Page images

Boy in Blue is a name given to a United States soldier on account of the color of his uniform.

Right about wheel is a command for the soldiers to turn around and march in an opposite direction.

Elocution, - State whether or not the first few lines should be read in a suppressed tone of voice. How should the interjection Hark!” be uttered ? Do not emphasize and.

Language.-The repetition of the word "and" so often throughout the poem, indicates the excitement with which the thoughts are uttered.

What figure of rhetoric is used in the last line of page 354 ? In lines 9 and 10, page 355 ?




ŭn'en eŭm' bered, free; un

burdened. pěm'mi ean, thin pieces of meat

dried in the sun. su' pěr'flu Qůs, unnecessary. prē' mon’tion, previous notice. €ăche (kăsh), a hole in the ground. în'dis pěn'sa bla, necessary.

at tribʼūte, ascribe ; consider aus

belonging. cats' tie, a substance which, when

applied, will burn the flesh. frăet' üre, breaking of a bone. ef fāçed', removed ; destroyed. em bāle', pack. €on'tig û ra' tion, form.

We were at work cheerfully, sewing away at the skins of some moccasins by the blaze of our lamps, when, toward midnight, we heard the noise of steps above, and the next minute Sontag, Ohlsen, and Petersen came down into the cabin. Their manner startled me even more than their unexpected appearance on board. They were swollen and haggard, and hardly able to speak.

Their story was a fearful one. They had left their companions in the ice, risking their own lives to bring us the news: Brooks, Baker, Wilson, and Pierre were all lying frozen and disabled. Where ? They could not tell: somewhere in among the hummocks to the north and east; it was drifting heavily round them when they parted.

Irish Tom had stayed by to feed and care for the others; but the chances were sorely against them. It was in vain to question them further. They had evidently traveled a great distance, for they were sinking with fatigue and hunger, and could hardly be rallied enough to tell us the direction in which they had come.

My first impulse was to move on the instant with an unencumbered party: à rescue to be effective, or even hopeful, could not be too prompt. What pressed on my mind most was, where the sufferers were to be looked for among the drifts. Ohlsen seemed to have his faculties rather more at command than his associates, and I thought that he might assist us as a guide;" but he was sinking with exhaustion, and if he went with us we must carry him.

There was not a moment to lose. While some were still busy with the new-comers and getting ready a hasty meal, others were rigging out the Little Willie N with a buffalo cover, a small tent, and a package of pemmican; and, as soon as we could hurry through our arrangements, Onlsen was strapped on in a fur bag, his legs wrapped in dogskins and eider-down, and we were off upon the ice. Our party consisted of nine men and myself. We carried only the clothes on our backs.

The thermometer stood at -46 degrees, seventyeight degrees below the freezing-point. A wellknown peculiar tower of ice, called by the men the “Pinnacly Berg,” served as our first landmark;


other icebergs of colossal size, which stretched in long, beaded lines across the bay, helped to guide us afterward; and it was not until we had traveled for sixteen hours that we began to lose our way.

We knew that our lost companions must be somewhere in the area before us, within á radius of forty miles. Mr. Ohlsen, who had been for fifty hours without rest, fell asleep as soon as we began to move, and awoke now with unequivocal signs of mental disturbance. It became evident that he had lost the bearing of the icebergs, which in form and color endlessly repeated themselves; and the uniformity of the vast field of snow utterly forbade the hope of local landmarks.

Pushing ahead of the party, and clambering over some rugged ice piles, I came to a long, level floe, which I thought might probably have attracted the eyes of weary men in circumstances like our own. It was a light conjecture; but it was enough to turn the scale, for there was no other to balance it. I gave orders to abandon the sledge, and disperse in search of foot-marks. We raised our tent, placed our pemmican in cache.N except a small allowance for each man to carry on his person; and poor Ohlsen, now just able to keep his legs, was liberated from his bag.

The thermometer had fallen by this time to -49 degrees, and the wind was setting in sharply from the north-west. It was out of the question to halt: it required brisk exercise to keep us from freezing. I could not even melt ice for water; and, at these temperatures, any resort to snow for the purpose of allaying thirst was followed by bloody lips and tongue; it burned like caustic.


It was indispensable, then, that we should move on, looking out for traces as we went. Yet when the men were ordered to spread themselves, so as to multiply the chances, though they all obeyed heartily, some painful impress of solitary danger, or perhaps it may have been the varying configuration of the ice-field, kept them closing up continually into a single group.

The strange manner in which some of us were affected I now attribute much to shattered nerves as to the direct influence of the cold. Men like McGary and Bonsall, who had stood out our severest marches, were seized with trembling-fits and short breath, and, in spite of all my efforts to keep up an example of sound bearing, I fainted twice on the snow.

We had been nearly eighteen hours out without water or food, when a new hope cheered us. I think it was Hans, our Esquimaus hunter, who thought he saw a broad sledge track. The drift had nearly effaced it, and we were some of us doubtful at first whether it was not one of those accidental rifts which the gales make in the surface snow.

But as we traced it on to the deep snow among the hummocks, we were led to footsteps; and following these with religious care, we at last came in sight of a small American flag fluttering from a hummock, and lower down a little Masonic banner hanging from a tent pole hardly above the drift. It was the camp of our disabled comrades; we reached it after an unbroken march of twenty-one hours.

The little tent was nearly covered. I was not among the first to come up; but, when I reached


the tent curtain, the men were standing in silent file on each side of it. With more kindness and delicacy of feeling than is generally supposed to belong to sailors, but which is almost characteristic, they intimated their wish that I should go in alone. As I crawled in, and, coming upon the darkness, heard before me the burst of welcome gladness that came from the four poor fellows stretched upon their backs, and then for the first time the cheer outside, my weakness and my gratitude together almost overcame

“They had expected me: they were sure I would come!”

We were now fifteen souls; the thermometer 75 degrees below the freezing-point; and our sole accommodation a tent barely able to contain eight persons: more than half our party were obliged to keep from freezing by walking outside while the others slept. We could not halt long. Each of us took a turn of two hours' sleep; and then we prepared for our homeward march.

We took with us nothing but the tent, furs to protect the rescued party, and food for a journey of fifty hours. Every thing else was abandoned. Two large buffalo bags, each made of four skins were doubled up, so as to form a sort of sack, lined on each side with fur, closed at the bottom. but open at the top. This was laid on the sledge; the tent, smoothly folded, serving as a floor.

The sick, with their limbs sewed up carefully in reindeer-skins, were placed upon the bed of buffalo robes, in a half-reclining posture; other skins and blanket bags were thrown above them; and the whole litter was lashed together so as to allow but a single openirg opposite the mouth for breathing.

« EelmineJätka »