Arctic Exploration.

p. 89: Very little that is worthy of note occurred during the first winter. The monotony of the excessively dull season was, however, relieved by the appearance of a party of Eskimos, who proved to be thoroughly friendly, except on one occasion when they nearly assassinated half the party because they imagined that they had caused the death of one of the members of their tribe by witchcraft.

p. 118, on Franklin in a letter from Commander Fitzjames to a Mrs. Coningham: “I like a man who is in earnest. Sir John Franklin read the church service to-day, and a sermon, so very beautifully that I defy any man not to feel the force of what he would convey. The first Sunday he read was a day or two before we sailed [May 17, 1845], when Lady Franklin, his daughter, and niece attended. Everyone was struck with his extreme earnestness of manner, evidently proceeding from real conviction. . . . We are very fond of Sir John Franklin, who improves very much as we come to know more of him. He is anything but nervous or fidgety; in fact, I should say remarkable for energetic decision in sudden emergencies, but I should think he might be easily persuaded where he has not already formed a strong opinion.”

p. 177-78: M’Clintock and the Fox, and finding bodies and relics in an abandoned boat: In this boat lay two skeletons, one of them huddled up in the bows, and the other across the afterthwart. Beside them were five watches, two guns, and a number of books, for the most part devotional, but, search as they would, M’Clintock and his men could find no trace of a pocket-book or journal, nor even a scrap of clothing marked with a name which might reveal the identity of the two victims. Pieces of plate and an extraordinary variety of miscellaneous articles, ranging from two rolls of sheet-lead to tacks, were scattered about in the boat, and these M’Clintock de scribes as “a mere accumulation of dead weight, of little use, and very likely to break down the strength of the sledge-crews. The only provisions we could find, “he continues, “were tea and chocolate. Of the former, very little remained, but there were nearly forty pounds of the latter. These articles alone could never support life in such a climate, and we found neither biscuit nor meat of any kind.”

p. 210, on the travails of the Tegethoff: 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 showed any inclination to do. … The Tegetthoff had heeled over on her side, and huge pillars of ice threatened to precipitate themselves upon her. But the pressure abated, and the ship righted herself ; and about one o’clock, when the danger was in some degree over, the crew went below to dine. But again a strain was felt through the vessel, everything which hung freely began to oscillate violently, and all hastened on deck, some with the unfinished dinner in their hands, others stuffing it into their pockets.”

p. 250, on discovering De Long’s body: October 22, Saturday—one hundred and thirty- second day. Too weak to carry bodies of Lee and Kaack out on the ice. The doctor, Collins, and I carried them round the corner, out of sight. Then my eye closed up.”

“October 30, Sunday—one hundred and fortieth day. Boyd and Gortz died during the night. Mr Collins dying.”

And here the brave commander’s diary tragically ends. Some months later Melville, who had made his way to the coast in a less inhospitable region, and had organised a search-party as soon as he heard of De Long’s plight, came upon the camp.

“Suddenly,” he says, “I caught sight of three objects, and one of these was the hand and arm of a body raised out of the snow. … I identified De Long at a glance by his coat. He lay on his right side, with his right hand under his cheek, his head pointing north, and his face turned towards the west. His feet were drawn slightly up, as though he were sleeping; his left arm was raised with the elbow bent, and his hand, thus horizontally lifted, was bare. About four feet back of him, or towards the east, I found his small notebook, or ice-journal, where he had tossed it with his left hand, which looked as though it had never recovered from the act, but had frozen as I found it, upraised.”

p. 287 on Adolf Nordenskiöld’s Northeast Passage: Information concerning the nature of the regions over which he proposed to travel was, of course, difficult to obtain. However he read all the literature that existed upon the subject, and having equipped himself with the Nansen sledges and ponies which, he gathered, would be absolutely essential for success, he started off on his travels with a party consisting of Mr E. J. Garwood, his photographer, Dr Gregory, the geologist, Trevor Battye, the ornithologist, and, as artist, his nephew, H. E. Conway.

p. 307-08, Conclusion: So ends the story of Arctic exploration up to the present time. Those who have read these pages can not fail to have been impressed by the gallantry with which generations of brave men have willingly faced, in the cause of science, the terrible privations and sufferings only to be met with in the frozen North, or to have felt proud of the part which Great Britain has played in solving the secrets of the Polar regions. …

Much has been accomplished, but much still remains to be done. There is around the Pole a tract of over two million square miles which have never yet been visited by a human being, and there can be no doubt that if this tract can be made to give up its secrets the world of science will profit immensely. The Pole itself still remains to be conquered, and though it is difficult at present to see how that terribly arduous journey over the rough seas of palæocrystic ice is to be accomplished, science will doubtless find a way. Of this, at any rate, we may be sure; so long as the Pole retains a single secret, there will not be wanting brave men who will gladly go through any dangers, and suffer any privations, if they can but wrest it from its prison of ice.