Being the Narrative of the Voyage and Exploration of the "Fram" (1893-1896), and the Fifteen Months' Sledge Expedition by Dr. Nansen and Lieut. Johansen. By Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. With an Appendix by Otto Sverdrup. With about 100 Full-page and Numerous Text Illustrations, 16 Colored Plates in Facsimile from Nansen's own Water-Color, Pastel, and Pencil Sketches, and an Etched Portrait, Two Photogravures, and Four Maps. About 1200 pages. Two Volumes, Large Octavo, Gilt Tops, Uncut Edges.
In 84 4 north, this intrepid explorer, finding his vessel, the "Fram," solidly frozen in the ice, started with one companion, Johansen, for the unknown regions of the North Pole. They left their vessel, equipped with three sledges, two kyacks, and twenty-eight dogs, with provisions for the dogs for thirty days, and for themselves for one hundred days. When this stock was exhausted they lived on seal, walrus and bear meat, when they could get it. The account of the months these two hardy men spent in the polar regions is most thrilling. When a dog died or fell by the way, he was served as food for the survivors. Nor were the chances of death by starvation the only perils to face. As a little side issue of the story, Nansen relates that on one occasion, as he was hauling his kayak up to the edge of an ice-floe he heard a noise behind him and turning saw his companion on his back, with a bear over him. Johansen had the bear by the throat, and quietly called to his commander, "You must hurry up if you don't want to be too late." They had fresh bear meat for some days.
The living accommodations in the hut which they built were not sumptuous. Here is the record: "For cooking, lighting, and heating we used walrus blubber and bear's fat. Bear's flesh and fat were our only food. In the evening we fried it in a large aluminum pan; in the morning we boiled it. We made our bed and sleepingbag of bearskin. To keep warmer we both slept in one bag, and, taken altogether, we were quite comfortable in our low hut. By the help of our lamps we succeeded in keeping the temperature inside at about freezing point. Our couch was formed of rough stones; we never quite succeeded in getting it even tolerably even, and our most important business throughout the winter was, therefore, to bend the body into the various positions in order to discover the one in which the pressure of the stones was least felt."
In the history of Arctic explorations there is nothing that is comparable to Nansen's contributions to science in his work. The expedetion was not a mere feat. In physical geography, in biology, in meteorology, the results obtained will mark a new departure in the various sciences concerned. The continuous observations made during three years on the meteorology of the Arctic regions, when combined with other observations, will be of the highest practical importance in dealing with the climatology of Europe. No less important will be the practical results in other directions. Many of Nansen's observations were taken in latitude 860 14 north.