An extremely well-written account. Although he says his vessel, The Advance, was supplied with “a large, well-chosen library” (Vol. 1, p. 20), there is scarcely any indication in the work that it was used, apart from occasional references to reading religious services.
p. 19-21: We had a moderate wardrobe of woollens, a full supply of knives, needles, and other articles for barter, a large, well-chosen library, and a valuable set of instruments for scientific observations.
p. 145: November 21 , Monday.—We have schemes innumerable to cheat the monotonous solitude of our winter. We are getting up a fancy ball; and to-day the first number of our Arctic newspaper, ‘The Ice-Blink,’ came out, with the motto, ‘IN TENEBRIS SERVARE FIDEM.’ The articles are by authors of every nautical grade: some of the best from the forecastle. I transfer a few of them to my Appendix.” Although he indicates that sample articles from the newspaper would be included in an appendix, there seems to be no such appendix in Volume II.
p. 148:December 12, Monday.—A grand incident in our great monotony of life! We had an occultation of Saturyn at 2 AM., and got a most satisfactory observation.
December 15, Thursday.—We have lost the last vestige of our mid-day twilight. We cannot see print, and hardly paper: the fingers cannot be counted a foot from the eyes.
p. 172: We have cards sometimes, and chess sometimes,–and a few magazines, Mr. Littell’s thoughtful present [Littell’s Living Age?], to cheer away the evening.
p. 371: Just as we were finishing our chapter this morning in the ‘Book of Ruth,’ McGary and Morton came in triumphantly….
p. 196, on abandoning the ship after two years iced in: it was hardly easier to leave some other things behind,–several of my well-tested instruments, for instance, and those silent friends, my books. They had all been packed up, hoping for a chance of saving them; and, to the credit of my comrades, let me say gratefully that they offered to exclude both clothes and food in favor of a full freight of these treasures.
But the thing was not to be thought of. I gave a last look at the desolate galley-stove, the representative of our long winter’s fireside, at the still bright coppers now full of frozen water, the theodolite, the chart-box, and poor Wilson’s guitar—once more at the remnant of the old moss walls, the useless daguerreotypes, and the skeletons of dog and deer and bear and musk-ox.—stoppered in the rigging;–and, that done, whipped up my dogs so much after the manner of a sentimentalizing Christian, that our pagan Metek raised a prayer in their behalf (p. 197).
p. 216, on a return to the brig to prepare supplies of bread, he speaks of a baker who is preparing the food under odd circumstances: he kneaded the dough in a large pickled-cabbage cask, fired sundry volumes of the Penny Cyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, and converted, between duff and loaf, almost a whole barrel of flour into a strong likeness of the staff of life. It was the last of our stock….
p. 314: We were able, not without difficulty…to carry our chronometers [but] Our library, as well as those portions which had been furnished by the government and by Mr. Grinnell as my own, were necessarily sacrificed. We preserved only the documents of the Expedition.
p. 443, Appendix XVIII, by Elias Durand, on difficulties in botanical experimentation: To these disadvantages I must add the want, in several instances, of books of reference, and of authentic specimens for comparison.