Imágenes de páginas

water enough to quench our intolerable thirst. far above us, and we saw with deep regret that This allowed us an opportunity to rest and we had not the strength to reach the summit eat a light lunch, while we studied the strange and return to our camp, already 6500 feet bescene before us.

low us. Concluding that the only practicable The day of our climb was unusually beautiful. plan would be for us to advance our camp on Not a cloud obscured the sky. In the lower to the divide between Mount St. Elias and world it must have been an exceedingly warm Mount Newton, and from there to attempt to summer day. In the rarer atmosphere with reach the summit, we reluctantly turned back. which we were surrounded the sun's rays poured The descent began at five o'clock, and we down with dazzling splendor and scorching in- experienced but little difficulty in regaining the tensity. We wore deeply colored glasses to pro- divide, but had to be exceedingly careful in tect our eyes, but our faces, although tanned and crossing the snow-bridge on the ice-slope beweather-beaten by nearly two months'constant low. In three places the steps cut during the exposure, were blistered by the heat. Those of ascent had been swept away by avalanches. my readers who have not climbed high moun- At one locality where the trail went down the tains will be surprised, perhaps, when I say that face of a steep bluff for about a hundred feet, while our faces were actually blistering beneath and then ran diagonally along beneath an overthe intensity of the sun's heat, our shoes im- hanging precipice of snow, we found that the mersed in the light snow were frozen stiff. At cliff had broken away, carrying with it the steps noon the temperature in the shade was 160 cut on our way up. Below where the cliff had Fahr. The snow was light and dry, and showed been, the avalanche caused by its fall had cut no indications of softening, even at the surface. across a loop in our own trail in two places, The white cliffs about us glittered like hoar- but had filled a crevasse that had been troublefrost in the intense light.

some to cross on our way up, and thus proved Having finished our lunch, we passed on up of some assistance. On reaching the top of the the steep ridge leading from the divide to the cliff where our steps had been we were at a loss summit of Mount St. Elias. We slowly cut our to tell what had become of them, until we noway up the slope, having a sheer descent of ticed the trail of the avalanche below. Had from 5000 to 6000 feet below us all the time. the shadows of evening been a little more dense, The breaking away of a foothold, or the loss our return to camp would have been delayed of an alpenstock, might at any time have pre- until the next morning. As it was, however, cipitated us down those fearful cliffs, where not McCarty scrambled down the slope with a rope even the crevasses would have stopped us before fastened about his waist, and cut new steps. reaching the bottom of the amphitheater in As we neared the bottom of the valley the light which our tent was placed, fully a mile in ver- faded, and we had to find our way as best we tical descent below. We were now above the could, since it was impossible to see the trail. region of avalanches, but an occasional roar The slopes were less steep than above, however, came faintly through the rarified air, telling that and we gained the level floor of the amphithelarge bodies of snow had broken away some- ater without mishap. We reached our tent at ten where on the slopes below. With these excep- o'clock, just twenty hours after leaving it. Altions the only sounds that broke the stillness lowing one hour for the cooking of our breakwere from the blows of our ice-ax and the fast and another for preparing supper, but two beating of our own hearts. There is no stillness hours out of twenty-four remained unaccounted more profound than the silence of the moun- for. The deficiency in the number of hours for tains. As we slowly climbed up above the di- sleep was compensated, however, by the fact vide we could see more of the country to the that it was approaching noon the next day bemurtheast of Mount Newton, but in other direc- fore we awoke. tions the great panorama remained the same, A heavy cloud gathered about the summit or became less distinct. A change in the at- of Mount St. Elias on the afternoon of July 25, mosphere, which obscured distant objects while and on the following day a snow-storm was in it slightly lessened the painful intensity of the full force and continued until the evening of sunlight on the cliffs about us, told that an the next day. At one o'clock in the morning of atmospheric disturbance was in progress, and July 27, I looked out of our tent and found a that a storm was gathering. We pressed on, dense fog filling the valley; but at three o'clock although the work of cutting steps at the alti- the air was clear, and the absence of cloud bantude we had reached was exceedingly laborious, ners on the high peaks assured us that the day and gained a second outcrop of rock. At four would be fine. We immediately began prepao'clock we had attained an elevation of some- rations for climbing to the divide between what more than 14,500 feet, as determined by Mount Newton and Mount St. Elias. Our measurements made with two aneroid barom- plan was to make a cache of rations on the diciers. The great snow-slope continued to tower vide, and to advance our camp during the next

Vol. XLIV.- 27.

favorable day. (wing to the delay at the start, especially when the snow was melting so as we did not reach the foot of the ice-cliffs lead- to wet our blankets through and through, was ing to the divide until the sun was shining full very trying. Fearing that if we held on too upon them. We began the ascent, but soon long we should not have the strength and steadtie now, settened by the sun, began to fall in iness of nerve requisite to reach the summit, avtinches which warned us that it was dan- should the weather permit, I decided, although gerous to proceed. A great avalanche starting with great reluctance, to abandon the underurwore us on the side of Mount St. Elias taking and return to Icy Bay. Whether we could came riding down the roof-like slope with the advance or not depended on the direction of pedofinspress-train. From the foot of the the wind; should it blow from the north across

Kakselingi mass, tongue-like protrusions of the broad ice-fields we had seen from the diWe'w hour out in advance, while all above was vide, it would bring clear, cold weather, the Orkide pulling cloud of snow-spray. Blue cre- clouds would vanish from the mountains, and Villas which seemed wide enough to engulf the avalanches be silenced; should it come

Balling snow were crossed without making from the south, it would be warm and moist, Thishient change in its course. On reach- the clouds would thicken, and snow-storms and py the upper lip of such a gulf the base of the avalanches would render mountain-climbing Home muss would shoot out into the air, and impossible. The north side of St. Elias is not Hermannsl not curve downward at all until it too steep to climb and offers no insurmountanereti plie slope below and rushed on with ac- ble obstacles, but the climate is very changeOrknetesi special. The rushing, roaring mass able, and clouds and snow-storms are the rule. treningible. Heavy clouds of spray rolling Reaching the summit depends more upon the

, or blown back by the wind that the chance of getting clear weather at the proper titlenche generated, became so dense that all time than on skill in Alpine work. Ditth. concealed from view. Only a roar We began the descent on August 1. The Har thunder, and the trembling of the glacier trail leading back had been snowed over and 1983 which we stood, told that many tons of ice could scarcely be traced; but the fog had lifted, And Now were involved in the catastrophe. although heavy storm-clouds still enveloped the The mashing monster, starting a mile above, higher peaks, and we were able to descend with

medierily toward us until it poured down out much difficulty. We slowly worked our write the border of the slope we were ascend- way through the great crevasses in the fall just hthon, changing its course, it thundered on below our highest camp, and thence over a comit it reached the floor of the amphitheater paratively even surface to White Cliff, which

below. The cloud of spray rolled on down we descended with some little difficulty, the The willey, and hung in the air long after the steps previously cut having melted away so

of the avalanche had ceased. When it did as to be almost useless. The next day we reheilway we saw the fan-shaped mass of bro- joined the remainder of the party and reached Arrow, in which the avalanche ended, look- “Sled Camp” on the Agassiz glacier. During on like the delta of a stream, extending out our journey down the mountain until reaching nell a mile into the valley.

the Samovar Hills rain fell almost continuously. With avalanches threatening us from the At the Samovar Hills we reoccupied our old per proces on either hand, and from the slope camp-ground. The flowers were still in bloom,

which we wished to ascend, it seemed fool- and the air had that delightful fragrance one mely 10 persist in the attempt to reach the notices when first venturing into the woods itude that day; so we left our packs in as in early spring. The change from the region

dered a spot as we could find and beat a of eternal snow and ice to an oasis of verdure H14 16. The next morning another snow-storm and of flowers was welcome indeed. From the wipe over the mountains, and the weather Samovar Hills we crossed the broad, gently Rintamuca stormy for several days.

sloping snow-field extending southwest, and 11 lule Stamy, McCarty, and I were living made our next camp on a small island in the till snow, we had a single tent of light cot- glacier separated from the northeast end of the

lothi, seven feet square at the bottom Chaix Hills by about two miles of rugged ice. and live teet high. Our bedding consisted of This bright little garden of flowers and ferns o meets of light canvas, used for protecting we named Moore's Nunatak, in memory of our fritt blankets, one double woolen blanket, and comrade who was drowned at Icy Bay. poloshit feather-quilt. Our cooking was done With McCarty and Warner for companions, in small coal-oil stove, and our food con- I again entered the snow-covered region to the svetted almost entirely of corn griddle-cakes, north, and made a side trip to the hills interJos on or corned beef, and coffee. To live un-mediate between Mount St. Elias and the Chaix 14020 thene conditions at an altitude of 8000 Hills. During this trip, which lasted three days,

kuring snow-storms and dense fogs, and we had one perfect day of uninterrupted sun


shine, the beauty of which was enhanced to us of Mount St. Elias, thus obtained, is 18,100 feet, by heavy clouds along the mountain-sides, thus plus or minus a probable error of less than 100 furnishing the contrast necessary to bring out feet. From this elevation and certain observathe full magnificence of the frozen heights that tions made at Port Mulgrave by the United towered above us. The lakes to the north of States Coast Survey in 1874, the position of the Chaix Hills were still heavily encumbered Mount St. Elias is computed to be approxiwith ice, and on the hills bare of snow the ear- mately, lat. 600 17' 51", long. 1400 55' 30'. liest of spring-flowers were just awakening. It This result is of considerable interest in connecwas springtime to us also, after having been tion with the position of the eastern boundary in the wintry mountains for several weeks. We of Alaska. enjoyed the warmth of the glad sunshine, the In the convention between Great Britain and fresh odors that filled the air, and the delicate Russia, wherein the boundaries of Alaska are unts on the flower-covered slopes around us, agreed upon, it is stated that the eastern bounfar more than we did the stern magnificence of dary shall begin at the south at Portland Chanthe snow-covered precipices of the great moun- nel, and from there follow the summit of the tains. The storms that had recently passed had mountains situated parallel to the coast as far as left the mountains covered with a fresh mantle the intersection of the 14 ist degree of west lonof brilliant white down to a level of 4000 feet gitude. From that point north, the said degree above the sea. The new snow had not yet been of longitude shall form the boundary to the tom from the precipices by avalanches, but was frozen ocean. Wherever the mountains parallel clinging to many of the steepest slopes. In the to the coast to the east of the 141st meridian full splendor of a blazing sun the great ranges are “more than ten marine leagues from the seemed mountains of light.

ocean, the limit between the British possessions Returning to Moore's Nunatak we passed and the line of coast which is to belong to Rusa night, and then rejoined the rest of our party sia, as above mentioned, shall be formed by a below at our old camp on the south side of line parallel to the windings of the coast, and the Chaix Hills. A day or two later we crossed which shall never exceed the distance of ten the extreme western end of the Malaspina marine leagues therefrom.” The distance of glacier, just at its junction with another vast Mount St. Elias from the nearest point on the plateau ofice stretching westward. Where these coast is 33 statute miles. As 10 marine leagues two ice-fields join there is a depression which are equal to 34/2 statute miles, the mountainmarks the subglacial course of the Yahtse peak is a mile and a half south of the bounRiver. We encamped near the spot where this dary, and therefore in United States territory. strange river emerges in a roaring, rushing tor- It is also 4' 30" longitude, or 272 miles east rent of intensely muddy water, and divides into of the 141st meridian. The mountain is thus hundreds of branches as it rushes toward the practically at the intersection of the boundary sea. Another short march took us into the dead of southeastern Alaska with the 141st meridian, forest bordering the river on the east, and par- and is one of the corner monuments of our tially buried by its sediments, and the follow- national boundary. ing day we occupied the site of our first camp Our return from Mount St. Elias was no less at Icy Bay. After reaching Icy Bay we mea- interesting than the journey up the mountain, sured a base-line about three miles long on the but space has not permitted me to linger over beach, and from its extremities obtained the its details. Nor can I give at this time a sketch angles necessary to determine the height of of our long tramp along the margin of the MalMount St. Elias and neighboring peaks. These aspina glacier from Icy Bay to Yakutat Bay, measurements were repeated many times in or- or of the exploration of Disenchantment Bay, der to obtain an accuracy as great as was pos- which was fully as novel and instructive as our sible with the method employed. The height life above the snow-line.

Israel C. Russel.


[graphic][merged small]

TECE the gallant days of yore

LL story to

When the brig of seven guns

Fought the fleet of seven score,
From the set of sun till morn, through the long September night-
Ninety men against two thousand, and the ninety won the fight-

In the harbor of Fayal the Azore.

Three lofty British ships came a-sailing to Fayal :
One was a line-of-battle ship, and two were frigates tall;
Nelson's valiant men of war, brave as Britons ever are,
Manned the guns they served so well at Aboukir and Trafalgar.
Lord Dundonald and his fleet at Jamaica far away
Waited eager for their coming, fretted sore at their delay.
There was work for men of mettle ere the shameful peace was made,
And the sword was overbalanced in the sordid scales of trade;
There were rebel knaves to swing, there were prisoners to bring
Home in fetters to old England for the glory of the king !

At the setting of the sun and the ebbing of the tide
Came the great ships one by one, with their portals opened wide,
And their cannon frowning down on the castle and the town
And the privateer that lay close inside ;
Came the eighteen-gun Carnation and the Rota, forty-four,
And the triple-decked Plantagenet an admiral's pennon bore;
And the privateer grew smaller as their topmasts towered taller,
And she bent her springs and anchored by the castle on the shore.

Spake the noble Portuguese to the stranger : “ Have no fear;
They are neutral waters these, and your ship is sacred here
As if fifty stout armadas stood to shelter you from harm,
For the honor of the Briton will defend you from his arm.”
But the privateersmen said: “Well we know the Englishmen,
And their faith is written red in the Dartmoor slaughter-pen.
Come what fortune God may send, we will fight them to the end,
And the mercy of the sharks may spare us then.”
“ Seize the pirate where she lies!” cried the English admiral :
“ If the Portuguese protect her, all the worse for Portugal !”
And four launches at his bidding leaped impatient for the fray,
Speeding shoreward where the Armstrong grim and dark and ready lay.
Twice she hailed and gave them warning; but the feeble menace scorning,
On they came in splendid silence, till a cable’s-length away -
Then the Yankee pivot spoke; Pico's thousand echoes woke,
And four baffled, beaten launches drifted helpless on the bay.

Then the wrath of Lloyd arose till the lion roared again,
And he called out all his launches and he called five hundred men;

And he gave the word, “No quarter !” and he sent them forth to smite.
Heaven help the foe before him when the Briton comes in might!
Heaven helped the little Armstrong in her hour of bitter need;
God Almighty nerved the heart and guided well the arm of Reid.

Launches to port and starboard, launches forward and aft,
Fourteen launches together striking the little craft.
They hacked at the boarding-nettings, they swarmed above the rail ;
But the Long Tom roared from his pivot and the grape-shot fell like hail :
Pike and pistol and cutlas, and hearts that knew not fear,
Bulwarks of brawn and mettle, guarded the privateer.
And ever where fight was fiercest the form of Reid was seen;
Ever where foes drew nearest, his quick sword fell between.
Once in the deadly strife
The boarders' leader pressed
Forward of all the rest,
Challenging life for life;
But ere their blades had crossed,
A dying sailor tossed
His pistol to Reid, and cried,
“Now riddle the lubber's hide !”
But the privateersman laughed and flung the weapon aside,
And he drove his blade to the hilt, and the foeman gasped and died.
Then the boarders took to their launches laden with hurt and dead,
But little with glory burdened, and out of the battle fled.

Now the tide was at flood again, and the night was almost done,
When the sloop-of-war came up with her odds of two to one,
And she opened fire; but the Armstrong answered her gun for gun,
And the gay Carnation wilted in half an hour of sun.
Then the Armstrong, looking seaward, saw the mighty seventy-four,
With her triple tier of cannon, drawing slowly to the shore.
And the dauntless captain said: “Take our wounded and our dead,
Bear them tenderly to land, for the Armstrong's days are o'er;
But no foe shall tread her deck and no flag above it wave
To the ship that saved our honor we will give a shipman's grave.”
So they did as he commanded, and they bore their mates to land,
With the figurehead of Armstrong and the good sword in his hand.
Then they turned the Long Tom downward, and they pierced her oaken side,
And they cheered her, and they blessed her, and they sunk her in the tide.

[ocr errors]

Tell the story to your sons,

When the haughty stranger boasts
Of his mighty ships and guns

And the muster of his hosts,
How the word of God was witnessed in the gallant days of yore
When the twenty fled from one ere the rising of the sun,
In the harbor of Fayal the Azore !

James Jeffrey Roche.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »