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Among the Esquimaux; or, Adventures under the Arctic Circle By Edward Sylvester Ellis Characters: 27275

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


No one can question that many animals have the propensity to fun and frolic. It may be absent in some, but it certainly is not lacking in the canine species.

It didn't take three teams of dogs long to discover that their passengers belonged to the most verdant specimens of their kind, and when the brutes struck the smooth surface, where traveling was but a pastime, they decided to have some sport at their expense.

At the moment Jack Cosgrove was uttering his words to his young friends, he failed to notice a small hillock just ahead and at one side of the course they were following. But the leading dogs saw it, and, veering off, they made straight for it with increased speed, heedless of the shouts and cracking of the driver's whip. Before he could restrain them, the sleigh collided with the obstruction, overturned in a twinkling and Jack found, as he after described it, that his nose was plowing through the snow with the whole plaguey load on top of him.

He was dragged a hundred feet before extricating himself, and before the driver could check the animals, who looked so meek and sorrowful that he visited them with slight punishment. Matters, however, were soon righted and the journey resumed, amid the laughter of the boys in which the sailor heartily joined.

Within the next hour Rob's sleigh went over and he had an almost similar experience. But he was expecting something of the kind, and prepared for it, so that he emerged from underneath before being dragged far.

Fred got it, too, despite the apparent efforts of the drivers to restrain the dogs. By the time matters were once more righted and under way, the suspicion was confirmed among the passengers that the wild men were in the plot and enjoyed the ludicrous turn of affairs as much as did the brutes themselves. But Jack and the lads were the last to complain, and were quite willing that such good allies should have a little sport at their expense. It was noticeable that after all had been capsized, nothing of the kind took place again.

At noon an hour's halt was made. The Esquimaux produced their cooked venison and all ate. The snow, although it seems to add to one's thirst, when first used, served excellently in the place of water.

As well as they could by signs, the passengers offered to walk and allow the Esquimaux to ride. Where the surface was so favorable this would have imposed no hard work, but the natives refused, even declining to ride alternately in the rear sleigh.

The dogs were tired enough to give no trouble during the noon halt. They sat around on their haunches and eagerly devoured the bits of raw meat tossed to them. When one or two showed a disposition to stir up matters, an angry warning and snap of the whip from one of the drivers brought him to his senses, and he deferred the amusement to a more convenient season.

The Esquimaux chatted volubly among themselves, and, although our friends could not catch the meaning of anything said, they were sure they had made good progress toward Ivigtut, which, barring accident, would be reached by nightfall.

The journey was pressed with the same vigor through the afternoon, the men seeming as tireless as the dogs, who trotted along as they might have done over the bare ground without any load impeding their movements.

The sun was still above the horizon when the party reached the crest of the mountains near the coast, and saw before them, nestling at the curve of a fiord, a collection of low, weather-beaten houses, dispersed along the slope of the hills, with a wharf at the water's edge, on which lay a large number of blocks of the peculiar white ore known as cryolite.

"Vee-tut, vee-tut!" exclaimed one of the drivers, addressing the passengers with great animation. This was the nearest he was able to come to pronouncing the name "Ivigtut."

Yes, this was the mining town famous the world over as containing the only cryolite mines so far discovered on the globe.

Ivigtut is in latitude sixty-one degrees and twelve minutes north, its climate being severe at certain seasons, but comparatively moderate during summer. Then there are one hundred and thirty picked men from Copenhagen engaged in the quarries, the number being a little more than one-half as great in winter. Only one or two Esquimaux are to be found about the place, and the only family that of the superintendent, who has his wife and her maid with him.

The principal work of the employees is in quarrying the cryolite and piling it on the wharf, ready for shipment both to the Old and New World. And now how many of my readers can tell me what cryolite is? Shall I explain?

Do you know that most of the sal-soda, the bicarbonate of soda, the alum, and the caustic soda used in your homes is dug out of a mountain in Greenland?

In 1806, a German named Giesecke, believing that valuable minerals might be found in Greenland, applied to the Danish Government for permission to prospect the mountains. He did so, all the way from Cape Farewell, living with the Danish governors or among the Esquimaux, as circumstances required, until he reached Arsuk Fiord.

At this place he heard of a deposit of ice that never melted and which was on the edge of the fiord. It was powdered, was used by the natives in tanning skins, and acted on a greasy hide like soap. The prospector gathered a number of specimens and started with them for Germany, for the substance was entirely new and required analysis.

On the homeward voyage the Danish ship was captured by a British man-of-war and the specimens of cryolite went to an English institution, where they were analyzed for the first time. It was interesting of itself, but pronounced comparatively worthless.

It remained for a distinguished chemist named Thomson to discover that sal-soda and bicarbonate of soda can be made cheaply from the substance. It is free from all impurities, and steps were taken to develop the quarry. The first attempt was in 1852, but regular work did not begin until six years later, and more years passed before any money was made out of the mine.

Up to 1864 the entire product of the quarry went to Europe. In that year the American firm known as the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, of Natrona and Philadelphia, began to import it. The ships used are made as strongly as possible, for they have to force their way through fields of floating ice, craunch into huge blocks, and keep a sharp lookout for icebergs.

Small quantities of cryolite have been found in the Ural Mountains and a trace was discovered at Pike's Peak, in our own country, some years ago, but it did not pan out. A genuine cryolite mine within easy reach would prove a bonanza to the discoverer.

Cryolite in appearance resembles white quartz or ice, with a mixture of snow in it. Although generally white, it is not always so. It is sometimes a light brown or a dark color, due either to vegetable matter that has soaked into it or the presence of iron.

What I have related and considerably more, our friends learned during their stay at Ivigtut.

Finding themselves at the end of their journey, the three climbed out of the sleighs, their limbs considerably cramped from their long-constrained posture. They shook hands with the Esquimaux, who understood that form of salutation, and who grinned the delight they could not form the words to speak.

To one of them Jack presented his gun and Fred gave his to another. This quite overwhelmed them, but the whites divided nearly all the money they had among them between the other two. The wild men were paid triple what they expected for the inestimable service rendered the party, who regretted that they could not do a good deal more for them.

They parted on the edge of the town, and, just as night began settling over Ivigtut, the three came down the slope and showed themselves among the employees, where their appearance attracted considerable curiosity.

Rob's first inquiry was for the superintendent of the mines. He was directed to a one-story house painted blue, near the rear of which rose a staff from which the flag of Denmark floated.

At the eastern end of the settlement was a somewhat similar house painted black, where the comptroller, or representative of the king lived, while near the centre were two other structures, from which puffs of steam rose.

The visitors received the kindest hospitality from the superintendent, whose name was G. E. Schmidt. He listened to their story with deep interest, and insisted that they should make their home with him as long as they could stay in Ivigtut. He brought in his wife and introduced them to her.

They found her a most pleasant lady, and the three soon felt entirely at home.

"By the way," he asked, as the preparations for supper progressed, "what did you say was the name of the ship on which you left London?"

"The 'Nautilus,'" replied Rob; "we fear she foundered in the gale a few days ago which separated us from her."

"I'm not so fearful about that," put in Jack; who felt that such remarks were a slight upon the ship to which he was attached; "she has rid out a good many tough storms, and I don't see why she couldn't pull through that one."

"Let us hope that she did," said the superintendent, kindly, and with a twinkle of his fine eyes which the others did not notice.

"I was hopeful that she had possibly made her way to Ivigtut," added Fred, who continued, turning to the sailor, "we forgot to take a look in the harbor."

"No use of that," replied Jack; "she might have come in at some of the other ports, but not here."

"I suppose, Mr. Schmidt, that we can go home by way of Denmark?"

"There will be no trouble about that; the only inconvenience is that it will extend the trip much longer than is pleasant, but I understand that you contemplated a visit to one of the posts of the Hudson Bay Company."

"Yes, the destination of the 'Nautilus' is York Factory."

"Then your friends at home will feel no alarm, since you will be the first to carry the news there, unless possibly Captain McAlpine turned immediately about and started for England."

It struck Rob Carrol as singular that the superintendent should mention the name of the skipper of the "Nautilus" when no one of the visitors had yet done so. Where could he have learned it? His companions did not notice the odd fact and he was too polite to ask their host to explain.

"We rarely receive a visit from the English vessels," continued Mr. Schmidt, "though now and then one drops down on us, but there is an American line, inasmuch as a good deal of cryolite goes to the United States. How would you like to make a voyage to that part of the country?"

"It would be pleasant, but hardly practicable," replied Rob, who could not forget that the funds of the company were at a frightfully low ebb. "We shall have to defer that treat to some more convenient season."

"I cannot tell you how pleased I am to receive this visit," said the superintendent; "you must stay several weeks with me, and visit the mines and see all there is to be seen. I hardly suppose you would care to make a hunting trip into the interior?" he added, with a smile.

"No, we have had enough of that to last several lifetimes," replied Jack, uttering at the same time the sentiments of his friends.

"I don't wonder; there is too much snow and cold weather for real sport, except at certain seasons. I must see the men who brought you in. The real wild Esquimaux live on the east coast, where the climate is so terrible that the whites rarely, if ever, visit them, and they are beyond the control of all except their own. If these fellows of yours make their homes in the interior, they are very different from all the Esquimaux of which I know anything. I think there is some mistake about it."

"We know nothing, of course, beyond what Docak told us."

"He is an unusually intelligent native, and I know him very well. He is a little morose at times, and I understand has caused some trouble at the other settlements, but he is a worthy fellow for all that. By the way, I have a friend who is expected to supper with me this evening. It will be a pleasure, I am sure, for you to meet him."

"It will be a pleasure to meet any of your friends," Rob hastened to say, for his heart had already warmed to the genial and hospitable gentleman.

"If I am not mistaken, he has arrived," added Mr. Schmidt, rising from his chair and stepping to the door.

The next moment he admitted a stalwart, whiskered, sun-browned man, in middle life, and, shaking his hand, turned to his other guests.

"Permit me, captain, to introduce you to Messrs. Cosgrove, Carrol, and Warburton."

"Wal, by the great horned spoon!" exclaimed the sailor, springing to his feet and striding across the room, "where did you come from, captain?"

It was Captain McAlpine, of the "Nautilus," standing before them, smiling, bewildered, and happy, as he gazed into the faces of his friends whom he had mourned for days under the fear that they were dead.

The laughing Rob and Fred were right behind Jack, and they shook the hands of the good old sailor, and felt like throwing their arms about his neck and hugging him.

"I must apologize for this little joke," said Superintendent Schmidt, who enjoyed it fully, "but really I couldn't help it. Captain McAlpine arrived at Ivigtut yesterday, and came straight to me with news of what had happened. He was driven far away from the iceberg, as you know, and had searched for it in vain. At a loss what to do, he put

into Ivigtut to consult with me."

By this time the excitement was about over, and all seated themselves as the servant came in and lighted the lamps. Mr. Schmidt continued:

"The occurrence was so extraordinary that I was at a loss how to advise him, and his purpose in coming here this evening was that we might discuss the question and decide it."

"You see," observed the captain (and he thereby verified the words of Jack Cosgrove, uttered several days before), "I observed that that iceberg wasn't sailing straight for the Equator, and I got the idea that it was to be looked for further up north, though as likely as not it would change its course and head south again. The only thing for me was to try to get another ship or two to jine me in a search for you. I was going to find out whether that could be done, but now there isn't any need of it."

"Thank Heaven, no!" fervently responded Rob Carrol; "we have had a close call, and the only regret we shall feel in leaving Greenland is that it will take us away from our friends."

"It is I who feel that, but it is one of the sure penalties of our existence. Supper, I see, is ready; will you kindly walk out with me?" he asked, rising to his feet, and leading the way.

And perhaps it is as well that we should say good-bye to the party, now that they are seated around the board with keen appetites, cheerful conversation, and happy hearts; for of the visit made to the cryolite mines the next day, the sailing of the "Nautilus" two days later, the voyage through Hudson Bay to York Factory, the visit there, the safe return to England, and the settling down of Rob Carrol and Fred Warburton to the sober business of life-why, all these may be covered in a paragraph, and so we say, "Good-bye."

THE END

* * *

The Young Boatman

By Horatio Alger, Jr.

369 Pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

This is an interesting story of a boy who is obliged to support himself and his mother by rowing passengers across the Kennebec River. To add to his trials, his intemperate stepfather, after serving a term of imprisonment, returns home and endeavors to compel the boy to pay over his small earnings to him. This the boy, who was appropriately nicknamed Grit, refuses to do, and after a struggle the stepfather retires from the conflict and returns to his thieving habits.

Shortly after Grit discovers a conspiracy to rob the bank and promptly communicates his knowledge to the president, who succeeds in frustrating the plans of the robbers and secures their arrest.

Grit's cheerful manner and kindly good nature, coupled with the most sterling honesty, cause him to be held in high esteem by all who know him. His manly courage and self-reliance are often sorely tested, but his indomitable pluck transmutes calamity into success.

The book is full of incident and adventure of just the right sort to hold the attention of any bright boy.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

1020 Arch Street, Philadelphia

The Moncasket Mystery

AND

How Tom Hardy Solved It

By Sidney Marlow

375 pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

The tone of this book is earnestly and emphatically moral, and the author understands that nothing makes morality so attractive to youth as to find it coupled with ingenuity, energy, and pluck.

There is no "cant" and no "can't" about Tom Hardy, the decidedly vigorous hero of this story. He is a safe and worthy companion of any boy or girl, and it is predicted that he will not only win a warm place for himself in the hearts of all who make his acquaintance, but that he will gallantly retain it long after the covers shall have closed upon this chronicle of his efforts and adventures. He is an admirable boy, yet the author, in defiance of the usual method in modern juvenile fiction, has refused to sacrifice all of the other characters to the single hero. Even those whose parts are but the slightest have been so attractively presented that the reader feels that if the events had chanced to require it each one of them would have become a hero.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

1020 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Chasing a Yacht

By James Otis

Author of

"The Braganza Diamond," "Toby Tyler," etc.

350 pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

Two boys have engaged to run a steam yacht for the double purpose of pleasure and profit, and after carefully fitting her up they launch her, only to find the next morning that she is gone-stolen-as they later discover, by two other boys who had been refused a half-interest in her. The rightful owners start in hot pursuit, and in an attempt to recapture the steamer are themselves made prisoners. It is the intention of the thieves to hold the owners prisoners until the Hudson River is reached and then put them ashore, but their plans miscarry owing to the intervention of two rather rough citizens who find their way aboard the yacht and make themselves generally at home. Fortunately one of the owners manages to effect his escape, and gaining the assistance of the authorities the little vessel is speedily restored to them.

The story is full of adventure, and the heroes are both bright and manly fellows, who make the best of their temporary hardships. The story will be found to enlist the interest at the outset, and to hold it until the last page is turned.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

1020 Arch Street, Philadelphia

The Braganza Diamond

By James Otis

Author of

"Chasing a Yacht," "Toby Tyler," etc.

383 pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

Long before the opening events of this story the fragments of this celebrated gem are supposed to have been taken from a wreck by an old sea captain, and secreted by him on a lonely island in Roanoke Sound.

This aged captain, now quite feeble, sends for his niece and her daughter. They invite two bright boys to accompany them, and engaging a steam launch the four, in company with the owner-a trusty sailor-set out for the lonely island. Arriving there they are distressed at finding the captain already dead. To add to their discomfort they also discover that the former owners of the diamond have appeared upon the scene. The little party is forcibly made prisoner, and their captors demand that they forthwith produce the precious stone. This, of course, they are unable to do, but discovering among the old captain's effects a curious cryptogram, they are led to hope that its solution may reveal the secret hiding place of the diamond, and thus restore to them their freedom. This theory eventually proves correct, but not until after the party has endured many hardships, and passed through many exciting experiences.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

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The Odds Against Him, or

Carl Crawford's Experience

By Horatio Alger, Jr.

350 pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

The hero of this story had to leave home on account of the ill-treatment he received from his stepmother, who had a son of her own about the same age. Dr. Crawford, a man of considerable wealth, but of weak, vacillating mind, loved his son, but was afraid to show his true feelings in the presence of his wife. After leaving home and meeting with a number of adverse experiences, Carl eventually obtained employment in a factory. He soon gained the confidence of his employer, and after frustrating an attempt of the book-keeper to rob the safe, he was appointed as a traveler, and, visiting Chicago, he discovered that his stepmother had another husband living. Her success in getting a will made in her own favor, an attempt on the life of her husband, etc., are all defeated, and Carl came out victorious in the end.

The book is full of bright, cheerful, and amusing incidents, showing that a boy of good, honest, sterling, industrious habits can always secure friends, and succeed in earning a good living.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

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The Story of the Iliad

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

By Dr. Edward Brooks, A.M.

370 pages Profusely Illustrated

Cloth Binding, $1.25

White and Silver Edition, $1.50

This is a story of absorbing interest both to young and old. It relates in a simple prose narrative the leading incidents of one of the greatest literary works of the world-the Iliad of Homer. Many of its names are household words among educated people, and its incidents are a constant source of allusion and illustration among the best speakers and writers. No one with any claim to literary culture can afford to be ignorant of them.

The object of the work is two-fold-first, to present to young people an interesting story which will be read with pleasure and at the same time cultivate a taste for good literature; second, to give a popular knowledge of this famous work of Homer and thus afford a sort of stepping-stone to one of the grandest poetical structures of all time.

It is thus a book for the home circle, and should be in every household in the land. It is recommended especially for School Libraries and young folks' Reading Circles, and also to schools as a Supplementary Reader.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

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The Story of the Odyssey

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

By Dr. Edward Brooks, A.M.

370 pages Profusely Illustrated

Cloth Binding, $1.25

White and Silver Edition, $1.50

The Odyssey of Homer combines the romance of travel with that of domestic life, and it differs from the Iliad, which is a tale of the camp and battle-field. Although the ancient author concentrates the attention on a single character-Ulysses-he refers to several beautiful women, including some of the goddesses. After the siege of Troy, Ulysses started on a voyage of discovery and adventure in unknown lands, which, although described with poetic exaggeration, "has been a rich mine of wealth for poets and romancers, painters and sculptors, from the date of the age which we call Homer's down to our own."

In this wonderful poem lie the germs of thousands of volumes which fill our modern libraries. Without some knowledge of it, readers will miss the point of many things in modern art and literature.

Ulysses was brave and valiant as a soldier, and was distinguished for his wisdom and shrewdness which enabled him to extricate himself from the difficulties which to others would seem insurmountable.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

1020 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Harry Ambler, and How He Saved the Homestead

By Sidney Marlow

350 Pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

This is a narrative of a bright, active, and courageous boy, suddenly thrown upon his own resources and subjected to the malicious plots of a powerful enemy. The effectual and yet not unnatural manner in which the hero turns his enemy's weapons to his own defence, constitutes, perhaps, the chief charm of the book.

The story abounds in humorous and exciting situations, yet it is in no objectionable way sensational. There is nothing in it that will tend to create or encourage a taste for mere reckless adventure.

The author has given more attention to the delineation of his characters than is usual in juvenile literature, thus making the story pleasant reading, even for those who have passed the outer line of boyhood.

He believes in a "moral," but not in those bits of abstract virtue which are so frequently forced into juvenile stories, only to be "skipped" by the youthful reader. He would create a personal sympathy with the best efforts of fallible boys and girls, rather than an admiration for the mere name of virtue.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

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The Campers Out

OR

The Right Path and the Wrong

By Edward S. Ellis, A.M.

363 pages Illustrated

Cloth, $1.25

This is one of the most interesting works of an author whose productions are widely read and deservedly popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Ellis has in perfection the faculty of making his stories not only entertaining in the highest degree but instructive and elevating. A leading journal truthfully stated that no mother need hesitate to place any story of which Mr. Ellis is the author in the hands of her boy, for he is sure to be instructed as well as entertained.

"The Campers Out" is bright, breezy, and full of adventure of just the right sort to hold the attention of any young mind. It is clean, pure, and elevating, and the stirring incidents with which it is filled convey one of the most forceful of morals. It traces the "right path" and the "wrong path" of several boys with such striking power that old and young will be alike impressed by the faithful portrayal of character, and be interested from beginning to end by the succession of exciting incidents.

Sold by all booksellers, or sent, prepaid, upon receipt of price.

The Penn Publishing Company

1020 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.

Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as printed.

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