These were the Indians whose abandoned dogs made so much trouble
for us in the days that followed.
At 4 P. M. of 23d of July we were stopped by a long narrow floe of
broken ice. Without consulting me the crew made for the shore.
It seemed they were full of fears: "What if they should get caught
in that floe, and drift around for days? What if a wind should
arise (it had been glassy calm for a week)? What if they could',
not get back?" etc., etc.
Preble and I climbed a hill for a view. The floe was but half a
mile wide, very loose, with frequent lanes.
"Preble, is there any reason why we should not push through this
floe using poles to move the cakes?"
On descending, however, I found the boys preparing to camp for "a
couple of days," while the ice melted or drifted away somewhere.
So I said, "You get right into this boat now and push off; we can
easily work our way through." They made no reply, simply looked
sulkier than ever, and proceeded to start a fire for meal No. 5.
"Weeso," I said, "get into your place and tell your men to follow."
The old man looked worried and did nothing, He wanted to do right,
but he was in awe of his crew.