Parry’s voyage was Barrow’s answer to John Ross and his first disappointing attempt at the Northwest Passage.
p. 88-92, discussion of theatricals presented aboard ship while wintering. A stock of theatrical clothes had been brought, purchased by subscription of the officers, and plays were performed every fortnight throughout the winter: Those ladies who had cherished the growth of their beards and whiskers, as a defense against the inclemency of the climate, now generously agreed to do away with such unfeminine ornaments, and every thing bade fair for a most stylish theatre (p. 89).
p. 91, proposal for an evening school: there were several elementary school-books in the ships for learners to read, while bibles were in each mess for those who had made some progress. Almost every man could read and write a little, but several found that from long disuse it was requisite to begin again.
p. 92, gives playbill and cast for performance of Sheridan’s Rivals, presented on 9 Nov. 1821, with Captain Parry as Sir Anthony Absolute, and Captain Lyon as Captain Absolute; p. 94-5 shows performances of two farces on 27 Nov., “Raising the Wind,” and “Mock Doctor,” with Phantasmagoria, the temperature at 20/ below zero in the open air; p. 96 announces a 17 Dec. performance of the comedy of the “Poor Gentleman”: We were much amused during the exhibition of this play by a burst of true English feeling. In the scene where Lieut. Worthington and Corpl. Foss recount in so animated a manner their former achievements, advancing at the same time, and huzzaing for ‘Old England;’ the whole audience, with one accord, rose, and gave three of the heartiest cheers I ever heard. Then they sat down and the play continued uninterrupted.” Christmas Eve included two farces and phantasmagoria “in order to keep the people quiet and sober” (p. 97).
p. 99: Our men had taken the greatest pleasure in their school…. There was not a man in the ship who could not, by this time, read and write, and on Christmas day I received sixteen copies from those who, two months before, scarcely knew their letters. These were intended as letters to be sent home.
p. 106-07, performances of “Heir at Law”: In our green-room, which was as much warmed as any other part of the theatre, the thermometers stood at 16 ° , and on a table which was placed over a stove, and about six inches above it, the coffee froze in the cups. For my sins I was obliged to be dressed in the height of the fashion, as Dick Dowlass, in the ‘Heir at Law,’ and went through the last scene of the play with my fingers frost-bitten. Let those who have witnessed and admired the performances of a Young ??, answer if he could possibly have stood so cold a reception.
p. 153, Lyon talking with an Eskimaux companion, Ayokitt: Having taught him to snuff my candle, and to stir the fire, to commit all the little animals he might catch to the flames, instead of his mouth, and to avoid a few other Eskimaux habits, we sociably sat down to look over Rees’s Cyclopedia, and to examine the plates, amongst which those of horses were the most incomprehensible to him, especially after I had succeeded in explaining that we rode on them.
p. 261—comment on accuracy of Eskimaux charts.
p. 268—Gives a passage about dreary mountains, from “Lord of the Isles,” suggesting he had the text memorized.