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THE SHIP OF ICE
"A LIGHT SOUTHERLY BREEZE SENT THE
BOAT STEADILY ALONG "CHA XXX.
CHAP. XX X.
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THE SHIP OF ICE
A Strange t torg of tjte olar t$as
S. WHITCHURCH SADLER, R.N.
AUTHOR OF "MARSHALL VAVASOUR," "THE AFRICAN CRUISER,
Who, here entangled in the gathering ice,
Take their last look of the descending sun !"
MARCUS WARD & CO., 67, CHANDOS STREET
NEW YORK: THOMAS NELSON & SONS
x FTER a life of adventure in most
L parts of the globe, the author finds
that narratives of Arctic exploration still
possess the charm which, in his younger days,
made "Parry's Voyages" dispute the palm of
favour even with "Robinson Crusoe."
The marvellous voyage of a thousand miles
made by a part of the crew of the Polaris"
on an ice-floe has recently added to the
interest felt on the subject, and has been one
cause of the perilous adventures of George
Falkland and his gentle companion being
revealed in the following pages.
_ ----- ----- --- ~- ""' ---
The reader is assured that, although he may
consider the actors in the story to be fictitious
characters, the scenery is faithfully depicted,
having been procured for the occasion from
the best Arctic painters. For his courtesy in
placing such materials at his disposal, the
author begs to tender his acknowledgments
to Sir Alexander Armstrong, K.C.B., Medical
Director-General of the Navy.
It may interest many to learn that the
prayer taken from the body of the frozen sailor
(page 223) is a translation of one which was
written by a German belonging to the Polaris,"
and picked up on the ice after the floe broke
S. W. S.
I.-THE RECTORY AT TYNEFORD 9
II.-"HE LEFT HIS HOME WITH A BOUNDING HEART" 15
III.-"THE ANCHOR'S WEIGHED" 27
IV.--"FAREWELL, OLD ENGLAND" 40
V.-THE LAND OF DESOLATION 49
VI.-THE MAIDEN OF GUAYAQUIL 57
VII.-ORIANA KEEPS THE FIRST WATCH 64
VIII.-SPLICING THE MAIN-BRACE 76
IX.-THE ADVENTURE OF THE BEAR 84
X.-BRUIN ASTONISHES THE OLD SAILOR 91
XI.-SOAP AND WATER WANTED 98
XII.-" OUR GOODLY SHIP IS GOING DOWN" 110
XIII.-A STRANGE SAIL AND A QUEER SKIPPER. 118
XIV.--"DowN, DOWN, BENEATH THE DEEP" 128
XV.-HOPES OF THE NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 137
XVI.-THE BONES OF THE DISCOVERY SHIP 146
XVII.-BATTLING WITH THE ICE 156
XVIII.-A NIGHT ON A LEE SHORE 163
XIX.-WINTERING IN THE PACK 172
XX.-GEORGE FALKLAND'S NIGHTMARE 181
XXI.-A STORY OF OLD CALABAR 192
XXII.-THE OLD SAILOR'S WARNING 202
XXIII.-WHERE ARE THE LOST ONES? 210
XXIV.-FROZEN TO DEATH 216
XXV.-ADRIFT ON THE FLOE 224
XXVI.-No HOPE OF RESCUE. 233
XXVII.-VOYAGE OF THE ICE-SHIP 242
XXVIII.-EASTWARD Ho! 249
XXIX.-" WILL HE DIE, DO YOU THINK?" 256
XXX.-FOUNDERING OF THE ICE-SHIP 264
XXXI.-THE "UNDAUNTED" TO THE RESCUE 270
XXXII.-" AND so HE BRINGETH THEM TO THEIR
DESIRED HAVEN 276
"A LIGHT SOUTHERLY BREEZE SENT THE BOAT STEADILY
ALONG (p. 268) .. Frontispiece.
" HE CAME GASPING TO THE SURFACE A SECOND TIME" 20
THE LOOK-OUT 52
THE WATERLOGGED BRIG 58
"HURRAH! I HAVE HIM !" 72
ORIANA ON DECK 116
"BOLT UPRIGHT, WITH HIS HAND STILL GRASPING THE OAR" 222
THE SHIP OF ICE.
CHAP. I.--THE RECTORY AT TYNEFORD.
"F the boy must go to sea, at least let
him go as a gentleman. Your father
K was a post-captain, and I am sure
you could get a midshipman's appointment for
George if you were to ask the Admiralty."
So spoke the mother of George Falkland, and
her husband, the rector of a country parish on
the banks of the North Tyne, replied :-
"Yes, dear, that is all very well; but
Admiralty promises are long in fulfilment, and
midshipmen's outfits are expensive. Now, here
is this letter from my cousin, Captain Hardy-
who, while on half-pay, seems to spend his large
10 The Skiz of Ice.
income in yachting-saying that he is going
north on a sort of private voyage of discovery,
and offering to take George, and fit him out
into the bargain."
But," interrupted Mrs. Falkland, "he will
be frozen to death, or crushed between two ice-
bergs, or eaten up by white bears, or something
Well, let us hope nothing so very dreadful
will happen. Hardships he must undergo, of
course; but he will endure them like a true
boy, I am sure. And there is no particular
reason why he should be frozen to death.
Polar expeditions, excepting poor Franklin's,
have generally returned safely."
The conversation had been carried on at the
breakfast-table in an undertone, supposed not
to be heard by the younger branches; but a
boy of fourteen now put in his oar, in a manner
which shewed that his faculties had not entirely
been taken up by the demolition of thick masses
of bread and butter.
Oh, father! shall I have fur gloves, then,
and a big coat with fur round the collar ?"
The Rectory at Tyneford. 11
"You shall have whatever Captain Hardy
will give, if you persuade your mother to let
you go in his ship."
The young people being dismissed to the
garden when breakfast was over, a serious
consultation took place between the parents,
which resulted in a letter being despatched
accepting the offer; and the mother with a
heavy heart began to prepare for her boy's
A holiday was given in honour of the
event, and a new game got up, called the
"Polar Regions." Arthur, the youngest boy,
did not see the fun of this, as it appeared
to consist chiefly in his being harpooned by
a pin-pointed arrow; but George declared
it could not really hurt much, as he always
pulled the dart out again directly with a
Later in the day a more brilliant scheme was
planned by George.
"Don't you remember the four Russian
sailors who wintered in Nova Zembla in a
snow-hut, and how frightened they were when
12 The Skiz of Ice.
a white bear got on the top, and they heard
him scraping away the snow ? Now, you shall
be the sailors."
Alice, Minnie, and Arthur were at once shut
up in the summer-house, and ordered to be
very frightened, an order which they carried
out by screaming at the top of their voices.
Meanwhile, George climbed to the top, per-
sonating the bear; but the roof, unluckily,
being old and decayed, his feet burst through.
He tried hard to hold on, but it was no use;
boy and roof tumbled down on the children's
heads, whose make-believe screams were sud-
denly changed into real ones.
The noise brought out their father, who soon
managed to pick them out from the rotten
pieces of board and the black dust with which
they were covered. Then the discovery having
been made that everybody was more frightened
than hurt, the question was asked-
How did you get into all this mischief ?"
It was only George. He made-believe to
be a white bear, and got upon the roof."
The boy felt rather uncomfortable, and
The Rectory at Tyneford. 13
looked so very dirty that his father laughed
Really, you are not a bad likeness of a bear
just now, with that face and those paws; but,
George, not a white bear."
That evening, when the little ones were gone
to bed, Mr. Falkland, drawing the boy lovingly
to his side, had a long and serious talk.
He told his son that he would now have his
wish-he was going to sea, and on an unusually
perilous voyage. What his father's and
mother's grief at the parting would be, he
could not quite understand; but only let him
keep clear of evil influence while absent, and
come back still their own pure-minded, open-
hearted boy, without a thought which he would
wish to hide from his parents or his God, and
they would ask no more.
Grave and sad was George as he sat there
listening, his mother the while bending over
her work, while the tears fell fast; and often,
amidst the horrors of stormy nights in the
Polar Sea, did he recall the picture of that
pleasant lamp-lit room in Tyneford Rectory.
14 The Sk z of Ice.
Graver and sadder still was he an hour later,
when his mother knelt by his bedside and gave
him the good-night kiss, mother and son both
feeling how few were the "good-nights-" to
come before the parting.
CHAP. II.-" HE LEFT HIS HOME WITH A
.T HERE was not a trace of sorrow left on
George Falkland's countenance when he
jumped out of bed the next morning.
Often and often had he dreamed that he was
going to sea-that he was actually on board
the ship. He heard the clanking of the wind-
lass as the anchor was hove up-he saw the
snowy sails, which were to carry the vessel to
blissful foreign regions, unfurled-he felt the
slight- motion of the ship as she left her moor-
ings. And then-and then he awoke to the
miserable disappointment of finding himself in
his little bed at home.
But now it was no dream, and his first
thought was, "I am really going." The boy,
16 The Skih of Ice.
too, had devoured all stories of Arctic adventure
that came in his way; and it was doubtful
which was his favourite book-Parry's Voyages
or Robinson Crusoe.
Boy-like-in fact, like many grown-up boys
-now that one desire of his heart was to be
gratified, he half wished it had been the other.
Sitting on the bed, he said to himself-
"I think I had almost rather be going to
the tropics-to Africa, or to some island with
palms and cocoa-nut trees, like Juan Fer-
But chancing then to look at the window, on
which Jack Frost had sketched many beautiful
pictures during the night, his feelings veered
round. All the delights of a real winter rushed
across his mind. He dressed quickly, and
hurried into the garden, thinking there might
be a chance of skating.
Between the garden and a field which sloped
down towards the Tyne was a sunk fence: over
this George leaped, and ran to the river. But
the stream was too rapid to be frozen by the
frost of a single night. Ice had only formed
Leaving Home. 17
close to the banks, in retired little nooks and
To the children's delight the frost continued
a whole week, and the river was frozen over,
with the exception of a small space in the
The ice bore well; and George one day, after
taking off his skates, began to deliver a lecture
to the little group, with ruddy faces, who
stopped in their sliding to listen.
Now, ladies and gentlemen---
That must be me," thought little Arthur,
"for I am the only gentleman here;" and he
looked up at his brother with an air of the
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, you have here
a good illustration of the various formations of
ice in the Polar regions. This firm continuous
piece on which we stand (' Sometimes we fall,'
whispered Alice), and which, as you will
observe, follows the indentation of the coast-
line (Arthur began to feel very much abroad
now), is called pack-ice, or the main pack. The
small flat pieces which you see floating down
18 The Shipz of Ice.
the stream are floes, and the rough bits which
rise high out of the water in all sorts of shapes
are in reality icebergs. Sometimes that part of
the berg which is under water melts away, and
then the whole piece topples over with a dread-
ful noise. Arthur, of course you know what is
the specific gravity of ice ?"
"No, I don't."
Well, no more do I. So here is an end of
Oh, I am so glad it's over," said Arthur.
"May I go on sliding now ?"
A piece of plank came sailing along just then,
which, when opposite the place where the
children were standing, was caught by some
obstruction. This formed a barrier, and the
floating pieces of ice closed round the plank
until it was completely jammed up.
It was easy to imagine this a ship beset with
We must rescue her," said George. "This
is the way that exploring parties have frequently
to pass over loose floes."
He jumped upon one as he spoke, but it was
Leaving Home. 19
too small to bear his weight, and he fell into
the water, here quite out of his depth.
George could swim well, and did not lose
presence of mind; but as he rose, his head
struck the under-side of the ice. Then he
knew his danger. Diving again, he struck out
towards the middle of the river. He came
gasping to the surface a second time, happily
in a clear spot, for he felt he could not have
held his breath a moment longer.
He looked round. The stream had carried
him many yards from the place where he had
fallen in. Arthur was on the bank, crying;
the two girls were running towards the house
for help. He placed his hands on the edge of
the firm ice, and tried to lift himself up; but
the current sucked his legs so completely under,
that, with all his struggles, he could not suc-
ceed. The cold now began to steal over his
limbs; if not rescued quickly, he was lost! He
looked again at the Rectory, but the children
had only just reached the door. Assistance
from that quarter would be too late.
Half-despairingly, the boy gazed around.
20 The Skhi of Ice.
Must he indeed die-so close to his home, and
yet with none to help? Ah! there is his
father running out; but it is too late now !
Not too late! His father points to a-place
lower down where the ice has been broken
away from the bank to allow the cattle co
drink. George releases his hold, just manages,
half-swimming, half-borne by the current, to
reach this clear space. Mr. Falkland wades in,
grasps his hand, and the boy is safe in his
father's arms I
This narrow escape seemed to make George,
if possible, more dear to his mother's heart; and
it was a very sorrowful parting that took place
two days afterwards.
There could be no more delay. Captain
Hardy wrote to desire that the boy should
come to London at once, the ship being nearly
ready for sea. He was to go to an inn, where
some person should meet him on arrival.
George got up early on the day of his leaving,
and walked round saying good-bye to his
favourite places and persons-surely the old
retriever and the pony were persons. Then
HE CAME GASPING TO THE SURFACE A SECOND TIME.
Leaving Home. 21
came a hurried breakfast, last kisses from those
loving children, "God bless you, my own, own
boy," from the weeping mother; and his father
and he were on their way to the little Tyneford
Mr. Falkland went with his boy as far as
York. There was some time to spare before
the train again started south, and the travellers
found their way to the Minster. Evensong
began as they entered, and it was a fitting
service for father and son to join in during their
last hour together in England.
Another parting at the station, and the York
express carried off George to London, while
Mr. Falkland returned to the home where the
boy's bright face would be sadly missed.
It was nearly ten o'clock on the night of the
30th of January when the train reached King's
Cross.- George, taking a cab, told the man to
drive to the Four Swans" in Bishopsgate, the
inn mentioned by Captain Hardy.
It was the boy's first visit to the great
metropolis, and he wondered much, at that late
hour, to see the streams of people which filled
22 The Skhi of Ice.
the streets. City Road puzzled him greatly,
looking like a road to a city of the dead, so
encumbered was the pavement in front of
almost every house with stone urns, weeping
angels, broken pillars, and every kind of monu-
mental device, most of them wonderfully
No person came to meet him at the inn that
night. He ordered supper, and went to bed
with a strange mixture of feelings-sorrow at
leaving the dear ones at home, and a fearful
joy at being his own master.
The "Four Swans" was at that time-it
exists no longer one of the few ancient
London hostelries of the "Tabard" type.
George found his way to the dark, old-
fashioned coffee-room the next morning; and
then, until breakfast was ready, amused him-
self with wandering about the old passages, and
along the wooden balustraded gallery which ran
round the house on three sides, overlooking the
As he leaned over the rail watching the
people going in and out, he saw a man, about
Leaving Home. 23
twenty years of age, dressed in a sort of naval
uniform, enter the yard, and ask some question
of a waiter. He fancied his own name was
mentioned. In another minute the new-comer
joined him on the gallery, holding out his hand
as he spoke.
I am very glad to see you, Mr. Falkland.
Captain Hardy ordered me to call and put you
in the right way about everything."
George, too, was glad enough to be welcomed,
and, shaking hands, asked if he belonged to the
"Oh yes. I ought to have introduced myself.
My name is James Winton, and I am chief
officer of the "Undaunted." In fact, I have
sailed with Captain Hardy ever since he has
taken to yachting."
Breakfast being now ready in the coffee-
room; they did full justice to the good things
on the table. Winton, who possessed the
frankness of a sailor, free from all coarseness,
was just the person to win a boy's heart; and
by the time the meal was over, Falkland and
he were fast friends.
24 The Sh A of Ice.
"And when am I to go on board ?"
"Well, Captain Hardy thought you would
like a day to yourself, as it is your first visit to
London, so you need not join until to-morrow
But how about my outfit ?"
"That I am ordered to get; and if you are
ready, we will set about it at once."
Off they started on this expedition-a very
pleasant one for George. Winton led the way
to a large outfitter's warehouse in Leadenhall
Street, said there was no limit as to expense,
and guided the lad's puzzled choice when the
man brought down heaps of clothing, most of
which was quite unfit for a Polar voyage.
At last a capital selection was made, ordered
to be packed up at once in a sea-chest, and
sent on board; and a big chest it took to hold
all the purchases.
George wished that Alice had been there
when, pulling on a high pair of sea-boots over
thick flushing trousers, and with a fur cap on
his head, there was only wanting a brace of
pistols stuck in his belt to make him just like
Leaving Home. 25
the pictures they used to draw of "The Bold
One thing I had forgotten," said Winton,
turning back as they were'leaving the shop;
"a piece of green crape."
Green crape What for ?"
To save you from snow-blindness. I have
been only one voyage north, and that was
enough to shew me its necessity."
Now, where would you like to go ?" asked
Winton, as they again came out into the street.
George's new friend was fortunate in the
manner in which he put the question. Had he
said-" What would you like to see?" the
answer would have been difficult; so thick was
the London fog that morning, that there was
no seeing anything, not even the opposite side
of the street.
"The Tower," rose naturally to the boy's
The old fortress was reached at last; but it
was a difficult navigation through narrow
Thames Street blocked up with waggons.
Crossing Tower Hill, the explorers quite lost
26 The Shz>i of Ice.
their way, and many tacks were made in the
black fog before they "fetched the drawbridge.
Making their way west after leaving the
Tower, the darkness began to clear up, and
George enjoyed a good many sights before
evening came on. Then his friend piloted him
back to the inn, and giving full directions how
to find his way on board the next morning,
wished him good night.
A long letter home was written before Falk-
land went to bed, the last shore-going bed he
was to sleep in for many and many a long
month-perhaps for ever.
CIHAP. III.-C THE ANCHOR'S WEIGHED.
FTER breakfast the following morning,
George paid his bill, and, it is needless
to say, overpaid the waiter. In fact, he had
not the least idea how much he ought to give
to that grave attendant.
At first he put a quantity of silver into the
outstretched palm. Then, seeing that the hand
was still held out, he placed another shilling in
it, looking at the man's face the while to see if
he were satisfied; but not a twinkle of satisfac-
tion was there. Another, and yet another.
Still the waiter
Held him with his glittering eye."
Nor was the hand withdrawn until the boy's
purse was emptied of its last piece of silver.
28 The Shki of Ice.
Then the money was pocketed in an aggrieved
manner; and with a sigh of resignation, which
made George fear that he must be a dreadfully
stingy fellow, the waiter announced-
Your cab is at the door, sir."
There was a short drive to London Bridge,
half-an-hour on board the Woolwich steamboat;
then, stopping at a pier near Deptford, the boy
hired a waterman to take him on board the
The ship had left the docks, and was moored,
ready for sailing, in the middle of the stream.
Falkland, as he came alongside, looked up with
the deepest interest at his floating home; and
Winton, who was at the gangway, helped him
up the ladder. Then for the first time in his
life the boy trod the deck of a ship.
An officer of a tall, commanding figure, who
was walking the quarter-deck on the starboard
side, at once shook hands with George, and
welcomed him to the Undaunted."
"Mr. Winton will take you over the ship,
and shew you your mess-place. You will live
with the other officers, and will find yourself
The Anchor's Weighed." 29
comfortable enough, I hope. I rather fancy
your father seemed to think that you were
going as a boy, and not as a midshipman."
George had a great deal to learn that day,
but it was pleasant work. First, he went to
the large cabin where he was to mess with
Winton and the second and third mates. Then
his friend took him below, and pointed out
how the ship was strengthened for the special
service by ice-beams running from stem to
stern. He saw the holds, filled not only with
the ordinary salt provisions, but with preserved
meats and vegetables of every description;
casks of carrots packed in dry sand, and cases
of lime-juice to keep off scurvy.
Falkland was surprised to find that the
"Undaunted was fitted with a steam-engine.
"Yes," said Winton; but it is of small
power. The ship is really a sailing vessel,
barque-rigged, with what is called an auxiliary
screw, only to be used on emergencies; if, for
instance, we are beset with ice, and cannot
make our escape in any other way."
Going on deck again, he shewed George
30 The Shi of Ice.
three beautiful whale-boats, and two light ice-
sledges fitted with iron runners. The boy's
delight may be imagined when he saw these.
"What fun it will be sleighing !"
Then Winton, leaning over the side, pointed
out how the ship was armed externally against
the enemy she was so soon to encounter. There
was a strong additional cutwater called an ice-
stem; extra stout planking covered the sides;
while the bows and the stem were fortified with
plates of iron half-an-inch thick.
"Ah!" said the chief officer, when he had
shewed all this, "you would scarcely believe
that the "Undaunted" used to be one of the
smartest yachts in Cowes Roads. Now she
looks a regular old "clumbungy," doesn't
"Oh yes," said George; though what a
clumbungy meant he had no very precise
Falkland made acquaintance with his two
other messmates at dinner-time, which was
twelve o'clock. Stanlake, the second mate,
had served in the navy as quarter-master with
The Anchor's kVeighed." 31
Captain Hardy, and although uneducated, was
a kind, sailor-like man, whom it was impossible
not to like. He took the midshipman aloft in
the afternoon, pointed out the most important
ropes, slung his hammock for him, and did all
sorts of kind things to make the youngster feel
,The hammock itself was a puzzle at first.
George no sooner jumped in than he was out
again on the other side. "Never mind." The
next time he managed to keep his place, and
soon he slept as soundly as if he were in his
old bed at Tyneford Rectory.
What is the matter ?" thought Falkland, as
some dreadful noise disturbed him early in the
Half-awake, and forgetting entirely where
he was, he sat up in bed, thereby bumping his
head smartly against the beam, which was
within six inches of his nose. The blow roused
him thoroughly. He put on his clothes and
hurried on deck.
A tug had come alongside, making a great
noise with her steam-pipe; the moorings were
32 The Skhi of Ice.
cast off, and the "Undaunted" was under
weigh. With deep delight the boy watched
the moving panorama on the banks as the ship
dropped quietly down the Thames.
The jib was hoisted, but the other sails were
still furled. There being no particular duty
going on, Stanlake came to Falkland's side, and
pointed out various objects of interest as they
Deptford, the original naval-yard of England
-wherein had been built Harry the Eighth's
"Sovereign of the Seas," and the greater
number of those war-ships which, under Blake's
command, laid the foundation of England's
maritime greatness-was soon passed. George
wanted to see Sayes Court, where Peter the
Great lived when he worked at the dockyard,
and which he and his Muscovite attendants
made so dirty; but the man-of-war's-man was
all adrift there; his reading had not extended
To make up for his ignorance on this point,
Stanlake was able, as they reached Greenwich,
to tell the story of the gallant French lieu-
The Anchor's Weizged." 33
tenant, Bellot, who perished in the search after
Franklin, and in whose honour the grateful
English nation placed on the river front of
Greenwich Hospital the obelisk which bears his
Falkland gave a return story here. Stanlake
had been saying that this was the best place
for catching whitebait, the smallest eatable fish
"I suppose," said the boy, you never heard
of the largest fish that swims being caught
Stanlake laughed at the idea.
"But it is true," continued George. "In
King Charles the Second's reign, a big whale,
forty feet long, entered the Thames, came up
higher and higher, got frightened at last, and
then, trying to turn round at Greenwich, was
stranded right across the river. What a com-
motion he must have made just here when he
was lashing his great tail about! Well, every-
body got into boats, and stabbed him with
pikes and swords and knives, until the poor
monster was dead. And then I suppose there
34 The Skih of Ice.
was oil enough to last the parish half through
By this time the "Undaunted had reached
"Woolwich. What is the name of that beauti-
ful ship ?" asked Falkland, pointing to a fine
frigate at anchor. Look at all those boys
running up the rigging."
"That is the 'Warspite' training-ship ; and
I really think she is going to cheer us. I ex-
pect her captain knows we are bound for the
Captain Hardy, seeing what was going on,
ordered the tug to stop. Then the "Warspite's"
two hundred boys, taking off their caps, and
waving them over their heads, cheered heartily.
The cheer was returned by the "Undaunted's"
men in deeper tones, and the vessel proceeded
on her course.
Stanlake said, wiping his face, which was
very red after the excited manner in which he
had done his part of the cheering, and putting
on his hat-
"That is about the best God-speed we could
have had. I don't see why I should be ashamed
The Anchor's WIeighed." 35
of telling you that I was trained in the 'War-
spite;' and no wonder I love the ship. This
is how it happened :-You see, my father, who
was boatswain of a frigate on the coast of
Africa, died of yellow fever when I was a
youngster, and poor mother could only just
manage by needlework to keep herself and
send me to school. Well, she died too, and
there was no one to look after me. Then
I used to go knocking about the docks,
doing odd jobs and trying to get a ship;
but I got monkey's allowance-more kicks
than halfpence. Who wanted a ragamuffin
boy like me ?
"I was pretty nigh starved, I can tell you,
when one morning, going along Bishopsgate
Street, I saw stuck up on a board in a passage
-' Marine Society, for training poor and desti-
tute boys for sea.' 'That's me,' said I; any-
how, why shouldn't I try my luck ?' So I went
upstairs; and if ever good Samaritans could
wear coats and trousers, I came across some
that day; for they clothed me and fed me, and
then they sent me on board the 'Warspite.' No
36 The Shiz of Ice.
wonder my heart warmed towards the good old
ship just now."
Neither did Falkland wonder, when he heard
The next place to notice was Tilbury Fort,
which, as well as Upnor Castle, George re-
membered reading as having been made very
strong in King Charles's reign, after the
Dutch had sailed up the Medway and burned
Gravesend was passed, the river widened,
and Stanlake had to attend to his duties in
getting everything ready for making sail.
Captain Hardy, who was walking the quarter-
deck, now called George to his side, and entered
into conversation. He wanted to find out of
what stuff the boy was made-whether the
idea of going to sea was only a schoolboy's
whim, or whether he was determined, spite all
dangers and disagreeables, to stick to a sailor's
life and make it his profession. He himself,
having gained post-captain's rank, and being
tired of rusting on shore on half-pay, had fitted
out the yacht for this voyage, partly for the
The Anchor's WJeighed." 37
purpose of scientific discovery, and partly from
the pure love of adventure.
George liked his new captain when the talk
was over, and the captain liked him, saying as
he dismissed the boy-
If we get home from this voyage all right,
and you still wish to follow the sea, make your
mind easy; I will get you a midshipman's
berth in the navy, and look after your interests
in the service."
As they came near Sheerness, and passed the
muddy Isle of Grain, George saw a bigger ship
even than the Warspite." She was a three-
decker, with an admiral's flag flying at the fore,
at anchor off Garrison Point.
The commander of this ship was an old
friend of Captain Hardy's; and the "Un-
daunted stood close in, and passing under her
stern, lowered the ensign in salute. Three
times was the flag dipped, and-not to be out-
done in naval courtesy-three times were the
line-of-battle ship's colours also lowered.
There was a crowd of officers assembled on
the poop to take a last look at the discovery
38 The Shiz of Ice.
ship, and the band played the parting air,
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot." As
Falkland gazed on the towering hull and taper-
ing spars of that almost perfect structure, he
passionately longed for the day when such a
ship should be his home.
I don't wonder you admire her," said Stan-
lake, as he saw the boy's flushed face. There
is nothing like the navy. I intend joining the
service again myself when we come home. The
captain says he can get me a boatswain's war-
The Nore light-ship was passed soon after
this; the tug was cast off; and George heard
the order given- Hands make sail."
To his untutored eye, for some minutes all
seemed confusion. Men ran about with ropes
in all directions. He got bumped here and
bumped there, and felt as if he were terribly in
Captain Hardy laughed. "Never mind, you
will understand all about it in a few days."
And so he did. In a fortnight's time he
knew the names and use of every sail and rope
The Anchor's Weighed." 39
in the ship. It is wonderful how soon know-
ledge can be picked up if one only works, as
sailors say, with a will.
The breeze came fresh from the north-west,
a cold enough wind on this 1st of February;
and Falkland was not sorry when, at nightfall,
the anchor was dropped in the Downs.
CHAP. IV.-- FAREWELL, OLD ENGLAND.
I R. WINTON and George were invited to
dine in the cabin that evening. When
the dessert was on the table, Captain Hardy
"If you will hand me those charts from the
shelf over your head, Mr. Winton, you shall
see the route I propose to follow. I expect
we are in for a longer voyage than you
With the chart of the Polar regions spread
out upon the table, the captain then unfolded
It was his intention, he said, not to go north
at once; for which indeed the season was much
too early; but directing their course towards
Cape Horn, either to double that cape, or, if
"Faruewell, Old England." 41
possible, pass through the Straits of Magelhaen.
Then, being on the other side of America, they
would sail north, and enter the Arctic seas
through Behring's Straits.
"Now, look at this chart, Falkland; for I
daresay your school geography did not put you
up to the latest discoveries. You see that
North America is really an island, separated
in the far north from other lands by this
Falkland's eye followed Captain Hardy's
"Well, this passage, which I hope we shall
reach through Behring's Straits, has several
names, which were given by different discoverers
as they gradually penetrated its dangerous
waters. Banks' Strait on the western extremity,
where we are to enter; then Parry Sound,
Barrow's Strait, and lastly, to the east, Lan-
caster Sound, where, as you see, it opens into
"And is that the way we shall go ?"
"Yes, that is the way the good ship Un-
daunted" will go, if the ice does not block her
42 The Shiz of Ice.
up midway. And then, coming home through
Baffin's Bay, she will really have made the
George had read that some two hundred
years ago the Dutch sent an expedition under
Behrends to search for this passage, hoping
their vessels might sail that way to the East
Indies, and so escape the clutches of the Spanish
ships, who were always lying in wait for these
"Yes," said Captain Hardy; "but long
before them our own Martin Frobisher had
sailed the Polar seas, and since those days
England has furnished a gallant host of Arctic
discoverers. The names of Parry, Ross, Frank-
lin, Back, Collinson, M'Clintock, and many
others at once rise to the memory. But the
actual glory of discovering the North-West
Passage was reserved for Captain M'Clure."
"Did he sail right round North America,
He did not sail round, for unhappily his
ship, the Investigator," was eventually blocked
up by ice and abandoned; but the crew were
"Farewell, Old England." 43
rescued by other ships, and did actually come
home through Lancaster Sound, having entered
by Behring's Straits.
"How long ago was that, sir ?"
"On the 10th October, 1850. Captain
M'Clure, in company with Lieutenant Creswell
and Dr. Armstrong, climbed a hill on Prince
Albert Land, which they had reached from the
westward, and saw the open water (ice-covered
then) of Barrow's Strait stretching far away to
How glad they must have felt, and how
they must have longed to return home at once
with the news."
But it was not until four long years had
passed since that day of discovery that the
"Investigator's" crew reached England. I
belonged then to the Waterloo," the flag-ship
at Sheerness; and the officers were tried on
board for the loss of the ship. I remember
well Captain M'Clure's gratified look, when, at
the close of the court-martial which honourably
acquitted him, Admiral Gordon, the president,
gave back his sword with the remark-
44 The Skih of Ice.
"' I am proud to return this to an officer
who has served his country so well.'
"Now, I think my lecture is pretty well
over, and you had better turn in, for we-shall
get under weigh early to-morrow."
Captain Hardy was anxious not to lose the
benefit of the northerly wind. The next morn-
ing his steward was sent on shore with orders
to bring off milk, bread, and whatever fresh
provisions he could procure. Falkland went
in the boat, and got a thorough ducking as they
landed on the shingly beach opposite Deal; but
he rather liked it than not-it seemed real
sailoring. Then, too, it was pleasant to know
that the men who were lounging about the
beach, and with whom he chatted, were the
Deal boatmen, of whose exploits in boarding
sinking vessels on the Goodwin Sands he had
so often read.
The steward vas a long time getting all he
wanted, and Falkland began to fear the captain
would become impatient. He was right in his
conjecture. The report of a gun made him
look towards the ship, where he saw the smoke
Farewell, Old England." 45
curling away to leeward, and a flag flying at
the mast-head, which the boat's crew told him
was Blue Peter," the signal for sailing. The
sails were already loosed.
George grew as impatient as Captain Hardy.
"Would that man never come!" At length
he saw the steward running down towards the
beach, carrying baskets full of all sorts of good
things, which were soon stowed away. The
Deal men helped to launch the boat over the
shingle, and in ten minutes they were on board.
The boat was hoisted up the davits, the
anchor which was already hove short-
weighed, and with a fair wind the Un-
daunted" proceeded down Channel on her
A northerly wind in the English Channel is
a smooth-water wind, and George spent the
greater part of the day very happily in the
The chalk cliffs about Dover glittered in the
bright sunshine, and white towns on the coast,
with tall church towers rising in their midst,
came in sight, and were left astern as the
46 The Ski of Ice.
breeze freshened. Pleasantly the hours passed.
At sunset the ship was abreast of the Bill of
Portland; and in the first watch, Winton
pointed to a bright light on the starboard bow.
"That is the Eddystone; and now I think
we may say good-bye to Old England."
When George went on deck the next morn-
ing, he looked round. Not a speck of land
was in sight, and the ship rose and fell grace-
fully on the blue water and long rolling waves
of the Atlantic.
Now that we are fairly at sea, you must
set regularly about your duties," said Captain
Hardy, who was on deck. "You shall keep
watch with Mr. Stanlake night and day."
Nothing could have suited George better.
He was proud at being ordered to keep night
watch. By-and-by, when the novelty wore off,
perhaps, like other youngsters, he thought four
hours sliced out of his sleep rather too much of
a good thing, and was glad enough, before a
middle watch was half over, to prick for the
softest plank, and take a snooze with his head
reposing on a damp coil of rope. At present
"Farewell, Old England." 47
he was, as Harrison the third mate, one of the
rough kind of sailors, observed, only "a young
bear with all his troubles to come."
"I want to say a few words to the ship's
company, Mr. Winton," said Captain Hardy.
Ay, ay, sir; I will send them aft."
The men mustered on the quarter-deck-a
fine, muscular, noble set of fellows, many of
whom had served in the navy. The officers
came to the front, and the captain spoke-his
voice the only sound on that wide expanse of
water, save the surge of the waves as they
curled and broke.
"Men! I shipped you for a Polar voyage;
you asked no questions; were content to go
with me; and I thank you. Now, we are not
too well manned-thirty-five is all I can count
besides myself-and there is no use in disguis-
ing the fact, that hardships, suffering, and
danger lie before us. Please God, we will win
through them all, and again see 'Old England
on the lee.' If so, men, you shall not come
back empty-handed to your sweethearts and
wives. From this day, following the custom
48 The Sk of Ice.
of the Royal Navy, every officer and man on
board the 'Undaunted' shall have double
pay. I only wish I could serve out double
rations too; but we must take care of our pro-
"Now then, men, three cheers for the
captain !" sung out the chief officer; and never
were heartier cheers given, nor was there a
happier body of men afloat than the crew of
the Undaunted" that day.
CHAP. V.-THE LAND OF DESOLATION.
AYS and weeks passed; and as the ship
neared the tropics, our young midshipman
greatly enjoyed the gradual change into warm
weather. Then the north-east trade blew, and
for days in succession they sailed under a cloud-
less sky, over a sea of the deepest blue, without
having once to touch or trim a sail.
Falkland's amusement at this time was to
get over the bowsprit to the jib-boom, and lie
there, watching the dolphin and bonito as they
glided through the clear water in pursuit of the
flying-fish, who rose from the surface, glisten-
ing in the sunlight like jewels, only to drop
into the jaws of their devourers after a short
Once a flying-fish came so close, that George
50 The Skiz of Ice.
stretched out his hands to grasp it; but instead
of catching the fish, he overbalanced himself,
and caught a ducking. Luckily, he struck out
in time, and cleared the ship's bows, and the
warmth of the water made the swim a pleasant
one-very different from his cold bath in the
Still, although he knew his fall had been
observed, there was a queer feeling at his heart
as the ship passed on, leaving him far astern, a
speck on the water. It was but momentary,
for she was soon hove to, and a boat lowered;
but it gave him some idea of what must be the
despair of the sailor, who, half-suffocated by
the driving spray, sees his ship sailing on and
on, and knows that all chance of rescue-all
hope for him in this world-is lost!
George rather laughed about his involuntary
bath when he was again safely on board, but
became grave enough when Stanlake re-
"You were really in great danger. There
was a large shark following us this morning;
and I am glad you did not know it, or you
T7e Land of Desolation. 51
might have been flurried. However, he is gone
now. No! look there!
And the boy saw, and turned pale as he saw,
the dorsal fin of a huge shark cutting the clear
water not far astern.
Such thunderstorms and such vivid light-
ning as accompanied the ship on crossing the
line, Falkland had never before seen. One
afternoon the electric fluid struck the foremast
with a loud explosion, but happily it passed
harmlessly down without shivering the mast, or
doing other damage.
When the storm was over, Winton pointed
out a strip of copper, which led from each mast-
head down the mast into the bottom of the
ship, and passed through the planks, sometimes
through the ship's sides, into the water.
"There," he said, "are Snow Harris's light-
ning conductors, and this one on the foremast
carried off and dissipated into the water that
shock just now, which would otherwise have
splintered the mast, and perhaps left us an
utter wreck. In the old days we had to hoist
a wire conductor to the mast-head in the middle
52 The Skhi of Ice.
of a thunderstorm; not a very pleasant duty,
I assure you."
One morning watch, eleven weeks after
leaving England, Stanlake sent Falkland on
the forecastle to look out for land, which the
captain thought must be very near.
No; there was nothing to be seen as the
day broke, excepting perhaps in one spot where
the clouds obstinately refused to disperse. Sud-
denly the mist cleared up, and a bold white
headland stood out clear and distinct as Shake-
speare's Cliff at Dover.
Land ho !" cried the look-outs, and Land
ho!" echoed through the ship as George ran
with the report to the captain's cabin.
It was Cape Virgins, at the northern extre-
mity of Magelhaen's Straits. Captain Hardy
came on deck, and the wind being fair, resolved
to make the passage to the Pacific through the
Straits, instead of going farther south and
doubling Cape Horn.
It was the first time George's eyes had looked
on a foreign land, and as he entered this cele-
brated passage, he watched the coast with the
The Land of Desolation. 53
deepest interest. They kept tolerably close to
the Patagonian side, which was not at all the
picture of desolation he had expected to see;
on the contrary, there was plenty of grass
about, on which herds of deer were feeding-
guanachos, Winton called them, after looking
through his telescope. Not a single hut or
native could be seen.
They had advanced a considerable way into
the Straits when the wind sank; and the
anchor was dropped-for the first time since
leaving the Downs-in a small bay with a
George dearly wanted to go on shore; but
Captain Hardy said he must wait till the fol-
lowing morning, when he intended to send away
a seining party.
So two boats landed after breakfast with the
seine, and as the ends of the net were gradually
hauled closer, the sailors saw with delight that
it was full of large fishes. The space of water
enclosed was crowded; some leaped from the
surface and escaped, but hundreds remained,
and soon the beach was strewn with fish of the
54 The Ski of Ice.
brightest colours, many of them of the oddest
Falkland, leaving the men to make another
haul, began a voyage of discovery on his own
account, and wandered about with a feeling of
the wildest pleasure. Everything was new,
everything was strange. It was a desolate
spot-a strip of scanty herbage above the
yellow sand, and then all barren rock.
Getting out of hearing of the noisy, laughing
boat's crew, the boy sat down enjoying the
novel solitude, and soon his thoughts flew
towards the home thousands of miles away. A
slight sound as of dropping water met his ear,
and looking up, he saw a llama, some twenty
yards off, stooping to drink. Unfortunately,
the motion of his head disturbed the graceful
creature; it bounded away and disappeared.
George followed, but of course uselessly.
He found, however, in the place the animal
had been drinking, a crystal pool of water fed
by a small stream; a discovery of some import-
ance, as it enabled Captain Hardy to fill his
The Land of Desolation. 55
The whole of that day was spent at anchor;
and on starting the following morning, fires
were lighted, and the "Undaunted" steamed
through the smooth water at the rate of four or
five knots an hour.
The Terra del Fuego side of the Straits now
began to appear a land of desolation. The
coast was inaccessible: rocky mountains with
snow-capped summits rose sheer from the
water's edge, their bold outlines broken here
and there by gloomy ravines. Not a living
object-not a bird or a blade of grass could be
The gloom of the surrounding scenery even
affected the spirits of the crew; and every one
on board felt happier when at length the
smooth water was changed for the ocean swell,
which rolled in as they neared the western end
of the Straits. Then a wide expanse of blue
sea opened out, and George knew that .he
looked on the Pacific Ocean.
Coal was much too valuable to be used when
not absolutely necessary ; a ton or two might
be the means of saving all their lives by-and-
56 The Sh i of Ice.
by. So George was sent below to the engineer
with orders to put out the fires, and the
" Undaunted" became again a sailing-ship.
The weather was bitterly cold at this time.
The south wind coming from the icy antarctic
regions brought with it plenty of snow and
sleet. It was a fair wind, however, and each
day it blew them farther north, and the cold
Again the tropics were entered, the Equator
crossed for the second time during the voyage,
and once more the ship was in north latitude.
It was now the middle of June, and the ship's
head was pointed due north for Behring's
CHAP. VI.-THE MAIDEN OF GUAYAQUIL.
)T HE second morning after crossing the line
it was Stanlake's watch. Falkland ran
aloft to take his usual look round-which, as
nothing had been sighted since leaving Magel-
haen Straits, he was doing rather carelessly-
when, to his surprise, he discovered a two-
masted vessel not a mile away.
The brig was seen at the same time from the
deck; and as soon as the Undaunted came
near enough, Mr. Winton and George were
sent away in a boat to board.
The strange sail was evidently waterlogged
and deserted. The fore-topmast had been car-
ried away, and was hanging overboard, beating
against the side, a tangled mass of wreck; the
main-topsail was still set, and flapping un-
58 The SkZi of Ice.
trimmed at every, roll of the ship. At the
mast-head floated an English ensign, union
downwards-the signal of distress.
As the chief officer stepped on board over the
low gangway, now nearly level with the water,
the danger of the vessel sinking appeared so
imminent, that he would allow no one but
George to follow, and ordered the boat to keep
well off, so as to be clear of the vortex in the
event of her going down suddenly.
"We will just try and find out the brig's
name, that we may be able to report her loss,
and then leave," said Winton.
But Falkland's quick eye had seen something.
"Look, Winton !"
On the quarter-deck, under shelter of the
bulwarks, lay the figure of a man, whether
alive or dead they knew not; and kneeling by
his side a young girl, with pale, wasted features,
and dark eyes unnaturally large.
She gave a cry of fear and surprise as the
sound of the officers' footsteps made her look
up. Then a flush of joy passed over that wan
face; and exclaiming-" Father! father! we
. 1 L l \ \ ,
'I -- - *|
.. yj /*
i\l -l '
The Maiden of Guayaquil. 59
are saved !" she rose and attempted to run
towards her deliverers. Only one step could
the poor famine-stricken child take; she
stumbled, and had not George rushed forward
and caught her in time, would have fallen on
the hard deck.
There he held her until the boat was called
alongside. As he placed her tenderly in the
stern-sheets, she opened her eyes with an
enquiring look, and tried to speak. George,
bending down, heard the word-"Father?"
and re-assured her by saying that he would be
by her side in a minute.
Winton, assisted by one of the men, now
carried the insensible form of the father
into the boat, and ordered the crew to shove
off at once, saying, as he turned towards
George-" We are only just in time; she is
He was right. Before the boat reached the
"Undaunted," the waterlogged vessel rolled
heavily over to starboard, shewing the whole of
her deck; then she went down head foremost,
the English ensign at the mast-head the last
60 The Skiz of Ice.
thing seen, until that too was dragged down
beneath the waters.
It is a happy deliverance for these poor
things," said Winton, as they came alongside.
But there was another deliverance close at
hand for one of the two.
The girl, with youth on her side, soon
began to recover strength; but her father,
whose health had suffered from long residence
in the tropics, only lingered three days.
He rallied sufficiently before he died to give
Captain Hardy an outline of his story.
His name was St. Clare, and for many years
he had been a resident merchant at Guayaquil,
in the province of Quito, where he had accumu-
lated a large fortune. He had married a lady
of Spanish blood, and life altogether had gone
happily until this present year, when a fever
having carried off his wife, he resolved to
return with his only child to Scotland, his
Having at last settled his affairs, he and his
daughter had left Guayaquil in a vessel carry-
ing. the English flag-a rotten old tub, chiefly
The Maiden of Guayaquil. 61
manned by Chilians. His intention was to go
as far as Valparaiso only, and there change
into another ship for England. Unfortunately,
-:a squall struck the brig; she sprung a leak, and
the villains took to the boat, leaving father and
And for a whole week," continued Mr. St.
Clare, "we were alone in the deserted ship;
our only support some bits of biscuit, which the
sea washed up from the hold. Long before
the day you rescued us I should have died, had
it not been for this dear girl's tender care."
The dying man pressed the hand which all
the while had been resting in his, and then,
with a loving look at the child, he told her that
he wanted to be alone a few minutes with
Speaking with great difficulty, he said-
"I-know too well that in a few hours my
poor girl will be fatherless. She will not have
a relation in the wide world. If I dared to
hope that you would become her guardian, and
watch over the life you have preserved, I should
part from her, with bitter grief indeed, but not
62 The Skit of Ice.
with the pang of feeling that she would be
What could the kind-hearted captain do but
promise to guard the young child henceforth as
if she were his own daughter. But there was
one difficulty: the ship was prosecuting a
dangerous voyage. It was quite possible she
mioaht be ice-bound in the frozen regions of the
north throughout the coming winter. How
could the tender frame of a young girl bear the
necessary privations ?
Almost a smile flickered on the face of that
gaunt man as he whispered-
Ah, you will soon find out the power of
endurance my child possesses when once she
has regained her strength. I have had her on
horseback with me for days in the wilds of
South America, sustained by nothing but strips
of sun-dried beef which we carried with us."
Mr. St. Clare now placed in Captain Hardy's
hands a pocket-book containing the address of
his agent in England, and a rough account of
his property. Too much exhausted to speak
again, he turned a look of longing towards the
The Maiden of Guayaquil. 63
door-a look well understood. The daughter
came in. And in a few hours that daughter
was an orphan indeed.
The funeral the next evening was the saddest
sight imaginable. At sunset the ship's bell
tolled, the ensign was hoisted half-mast, and
there on the deck, while the captain read the
burial service, stood the child, leaning against
George, her hands tightly clasped in his, and
her tears dropping fast on the flag that covered
her dead father.
Young though she was, there was a kind of
quiet dignity about her, while she wept silently,
which she must have inherited from her mother.
But when the sailors took off the flag, and the
coffin was lowered into the water, the poor girl's
sobs became so violent that George, at a sign
from Captain Hardy, led her away into the
cabin. Nor did he leave her until, quite worn
out, her griefs were forgotten in sleep.
CHAP. VII.--ORIANA KEEPS THE FIRST WATCH.
ORTHWARD and still northward the
"Undaunted" kept on her course. The
heat of the tropics subsided into the pleasant
freshness of the temperate zone; then came
fogs and cold blasts, and the days lengthened,
so that even at twelve o'clock at night it was
It was an anxious time when Behring's
Straits were entered. Fogs obscured all sight
of the land; but at length one cold day in
July the mists cleared up, a bright sun shone
out, the latitude was taken at noon, and Mr.
Winton, pointing out the ship's position on the
chart to Falkland, shewed him that they had
just crossed the Arctic circle, and were in the
Oriana keeps the First Watch. 65
And now," he added, we must prepare to
meet the enemy."
The enemy What enemy ?" asked George,
with his head at once full of sea-fights.
No less a foe than the monarch of these
regions, into the outskirts of whose kingdom
we have already penetrated-ICE. These are
the arms with which we fight."
Then George looked on, while ice-anchors
grapnelss shaped like the letter S"), big
chisels, saws, hatchets, whale-lines, and other
gear were brought on deck in readiness for the
coming struggle. A barrel was at the same
time hoisted at the fore-topgallant mast-head,
having a trap-door at the bottom just large
enough for a man to creep through, and a can-
vas hood at the top as a shelter from the icy
"What do you call that ugly thing ?" said
That is a crow's nest, and no look-out man
could stay aloft without the cover it gives."
It is needless to say, that with a boy's proper
curiosity George immediately went up the
66 The Skhij of Ice.
rigging, entered the crow's nest, and poked his
head out at the top. He was rewarded for his
trouble. To his great delight he saw several
shapeless monsters floating not far off; and
while he looked, one of them blew a jet of foam
in the air. They were whales; and there the
boy stayed enjoying his first Arctic sight, until,
notwithstanding the cover of the hood, he
became much too cold to stop any longer.
A week later, and George was sitting in the
cabin talking with the girl whom he had
rescued from the sinking ship.
Captain Hardy had been puzzled what to do
with this child whom Providence had cast so
strangely upon his hands. If a vessel home-
ward bound had crossed his course, very pro-
bably he would have entrusted her to the
captain's care; but now there was no help for
it-she must go north.
One thing lessened his anxiety: the child's
father had spoken truly with regard to her
health and strength. She had gained colour
and roundness, and as her spirits partly re-
turned, she became the pet and the darling of
Oriana keets the First Watch. 67
all on board. As to the sailors, they simply
adored the bright little visitant, whose presence
in the ship recalled memories of children or
sisters of their own in far-off homes.
And a very pretty girl she looked just now,
her Scotch blood tinting the cheeks which
tropical suns and her Spanish descent had
darkened, as she answered a question that
George had just put.
My other name ? Well, you mustn't
laugh, for it belonged to some of my Spanish
ancestors, although my father always said it
was too fanciful, and that Alice St. Clare would
sound better. It is Oriana."
Oh, what a pretty name! And there is
one thing more I want to know, Oriana. How
old are you ?"
"I was thirteen on that very sad day when
we went on board the ship at Guayaquil."
Her lips began to quiver at the remembrance,
and George, watching the changing face, tried
to divert her thoughts by describing his old
home at Tyneford. He made her laugh as he
told of his fall through the ice.
68 The Shi5 of Ice.
Ah!" she cried; I want to see this ice of
which you speak. You know I have not been
out of Quito before, and I never saw any,
although we had plenty of snow from the tops
of the Andes to cool our lemonade."
At that moment the look-out in the crow's
nest called out-" Ice ahead !"
"Do you hear that ?" said George; and
wrapping the girl carefully in some of Captain
Hardy's warmest furs, he took her on deck.
It was a novel and a beautiful scene. The
smooth water was dotted with pieces of ice,
through which the steady breeze carried the
ship with a succession of slight shocks. Farther
ahead was visible the main pack-a lofty wall
of ice glittering in the sun's rays with all sorts of
prismatic colours, and spreading in front of the
ship, as if barring all further progress, and
saying-" Thus far shalt thou come, and no
As they gazed with mingled feelings of
delight and awe, a cloud obscured the sun, the
brightness vanished, the air became colder, and
the masses of ice looked dun and gloomy.
Oriana keeps the First Watch. 69
Oriana shivered; but the next minute her face
lighted up, and she cried, Oh, look! look !"
It was another novel sight in these weird
regions, where everything was new and strange.
Asleep on large pieces of ice which had broken
off from the pack were a number of walruses,
groups of them lying huddled together. There
they rested quietly, turning their grave eyes
towards the ship, but taking no other notice
until she came within a few yards, when they
got up and tumbled into the water.
Captain Hardy called for his rifle, and,
pointing at one of the largest, was about to
fire, when a young walrus jumped upon the
back of his intended prey. A natural pity
prevented him from killing mother and young
with the same shot; he lowered his rifle, the
animal jumped into the sea, cuddled the little
one under her arms, and the next minute not a
walrus was to be seen.
I am glad you did not kill the poor thing,"
Captain Hardy smiled. "I must not be so
tender-hearted another time, for these creatures
70 The Ski4 of Ice.
make capital meat-' marine beef,' as sailors
And indeed the men, who had been hoping
to enjoy a little roast beef, as a change- from
the perpetual boiled salt meat and boiled pre-
served meats, looked rather disappointed as the
The breeze began to freshen; topgallant sails
were ordered to be taken in, and some men
went aloft for the purpose. It was troublesome
work; the sails were frozen hard like boards,
ropes were stiff almost as iron bars, and en-
crusted with icicles.
So it happened that what would have been
in ordinary weather five minutes' work for a
few men, now occupied the whole watch for an
hour. At last the sails were furled after a
fashion-for they bulged out in a manner that
would have driven a smart first lieutenant in
the Channel Fleet distracted-and the men
began to creep down the slippery shrouds.
When half-way down, a young foretop-man
lost his footing; for a moment he hung by his
hands, but his fingers, numbed by cold, had no
Oriana keeps the First Watch. 71
power, and he fell, striking the lower rigging
once, and then rebounding into the water.
So far fortunate ; he struck the surface in a
spot where it was clear of ice, and no limbs
were broken; but he was terribly weighed
down by heavy Arctic clothing, and things
looked bad as he floated astern.
Captain Hardy had taught his men to work
quickly and smartly-man-of-war fashion; and
almost before the echoes of the cry-" A man
overboard !" had died away, Mr. Winton, with
a picked crew, had jumped into a whale-boat,
lowered her, and were pulling hard to the
We shall save him," said the chief officer,
seeing the man's head still above the water.
" Give way, boys."
The boat's crew needed no urging. Scarce a
minute passed before the whaler had reached
the spot; but the head had disappeared.
Winton peered down into the water. There
was the poor fellow, the weight. of whose
clothes had at last dragged him down; but he
was not yet a yard below the surface. Taking
72 The Shiz of Ice.
up a boat-hook, Winton thrust it into the
water. Missed ? No : Hurrah! I have
him !" And the drowning man, whom the
boat-hook had caught under the arm, was
pulled up, and lifted into the boat.
Meanwhile, the proceedings had been
anxiously watched from the "Undaunted,"
and great was the joy on board when it was
seen that the man was picked up. Blankets
were got ready, and spread before the galley
fire. The boat came alongside.
"Is he alive ?" asked Captain Hardy.
I don't think he is dead, sir," said Winton;
"but he is regularly frozen."
The sailor was carried up the side as stiff as
a piece of ice. So much colder was the air
than the sea, that soon after the man was taken
out of the water, his arms became fastened to
his sides, and his legs frozen together, as if form-
ing one block of ice.
With great care he was gradually thawed,
rubbed well with warm blankets; and after
swallowing some hot brandy and water, colour
came back to the cheeks, and the poor fellow
__ =M -
"HURRA! I HAV-HIM"
Oriana keeps the First Watch. 73
seemed none the worse for his transformation
into an icicle.
This had been an exciting day; and in the
ordinary course of things most persons would
have been glad to light their bedroom candles,
and go to sleep. But everything was extra-
ordinary now. When evening came, or what
should have been evening, it was still broad
daylight, and the sun kept steadily above the
horizon, evidently without the least intention
of retiring for the night.
Oriana had gone to her cabin as soon as she
heard that the rescued man was doing well.
George was keeping the first watch. More
than three hours of it had passed, and he was
thinking how exceedingly long the last hour
was, when some one touched his arm. It was
Oriana. He began a remonstrance.
"Do you know it is nearly twelve o'clock ?
You ought to be fast asleep."
I cannot sleep, it is so light; and see, I
have brought you some hot coffee."
Well, the coffee was certainly very nice; and
as the wind had again gone down, and the
74 The Shizp of Ice.
night-or rather day, it could not be night
when the sun was shining-was calm and
pleasant, George was easily coaxed into allow-
ing Oriana to keep the rest of the watch with
"Oh look how beautiful!" said she, some
time afterwards; "the sun is really going
She held George's arm tightly clasped, as
together they gazed on the most beautiful
scene they had yet witnessed in this region of
wonders. The sun sank slowly, just touched
the horizon, and then immediately began to
re-ascend; the sky at the time being glorious,
from east to west, with a wide belt of
refracted light, radiating with crimson and
purple. Then the moon rose slowly in the
Oriana had seen many lovely sunsets in the
tropics, but never any to equal this northern
"It must be like heaven !" she said at length.
" But how strange that God should trouble to
make all this beauty in a place where it goes
Oriana keeps the First Watch. 75
on, night after night, with no one to admire or
to thank Him for it!"
"Perhaps," said George, "there are beings
here, although we are not able to see them. I
will tell you something I used to read :-
"'Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep:
All these, with ceaseless praise, His works behold
Both day and night.'
"And now, you really shall not stay on deck
any longer. Come."
She went below at last, very reluctantly;
and as she turned round at the cabin door to
give him a good-night kiss, she exclaimed-
"I hope we shall stop in this beautiful north
a long, long time !"
Poor child! she had her wish.
CHAP. VIII.-SPLICING THE MAIN-BRACE.
A VERY different scene from the quiet
loveliness of the preceding night broke
upon Falkland's view when he turned out the
Sleet and snow dashed into his face as he
stepped on the quarter-deck. A gale had
sprung up ; the ship was beset with ice, through
which, undaunted as her name, she struggled
hard to force a passage.
It was emphatically what is called by sailors
"dirty weather;" not a particularly heavy
gale, and with an open sea there would have
been no danger. But from the mast-head, far
as the eye could reach in every direction, only
ice was visible. The ship was in a little lane
of water, and loose pieces of floe were dashed
violently against her by the force of the wind.
Splicing the Main-brace. 7
With perfect coolness and seamanship Captain
Hardy manceuvred the ship, tacking through
the narrow channels, backing and filling in
order to keep clear of the huge floating masses,
contact with which would be destruction.
At one time, the fate of the Undaunted"
seemed sealed. An immense berg, on which
the ice lay piled up high as the mast-head,
came speeding towards them. On it rushed;
there seemed no way of escape ; scarce a spot
of clear water could be seen.
Captain Hardy knew well how imminent
was the danger; and calling out to Mr. Winton
to get some provisions on deck at once, in case
the ship should be nipped, he ran forward.
Casting a hurried look on the barrier that
fronted him, to see if there might be a possibility
of piercing it anywhere, it struck him that
the ice appeared less firm and wall-like on the
It was the only chance. He gave the order
in quick tones to the quartermaster at the
Starboard your helm."
78 The SkiV of Ice.
A sudden gust of wind at the moment gave
the "Undaunted" more impetus; the bows
struck the ice at the desired spot with a crash
that made the ship's bell ring, and threw the
men who were on deck off their legs.
"All lost !" thought the captain, as, turning
round, he saw the oncoming floe already tower-
ing above the stern.
But no; his first judgment was right. The
ice in front really consisted of pieces not firmly
joined together. It began to give way; the
gale forced the ship along; and the ice, closing
again round her stern, formed a welcome barrier
against the vagaries of her dangerous neigh-
Falkland, who was quite able to understand
the peril which had menaced the ship, now
breathed freely again. He managed to run
below, and tell Oriana that the danger was
past; but that was the only glimpse he had
of her during the day. No sooner was the
ship relieved from one critical position than a
new one occurred. Often Captain Hardy tried
to gain some clear lane of water which opened
Splicing the Main-brace. 79
out in front, but before the ship could reach
the little channel it disappeared, blocked up by
masses of ice.
Although the wind blew fiercely, yet so
completely ice-locked were they that nothing
but ripples disturbed the water; nor was there
any of the heaving swell which never rests in
other seas, however smooth may be the surface.
Neither captain nor chief officer left the deck
all through that anxious day. A few of the
men were allowed to go below in turns to get
some dinner; and in the afternoon, seeing that
all hands were pretty well worn out, Captain
Hardy gave the welcome order-
Splice the main-brace."
The men gave half a cheer when they heard
the pipe, the restraint of discipline alone pre-
vented it being a whole one. Soon was heard
the noise of the cooper striking the hollow cask
to start the bung-sound more musical in the
ears of "Jack than any
"Woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree."
Then, having swallowed their bumper of
grog, the sailors, wiping their mouths with
80 The Skiz of Ice.
their hands, went on deck with beaming faces,
caring nought for gale or iceberg, and hauled
the frozen ropes about as if they had been
Towards evening the gale abated, the sky
became clear and bright; and Captain Hardy,
in order to give his men a good night's rest,
got the ice-anchors out, and made the ship fast
to a large floe.
George was keeping the second dog-watch
(from six to eight) with Stanlake; and after
talking about the day's adventures, remarked,
How wonderfully the men worked after
splicing the main-brace. But that grog is nasty
stuff. I put my lips to some to see how it
"And I hope you never will like it," said
Stanlake. I don't say but what it's necessary
sometimes-upon a day like this, for instance
-although even then I would rather have a
basin of hot coffee."
"You have grog in the navy, though ?"
""Yes; and it is what I have seen in the
Splicing t e Main-brace. 81
navy that makes me think sometimes it's almost
better to be a teetotaller; and yet the people
of that sort that I have seen marching about
Portsmouth streets, with bands and banners,
always looked pale about the 'gills' somehow.
However, that's neither here nor there. The
real mischief was, that in the service a man
could always get drunk regularly once in the
How was that ? I thought there was only
a small daily allowance for each person."
So there is; but, you see, it's managed in
this way. We are divided into messes of about
a dozen men. Well, the dinner grog is mixed
in a big tub-three waters and one rum-and
drank fairly, each man having his own allow-
ance. Ah! and very good the navy rum is;"
and Stanlake smacked his lips at the remem-
Oh ho! I don't think there's much chance
of your turning teetotaller, after all."
Perhaps not. Of course that glass at
dinner is all very well, There is no beer; and
water on board ship doesn't go down very
82 The Shiz of Ice.
nicely with salt junk. But there is a bad
lower-deck custom, which gives the cook of the
mess the whole of the supper grog; and, of
course, it makes him half stupid."
"Is he able to turn in afterwards ?"
"No; and now comes the mischief. Directly
supper is over, there is the pipe to quarters, and
then 'reef topsails.' The poor fellow swallows
the grog to the last drop-it is no use leaving
any, for the master-at-arms would very soon
confiscate the secret treasure-hurries on deck
with his head swimming, and hardly able to see
out of his eyes. You may fancy what happens."
"You mean he falls from aloft ?"
"Yes; there are more men lost overboard
during the after-supper 'reef topsails' than at
any other time, storm or calm. Of course, the
captain of the top keeps his eyes open, and
won't let the man lay out on the yard if he can
help it. However, since I left the service, I
hear that the supper grog is done away with
altogether; and a good thing, too, in my
Eight bells struck; the watch was over.
Splicing the Main-brace. 83
George went below, turned in, and slept soundly,
after the hardest day's work his young life had
He rose the next morning without a trace of
fatigue, and quite ready for another such day.
In truth, the training George had gone through
since he first set foot on board the "Undaunted "
had strengthened him, body and mind. Noth-
ing does a boy so much good as having con-
stantly to face danger, and to think for himself.
Altogether, George was a very different being
from the youngster who left his father's rectory
five short months ago.
A dead calm succeeded the storm of the
previous day. The snow-white floe to which
the ship was made fast glittered in the sun's
rays, and the ice broke up, leaving large pools
of water, pure and blue as the sky above.
CHAP. IX.-THE ADVENTURE OF THE BEAR.
XN the early days of August the "Undaunted"
passed Cape Barrow, in latitude 71 30'
the most northerly point of Russian North
America. From thence, Captain Hardy tried
to force a passage due north.
Sometimes there would be a sudden shift of
wind, the ice would get looser, and a few miles
be gained. Then again the pack would become
close and firm; ice-anchors and saws would go
to work, boats be lowered down to tow, and
after a hard day's incessant labour, the ship
would have advanced perhaps half-a-mile,
perhaps a dozen yards.
"We shall never get to the North Pole, or
to Barrow's Straits either, in this way," said the
captain one evening to Winton, as they pored
over the chart which lay on the cabin table.
The Adventure of the Bear. 85
"I am quite sure of it, sir," answered the
chief officer. Captain M'Clure met with the
same impenetrable barrier when he tried the
George was in a corner of the cabin sitting
with Oriana, and began to fear (quite unneces-
sarily) that Captain Hardy was thinking of
giving in; so he put in his oar-" But Captain
M'Clure did get farther north after all, sir."
Oh yes, and so shall we," said the captain,
smiling; "only we must humour the ice, and
turning eastward, coast along the land, where
it will be, I hope, much looser."
"How far north has any one ever been, sir ?"
"Parry reached latitude 82 45' in sleighs
from Spitzbergen, and no one has since
approached so near to the North Pole. He
was disappointed at not getting farther; but
he found a strong southerly current; so that
after travelling all day painfully over broken
ice, he frequently had not really advanced a
yard, or had even been carried backwards, just
like the Irishman's pig, you know-one step
forward and two back."
86 The ShiA of Ice.
Altering the ship's course, Captain Hardy
now steered east, keeping the northern coast of
the American continent generally in sight.
Capital progress was made for several days.
The mighty Mackenzie River, which empties
itself into the Polar Sea, was passed, and the
next afternoon the ship anchored about two
miles off the land.
Now, Falkland," said the captain, if you
would like a run on shore, you may go in the
whaler with Mr. Winton. Take Miss St. Clare
with you; it will do her good."
Oriana danced with joy when she heard she
was going; at least she tried to do so, but made
rather a mess of it, the deck being slippery.
She scorned help as she ran down the ship's
side into the boat. Two or three rifles were
handed down for the benefit of any quarrelsome
natives that might be met with; and the boat's
crew, as glad to get out of the ship as the
officers were, gave way with a will.
Landing was rather difficult, the whaler
grounding on the mud some way off shore.
Falkland, who had on a thick pair of sea-boots
The Adventure of the Bear. 87
coming high over his knees-and was rather
proud of them too-jumped out with the men,
and together they managed to haul the boat a
few yards closer in. Then she again stuck fast.
"Now, then, Miss St. Clare," said Winton;
"I daresay Falkland would like to carry you
on shore; he thinks himself strong enough for
anything now. But as I should not like to see
you taking a cold bath in this half-frozen mud,
you must please entrust yourself to me."
The chief officer took the laughing girl in
his strong arms, and, after one or two slips,
deposited his burden safe and dry upon the
What a treat it was to run about upon the
grass! There was plenty of short grass upon
the level ground, and for some time the whole
party behaved very like schoolboys on a half-
holiday-the sailors shouting, skylarking, and
Then, leaving one man in charge of the boat,
they started in quest of adventures, determined
to find something-seals, reindeer, Esquimaux,
white bears, it mattered not which.
88 The Skfi of Ice.
A dark object lying on the beach some
distance off first attracted their attention.
Winton, who had a rifle in his hand, looked
"That is a seal. Take the other rifle, Falk-
land, and come quietly with me; we must try
to dodge round, and cut him off from the water."
Now, Stanlake, who was a trained Excel-
lent" seaman-gunner, had amused himself
during the passage out by teaching George the
rifle and cutlass drill; and the boy, delighted
with the chance, proved himself an apt scholar,
and a capital shot. It was an ordinary even-
ing's amusement in the Undaunted to throw
bottles overboard, and take flying shots as they
floated astern. George rarely missed this
difficult target; and once, after smashing three
in succession as they bobbed up and down on the
tops of the waves, Captain Hardy dubbed him
a "three-bottle man."
So the boy, rifle in hand, felt ready for any-
thing as he followed Winton. The boat's crew
were told to remain where they were; but
Oriana went with the officers, promising to
The Adventure of the Bear: 89
keep quiet and out of harm's way in Falkland's
Oriana's bright eyes were sharp-sharper
than her friends'. When they came a little
closer, she said-
The seal does not move, he must be dead;
but there is something alive on the other side
of him-a white seal, I suppose, but how very
much larger !"
A white seal exclaimed Winton; "it is
a bear !"
A bear, indeed, it was, feasting on a seal he
had killed. Raising his head, he looked up at
the disturbers of his peace, evidently uncertain
what to do. Then, making up his mind that
discretion was the better part of valour, he
uttered a short growl, and began to make off.
What a cowardly beast!" said Winton, as
he gave chase and fired.
A capital shot. The bear, who had been
going along at a good round pace, rolled over,
executing a complete somersault.
Hurrah he is down !" cried George.
Winton stopped to reload, calling out-" Take
90 The Shzip of Ice.
care; I don't believe that shot has finished
But the boy, eager with excitement, was
already within ten yards of the bear.. Sud-
denly the huge brute gathered himself up,
turned round, and, with a loud roar, rushed
open-mouthed on his rash pursuer.
George stopped short, lifted his rifle, and,
quivering with excitement, was about to pull
Had he done so, and only wounded the
infuriated animal, his fate was certain. But at
the moment, he caught sight of Oriana, who,
unperceived by him, had been running almost
by his side, and now, before she was able to pull
up, was already several steps in advance.
There she stood, breathless, her hand stretched
out as if to ward off the cruel death which
seemed inevitable, her face colourless. Not a
cry, not a sound came from the brave girl's pale
lips, as George, with nerves steadied by her
danger, now with careful aim fired.
The ball struck well between the eyes; the
bear fell at Oriana's feet.
- - -