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Early in the morning of the ciroles. At that moment the third day the wind died away, noise of the ash-hoist greeted and before long the ship his ear, and hurrying over to entered a dense ourtain of fog the other side of the bridge or “frost smoke." It was he stood and watohed the fireliterally impossible to see across man unhook his first bucket the bridge, and the Captain of ashes from the hoist and deoided, much against his will, carry them to the ash-shoot. to ease down to dead slow. Over the side they went, but He was now nearing the narrow instead of disappearing with a part of the Gorla or strait oon- splash they slid out into a neoting the White Sea and little heap and remained there. Barent's Sea, and his position They moved slowly aft, and was too unoertain to risk the next buoketful which was steaming his full eight knots thrown overboard took up & in such a blanket of fog. Such position a few yards ahead of fogs are the dread of all the first lot on the ice. There navigators in these latitudes was no doubt about it whatat this time of year. They are ever: the ship was orawling caused by clouds of steam through newly - forming ioe rising from the comparatively with rapidly deoreasing speed, warm water, and coour when and about an hour later she the temperature of the air is stopped altogether. The teleabout 350 colder than that of graph was put to "stop" and the surface water. They are the Captain left the bridge to usually low-lying, and in some confer with the Chief Engineer, cases high land or the masts of It was very soon decided that another ship will be seen stand it was useless to waste precious ing out above them; but this coal in steaming, so fires were can never be relied upon. banked and the shiplay
About dusk that evening the motionless through the rest mist suddenly cleared and of the night. speed was increased at once. It was a gorgeous night, and The Captain paced the bridge the Aurora Borealis, or norfor some time, and at last sent thern lights, were visible until down a message to the engineer after midnight in all their on watoh below to “let her splendour. The whole of the go,” but received a message in northern part of the horizon reply to say she had been going as far as the zenith was full speed for some time. The a mass of shimmering light sea was like a mill pond, and of constantly changing colours all around the ship in the and intensity. It was as olosing darkness could be seen if hundreds of searchlights thousands of small brown were playing on the sky, oiroles rather like innumerable each light being capable jelly-fish. For some minutes of changing its colour from the Captain peered anxiously red or gold to white at over the side of the bridge will. It was bitterly cold, and intently watohing these brown the ship's thermometer bad altogether ceased to record, as siderable pressure going on. the meroury had vanished into A considerable mass of rather the bulb.
older floe-ice to windward was The fourth day dawned clear being driven towards the and bright, and as daylight ship by the wind. Periodically appeared the land on the north one could see quite a large shore of the Gorla could be piece of ice stand right up plainly seen, and the ship's on end and then slide down position was estimated to be again on top of another about fifteen miles from the piece, the two being rapidly land. The ice was beautifully frozen together into one transparent, but much more piece of twice the original solid than the evening before, thickness. and the yellow oiroles or The engines were tried again blotohes of the forming stage and worked for some time,
but had disappeared. An attempt a few cables were all that to move the ship ahead or were achieved as a result of astern proved quite abortive, several hours' steaming, and and the fires were again banked the effort was again reluoto await a more favourable tantly abandoned. opportunity. Not & living A careful look-out was kept thing of any sort was in sight, for any signs of another ship, and the day passed drearily and the Captain was conand without incident.
stantly sending up to the The Captain ordered a oare- mast-head to sean the horizon ful survey to be made of the for smoke, wbich might turn provisions on board, and this out possibly to be an ioe. revealed the alarming fact that breaker whioh had been sent there was only about a fort. to assist ships. But nothing night's, or at the most three was sighted, though a careweeke', supply, and orders were ful watch was kept; the given that the most drastio temperature prevented any economy was to be exeroised. one remaining in such an
During the evening the exposed position for very weather changed for the worse, long at a time. and the wind was soon blow. The pressure on the ship ing hard from the westward, beoame slowly worse; accompanied by snow-squalls. ice on the wind ward side The effeot of the wind was seemed to be gradually climbsoon noticeable, as the ice ing up the side, and a lot oommenoed to move and orack of noise and grinding was in all direotions, and by the going on. morning of the fifth day the There could be no doubt at whole aspeot of affairs had all that the ship was drifting undergone a great change with the ice, but fortunately The smooth surface of trans- she was drifting the right parent ice had ohanged to an way, and there was just a irregalar surface of white ice, chance that in a day or two and there was obviously con- she might find herself free.
The Captain was very said the Captain; "but we anxious, but he kept & can't rely on it, and I fear smiling face through it all, we shall have to trust to and it was only to the Chief ourselves to get out of this Officer and Chief Engineer mess." that he unburdened himself For four more days the ship in the privacy of his cabin. drifted slowly to the north. “If we are here for another eastward, and the ice condi. ten days things will become tions beoame gradually worse. desperate,” he remarked; "but the pressure varied greatly, I have every hope that a depending on whether the change of wind and a rise tidal stream was with or in the temperature may clear against the wind, and the this ioo away altogether before surface of the ice was conthat."
stantly changing its appear“We ought to have plenty ance, of coal left to get us as far It was gradually becoming as Yukanskie, or even Kola evident to every one on board Inlet, even by then: we're that the ship was caught in not burning much now,” said the winter ioeand that the Engineer; “but I can't see nothing short of a miracle how we can hope to be clear could save her. She might of this in ten days, or even last through the winter, or she ten weeks. It looks to me might be orushed like an egg as if we shall be here till at any moment if the pressure April, or rather the ship will: beoame suddenly worse ; but we shall all be dead of starva- whatever ultimately happened tion before Christmas."
to the ship, the fate of the “Yes, I'm afraid it's a bad men on board was bound to be look-out for us," said the deoided before very long. Chief Officer. “I'd gladly There was only a fortnight's exchange now with any of provisions on board, and in this those ships tied up alongside temperature it was very diffiSolombolo dookyard, even if oult to maintain health and it did mean that we had to strength on reduced rations. assist the Russians in their The land on the northern favourite pastime of propping shore was generally visible up the jetty for about six daring daylight, and it seemed months.”
to be getting gradually closer. “I wonder how the other on the tenth day the Captain ships ahead of us are getting reokoned they were not more on," said the Engineer; “if than ten miles_from the only we had wireless we nearest point.
The sailing might get help from one of direotions were carefully conthem."
sulted and the obarts anxiously “ The best hope for us is goanned, but no signs of a that they may send an ice- permanent village could be breaker to make sure that found nearer than Popoi river, no one has been caught," a distance of at least 100 miles VOL, CCVIII.—NO. MCCLIX.
away. Even here it seemed as to her size, line, &o. Every doubtful if there was a oer- one was agreed on one point, tainty of finding any people and that was that she was not as late on in the year as making any way through the December, as the natives only ice, and that she had no smoke reside in the fishing villages coming out of her funnels. She on the coast during the sum- had all the appearances of mer months, and retreat to being an ordinary good-sized winter quarters inland. British tramp, heading about
Consequently the chances of north-east, and was not more finding food and shelter on than eight or nine miles away. shore seemed very remote, and The Captain ordered the the men were entirely un- largest ensign on board to be equipped for a long journey hoisted, and the distant signal exposed to the bitter cold for a vessel in distress was winds which were blowing so flown at the mast-head, but no persistently. The Captain de- signs of a reply could be discided that abandoning the ship tinguished. The whistle was must be a very last resort, and blown in the hopes that the naturally the idea of leaving steam would be visible, even the ship was repugnant to though the sound could not be every one.
heard, and the firemen proDuring the forenoon of the duced some gorgeous black eleventh day out the mate smoke at the expense of a little went up
to the cross-trees coal, but no notioe was taken. armed with his glasses, and By three o'clock in the afterafter a few minutes careful noon it was dusk and the ship sorutiny he hailed the Captain, was lost sight of ; a couple who was pacing up and down of hours later several rockets the bridge, to say he could were fired, but still no notice plainly make out a large of any sort was taken, and to steamer olose in under the all appearanoes the ship seemed land. There was the very to be deserted, greatest exoitement on board The Captain was confident at this news, and every one that she was a Russian ship, who had a pair of glasses or and stated that he believed 8 telescope was soon busily Russian sailors bebaved in the engaged in trying to make her same way that bears behave out. She was visible from the during the winter months, and deok, once she had been remained in their bunks for sighted, though very difficult weeks together, which would to pick out with the snow- acoount for no look-out being oovered land as a background. kept. The Chief Officer thought
There were many surmises that probably they were as to what her name was, Russians and that the crew what line she belonged to, and were all below, but thought how long out she was from this was more likely due to a Arkhangel, and quite a number plentiful supply of vodka on of wagers were laid and takon board than to any imitation of the habits of the national Captain sammoned all hands animal. The Chief Engineer and proceeded to put the was confident that she was a matter before them. He exBritish ship; in fact he was plained that the food supply sure she was a Tyne-built ship, would last little over a week, but he could not explain why and that consequently things she took no notice of any were very serious; on the other signals.
hand, there was nothing to be The whole of the next day gained by getting in a panio. was spent in endeavoaring to He pointed out that they attract the stranger's attention, would have to abandon the and the boatswain rigged ap a ship very shortly; it seemed magnificent oanvas ball to use quite feasible to make their as a distant signal, bat no way over the ice to the strange reply could be distinguished. ship, and in the event of their Unfortunately there was no finding she was as badly off powerful telescope on board, for food as they were them. and the Captain's night glasses selves, they would just have were not suffioiently powerful to go on ashore and try and to make out anything on board make the nearest Lap settlewith any degree of acouraoy, ment. He was of opinion that but several of the more the next day would be the sanguine among the members best day to choose, as the ships of the crew were prepared to would be as close to each other swear that a ball had been as they were ever likely to be, hoisted at the foremast-head and delay only aggravated the just before dark.
food problem. He called for One faot, however, was & voto as to whether they patent to all: the stranger should decide to abandon the was not moving at the same ship next day or not. Nearly rate as the Sappho, and if the every one present voted that present rate of drift continued this was the best thing to do, the two ships would be as olose and the necessary preparaas they were ever likely to be tions were acoordingly decided on the following day, and after upon. that they would commence to Everyone was busy until separate. The explanation for well on in the night, and this was not very difficult; the there was little sleep for any strange vessel was close into one. Large staves of wood the land, out of the main tidal were out for each man to age stream, and not nearly so ex- 28 sort of alpenstocks, the posed to the drift oaused by whole of the available food the wind, which was still blow. supplies were colleoted and ing freshly, and the sailing divided into equal portions, directions and oharts gave the and all the available blankets, rate of the tidal stream in the canvas, &o., was made into offing as anything ap to four improvised arotio clothing. knote.
The Captain was busy colleot. After dark that evening the ing a few valuable papers he