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PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID
ACCOUNT OF A VOYAGE ON THE YACHT
AN ACCOUNT OF A VOYAGE
WITH A PREFACE BY
THE MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA
AND CONTRIBUTIONS BY
CAPTAIN JOSEPH WIGGINS AND FREDERICK G. JACKSON
EDWARD ARNOLD, 37 BEDFORD STREET, W.C.
tlje IntJta ffice
TO MY FATHER,
IN DELIGHTFUL REMEMBRANCE
OF A CRUISE
THROUGH ARCTIC SEAS.
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
viii POLAR GLEAMS
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 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.
PREFA TOR Y NO TE
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."
BY THE MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA
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
xii POLAR GLEAMS
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.
PREFACE, BY THE MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA . . xi
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
xvi POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY .... 193
SOME EXTRACTS FROM THE BLENCATHRA'S LOG-BOOK . . 204
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PORTRAIT OF Miss PEEL
THE YACHT BLENCATHRA
A SNAP-SHOT AT TROMSOE
A LAPP SETTLEMENT
SKINNING A WHALE AT VARDOE
A SAMOYEDE SETTLEMENT
A REINDEER SLEDGE
PORTRAIT OF F. LEYBOURNE POPHAM
ARCHANGEL FROM THE DWINA .
THE NORTH CAPE, FROM A SKETCH
OUR ESKIMO DOG
PORTRAIT OF CAPTAIN WIGGINS
CATHEDRAL AND TOWN OF^ENESEISK
PORTRAIT OF FREDERICK G. JACKSON
To face page 8
MAP OF THE SEA ROUTE TO SIBERIA
MAP OF THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY
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
THE GREA T RAIL WA Y
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
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
A HURRIED START
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
io POLAR GLEAMS
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
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.
12 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
THE FJORDS 13
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
i 4 POLAR GLEAMS
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 !
16 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A SNAP-SHOT AT TROMSOE.
To face page 16.
LAPLAND COSTUMES 17
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.
i8 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE NORWEGIANS 19
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,
20 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE NORTHERNMOST TOWN 21
church to satisfy our inquiries, we heard that our
third ice-master had left the day before to join us
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.
NORTHWARD Ho !
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-
A PROSPECT FOR TOURISTS 23
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.
24 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
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
The old castle of Vardoehiiiis, the most northerly
fort in Europe, is the one object of slight interest.
26 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
AT CHURCH 27
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-
28 POLAR GLEAMS
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
30 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
A DINNER PARTY 31
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.
32 POLAR GLEAMS
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
O UR PRO VISIONS 33
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
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
34 POLAR GLEAMS
provide us with plenty of fresh food, and a
dear little goat was to supply us daily with
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
36 POLAR GLEAMS
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
IN VIEW OF ICE 37
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
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
38 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
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
WAIGATZ ISLAND 39
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,
40 POLAR GLEAMS
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-
THE KARA SEA 41
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
42 POLAR GLEAMS
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
Before proceeding any further a slight intro-
44 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SAMOYEDES 45
such kind of occupation belong to the hunting
people, yet their prosperity lies in the pasturage
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
46 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SAMOYEDES 47
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
48 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A ROUGH DRIVE 49
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.
50 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
52 POLAR GLEAMS
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-
AMONG THE ICE-FIELDS 53
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
54 POLAR GLEAMS
was difficult to imagine that we were not in
the very midst of civilisation, but steaming
pleasantly on the waters of the much dreaded
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
IN THE EVENING 55
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.
56 POLAR GLEAMS
Books were also much appreciated. Mr. Popham
generally read to us aloud, and I meanwhile
worked at comforters and petticoats for the poor
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
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,
A WALRUS HUNT 57
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,
58 POLAR GLEAMS
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-
A FEW DEGREES FROM THE POLE 59
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
60 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE YENESEI RIVER 61
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
62 POLAR GLEAMS
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
64 POLAR GLEAMS
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
POLAR EXPEDITIONS 65
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-
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 67
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.
68 POLAR GLEAMS
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
The Samoyedes, whose type is the same as
those described at Khabarova, seemed delighted
A VISIT TO THE SAMOYEDES 69
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
70 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A PROJECT 71
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.
72 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A REINDEER SLEDGE 73
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
74 POLAR GLEAMS
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,
A BURIAL-PLACE 75
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
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
76 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A STORM 77
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
78 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A SHOOTING EXPEDITION 79
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
8o POLAR GLEAMS
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.,
A SHOOTING EXPEDITION 81
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
82 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A LITTLE SKIFF 83
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 ;
84 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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.
WE PART FROM CAPTAIN WIGGINS 85
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
86 POLAR GLEAMS
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 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
THE YENESEI 87
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
A HARD FROST 89
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,
90 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
THROUGH THE ICE 91
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
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
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
92 POLAR GLEAMS
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
During the course of the forenoon, however,
as I was sitting down below writing my diary,
a curious grating sound and sudden stopping of
F. LEYBOURNE POPHAM.
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
94 POLAR GLEAMS
after the other clambered on board. Needless
to add that their delight was great, and their
surprise still greater, as they calmly watched the
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
MR. JACKSON 95
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
96 POLAR GLEAMS
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
Time was now pressing, and late autumnal
A CHANGE OF ROUTE 97
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
98 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
THE WHITE SEA 99
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,
ioo POLAR GLEAMS
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.
IN THE DWINA 101
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
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
102 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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.
A T ARCHANGEL 103
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
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
io6 POLAR GLEAMS
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-
THE DROSHKI 107
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
io8 POLAR GLEAMS
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
AT LUNCH 109
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
i io POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
THE CATHEDRAL in
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
ii2 POLAR GLEAMS
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
SPOONS AND FURS 113
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
ii4 POLAR GLEAMS
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
BEAUTY AND VICE 115
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
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
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
ii6 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
THE MONASTERY 117
was conducted with great success, lasting from
early dawn till twilight, the party returning late
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
u8 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
HOMEWARD BOUND !
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
120 POLAR GLEAMS
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
UPS AND DOWNS 121
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
122 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE AURORA BO RE ALTS 123
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
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
124 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE NORTH CAPE 125
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
126 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
STEAMING B Y NIGHT 1 27
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
128 POLAR GLEAMS
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
TROMSOE AGAIN 129
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
130 POLAR GLEAMS
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
TO BERGEN 131
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,
132 POLAR GLEAMS
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-
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.
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
134 POLAR GLEAMS
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,
ACROSS THE ARCTIC CIRCLE 135
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-
136 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A LEGEND 137
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
138 POLAR GLEAMS
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
140 POLAR GLEAMS
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
OUT TO SEA 141
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
142 POLAR GLEAMS
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
HOME AGAIN 143
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.
CAPTAIN JOSEPH WIGGINS.
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
148 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
OUR WELCOME AT YENESEISK 149
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
ISO POLAR GLEAMS
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
A THANKSGIVING-SERVICE 151
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
Casting loose, this splendid steamer started off,
and again the air rang with plaudits from her
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
152 POLAR GLEAMS
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
PROGRESSIVE CITIZENS 153
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
154 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A WARM SEASON 155
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
156 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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
PREPARA TIONS 157
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
158 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
OUR START 159
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,
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
160 POLAR GLEAMS
" 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,
162 POLAR GLEAMS
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
CHRISTMAS DAY 163
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
1 64 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A CURIOUS CAVALCADE 165
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
166 POLAR GLEAMS
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
A FRIEND IN NEED 167
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
1 68 POLAR GLEAMS
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
AN ACCIDENT 169
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
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
170 POLAR GLEAMS
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
SEA AND LAND 171
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
172 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
THE FUTURE 173
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
SOME REMARKS ON DR. NANSEN's POLAR
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.
HIS DIFFICULTIES 175
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,
1 76 POLAR GLEAMS
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
BARON TOLL 177
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,
178 POLAR GLEAMS
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
DANGERS AND POSSIBILITIES 179
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
i8o POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE FUTURE 181
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,
1 82 POLAR GLEAMS
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.
A LETTER from FREDERICK G. JACKSON on his pro-
posed POLAR EXPEDITION.
Photograph by Maull and Fox. i8 7 a Piccadilly, London.
FREDERICK G. JACKSON.
To face page 185.
A LETTER FROM FREDERICK G. JACKSON ON HIS
PROPOSED POLAR EXPEDITION
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
1 86 POLAR GLEAMS
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
MY PLANS 187
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
1 88 POLAR GLEAMS
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,
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
OUR EQUIPMENT 189
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
190 POLAR, GLEAMS
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,
FREDERICK G. JACKSON.
APPENDIX A (seep. 172)
THE GREAT SIBERIAN RAILWAY
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
194 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SIBERIAN RAIL WAY 195
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
196 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SIBERIAN RAIL WAY 197
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
198 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SIBERIAN RAIL WA Y 199
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,
200 POLAR GLEAMS
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 SIBERIAN RAIL WA Y 201
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
202 POLAR GLEAMS
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
THE SIBERIAN RAIL WA Y 203
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.
SOME EXTRACTS FROM THE BLENCATHRA S
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-
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.
THE BLENCATHRAS LOG-BOOK 205
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.
206 POLAR GLEAMS
7 A.M. Saw some ice, and kept round south end
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
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.
THE BLENCATHRAS LOG-BOOK 207
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
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.
2o8 POLAR GLEAMS
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
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.
THE BLENCATHRAS LOG-BOOK 209
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.
7.30 A.M. Weighed anchors, and steamed across
to the west side of the river, and came to anchor in
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.
210 POLAR GLEAMS
Going along the south edge of the ice in tow by
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
Noon. Thick fog ; ship going dead slow ; keeping
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.
THE BLENCATHRAS LOG-BOOK 211
2.30 P.M. Weighed anchor, and proceeded in tow
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.
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TIONAL LAW. By JOHN W. BURGESS, Ph.D., LL.D., Dean of the
University Faculty of Political Science in Columbia College, U.S.A. In
two volumes. Demy 8vo. , cloth, 255.
' The work is full of keen analysis and suggestive comment, and may be confidently
recommended to all serious students of comparative politics and jurisprudence.' Times.
GENERAL LITERATURE. 15
THE MARK IN EUROPE AND AMERICA. A Review of
the Discussion on Early Land Tenure. By ENOCH A. BRYAN, A.M.,
President of Vincennes University, Indiana. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 45. 6d.
HARVARD HISTORICAL MONOGRAPHS. Vol. I. The
Veto Power : Its Origin, Development, and Function in the Government
of the United States. By EDWARD CAMPBELL MASON. Demy 8vo.,
paper, 55. Vol. II. An Introduction to the Study of Federal Government.
By ALBERT BUSHNELL HART, Ph.D. Demy 8vo., paper, 55.
BETTERMENT. Being the Law of Special Assessment for
Benefits in America, with some observations on its adoption by the London
County Council. By ARTHUR A. BAUMANN, B.A., Barrister-at-Law,
formerly Member of Parliament for Peckham. Crown 8vo., cloth, 25. 6d.
' Should be read by every ratepayer of the Metropolis.' St. James's Gazette.
THE LAW RELATING TO SCHOOLMASTERS. A Manual
for the Use of Teachers, Parents, and Governors. By HENRY W. DISNEY,
B.A., Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple. Crown 8vo., cloth, 25. 6d.
' This manual should be in the hands of every schoolmaster.' -Law Journal.
SIX YEARS OF UNIONIST GOVERNMENT, 1886-1892.
By C. A. WHITMORE, M.P. Post 8vo., cloth, 2s. 6d.
' Not only of ephemeral but of lasting interest." Dublin Rvening Mail.
* MODERN MEN 'FROM THE 'NATIONAL OBSERVER.'
Literary Portraits of the most prominent men of the day. Two volumes
in the series are now ready. Crown 8vo., paper, is. each.
' All of these sketches are good, admirable alike for the matter and the manner in which
it is put, and show a faculty for judging men which is uncommon in these days.' Graphic.
1 6 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
A GENERAL ASTRONOMY. By CHARLES A. YOUNG, Pro-
fessor of Astronomy in the College of New Jersey, Associate of the Royal
Astronomical Society, Author of The Sun, etc. In one vol., 550 pages,
with 250 illustrations, and supplemented with the necessary tables. Royal
8vo., half morocco, 125. 6d.
' A grand book by a grand man. The work should become a text-book wherever the
English language is spoken, for no abler, no more trustworthy compilation of the kind
has ever appeared for the advantage of students in any line of higher education.'
Professor Piazzi Smyth.
PLANT ORGANIZATION. By R. H. WARD, Professor of
Botany in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 4to., flexible boards, 43.
This volume consists of a synoptical review of the general structure and
morphology of plants, clearly drawn out according to biological principles,
fully illustrated, and accompanied by a set of blank forms to be filled in as
exercises by the pupils.
' The order of its arrangement, and the fulness and clearness of the printed hints and
directions which introduce the main section of the book, render it a work of high value
to a beginner in the study of botany, and of great use for classes.' Scotsman.
A HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY. By the late Dr. MORRISON,
New edition, revised and largely rewritten by W. L. CARRIE, English
Master at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. Crown 8vo., cloth,
' The style of the book is as good as its method, making it quite as interesting for mere
reading as it is valuable for study and for school purposes.' School Beard Chronicle.
BY D. H. MONTGOMERY.
THE LEADING FACTS OF ENGLISH HISTORY. With
Maps and Tables. Crown Svo., cloth, 6s.
' A clear and intelligent idea of the main facts of English history in connection with
the social and industrial development of the nation.' Professor Goldwin Smith.
THE LEADING FACTS OF FRENCH HISTORY. With
Maps and Tables. Crown Svo. , cloth, 6s.
' The right books have been consulted, the facts and views are well up to date, and the
language itself is bright and attractive.' Educational Times.
GENERAL LITERATURE. 17
THE LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY. With
numerous maps and illustrations. Crown 8vo., half morocco, 53. 6d.
' Historical instruction is seldom so interesting in book form as it is in Mr. Montgomery's
" Leading Facts of American History." It is as entertaining as a good story-book, yet
faithful to the author's three chief objects, "accuracy of statement, simplicity of style,
and impartiality of treatment." The numerous woodcuts and maps, some of which are
from old and curious sources, are excellently illustrative of this capital compendium of
American History.' Saturday Review.
THE INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
THE INFANT MIND ; or, Mental Development in the Child.
Translated from the German of W. PREYER, Professor of Physiology in
the University of Jena. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 45. 6d.
ENGLISH EDUCATION IN THE ELEMENTARY AND
SECONDARY SCHOOLS. By ISAAC SHARPLESS, LL.D., Presi-
dent of Haverford College, U.S.A. Crown 8vo., cloth, 45. 6d.
'The whole of the chapter "The Training of Teachers" is excellent. Excellent,
too, is the chapter on the great public schools full of keen observation and sound good
sense. Indeed, the whole of the book is as refreshing as a draught of clear spring water.'
EMILE ; or, a Treatise on Education. By JEAN JACQUES
ROUSSEAU. Translated and Edited by W. H. PAYNE, Ph.D., LL.D.,
President of the Peabody Normal College, U.S.A. Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s.
'The book is well translated and judiciously annotated.' Literary World.
EDUCATION FROM A NATIONAL STANDPOINT. Trans-
lated from the French of ALFRED FOUILLE'E by W. J. GREENSTREET,
M.A., Head Master of the Marling School, Stroud. Crown 8vo., cloth,
' The reader will rise from the study of this brilliant and stimulating book with a
sense of gratitude to M. Fouillee for the forcible manner in which the difficulties we must
all have felt are stated, and for his admirable endeavours to construct a workable scheme
of secondary education.' Journal of Education.
1 8 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
THE MORAL INSTRUCTION OF CHILDREN. By FELIX
ABLER, President of the Ethical Society of New York. Crown 8vo.,
' A work which should find a place on every educated parent's bookshelves.' Parent's
THE PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION. By JOHANN KARL
ROSENKRANZ, Doctor of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Konigs-
berg. (Translated.) Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s.
A HISTORY OF EDUCATION. By Professor F. V. N.
PAINTER. Crown 8vo. , 6s.
THE VENTILATION AND WARMING OF SCHOOL
BUILDINGS. With Plans and Diagrams. By GILBERT B. MORRISON.
Crown 8vo. , 35. 6d.
FROEBEL'S 'EDUCATION OF MAN.' Translated by
W. N. HAILMAN. Crown 8vo., 6s.
ELEMENTARY PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION. By
Dr. J. BALDWIN. Illustrated, crown 8vo., 6s.
THE SENSES AND THE WILL. Forming Part I. of
' The Mind of the Child." By W. PREYER, Professor of Physiology in the
University of Jena. (Translated.) Crown 8vo., 6s.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTELLECT. Forming
Part II. of ' The Mind of the Child.' By Professor W. PREYER. (Trans-
lated.) Crown 8vo., 6s.
HOW TO STUDY GEOGRAPHY. By FRANCIS W. PARKER.
Crown 8vo. , 6s.
A HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
By RICHARD A. BOONE, Professor of Pedagogy in Indiana University.
Crown 8vo., 6s.
GENERAL LITERATURE. 19
EUROPEAN SCHOOLS ; Or, What I Saw in the Schools of
Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland. By L. R. KLEMM, Ph.D.
With numerous illustrations. Crown 8vo. , 8s. 6d.
PRACTICAL HINTS FOR TEACHERS. By GEORGE
ROWLAND, "Superintendent of the Chicago Schools. Crown 8vo., 43. 6d.
SCHOOL SUPERVISION. By J. L. PICKARD. 4 s. 6d.
HIGHER EDUCATION OF WOMEN IN EUROPE.
By HELENE LANGE. 45. 6d.
HERBART'S TEXT-BOOK IN PSYCHOLOGY. By M. K.
SMITH. 43. 6d.
PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED TO THE ART OF TEACHING.
By Dr. J. BALDWIN.
THE LIFE, ART, AND CHARACTERS OF SHAKESPEARE.
By HENRY N. HUDSON, LL.D., Editor of The Harvard Shakespeare, etc.
969 pages, in two vols., large crown 8vo., cloth, 2is.
' They deserve to find a place in every library devoted to Shakespeare, to editions of
his works, to his biography, or to the works of commentators.' The Athenceum.
THE HARVARD EDITION OF SHAKESPEARE'S COM-
PLETE WORKS. A fine Library Edition. By HENRY N. HUDSON,
LL.D., Author of 'The Life, Art, and Characters of Shakespeare.' In
twenty volumes, large crown 8vo., cloth, ^"6. Also in ten volumes, $.
1 An edition of Shakespeare to which Mr. Hudson's name is affixed does not need a
line from anybody to commend it.' Oliver Wendell Holmes.
20 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
THE BEST ELIZABETHAN PLAYS. Edited, with an Intro-
duction, by WILLIAM R. THAYER. 612 pages, large crown 8vo., cloth,
' A useful edition, slightly expurgated.' Times.
THE DEFENSE OF POESY, otherwise known as AN
APOLOGY FOR POETRY. By Sir PHILIP SIDNEY. Edited by
A. S. COOK, Professor of English Literature in Yale University. Crown
8vo., cloth, 45. 6d.
' A more scholarly piece of workmanship could hardly have been produced. We have
never seen a better student's manual.' Westminster Review.
Leigh Hunt's 'WHAT IS POETRY?' An Answer to the
Question, 'What is Poetry?' including Remarks on Versification. By
LF.IGH HUNT. Edited, with notes, by Professor A. S. COOK. Crown 8vo. ,
cloth, 23. 6d. This is the first essay in Leigh Hunt's ' Imagination and
Fancy,' which is among the very best of his prose works.
A DEFENCE OF POETRY. By PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
Edited, with notes and introduction, by Professor A. S. COOK. Crown
8vo. , cloth, 2S. 6d.
SELECTIONS IN ENGLISH PROSE FROM ELIZABETH
TO VICTORIA. Chosen and arranged by JAMES M. GARNETT, M.A.,
LL.D. 700 pages, large crown 8vo., cloth, 75. 6d.
' Mr. Garnett has made his selection for the most part with judgment and good taste.'
BEN JONSON'S TIMBER. Edited by Professor F. E.
SCHELLING. Crown 8vo., cloth, 45.
' For strength, sense, and learning, there are not many books in English literature that
can beat this.' Saturday Review.
THE PRACTICAL ELEMENTS OF RHETORIC. By JOHN
F. GENUNG, Ph.D., Professor of Rhetoric in Amherst College. Crown
8vo., cloth, 75.
'A useful and interesting book on a subject that ought to be especially useful and
interesting to an age and nation like our own.' Professor J. E. Nixon, King's College,
GENERAL LITERATURE. 21
A HANDBOOK TO DANTE. By GIOVANNI A. SCARTAZZINI.
Translated from the Italian, with notes and additions, by THOMAS
DAVIDSON, M.A. Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s. The Handbook is divided into
two parts, the first treating of Dame's Life ; the second, of his Works.
In neither is there omitted any really important fact. To every section
is appended a valuable Bibliography.
'This handbook gives us just what we require a faithful representation of the man
his life, his love, his history, and his work.' Perth Advertiser.
DANTE'S ELEVEN LETTERS. Translated and Edited by
the late C. S. LATHAM. With a Preface by Professor CHARLES ELIOT
NORTON. Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s.
' An interesting and serviceable contribution to Dante literature.' A thenceum.
SPANISH IDIOMS, WITH THEIR ENGLISH EQUIVA-
LENTS. Embracing nearly 10,000 phrases. By SARAH GARY BECKER
and Senor FEDERICO MORA. 8vo., cloth, los.
* This is a most useful combination of a phrase-book and a dictionary. It gives in
tabular form the various usages of the verbs and other parts of speech most commonly
employed in Spanish. Thus, while many of the phrases might be committed to memory
by one learning the language for colloquial purposes, others will serve to explain the
numerous idiomatic expressions found in Spanish literature.' E. Armstrong^ J5sg., M.A.,
Fellow and Lecturer of Queen's College, Oxford.
OMARAH'S HISTORY OF YAMAN. The Arabic Text,
edited, with a translation, by HENRY CASSELS KAY, Member of the Royal
Asiatic Society. Demy 8vo., cloth, 173. 6d. net.
' Mr. Kay is to be heartily congratulated on the completion of a work of true scholar-
ship and indubitable worth.' Atheneeum.
LANMAN'S SANSKRIT READER. New Edition, with
Vocabulary and Notes. By CHARLES ROCKWELL LANMAN, Professor of
Sanskrit in Harvard College. For use in colleges and for private study.
Royal 8vo., cloth, IDS. 6d. For the convenience of those who possess the
old edition, the Notes are.also issued separately. 55.
' The publication of the long-expected Notes to Professor Lanman's "Sanskrit Reader,"
completes a work for which every beginner of Sanskrit, and not less every teacher of it.
in America and England must be thankful.' Classical Review.
22 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
HARVARD ORIENTAL SERIES. Edited, with the co-opera-
tion of various Scholars, by CHARLES ROCKWELL LANMAN, Professor of
Sanskrit in the Harvard University. Vol. I. The Jataka-Mala ; or,
Bodhisattvavadana-Mala. By ARYA-CuRA. Edited by Dr. HENDRIK
KERN, Professor in the University of Leyden, with Preface, Text, and
Various Readings. Royal 8vo., cloth, 6s. net.
' The names of Professor Lanman and of Dr. Kern are a sufficient guarantee for the
sound and accurate scholarship of this edition of the "Jataka-Mala " The Sanskrit text
leaves nothing to be desired ; the type is clear and readable, the printing and paper excel-
lent.' Asiatic Quarterly.
Vol. II. Kapila's Aphorisms of the Samkhya Philosophy, with the com-
mentary of Vijnana-bhiksu. Edited in the original Sanskrit by RICHARD
GARBE, Professor in the University of Kb'nigsberg. \Jn the press.
A SANSKRIT PRIMER. Based on the Leitfaden filr den
Element arcursus des Sanskrit of Professor Georg Biihler of Vienna. With
Exercises and Vocabularies by EDWARD DELAVAN PERRY, Ph.D., of
Columbia College, New York. 8vo., cloth, 8s.
' It cught to prove a very useful book to beginners of Sanskrit. With its aid students
should be able to acquire a practical knowledge of Sanskrit in a shorter time than any
other elementary Sanskrit book known to me could enable them to do.' A. A. Macdonell,
H.$q., Deputy Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford University.
THE RIGVEDA. The oldest literature of the Indians. By
ADOLF KAEGI, Professor in the University of Zurich. Authorised transla-
tion by R. ARROWSMITH, Ph.D. 8vo., cloth, 75. 6d.
' Arrowsmith's translation of Kaegi's " Rigveda " I have found, on comparing two or
three passages with the original German, to be perfectly trustworthy. It is a book that
every student or the "Veda "should possess, as no other work gives so condensed an
account of the " Rigveda," and of the literature bearing on it.' A. A. Macdonell, Esq.,
Deputy Professor ot Sanskrit, Oxford University.
PUBLICATIONS OF THE INDIA OFFICE AND OF THE
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. Mr. EDWARD ARNOLD, having been
appointed Publisher to the Secretary of State for India in Council, has
now on sale the above publications at 37 Bedford Street, Strand, and is
prepared to supply full information concerning them on application.
INDIAN GOVERNMENT MAPS. Any of the Maps in this
magnificent series can now be obtained at the shortest notice from Mr.
EDWARD ARNOLD, Publisher to the India Office.
BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG.
MEN OF MIGHT. Studies of Great Characters. By
A. C. BENSON, M.A., and H. F. W. TATHAM, M.A., Assistant Masters
at Eton College. Crown 8vo., cloth, 33. 6d.
_ ' Models of what such compositions should be ; full of incident and anecdote, with the
right note of enthusiasm, where it justly comes in, with little if anything of direct
sermonizing, though the moral for an intelligent lad is never far to seek. It is a long
time since we have seen a better book for youngsters.' Guardian.
THE BATTLES OF FREDERICK THE GREAT ; Extracts
from Carlyle's ' History of Frederick the Great.' Edited by CYRIL RAN-
SOME, M.A., Professor of History in the Yorkshire College, Leeds. With
a Map specially drawn for this work, Carlyle's original Battle-Plans, and
Illustrations by ADOLPH MENZEL. Cloth, imperial i6mo., 55.
' Carlyle's battle-pieces are models of care and of picturesque writing, and it was a happy
thought to disinter them from the bulk of the " History of Frederick." The illustrations
are very spirited.' journal of Education.
FRIENDS OF THE OLDEN TIME. By ALICE GARDNER,
Lecturer in History at Newnham College, Cambridge. Illustrated,
square 8vo. , as. 6d.
A capital little book for children, whose interest in history it is desired to stimulate by
lively and picturesque narratives of the lives of heroes, and the nobler aspects of heroic
times. Leonidas and Pericles, Solon and Socrates, Camillas and Hannibal, the Gracchi
and Alexander, form the subject of Miss Gardner's animated recitals, which possess all
the charm of simplicity and clearness that should beljng to stories told to children.'
24 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
LAMB'S ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES. With an Intro-
duction by ANDREW LANG. Third and Fourth Thousand. Square 8vo. ,
cloth, is. 6d. Also the Prize Edition, gilt edges, 2S.
' Boys in reading the story of the hero's wanderings find in it the same sort of charm
that attracts them in " Robinson Crusoe." ' Manchester Guardian,
ETHICS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. By C. C EVERETT,
Professor of Theology in Harvard University. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 23. Cd.
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS : Chaps, i-io, Morality in General : Chaps, n 20,
Duties towards One's self ; Chaps. 21-29, Duties towards Others ; Chaps.
30-36, Helps and Hindrances,
'A series of essays on the generally-recognised virtues and the commoner faults to
which the young are liable. It has a truly educative tendency, and is one of a type of
book that we should be glad to see more frequently studied in our schools.' Giiardian.
A NEW SCHOOL HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By C. W.
OMAN, M.A., All Soul's College, Oxford, Author of 'Warwick the King-
maker,' etc. [/ preparation.
RICHARD II. Edited by R. BRINSLEY JOHNSON. Small
crown Svo. , cloth, is.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Edited by BRINSLEY
JOHNSON. Small crown 8vo., cloth, is.
These are the first volumes of Arnold's School Shakespeare, and will be
followed immediately by The Merchant of Venice, Julius Ccrsar, and other
Plays. The text is that of the Globe Edition, through the kind permission of
Messrs. Macmillan and Co.
This series is under the general editorship of Mr. J. Churton Collins.
TALES FROM HANS ANDERSEN. With nearly Forty
original illustrations by E. A. LEMANN. One vol., foolscap 410., hand-
somely bound in cloth gilt, ys. 6d.
' The artist has entered into the spirit of these most delightful of fairy tales, and
makes the book specially attractive by its dainty and descriptive illustrations.' Saturday
GENERAL LITERATURE. 25
BARE ROCK ; or, The Island of Pearls. A Book of Ad-
venture for Boys. By HENRY NASH. With numerous full-page and other
illustrations by LANCELOT SPEED. Large crown 8vo., over 400 pages,
handsomely bound, gilt edges, 6s.
' A book vastly to our taste a book to charm all boys, and renew the boy in all who
have ever been boys. There are all kinds of delights a shipwreck, a desert island, a
Crusoe-like life enjoyed by two boys, a "surprise party" of savages, and
coil of exciting incidents among West African blacks.' Saturday Review.
THE CHILDREN'S DICKENS. DAVID COPPERFIELD
-THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP DOMBEY AND SON. Illustrated
from the original plates, and abridged for the use of children by J. H.
YOXALL. Square 8vo., cloth, is. 6d. each volume.
Also, specially bound for Prizes and Presents, with gilt edges, as. each.
' The books have been cut down to manageable length by the excision of passages un-
suited to the comprehension of children, or unlikely to maintain their interest, the con-
tinuity of the story being preserved by the interpolation of short passages from the editor's
pen, printed in italics. The work of compression is judiciously carried out, the type is
bold and clear, and the illustrations are taken from the original plates. ' Guardian.
' The abridgments of Dickens seem to me excellent. It is the kind of thing that I have
always longed for, and that I, in common with many other parents, probably have
practically done by skipping while reading aloud. But it is delightful having it in this
convenient form, in a book which one can put into the child's own hand.' Mrs. Hugh Bell.
TWILIGHT THOUGHTS CLAUDE'S POPULAR FAIRY
STORIES. With a Preface by MATTHEW ARNOLD. Crown 8vo.,
cloth, 2s. 6d.
' There is nature and fable and pathos and morality in these stories, something for
every taste.' From the Preface.
THE NINE WORLDS. Stories from Norse Mythology. By
MARY E. LITCHFIELD. Illustrated, crown 8vo. , cloth, 33.
' These short stories are intended for children, but the author hopes they will not be
uninteresting to older persons. We suspect that the latter will enjoy them even more than
the former.' Journal of Education.
26 MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST OF
The Children's Favourite
A charming Series of Juvenile Books, each plentifully illustrated,
and written in simple language to please young readers. Special
care is taken in the choice of thoroughly wholesome matter.
Handsomely bound, and designed to form an attractive and enter-
taining Series of gift-books for presents and prizes.
PRICE Two SHILLINGS EACH.
'A charming set of books, which will rejoice the hearts of mothers, teachers, and
children.' Child Life.
' Prettily bound, well illustrated, edited with much good sense, and are admirable for
MY BOOK OF FAIRY TALES.
1 For children of seven or eight there could cot be a better fairy-book.' British
MY BOOK OF BIBLE STORIES.
' Written so that the youngest child can understand them.' Saturday Review.
MY BOOK OF HISTORY TALES.
' A splendid introduction to English history. 'Methodist Times.
DEEDS OF GOLD.
' A first-rate book for lads and lassies is this. Children cannot but be better for reading
such splendid examples of the performance of duty as those illustrated in this book.'
MY BOOK OF FABLES.
A very good selection. The morals are rarely more than one line long, the type is
large and clear, and the pictures are good.' Bookman.
MY STORY-BOOK OF ANIMALS.
'This book will be found a favourite among the favourites.' The Lady.
RHYMES FOR YOU AND ME.
1 It is sometimes thought that slovenly verse is good enough for children, so long as the
sentiment and intention are right. The compiler of this volume does not think so ; his
choice is seldom at fault.' Spectator.
*#* Other Volumes of the Series are in course of preparation.
EACH VOLUME CONTAINS ABOUT THIRTY ILLUSTRATIONS.
PRICE Two SHILLINGS.
GENERAL LITERATURE. 27
THE FORUM. The great success of this Famous American
Review, which holds a position in the United States equivalent to that of
the Nineteenth Century in England, has justified the proprietors in carrying
out a wish they have long entertained of reducing its price so as to render
it the cheapest first-class Review in the world. With this year its price has
been reduced to is. 3d. monthly ; annual subscription, post free, 153.
A conspicuous feature in the Review is the prominence it gives to articles
by European contributors, nearly every number containing articles by the
best English writers. It is obtainable in England about the xoth of each
' Nothing that I could say would exaggerate my hig^h opinion of the Forum, its
scope, its management, the ability of its articles, and the importance of its influence.'
Mrs, Lynn Linton.
' There is scarcely a number which does not contain one or more striking papers.'
Ven. Archdeacon farrar, D.D.
' In the rank of American periodical literature there can be no doubt that it takes a
foremost position.' Professor Edmund Gosse.
THE JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY : A Journal of Animal
Morphology, devoted principally to Embryological, Anatomical, and His-
tological subjects. Edited by C. O. WHITMAN, Professor of Biology in
Clark University, U.S.A. Three numbers in a volume, of 100 to 150 large
4to. pages, with numerous plates. Single numbers, 175. 6d. ; subscription
to the volume of three numbers, 453. Volumes I. to VII. can now be
obtained, and the first number of Volume VIII. is ready.
1 Everyone who is interested in the kind of work published in it knows it. It is taken
by all the chief libraries of colleges, universities, etc., both in England and the Con-
tinent. ' Professor Ray Lankester.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW. Edited by J. G.
SCHURMAN, Professor of Philosophy in Cornell University, U.S.A. Six-
Numbers a year. Single Numbers, 33. 6d. ; Annual Subscription, i2s. 6d.
' Indispensable to the serious student of philosophy.' Leeds Mercury.
28 MR. E. ARNOLD'S LIST OF GENERAL LITERATURE.
AMERICAN PHILOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, TRANSAC-
TIONS OF THE. Vols. I. XXI. Containing Papers by Specialists
on Ancient and Modem Languages and Literature. The price of the
volumes is los. each, except Volumes XV. and XX., which are 125. 6d. each.
Volumes I. and II. are not sold separately. An Index of Authors and sub-
jects to Vols. I. XX. is issued, price 23. 6d.
MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S List of American Periodicals vill be sent
post free on application.
L'AMARANTHE : Revue Litteraire, Artistique Illustree.
De'die'e aux filles de France. A monthly Magazine containing original
articles by the best French writers, specially intended for the perusal, of
young people, is. monthly ; annual subscription, including postage, 145.
3n&ey to Hutbors.
ADDERLEY. Stephen Remarx . u
ADLER. Instruction of Children . 18
AMARANTHE (L') . . . .28
AMERICAN PHILOLOGICAL ASSO-
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
CHILDREN'S FAVOURITE SERIES. 26
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
DICKENS, CHILDREN'S . . 25
DISNEY. Law relating to School-
masters . . .15
ENGLISH ILLUSTRATED MAGA-
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
GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS . . n
GREENSTREET. Fouille'e's Educa-
tion . . 17
HANS ANDERSEN. Tales from 24
HARTSHORNE. Glasses and
Goblets . 12
INDEX TO AUTHORS.
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
INDIA OFFICE PUBLICATIONS . 22
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
MORPHOLOGY, JOURNAL OF . 27
MORRISON. --Historical Geography 16
NASH. Bare Rock . . .25
OMAN. History of England . 24
PAYNE. Rosseau's Emile . . 17
PERRY. Sanskrit Primer . . 22
PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW . . 27
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
The following Catalogues of Mr. Edward Arnold's Publica-
tions will be sent post free on application :
CATALOGUE OF WORKS OF GENERAL
GENERAL CATALOGUE OF EDUCATIONAL
Including the principal Publications of Messrs. Ginn and Company, Educa-
tional Publishers, of Boston and New York.
CATALOGUE OF WORKS FOR USE IN
With Specimen Pages.
ILLUSTRATED LIST OF BOOKS FOR
PRESENTS AND PRIZES.
CATALOGUE OF INDIA OFFICE
CATALOGUE OF INDIA OFFICE MAPS.
LIST OF AMERICAN PERIODICALS WITH
AMERICAN BOOKS. The importation of all American
Books, Periodicals, and Newspapers is conducted by a special
department, with accuracy and despatch, and full information
can be obtained on application.
LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD, 37 BEDFORD ST., W.C.
to tfcc Infcia <Df5.
RETURN CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT
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