last time 
the glorious evening closing in upon us, produc- 
ing a strange effect on the surrounding scenery, 
which I am never likely to see again. 

Before quitting this summer residence I feel 
compelled to say a few words of this grand and 
mighty river, the Yenesei. Siberia is drained by 
three large rivers, the Obi, Yenesei, and Lena, 
which form the most remarkable water-system in 
the world. 

The Yenesei drains, of course, an enormous 
area, its remotest branches originating in Mon- 
golia, in the Tannu Range of the Altai Moun- 
tains. According to geographical statistics, its 
length is given at about 3220 miles, and following 
a somewhat straight course, it discharges its waters 
into the Arctic Ocean. It is joined on its 
northerly course by several rivers, more especially 


on its right bank. The three principal towns situ- 
ated on the Yenesei are Minusinsk, Krasnoiarsk, 
and Yeneseisk. At Golchika the river becomes 
narrower, extending barely over a breadth of 
four and a half miles. Shortly afterwards it ex- 
pands like a lake, extending in width over more 
than forty miles, and forming a huge delta and 
lagoon, interspersed with low islands. The water, 
somewhat dark in colour, constitutes a pure 
fresh drink. The fishing, which is abundant, 
consists of white salmon, sturgeon, sterlet, 
herring, and several other kinds of fish, only 
known by their Russian names, such as muxoon, 
efc. The Yenesei is one of, if not the most, 
magnificent of rivers, in fact the immense volume 
of water which it pours forth probably exceeds 
that of any other river. 


Homeward bound Cold, gales, and fog Aground We agair 
meet Mr. Jackson We steer for Archangel The Koh 
Peninsula and the White Sea We surprise the Custom 
House officers In the Dwina We reach Solombola. 

ON September the 2oth at 5 A.M. the Orestes and 
Blencathra weighed anchor from Golchika, to 
resume the homeward voyage. 

Notwithstanding the early dawn, I cast a last 
glance of farewell on the little Russian fleet, 
which was also in readiness to get under way. 
It was a dull dreary day, snowing at intervals, 
and intensely cold. The scenery looked more 
dismal than ever. The Blencathra sailed and 
steamed alternately until the evening, when the 
Orestes took us in tow. 

The Orestes, in the absence of the well-known 
figure on her bridge, was now under command of 
Captain Furneaux, a keen and able seafaring 


man, who, although these polar regions were 
unfamiliar to him, acquitted himself most admir- 

At 6.30 P.M. we were off Port Dickson ; the 
night was frigid indeed, and I began to realise 
the feeling suggestive of an arctic winter. 

My diary on the 2ist September gives our 
position in latitude 73 .43 r , sighting a good deal 
of ice, slackening speed and steering carefully. 
Towards evening a strong westerly wind sprung 
up, with frequent thick showers of snow. Baro- 
meter 29.40. The following day, 22nd Septem- 
ber, the wind had freshened into a strong breeze, 
occasioning a very uneasy motion. The cold 
had become severe. The thermometer marked 
20 degrees of frost, undoubtedly the coldest 
day experienced during the whole of the voyage. 
The bows of the Orestes and Blencathra were 
covered with a thick coating of ice, from the tow- 
rope hung huge icicles, fringing also the deck 
and rigging, and producing quite a fairy-like 

Had it not been for the pitching and rolling, 


I should greatly have enjoyed this fantastic sight. 
My diary on September 23rd records a heavy 
gale of wind, strong head-sea, with fog and rain. 

We were unable to do anything except listen 
to the wind as it howled through the rigging, 
seeming only to become more penetrating at 
every fresh burst. The waves dashing against 
the ship, however, seemed to distract me, as I 
lay tossing miserably about in my berth, unable 
to find a centre of gravity to escape the continual 
undulating roll, but without any uneasiness re- 
sulting from a sense of insecurity. 

No doubt the steady old Pandora, with her 
trustworthy crew, had filled me with implicit 
confidence, which was fully maintained to the 
very end. 

At first, I will admit, unaccustomed to yacht- 
ing, and quite a novice at sea, the slightest 
motion or noise used immediately to arouse my 
apprehensions, and I nervously asked, to the 
amusement of the sailors, " Is it safe?" A little 
experience, however, soon taught me there was 
no danger likely to occur which I could not meet 


with coolness and self-possession. Such is the 
lesson of experience at sea. 

At 9 P.M. the tow-rope snapped, under the 
weight, no doubt, of the heavy-laden icicles. 
Accordingly we steamed apart and lost sight 
of one another, the Orestes seeming bent on a 
different course. 

On September 24th the gale at last subsided 
into a calm. I rose early and went up on deck, 
but soon had to repair below again. Ice was 
being shaken down in great quantities from the 
rigging. The temperature was still very low, 
and a nasty fog was beginning to close in 
upon us. 

In the course of the afternoon we sighted a 
considerable amount of ice, and steamed through 
large ice-floes, meandering, so to speak, in the 
midst of them. The effect was strikingly weird. 
Being of a soft kind, however, the drift ice pre- 
sented no difficulty, the Blencathra being a yacht 
specially adapted for such navigation. 

We even went so far as to put her utmost 
capabilities to the test, for meeting with a large 


sheet of ice ahead, we steered boldly at and suc- 
cessfully through it. The shock, however, was 
apparent. Towards noon the fog, which had 
hung densely around, gradually lifted, disclosing 
a lovely gloriously-coloured sunset. 

It was whispered that our position at that 
moment was uncertain. We had kept steering a 
south-west course, but still with no charts to refer 
to, and an unreliable compass, we were more or 
less in ignorance as to our whereabouts. 

Owing also to the fog no observations could 
be taken, and land not being visible, all seemed 
desolation, wild and dreary. 

Accordingly we dropped anchor at 10 P.M., 
hoping with dawn to resume our course. The 
following morning, 25th September, anchor was 
weighed at 5.30 A.M. The fog was again thick. 
We were steaming slowly, and kept the lead 
going continually in from five to seven fathoms 
of water. 

During the course of the forenoon, however, 
as I was sitting down below writing my diary, 
a curious grating sound and sudden stopping of 


To face page 92. 


the engines suggested our having gone aground, 
and to rush up on deck was of course only a 
matter of a few seconds. 

Shortly afterwards, with the fog gradually 
lifting, we found ourselves barely a few yards 
from the shore, which turned out to be the 
familiar bleak coast-line of Waigatz Island. 

No time was lost in lowering a boat to ascer- 
tain the condition of the tide. 

Great excitement prevailed, which helped to 
break the long monotony of the voyage through 
the Kara Sea. 

With characteristic instinctiveness and quick- 
ness of perception Mr. Popham carried out his ideas, 
and steering the Blencathra full speed ahead, and 
then full speed astern, realised his anticipations. 

We were once more afloat, and, owing to the 
sandy soil, the Blencathra escaped unscathed. 

Meanwhile the natives of Waigatz Island had 
turned out on the beach a motley crowd of men, 
women, and children to witness our doings. 

Their curiosity resulted in four Samoyedes 
rowing towards us, and shortly afterwards one 


after the other clambered on board. Needless 
to add that their delight was great, and their 
surprise still greater, as they calmly watched the 
crew's proceedings. 

Finally the fog lifted entirely, and once more we 
were directing our course towards Khabarova, 
the little village which had witnessed, on our out- 
ward journey, our first acquaintance with Siberian 
territory and its natives. As we dropped anchor 
off this quaint fishing station we were greeted by 
a familiar figure sitting in a Berthon boat. 

Much to our surprise we recognised Mr. 

We had, it will be remembered, deposited him 
among the Samoyedes, his intention being to 
explore the unknown inland peninsula of Yalmal, 
and to spend a winter there, in the hope of 
ultimately putting into execution his projects with 
regard to the North Pole. 

He came on board and enlivened us all with 
an account of his varied experiences since 
bidding us farewell. 

He had only just returned from exploring the 


Waigatz Island, accompanied by a Samoyede and 
his wife as guides. The fact of his having so far 
abandoned his previously settled intention with 
respect to Yalmal, was owing to the ground not 
being as yet covered with its thick white mantle, 
thus rendering locomotion by means of sledge 
and reindeer somewhat precarious. 

He seemed quite happy amongst the Samo- 
yedes, although he had neither friend nor com- 
panion, and was in entire ignorance of their 

A Russian sloop happened to be lying at 
anchor at Khabarova, which accounted for the 
Samoyedes being all more or less in a bac- 
chanalian condition, a plentiful supply of spirit 
having been obtained from the Muscovite ship. 

Mr. Jackson, whose acquaintance with their 
habits was the result of personal association and 
experience, gave us miserable accounts of their 
devotion to spirits, such as vodka, and a decoction 
dignified by the name of brandy. So strong is 
this craving that they are ready to barter every- 
thing they possess in order to gratify their passion 


for drink. Such demoralisation forms a sad 
comment on the practice of carrying civilisation 
to otherwise unsophisticated and simple-minded 

Meanwhile the Orestes had not yet turned 

up, since parting company with us in the Kara 

Mr. Jackson dined and slept on board, which 
he seemed thoroughly to enjoy after such a long 
spell of roughing it. 

On the following day, 26th September, the 
Orestes appeared on the horizon, and in a couple 
of hours was lying at anchor beside us. 

We had not quitted the yacht to go ashore, 
but the steward had gone to bargain for rein- 
deer tongues, which were to form our staple 
food for the next few days. Indeed, they were 
delicious, exquisitely flavoured, and a great 
delicacy, which I not only appreciated from a 
"gourmet" point of view, but from the novelty, 
to me, attached to them. I cared less for the 
venison itself. 

Time was now pressing, and late autumnal 


weather setting in, which greatly diminishes 
the charm of yachting. 

We were anxious to get on, and accordingly, 
once again in tow of the Orestes, we took leave 
of Mr. Jackson, the Samoyedes, and Siberia, 
and steamed through the Pet or Yugor Straits, 
bound for Archangel. The reason of this devia- 
tion in our homeward voyage was owing to 
the Orestes having been unable to discharge 
all the rails on the lighters at Golchika, and 
she was therefore carrying a cargo of noo, 
to be trans-shipped at Archangel. 

Far from being disappointed at this change 
in our programme, I was greatly pleased at the 
thought of seeing a Russian seaport, which 
had been pictured to me as not only of com- 
mercial importance but of interesting sur- 

On the 2;th of September the usual motion 
at sea again upset me, and although far from 
pleasant, I began to look upon sea-sickness merely 
as a matter of course, to be borne with complete 

indifference, and have certainly come to the 



conclusion that no remedy has been found to 
cure this weakness. 

We were now steaming through the waters of 
the Barents Sea, which was particularly devoid of 
any interest or excitement. A dense fog hung 
heavily around, and it was cold, raw, and damp. 

The days were particularly uneventful, no 
sound to be heard but the surging of the waves 
and the thump of the engines. 

On the 28th of September it turned brighter, 
but yet no land was to be seen, and no vessels 
being met with in our course rendered our 
loneliness still more complete. 

As I paced the decks the various aspects of 
the sea brought home to me a familiar passage, 
which I here take occasion to quote : 

Turn to the watery world, but who to thee 

(A wonder yet unviewed) shall paint the sea 

Various and vast, sublime in all its forms, 

When lulled by zephyrs, or when roused by storms ; 

Its colours changing, when from clouds and sun 

Shades after shades upon the surface run, 

Embrowned and horrid now, and then serene 

In limpid blue, and evanescent green, 

And oft the foggy banks on ocean lie, 

Lift the fair sail, and cheat the experienced eye. 


In anticipation of a return to more civilised 
society we spent much of our time on deck, 
talking to the skipper and sailors, with their 
endless stock of adventures, anecdotes, and yarns, 
or else down below in the main cabin, reading 
arctic adventures or playing familiar airs, never 
before heard in these remote regions. 

After rounding Cape Kanin we found our- 
selves coasting along the Kola Peninsula, and, 
entering on September 2Qth the White Sea or 
Bieloie More, we were once more within reach of 
our destination. Russian fishing-crafts now kept 
sailing by in large numbers, awakening in us 
quite a spirit of delight at the approach of a 
grand seaport. English steamers were also to 
be seen laden with timber from Archangel home- 
ward bound. At 4 P.M. we were off Cape Orlov, 
presenting by its conspicuous lighthouse a feature 
on the otherwise unbroken sombre coast-line of 
the Kola Peninsula. 

The White Sea was very calm as we steamed 
along on its pellucid waters, but I am told it 
is often subject to frightful squalls and storms, 


which lash the coast with great fury. The 
width of the inland sea in some parts is con- 
siderable, and, while coasting along, the opposite 
shore is invisible : navigation is only open during 
four months of the year. 

About the 2Oth of October winter sets in, 
making a sudden irruption without prelude or 
warning. The White Sea is entirely frozen 
over in a very short time, and remains so until 
the breaking up of the ice at the end of May. 

On the 3Oth September we were steaming 
along the eastern shore, and were delighted to 
be once more within limit of luxurious vegeta- 
tion, after gazing for so many weeks on barren 

Indeed, as we moved south, the shore 
gradually opened to us the aspect of thick forests 
of pine and fir trees. Meanwhile the crew were 
busy polishing up the decks, dabbing paint here 
and there, and trimming up the ship so spick and 
span, to look as if we were on an easy summer 
cruise, rather than returning from a perilous expedi- 
tion to the remote waters of the Great Yenesei. 


At noon we stopped alongside Morjovet Island, 
where was stationed a light -ship, with a signal 
flying, denoting pilots to be had. Shortly after- 
wards we saw a boat rowing towards us with 
Russian Custom - House officers. Their first 
question on approaching us was with regard 
to our health ; secondly, whence we hailed. 
The answer, " From the Yenesei River, Siberia," 
pronounced with pride and emphasis, completely 
took them aback. They gazed at us in amaze- 
ment, and not till after we had repeated the 
same reply over and over again did they seem 
to understand. 

We then began to realise that we had actually 
achieved something to be proud of, by a voyage 
which we had hitherto regarded as nothing re- 
markable, owing to the comfortable and delightful 
auspices under which it had been conducted. 

Taking a pilot on board for navigation up the 
river Dwina, we resumed our course. 

The Orestes had dropped the tow-rope and 
was heading us. 

Crossing the bar, we entered the mouth of the 


river, and gradually became enraptured by its 
winding course, at times so narrow that the 
banks looked as if likely to close in upon us at 
every turn. The steering was excellent, and we 
all clustered near the helm in admiration of the 
brave old pilot's skill, by which we threaded and 
glided through the sinuosities and intricate 
navigation of our passage. The scenery was 
magnificent, the trees exhibiting varied hues of 
brilliant autumnal colouring. I cannot remember 
to have ever been so much impressed by the 
beauties of nature. Perhaps the dreary Siberian 
soil having been for so many weeks the object of 
my daily gaze somewhat accounted for this burst 
of enthusiasm. 

The weather had turned exceedingly mild, 
and the evening was glorious. 

At 6 P.M. we finally reached Solombola, and 
dropped anchor off this island, situated at only a 
short distance from Archangel and connected 
with it by means of a bridge. Business being, as 
a rule, conducted here, accounted for our not 
lying off Archangel. 


No sooner had we dropped anchor than we 
thought of going ashore. The Custom -House 
officers, however, not having been on board to 
conclude the necessary formalities, no one was 
allowed to quit the ship. 

Eventually they turned up. Two of them 
appeared in uniform, accompanied by an inter- 
preter. We were thoroughly cross -questioned, 
and our respective answers put down on paper. 

The ladies' presence particularly puzzled them. 
They could not believe we had thus voluntarily 
accompanied the expedition to the Yenesei, 
braved the perils of the Kara Sea, and all dangers 
attached to arctic exploration. I suppose they 
looked upon us as very eccentric beings ; but I 
afterwards heard that we were the subjects of 
much admiration and astonishment, on account of 
the dangers and the novelty of our enterprise. 


The city of Archangel Its trade, rise, and decline A drive in a 
droshki Lunch and Russian music We visit the Museum 
and the Cathedral Fairs and furs The love of vodka 
A shooting party The Monastery of Solavetski We part 
company with the Orestes. 

THE city of Archangel, situated on the right bank 
of the river North Dwina, was founded in 1584 
under the name of New Cholmagor ; twenty-nine 
years later the name was changed to that of 
Archangel, from the monastery dedicated to the 
Archangel Michael. The province is three times 
the size of England, and stretches from the Lap- 
land coast to the Ural Mountains, including the 
islands of Kolguiev, Waigatz, and Novaia Zemlia. 
The population of 338,715 inhabitants includes 
Korelians, Zirians, Samoyedes, and Lapps. 
Archangel's chief historical importance lies in the 
fact of its having been the first and for a long 


time the only port of Russia. The distinguished 
and ill-fated explorer, Chancellor, touched there 
with his expedition, from which time dates the 
importance of the place from a commercial point 
of view. 

In 1693 Peter the Great visited Archangel, 
and built there the first Russian ship, besides an 
Admiralty House and a wharf at Solombola. At 
the beginning of this century, in the reign of 
Alexander I., Archangel was most thriving and 
of great importance, owing to Napoleon having 
closed all the ports of Europe against English 
ships with the exception of Archangel, so that a 
large trade was actively carried on with Great 
Britain. From the time of the Crimean war, 
however, when an English squadron under the 
command of Captain Erasmus Ommany block- 
aded the White Sea and stopped all commerce, 
the trade of Archangel declined. The English 
colony left, Germans took their place, and so far 
it has never recovered the blow. " But times are 
altered, trades unfeeling train " has passed to 
younger and more active rivals, and while newer 


and less inaccessible ports have enjoyed the 
advantages of a later civilisation, the ancient seat 
of Russia's foreign trade is still almost an outcast 
from all. More than 600 miles sever Archangel 
from all railway communication, and only one 
telegraphic wire at present connects it with 
the capital. Such trade as exists is now 
mostly carried on by English steamers, of which 
90 to 130 visit the port each season, whilst, on 
account of the heavy tax recently imposed on 
German ships, an increase of tariff dues amount- 
ing from ten kopeks per ton to two roubles, the 
German commercial trade is almost completely 
extinguished. The chief article of export is 
timber, imports being very limited, as nearly all 
ships come in with ballast after discharging coal 
at Norwegian ports on their way. 

In old days officials in disgrace were banished 
to Archangel, while in the present day those who 
are found guilty of dishonest practices are sent 
here, with perfect liberty to go where they like or 
to do what they like, provided they remain in the 
district. Almost all the business people of Arch- 


angel are of German extraction, very few of 
English origin, but at present their families are 
mostly Russianised in feeling and habits. 

The morning following our arrival at Solom- 
bola, the ist of October, we resolved to drive over 
to Archangel to gain an impression of Russian 
life, as it is presented in this ancient seaport. 
Several droshkis had been ordered, and the 
weather having turned exceedingly mild, we were 
full of joyous expectations. 

The droshkis are most curious-looking vehicles, 
unfitted with a hood, and generally so small that 
two people can barely occupy with ease and com- 
fort the space allotted to each. On the other 
hand, some are constructed much after the fashion 
of an Irish jaunting car, on which travellers sit back 
to back, journeying along sideways, when no little 
adroitness is required to keep yourselves steady on 
your seats ; but those who have acquired the art 
of cleverly adjusting themselves to the situation, 
hold that it is a very comfortable vehicle, and by 
no means unsociable, in spite of appearances to 
the contrary. 


Off we went in our respective droshkis, bump- 
ing and jolting most fearfully over uneven roads, 
falling and rising occasionally in and out of a deep 
rut with a crash and a bump that sent the mud 
splashing all over us. The little Russian ponies 
are very speedy, and tore off at quite an alarming 
rate, landing us in a very short time in Archangel. 
Our impression was in many respects not in ac- 
cordance with our anticipations. 

The town, as we approached it, presented on 
the whole and at first sight a most decayed and 
squalid appearance. The streets are dirty, and 
the pavements little better. However, a confused 
mass of buildings, minarets, and churches, with 
their star-spangled domes and gold crosses flash- 
ing in the sun, offered rather a pretty coup d'ceil. 
Very few houses built of stone are to be seen ; they 
are mostly of wood, consist but of one floor, and 
present a most picturesque aspect with their 
emerald green and crushed-strawberry coloured 
wooden roofs. This harmonious blending of 
delicate tints gives an agreeable colouring to the 
natural features of the town, of which the principal 


street is Troitski Prospect, and on further acquaint- 
ance we thought the panorama extremely pretty, 
and quite unlike anything we had ever seen before. 
What struck me on first passing through the 
streets was, to all outward appearance, the entire 
absence of shops, which as a rule give so much 
local colouring and life to a place. Of course 
there are shops, but from the outside they are un- 
recognisable, as no goods are displayed in the win- 
dows. I was told that this is a custom throughout 
most Russian towns, where the intense cold dur- 
ing the winter months necessitates double and 
sometimes treble windows. 

For lunch we directed our steps to what we 
were told to be the best restaurant in Archangel, 
the approach to which was far from tempting. 
However we went in. A large collection of 
tradespeople and peasants were sitting at separate 
tables, enjoying a curious sort of repast of pickled 
cucumbers and vodka. The heat was overpower- 
ing, and we had again to undergo a former 
experience of a musty stuffy atmosphere with a 
curious smell prevailing of something like rotten 


leather. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, we 
sat down to our lunch. The beer, called quass, 
manufactured from fermented grain and greatly 
relished by the Russians, was pronounced to be 
very good. 

During our repast a band performed. Russian 
music is intensely melancholy, most of the national 
melodies being in the minor key, wailing and 
lamenting, with little time or rhythm, like those 
of the Tsiganes. 

After our experience of the oppressive atmo- 
sphere and strange surroundings we departed to 
seek for curiosities, in search of shops where such 
may be found, but in that respect Archangel is 
very deficient. We first directed our steps 
towards the Museum, a tumble-down miserable- 
looking building, containing three or four small 
rooms crowded with all sorts of relics. The 
strangest object that interested me most was the 
skeleton of a mammoth. I only wished the flesh- 
less monster could have answered a few questions 
as to the life of his time, and how he got on with 
primitive man, whether he had to work for his 


living under human domination, or how many 
men he had killed, and who or what killed him. 
These and a few more questions it would be 
interesting to have answered by an intelligent 
mammoth with a good memory. 

At 5 P.M. we attended the Greek service at the 
Cathedral, which forms a conspicuous feature in 
the square. The outer walls are decorated with 
paintings of religious subjects, and the spires are 
of gilt with emerald-green tints freely displayed. 
The interior presented a most gaudy appearance, 
with much richness of decoration and massive 
gold ikons plastered with gems. The priest was 
robed in gorgeous vestments, and conducted the 
service in a very solemn manner, earnest and 
impressive. There being no seats, the congrega- 
tion necessarily stood during the service, only 
varying their position by a constant dropping on 
the knees, prostrating their foreheads to the 
ground, and making the sign of the cross, the 
reverse way to the Roman Catholic devotee. As 
in all Greek Churches, the Cathedral service was 
devoid of instrumental music ; only vocal sounds 


are to be heard, which, indeed, are most melo- 
dious. The choir contained two splendid bass 
voices, the effect of which was very grand. 

At the conclusion of the service, about 6.30 P.M., 
we walked towards Solombola, but, with no 
artificial light in the streets, we could hardly 
grope our way about on the wooden pavement, 
not in quite as smooth a condition as might have 
been wished. So we called a droshki, a shabby 
vehicle, one of those shaped like the Irish car ; 
and so, back to back, we homeward sped. 

Far from finding it cold at Archangel, we 
enjoyed during the whole of our stay a spell of 
very mild weather, so that we were enabled to 
steam about in our little launch every day, towards 
the town, where a fair happened to be going on, 
in which a motley crowd was to be seen, giving 
one a very good idea of national life. A varied 
assortment of articles for household use and 
personal adornment was displayed, also furs and 
leather goods, the unpleasant odour from which I 
have already alluded to. As I had acquired the 
knowledge of a few Russian words, I now made 


some purchases, amongst other things, as a 
curiosity, of several wooden spoons used by the 
Russian peasants to eat their food, and while at 
Golchika I had the honour of being presented 
with one by the priest of Turukhansk. What 
particularly took my fancy was a peculiar fur, 
which I was told was very rare, called vulpes 
crucigera, a variety of the canis vulpes ; of a soft 
gray colour with a beautifully marked black cross 
down the back. It is the fur of quite young foxes, 
who, when they grow older, completely change 
their colour. As a rule it is a mistake to suppose 
that good furs can be purchased only in Russia, 
for most of these are sent to England, and it is a 
fact that even Russians come to London for their 
furs, where they are much better made up than in 
their own country. 

One afternoon as we were walking along the 
quay we happened to see a yacht at anchor near 
Archangel. On approaching, it turned out to be 
the Nordenskiold, belonging to Mr. Siberiakoff. 
With our usual inquisitiveness we proposed going 
on board and having a look round, when the 


Russian captain appearing on deck, invited us to 
his cabin and received us with warm hospitality. 
Champagne was instantly ordered, and we did not 
fail to drink to the health and to the well-being of 
a country and people from whom we had met 
with such kindness and cordiality. Afterwards 
we sat some time conversing with the captain, 
who had a very good knowledge of German, 
which greatly facilitated our intercourse, until, as 
it began to get dusk, we bade adieu to our 
friendly host. Judging from our experience, there 
can be no people in the world who are more 
genuinely kind and hospitable to strangers than 
the Russians. They possess in an eminent degree 
that ease and grace of manner, and an undefinable 
attraction which is so socially captivating. 

Leaving the Nordenskiold, we walked to- 
wards the landing stage, to find our little steam- 
launch ready to convey us back to Solombola. 
Never shall I forget the exquisite beauty of that 
homeward trip, under an indigo sky irradiated 
with millions of shimmering worlds, each one 
seeming to be a gigantic diamond, the brilliancy 


of which darkened the neighbouring spaces to 
illimitable and mystic depths. We then glided 
swiftly through the still placid waters studded with 
the reflection of countless glittering stars. The 
spires and buildings of the city clustering round 
the golden dome of the Cathedral loomed out in 
the twilight with enhanced size and grandeur, yet 
at the same time clear and distinct as at noonday, 
more like a dream than a waking experience, 
whilst the mildness of the atmosphere gave an 
additional charm. 

Archangel, viewed from the river, at some 
distance, forms a lovely picture which, alas, fades 
almost immediately on stepping into its midst, for 
the love of vodka seems to reign supreme among 
the people, and too frequently one is shocked by 
the sight of victims to excessive indulgence in this 
prevalent taste. 

The surroundings of Archangel are exceedingly 
pretty. Numbers of picturesque little islands are to 
be seen dotted promiscuously about on the north 
bank of the Dwina, and of an afternoon we often 
employed our time in exploring them. There is 


excellent shooting to be had on the mainland : of 
wild animals may be mentioned the bear, wolf, 
fox, reindeer, hare, etc. But few people visit Arch- 
angel, and only two English yachts have been 
there during the last six or seven years, the 
Thistle, belonging to the Duke of Hamilton, and 
the Blencathra. 

Before leaving Archangel, Mr. James was 
asked to join a shooting expedition. These 
excursions generally take place on a Sunday. 
The party consisted of half a dozen sports- 
men. They called for Mr. James at 8 P.M., and 
steamed up the Dwina in a little steam-launch. 
The whole night was spent in playing cards, 
drinking, and smoking till 4 A.M. on Sunday 
morning, when the destination having been 
reached they all landed to begin their day's 
shooting. Beaters had been provided before- 
hand, consisting of a number of little boys, who 
with cowbells made enough noise to frighten any 
one out of their senses. This commotion, how- 
ever, conduced to the desired result. Notwith- 
standing the effects of dissipated hours, the sport 


was conducted with great success, lasting from 
early dawn till twilight, the party returning late 
on Sunday. 

The British Vice-Consul, Mr. Cooke, who has 
been here for many years, was full of amiable 
attentions, and contributed much to the thorough 
enjoyment we derived from our stay. He recom- 
mended a visit to the Monastery of Solavetski, 
the Mecca of Russia, situated on an island in the 
White Sea, at some short distance from Kem on 
the coast of Lapland. Owing to our sudden 
departure from Archangel we were obliged, much 
to our regret, to give up the idea of paying the 
Monastery a visit. This Monastery, it may be 
remembered, the British squadron attempted to 
bombard in 1854, but the shrieks of the sea-gulls, 
like the geese of the Capitol, warded off the 
disaster, and they have been looked upon ever 
since as sacred birds. 

Meantime the Orestes was being laden with 
a freight of timber. Having seen to all final 
arrangements, we thought of resuming our home- 
ward course, and leaving her to follow under the 


command of Captain Furneaux. It was, how- 
ever, with a feeling of regret that we parted 
company after we had acted as convoy to her 
ever since leaving Vardoe. 

Notwithstanding the unfavourable and un- 
pleasant impression produced on first acquaint- 
ance with Archangel, I must admit that with 
time the place began to grow upon one, 
and on leaving I carried away with me a 
hope that this, my first introduction to Russia, 
might not be the last, and that Archangel would 
be the stepping-stone to future visits. The 
germs of love of travel and adventure seem 
so readily to take root that I have every reason 
to cherish the thought of the realisation of my 


Calm and storm We call for letters at Vardoe The aurora 
borealis Rounding the North Cape 121 Ibs. of fish 
for two shillings The northernmost lighthouse in the 
world A sail by night to Tromsoe A Norwegian table 
d'hdte Adventures on the fjords Trondhyem and 
Christiansund Through troubled waters to Dundee. 


It was with a feeling of irrepressible delight 
that I welcomed the familiar sound of the weigh- 
ing of the anchor at Solombola at 8.30 A.M. on 
the 1 2th October. It was getting unpleasantly cold 
and damp, days were closing in, very much 
curtailing our favourite saunters on deck, which 
after all constitutes much of the enjoyment of 
a sea-cruise. Our stock of chatter had by this 
time been considerably drawn upon, our music 
had been played and strummed over and over 
again, books of travel and science had been read, 
digested, and discussed more than once, in fact 


we had rather fallen short of resources for 
mutual amusement or instruction. However, the 
thought of returning once more safe and sound 
to one's home associations, to be the object of 
" much ado " by friends and relations, in other 
words, to have accomplished something out of 
the common, produced in me a feeling of satis- 
faction and contentment which, after all, is pleas- 
ing to every one, notwithstanding the strong 
flavour of vanity which it is sure to imply. But 
youth has the advantages of youth, and among 
them indulgence from those of riper years. 

Onward we steamed down the river Dwina, 
piloted by the same old Muscovite we had had 
previously. The fog being thick, we had to 
bring up at 11.30 A.M., and not till 3 P.M. were 
we able to proceed. During the course of the 
afternoon we dropped our pilot at the light- 
ship. Once again we were in the White Sea, 
enjoying a delightful calm, which contrasted 
all the more cruelly with the fearful gale we were 
about to experience on entering the Murmanian 
Sea, all the way to Vardoe. The object of our 


returning to this " fishy " little island was to 
pick up letters ; we had been without news 
since last quitting Norway, and we were 
pining to hear what had taken place in 
England and abroad since entrusting our pre- 
cious lives to the unknown mysteries of polar 

After passing Cape Orlov a fair wind set in, 
and gradually freshened into a strong north-east 
breeze, with snow squalls. The rolling of the 
ship from side to side was positively alarming, 
beating the record since our first setting out to 
sea. I could not quit my bed for fear of being 
pitched all over the place, but my work was 
amply cut out and my strength fully put to the 
test in trying to hold on to my mattress, an exer- 
cise lasting fully twenty-four hours, with the im- 
possibility of snatching a few minutes' rest. How 
I did pity the poor man at the wheel, steering 
bravely through the snowstorms and squalls ! 
My fate, after all, was nothing compared to his 
situation. However, all things pleasant and un- 
pleasant come to an end, and great was my relief 


when we steamed into the familiar harbour of 
Vardoe, dropping anchor in its quiet waters at 
1 1.30 A.M. on the 1 5th of October. 

All my miseries were soon forgotten on being 
the recipient of a bundle of letters from friends 
and relations. How I relished the contents ! If 
they had caused any waste of time to the senders, 
they would indeed have felt fully recompensed 
could they have witnessed the appreciation and 
welcome showered upon their act of kindness. 
The harbour - master came on board to conduct 
the usual formalities, and Mr. Holmboe, the 
British Consul, called to welcome us back again 
from the icy regions, seeming amazed to see us 
so well and bright after all the perilous experi- 
ences he associated with our expedition. 

Vardoe, this time, appeared to us under quite 
a different aspect, the harbour being deserted by 
its hundreds of fishing craft, which had presented 
during the season a very picturesque feature. 
The little island was sprinkled over with a white 
coating of snow, and the air, impregnated as 
usual with the odours I have described, was on 


this occasion particularly devoid of unpleasant- 
ness. Our stay this time was but of short 
duration. We weighed anchor that same after- 
noon, and committed ourselves to the extreme 
north of Europe. 

Changes of weather are sudden in these latitudes. 
By three o'clock the wind had dropped as if by 
magic, and once again we enjoyed smooth waters. 
The deck was covered with ice and snow, looking 
arctic indeed. After dinner I enjoyed a stroll 
on deck. The heavens presented a sight far too 
grand and imposing to describe. The night was 
remarkably illumined by myriads of stars, perhaps 
worlds, as astronomers might say, but the Polar 
Star outshone its feebler neighbours with such 
brilliancy as by comparison to materially eclipse 
their splendour. 

The greatest phenomenon in the Arctic 
Circle is undoubtedly the effect produced by the 
aurora borealis, whose magic splendour naturally 
excited the keenest observation. No one has 
been able to paint in words this extraordinary 
vision, which seems to strike a chord in the heart 


of the spectator. They whose roaming imagina- 
tion has not yet led them to feast on its glories, 
more especially enjoyed by arctic explorers, should 
not hesitate to seek the North Cape, where its 
grandeur is displayed in unwonted magnificence. 

The following morning I was up on deck at 
early dawn to enjoy the pure exhilarating air, and 
the majestic outline of the rocky peninsula of 
Nord Kyn, the most northerly point of continental 
Europe. The weather was lovely, throwing into 
bold relief the sombre cliffs, around which hundreds 
of screeching sea-birds awakened in the solemn 
stillness weird mysterious echoes. The atmo- 
sphere was like that of the finest crystal, not a 
cloud to fleck the sky. The scenery was indeed 
romantic and grand, and as we steamed onward 
this glorious panorama never left us. 

It will be remembered that on our outward 
voyage we missed seeing the North Cape, our 
course having taken us through a narrow fjord 
separating the mainland from the star- shaped 
island of Mageroe. Very soon we found our- 
selves rounding the Cape, which presented itself 


to us in the shape of a headland, a huge mass 
of dark mica slate rising a thousand feet perpen- 
dicularly from the cold Arctic Sea, backed in the 
distance by snowy mountain heights sparkling in 
the rays of sunshine as if cut out in silver against 
the solid blue of the sky. The accompanying 
illustration, from a sketch by Mr. Popham, gives 
a very good idea of the shape and form. I do not 
think this imposing scene can ever be obliterated 
from my memory, for I was overwhelmed with the 
majesty of such a glorious sight, witnessed under 
such truly favourable circumstances. Spell-bound, 
I sat on deck in presence of the sublime and won- 
derful works of nature, in silent thought. I felt 
as though my eyes were peering into the unseen, as 
though I were on the threshold of a new world, 
teeming with unknown perils. All my sympathies 
were with those gallant explorers who have risked 
their lives for the advancement of science and 
challenged an untoward fate in the hope of obtain- 
ing an advantage for mankind. Yes, indeed, we 
cannot sufficiently admire such heroic enterprises. 
And now that I can in a modest way number 


myself among arctic voyagers, I am able in some 
slight degree to picture to myself the numerous 
and perilous obstacles to be overcome. May 
the Norwegian Dr. Nansen, in his endeavour to 
solve the greatest problem in the world, meet with 
every success, assured of the warmest sympathy 
of the civilised world for the realisation of his 
venturesome enterprise. 

In the course of the afternoon we sighted a 
small fishing craft with two fishermen busily en- 
gaged in hauling up the nets, and eager to enjoy 
some fresh fish we steamed towards them, and 
lowering the canvas boat, the steward rowed off 
to obtain what he could, returning after a few 
minutes with a variety of cod, haddock, and halibut, 
weighing in all 121 Ibs., for which he paid the 
modest sum of two kroner (25.) 

Shortly afterwards we saw the conspicuous 
lighthouse of Fruholm, situated on the island of 
Ingo, the most northerly lighthouse in the world, 
and a welcome beacon to the adventurous voyager, 
as he is wafted to his still more northerly destina- 
tion. With even still greater welcome does he 


regard, almost as a personal friend, the cheerful 
guiding light as he returns on his homeward way. 
Towards evening the setting sun produced a fairy- 
like appearance, tinging the white summits of the 
glorious glaciers and their extensive snowfields 
with a pale rosy hue. Instead of steering our 
course in a westerly tack, it was settled that our 
homeward route was to be due south, between the 
mainland and the islands, which form as it were a 
gigantic breakwater along the entire western 
coast of Norway. This decision raised my 
spirits, for I had looked upon the North Sea at 
this late autumnal season as associated with grim 
and dreadful gales, and to think that we were to 
experience delightful smooth waters all through 
the fjords was indeed most welcome, in addition 
to the expectation of enjoying lovely scenery. 

At 6.30 P.M. we sighted a brilliant electric 
illumination to our left, which proved to be 
Hammerfest. Just as we were steering towards 
the town to drop anchor for the night a pleasant 
alternative suggested itself. Being a clear moon- 
light night, the pilot proposed taking us straight 


on to Tromsoe ; and accordingly we steamed on 
afresh and directed our course through the 
Soro Sund, and, viewed only by the light of 
the heavens, the scene was fantastically weird. 
The navigation is at all times intricate and dan- 
gerous, but especially so during the winter nights, 
which had begun to close in at quite an early 
hour. Not to lose a single grand sight of the 
ever-changing panorama we were all up on deck 
at early dawn. Where indeed does nature pre- 
sent more variety of picturesque aspect than in 
the fjords of Norway, or its beauties appeal so 
intensely to one's sympathies ? 

It was bitterly cold, with many degrees of 
frost. The morning was, however, bright and 
sunny, and the scenery quite magnificent. 
Finally, we anchored off Tromsoe at 1.30 P.M. 
Our object was to drop several ice-masters, as we 
found we had no occasion to avail ourselves of their 
services. After lunch we went ashore to renew 
acquaintance with the little town. It looked 
very much deserted. Most of the inhabitants 
had taken to their cosy houses, and were to be 


seen (through the windows) collected in family 
groups round the large stove, which in these 
northern latitudes forms the main feature of a 
Norwegian household. The Lapps, too, who 
had been of conspicuous interest on our pre- 
vious visit, had left the town to return to their 
settlements on the mountains and roam about 
in their characteristic fashion. They exhibit a 
wonderful display of vigour and vitality, which 
somewhat accounts for the way in which they 
can brave the rigour of the long winter months 
without injury to their health, although it gives 
them a prematurely aged look. We strolled 
about, and were particularly struck with the 
bright and cleanly appearance of the town. In 
the afternoon we went into the Grand Hotel to 
take a cup of coffee, having been warned against 
the Norwegian notion of making tea. Bread 
and cheese we found very good, but curiously 
enough we could obtain no fresh butter, which 
is not manufactured in such remote latitudes, 
but has to be imported salted from the south. 

Towards evening we returned on board, a 



pink glow tinging all the surrounding snowy 

The following day, i8th of October, we were 
still to remain at anchor, some business having 
to be transacted with the Consul. We therefore 
took occasion to visit the Museum, which we had 
heard was full of interesting specimens of all 
kinds. So extensive had it become of late years, 
that a building on a much larger scale than the 
present edifice was being erected at some short 
distance off. We were highly interested, particu- 
larly in all the arctic curiosities, of which we 
were beginning to feel ourselves connoisseurs. 

Instead of returning on board for luncheon, 
we determined upon trying the Norwegian 
fashion of table d'hote at two o'clock, since we 
never before had experienced their cooking. 
The courses opened with fish, and next came 
beef with compote, such as is commonly associ- 
ated with German diet, an incongruous mixture, 
to which I never could get quite reconciled. 
The beer was very good, with a delicate 
flavour of pine. Before returning on board we 


enjoyed a lively walk through a birch-tree forest 
up on the hills. 

A pilot had meanwhile been engaged to take 
us down to Bergen, and next morning anchor 
was weighed at 6 A.M. It was very foggy, and 
a heavy snowstorm obliged us to remain down 
below and occupy our thoughts as best we could. 
I set to work to obtain by dint of perseverance 
a slight knowledge of the Norwegian language, 
of which I soon acquired a smattering, many 
words having a strong resemblance to German, 
but sounding if possible more guttural, and like 
a *ba.d. patois. It was damp and cheerless indeed ! 
However, I was thankful to enjoy smooth water, 
and not to be tossing about on the ocean, as 
a strong gale of wind howling with great fury 
outside suggested to us might have been the 
case. Owing to the night being very dark, we 
were obliged to bring up at the small station of 
Kastnaeshaven, and proceed the following morn- 
ing at 6 A.M. We steamed through the Vaags 
and Jiel Fjord, the scenery upon the mainland pre- 
senting mountains piled up in irregular groups, 


and cliffs rising from the water on either side 
sheer and abrupt ; yet whenever a green patch 
was to be seen a few huts were sure to be 
found clustering together at the foot of some 
stupendous mass of rock, giving colour to the 
view, which would otherwise have looked un- 
utterably desolate. 

Not being able to fetch another anchorage 
before dark, the pilot, a cautious old sailor, 
suggested spending the night at Lodingen, 
prettily situated on "Hindo" Island. Accord- 
ingly anchor was dropped at 3.30 P.M. We 
went ashore to have a brisk walk so as to 
keep ourselves warm. The chief building, situ- 
ated in the midst of half a dozen wooden houses, 
was a huge telegraph office, forming a very 
important station, in which many people are 
daily employed. Whenever we landed numer- 
ous inquiries were made with regard to Dr. 
Nansen, and the general opinion seemed to be 
that if thorough knowledge, mature reflection, 
and indomitable pluck can secure success, he is 
most decidedly the man to achieve it. 

GRtiTO 133 

The following day we proceeded through the 
Vest Fjord. Owing to the mist, which hid the 
famous view, we could only distinguish a faint 
outline of the Lofoden Islands. Those numer- 
ous sharp peaks, covered with snow and set off 
by a cloudless blue sky and dazzling sunshine, 
would have been perfectly divine to behold. 
The approach to Groto, where the pilot brought 
up early in the afternoon, was quite magnificent. 
The majestic peak of the Skothammer rose high 
and perpendicular to our left on the mainland, 
and the navigation through a narrow inlet, inter- 
spersed with rocks, demanded quick and careful 
steering. Groto presented an exceedingly pretty 
sheltered harbour, with most picturesque sur- 
roundings. In order to kill time, which was 
beginning to hang heavily on our hands, on 
account of the slow progress we were making, 
we went for a walk on the beach. We also 
took our dogs for a run, which they seemed 
to enjoy quite as much as we did. Poor things 
five of them they seemed to understand per- 
fectly well each time we dropped anchor, and 


sat on the edge of the ship, looking longingly 
towards the shore ; so excited were they on 
nearing the beach that, one and all, they jumped 
into the icy cold water, and tore in wild spirits 
all over the place. On one occasion they chased 
and scared a whole herd of cows, which were 
driven for a considerable distance on the hills. 
The amazed inhabitants, half dormant perhaps 
at the approach of winter, soon appeared on the 
threshold of their wooden huts, not at first able 
to realise who had come at this remote season 
of the year to ruffle the calm simplicity of 
their lives. It was indeed a lively sight, and 
amused us immensely. 

The following morning, on leaving Groto, the 
navigation became most excitingly intricate. We 
had to steer through narrow channels, with rocks 
strewn about us in every direction. Unfortun- 
ately, the cold, damp weather greatly diminished 
the enjoyment of sitting for hours together upon 
deck to watch our course. 

The panorama never ceased to be imposing. 
Although seen under unfavourable circumstances, 


the days being gloomy and the atmosphere 
sometimes slightly misty, yet I think this sombre 
colouring was in keeping with the savage grandeur 
of the scenery. We had a splendid view of the 
Sandhorn, which was covered with snow, as well 
as of the Fliglo Island. In the distance one 
beholds a lovely chain of snowy mountains with 
lofty peaks, or rather domes, towering high into 
the heavens. No one has any idea of Norwegian 
scenery unless they have been in the country. 
Norway must be seen, it cannot be described. 
The tourist season closes, as a rule, towards the 
end of August ; so steaming, as we did, at the end 
of October, through the fjords, we came in for a 
wintry aspect, in strong contrast to the bright 
summer season of the ordinary tourist. 

On October the 23rd we crossed the Arctic 
Circle. It was, perhaps, not without a feeling of 
satisfaction that we quitted the frigid zone to enter 
a more temperate one. As we steamed along we 
met with perpetual variety in form and feature ; 
so much so, that we never got tired of gazing at 
nature's wonders. In the course of the after- 


noon we dropped anchor at Sovig, quite a small 
hamlet. It, however, deserves mention, being 
situated at the foot of one of the grandest 
mountains I have ever seen. It is called Syv 
Sostre, or Seven Sisters, from the fact of its 
forming a chain with seven distinct successive 

The following day we resumed our course. 
On leaving the charmingly situated village of 
Brono, we passed through a crooked channel, 
scarcely wider than the yacht, to find ourselves 
in an almost land-locked bay. Then we came in 
view of a famous mountain called Torghatten. It 
has the appearance of a broad-brimmed hat, and 
as we approached we distinguished a curious 
tunnel through it. The old pilot, a walking 
guide-book of the Norwegian fjords, informed 
us that at half its height it is perforated by an 
orifice, through which the light may distinctly be 
seen, the tunnel having a length of 540 feet. As 
may be supposed, this curiously-shaped mountain 
is not without a legend. The story goes, that 
two giants were rivals for a girl, and agreed to 


fight a duel with bows and arrows. One was 
pierced by an arrow, which, when it was drawn 
out, the dying giant threw about ten miles off, 
where it sank and became a rock. This rock is 
now avoided by ships, as very dangerous, and 
can only be seen at low tide. Torghatten is 
the dead giant, and the aperture is where the 
arrow was drawn from. Certainly the mountain 
forms one of the most conspicuous and striking 
features in the fjords. 

For several successive days we steamed slowly 
on, anchoring over night off pretty little hamlets, 
and resuming our course at dawn. The cold 
rainy weather began to damp our spirits, till at 
last the approach of Trondhyem aw r akened in us 
new interests. Late at night, on October 3Oth, 
the yacht was moored inside the harbour, and 
the following day was spent in inspecting the 

Trondhyem, now the second city of the king- 
dom, was the capital of Norway until the four- 
teenth century, and enjoyed considerable import- 
ance as a royal residence. It is said to have 


been founded in 996, under the name of Nidaros, 
after the river Nid, which appellation, however, 
was changed in the sixteenth century to that of 
Trondhyem. The patron saint is Olaf. The great 
glory of the town is concentrated in its old 

From the Hotel Britannia we directed our 
steps towards the Munke Gade, which leads up 
to it. There we found a guide, who took us all 
round, and interested us immensely with all the 
information he imparted to us. Part of the 
building through which we had to pass is in 
ruins, but the work of restoration is now being 
actively carried on. The architecture is old 
Norman. Great richness of decoration is dis- 
played, remarkable in detail, which is exquisite 
for execution, beauty, and purity of style. 
The arches are also most graceful. St. Olaf's 
Well is an interesting feature, so is the magnifi- 
cent statue of Christ, by Thorwaldsen, placed 
in one of the niches. The Chapter-House forms 
a curious contrast to the transition period, being 
entirely devoid of richness of decoration of any 


kind. During the summer months it is generally 
given over to the English residents for divine 
service. The stone, quarried in the locality, is of 
a curious blue slate colour, of extreme hardness. 
The present king of Sweden, Oscar II., was 
crowned in this Cathedral in 1872. It is sur- 
rounded by a graveyard, which is now converted 
into a kind of pleasure-garden. 

Besides lounging about the streets, which 
seemed particularly devoid of bustle and life, 
time and darkness prevented us from visiting 
any other sights. We returned to the Hotel 
Britannia for tea, and regained the yacht at 
9.30 P.M. It was bitterly cold, with several degrees 
of frost. Our impression of Trondhyem was that 
of a sober dreary-looking town, and, apart from 
its Cathedral, showed little to impress us. 

Early on ist of November we were steaming 
once more through the Trondhyem Fjord, with 
a view to shaping our course straight for 
Dundee. However, as fate would have it, a 
head-wind set in, with a falling barometer. The 
pilot advised keeping to smooth waters inside 


the fjords, instead of beating against the wind 
in the North Sea. His advice was fully en- 
dorsed by me, for I dreaded the crossing 
in a rough sea. For several days more, the 
weather having cleared, we enjoyed the lovely 
wintry scenery of the fjords, which seemed 
to grow more magnificent with each successive 

Our next anchorage of importance was inside 
the sheltered harbour of Christiansund, an 
admirable landscape, grand and wild, with for- 
midable peaks around, forming to my mind one 
of the most delightful spots in the fjords. 
Numerous picturesque fishing-smacks were to be 
seen lying at anchor. The town, of considerable 
dimensions, with 10,000 inhabitants or more, is 
curiously built in the shape of an amphitheatre. 
The surroundings are both graceful and enchant- 
ing, and we were told that a relation of a well- 
known English family has taken up his entire 
abode there, and never quits it, even during the 
long winter months. 

Christiansund carries on an active trade in 


fisheries, forming one of the most important 
stations in Norway. Its trade is chiefly with 
France and Spain. 

The next day we were off the renowned and 
dreaded rock -strewn stretch of Hustadviken. 
Rocks are to be seen scattered about, barely 
showing above the water. We had a magnificent 
view of the Molde Fjord and its grand mountain 
scenery, forming one of the finest in Norway. 
Indeed it is difficult for me to give an adequate 
idea of what I feel utterly incapable to describe. 
The most graphic pen would fail to portray with 
justice the many fair and impressive scenes viewed 
from the yacht's deck. 

Finally, however, on rounding the promontory 
of Statland, which juts out into the sea, the 
skipper sent word to say that a fair wind had set 
in, and taking advantage of it, he was making 
for Dundee instead of keeping to smooth water 
down to Bergen. 

No sooner were we in the North Sea than my 
miseries began afresh. Squalls and hailstorms 
raged with violence, and we were rolled about 


unmercifully. I was indeed wretched. Keeping 
as best I could to my berth, I felt, although so 
near, I might perhaps never see my home again, 
and my anxiety at returning was greater than I 
can describe. Hours dragged on ; the three days 
seemed endless. For want of fresh air and some- 
thing to do, I opened my port-hole to cool my 
excitement, but before I had time to realise this 
act of thoughtlessness, I found myself thoroughly 
cooled down and well drenched as a punishment 
for such imprudence. A huge wave had worked 
its way into my cabin, volumes of water simply 
inundating me and my berth. However, with- 
out losing presence of mind, I used all my 
strength to close the port-hole. Shivering with 
cold and helpless as a drowned rat, I called for 
assistance to the steward, who arrived on the 
scene much dismayed at my appearance. With his 
usual attentiveness and quickness of action, all 
was put right again in a very short time. I was 
taken into a vacant cabin, much "amused at what 
had happened, and completely cured of sea- 
sickness ! Thus, at the very close of our 


long sea voyage, meeting with an efficacious 
remedy, though rather an awkward one to pre- 

Gradually the bleak east coast-line of Scotland 
became visible. At 2 A.M. on the 7th of 
November we dropped anchor at Dundee, the 
termination of my first voyage at sea, a trip 
which had occupied nearly four months. 

In conclusion, I cannot dwell sufficiently on 
the pleasure, knowledge, experience, and interest 
derived from this my first sea voyage and my 
first introduction to arctic regions. It has 
opened out a new sphere in my life, enlarged 
my mind, stimulated my enthusiasm for the 
beauties of nature, in short, I have reaped from 
it benefits which will never die. 

With keen appreciation have I committed to 
memory all the impressions, fresh and vivid, met 
with during these months of travel. Youth will 
fade, but these recollections of youthful days I 
shall, in years to come, always love to recall. 

Chapters X. and XL are contributed by 
Captain JOSEPH WIGGINS, and give an account of 
his journey after parting company with the BLEN- 
CATHRA at GOLCHIKA, and some remarks on the 

Photograph by E. Davey Lavender. 


Bromley, Kent. 
To face page 147. 


I start for Yeneseisk in the Offtzine Our welcome at Yeneseisk 
A thanksgiving-service and banquet Energetic citizens Pre- 
paring for an overland journey Taking farewell Our start 
for home A Christmas dinner at Tomsk New Year's Day 
at Omsk An extraordinary caravan Rail at last A rail- 
way accident Cheliabinsk A conference at St. Petersburg. 

BY the 20th of September we were in readiness to 
proceed up river to Yeneseisk, the Orestes having 
some thousand or more rails left in her, which 
were to be taken to Archangel and deposited 
there, as was requested by the Russian Govern- 
ment before she left England. 

We had also the great disappointment of 
having to leave on shore at Golchika some 
three hundred tons of excellent graphite, which 
it was impossible to obtain, as there was no 
remaining barge to bring it alongside. This 
graphite had been sent down the river by Mr. 
Chiromnick of Yeneseisk, as well as a large 


quantity of timber for shipment to England. It 
now remains at Golchika for next year's transit. 

The Minusinsk steamer had already been 
despatched on her voyage up river, under the 
command of my brother, laden with wares and 
with valuable gold-mining machinery, some five 
days in advance, and bearing telegrams, etc., 
to report the position of affairs to St. Petersburg 
and London. 

It was now the turn of the Offtzine, with myself 
on board, to try her luck with three laden barges 
and the schooner Scuratoff in tow. At 8 A.M. 
on September the 2ist she parted company with 
the Blencathra and Orestes, which returned to 
the Kara Sea, but fresh troubles soon overtook 
her. A heavy gale from the north-west, accom- 
panied by thick blinding snowstorms, burst upon 
her just at the critical time, when she was in 
a most difficult passage surrounded by shallows. 

The Graff Ignatieff, with the Scuratoff in 
tow, returned at once, and succeeded in gaining 
shelter near the previous anchorage. The Offtzine 
continued, with the Malyguine and Bard, and she 


succeeded in groping her way up to near Siderova, 
where she anchored for the night, not knowing 
how it fared with her two companions, who were 
astern and out of sight. After a very stormy 
night the morning broke with fine clear weather, 
and she proceeded, having now a good channel 
of five or six fathoms. 

During the afternoon the Offtzine was joined 
by her companions, the Malyguine and Bard, and 
good progress was made. The following day saw 
us past Karaoul, and next day we stopped at 
Luko Protock to take in wood-fuel. 

The Graff Ignatieff soon came up, and once 
more the flotilla was complete, and after wooding 
up, proceeded on the voyage. Strong currents 
and head-winds prevailing caused the lighters in 
tow to be a serious hindrance to our progress. 
However, without any further mishap worthy of 
notice, we arrived at last, on October 23rd, at the 
city of Yeneseisk, amidst a blinding snowstorm 
which cleared off shortly after our dropping anchor. 

A sensational welcome awaited us. Thousands 
of people lined the shore and rent the air with 


their hearty cheers, which were answered by the 
tars on board our flotilla, and signal guns were 
also fired. In a short time a large steamer, the 
Russia, owned by Mr. Guadaloff of Krasnoiarsk, 
left the wharf laden with hundreds of passengers. 
Sheering along the Offtzine, she made fast ; a 
gangway plank was speedily slid on board, and 
Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy was invited to meet the 
Governor, the Mayor, and the Ispravnick, who with 
others awaited him on the main deck. A letter 
of welcome was read and presented to him by the 
Mayor, as well as a large iced cake surmounted 
by a silver salt-cellar. The national custom of 
partaking of salt having been complied with, all 
ceremony vanished. Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy 
returned, escorting the Mayor, Ispravnick, and 
Bishop, who at once descended to the small 
cabin, and others followed, until it was packed 
to excess. Meanwhile the decks were crowded 
with people, the principal merchants and ladies of 
the city, who surrounded the other officers and me. 
Hand-shaking and congratulations were the 
order of the day, cheer after cheer arose from 


the vicinity of the little cabin as toast after toast 
was quaffed, each cheer being answered to the 
echo by hundreds of voices from the Russia. 

This lasted for some twenty minutes, until the 
functionaries all returned to the Russia's roomy 
promenade deck. 

Casting loose, this splendid steamer started off, 
and again the air rang with plaudits from her 
crowded decks. 

Another half hour found those on board the 
expeditionary vessels in a quiescent state, at 
leisure to realise the fact that now our long toil up 
river had ended, and that the first Russian fleet 
flying the Imperial flag had safely anchored in 
view of Siberian citizens. The yacht Minusinsk 
was noticed at the quay with her blue ensign 
flying, having arrived four days in advance, her 
cargo being all discharged. 

And now the welcome on the shore was to 
commence. The following day a thanksgiving- 
service was held in the Cathedral, which is 
situated close to the shore, abreast of where the 
vessels lay at anchor. At 10 A.M. Lieutenant 


Dobrotvorscy, with the officers and crews of his 
three ships, attended the solemn service, and the 
grand building was quickly filled to the porch by 
citizens of all classes, the young students of the 
girls' college being noticeable amongst them. 

In the evening a grand banquet was prepared 
at the spacious club. All the principal officials 
of the city, including the Mayor, Ispravnick, and 
Bishop, as well as merchants, attended to do 
honour to their countrymen, who had braved the 
dangers of the icy seas in order to inaugurate a new 
era for their port. Congratulatory addresses 
were again read and presented to Lieutenant 
Dobrotvorscy. Toasts were drunk in honour 
of the Czar and of the promoters of the most 
important undertaking ever projected in Siberia ; 
and the Englishmen present were welcomed as 
brothers in the work now begun. I also came 
in for my share of the honours. On the naval 
men returning to the vessels in the small hours, 
a new surprise awaited them on the beach in the 
form of illuminations a la Sibdrienne. Blue and 
red lights blazed forth from the high promenade 


overlooking the shore, and on the landing-place 
an excellent band discoursed lively music until 
the departure of Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy and 
his officers in a steam-launch for their respective 

A few days afterwards a grand ball was given 
at Mr. Chiromnick's handsome residence. All 
the officers attended, and a most enjoyable time 
was spent, the dancing not coming to a stop 
until far into the morning hours. 

The Graff Ignatieff started up the river at 
once to Krasnoiarsk with some barges laden 
with rails ; and Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy in the 
Malyguine, with the commanders of the Bard and 
Scuratoff and myself, took a run up and down 
river for many miles, to inspect small creeks suit- 
able for laying-up places. 

Several were found, and it was decided to lay 
up the Russian vessels at Cawarova, some ten 
miles below the town. The Mayor and citizens 
protested, however, against this, and offered to 
raise by subscription money sufficient to cut a 
canal into the small creek which intersects the 


city. The necessary amount was soon subscribed, 
and leave having been obtained by Lieutenant 
Dobrotvorscy from his Government to allow his 
vessels to remain there, it was decided to cut 
the channel at once, and men were set to work. 

Meanwhile the ships were anchored close to 
the shore, where they will quietly freeze in for 
the winter, and in spring they will be moved into 
this canal or cutting, when it is flooded by the 
spring waters on the passing away of the large 
ice. Yeneseisk will thus be in possession of a 
good wet dock or port, which can be extended as 
may be needed in future years. 

This speaks well for the goodwill and energy 
of the citizens, who must be prepared to en- 
counter rivalry on the part of their neighbours at 
Krasnoiarsk, where the first rails which are 
destined to occupy a prominent place in history 
have been landed. It may be depended on, that 
the inhabitants of Krasnoiarsk will not rest 
contented merely by the Trans-Siberian railway 
passing through their city, but doubtless they 
will do their utmost to construct docks and other 


works, so as to tempt the sea-going steamers to 
winter there. The only impediments to Kras- 
noiarsk becoming a maritime port are the shallow 
channels and rapids which are met with on the 
way higher up river, necessitating the use of fast 
vessels drawing 5 feet or 6 feet, but those of 10 
feet draught can reach this city. 

At the end of October no ice had yet formed 
on the river, almost an unprecedented event, and 
indeed there were few signs of stern winter's 
approach, the weather being warm and open. 
This was probably caused by the hot atmo- 
spheric wave which passed over Europe gener- 
ally, causing cases of sunstroke even in London. 

The Minusinsk was laid up on the beach close 
to the entrance to the small creek, where she is 
in readiness to be hauled into the channel now 
being cut, as soon as the river rises in the 
spring of next year. 

I rented a house, in which my crew have been 
comfortably located for the winter; and it was 
my intention to journey overland to Irkutsk 
and St. Petersburg on my way to London as 


soon as the roads were in a condition to admit of 
sleighing. At that time they were in a sad state 
of mud, which is a serious hindrance to travelling. 

It has been already stated that the Govern- 
ment intends to despatch 1,000,000 poods (about 
19,000 tons) of rails next summer, which means 
large business ; and I may add that it is gratify- 
ing to know that Lieutenant Dobrotvorscy, the 
commander of the Russian Government expedi- 
tion, has been promoted to the rank of Captain 
in the Imperial Navy, as he richly deserves this 
distinction for his unwearied exertions during this 
memorable voyage. 

After a pleasant stay at Yeneseisk of two 
months or more, we prepared for our journey 
home overland, our party consisting of two 
engineers, two sailors, one cook, myself and 
my secretary. Three very strong (covered-in) 
sledges with a hood on the after part were 
purchased, and well strengthened and fitted with 
strong massive " out-riggers " or runners ; our 
engineers had these and extra strengthenings, 
cross-bearers, etc., well bolted with strong iron 


stays from the upper body of the sledge. All the 
inside was lined out with thick hair-felt, strong 
mat-and-canvas aprons, fitted to pull up from the 
front of the sledge, and also pieces of canvas 
which drew up over the side to prevent snow 
entering whilst running at high speed, or when 
forcing our way through snow-drifts. 

Added to this, our sailors were employed for 
several days making huge fur bags, out of rein- 
deer skins, each bag large enough for all the 
occupants of each sledge to sleep in : No. i 
sledge, "Black Bess" containing myself and 
Secretary Byford ; No. 2 sledge, containing two 
engineers ; No. 3 sledge, with three occupants, 
two sailors and the cook. 

The igth of December saw us all in readiness 
for a start noon the following day being the 
appointed time. During the whole of this day our 
farewell visitors swarmed in upon us to "chai- 
peet" (take tea and cake) and speak adieus, etc. 
This lasted far into the night, the midnight 
hour having passed before our last kind visitors 
had said their farewells, when sundry finishing 


touches, etc., had to be made to our heavy 

At 9 A.M. the following morning the three 
sledges were drawn up to the back door in our 
spacious court-yard, and sledge-packing began in 
earnest, though little did our crew know about 
it. However, with plenty of sweet hay, our 
sundry sailor bags, portmanteaus, etc., were duly 
stowed away ; a goodly stock of new loaves of 
bread, tins of preserved meats, soups, sugar, tea, 
coffee shared off to each sledge ; then the large 
fur sleeping-bags laid over all, large feather 
pillows at the back, and all looked as comfortable 
and inviting to the ^^-wearied traveller as a large 
old-fashioned four-poster bed. 

At noon precisely, three sets of hardy Siberian 
horses (nine in all) entered the yard. Soon they 
were yoked, and hasty farewells said to all our 
crew who were remaining behind, and rapid hand- 
shakes interchanged with several other visitors 
who again called to see us off, our old landlord 
getting the last shake as we past him standing at 
the open gates. 


Out and on to the high road we dashed our 
snorting fiery steeds having it all their own way. 
On through the wide main street of the city we 
sped, our cheery sledge -bells loudly announcing 
the (to us) important fact that another start had 
been made for an overland journey to " Home, 
sweet Home." 

Turning to the left and passing the Town 
Hall, we soon came on to the old Archinsk road 
a shorter way to Tomsk than the newer and 
more frequented route by Krasnoiarsk. In a 
little while our "yemshiks" (drivers) drew rein 
to allow our followers to come up with us, and 
then we found that several friends, including our 
chief mate, Mr. Milne, and others of our crew 
had accompanied us thus far for the purpose 
of having a last farewell ; this being over, off 
we bounded on our course, while they returned 
home. We three " troikers," with urging and 
whooping yemshiks and willing steeds, settled 
down steadily to the work before us. 

The weather being delightfully fine and sunny, 
we enjoyed a lovely clear afternoon, but as the 


" shades of evening closed around us " King 
Frost asserted his rights and made himself keenly 
felt. We were not in possession of thermometers, 
but at a safe guess it must have registered 40 
below zero of Fahr., nevertheless, being well 
wrapt in furs, riding was most enjoyable, and 
before we well knew where we were, our sledge 
dashed into the open gateway of the "star- 
roster's" 1 courtyard at the first station from 
Yeneseisk now some twenty miles away. 

We did not remain here to "chai-peet," but 
having paid off drivers, fresh horses were quickly 
"put-to," and off we went again with the same 
invigorating whoops and yells of our fresh drivers, 
each " troiker" vieing with the other as to which 
should take precedence. This stimulating and 
praiseworthy effort on their part, though very 
enjoyable to witness, is nevertheless occasionally 
attended with danger more especially to the 
charming little horses, who are very liable to 
plunge their feet into the open space of the out- 
rigger and the runner of the sledge which it is 

1 The head man of a village. 


passing. This did actually occur ononeof my former 
journeys, and I then made up my mind for no 
more "side by side" racing. Therefore, on this 
present occasion, we peremptorily commanded our 
driver to give way and to allow the sledge to drop 
astern ; and this rule was never swerved from 
during the whole of our journey. Though often 
attempts were made to infringe it, we at once 
compelled our driver to desist from them ; though 
when, as sailors would say, all were "end on" to 
each other, at a safe distance, we cheerfully per- 
mitted the anxious driver to head his rival by 
urging his horses to their best speed, but 
under no other circumstances could it be allowed. 
At the second station we had the customary 
refreshment of " chai-peet," with boiled fresh eggs 
and delicious cream, for which we paid twenty 
kopeks, 6d. On we sped, night and day, from 
village to village, passing through the busy town 
of Archinsk the second day, and arriving at Tomsk 
city by midnight on the 24th December. There we 
were very glad to turn in to the best hotel of this 
large and busy city, in order to thaw ourselves, 



for the cold was so intense that everything in our 
sledges, fur sleeping-bags included, were frozen 
solid. Two spacious rooms with large heating 
stoves were allotted to our private use, and, once 
in an atmosphere of some 70 plus Fahr., we soon 
discussed a hasty cup of refreshing tea, and 
stretched our weary limbs on good spring mat- 
tresses to thaw. At such a time as this, one of 
the most trying punishments for the traveller is 
to unpack his sledge, everything having to be 
brought indoors to be thawed. The only trial to 
be in any way compared to it is the re-packing the 
sledge again : this, when done in the more genial 
warmth of daytime, is quite painful enough, but 
when during the cold midnight hours, loading or 
more especially unloading, after a bitter cold ride 
of several days, the work is torture indeed. 

At Tomsk we stayed and had our Christmas 
Day. It not being the time for the Russian 
festival theirs being twelve days later we were 
in comparative quietness. We had a good hearty 
dinner of four or five courses a la Siberienne, 
and cakes, etc., with coffee, afterwards. A good 


substantial supper followed, and by midnight one 
and all declared themselves once more well thawed 
and quite equal to, and eager for, the road. 
Horses were again ordered, sledges packed, and 
hearty toast after toast drunk to the health and 
well-being of " old and young folks at home " from 
the " cup that cheers but not inebriates." Having 
paid due homage to our steaming "samovar," and 
settled all scores with our accommodating host, 
we again tumble into our fur bags, and by the 
silvery light of a full moon we wend our silent 
way through the wide streets of this large city. 
Arriving at the boundary-gate our bells are once 
more loosened, 1 and again we bound along over 
the snow-white road at a rattling pace, everything 
literally sparkling with light and sledge -bells 
ringing forth their merry peals, all tending to 
inspire the traveller with feelings of joy and 

New Year's Day found us arrived in safety at 
the busy city of Omsk, where we once more had 

1 All bells are forbidden to be loose whilst passing through large 



to go through the thawing process this time 
it required three days to accomplish. We had 
three large rooms allotted to us at the Hotel 
Moscow, and after seeing the New Year well 
in we again took the road, to find the cold keener 
than ever. For my own part, although I have 
travelled overland six times, yet I never ex- 
perienced such piercing cold. Had we neglected 
supplying ourselves with fur bags, we should 
certainly not have been able to bear it. As it 
was, my face, for the first time in all my many 
thousands of miles of sledging, was " frost-bitten." 
However, we kept pegging away ; our crew, 
unused to such refrigerating experiences, sturdily 
made up their minds not to be beaten, with the result 
that Wednesday the 4th January saw us in a semi- 
frozen state entering the busy town of Kurgan. 

The morning was bright and sunny, with intense 
cold, when to our utter amazement we suddenly 
overtook the most extraordinary caravan or rather 
cavalcade that it has ever been our lot to see, a 
number of huge camels, some thirty or more, each 
animal drawing a large sledge laden with heavy 


machinery. An immense sack of thick hair -felt 
enveloped each beast from stem to stern, coming 
down from the top of its unsightly hump to the 
lower part of its body or middle of its lanky legs. 
To see such animals, denizens of warm climates, 
quietly stalking along, their bare soft feet all ex- 
posed to the sharp and cutting ice of the hard roads, 
icicles pendant from their highly elevated nostrils, 
was curious indeed. Each camel was attended by 
its quiet and quaint-looking Tartar or Mongolian 
leader, walking demurely by the side of the out- 
landish-looking animal, making a picture of never- 
to-be-forgotten patience and endurance. Surely no 
hot sands of the desert can ever produce the pain 
and suffering which these patient creatures were 
now called upon to endure ; yet they seemed 
to do, indeed were doing, their work as quietly and 
unconcerned as though in their own warmer 
climate of the southern steppes, having probably 
drawn those heavily-laden sledges many hundreds 
of miles. It was hard to decide which was most 
deserving of wonder and praise the patient and 
weird-looking Mongolian leader or the ungainly 


brute that he led. It was decidedly the most 
unique exhibition it has ever been my lot to see. 

By noon we had crossed the first section of 
the overland route of railway that has as yet 
reached these far limits of Russia. We had 
been told at Omsk that the railway was made 
as far as Kurgan, but we found it was finished 
some twenty miles farther, and well finished too. 
Soon we entered the town and located ourselves 
at the Post- House, hoping to leave by rail dur- 
ing the same evening, and thus to bid fare- 
well to all our sufferings by cold and sledge- 
bumping. We disposed of our three strong 
sledges for a moiety of what they had cost us, 
and then took a town single sledge to our 
railway station, situated some two miles outside 
the town. Here we found none of the clerks 
or ordinary officials able to converse in English, 
or indeed able to give us the least information, 
but at last they advised us to call upon the 
manager and chief constructor, a Mr. Stuckin- 

Arrived at his domicile we were ushered into 



his presence, to find him as reticent as his 
officials, but on our explaining to him that we 
were Britishers he hastily requested me to 
follow him into his spacious drawing - room, 
informing me as he led the way that Madam S. 
" Gabareet pa roosky e po anglesky." Soon 
this assurance was verified by the appearance 
of a charming lady, who accosted me fluently 
in my mother tongue. The genial manager 
informed me through this medium that, there 
being no passenger carriages, we should have 
to await the arrival of one from Cheliabinsk, the 
only place that such carriages were allowed to 
run to. This would require at least two days. 
Meanwhile, should we not be able to secure one 
by this means, he was prepared to give us his 
own private house -carriage or waggon that he 
used when on his journeys along the lines. 
Having spent a pleasant hour or more, we 
retired to the Post- House, partook of a hearty 
meal, and turned in for the night. 

The next day, no carriage having been for- 
warded from Cheliabinsk, we were informed by 


the kind and gracious railway manager that it 
was his intention to send us forward with his 
own carriage, which would be attached to the train 
leaving at 10 P.M. Meanwhile he placed an 
empty lock-up covered-in waggon at our disposal 
for transmitting our heavy luggage. At the time 
appointed we started under the most comfort- 
able circumstances on our free unpaid journey 
to Cheliabinsk ; there were not only soft beds 
but even a good "samovar" and cooking stove. 
With these improved conditions we sped along 
at a safe pace of some thirty miles per hour, 
which speed is seldom increased. Nevertheless 
it does not ensure from severe accidents occa- 
sionally happening. About 4 A.M. the following 
morning we were aware that, for some unex- 
plained reason, our train was at a stand-still, 
and this continued up to 8 A.M. We heard 
sundry whistlings and shunting to and fro of 
our engine. At last we descried it passing our 
train with a smashed-up locomotive in tow ; then 
we realised that an accident had occurred. On 
inquiry we found it had nothing to do with 


the fortunes of our train, further than a lengthy 
detention of many hours ere the line could be 
cleared was involved, but that two ballast trains had 
collided going in opposite directions, smashing both 
engines and several waggons, and some men, includ- 
ing engineers and stokers, being severely injured. 
This was confirmed by three poor fellows being 
transferred to the comforts of our special carriage. 
We afterwards learnt that this accident was 
entirely owing to the effects of the festive season ; 
we were assured that as a rule few or no 
accidents occur. 

The next day we arrived safely at Cheliabinsk, 
where we found a large and handsome station, 
built of granite, and all the other large out- 
buildings, such as railway engine sheds, maga- 
zines, store-houses, also built in a massive manner 
of the same material ; a spacious restaurant 
adorned the handsome hall of the station ; every- 
thing, indeed, was in a highly finished condition. 
Many trains of passengers and goods were await- 
ing departure excellent carriages, all well heated 
with stoves, and even the third class replete 


with all necessary conveniences for long journeys, 
and exceedingly comfortable. 

Here we booked to Toula, thence to Libau 
and the historical city of Smolensk. At Libau 
I succeeded in obtaining a passage for my sailors 
direct to London in a steamer belonging to 

Having despatched my men, I took train at 
once for St. Petersburg, where I found Mr. 
Popham awaiting me at the Hotel d'Angleterre. 
During our stay of a few weeks we had the 
honour of interviewing the Minister of Finance, 
Minister of Marine, Minister of Ways of Com- 
munication, and others, also the Committee for the 
Construction of the Siberian Railway, with whom 
we had several earnest consultations in meetings 
assembled to organise the work for the sea-route. 
All this resulted in a decision not to prosecute 
the work by the sea-route for at least a while, 
the Railway Committee being under the im- 
pression that it would prove more costly than 
completing only the overland route. However, 
this important project has not yet been finally 


abandoned. Further discussions are to take place 
on the arrival of Captain Dobrotvorscy from 
Yeneseisk, when it is to be hoped that he, 
together with the Minister of Marine (who is 
most anxious to develop the over-sea trade), will 
be able to convince the Board not merely of 
the feasibility of this sea -route, but also the 
great importance it will have in the future success 
and rapid development of this " Land of Goshen." 
By working in conjunction with the mighty 
Trans-Siberian system of railway, it would relieve 
it of the enormous amount of heavy transit, such 
as raw produce from Siberia, and cumbersome 
manufactures, machinery, etc., from Europe 
articles that will finally prove too bulky and 
plentiful for the railway to carry at a profit. 
And it does not require a prophet to foresee 
the fact that without such a free outlet for her 
produce as "this northern sea-route," it will be 
of small use for the Russian Government to 
establish such excellent means of internal com- 
munication as this splendid railway, to pour into 
central and eastern Siberia large numbers of 


colonists, as it is their intention to do, merely to 
raise up that land by agriculture, mining, etc., 
without taking advantage of the sea-route that 
is now open to them. 

Grand as the results of the " Trans-Siberian 
Railway " will most assuredly be, yet it must 
be borne in mind that it can never transmit and 
relieve the country of one third or fourth the 
produce that can and will assuredly be the out- 
come of her augumented inhabitants. 

I append to this brief description of my over- 
land journey an extract taken from a book on 
the Industries of Russia, 1 and dealing with 
Siberia, prepared for the World's Columbian 
Exposition, which enables one to realise the 
immensity and great importance of the " Trans- 
Siberian Railway " when once completed. 

In conclusion, let us hope that the Russian 
Government having now proved to their own 
satisfaction and to the world at large that com- 
mercial relations can, and therefore ought to, 
be held with her Siberian territories by aid 

1 See Appendix A. 


of the sea-route, making use of those noble 
rivers Yenesei and Obi that would other- 
wise be idle we may now see such a grand 
work vigorously prosecuted and encouraged for 
this next season and all future time, by the 
Russian Government issuing orders for the con- 
veyance by sea of rails and goods of all kinds 
required for the construction of their great 
railway, and for the general welfare of " Siberia 
in Asia." 



IT will be borne in mind that this heroic man 
with his small band of followers in his arctic- 
built steamer Fram reached the port of Khaba- 
rova or "St. Nicholas," in the Pet Straits, at the 
entrance to the Kara Sea, in safety about the 
middle of August last. Here he received on 
board his sledge-dogs, which had been brought 
overland from Obdorsk on the Obi by a mes- 
senger, who happened to be the very same man 
who served under me in the Labrador during our 
1888 expedition, and who accompanied young 
Victor Morier overland to Obdorsk from Khaba- 
rova. To this young man Nansen delivered 
letters and despatches, etc., for home, all of which 
arrived safely to hand during this winter. 


In an effort mentally to follow up the course 
pursued and trace the likely whereabouts of this 
gallant leader, it will be as well to commence our 
imaginary voyage from the scene of this last 
place, Khabarova, from where positive news has 
come to hand. 

Nansen must have found the Kara Sea well 
free of ice, always presuming that he kept his 
vessel in the spacious open water traversed by 
our vessels, and never attempting to take the 
pack-ice, which occupied only the central portion 
of the Kara Sea. We may therefore take it 
for granted that the Fram has succeeded in 
arriving safely in the vicinity of the Dickson- 
Haven group of islands, at the outer or north- 
west extremity of the entrance to the Gulf 
of Yenesei our farthest point before turning 
our vessels south to run up that mighty stream. 

It was here that we found the heavy pack-ice 
rather close on to the land, leading away to the 
north-west. This mass of pack-ice left so soon 
as we turned south, but Nansen, some days 
previous to our arrival, would, on the contrary, 


be obliged to close in with this ice and work 
his way along the north-west coast. How he 
may have fared is mere conjecture, though I 
am under the impression that this ice was not 
tight on to the coast, in which case we must 
suppose that they would soon be able to reach 
the northernmost point or headland of Asia, 
Cape " Chelyuskin," the Ultima Thule or Cape 
" Tabin " of the Ancients. 

Arriving at this interesting locality, it would 
then become a serious question to Nansen as 
to what might be the best course for him to 
pursue. Should the open water be extensive 
and lead far north, it would be a severe tempta- 
tion for him to push direct " Northward- Ho." 
And in such an event (which I sincerely hope 
may have occurred) we may have no further 
news of the gallant ship and her heroic crew 
until they emerge by way of Greenland, Spitz- 
bergen, or Franz Josef Land, or beat a retreat 
by way of Novaia Zemlia or the shores of the 
Asiatic mainland. Should they be driven on to 
the eastern or northern coast of Franz Josef 


Land (in a similar manner to the Austrian Ex- 
pedition ship Tegethoff) under the command of 
that most excellent and daring man, the late 
Lieutenant Weyprecht), let us hope that the 
Jackson party, now preparing to leave our shores 
for an overland trip to the North Pole by that 
route, may fall in with and so join, if not succour 
and rescue, the brave Norwegians. 

Should, however, the pack-ice be in close 
proximity to the Asiatic shore after passing 
round Cape Chelyuskin, then Nansen will be 
obliged to shape his course along the land. In 
this case we ought in a short time, or at latest 
during this summer, to hear of them having called 
in at the depot of the "Olenek" River, where 
more dogs are now awaiting their arrival. If it 
turns out that the Expedition has not touched at 
the depot, we must presume that circumstances 
have caused them to proceed northward, or on 
to the New Siberian Islands, where, on the 
northernmost island, stores were deposited last 
year by that unwearied traveller Baron Toll, 
who was sent out by the Russian Government, 



and lately returned to St. Petersburg direct 
from that locality. 

I enjoyed several pleasant conversations with 
the Baron and his lieutenant during their short 
sojourn at Yeneseisk as he was on his way 
home in December last, this being the second 
journey the Baron has made to those desolate 
and far regions of the north, mostly on foot, 
accompanied by natives and dog-sledges. 

Should Nansen reach this spot the New 
Siberian Islands we may hear nothing more 
of them until some one happens to go there 
for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not 
the Expedition has called at the Islands. 
Probably the gallant Baron may contemplate 
another and third visit to his favourite resort 
this summer for this purpose. If so, we may 
possibly have word and receive despatches from 
Nansen during the ensuing winter. 

But, whether we do or do not hear of those 
brave men, of this we may be assured, that, 
providing no accident has occurred to their 
vessel, they will, during next summer, be hard 


at work testing the (to them) all-important ques- 
tion : Is there a road to or round by the North 
Pole by proceeding north? If they have pushed 
to the north, either last summer or during this 
coming season, we may be sure of one thing, 
that the heroic band will for a certainty ex- 
perience the serious if not awful risk of being 
beset in the dread pack-ice, in the same manner 
as was the Jeannette, of the ill-fated American 
Expedition, a few years ago. Should this be 
the case, the probability (amounting to almost a 
certainty) is that the vessel, strong though she 
be, will never return by the same route they 
have pursued, seeing that the oceanic currents 
are constantly flowing northward and over 
towards the North Pole, and they will, nolens 
volens, take them, and the pack-ice which holds 
them in its vice-like grasp, onward towards the 
goal of their brave hearts' desire. The only thing 
that can happen to prevent their arrival will 
be new lands ; these will almost certainly arrest 
their further progress, and probably land their 
vessel, and the ice on which she may possibly 


be cradled, high and dry on shore. As hap- 
pened with the Austrians, in this case it will 
become imperative to abandon the Fram, and 
the crew will make their escape by retreating, 
homewards or onwards by the Pole or its vicinity. 
In such an extremity I feel sure that the watch- 
word of that heroic leader and his brave band 
will be Excelsior ! 

This being so, let us hope on that we shall 
actually hear of their safe arrival, after many 
hardships and dangers, at the shores of North 
Greenland, where, in such a happy event, they 
may meet with the interesting American Expedi- 
tion, now prosecuting researches in those unknown 
quarters, under the leadership of Lieutenant 
Peary. What a delightful episode and glorious 
conclusion this would prove ! 

Finally, should the little vessel succumb to 
the severe pressure and rough handling of the 
pack-ice in the Siberian seas, then we ought to 
hear of Nansen's arrival by way of the Asiatic 
or Siberian coast, provided he can but succeed 
in making good a safe landing, as we have 


been assured that the many natives who con- 
stantly roam those shores have been warned to 
assist and report any Europeans or civilised men 
happening to need their assistance ; indeed, the 
Russian Government seem to have left nothing 
undone in order to assist these heroes, whether 
they be in trouble or not. For our part, though 
the chances may seem remote, we live in hopes 
of again hearing of that gallant crew. And 
should it so happen that years roll by and no 
news come from that silent land of the eternal 
frost-king, we may hope to see, not merely one, 
but many a search party or expedition going 
forth with the determination to do daring deeds 
for the rescue of those who have so nobly done 
their duty to their country and the world at 
large. I feel sure there are many brave men 
who will gladly volunteer to undertake such a 
noble and sacred work, and it will only need 
the response of those who have the means, to 
enable those who have the heart to search for 
the lost ones far away. But I hope that this 
may not be found necessary, and trust that, 


before many years are past we may hear of 
Nansen's safe arrival home, whether via the 
North Pole or not. 

Of one thing the gallant expedition may be 
very sure, they have the world's good wishes for 
their entire success. 


Photograph by Maull and Fox. i8 7 a Piccadilly, London. 


To face page 185. 



March 1894. 

DEAR Miss PEEL It is with much pleasure that 
I comply with your request to give you an out- 
line of the plans which I hope to carry out on my 
Franz Josef Land Expedition this summer, more 
especially as you have so identified yourself with 
matters Polar in being one of the only two ladies 
who have ever traversed the icy waters of the 
Kara Sea in the recent Yenesei Expedition, with 
which Expedition I had the privilege of going as 
far as the Yugor Straits. 

It would, perhaps, be better to begin by stating 
my reasons for entering on this Expedition. 

First of all, I am extremely desirous of seeing 
the British once more taking that foremost place 


in arctic discovery which in past times they so 
easily held, and I felt that the absence of our 
countrymen in the present striving for the Pole 
is most certainly not in accordance with the 

My second reason lies in the fact that I have 
been able to choose a route which, in my opinion 
and in that of our leading arctic authorities, is 
the one which holds out the greatest probability 
of reaching a high latitude. In Franz Josef 
Land, as far as one knows, and can gather, there 
exists a practicable avenue as far north as the 
highest latitude yet attained, and holding out 
the probability of leading even farther north. 

My plans, as far as I have made them at the 
present date, are briefly as follows : Embarking 
in a strong vessel suitable for the arctic regions, 
and having steam power, we sail from the 
Thames towards the end of July next, and shall 
probably touch at Archangel and Khabarova 
in order to pick up, at the former place, a few 
stores and ponies, and at the latter my dogs 
and probably a few Samoyedes. We then push 


north on about the 5Oth east meridian, the lay 
of the ice of course deciding. 

Hoping to safely negotiate the eighty more 
or less miles of ice south of Franz Josef Land, 
we shall reach the shores of that country, we 
trust, early in September, and after securing the 
ship in a safe harbour, we shall immediately land 
all our stores and provisions, and build a strong 
house in which we shall pass the first winter, 
and in building which we shall be helped by the 
ship's crew. When this has been done and 
things made snug, the ship will make her de- 
parture, and I trust reach England safely in 

When the ship has sailed, our party will con- 
sist of about nine persons (if I take Samoyedes). 
We shall prepare for the rapidly on - coming 
winter, and shall stock our larder with every- 
thing we can shoot. Our time for doing this 
with the comfort which the presence of the 
sun will add, will be short, for towards the end 
of October we shall lose the sun. 

My great object during the winter, I need 


hardly say, will be to keep up the spirits of the 
party, and we shall do this by indulging in all 
active exercises possible under the circumstances. 

In the following spring, on the return of the 
sun, we shall push north, making depots of food 
every thirty or forty miles, our route being up 
Austria Sound (aided in drawing our sledges by 
our dogs and Russian ponies), at all events as 
far as Cape Higely. 

Past that point our route is shrouded in a 
certain amount of uncertainty, but our next 
objective will be Petermannland, which Payer 
has distinctly stated to extend north of Aa, 
83 N.L. 

I am in great hopes that Petermannland may 
extend directly north and for a considerable 
distance. Should this not be the case, and 
oceanic ice lie in our path, our task in pushing 
north will be one of great difficulty, as it goes 
without saying that depots cannot be established 
upon sea - ice, which will almost certainly be 
hummocky and in motion. 

Although we are few in number we shall 


have among us men of scientific training and 
experience, so that we may bring back a com- 
plete series of observations and collections, and 
contribute, I hope, something of interest to 
physical and natural science. 

It is difficult to say much at this rather early 
stage about the exact nature of the equipment, 
but I have made up my mind to model my fur 
clothing on that of the Samoyede people, the 
shape and character of which are, in my opinion, 
most suitable. The sledges will be of the one- 
man type (Norwegian pattern), but with certain 
additions and alterations suggested to me by my 
experiences during my last expedition. On our 
northward march we shall also take boats of a 
special type and make. 

Of course we shall have with us tinned foods 
of considerable variety, but as long as we can get 
fresh meat we shall not use these much. The 
object will be to reduce the impedimenta as 
much as possible, and to carry with us only the 
actual necessaries for existence and for scientific 
work. We may be two years away, or we may 


be four, but whether the time be short or long, I 
hope the results of the Expedition will be such 
as to reflect credit not only upon those who have 
taken part in it but upon the country for whose 
fame they make the effort. Yours sincerely, 



APPENDIX A (seep. 172) 


THE wide expanse and sparse population of 
Siberia, combined with historical destiny, have 
prevented its being enriched with regular over- 
land means of communication, which could only 
have been accomplished at the expense of a vast 
amount of labour and capital. Nature has, on 
the other hand, richly endowed this country 
with water communication, washed on the north 
and east by the waters of the Arctic and Pacific 
Oceans. It is at the same time intersected for 
thousands of versts by large rivers connecting 
these oceans with western China, and in general 
with central Asia. Thanks to these rivers, 
whose basins cover several million square versts, 
in summer time it is possible to communicate 
with far distant regions. This was the route 


taken by the conquerors of Siberia and the 
settlers who followed them, coming from the 
west, but of late years communication has been 
kept up with Siberia by sea from the north and 
from the east. Unfortunately the insufficiency of 
the coast development on the one hand, and the 
severe climate of the arctic zone on the other 
hand, prevent the sea navigation from reaching 
that degree of development which would be 
possible under more favourable conditions. This 
same severity of climate, and the prolonged 
period during which the rivers are in conse- 
quence frozen, considerably hinders navigation 
on the principal Siberian rivers which fall into 
the Arctic Ocean. The most important rivers 
of Siberia, the Obi, Yenesei, and Lena, flow 
from south to north, and are for the greater 
part of their course navigable. Only one river, 
the Amour, flows to the east, and, at the junction 
with the Sungara, turns northwards and falls into 
the Pacific Ocean. 

The establishment of steam communication 
with the Far East, undertaken in 1870 by the 


Russian Steam Navigation and Trade Company, 
did not possess any serious commercial import- 
ance. This undertaking also assumed large 
dimensions only from the moment when the 
Volunteer Fleet established regular communica- 
tion between Odessa and Vladivostok, calling at 
several Chinese ports on the way. This insti- 
tution, called into existence in 1878 during the 
last eastern war, with the object of performing 
the duty of cruisers in war time and having 
commercial objects in time of peace, certainly 
gave a great impulse to the connecting of Euro- 
pean Russia with the Far East, and strengthen- 
ing the influence of Russia in the waters of the 
Pacific Ocean. The Volunteer Fleet, whose 
ships are completely adapted to long ocean 
voyages, is every year increasing its activity in 
the conveyance of passengers and goods from the 
ports of the Black Sea to Vladivostok, barely 
satisfying the demands made upon it. Thanks 
to its activity, eastern Siberia now receives a 
mass of necessary articles from European 
Russia and not from abroad, and European 


Russia gets Chinese tea much cheaper than by 

In the way of land communication but one 
road passes through Siberia at all deserving 
attention, this being the so-called Great Siberian 
Tract, joining Moscow with Irkutsk, or more 
exactly with Kiakhta. Within the actual limits 
of Siberia it commences at Tiumen and passes 
through Yalutorovsk, Ishim, Tiukalinsk, Kainsk, 
Kolyvan, Tomsk, Marinsk, Achinsk, Krasnoi- 
arsk, Nizhneoudinsk. In this direction also 
took place the principal colonisation of Siberia. 
Hence one road goes to Kiakhta and continues 
farther into the Celestial Empire, while another 
goes to Baikal, upon which in summer there is 
steam communication, and in winter by sledge. 
There is also a road round Baikal passing 
through an extremely irregular country. Further 
on, the post road from Verkneoudinsk to Stretensk 
traverses very difficult places, where sometimes 
no snow whatever falls, in consequence of which, 
in winter, the driver is not seldom obliged here 
to carry his sledge on a cart, or, on the other 


hand, to put the cart on runners. The thinness 
of the population in the country along this road, 
inhabited mainly by vagrants, makes the convey- 
ance of freights extremely difficult and expensive. 
From this point to Khabarovka the road follows 
the Amour, but few make use of it. In summer 
people prefer to take advantage of the water 
communication. In winter they travel in sledges 
over the ice, and only the break up of the ice or 
some other hard necessity forces them to turn to 
the natural earth road. The further communica- 
tion with the terminal points of Siberia, Niko- 
laevsk, and Vladivostok, is carried on in summer 
by water and in winter on the ice. In autumn 
and spring almost all communication is stopped 

After the annexation of the extensive Amour 
and littoral territories and of the Ussuri region, 
the want was felt of good ways of communication, 
on the one hand, in order to keep possession of 
them, and, on the other, in order to attract 
settlers and form new centres of population. 
In consequence of this a series of schemes 


appeared for the construction of new roads in 
Siberia, and Count Mouraviev-Amourski himself 
was almost the first who conceived the idea of a 
railway in this country. Finally, by an Imperial 
rescript given the i7th of March 1891, in the 
name of His Imperial Highness the Tsarevitch, 
the question of the construction of the Great 
Siberian Railway was finally and irrevocably 
decided in the affirmative. The gracious will 
of His Majesty the Emperor clearly expressed in 
this rescript put an end to many years of hesita- 
tion and doubt as to the accomplishment of the 
said great undertaking, and now the Government 
has taken all the necessary measures for the most 
successful realisation possible of this good con- 
ception, which has a perfect right to take one of 
the first places among the most extensive and 
important enterprises of the expiring century, not 
only in this country but in the whole world. 

The total length of the Siberian Railway, from 
Cheliabinsk to Vladivostok along the main line is 
7063 versts, and 7112 versts including branch 
lines to the principal rivers intersecting the main 


road. The whole line across Siberia will, there- 
fore, be terminated in twelve years, counting from 
1893. The Great Siberian Railway lies in the 
mean geographical latitudes, and, as regards 
climate and soil, possesses all the qualities favour- 
able to the development of agriculture, rural 
economy, and the industries connected with them. 
It is worthy of attention also that, according to 
the propitious choice of the direction of the 
Great Siberian Railroad, which connects the 
fertile lands of western Siberia and the distant 
region of Ussuri, it also embraces the richest 
deposits of the noble metals. It cannot be dis- 
puted that the line, when once laid, will give a 
powerful impetus to the whole economical de- 
velopment of the country, and will call into 
existence many new branches of industrial 

Turning to the more intimate influence of the 
Great Railroad upon the various features of 
industrial and economic life in Siberia, it is 
evident that the chosen route traverses the rich 
Ishimsk, Barabinsk, and Kulundinsk steppes, 


which have always been renowned for their 
fertility, and serve as a granary for Siberia. 

Of late years, in many parts of European 
Russia, the increase of population from natural 
causes has brought about an excess of the 
labouring contingent, and the systematic in- 
crease of the number of peasants insufficiently 
provided with land, due to this fact, has already 
for some time past attracted the attention of the 
Government For these reasons free Govern- 
ment lands in the mentioned localities are granted 
to settlers, and for their benefit a cheap rate has 
been fixed for conveying them by rail ; in some 
cases they receive loans of money from the 
Government, and certain other privileges are 
granted to them in order to assist them in the 
difficulty of emigrating and of acquiring new 
household goods. Thus the Great Siberian 
Railway, animating the uninhabited fertile lands, 
ruled by the Governor - General of the steppes, 
and opening up an extensive market for the 
sale of all products of the earth, would at the 
same time assist the successful solution of one of 


the most difficult problems of the State, namely, 
the definite organisation of the economical condi- 
tion of the peasants badly provided with land in 
the internal Governments of European Russia. 
The mineral wealth and mining industry of 
Siberia shows how enormous are the riches in 
the bowels of the country, and what little use has 
been made of them up to the present time. Iron 
and coal, the two great factors of industrial de- 
velopment, are found nearly over all Siberia, and 
in very rich veins. The Great Siberian Railway 
will also have a great influence upon gold mining, 
as well as upon the extension of local trade, 
which beyond a doubt will be most considerable, 
many articles or raw materials, for which there is 
at present no local demand, will find a ready sale 
at more distant markets. 

In order to grasp the whole extent of the 
actual importance of the Great Siberian Railway 
for Russian trade, we must bear in mind the fact 
that uninterrupted railroad communication will be 
established between Europe and the Pacific and 
the Far East. Thus the Siberian Railway opens 


a new route and new horizons for universal as 
well as for Russian trade ; it will be of immense 
economic importance to Russia, and will give a 
great impulse to Russian industry ; it will con- 
nect 400 million Chinese and 35 million Japanese 
with Europe through Russia. The strenuous 
endeavours made by Germany to gain possession 
of the markets of the Pacific, and the efforts 
which have been made to complete the Panama 
Canal, visibly show that the economic struggle 
already commenced will end on the Pacific 
Ocean. The Canadian railroad has now appro- 
priated part of the freight of silk, tea, and furs 
which previously reached Europe through the 
Suez. Undoubtedly part of these goods will 
pass through Russia, as the journey from Europe 
through Vladivostok to Shanghai will be made 
in eighteen or twenty days, instead of forty- 
five through Suez, or thirty - five days at 
present by the Canadian Railway. The 
Siberian line will therefore not only have the 
effect of increasing the importance of Russia 
in the universal markets, but new sources of 


national wealth will abundantly open around 

There is no occasion to dwell upon the poli- 
tical importance of the Great Siberian Railway. 
Its significance is clear from the fact that when 
the line is completed Russia will not only nomin- 
ally, but actually occupy that position in the 
east of Asia which it holds among its friends 
and enemies in Europe. 



Monday \ August 7, 1893. 

3 P.M. Ran into Vardoe Harbour, and moored 
with two anchors ahead and stern to buoys. 

Log showed 108 miles. Barometer 29.86. Ther- 
mometer 574 

Wind westerly, moderate. 

Later. A strong north-west gale, with heavy rain. 

Friday ', August 1 1. 

Heavy rain till 7 A.M. 

Taking coals and water on board, and sending pro- 
visions to Orestes and Minusinsk. 
Bar. 29.80. Therm. 54. 

Thursday, August 17. 

A moderate west to north-west breeze and showery. 
The Russian vessels came in at 8.30 A.M. 
Bar. at 2 P.M. 29.72. Therm. 52. 
Later. Wind freshening. 


Tuesday ', August 22. 

Light south-east breeze and hazy. 

The Russian vessels and Minusinsk went at 8 A.M. 

Bar. 30. Therm. 53. 

Wednesday ', August 23. 

4 A.M. Unmoored and steamed to sea. 

5.10 A.M. Set log and course east by south. 
Wind fresh, south-east by east. Set fore and aft 

Bar. 30.2. Therm. 50. 

Noon. Wind increasing. 

4 P.M. Fog and rain. Hauled in light sails. 

5 P.M. Hauled in jib. 

Thursday ', August 24. 

A fresh breeze from south-east by east, and hazy. 

Bar. 30.4. Therm. 52. 

Log showed 126 miles. 

4.30 P.M. Orestes took us in tow. 

Friday, August 25. 

A fresh easterly breeze, with overcast sky. Set 
fore and aft sails. 

Log showed 174 miles at noon. 

Latitude at noon 70.59. Longitude 48.9 E. 

Saturday, August 26. 
Foggy, rain and sleet first part of day. 


7 A.M. Saw some ice, and kept round south end 
of it. 

Bar. 29.64. Therm. 42. 

Latitude 70.11. Longitude 55.52. 

10 P.M. Orestes hove off our tow-rope. 

Sunday, August 27. 

8 A.M. Anchored at mouth of Yugor Straits. 
The three Russian vessels lying here and a sloop-of- 

i P.M. Weighed anchor and steamed through the 
Straits ; found no ice. 

Came back and dropped anchor to wait for Minu- 

Bar. 29.84. Therm. 41. 

Tuesday, August 29. 

5 A.M. Weighed anchor and proceeded under 

A few pieces of ice coming through the Straits. 

8. 20 A.M. Anchored off Khabarova. Put the 
launch and two dinghies out and started to take in 
fresh water. 

1.30 P.M. Took the boats on board, weighed 
anchor and proceeded, the Orestes towing the Minu- 

5 P.M. Came to some loose ice ; going slow all 
night ; thick fog. 

10 P.M. Got into open water. 


Wednesday -, August 30. 

Started full speed at daylight. 
8 A.M. Had to stop for the Russian vessels. 
i o A.M. Set all sail and stopped engines. 
1 1 P.M. Mr. Popham shot two walrus ; saw a 
great many on the ice and in the water. 

Thursday, August 31. 

Latitude 72.00. Longitude 67.5 i. 
Bar. 29.86. Therm. 43. 
Sighted the Yalmal Land. 

Keeping the lead going 15 fathoms. 10 P.M. 13 
fathoms ; hauled up north by west. 

Friday, September I. 

At 4 A.M. altered course to north-east by north, 
12 fathoms, log showed 95 miles. 

Latitude 73.56 N. Longitude 70.37 E. 

Saturday, September 2. 

5.30 P.M. Dickson's Haven, north-east, 3 miles. 
1 1.30 P.M. Came to anchor on the north side in 
10 fathoms. 

Sunday, September 3. 

3.30 A.M. Weighed anchor and proceeded ; set all 

10 A.M. Hauled in sails; going dead slow; using 
lead ; 5 fathoms. 


Steering south-east, then east by south ; water 
deepening to 7 fathoms. 

10.30 P.M. Came to anchor at Golchika. 

Monday, September 4. 

Bar. 29.46. Therm. 50. 

Strong breeze from westward and passing showers 
of hail. 

Lifted anchor and shifted off shore, and moored 
with 45 fathoms each way. 

Monday, September 1 1 . 

Light south-east wind and clear. All hands at the 
Orestes. The Minusinsk went up the river to Yeneseisk 
at 2 P.M. 

7 P.M. The wind freshening. Went up the river 
with steam launch. 

Wednesday, September 13. 

A fresh gale from south-west, with fog and rain. 
Two lighters broke adrift from the Orestes and 
went on shore at 5 A.M. 

Thursday, September 14. 

6 A.M. Weighed anchors and steered for a few 
miles up the river. The wind veered to south and 
freshened to a gale with snow. Ran back, and moored 
with 75 and 80 fathoms. 

Barometer fell from 29.40 to 28.80. 

Noon. Less wind. 


4 P.M. The wind veered to north - west, and 
freshened to a strong gale. Barometer commenced to 

10 P.M. Bar. 29.22. Therm. 43. 

Saturday, September 16. 

A strong southerly gale, with fog and rain. 

At 6 A.M. The anchors commenced to drag. 
Started engines. 

7.30 A.M. Weighed anchors, and steamed across 
to the west side of the river, and came to anchor in 
7^ fathoms. 

Bar. 29.8. Therm. 44. 

Monday, September 18. 

A fresh southerly breeze and cloudy. 

6 A.M. Got under way and steamed up river a few 
miles ; much sea and thick fog at times. 

Mr. Popham and Mr. James went shooting, and 
secured ten brace of ptarmigan. 

Wednesday, September 20. 

4 A.M. Weighed anchor, and proceeded down the 

Bar. 29.20. Therm. 38. 

7 A.M. The Orestes took us in tow. 

Thursday, September 21. 

A strong westerly breeze, clear, with frequent thick 
showers of snow. 



Going along the south edge of the ice in tow by 
the Orestes. 

Latitude 73.39. Longitude 76.29. 
Bar. 29.40. Therm. 38. 

Sunday, September 24. 

A fresh south-south-east breeze, with thick fog. Sea 

6 A.M. Cleared. Had to haul out south-south- 
east for ice. 

N oon . Thick fog. Steaming through loose ice 
towards the land. 

8 P.M. Cleared a little, and saw land. 

9 P.M. Anchored in 14 fathoms. 
Latitude 70.18 N. Longitude 62.14. 
Bar. 29.70. Therm. 45. 

Monday, September 25. 

5.30 A.M. Weighed anchor, and proceeded along 
the land. 

Noon. Thick fog ; ship going dead slow ; keeping 
lead going. 

Grounded off Waigatz Island ; anchor run out and 
hove off, and brought up to wait till cleared. 

3.30 P.M. Weather cleared, weighed anchor, and 
steamed across to Khabarova, and anchored in 5 

Tuesday, September 26. 
1.30 P.M. Orestes came in. 


2.30 P.M. Weighed anchor, and proceeded in tow 
by Orestes. 

Saturday, September 30. 

A light south-west breeze, with fine clear weather. 
7.30 A.M. Log showed 162 miles. 
12.30 A.M. Got a pilot at the light - ship and 
proceeded up the river. 
Bar. 30.4. Therm. 45. 
6 P.M. Came to anchor at Archangel. 


Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh. 





publfebeb b 



Publisher to the litliw (Office 

Summary of (Contents, 







GIFT BOOKS - - - - n 


SERIES - - - - 17 

SERIES- - - - - 26 
PERIODICALS - - - - 27 

. Cbtoarb Jlnwlb'a 



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THE INFANT MIND ; or, Mental Development in the Child. 

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Translated from the Italian, with notes and additions, by THOMAS 
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DANTE'S ELEVEN LETTERS. Translated and Edited by 

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LENTS. Embracing nearly 10,000 phrases. By SARAH GARY BECKER 
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* This is a most useful combination of a phrase-book and a dictionary. It gives in 
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edited, with a translation, by HENRY CASSELS KAY, Member of the Royal 
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Vocabulary and Notes. By CHARLES ROCKWELL LANMAN, Professor of 
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3n&ey to Hutbors. 

ADDERLEY. Stephen Remarx . u 
ADLER. Instruction of Children . 18 
AMARANTHE (L') . . . .28 
CIATION . . . .28 
ARROWSMITH. Rigveda . . 22 
BAUMANN. Betterment . . 15 
BELL. Poems ... .6 
,, Name above every Name 7 
BENSON. Men of Might . . 23 
BROWN. Pleasurable Poultry 

Keeping . . 8 
,, Poultry Keeping as 

an Industry . . 8 
,, Industrial Poultry 

Keeping . . 9 
BURBIDGE. Wild Flowers in Art 

and Nature . . . .12 
BURGESS. Political Science . 14 
CARUS. Soul of Man . . . 14 
,, Homilies of Science . 14 
CHERBULIEZ. The Tutor's Secret 10 
CLAUDE. Twilight Thoughts . 25 
CLIFFORD. Love Letters . . 10 
COOK. Sidney's Defense of Poesy 20 
,, Shelley's Defence of Poetry 20 
CUSTANCE. Riding Recollections 6 
DAVIDSON Handbook to Dante . 21 


DISNEY. Law relating to School- 
masters . . .15 

ZINE 12 

EVERETT. Ethics for Young 

People . . .24 

FAWCETT. Hartmann the Anar- 
chist . . .10 
Riddle of the Uni- 
verse . . .14 


FOWLER. Old County Life . 6 

GARDNER. Friends of Olden 

Time . . .23 
GARBE Kapila's Aphorisms . 22 
GARNETT. English Prose Selec- 
tions . . .20 
GAUNT. Dave's Sweetheart . 10 
GOSCHEN. Use of Imagination . 14 
GOSSIP. Chess Manual . . 13 
GREENSTREET. Fouille'e's Educa- 
tion . . 17 

HANS ANDERSEN. Tales from 24 
HARTSHORNE. Glasses and 

Goblets . 12 



HARVARD. Historical Mono- 
graphs . .15 
,, Oriental Series . 22 

HERBERT. Fifty Breakfasts . 13 
HOLE. Little Tour in Ireland . 7 
Addresses to Working 

Men .... 7 
,, Memories . . .7 
, , Book about Garden . 7 
Book about Roses . . 7 
HUDSON 1 . Characters of Shake- 
speare . . .19 
,, Harvard Shakespeare 19 

HUTCHINSON. That Fiddler 

Fellow . . 10 

SERIES . . . . . 17 

JOHNSON. Richard II. . . 24 
,, Midsummer Night's 

Dream . . .24 

KAY. Omarah's Yaman . .21 

KERN. Jataka Mala . . .22 

LAMB. Adventures of Ulysses . 24 

LANMAN. Sanskrit Reader . 21 

LATHAM. Dante's Letters . . 21 

LECKY. Value of History . . 13 
LE FANU. Irish Life ... 5 

LOTZE. Philosophical Outlines . 14 

' MEDICINE LADY, THE,' authors 

of. This Troublesome World 9 

MILNER. England in Egypt . 13 

Modern Men . . . .15 

MORGAN. Animal Life . . 8 

Animal Sketches . 8 

MORGAN. Springs of Conduct . 8 
MORRISON. --Historical Geography 16 

NASH. Bare Rock . . .25 
OMAN. History of England . 24 

PAYNE. Rosseau's Emile . . 17 

PERRY. Sanskrit Primer . . 22 


PORTAL. Mission to Abyssinia . 13 

PREYER. Infant Mind . . 17 

RANSOME. Battles of Frederick 

the Great . . 23 

ROOD. Poems .... 9 

Feda .... 9 

,, Unknown Madonna . 9 

,, Violet Crown . . .9 

,, Customs of Modern Greece 9 

Round the Works of our Railways 12 

SANTLEY. Student and Singer . 6 
SCARTAZZINI. Handbook to 

Dante . . 21 

SCHELLING. Jonson's Timber . 20 

SHARPLESS. English Education . 17 

SHELLEY. Defence of Poetry . 20 

SIDNEY. Defense of Poesy . . 20 

SPARKES. Wild Flowers in Art . 12 

TATHAM. Men of Might . . 23 

THAYER. Elizabethan Plays . 20 

TWINING. Recollections of a 

Social Worker . 5 

WHITMORE. Unionist Govern- 
ment . . .15 
Winchester College . . .11 
YOUNG. General Astronomy . 16 

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