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THE "GHOST SHIP" AS SHE APPEARED ON HER LAST TRIP FROM THE POLAR SEAS.
SAILS FOR THE ICY POLE ALL BY HERSELF. Remarfcaßle Voyages for Over a Decade of . the Abandoned Whafer Young Phoenix in . Northern Seas. N the folklore of the polar latitudes the legend of *m a Flying Dutchman is of very late origin. h Who shall say this strange story, well known Ia Flying Dutchman is of very the North, but Who shall say this strange story, well known to the pelt and blubber hunters of the North, but X told here in print for the first time, did not reach jj the ears of Nansen and embolden him ln the the ory of the trans-polar current? The apparition of a strange vessel many years ago, off Cape Slvernoi, inspired among the Si berian Tuskis an elaborate fable whicn the amphibi ous travelers of the kayaks spread among the Eskimo hamlets on the shores of the north sea. When the vessel was first observed by the natives it was aiding off shore, south of Wrangel Island, in a May gale, as if plunging through tne south bound ice pack. Its ghostly hull and rakish rigging loomed up indistinctly through the sleet and mist of the polar hurricane and vanished in the gloom. She came from the ice bound North, where no human being lived and in her flight before the storm the fanciful Tuskis saw in her a mysterious messenger from the fabled beings their fathers had told of that lived in that ice locked land. Now. a vessel that halls from that region and carries no sign of distress, that does not trade and that gives no sigh of familiar life, is something to be talked about by curious natives to whom the arrival of a vessel is a tremendous advent. As the story trav eled from mouth to mouth the mysterious vessel was given all sorts of fantastical embellishments and a crew of weird beings from a far away continent. In their simple stories the Tuskis declared that these be ings did not come to trade or explore, but to lure foolish hunters and fishers to their doom. In the mysterious vessel they saw a bait to tempt the fool hardy white men of the warm south to more reckless daring in search of the mysterious northern land in habited by these wonderful beings. Though the theory of myth and the fancy of the Lorelei was preserved, the fable changed in form and substance as it traveled eastward on the Arctic circle. The strange craft there took on herculean dimensions, as a monster uniak, with balloon sails, and manned by giant ice gods. Sometimes it appeared ethereal ized with wings. At last, so it was said, the strange craft was seen in reality off the east coast of Bering Bea.a fleeting thing of a thousand sails and the elon gation of a sea serpent, in the far away fluorescence of an aurora. Hanging over it in the polar heavens was a crown of tremendous rays. The stars fluttered,' the dazzling prisms dissolved into phosphorescent whiteness and then the specter sped away into the abysmal blackness of the horizon. Once the marvel was reported to have been ob served off Herschel Island, like a speck on the remote fringe of the winter pack, flying before a sou-wester for the pole. Another time the natives of Prince of WaleS Island testified to having caught sight of this fabled Flying Eskimo, skimming into the south. They watched diligently for its reappearance, but in vain. It disappeared again in the direction of the pole, whence it came. The hard headed. Incredulous old whalers had a hard time making anything tangible out of these fables of a Flying Eskimo ghost ship, or whatever phenomenon or ordinary thing the ample-minded In dians had seen. Even those among the superstitious sailors who were prone to believe almost any tale of mystery concerning the sea could hardly accept ths yarn of a sea serpent ship navigated by a crew of na tives from a land at the North Pole. But the closer the whalers questioned the excited and talkative natives the clearer it became that they had seen a mysterious craft of some kind, and that they really had some foundation for their wild stories. "The natives at Belcher Point," said Jim Wheeler, an intelligent New England whaler, who was out with the fleet of 1888, "were sure that this ghost ship was some sort of messenger from the other world. They conceived the place to be an Island paradise at the polar center, reserved for the good and great Es kimos, and governed by strange Eskimo spirits. Their idea was that some terrible catastrophe was about to visit the world, a kind of universal shakeup. At the same time, farther to the east, the natives believed the queer ship was— well— a hallucination, a device of fiendish spirits of the polar region to entice explorers and hunters to their deaths. "You know the Eskimos can lie the Arabians to a standstill. They have a more fertile im_,_.nation, and are full of odd. weird fancies about the eternal night that cloaks the north almost all the year. No one is surprised at this state who has passed through the weird experiences of the aurora polarls, felt the pelt ing of the electrified particles in the atmosphere and heard the hissing, whizzing noises that seem to be nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Another influence oppressive and bewildering to the ignorant mind is the awful din and roar of the buckling ice pack, above which the human voice can hardly make itself heard. No wonder the Eskimos believe that a superhuman power, in the exaggerated form of man, lives in the center of the polar darkness, and there performs prodigies like the Cyclops. "This new tradition of theirs about the ghost ship, that always appeared beating through the ice pack, they accepted with keen delight. It is almost too bad the vessel didn't tie up at the pole before it made the |ast voyage out that wrecked an Indian delusion that might have given birth to no end of Interesting fables and mythical literature." Here is the true story of this mysterious ghost ship or Flying Eskimo that has been puzzling the northern whalers, and wondering Eskimo for years past- One fair June day, the few Americans who had wintered in the fax northern settlement of natives at Cape Smythe were astonished to see approaching on the distant western sea and in the path of the spring ice floes a little speck which at first they took for an approaching steamer. The Arctic jam was Just break ing and it was remarkably early for such an arrival. Exepectantly and speculatively the daring visitor was watched until it loomed up, apparently under fore and aft sails, and with Jibs and staysails set- When within about ten miles, however, it was plain that the vessel was a partly dismantled bark set firmly in a ragged field of ice, which was moving eastward at the rate of five or six miles an hour. There was no signal of distress flying. The Americans on shore discharged their firearms without attracting any notice from those on board. The Americans on shore soon felt certain that the luckless crew must have met with some terrible disaster. To a man they believed that the strange vessel was the floating sepulchre of luck less whalers caught in the ice pack th_ previous fall. No time was lost in Jumping Into kayaks and put ting off to th* derelict, From the ice rim it was three THE SAN FBA-yCISCO CALL, STT_NT>AY, DECEMBER 19, 1897. miles across the field to the bark. Once on board, the rescuers found her to be the whaler Young Phoenix of San Francisco. A hurried * search was made, but nothing ghastly or ghostly was discovered nothing but deep scars and wrenched furnishings, that showed the terrible storms and voyaging the vessel had gone through. '.**:.•: The mlzzenmast and Jlbboom weve gone. To the fore and aft yards small tatters and shreds of sail were still hanging. Her hold was halt filled with frozen water. No doubt this solid cargo of ice was all that carried her hull safely through the jams and grlndings of the battling ice packs. -V:"'_ The searchers looked up her story and found that on her last trip this tattered and battered derelict had been pursuing her lonesome patrol of the Arctic Ocean. It Is considered as entirely likely by exper ienced whalers that she may have floated across or very near the pole, in her circuit from the American to the Asiatic coast. Could she have spoken what a narrative of the polar mysteries. she might have told. But her eccentric journeylngs were not at an end. While the curious visitors from Cape Smythe were rummaging in her cabins the icefield in which the ves sel was locked swung away from the coast and the lonely derelict took up her travels again toward the distant pole. • ''. The visitors took away such instruments and port able things as were still serviceable, and left her amid the drifting Ice field thirty miles at sea. They had drifted twenty miles while they were on board of her. The last seen of the Young Phoenix that summer was when she disappeared at nightfall into the dim and distant north. The following year Captain Warren of the Triton, 6ince crushed to death against the Belvedere logger head by a whale, overhauled the Young Phoenix in an Ice floe on her last reported trip from the north. He took from her some chain and other materials. * In the Intervening years her apparition has not been spoken. Is she at the bottom of the Arctic, or harbored permanently ln the farthest northern ice, lodged in the crystalized paradise of the Eskimo? In her unknown voyages does she ever pass that bit of land or sea spot which polar explorers have struggled so long to reach? Had Nansen and Andree been pas sengers on her would their hearts have been glad dened with a sight of the most northernmost point of the globe? How the Young Phoenix became a derelict, a per iodically reappearing ghost ship amid the Ice floes of the distant waters of the north, is one of Its stories of wild storms and terrible wrecks. She was abandoned by her crew as a helpless wreck, given over for dead; that's why some seamen give her the name, ghost ship. Years ago she was one of a fleet of twelve whalers lying off the west shore of Point Barrow, the northern most point of the American continent, it was Au gust, and a terrific storm came up from the south west, something most unusual for that season of the year. Imagine a huge mushroom-shaped projection of land, with the cap facing the north, and you have a perfect idea of Point Barrow. On both sides of the stem, and between the crown of the point and the outlying sand shoals, Is excellent harborage, though of course the safest of the three places is under that part of the crown which happens to De leeward cf a storm. What is known as the lagoon or anchorage against southwest storms is on the east side of the stem of land. ,*- YtY, V When this memorable August hurricane swept out of a clear southern sky the whaling fleet promptly scampered around to leeward, . between the crown of the point and the shoals, and cast anchor. The fury of the storm was so increased that the Young Phoenix, the May and Susan, the Fleetwing and the Jane Gray dragged their anchors. The Jane Gray, a .fine schooner, was picked up bodily by the giant waves and smashel completely to pieces. Her crew were saved by great good luck and heroism. The May and Susan and the Fleetwing were stranded on the shoals. The rest of the fleet slipped cables and put to sea. -. The Young Phoenix in striking the shoal, stern on, lost her rudder. She broached to, collided with the Bounding Billow and carried away the foreyard and boats of the latter. The Young Phoenix lost her flying jlbboom In the crash. The ships then separated, the Young Phoenix, without her rudder, scurrying northward on the port tack. Every effort was made by tne crew to wear round. The mizzen mast was cut away, and all sail made forward, but without effect. By this time sh* had worked herself far off shore and was beating into, heavy ice. In this terrible mess the crew saw nothing else to do but abandon the fated vessel. At 2 o'clock in the morning, the tempest still raging, the crew tumbled into the small boats. They were res cued at daylight by the steam bark Orca. The aban doned Young Phoenix drifted pole>»_.rd before the driving storm and that's the last the whalers saw of her that season, and that Is the way she began her unrecorded and mysterious travels in unexplored north seas. Her remarkable drifting since goes far to prove the correctness of Nansen's theory that the Arctic Ocean is a wide river, having a current that sets poleward, and that a vessel capable or withstanding the force of the ice pack might in time be borne across the pole's station. Some mariners argue that Nansen may be in error in assuming that this polar drift does not touch any part of the American continent. Captain Elwood S. West of the Horatio, who wit nessed the Point Barrow disaster when the aban doned vessel disappeared in the north, has very de cided opinions on the subject. The captain is excep tionally intelligent; moreover, he is a close student of Arctic exploration. ;^;' : When the Young Phoenix passed northward in the Ice, and later driftings when she followed the same track after having been boarded off Cape Smythe, she coursed along the 160 th meridian. The distance she drifted in and out of the ice packs, and the question as to whether she is imprisoned in a crush of ice now moving across the pole that will eventually drift out on the Spltzbergen side, are subjects of speculation. Captain West's observations convince him that a strong polar current, practically from spring to fall, courses from the j break of the American continent at Point Barrow, due north. He believes that If taken advantage of in some propitious season, when this side of the Arctic Ocean is exceptionally open, a condition which occurs once in every four or five years, a ves sel built on lines similar to those of the Fram could penetrate to a point where the winter setback of the current would affect her so little that in another year or two she could make across or closely past, the pole. In other words, the polar current has no contin uous set, but follows a course to and fro between the American coast and the pole. During the lesser num ber of months in the year, when the ice pack is heav iest, it moves with the course of the wind, which is southwest. This might be described as the setback from the pole. The remainder of the year, including the open season, the current and ice drift, much more rapid then, are governed by an unvarying southwest wind, which blows on to the pole. The Young Phoenix has gone north at least three times on this current, after having been beaten back two seasons below the 70th parallel. As her hold is solid with frozen water it is not improbable that hav ing finally voyaged north In one of the exceptionally open years, she has passed the line of the reactive tides, and is now wedged in the mass that is slowly crunching over the pole and south .on the Atlantic side. Will Atlantic mariners be the ones to catch the next glimpse of this wandering ghost ship? _ E. D. COWEN. HOW THE MATADOR MET HIS DEATH. I WAS early in my seat, for I like, above all things, to see the motley crowd of sunburned Spaniards come trooping to their national game. I was surprised to see the crowd; there was no great matador going to kill bulls to-day. I asked my neighbor, "Senor, can you tell me why so many peo ple are ehre to-day?" "You do not know! Sebastian will kill the bull." "Sebastian? I know no bull-fighter by that name." "He has never killed a bull before. I will tell you his story. Sebastian is only a muleteer. Once a week he comes, with his burden of fruit. But he is poor; the mules are not his; he only works for another." He paused for a moment and added, "You are a stranger?" %fjSfe_j __■';;.-,: -;:)Y. "Yes," I said. I arrived yesterday.** "Every one falls in love with Juniata. Sebastian prayed and besought her to marry him, but she is proud. and would not look at the humble muleteer. But after a time his handsome face impressed her; she told him she would marry him if he would kill a bull in the ring at to-day's fair. But hush! there she is, standing near that column. She took her seat among the common people, whom she entiredy ignored, and drew out a great fan of black lace, which she opened and closed, leaning back with a weary look in her half-shut eyes. It was time the bullfight commenced. I gazed round the ring. Behind and around me was the dusty crowd, among which passed the sellers of water with their shrill cry of "Aqua, aqua fresca," and the ven dors of biscuits and nuts. Four of the matadors were professionals; the fifth was Sebastian. Pale in his scarlet and gold costume, but dignified and graceful, he approached the admin istrator's box, before which he bowed. Tnen he came close to where I was sitting and bowed to Juanita herself, who acknowledged his bow with a scarce per ceptible sign of recognition over the top of her black lace fan. A gate Is opened in the arena. With a roar, and a shout from the people, the bull rushes from his dark ened cell into the ring. He looks round him; for a mo ment he paws the ground, then led on by the moving cloak of one of the matadors he charges but his horns touch nothing more solid than the crimson cloak. For a moment "Toro" stands as if stupefied, then espies a large and safer bait, and with a fearful rush lifts horse and picador into the air, hurling them to the ground in a heap. The matadors are quick, however, and they call off the bull by waving their cloaks and keep his attention fixed on themselves. He is a good bull. The people are delighted. "Bravo, Toro!" they cry. : i ; v - Another horse falls dead, the third is wounded and led out, the fourth killed. But the Spaniards are not satisfied in their love of blood. 'Mas caballos! Mas caballos!" Then the bugle sounds. Two of the matadors step to the side of the arena, leaving their cloaks and taking in each hand a bande rillo. Four times does the bull receive the sharp forked points and four times does he miss his man. Again the bggle blows. Sebastian steps forward, takes the sword and flag and marches to the admin istrator's box, where he swears to kill the bull. There is a deafening cheer as he throws his hat among the people until he returns victorious — or dead. I turn instinctively toward Juanita. She is lean ing back in her seat, slowly fanning herself, her half closed eyesscarcely conveying any expression of in terest. Sebastian faces the bull, the flag In his left hand, his eye on the beast's. His hand is as steady as a rock. •* * •■■'■- The bull charged. I drew a quick breath; Sebas tian gracefully, with the ease of a practiced bull fighter, escaped the horns. A cheer rings out from th* crowd, bringing a sudden flush to his cheek. Again the bull charges, again and again. Each time Sebastian is unscathed, but as yet he has had no chance of killing the bull. He is facing it now; slowly he raises the sword the point never trembles. For one second all is dust, the next I saw his manly form laid out full length in the sand of the arena. "He is killed!" cry the people, "he is killed!" I gaze at Juanita once more. The expression of that beautiful face has not altered to the least de gree. ■ I hated that woman! A shout from the people! Sebastian has reisen and is facing the bull once more. There was a silence like death. Again his sword is raised, again all ls dust, again a form lies prostrate in the sand— but this time it is the bull! Sebastian has killed it and at one stroke. Sebastian approached the gobernador and bowed- He is paler than ever, but a smile of victory lights up his lips. Then, sword in hand, he turned, approached and faced Juanita. Her expression is the same as ever. There is no smile of encouragement, scarcely a sign of recognition; she plucks a rose, however, from the boquet at her breast and throws it to him He stoops and picks it up and, with his eyes fixed on hers, lifts it toward his lips— hesitates— throws it to the ground and tramples it under foot .j : ti' ; A deafening cheer rises from the crowd. I look for Juanita. She has left the ring. • Five minutes later, as Sebastian passed through the archway into the open air, still in his scarlet and gold, a dagger was buried deep In his breast. I saw Juanita do It and it was the only time dur ing the whole performance that I saw her smil*. 21