Canadian Ctories

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Location: Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada

I'm a father, a seakayaker, a guitarist, a writer, a geocacher and a lover of all things arctic. I try to dream big, journey far, kayak well, and above all, cherish my family and friends. I believe in self-sponsorship, Team Zero and being as carbon neutral as I can.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ilatsiak - 18

Ilatsiak continued to fascinate Patsy, the young clerk and even while he was employed in the cold, dark warehouse of his father’s trading post, his mind would creep back to the old man. A few days after the remarkable performance he had given, Patsy had a chance to ask Ilatsiak how a person became a shaman. Was it the same for everyone, or did one have to be chosen? How had he become so knowledgeable in these crafts?
At first Ilatsiak was quiet. Patsy knew this was not a topic one usually went into. It was even rude to have brought it up, but Patsy’s curiousity got the better of him and he figured the old man would just assume that non-Inuit people were just rude by their very nature and there wasn’t much one could do about it. However Ilatsiak was thinking more about how he might tell his story without appearing to be impolite himself. He knew it was rude to boast that one had special gifts or powers which others did not have. So before he finally told Patsy his story, Ilatsiak gave out a long explanation about how useless he was, how he knew nothing really, and how Patsy was surely wasting his time with his visit and his questions. He claimed it was nothing special and probably other people had better claims to having the knowledge to be shaman than he did.
During the second or maybe it was the third summer after he nearly died from being sick - he couldn’t remember anymore, but he was still living with his father, old Akayuk - he went fishing all alone on one of the small streams which flowed from the center of Kikertak. Ilatsiak remembered being intrigued with the way fish could be caught using a 'kugivuq', the two-pronged harpoon which held the fish on two sides while the center barb impailed it. Made of springy caribou antler material carefully carved to shape and laced onto the shaft, it was a very effective fish catching tool, but it required a certain amount of skill, something he didn’t have at that time.
Ilatsiak explained how as he was intently watching the fish swim up to the stone weir where they could be speared, he slowly realised he was being watched. Assumming it was one of the local people come to watch his ineptitude, he paid no attention and continued to practice his skill at fish spearing. When he heard a noise he didn’t recognize he turned and what seemed to be a spirit-like creature appeared to him. Taken by surprise, Ilatsiak let out a yell and turned to run, nearly falling on the slippery rocks which made up the ancient weir. As he regained his balance, he stopped, nearly falling a second time. The spirit seemed to be accompanied by other spirits, but Ilatsiak could not clearly see these others. He was very much afraid of them, and when they approached he asked if he was going to die. The spirit, apparently a youngish man about his own age, said no. He went on to tell Ilatsiak that he would live to be an old man, in fact, saying he would live to be one of the oldest.
The spirit then took the 'kugivuq' from Ilatsiak and with a quick jab at the water, caught a tom-cod for him, a fish not usually found in fresh water. This he swung right up to Ilatsiak’s mouth, spear and all and made him eat it, fresh and cold, still dripping with the water it had come from. Ilatsiak was terrified, but did as he was told. The young spirit person then told him that by eating this fish he had gained special magical powers which only shamen possessed. He was told that these powers would gradually become apparent to him over time as he learned more.
The spirit then went home with him, all the while talking with him, explaining that he had been sent to work together with Ilatisk for the benefit of the Inuit. They would meet often in the years to come, each time giving him various magical words and phrases which would be useful and which could provide the power to do various things like cure illness, find game and so on. He was also warned by the spirit never to eat the intestines of any animal, only meat and fat. When they arrived in camp, the spirit disappeared. Ilatsiak explained however that he had seen this spirit many times over the years although it had now been many years since their last encounter.
As happened so frequently during these visits of Patsy’s, the old man would seem to run out of steam. The words coming from him began to come more and more slowly until finally they stopped altogether. It was as if the old man’s thoughts would slowly drift away, like snow before the ever-blowing wind.
Patsy stared at him hoping there was more, but there didn’t seem to be this time. He was gone again. Funny guy, thought Patsy, so spry and agile for someone his age, his movements usually so vigorous and full of energy, his every move so quick and decided. Sitting there, bolt upright, even in his dream-like state, Patsy thought he appeared calm and dignified. He was certainly much admired by his fellows who treated him as the father figure of them all. Patsy straighten up and looked over at him. Yes, he was shorter than most of the people he had come to Bernard Harbour with. He even looked somewhat grave, especially with his thin, white beard and his slow-moving personality which projected an air of knowing all things, even the unknowable. He was definitely a man whose integrity was beyond question, someone who was never talked about except in awe. He was certainly a shaman, and a powerful one at that.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ilatsiak - 17

Not for the first time, David overheard the officers on the Erebus complaining about the behaviour of the Terror. Crozier seemed to lag behind and at one point head directly westward rather than follow them south into Peel Strait. Fitzjames finally flew signal flags to direct the Terror southward, but it was some time before she was seen to turn and follow them. Clearly, the feelings among the officiers of the two ships was beginning to wear thin and it was becoming more obvious to all now that they were at sea and not all under the direct eye of Sir John. In fact, there was a story circulating between decks that Capt. Crozier had actually written to Sir John Ross from Greenland the previous July suggesting to him that Sir John be relieved of command because of his lack of judgement, his ignorance of ships in the ice, not to mention his too easy way with the men. How true this was, David had no way of knowing, but it was said to have been discussed among the officers on the Terror during the winter lay over. Certainly Commander Franklin did not live up to the stories David had always heard of the harsh discipline handed out by Royal Navy captain for even minor offenses.
As the eastward heading stream of ice became thicker the ships began to strain against it. On the fourth day, Prince of Wales Island was in sight and by mid-day the two ships found themselves through most of the heavy ice pans they had encountered the day before. Then, as if by magic, the heavy ice had suddenly disappeared entirely. It was as if the Northwest Passage was opening up before them. Once again, orders rang out to set all sails and the ships steered through the occasional clumps of loose pans with relative ease. On the southern shore of Barrow Strait, with Cape Walker clearly visible ahead, heavy multi-year ice was once again encountered. This time it was a solid cover and did not appear to move. Rather it seemed to be frozen solidly to the shorelines only a few miles to the south. Accordingly both ships set out ice anchors alongside the floes and waited to see what would happen. This practice had become a familiar one to those on board both ships. A year previously, nearly to the day, they had been tied up to an ice floe in Baffin Bay, waiting for a chance to sail into Lancaster Sound when two whalers, the Enterprise and the Prince of Wales were sighted and several officers had been entertained for dinner by Captain Dannett. Those two ships were the last they had seen since entering the ice, however there were bets on for the first ship sighting of the year. So far there had been no ships sighted, but some still had hopes of winning the monetary prize.
This situation continued for another few days of clear calm weather. On the third day as the tide changed a call came down from the mast-head lookout that the ships were in fact drifting eastwards. The ice had begun to move. Once again sails were set and as the two ships, now sailing in close company again, began to make their way southward into the open entrance of Peel Sound. The further they sailed, the more the ice appeared to separate and pull apart, allowing the ships easier and easier passage southward in Peel Sound. It was becoming more and more clear to Franklin and his captains that Prince of Wales Island could well be the key to the passage they were seeking as it served to block the heavy ice streaming out of Melville Sound through the western part of Parry Channel. Peel Sound could very well continue directly southward into the area around King William Land first seen by Sir John Ross in 1833 if no land bridge were found to connect Somerset Island to the east with Prince of Wales to the west. This possibility existed and some tentitive charts had dotted lines suggesting a barrier had been seen but not confirmed. In any event, the clear sailing which was opening up to the ships would provide the answer to this question within a day or two at the most. If Peel Sound was in fact a strait, the passage was in hand. Once through the strait, they had but to navigate the passage seen by Ross along King William Land’s western coastline to join the passage travelled in Dease and Simpson in 1838. Once there, then it would seem the secret of the Northwest Passage was at hand!
Just as had occurred last summer, all hands were elated at their success and how easy the passage was going to be. The brilliant sunshine lasting twenty-four hours a day helped as well to brighten the spirits of the men. The fourteen in sick bay on board the Erebus were brought up on deck and David was kept busy seeing to their care on the heeled-over open deck.
Several days later the answer was not so assured. While Peel Sound did indeed open into a strait leading south, the ships once again both encountered old, heavy, solidly packed ice just north of King William Island and especially in the southwest quarter, exactly the direction in which they wished to go. Once again, the order was given to anchor, and wait for either a melt or some other clearing trend to occur.
When an easterly wind blew all night while at anchor, the report from the crow’s nest in the early watch revealed that there was open water to the southeast. Although it was thought that there was no navigable exit at the head of James Ross Inlet which led into Poctes Bay, sufficent doubt exisited in Ross’s notes to encourage Sir John to decide to proceed in a southeasterly manner to check. Cautiously, the two ships entered the inlet under steam power. Strict instructions were given to cast for soundings frequently as it was apparent from the state of the grounded ice extending some distance especially from the low lying shores of the islands seen to the northeast of Cape Felix that numerous reefs must extend for a considerable distance eastward. As the day progressed, the shallows forced the two ships with their deep 17 foot draughts more and more to the east against the equally uncharted shore of Boothia.
In the late afternoon, the officers on duty on theErebus received a message yelled down from the crow’s nest that theTerror was signaling that she was aground about a mile to the west of the Erebus. At the news Capt. Fitzjames immediately brought the Erebus into the wind and set the ship’s anchors. The order was given to lower boats and proceed to assist the Terror.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ilatsiak - 16

The little house was only 18 feet long by 12 feet wide, hardly large enough for five men, but in fact five scientists had managed to stuff themselves into it and call it their arctic winter quarters. The lumber to build it had had to come all the way from Alaska as none was to be found on the coast in the area of Bernard Harbour. It was rough sawn, about 1000 feet of it. There was a single window with three panes of glass facing the sunny south. In order that it might be warmer for the winter, the five scientists covered the whole house, walls and roof with square sods cut from the nearby tundra meadows during the summer and recently hauled from there to the house site by dog-sled.
The frame work went up easily enough in only three days. The turf-work to cover the sides and roof of the house had been then split among the men. At first, this proceeded rapidly, but when one section reached the eves, it suddenly collapsed under its own weight requiring the whole side to be started again, this time with a wider base. Each man began looking at how wide their base was and began to re-enforce their walls as well rather than suffer a similar structual failure!
None of the men - all scientists more used to living in southern climes - had any carpentry experience, so the house took on some peculiar twists and one wall sagged so much from the weight of the turf lying against it that any building inspector who might have passed by would have immediately required it to be demolished. Instead of taking such a dramatic step, the men simply added a few additional supports where appropriate, lightened the turf insolation here and there and considered the building job a success.
On one end of the building a large deck was built with the remaining lumber on which was piled all the supplies and equipment required for their stay. Once everything was stored and in place, the whole deck area was covered with a large canvas tarpaulin and tied down to resist the coming winter storms. The end result was a building which was to become more or less “home” to the scientists during the years 1915 and 1916. In later years, the building was taken over by the Anglican mission for several years and in fact stood for many years after that - a testiment to its builders!
Patsy wandered into this building two years after it was first built. “Anyone still having trouble finding their way out?” he called out as he walked through the door. In the early days, several Inuit, not being familar with wooden houses searched in vain for a door indicating the way out once they had entered. While it didn’t happen any longer, it had been a great source of fun in the early days when watching the poor person wander about the house would peer into this place and that searching for the exit door. What seemed to some to be so obvious wasn’t to those not familiar with doors and it had been a major source of entertainment for the white people present.
“Problem seems to be too many people finding their way in!” came back the quick reply. Patsy squeezed in past the stack of crates being used as shelving next to the door and picked his way towards another, lower crate which also doubled as a chair next to the central table. “Remember back when you first came? Not an Inuk in sight for miles no matter how we searched. Must be 30 or 40 out there now. Where’d they all come from...?”
“I hear we’ve a bunch from Bathurst Inlet. Now that’s quite a ways, especially the way they travel. Most of them have to walk. They’ve so few dogs”
“So the scientists had heard about them.” thought Patsy to himself. “And have you met the old man. Ilatsiak’s his name. The real old one, a shaman I would say. He’s kinda strange, yet interesting.”
“Diamond was over to see him this morning. I think he might perform for us. We wouldn’t mind if you were here if and when he does, to help with any translating that might need doing. You know how it gets when they get going, talking a mile a minute!”
“Sure, no problem.” Patsy was glad to be asked. Watching shamen perform was often good entertainment even if he thought them to be big phonies, and getting paid to be there, well, that made it even better. Having these scientists at the trading post was going to work out just fine!

* * *

When first approached Ilatsiak did not seem to be much interested in performing his rites for the white visitors. He answered that he might be able to come some day, but it seemed clear that day would be a long time coming. However just a few days later, while at the house to see if he could trade something for a little sugar, he became interested in the scientists’ phonograph machine which they had been recording and playing back a number of different people’s voices. On the spot, he wanted to record himself and even to summon his spirit helper Kingaudlik. As Ilatsiak was rather short, Patsy and the other men got a box for him to stand on so he could speak directly into the speaker horn to record himself. It was quite an amusing sight to see the old man, almost imp-like, an old elf incarnate, peering into the horn while he danced around on the box, kicking his feet back as if skipping a rope like a child. Suddenly, without going through any of the usual build-up and preliminary antics, he began speaking into the horn. Just as quickly it was over and he jumped down and demanded to hear his spirit talking to him. Most of what played back were the sounds made by his feet shuffling as he danced on the box. Some speech was audible, mostly something to do with wanting liver, Patsy translated to the excited scientists.
After this rather unsatisfactory beginning, Ilatsiak was unstoppable. He immediately proposed to have a proper sceance in a large snow house built for the occasion. When this was ready and everyone, including half the assembled population was present, jammed into the large dance house, Ilatsiak began. He came from out of the crowd and moved slowly about the open space in the center, his eyes slightly glassy and his face contorted. “I need a cup of water...” his voice squeaked out as if he was already possessed. Once it was produced, he stopped his pacing and stared into it for a long moment. “There is something very wrong.” he squeaked again. “There is trouble, something is wrong on the schooner. Someone will drown, soon.” Ilatsiak then slowly drank the water, then walked around looking at all the white men present, shaking their hands very solemnly. At this point, he walked up to the phonograph machine, said, “Begin!” and began to deliver a long and tangled oracle. As best as Patsy was able to make out afterwards through the mingling voices and the sounds and callings of the assembly, Ilatsiak or his spirit associate spoke mostly about some terrible occurrance from the past. “Did you do it?” he called out several times as if pleading to someone. This was followed by “The fish ate them. They say that. It was the fish that ate the people. It is terrifying! The fish ate all the people, swallowing them, those far-away people. They were all distroyed. They were on the sea when it happened and the fish came and ate them.” At this point the crowd made quite a lot of noise as they got caught up in the terrifying references being made by Ilatsiak. Later his voice again dominated the recording and Patsy was able to understand him to say, “The dogs, the dogs, everything is distroyed, easily distroyed, seized with pain..” at this point Ilatsiak grabs his stomach and writhes about as if in pain himself, finally throwing himself to the floor where he lay motionless for a few minutes and then he gradually came to and was helped to a seat on one of the benches along the side of the snow house which had been covered with caribou skins.
Many in the crowd seemed to know of this spirit visitation from previous encounters. It seemed to be a well known story, but apart from learning of it from its having been spoken of before and that it happened a long way away to the east where many unhappy souls resided, no one was willing to talk about it further with Patsy, and certainly not the scientists.
Ilatsiak was not finished however. Once recovered, he again returned to the phonograph and began another sceance with the same spirit as before. This time, the spirit spent a few moments reminding the scientists of the promise to pay Ilatsiak for his work as a shaman although the idea was never been directly mentioned to him as far as anyone could recall. It seems even the spirit world is concerned with the proper settling of accounts, financial and otherwise. Once this part was over, the spirit returned to the previous theme about being eaten. It was especially concerned that the scientists’ schooner would be eated by the giant fish much like the same fish had eaten ships in the past. Special , strong magic would have to be used to see that such a thing did not happen. Ilatsiak finally finished by reminding everyone present that the spirit spoke only the truth and this should be remembered. He then backed away from the horn, but then suddenly, as if having forgotten, moved closer and gave a series of gasps and grunts as if to signal the spirit was leaving him and returning to it’s spiritual home. He then turned and headed directly to the snowhouse door and was gone.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ilatsiak - 15

Getting Ilatisak to talk about the old days was never easy, but Patsy kept trying. Old stores of the area between the MacKenzie delta and Victoria Island where he had grown up in were always fascinating and Patsy was old enough to know that life was rapidly changing for everyone. Talking with old people was the only way to learn about the past and Ilatisak seemed to have lots of stories to tell if he could be coaxed.
“Were there many stories about white men when you were young, old man?” Patsy had assumed that because none of these people had actually seen white men, they would naturally not have stories to tell about them.
“Oh yes, many stories were told in the old days.” claimed Ilatsiak. “But not for a long time now. I had thought that white men had died off entirely because we had not heard stories or seen them for so long. I was very surprised to hear about you and your father coming here. In the past, it was thought by most people that white people lived in the east or maybe in the far north. Most of our stories told about them dying once they got to our land because they were not real people and could not live like real men.”
“Well, we came from the west, and we won’t be dying for a while yet, old man!”
“Well, it’s because your Mother is an Inuk. Your Father was wise to have married her. Now he will be able to live here like me.” Ilatsiak laughed at his own cleverness. “Perhaps white men from the east are not so smart, eh?”
“Maybe not,” said Patsy, “Maybe not...”
He offered the old man some chewing tobacco he had lifted out of his father’s trade goods, not usually with the idea of sharing it, but because he liked to chew a little himself. It made him feel just a little bit older, more mature. Ilatsiak smelled it and put some in his mouth, but didn’t chew it. “Chew it!” Patsy insisted, but the old man was gone again, into his dreamy state. This time however he didn’t talk or look at him. Then suddenly Ilatsiak came to, spit out the tobacco and struggled to get up. “You should go now.” he abruptly told Patsy. He looked the other way seeming to re-enter his dream world as if Patsy had already left.
“What a strange old man...” Patsy thought to himself as he rose from the caribou skin they had both been sitting on. “Bye, old man!” he murmured as he headed back along the beach towards the trader’s house, but he didn’t get an answer.
* * *

Patsy looked at his father’s old hands as they hugged his tea mug. They were a deep mahogany brown, weathered like the driftwood found on arctic beaches, but polished a deeper, richer brown. The hands that carried me as a baby, he thought. Those hands, so knarled and full of life could warm a tea mug, sail a ship and cuddle a baby.
“Where there lots of ships here in the old days, Papa?”
The old man seemed to be quiet a long time before he suddenly answered him. It was as if he was silently visiting each ship and inquiring after its captain for permisson to come aboard and count the crew.
“No, very few... Maybe only one or two. Collinson, way back in 1855 is the only one I know of, that I have heard about. I think he went to Cambridge Bay. Oh, and there was McClure in 1854 or so, but he went over to Banks Island and may not have been here.”
“The old man, Ilatsiak. His words keep running around in my head. He is a strange one.”
Patsy got up and rinsed his mug at the sink, using the scoop from the water barrel.
“Can you talk to the scientists? You said you would. They’re laughing at me again.” Patsy suddenly changed the subject.
“Your name again? Why not just call yourself Pat. That’d make everything easier.”
“No. I’ve always been Patsy. I’m staying Patsy, even if they make jokes about it. One of them asked me out on a date. Can you believe it! What jokers!”
“Well, I’ll mention it to them again. Patsy was your mother’s idea. Guess I just sort of went along with it.” the Captain looked at his tea cup, now half empty and cold. He opened the door and tossed the remains alongside the house. “That’ll help the lawn grow next summer!” he laughed.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ilatsiak - 14

There had been signs in the air for several days that the ice locking the two ships in their winter quarters behind Beechey Island was about to break up. Already Lancaster Sound was nearly clear of ice right across to the headlands on Somerset island to the south. A lookout had been kept from the plateau on top of the island for two weeks now. Franklin had ordered that the two crews begin sawing passages through the ice leading the ships to open water. On the night of July 6, 1846, the high tides began breaking-up the ice so fast that men on shore duty were barely able to get themselves down to the beach and over the ice and onto the ships. In order to avoid being wrecked on the eastern shore of the bay as they lie, sails were set and together with the ice, the little fleet departed winter quarters. The second season had begun. In a few short months, it was expected by everyone that their health would improve and they would be in the Pacific, sailing in the warm sun for Hong Kong and immortality.
The ships moved out into Barrow Strait and all hands were amazed to see clear sailing in all directions. The last news from the lookout atop Beechey Island showed some smaller amounts of ice streaming in from the west. True there was ice blink far to the south as the stream of polar ice made its way out towards Lancaster Sound, but it was clear to the west and that is where they headed.
Franklin was in a buoyant mood and David was relieved of much of the drudgery he had put up with all winter long. Still, he was beginning to miss the rollicking music and theater pieces which had made up the entertainment during the winter. Oh what he had learned about telling stories and performing that winter! John Asham’s magic tricks had been the best and David now knew how to perform nearly all of them. Helping Mr. Goodsir was also a joy as he was a fellow Scot as well as being the naturalist on board. David had learned much from him, this time about the plants and animals they had seen on their many hikes and especially the odd life forms they had hauled up out of the depths of the anchorage at Beechey Island. Best of all was the chance to again speak in Gaelic again, his mother tongue.
The third day of sailing brought a change in both weather and ice conditions. The sunny days and steady winds gave way to overcast, dull weather with long periods of calm. It became necessary to run the engines for longer periods as the day progressed. This was especially the case when the ice began to thicken. Franklin began inching southward in the realization that if he was to join his present position to the last one he had made at Point Turnagain in 1821, then he must begin heading south into one of the openings which could be seen on the horizon.
In the distance almost directly south of their present position, he could see the headlands of Somerset Island close up for the first time. It’s eastern coastline led into Prince Regent Inlet where his friend Captain Sir John Ross had explored and spent four winters. To the west, curving in exactly the direction he wanted to go lay the west coast where no one had managed to go before. It was beckoning him, the dull blue-grey, ice sprinkled water began pulling him in, promising success and an easy passage westward.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ilatsiak - 13

The black hulls and yellow weatherworks were easy to spot. The white masts and canvas winter covers on the other hand blended almost perfectly into the white snowy background. The whole gave the impression that the hulls with their broad beams and bluff bows were somehow floating in the snow covered landscape. David was a little shaken by the sight, even though the whole party had been travelling for several hours now in the overcast conditions which had produced the white-out in the first place. Knowing that the body on the sled he walked beside was dead didn’t help make the scene any more comforting.
Private Braine had been one of David’s better friends among the Marines on board. They had enjoyed their first kayaking adventure together in Greenland when out with Mr Goodsir. He had helped as well when some of the crew took some unwelcome interest in him earlier in the Fall. While Braines had not been that well during the winter, David was shocked when news of his death came from the exploring party which had gone on a mapping trip along the Devon Island shore only a week earlier. David went out with the party of Marines to bring back his body. He was shocked to see how thin he had become. Like the others, he was concerned about why he had died. The members of the party claimed Braines had just suddenly become weak and within a day became delerious and then just as suddenly died.
Once the sled party came down off the island and began making its way across the fairly smooth sea ice towards the Erebus, the ships took on their more normal, and familiar appearance. They passed the flattened area on the ice where the crews had competed in cricket games whenever the weather was decent, passed the fire-hole next to the ship which Franklin has insisted they keep open so that water would be available all winter. As they came around to the starboard side where the access stairs had been built, their presence was acknowledged by those on deck duty. Lt Fairholme came part way down the steps to welcome them back and to instruct them to bring the body to the forward hatch where it would be placed directly in the surgery where Stanley and Goodsir would examine the body and prepare it for burial. David mounted the stairs and opened the door for Fairholme. Then they both entered the winter cover.
“What did you find out?” inquired Fairholme of David.
“He just seemed to go weak suddenly. Then he died within the day... It was so quick. No one had heard him say anything, complain of being ill or anything. He just began to feel numbness and finally was unable to breathe.” David’s voice trailed off. He was still shaken by the quickness of the whole thing.
“How did the others seem?” continued Fairholme.
“All right, I guess, but they are wondering if they’ll get sick too.” said David. “I thought after the two died at the New Year, that we would be safe. I didn’t want anyone else to die.”
“Yes, well, life can be harsh in these regions, we must accept that, boy. Some of these men aren’t very fit. Look at the bunch we shipped home on the Baretto. Odd though how we seem to all be suffering our aches and pains so much. Like all our old ailments have returned to haunt us. At the least, the days are sunnier now, the worst of the winter is over. In a couple of months we’ll be away from here and on our way through the passage and then home via the sunny seas. You’ll be complaining of the heat, next!”
“I’m looking forward to being under sail again, sir.”
“Yes, I am as well. to Mr. Franklin that the party have returned. He asked to be told immediately. Then go forward and see if you can assist Mr Stanley and Mr Goodsir.”
“Yes, sir!” replied David and turning, headed down the hatchway amidships and then towards the passageway leading to Sir John’s great cabin in the aft part of the Erebus. He didn't have a good feeling about any of this business. Something was wrong, very wrong, but what?