The Journey to the Polar Sea, by John Franklin















































































































 -  The
night was unusually cold and ice formed in a pint-pot within two feet of
the fire. The coruscations - Page 640
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The Night Was Unusually Cold And Ice Formed In A Pint-Pot Within Two Feet Of The Fire.

The coruscations of the Aurora Borealis were beautifully brilliant; they served to show us eight wolves which we had some trouble to frighten away from our collection of deer's bones and, between their howling and the constant cracking of the ice, we did not get much rest.

Having collected with great care and by self-denial two small packets of dried meat or sinews sufficient (for men who knew what it was to fast) to last for eight days at the rate of one indifferent meal per day, we prepared to set out on the 30th. I calculated that we should be about fourteen days in reaching Fort Providence and, allowing that we neither killed deer nor found Indians, we could but be unprovided with food six days and this we heeded not whilst the prospect of obtaining full relief was before us. Accordingly we set out against a keen north-east wind in order to gain the known route to Fort Providence. We saw a number of wolves and some crows on the middle of the lake and, supposing such an assemblage was not met idly, we made for them and came in for a share of a deer which they had killed a short time before, and thus added a couple of meals to our stock. By four P.M. we gained the head of the lake or the direct road to Fort Providence and, some dry wood being at hand, we encamped; by accident it was the same place where the Commander's party had slept on the 19th, the day on which I supposed they had left Fort Enterprise, but the encampment was so small that we feared great mortality had taken place amongst them, and I am sorry to say the stubborn resolution of my men not to go to the house prevented me from determining this most anxious point, so that I now almost dreaded passing their encampments lest I should see some of our unfortunate friends dead at each spot.

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