” “Yes, we have that still, thanks to your idea of taking it with you.” “That isn’t much,” said the Doctor. Let us pity our fellow-sufferers, and not curse them.” For the next few minutes both were silent, and then Johnson asked what had become of the sledge. His faithful dog stood beside him, like his master, apparently insensible to the biting cold, though the temperature was 32 degrees below zero. That is all that remains of it.” “Then we have nothing but the Halkett-boat? Only the best remain good in the evil day; few can stand trouble. He seemed gazing into space, but his face had recovered its calm, self-possessed expression.of pemmican, three sacks of biscuits, a small stock of chocolate, five or six pints of brandy, and about 2 lbs. Neither blankets, nor hammocks, nor clothing—all had been consumed in the devouring flame.This slender store of provisions would hardly last three weeks, and they had wood enough to supply the stove for about the same time.We must know exactly how we are off, and our treasures are scattered in all directions; so we had better begin, and pick them up as fast as possible, for the snow may fall at any moment, and then it would be quite useless to look for anything.” “Don’t let us lose a minute, then,” replied Johnson.
Not a word was spoken by Hatteras, and the others respected his silence.
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But he had done all that lay in human power now, and, after having struggled for nine months against currents and tempests, shattering icebergs and breaking through almost insurmountable barriers, amid the cold of an unprecedented winter, after having outdistanced all his predecessors and accomplished half his task, he suddenly saw all his hopes blasted. I loved her as one loves a house where he has spent a life-time.” “Ay! Johnson had to take vigorous measures to rouse him, but at last, by dint of shaking and rubbing him with snow, he succeeded. Exert yourself, my man; we must have a talk about our situation, and we need a place to put our heads in. You haven’t forgotten how to make a snow hut, have you?
The treachery, or rather the despondency, of his worn-out crew, and the criminal folly of one or two leading spirits among them had left him and his little band of men in a terrible situation—helpless in an icy desert, two thousand five hundred miles away from their native land, and without even a ship to shelter them. We are in a bad plight, and how to get out of it, that is the question.” “Poor old brig! it’s strange what a hold those planks and beams get on a fellow’s heart.” “And the long-boat—is that burnt? There is an iceberg all ready to hand; we’ve only got to hollow it out.
[Illustration: The tired-out dogs were harnessed sorely against their will, and before long returned bringing the few but precious treasures found among the débris of the brig.—P.9] Now that the inventory was made, the next business was to fetch the sledge.