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little their labours had effected, we set about our respective occupations, and were much favoured by a remarkably fine day.
The highest latitude we reached was probably at seven A.M. on the 23d, when, after the midnight observation, we travelled, by our account, some. thing more than a mile and a half, which would carry us a little beyond 82° 45'. Some observa. tions for the magnetic intensity were obtained at this station. We here found no bottom with five hundred fathoms of line. At the extreme point of our journey, our distance from the Hecla was only 172 miles in a S. 8° W. direction. To accomplish this distance, we had traversed, by our reckoning, 292 miles, of which about 100 were performed by water, previous to our entering the ice. travelled by far the greater part of our distance on the ice three, and not unfrequently five, times over, we may safely multiply the length of the road by two and a half; so that our whole distance, on a very moderate calculation, amounted to 580 geographical, or 668 statute miles, being nearly suffi. cient to have reached the Pole in a direct line.
Our day of rest (27th of July) proved one of the warmest and most pleasant to the feelings we had yet had upon the ice, though the thermometer was only from 31° to 36° in the shade, and 37° in the sun, with occasional fog; but to persons in the open air, calm and tolerably dry weather affords absolute enjoyment, especially by contrast with what we had lately experienced. Our ensigns and pendants were displayed during the day; and, sin. cerely as we regretted not having been able to hoist the British flag in the highest latitude to which we
had aspired, we shall perhaps be excused in having felt some little pride in being the bearers of it to a parallel considerably beyond that mentioned in any other well-authenticated record.
At 4.30 P.M. on the 27th, we set out on our re. turn to the southward, and I can safely say that, dreary and cheerless as were the scenes we were about to leave, we never turned homeward with so little satisfaction as on this occasion. To afford a chance of determining the general set of the cur. rent from this latitude, we left upon a hummock of ice a paper, sewn up in a water-proof canvass bag, and then enclosed in a water-tight tin canister, giv. ing an account of the place where it was deposit, ed, and requesting any person who should find it to send it to the secretary of the admiralty. No. thing worthy of particular notice occurred on this and the following day, on each of which we trav. elled eleven hours, finding the water somewhat more open and the floes less rugged than usual. Two of these were from two to three miles in length, and in one instance the surface was suffi. ciently level to allow us to drag the boats for three quarters of a mile with the sledges in tow. Our latitude, observed at noon of the 30th, was 82° 20' 37", or twe miles and a half to the southward of the preceding day's observation, though we had travelled only seven by our account; so that the drift of the ice had assisted us in gaining five miles and a half in that interval.
Setting out to continue our journey at five P.M., we could discover nothing from a high hummock but the kind of bay-ice before noticed, except on the floe on which we had slept. The travelling
was very laborious, but we were obliged to go on till we could get to a secure floe for resting upon, which we could not effect till half past four on the 31st, when, in eleven hours and a half, we had not made more than two miles and a quarter of southing. However, we had the satisfaction, which was denied us on our outward journey, of feeling con. fident that we should keep all that we gained, and probably make a good deal more; which, indeed, proved to be the case, for at noon we found our latitude, by observation, to be 82° 14' 25", or four miles to the southward of the reckoning.
We halted at five A.M. on the 1st of August, the officers and men being quite knocked up, and having made by our account only two miles of southing over a road not less than five in length. As we came along we had seen some recent beartracks, and soon after discovered Bruin himself. Halting the boats and concealing the people be. hind them, we drew him almost within gun-shot ; but, after making a great many traverses behind some hummocks, and even mounting one of them to examine us more narrowly, he set off and escaped—I must say, to our grievous disappointment; for we had already, by anticipation, consigned a tolerable portion of his flesh to our cooking kettle, over a fire of his own blubber.
In the course of our journey, on the 2d of August, we met with a quantity of snow, tinged, to the depth of several inches, with some red colouring matter, of which a portion was preserved in a bottle for future examination. This circumstance recalled to our recollection our having frequently be. fore, in the course of this journey, remarked that
the loaded sledges, in passing over hard snow, left upon it a light, rose-coloured tint, which, at the time, we attributed to the colouring matter being pressed out of the birch of which they were made. To. day, however, we observed that the runners of the boats, and even our own foosteps, exhibited the same appearance; and, on watching it more nar. rowly afterward, we found the same effect to be produced, in a greater or less degree, by heavy pressure, on almost all the ice over which we passed, though a magnifying glass could detect nothing to give it this tinge. Halting at seven A.M. on the 3d, after launching and hauling up the boats a great number of times, we had not only the comfort of drying all our wet clothes, but were even able to wash many of our woollen things, which dried in a few hours. The latitude observed at noon was 82° 1' 48", or twelve miles and a half to the southward of our place on the 31st, which was about three more than our log gave, though there had been southing in the wind during the whole interval.
We proceeded on our journey southward at eight P.M., and were again favoured with a clear and beautiful night, though the travelling was as slow and laborious as ever, there being scarcely a tolerable floe lying in our road. The sun now became so much lower at night, that we were seldom annoyed by the glare from the snow. It was also a very comfortable change to those who had to look out for the road, to have the sun behind us in. stead of facing it, as on our outward journey. stopped to rest at a quarter past six A.M. on the 4th, after accomplishing three miles in a south di.
rection, over a troublesome road of nearly twice that length. It was almost calm, and to our feel. ings oppressively warm during the day, the ther. mometer within the boats rising as high as 66°, which put our fur dresses nearly “out of commis. sion,” though the mercury exposed to the sun outside did not rise above 39o. Pursuing our journey at eight P.M., we paid, as usual, for this comfort by the extreme softness of the snow. crust would sometimes support a man's weight for a short time, and then suddenly let him down two or three feet, so that we could never make sure of our footing for two steps together. Several of the men were also suffering much at this time from chilblains, which, from the constant wet and cold, as well as the irritation in walking, became serious sores, keeping them quite lame.
With many of our people, also, the epidermis or scarfskin peeled off in large flakes, not merely in the face and hands, which were exposed to the action of the sun and the weather, but in every other part of the body; this, however, was attended with no pain, nor with much inconvenience.
A fat bear crossed over a lane of water to visit us, and, approaching the boats within twenty yards, was killed by Lieutenant Ross. The scene which followed was laughable, even to us who participa. ted in it. Before the animal had done biting the snow, one of the men was alongside of him
with an open knife ; and, being asked what he was about to do, replied that he was about cut out his heart and liver to put into the pot, which happened to be then boiling for our supper.
In short, before the bear had been dead an hour, all hands of us were