Fast in the Ice, Adventures in the Polar Regions, by R.M. Ballantyne.


This little book describes a visit up to the Arctic regions, that was

supposed to have taken place long before the book was written, in other

words in the early part of the nineteenth century. The purpose of the

journey was to get near to the North Pole, which was considered to be

surrounded by a large area of ice-free water. The vessel in which they

sailed became beset by ice, and could not be moved. They met with

Esquimaux, and saw how they survived, how they killed walrus, how they

caught birds, and how they lived in their ice-houses, or igloos. They

also had several encounters with polar bears, and musk-ox.

Eventually they have been in the ice for a couple of years, and some of

the men are suffering from scurvy. Europeans get scurvy from lack of

fruit and vegetables, but this condition doesn't seem to affect the

Esquimaux, whose meat and fat diet does not cause them to have heart

disorders, either.

The crew eventuallyabandon the vessel, which has been crushed suddenly

and totally by a stream of ice-floes, and are obliged to walk out of

where they had spent so much time. Luckily, when at their last gasp,

they find an Esquimaux village, where they learn that there is a Danish

settlement not too far away, and that from it they can take ship for

Europe, and eventually make their way back to Britain.




One day, many years ago, a brig cast off from her moorings, and sailed

from a British port for the Polar Seas. That brig never came back.

Many a hearty cheer was given, many a kind wish was uttered, many a

handkerchief was waved, and many a tearful eye gazed that day as the

vessel left Old England, and steered her course into the unknown regions

of the far north.

But no cheer ever greeted her return; no bright eyes ever watched her

homeward-bound sails rising on the far-off horizon.

Battered by the storms of the Arctic seas, her sails and cordage

stiffened by the frosts, and her hull rasped and shattered by the ice of

those regions, she was forced on a shore where the green grass has

little chance to grow, where winter reigns nearly all the year round,

where man never sends his merchandise, and never drives his plough.

There the brig was frozen in; there, for two long years, she lay unable

to move, and her starving crew forsook her; there, year after year, she

lay, unknown, unvisited by civilised man, and unless the wild Eskimos

[see note 1] have torn her to pieces, and made spears of her timbers, or

the ice has swept her out to sea and whirled her to destruction, there

she lies still--hard and fast in the ice.

The vessel was lost, but her crew were saved, and most of them returned

to tell their kinsfolk of the wonders and the dangers of the frozen

regions, where God has created some of the most beautiful and some of

the most awful objects that were ever looked on by the eye of man.

What was told by the fireside, long ago, is now recounted in this book.

Imagine a tall, strong man, of about five-and-forty, with short, curly

black hair, just beginning to turn grey; stern black eyes, that look as

if they could pierce into your secret thoughts; a firm mouth, with lines

of good-will and kindness lurking about it; a deeply-browned skin, and a

short, thick beard and moustache. That is a portrait of the commander

of the brig. His name was Harvey. He stood on the deck, close by the

wheel, looking wistfully over the stern. As the vessel bent before the

breeze, and cut swiftly through the water, a female hand was raised

among the gazers on the pier, and a white scarf waved in the breeze. In

the forefront of the throng, and lower down, another hand was raised; it

was a little one, but very vigorous; it whirled a cap round a small head

of curly black hair, and a shrill "hurrah!" came floating out to sea.

The captain kissed his hand and waved his hat in reply; then, wheeling

suddenly round, he shouted, in a voice of thunder:

"Mind your helm, there; let her away a point. Take a pull on these

foretopsail halyards; look alive, lads!"

"Aye, aye, sir!" replied the men.

There was no occasion whatever for these orders. The captain knew that

well enough, but he had his own reasons for giving them. The men knew

that, too, and they understood his reasons when they observed the

increased sternness of his eyes, and the compression of his lips.

Inclination and duty! What wars go on in the hearts of men--high and

low, rich and poor--between these two. What varied fortune follows man,

according as the one or the other carries the day.

"Please, sir," said a gruff, broad-shouldered, and extremely short man,

with little or no forehead, a hard, vacant face, and a pair of enormous

red whispers; "please, sir, Sam Baker's took very bad; I think it would

be as well if you could give him a little physic, sir; a tumbler of

Epsom, or some-think of that sort."

"Why, Mr Dicey, there can't be anything very far wrong with Baker,"

said the captain, looking down at his second mate; "he seems to me one

of the healthiest men in the ship. What's the matter with him?"

"Well, I can't say, sir," replied Mr Dicey, "but he looks 'orrible bad,

all yellow and green about the gills, and fearful red round the eyes.

But what frightens me most is that I heard him groanin' very heavy about

a quarter of an hour ago, and then I saw him suddenly fling himself into

his 'ammock and begin blubberin' like a child. Now, sir, I say, when a

grow'd-up man gives way like that, there must be some-think far wrong

with his inside. And it's a serious thing, sir, to take a sick man on

such a voyage as this."

"Does he not say what's wrong with him?" asked the captain.

"No, sir; he don't. He says it's nothin', and he'll be all right if

he's only let alone. I did hear him once or twice muttering some-think

about his wife and child; you know, sir, he's got a young wife, and she

had a baby about two months 'fore we came away, but I can't think that's

got much to do with it, for _I've_ got a wife myself, sir, and six

children, two of 'em bein' babies, and that don't upset _me_, and

Baker's a much stronger man."

"You are right, Mr Dicey, he is a much stronger man than you," replied

the captain, "and I doubt not that his strength will enable him to get

over this without the aid of physic."

"Very well, sir," said Mr Dicey.

The second mate was a man whose countenance never showed any signs of

emotion, no matter what he felt. He seldom laughed, or, if he did, his

mouth remained almost motionless, and the sounds that came out were

anything but cheerful. He had light grey eyes which always wore an

expression of astonishment; but the expression was accidental; it

indicated no feeling. He would have said, "Very well, sir," if the

captain had refused to give poor Baker food instead of physic.

"And hark'ee, Mr Dicey," said the captain, "don't let him be disturbed

till he feels inclined to move."

"Very well, sir," replied the second mate, touching his cap as he turned


"So," murmured the captain, as he gazed earnestly at the now distant

shore, "I'm not the only one who carries a heavy heart to sea this day

and leaves sorrowing hearts behind him."


Note 1. This word is here spelled as pronounced. It is usually spelled




It is now hundreds of years since the North polar regions began to

attract general attention. Men have long felt very inquisitive about

that part of the earth, and many good ships, many noble lives have been

lost in trying to force a passage through the ice that encumbers the

Arctic seas, summer and winter. Britain has done more than other

nations in the cause of discovery within the Arctic circle. The last

and greatest of her Arctic heroes perished there--the famous Sir John


Were I writing a history of those regions I would have much to say of

other countries as well as of our own. But such is not my object in

this book. I mean simply to follow in the wake of one of Britain's

adventurous discoverers, and thus give the reader an idea of the

fortunes of those gallant men who risk life and limb for the sake of

obtaining knowledge of distant lands.

There have always been restless spirits in this country. There have

ever been men who, when boys, were full of mischief, and who could

"settle to nothing" when they grew up. Lucky for us, lucky for the

world, that such is the case! Many of our "restless spirits," as we

call them, have turned out to be our heroes, our discoverers, our

greatest men. No doubt many of them have become our drones, our

sharpers, our blacklegs. But that is just saying that some men are

good, while others are bad--no blame is due to what is called the

restlessness of spirit. Our restless men, if good, find rest in action;

in bold energetic toil; if bad, they find rest, alas! in untimely


Captain Harvey was one of our restless spirits. He had a deeply learned

friend who said to him one day that he felt sure "_there was a sea of

open water round the North Pole_!" Hundreds of ships had tried to reach

that pole without success, because they always found a barrier of thick

ice raised against them. This friend said that if a ship could only cut

or force its way through the ice to a certain latitude north, open water

would be found. Captain Harvey was much interested in this. He could

not rest until he had proved it. He had plenty of money, so had his

friend. They resolved to buy a vessel and send it to the seas lying

within the Arctic circle. Other rich friends helped them; a brig was

bought, it was named the _Hope_, and, as we have seen in the last

chapter, it finally set sail under command of Captain Harvey.

Many days and nights passed, and the _Hope_ kept her course steadily

toward the coast of North America. Greenland was the first land they

hoped to see. Baffin's Bay was the strait through which they hoped to

reach the open polar sea.

The _Hope_ left England as a whaler, with all the boats, lances,

harpoons, lines, and other apparatus used in the whale fishery. It was

intended that she should do a little business in that way if Captain

Harvey thought it advisable, but the discovery of new lands and seas was

their chief end and aim.

At first the weather was fine, the wind fair, and the voyage prosperous.

But one night there came a deep calm. Not a breath of air moved over

the sea, which was as clear and polished as a looking-glass. The

captain walked the deck with the surgeon of the ship, a nephew of his

own, named Gregory.

Tom Gregory was a youth of about nineteen, who had not passed through

the whole course of a doctor's education, but who was a clever fellow,

and better able to cut and carve and physic poor sufferinghumanity than

many an older man who wrote M.D. after his name. He was a fine,

handsome, strapping fellow, with a determined manner and a kind heart.

He was able to pull an oar with the best man aboard, and could even

steer the brig in fine weather, if need be. He was hearty and romantic,

and a great favourite with the men. He, too, was a restless spirit. He

had grown tired of college life, and had made up his mind to take a

year's run into the Polar regions, by way of improving his knowledge of

the "outlandish" parts of the world.

"I don't like the look of the sky to-day, Tom," said the captain,

glancing at the horizon and then at the sails.

"Indeed!" said Tom, in surprise. "It seems to me the most beautiful

afternoon we have had since the voyage began. But I suppose you seamen

are learned in signs which we landsmen do not understand."

"Perhaps we are," replied the captain; "but it does not require much

knowledge of the weather to say that such a dead calm as this, and such

unusual heat, is not likely to end in a gentle breeze."

"You don't object to a stiff breeze, uncle?" said the youth.

"No, Tom; but I don't like a storm, because it does us no good, and may

do us harm."

"Storms do you no good, uncle!" cried Tom; "how can you say so? Why,

what is it that makes our sailors such trumps? The British tar would

not be able to face danger as he does if there were no storms."

"True, Tom, but the British tar would not require to face danger at all

if there were no storms. What says the barometer, Mr Mansell?" said

the captain, looking down the skylight into the cabin, where the first

mate--a middle-sized man of thirty-five, or thereabouts--was seated at

the table writing up the ship's log-book.

"The glass has gone down an inch, sir, and is still falling," answered

the mate.

"Reef the topsail, Mr Dicey," cried the captain, on hearing this.

"Why such haste?" inquired Gregory.

"Because such a sudden fall in the barometer is a sure sign of

approaching bad weather," answered the captain.

The first man on the shrouds and out upon the main-topsail yard was Sam

Baker, whose active movements and hearty manner showed that he had quite

recovered his health without the use of physic. He was quickly followed

by some of his shipmates, all of whom were picked men--able in body and

ready for anything.

In a few minutes sail was reduced. Soon after that clouds began to rise

on the horizon and spread over the sky. Before half an hour had passed

the breeze came--came far stronger than had been expected--and the order

to take in sail had to be repeated. Baker was first again. He was

closely followed by Joe Davis and Jim Croft, both of them sturdy

fellows--good specimens of the British seaman. Davy Butts, who came

next, was not so good a specimen. He was nearly six feet high, very

thin and loosely put together, like a piece of bad furniture. But his

bones were big, and he was stronger than he looked. He would not have

formed one of such a crew had he not been a good man. The rest of the

crew, of whom there were eighteen, not including the officers, were of

all shapes, sizes, and complexions.

The sails had scarcely been taken in when the storm burst on the brig in

all its fury. The waves rose like mountains and followed after her, as

if they were eager to swallow her up. The sky grew dark overhead as the

night closed in, the wind shrieked through the rigging, and the rag of

canvas that they ventured to hoist seemed about to burst away from the

yard. It was an awful night. Such a night as causes even reckless men

to feel how helpless they are--how dependent on the arm of God. The

gale steadily increased until near midnight, when it blew a perfect


"It's a dirty night," observed the captain, to the second mate, as the

latter came on deck to relieve the watch.

"It is, sir," replied Mr Dicey, as coolly as if he were about to sit

down to a good dinner on shore. Mr Dicey was a remarkably

matter-of-fact man. He looked upon a storm as he looked upon a fit of

the toothache--a thing that had to be endured, and was not worth making

a fuss about.

"It won't last long," said the captain.

"No, sir; it won't," answered Mr Dicey.

As Mr Dicey did not seem inclined to say more, the captain went below

and flung himself on a locker, having given orders that he should be

called if any change for the worse took place in the weather. Soon

afterward a tremendous sea rose high over the stern, and part of it fell

on the deck with a terrible crash, washing Mr Dicey into the

lee-scuppers, and almost sweeping him overboard. On regaining his feet,

and his position beside the wheel, the second mate shook himself and

  • vessel [´vesəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.容器;船;脉管   (初中英语单词)
  • suffering [´sʌfəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.痛苦;灾害   (初中英语单词)
  • affect [ə´fekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.影响;感动;假装   (初中英语单词)
  • abandon [ə´bændən] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.抛弃,放弃,离弃   (初中英语单词)
  • stream [stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.河 vi.流出;飘扬   (初中英语单词)
  • frozen [´frəuzn] 移动到这儿单词发声  freeze 的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • destruction [di´strʌkʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.破坏,毁灭   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (初中英语单词)
  • pierce [piəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.刺穿;突破;洞察   (初中英语单词)
  • swiftly [´swiftli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.迅速地,敏捷地   (初中英语单词)
  • female [´fi:meil] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.女(性)的 n.女人   (初中英语单词)
  • breeze [bri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.微风;不费力的事   (初中英语单词)
  • whatever [wɔt´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  pron.&a.无论什么   (初中英语单词)
  • extremely [ik´stri:mli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.极端地;非常地   (初中英语单词)
  • forehead [´fɔrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.额,前部   (初中英语单词)
  • vacant [´veikənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.空虚的,无表情的   (初中英语单词)
  • fearful [´fiəfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;担心的   (初中英语单词)
  • voyage [´vɔi-idʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.航海;航程;旅行   (初中英语单词)
  • enable [i´neibəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.使能够;赋予权力   (初中英语单词)
  • countenance [´kauntinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面部表情;脸色;面容   (初中英语单词)
  • cheerful [´tʃiəful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.快乐的;高兴的   (初中英语单词)
  • astonishment [ə´stɔniʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.吃惊;惊异   (初中英语单词)
  • circle [´sə:kəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.圆圈 v.环绕;盘旋   (初中英语单词)
  • writing [´raitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.书写;写作;书法   (初中英语单词)
  • gallant [´gælənt, gə´lænt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.英勇的;华丽的   (初中英语单词)
  • restless [´restləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.没有休息的   (初中英语单词)
  • mischief [´mistʃif] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.伤害;故障;调皮   (初中英语单词)
  • breath [breθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.呼吸;气息   (初中英语单词)
  • nephew [´nevju:, ´nɛfju] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.侄子;外甥   (初中英语单词)
  • humanity [hju:´mæniti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.人类;人性;仁慈   (初中英语单词)
  • aboard [ə´bɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&prep.在…上   (初中英语单词)
  • horizon [hə´raizən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地平线;范围;视野   (初中英语单词)
  • swallow [swɔləu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.燕子 v.吞,咽;淹没   (初中英语单词)
  • overhead [´əuvə,hed] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.当头 a.在头上的   (初中英语单词)
  • helpless [´helpləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无助的,无依靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • steadily [´stedili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.坚定地;不断地   (初中英语单词)
  • midnight [´midnait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.午夜;漆黑   (初中英语单词)
  • relieve [ri´li:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.救济,援救;减轻   (初中英语单词)
  • tremendous [tri´mendəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;巨大的   (初中英语单词)
  • arctic [´ɑ:ktik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.北极的   (高中英语单词)
  • hearty [´hɑ:ti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.热忱的;强健的   (高中英语单词)
  • merchandise [´mə:tʃəndaiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.商品 v.经商   (高中英语单词)
  • portrait [´pɔ:trit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.肖像;相片;雕像   (高中英语单词)
  • throng [θrɔŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.群众 v.拥挤;群集   (高中英语单词)
  • vigorous [´vigərəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精力旺盛的;健壮的   (高中英语单词)
  • shrill [ʃril] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.(声音)尖锐的   (高中英语单词)
  • motionless [´məuʃənləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.静止的;固定的   (高中英语单词)
  • earnestly [´ə:nistli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.认真地;急切地   (高中英语单词)
  • pronounced [prə´naunst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发出音的;显著的   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • barrier [´bæriə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.栅栏;屏障;障碍   (高中英语单词)
  • latitude [´lætitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.纬度;地区   (高中英语单词)
  • strait [streit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海峡   (高中英语单词)
  • apparatus [,æpə´reitəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.仪器;装置   (高中英语单词)
  • surgeon [´sə:dʒən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.外科医生;军医   (高中英语单词)
  • learned [´lə:nid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有学问的,博学的   (高中英语单词)
  • hearing [´hiəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.听力;听证会;审讯   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • specimen [´spesimən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.标本,样品;抽样   (高中英语单词)
  • reckless [´rekləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不注意的;鲁莽的   (高中英语单词)
  • dependent [di´pendənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.依赖的;从属的   (高中英语单词)
  • sweeping [´swi:piŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.掠过的 n.扫除;清除   (高中英语单词)
  • eventually [i´ventʃuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.最后,终于   (英语四级单词)
  • totally [´təutəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.统统,完全   (英语四级单词)
  • far-off [´fɑ:rɔ:f] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.远方的,遥远的   (英语四级单词)
  • varied [´veərid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.各种各样的   (英语四级单词)
  • accidental [,æksi´dentl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.偶然的;附属的   (英语四级单词)
  • touching [´tʌtʃiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.动人的 prep.提到   (英语四级单词)
  • trying [´traiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.难堪的;费劲的   (英语四级单词)
  • energetic [,enə´dʒetik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精力旺盛的;有力的   (英语四级单词)
  • resolved [ri´zɔlvd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.决心的;坚定的   (英语四级单词)
  • loosely [´lu:sli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.松散地   (英语四级单词)
  • coolly [´ku:li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.冷(静地),沉着地   (英语四级单词)
  • overboard [´əuvəbɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.向船外;到水中   (英语四级单词)
  • forsook [fə´suk] 移动到这儿单词发声  forsake的过去式   (英语六级单词)
  • fireside [´faiəsaid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.炉边;家;家庭生活   (英语六级单词)
  • wistfully [´wistfuli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.渴望地;不满足地   (英语六级单词)
  • tumbler [´tʌmblə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.杂技演员;不倒翁   (英语六级单词)
  • inquisitive [in´kwizitiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.好奇的,好问的   (英语六级单词)
  • fishery [´fiʃəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.渔业,渔场   (英语六级单词)
  • advisable [əd´vaizəbl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合适的,得当的   (英语六级单词)
  • seaman [´si:mən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海员,水手   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:49:43
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