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three or four hours, performed as it is in stone vessels over their open oil lamps.
There was, however, an attendant evil, owing chiefly to the exceeding smallness of our hut. Its walls naturally melted also ; and so fast that our dresses became soon wetted to such a degree, that we were compelled to take them off, and get into the fur bags. Here at length we could keep out this enemy, and in those we slept.”
“ It blew so hard a gale from the north during the whole day, that we were unable to leave the hut .. The wind without howled round our walls of snow, and the drift which it brought sounded against them with a hissing noise, which I was glad to forget in the talk that rendered it for a time inaudible.”
The moment when Commander Ross discovers the Western Ocean is remarkable :
“ The party which I had thus quitted for a short time had announced their arrival on the shores of the Western Sea by three cheers: it was to me, as well as to them, and still more indeed to the leader than to his followers, a moment of interest, well deserving the usual hail of seamen; for it was the ocean that we had pursued, the object of our hopes and exertions; the free space which, as we once had hoped, was to have carried us round the American continent, which ought to have given us the triumph for which we and all our predecessors had laboured so long and so hard.
It would have done all this had not Nature forbidden; it might have done all this had our chain of lakes been an inlet; had this valley formed a free communication between the eastern and western seas; but we had at least ascertained the impossibility. The desired sea was at our feet; we were soon to be travelling along its surface; and in our final disappointment, we had at least the consolation of having removed all doubts and quenched all anxiety, of feeling that where God had said No, it was for man to submit, and to be thankful for what had been granted. It was a solemn moment, never to be forgotten; and never was the cheering of a seaman so impressive, breaking as it did on the stillness of the night, amid this dreary waste of ice and snow, where there was not an object to remind us of life, and not a sound seemed ever to have been heard.
“ How extremely unwilling I was to return at all from this point, with the main object of the expedition almost, it may be said, within our reach, may well be imagined; but others must be in the same situation before they can conceive the intensity of this regret and the severity of this disappointment. Our distance from Cape Turnagain
was now not greater than the space which we had already travelled ; as many more spare days at our command would have enabled us to do all that was remaining to return triumphant to the Victory, and to carry to England a truly worthy fruit of our long and hard labours. But these days were not in our power.
“ We now, therefore, unfurled our flag for the usual ceremony, and took possession of what we saw as far as the distant point, while that on which we stood was named Victory Point, being the ne plus ultra of our labour.
“On Victory Point we erected a cairn of stones six feet high, and we enclosed in it a canister, containing a brief account of the proceedings of the expedition since its departure from England. Such has been the custom, and to that it was our business to conform; though I must say that we did not entertain the most remote hope, that our little history would ever meet a European's eyes, even had it escaped the accident of falling into the hands of the Esquimaux. Yet we should have gone about our work with something like hope, if not confidence, had we then known that we were reputed as lost men, if even still alive, and that our ancient and tried friend, Captain Back, was about to seek for us, and to restore us once more to society and home. And if it is not impossible that the course of his present investigations from Cape Turnagain eastward may lead him to this very spot, that he may find the record and proof of our own turnagain, we have known what it is for the wanderer in these solitudes to alight upon such traces of friends and of home, and can almost envy him the imagined happiness; while we shall rejoice to hear that he has done that in which we failed, and perhaps not less than if we had ourselves succeeded in completing the long pursued and perilous work.”
The love of country expressed amidst these unparalleled sufferings, and in these dreary regions ; those names, consigned to a monument of snow, and which shall never be found again; that unknown glory, reposing under a few stones, and from the depths of everlasting solitude addressing a posterity that shall never exist; those written words, which shall never speak in those mute deserts, or which shall expire amidst the crash of ice broken by a tempest which no ear shall hearall these things considered together astound me. But, the first emotion over, we find, as a last result, that death is at the end of everything: the life and the memory of man are lost on every shore in the silence and the frost of the grave.
Behold the unfortunate Jacquemont expiring, far away from France, surrounded by all the populations of Hindostan : is his voice less affecting than that of those sailors calling to mind their country in the hyperborean solitudes? Lying on his back, because he was too weak to sit up, he wrote with a pencil, on the 1st of December, 1832, this note to his brother:
My end, if it is that which is approaching, is gentle and easy. If thou wert here, seated on my bed-side, with our father and Frederick, my heart would be wrung, and I should not wait the approach of death with this resignation and this serenity. Take comfort; comfort our father ; comfort one another, my friends.
“But I am exhausted by this effort to write. I must bid you farewell, farewell! Oh! how your poor Victor loves you ! - For the last time, farewell !"
The modern travellers of France may compete in their delineations with the pictures presented by English travellers. In their descriptions of India you will find nothing so brilliant as the subjoined passage of M. de Lamartine's. The reader will be glad to quit that land without trees, that snowsand marked with the tracks of foxes and bears, those frost-bound huts lighted by what Captain