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6. The ship passed rapidly through under full steam, and with top-sails spread. Before noon she had passed several headlands. The land now trended to the westward, low undulating hills succeeded the cliffs of 1000 feet or more, along which she had passed. It snowed lightly, but not enough to conceal the fact that Robeson Channel was altogether behind, and that a broad icecovered sea lay in front. It was not till afterwards that the true size of this sea of polar ice was ascertained. They were now obliged to stop.
7. Before them was a rugged wall of ice of from twenty to forty feet in height, further advance was therefore impossible. A channel of shallow water, however, led to a low point of land to the south. They sailed carefully down this channel and anchored in a little cove that was bounded by the shelving shore on one side, and on the other by a great iceberg that had grounded in the shallow water, and lay firmly fixed. Here it was decided the Alert should winter in latitude 82° 27'. This was farther north than had ever been reached by any other ship.
8. The land here was not absolutely barren, for the few sheltered spots gave protection to some very small specimens of the Arctic poppy now withered into a
In one spot a tiny dwarfed Arctic willow was found with a stem no thicker than a crowquill creeping flat amongst the stones. Snow-covered land spread southward and westward, and this rose in one place about eight miles off into two dome-shaped mountains.
9. Sledging parties were sent out to explore the region round about, but the men returned to the ships, suffering from such severe frost-bites that some of them were obliged to have one or two of their toes amputated.
10. Winter now set in, and the words “ below zero”
began to be omitted in the daily statements of the temperature. The cold was so intense that those who dwell in this country can have but little idea of its severity. The sun was not seen for 142 days. Sometimes when the nights were clear, the stars were seen or the faint pale moon. At noon the dusky twilight was often a little brightened. Everything that goes to make up the interest of an Arctic winter, was absent in 82 degrees north; and darkness, ice, and cold, reigned supreme.
11. Snow houses were built for observatories, and the snow was banked up against the side of the ship to help to retain her heat. The daily winter routine of the men was muster on deck, succeeded by divine service, then parade for lime juice. Then followed regulation exercise, either by some occupation outside the ship, or walking a weary beat up and down a space marked out on a smooth piece of ice, with heaps of empty preserved meat tins placed at intervals to act as guides in the darkness. Many plans were adopted for keeping up the spirits of the men during this trying time. Entertainments were held, lectures given, and a night school was carried on by the officers.
12. When spring came the difficulties and dangers returned. It was quite settled that the only mode of reaching the Pole was by sledges. On the morning of the 3d of April, seven sledges, manned by fifty-three officers and men, fell into their places on the floe alongside of the ship. The sledges destined for the North Pole were under the command of Captain Markham. The way lay over ice and snow, and the road had to be cut with spades and pickaxes, before the dogs could draw the sledges over it. A temperature of more than 70 degrees below freezing-point was experienced the first week. Sledges and men sunk deeply into the snow. Although all worked with a will, they only proceeded at the rate of a mile a day. The men now suffered the greatest hardships, and had to sleep in tents which were pitched on the ice. At last sickness broke out, and the interprater Petersen was so badly frost-bitten, that he died. Seeing the impossibility of getting to the Pole by this
route, Captain Markham determined to return, and after incredible difficulties succeeded in getting back to the ship.
13. It now being evident that further progress to the north was absolutely impossible, Captain Nares decided to return home. The ice, however, remained firm until the 20th of July, when it began to show signs of breaking up. The ice around the ship was now blown up with gunpowder, and on the 31st of July, when a strong south-west wind set in, the Alert left her winter quarters. On the 11th of August she fell in with the Discovery, and both ships made the best of their way southwards.
14. After many more dangers were passed the ships reached the Danish colonies of Greenland, and put on shore the dogs and the surviving interpreter. The coast of Iceland was reached on the 27th of August, 1876, and on the 2d of November the ships re-entered Portsmouth harbour.
15. Although the expedition was not able to approach within 600 miles of the North Pole, yet many scientific discoveries were made, and the question was settled of the impracticability of reaching to the Pole by the route that had been chosen. succession, one following an- trended, inclined. other.
undulating, swelling. gales, storms of wind.
amputated, cut off. interpreters, translators of a zero, the point marked with 0, spoken language.
above and below which temcharacteristics, special features. perature is measured on a therboulders, large roundish stones. drifted, floated.
observatories, places from which imminent, threatening.
the heavenly bodies are obcommodious, roomy:
served. floes, large masses of floating ice. routine, ordinary duties.
Where did the ships meet after their separation by the storm? What settlement did they soon afterwards reach, and what was taken on board? Name the most northerly settlement in the world. What interfered with the progress of the ships in Smith's Sound? Describe the appearance of the ice there. Where did the Discovery winter? Describe the appearance of the land after passing Robeson Channel. What prevented their progress? Where did the Alert anchor? In what latitude? What plants were found growing even here? By what means was the region around the ship explored? What was the temperature? How long was the sun absent? What was the ordinary routine of the men each day? How were the evenings spent? Describe the attempt made to reach the North Pole in the following spring. Why was it abandoned? How was the Alert fra from the ice? On what date did she rejoin the Discovery? When did the ships reach home? What were the results of the expedition?
1. Whilst lettered travellers delight to roam
The time-worn temple and the polished dome;
2. Oft have my footsteps roamed the sacred spot,
Where heroes, kings, and minstrels, sleep forgot;
Unknowing all I saw, of all I saw unknown! 3. Village, no pilgrim ever crept around
With more emotion Sion's sacred ground,