This is the expedition which Nansen found (or vice versa) when returning from his North Polar trip, June 17, 1896. Jackson’s ship was the Windward which took Nansen back to Norway, returning the following July to return the whole Jackson expedition.
At the outset of the book there are many references to Sunday prayers (p. 60: “read prayers as usual”) but these disappear early in the book though mention is made of a vote taken as to whether prayers should be read on Sundays—only one seaman was interested but they were continued (p. 115)
p. 85—shows picture of cabin on ship with a shelf of books.
p. 91: I think the perpetual darkness and consequent reduction in the amount of exercise and the deadly monotony have their effect upon us.
p. 108—receives a Christmas present of a “fictional book”
p. 115, January 6th, Sunday: I put it to the vote as to whether prayers should be read on Sundays [as they had consistently thus far] or not, as some dislike had been shown in reference to it. All but one expressed indifference on the subject, but as one man wished it I directed that they should be read, as before, in the future.
p. 178, on composition of his expedition journal: My journal I religiously write up daily before leaving camp, doing it in pencil, which I ink in at the end of my journey. This is rather a chilly process, as bare hands of course are necessary, and the ice-cold note-book in a temperature of thirty-five to forty-five below zero is a little cooling to the hands, which every minute or so have to be thrust into the trousers pockets to avoid frost-bite, and when the circulation has become somewhat restored the scribbling goes on again. (See also p. 464)
p. 249, after the death of a crew member the doctor read the burial service.
p. 263, depicts a stamp made aboard the Windward. How were these stamps printed on various expeditions?
p. 265, Eira House—Jackson and Armitage found this hut put up 14 years before, fairly well preserved, with a few novels lying about the room.
p. 273, July 16th, 1895:we read, smoked, and did odd jobs about the camp until 10 p.m.
p. 393: They all played cards or read in the evening, as usual, and every one is contented and happy…. We are always busy, and consequently the depression complained of on some Arctic expeditions is unknown to us.
p. 404-5: I wrote in with ink my sledging journal after lunch. The others read and smoked…. As we have quite run out of ink, Child is manufacturing some which promises to be quite satisfactory.
p. 420: We are beginning to feel the want of more books and a better selection of them. With Arctic volumes especially we are very badly provided.
p. 426-27, after killing a few bears: The doctor, Armitage, Bloomkvist, and I spent the rest of the day until after midnight in skinning and cutting up the bears in No. 2 hut. The cubs, big as they were, were still sucking the mother, and all three were in fair condition. In the stomachs were the remains of a semi-digested seal, and in addition, in the mother’s, two small scraps of printed paper, evidently Norwegian or a similar language.
As we could not in any way account for this, we were all inclined to think that the bear had picked up in the neighborhood of some Norwegian ship up in these parts, and our thoughts naturally turned to Nansen; and speculation was rife. We were talking of the warm welcome we would give him if by some wonderful chance the Fram should drift into our neighborhood. At last, however, Heyward identified one of the small scraps of paper as being identical with a portion of a label on our Danish butter-tins—about the only piece of printing resembling Norwegian we have here, I think. How the old lady came by it I cannot say, but it is remarkable that her selection should have been what it was; especially the one portion of the label she did choose, which particularly tended to perplex us.
p. 464: Writing in the tent when sledging is not exactly a job, especially with ink which is frozen hard, and has to be thawed out by holding the bottle in the hands. The writing must speedily be carried on, or the ink freezes on the pen and on the paper before the sentence is completed. The hands have to be frequently thrust into the pockets to avoid frost-bite, and one feels very thankful when the operation is over.
p. 482: We can’t stand up to stretch ourselves, and even when lying down the three of us do not have much spare room. We spent the day smoking and reading a two-year-old newspaper, even the advertisements receiving close attention. We almost know some of them by heart. The gale continued throughout the day with unabated violence….
p. 513—a picture of Nansen reading after his rescue.
p. 536, July 26, Windward returns to resupply the expedition: Then our letters and newspapers, too! How we devoured their contents.
p. 572, Nov. 10: Life is the acme of monotony during the winter here. It is bad enough during the light; it becomes worse as time goes on. A more trying life than that of a prolonged residence in the Arctic it is difficult to imagine. It is wearisome in the extreme. People generally have an idea that it is the cold and badness of the climate that are the most unpleasant features about it. Not a bit of it. To me it is the deadly monotony of our daily…, being boxed up with the same companions day after day, month after month.
p. 573, on Nov. 16 he notices a newspaper announcement from the year before describing the discovery of photography in colors: Photographs in color would add immensely to the value of the expedition in so many ways… I hope some one may think of it next year. (See also p 607-08 and the reference to the Weekly Times of April 24, 1896.)
p. 584, Dec. 21, the shortest day and a long entry describing the typical day. After dinner: every one follows his own devices—plays cards, smokes, or reads until 11 P.M., when we turn in for the night.
p. 589, picture of the hut at Christmas dinner, showing shelves of books and stacks of books and of newspapers.
p. 600, Feb 9: During the last two years I have for an hour and a half every night, after turning into my blankets, read some scientific book. I am now engaged reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, which I have only read once before, and is a work that requires studying.
p. 725, June 27, a reference to an article on sugar in the British Medical Journal suggesting that he had the journal on hand.
p. 745: Windward arrived to relieve the expedition and hasten its return. With the letters came gifts from Nansen, and “He has sent each of us a copy of his book, which is nice of him. I have, however, been too busy to glance at it yet.