p. 120: Books can tell him little of the stern life [in the Arctic] to which he dooms himself, as soon as he crosses the threshold of the ice, thinking perhaps to measure the evils that await him by the physical miseries of cold instead of by the moral deprivations in store for him. 2. In the year 1868, while employed on the survey of the Orteler Alps, a newspaper with an account of Koldewey’s first expedition one day found its way into my tent on the mountain side. In the evening I held forth on the North Pole to the herdsmen and Jägers of my party as we sat round the fire, no one more filled with astonishment than myself, that there should be men endued with such capacity to endure cold and darkness. No presentiment had I then, that the very next year I should myself have joined an expedition to the North Pole; and as little could Haller, one of my Jägers at that time, foresee that he would accompany me on my third expedition.
p. 164: About 11.30 in the forenoon according to our usual custom, a portion of the Bible was read on deck, and this day, quite accidentally, the portion read was the history of Joshua: but if in his day the sun stood still, it was more than the ice now showed any inclination to do.
p. 181-82: October 30.—At half-past three o’clock in the morning there was a dreadful straining and creaking in the ship: at once we sprang out of our berths, and stood on deck with our fur garments on, and with our bags as before. New fissures had appeared which rapidly enlarge themselves; the two boats and the coal-house are now surrounded by up-forced masses of ice and separated from us. Then a pause! There is however no real repose, and the least sound on deck, the falling of anything heavy.—at other times quite unnoticed—alarms us into the expectation of new onsets. At noon, as we sate at dinner, there was renewed and excessive straining in the ship, and even in the cabin we heard such a rushing sound in the ice without, that it seemed as if the whole frozen sea would the next moment boil and rise in vapour. During all the afternoon the noise continues, and all the fissures send forth dense vapours, like hot springs. During the day no quiet for reading or working, and every night almost our sleep is disturbed by a horrible awaking within a great creaking, groaning coffin. Men can accustom themselves to almost anything ; but to these daily recurring shocks, and the constantly renewed question as to the end and issue of it all, we cannot grow accustomed."
8. There is however such an intolerable monotony in my diary, that, to spare my readers, I thus, in a few words, resuming its contents, describe our situation:—“One of us, to-day, remarked very truly, that he saw perfectly well how one might lose his reason with the continuance of these sudden and incessant assaults. It is not dangers that we fear, but worse far; we are kept in a constant state of readiness to meet destruction, and know not whether it will come to-day, or to-morrow, or in a year. Every night we are startled out of sleep, and, like hunted animals, up we spring to await amid an awful darkness the end of an enterprise from which all hope of success has departed. It becomes at last a mere mechanical process to seize our rifles and our bag of necessaries and rush on deck. In the daytime, leaning over the bulwarks of the ship, which trembles, yea, almost quivers the while, we look out on a continual work of destruction going on, and at night as we listen to the loud and ever-increasing noises of the ice, we gather that the forces of our enemy are increasing.”
[Not clear why the sequence of numbered paragraphs is confused here.]
p. 189-90: 6. With the exception of , we had no other amusement than short expeditions, never extending beyond a mile from the ship, in which we were accompanied by all the dogs. We generally set out with two small sledges, and when the moon was not shining, with our rifles ready to fire, for the darkness and the utter absence of open spaces on the ice imposed the utmost caution against bears. At a very short distance we could see nothing of the ship, and only by our footsteps on the snow could we make out where we were and find the way back. In these expeditions we were exposed to another danger—the risk of being cut off from the ship by the breaking-up of one of the drifting floes…. 7. December came, but it brought no change in our situation. Our life became more and more monotonous; one day differed in no respect from another, it was but a mere succession of dates, and time was reckoned merely by the hours for eating and sleeping. The ice, however, did not share in the universal repose. It was never weary of threatening; no day elapsed without movement on its part.
p. 195: On December 20 we were unable, even at noon, to read anything but the titles of books of the largest type; a man’s eyes were invisible at the distance of a few paces, and at fifty even the stoutest ropes of the ship were scarcely discernible. The effect of the long Polar night—when the range of the light of a lamp is the whole world for man—is most oppressive to the feelings; nor can habit ever reconcile those who have lived under the influences of civilization to its gloom and solitude. It can be a home only to men who spend their existence in eating and drinking and sleeping, without any disturbing recollection of a better existence. The depression was made more intense by the consciousness that we had been driven into an utterly unknown region and with our eyes bound. Work, incessant work, was the only resource in these circumstances.
p. 207-08: 6. The arrangements of the officers’ mess-room are simple and in harmony with its purpose. Here stands a large table, used for study and for meals; the smaller berths, where the officers sleep, are round the sides of the mess-room—just large enough to enable a man to breathe in. There, in a recess between two pillars, an untold resource, the library (of about 400 volumes, chiefly scientific); close beside it the chronometers, and lastly, the inevitable evils, the medical stores, ranged round the mast. By the side of scientific works stand Petermann’s MittheilungenParadise Lost and Shakespeare’s immortal works, a whole tribe of romances, which were read with never tiring delight.
p. 210: 9. Every Sunday at noon we celebrated Divine Service. Under the shelter of the deck-tent, the Gospel was read to the little band of Christians gathered together by the sound of the ship’s bell, in all that grave simplicity which marked the worship of the early Christian Church. The Service over, we then sat down to the Sunday dinner, which was graced by a glass of wine and cake.
p. 217, on life below decks during the first winter: Our supply of Slavonic was unfortunately not very ample, and. besides, not all the crew were able to read; the greater therefore was their tendency, like men of southern climes, to harmless noise, and I believe that some of our people, during the whole expedition, never ceased to speak.
p. 229: Throughout the day we sat penned up in the boats, worn-out with a feeling of indescribable weariness, each morning longing for the end of the day, and at every meal thinking when the next would be ready. It seemed as if the time for launching the boats would never come. When the hoarse melancholy scream of the Burgomaster-gull sounded through the stillness of the night, it seemed like a demon voice from another world, proclaiming that all our efforts would avail nothing to deliver us from the icy power which held us in its grasp. A visit from a bear was a welcome change in the monotony of our life.
p. 242, from Payer’s journals: “To the others, their abode in the boats is a time of manifest weariness and ennui. Happy the man who has any tobacco, happy he who, after smoking his pipe, does not fall into a faint; happy too the man who finds a fragment of a newspaper in some corner or other, even if there should be nothing contained in it but the money market intelligence, or perhaps directions to be followed in the preparation of pease-sausage….”
p. 295-96, during the second winter: We had now leisure and calmness for intellectual occupations, which were, indeed, the only means of relieving the monotony of the long period of darkness. We lived like hermits in our little cabins in the after-part of the ship, and learned, that mental activity without any other joy, suffices to make men happy and contented. The oppressive feeling of having to return ingloriously home, which had always been disagreeably present to our minds during the first winter, was no longer felt. We had now a hope, the charms of which grew day by day, that in the spring we should be able to leave the ship and start on expeditions to explore the land we had discovered. Happy in this expectation, we could enjoy the indescribable pleasures of good , all the more that we were far from the busy haunts of men, and that the presence of danger clears and sharpens the understanding. Nowhere can a book be so valued as in such an isolated position as ours was. Great, therefore, was the advantage we possessed in a good library, consisting of of science, and of the classics of literature. In fact, freed from the constantly recurring perils, which had been our portion in the first long Arctic night, this second winter was to all who actively employed their minds, comparatively a state of happiness, undisturbed by cares. With regard to the crew, they were kept in good humour by the increase of their comforts.
p. 311, during second winter of 1874: 10. The life we now led below in the ship had ceased to be in any way disagreeable, and cheerful and entertaining reading seemed to be healthier than bodily exercise. We did not suffer from any want of the necessaries of life; our sitting for hours even without our overcoats. The long night of this polar winter was gloomy and oppressive only to those who had time and leisure to weigh the burden of the hours. There were, of course, even in this second winter, some of those discomforts and dangers of which the reader has heard enough, and which lead him when he reads of life in the frozen regions to think of ice-floes rather than of a room in which comfort is quite possible.
p. 311-12, again during a second winter, less fraught than the first:
10. The life we now led below in the ship had ceased to be in any way disagreeable, and cheerful and entertaining seemed to be healthier than bodily exercise. We did not suffer from any want of the necessaries of life; the temperature of our living-rooms generally admitted of our sitting for hours even without our overcoats. The long night of this polar winter was gloomy and oppressive only to those who had time and leisure to weigh the burden of the hours.
p. 318-19: December 26, we were able to read only the title of New Free Press, at the distance of a few inches, but not a word of Vogt’s Geology. January 11, the word Geology on the title of that book was discernible in clear weather, but only when the book was held up to the light of the mid-day twilight. On the following day it was as dark at nine o’clock in the morning as at the 24th of January, and after it was four days old we could distinguish the common print of the “Press” by its light, and for the first time read off the degrees of the thermometer without artificial means.
Volume II: The End of the Tegetthoff.
p. 72, on the death and burial of Krisch: Silently struggling against the drifting snow, we marched on, dragging our burden through desolate reaches of snow, till we arrived, after a journey of an hour and a half, at the point we sought on the island. Here, in a fissure between basaltic columns, we deposited his earthly remains, filling the cavity up with stones, which we loosened with much labour, and which the wind, as we stood there, covered with wreaths of snow. We the prayer for the dead over him who had shared in our sufferings and trials, but who was not destined to return home with us with the news of our success; and close by the spot, surrounded with every symbol of death and far from the haunts of men, we raised as our farewell a simple wooden cross.
p. 108: Orel and I made vain attempts to shorten the time by a volume of Lessing which we had brought with us; but we soon renounced the effort, finding that we could not fix our attention in such a situation.
p. 146: Only one thought possessed us—the rescue of Zaninovich, the jewel and pride of our party, and the recovery of our invaluable store of provisions, and of the book containing our journals, which, if lost, could never be replaced.
p. 211-12: But withal we redoubled our diligence to secure the results of our toils and labours. Lieutenant Weyprecht deposited our meteorological and magnetical readings, the log-books and the ship’s papers, in a chest lined with tin, and soldered it down, and a few days afterwards I made exact duplicates of the surveys, and of measurements, which I had taken. I took especial care so to prepare these, that another person might be able to construct from them a map of Franz-Josef Land, should I myself perish on the return journey.
p. 220-21: These recollections crowded upon us as the moment came to abandon her. Now too we had to part with our Zoological, Botanical, and Geological collections, the result of so much labour; the ample collection of instruments, the which had helped us over many a weary hour, and the sixty-seven bear-skins which we had so carefully prepared, all these had also to be abandoned. The photographs of friends and acquaintances we hung on the rocky walls ashore, preferring to leave them there rather than in the ship, which must some time or other be driven ashore and go to pieces. A document stating the grounds of our decision was laid on the table of the messroom.
p. 242: “To the others, their abode in the boats is a time of manifest weariness and ennui. Happy the man who has any tobacco, happy he who, after smoking his pipe, does not fall into a faint; happy too the man who finds a fragment of a in some corner or other, even if there should be nothing contained in it but the money-market intelligence, or perhaps directions to be followed in the preparation of pease-sausage. Enviable is he who discovers a hole in his fur coat which he can mend; but happiest of all are those who can sleep day and night….”