« ZurückWeiter »
Sliding doors disclosed the dining, mous. It is like a huge kitchen-table room, from the windows of which an- with carved legs and quaintly ornaother glorious view of pine forest and mented sides. glistening snow was visible. Some fine Seeing our amazement at the size of palms and plants stood about the room, the table, he said, and on the table was a curious rug of “Yes, I know it is very big ; that was eider duck. It was made of the down, my special order. Here, you see, I the light and dark shades of the back write my letters ; there are all the ma and breast being sewn together dia- terials, and that is the chair. Ilere, il mond fashion, and the whole was front of this chair I do my type-writing. quaintly bordered by a black-and-white I always use the type-writer for the design taken from the head and neck of printer; and when I sit in that chair I the little bird. This mat was a present have all my papers and my notes in to Dr. Nansen from an Eskimo squaw. front of me without having to turn He has several curious gifts from his everything upside down to find what I Eskimo friends. Some of them are per- want. All these books at this end are fect little models of their own homes, what I continually want for reference. their kayaks, themselves in costume, This pile of papers is about my cargo ; etc.
the provisions, bills, orders, and everyA piano and harmonium stood in the thing appertaining thereto are in this room, and several oil paintings of sur- division -- and so on; so that every prising power, by both the Nansens inch of my table is used, and I kuow themselves, filled the walls, intermixed exactly where to find everything." with a large number of the original An enormous number of letters were drawings used for engravings in his tied up with a blue ribbon. book Across Greenland,” They looked Guess what these are,” he said. well in their dark-brown frames, which Of course we could not guess - every made av excellent contrast to the shape and size and thickness of letter lighter brown coloring of the pine wood appeared to be there. walls.
Well, these are the applications * This is a dining-room and nothing from all parts of the world, and written more," he said ; "there is nothing of in almost every language, to accompany interest to see here, except our friends the North Pole Expedition. There are themselves when they come and have over a thousand of them. Of course, I supper with us. I hope you will enjoy don't answer them — I couldn't, but I their company to-morrow night. Now do read them, and their good wishes are I will show you my room.”
very encouraging ; but they have cost Re-crossing the drawing-room and me a lot of money, for they are often going through one of the alcoves, we under-stamped and I have to pay for passed under some heavy curtains which them, because one never knows what almost entirely hid the door, into Dr. may be inside." Vansen's own particular room.
· Are any of them amusing ?” “ It is very untidy,” said Fru Nan- “Some certainly are.
Here is one. sen; "it always is untidy, because It is a letter from a French lady saying Fridtjof never will let it be touched ; she is tired of the shallowness of the but just now it is much worse than world, and is contemplating entering a usual because all these things there, and convent and devoting herself to good there, and there are for the expedition, works; but before doing so she wishes and he likes everything left where he to offer her services to the expedition. puts it himself.”'
She can cook, and sew, and would deOn entering the room one is first vote her life cheerfully to the cause of struck by its size and great height. science, etc., etc.” He laughed, and The gabled roof is made of pine, the added, “She evidently thinks the mosame as the walls. The writing-table notony of a convent and of the North strikes one next, as it is simply enor. Pole equivalent ! There are besides
many more droll communications in could not help feeling how very preferthat bundle."
able the excellent brown bread given to Turning suddenly to my brother (Dr. English prisoners would be for a daily Vaughan Harley) he offered him a farinaceous food to these extremely cigar.
hard condensed biscuits, with no par“ I thought you had given up smok- ticular taste about them. ing, Nansen."
Lying on a Bechstein grand piano “So I have, but I keep cigars for my for it is in this room that Fru Nansen friends, and I enjoy their odor all the sings to her husband in the evenings — more now that it is seldom I have were rolls of silk. the satisfaction of revelling in their “ That silk is absolutely pure ; it is fumes."
what you call pongee, and we will make “I am so sorry this peis” (quaint tents of it, and screens to keep off the three-cornered fireplace) “is not burn- snow, because it is more durable than ing ; like the English fire it is more for anything else.” show than for warmth, so here behind It sounded incongruous — silk and it is another stove always kept lighted ; snow; but it has been decided upon but you must see how well my peis after many experiments. Dr. Nansen burns,” and in a moment he was out of slept for a fortnight in a silk tent in the the door and on to the balcony, return- snow in February last. ing with a huge armful of faggots, Nansen has the permission of our which in a minute were spluttering and government to take one of their balflaring up the chimney and giving forth loons with him, and it is to be made of a delicious odor of pines. “We always skin instead of silk, as was at one time burn wood in Norway, or coke some- intended. The hydrogen is to go in times in the stoves, because all our coal compressed form in steel cylinders, and has to come from England, and is con- he can only take enough for four or five sequently too expensive a luxury." fillings ; but he only wants the balloon
" What is this great pile of goods ? " for navigating the ship and to look we asked. “ It is like a warehouse." ahead for open water, and these fillings
“. These are samples of some of the he hopes will be sufficient for his purthings I am taking with me. These pose, as the cylinders are too big and very thick stockings have been knitted too heavy to allow him to take more of by old men and women in the north of them. Norway, so have these thick jerseys. “ This is one of my greatest treasures. All these packets of powder contain It is a thermometer made specially for various kinds of soups ; they have the expedition. The lowest thermomall been analyzed by Stadtskemiskreter reading yet recorded is 68° Cel. ; Schmelch, and I have selected those now this thermometer has been made containing the most nutriment.
to record as low as 80° Cel., or about " That is our bread,” and he showed 130° below freezing, Fahrenheit. I us a tin of biscuits the size of dogs' have ordered special barometers, penbiscuits, and as hard as captains' bis- dulums, astronomical apparatus, etc., cuits. They are white, and proved but they have not come yet, and they very good eating once we managed to are so precious I do not want them till bite them. They have been specially the last minute, for fear anything prepared after many attempts, and at should happen to them. They are not last are satisfactory. These biscuits for my own use. Herr Scott-Hansen will be the mainstay of the whole will take most of our observations for party, four being allotted out to each us, I hope.” man a day. They are taking over thirty 6. What a collection of knives and thousand pounds weight. They will be scissors, but I don't see any razors. packed in tins, and before eating will Will you grow a beard ? " be heated or soaked according to the “ No, I shall cut it whenever it gets taste of the individual himself. We long, because personally I think a frozen beard most uncomfortable. Some peo-jand plans very carefully drawn out,” ple are of opinion that the hair protects he continued, “ for one big expedition, the face, and that the ice even is a pro- which shall be nameless, went north tection, because it does not freeze right without any one knowing where anyup to the skin. But individually I pre- thing was, and the guns, for instance, fer to be without. Sverdrup doesn't were never found until the party got mind. He grew those splendid whis- home again. Sorting out our things, kers of his when we were crossing planning their division, arranging their Greenland, and he thought they were a destination, and trying to remember protection to the face and throat. everything required, and thinking of
“ Here is one of the petroleum stoves anything that might add to our comfort, of English manufacture ; it will proba- is no light matter. I long for the day bly be sufficient to warm the cabin. when everything is in its place, and we It burns one hundred and twenty weigh anchor and steam away down grammes an hour, or about three litres the Christiania fjord, and yet,” he a day, and our petroleum tanks are so added, “ I dread that day as much as I biy we shall be able to carry sufficient long for it ; " and with a quick movepetroleum to last eight or nine years, ment he turned aside to caress one of for it would not do to run short of heat- the lovely long-haired grey cats that are producing material for cooking and always in his study. warming purposes, and we may want it The walls of this interesting room for lighting, if we are too busy to make are literally groaning under the weight the electric light. So we shall take all of his Greenland relics. There are the that extra amount. Food and clothing ski used during that perilous undertakfor six years, and heating supply for ing — the very ones he accomplished eight, and with any luck we shall be two hundred and forty miles on in nineback again in three, I hope."
teen days, dragging a laden sleigh beHow will you know where every- hind him. Here are Eskimo spears of thing is in the ship ?"
every form and shape, pictures of ** I don't think there will be much which appear in Dr. Nansen's book on difficulty in that. Here are my plans. the “ Eskimo” which will shortly be Into every one of these compartments translated into English. supplies for three months will be placed, " That reminds me,” he added soras far as we can judge of our require- rowfully, " the man who translated my ments. Here all the extra supplies - Greenland' so splendidly is just dead. only wanted at long and irregular inter- He was in Norway, on his way to see vals. Here is our library, containing me about this Eskimo book, and was one thousand books, half of which are crossing a lake on ski. The ice was not scientitic, for my three friends and for very strong at the time, and he fell in. my own use, and the other half are With the ski on his feet he was unable books of fiction or travel for the amuse- to extricate himself, and was drowned ment of us all, during our long days or frozen to death ; he was found dead and nights.”
by some peasants long hours afterNansen is a great reader, more par- wards. He was such a good fellow, ticularly, of course, in Arctic explora- and such an excellent skilöber ; and it tion. He has read every book and seems such a sad ending, his dying pamphlet published on the subject, thus, in a strange land.” and, as he says, bas picked up hints “ You know English so thoroughly, from them all. He has a very good why not translate your own book ?” library of his own, and English books 6. Because I never felt how imperfrom Herbert Spencer to Tennyson, fectly I really knew English till I read John Stuart Mill to George Eliot, Dar- Iubert Gepp's translation of my own win to Meredith, find room upon the work, and then I saw by the turn of a shelves.
sentence or the twist of a word what ** It is necessary to have these maps a wretched performance my English
would have been in its stead. One lost his life over his first attempts at never has that flow of words in a for- doing so, and owns that kayak paduling eign language, however well one may is a very dangerous game, even to the know it. I feel this most when I am initiated. writing English, not in speaking it.” Standing beneath the kayak are three
Outside the house is a kind of out of the sledges for the North Pole expehouse, or, one might almost call it, a dition. They are about twelve feet museum. Hanging from the ceiling long and some three feet wide. They are three Greenland kayaks. Now only weigh a few pounds, they are so these canoes are very remarkable ; they lightly made of wood, and are merely are about twenty feet long and very fixed together by gut cord — no nails or narrow, only just wide enough in the screws of any kind. By this means middle to admit a mau's body, that is they will bear any strain, and they are to say, about eighteen or twenty inches so light they will add but little to the broad, and they are sharply pointed at weight of provisions, or whatever way both ends. They are made of sealskin ; be on them, should Dr. Nansen have to the bottom is almost flat, but has a little abandon his ship and cross the North ridge or miniature keel of whalebone. Pole on ski with his dogs and sledges, They are very light indeed, so light as he crossed Greenland. The sledges that it seems impossible they can live are on flat runners, just like ski themin any sea, and these northern seas are selves, only that they are pointed at often very rough, and they have to en- both ends, and are shod with aluminium, counter much ice. In the middle of which is, of course, a great gain in point this little cockleshell is a hole to admit a of weight in comparison with iron or man, but sewn securely to the edges of steel. the opening are skins, so that when the “ What is that? It is very like a man gets inside he is sitting in a kind shrimping net.” of bag, and after pulling the skins high “ That is exactly what it is. We up under his arms, he ties the strings have quantities of shrimps within a quite tight to prevent any water enter- few feet of the drawing-room windows, ing the little canoe. In front of him on and when I'm not too busy I go and the canoe, securely fixed by gut straps, catch them. We cari get them under are his spears — spears for whale, or the ice, just the same as the fish. We harpoons for seal, as the case may be. make a hole, and while sitting on the Some of these spears are very curious edge, put in the line or net, and catch and marvellously ingenious at the same our fish." time, but then the Eskimo are depend- Iu snowshoe walking for both man ent on their seal fisheries for almost and beast, in winter-fishing, in means everything they wear or eat.
of locomotion, etc., the Norwegians The double-bladed paddles are very display marvellous ingenuity, but then long and narrow, and the speed at their winter is very lony, and it is durwhich they propel the kayak is remark- ing these long months that most of the able.
such fragile little work of the country is accomplished. canoes are always turning over - that They utilize their frozen lakes, dragis nothing. The Eskimo have a way of ging their timber across them by shorter twisting the paddle in such a manner routes. They get their timber down when they are under the water that the mountains while the snow they can right themselves in a minute, the land and makes its transport easier. and the very clever ones can accomplish They fish largely while the ice covers the twist with their arms alone. The the fjords. They do everything in winkayaks are always upsetting. a wave, ter, in fact, and the winter is the time a piece of ice, a line too tightly caught to enjoy Norway and see her people's by anything will upset it in a moment. occupations. It is, of course, very cold. Dr. Nansen acquired this art of right. But it is dry cold, and there is seldom ing himself, although he very nearly any wind.
As the ship Fram is to be the home of Opposite us were two wooden bunks Nansen and his party for at least three of orilinary size, but made in such a years, a few words about her home-like way that, if the walls become solid ice capabilities may not be out of place. a thing likely enough — the bunks
She is a very wonderful ship in point can be pulled two or three inches furof build, and her strength far exceeds ther out into the cabin. Racks for odds anything ever attempted before. Every- and ends till in the roof; pegs ornathing lias been done to make her com- ment the walls, and every inch will be fortable, but she still remains a sorry occupied by some of his endless belongcontrast to Nansen's charming home at ings. “One of the bunks I shall give Lysaker.
up to my work, and it will have to take As these twelve brave men will spend the place of my voluminous writingmuch of their time in the chief cabin, table at home, and house my papers, we will endeavor to describe its appear- books, type-writer, photographic appaance. It is in the middle of the ship, ratus, etc." which has two decks. On the upper The whole place struck us as horribly deck is a small house or chart-room. cold, but Nansen assured us the walls This is entered by two doors. The were lined with felt and reindeer skin, outer door is very small; one requires and, once the cabins were properly to bend one's head and raise one's feet warmed, they would retain the heat. some twelve inches to enter it at all. “ And," he added, “as we have 40° The smallness of the openings has Fahr. below freezing-point to-day, it been carefully pianned. The smaller may not be so very much colder at the the aperture the less cold air can enter. North Pole after all. We have not The boarding over of the steps is to bad such a cold winter in Norway for prevent snow piled up against the door fifty years.” from blowing into the little outer cabin The other cabins are much the same ; when it is opened. The door itself, two are for four men apiece and the which is made of solid oak, is some four others for two. Everything is enaminches thick. Immediately opposite is elled white, because white enamel reanother door, made on much the same tlects more light than anything else ; plan, leading into the chart-room, and but it seems strange to have white inyet another door on the right leads doors and white out of doors too, as down the companion - ladder to the this gives no rest to the eyes ; and one saloon itself. At the bottom of the would naturally suppose
the ladder all communication ends again by weary for change of color in a region another of these small entrances, so probably lacking in color altogether. that to reach the dwelling-saloon one At the back of one of the cabins is a has passed through three different little curious small window - like opening, doors, which, when all closed, will tend leading to the library. This library is to keep the place warm.
about four feet high, and is really for So this is the cabin, the dining-room, storing the books and papers. It is work-room, drawing-room of twelve quite dark, and as unlike one's ordinary good men for several weary years. And idea of a library as anything well could it is only about sixteen feet square ! be. Not very large and not very high, for In the middle of the saloon is the when Dr. Nansen stands erect his noble mast, round which a table is to be fixed. liead almost touches the roof. On each The cabin is so small every inch of wall there are two doors made of wood room has to be put to its best possible equal in thickness with the outer ones, use. And yet Nansen talks cheerfully but nearly full-sized. The one on the about their all living entirely in this left leads to Nansen's own cabin. It confined space. If the cold becomes was quite dark, but he fetched a light too intense for us to occupy our sleepand showed us his future abode with as ing cabins, we shall have to shut them much pride as if it were a palace. up, and all of us will have to camp in