The captain of the polestar and other tales – sir arthur conan doyle

THE
CAPTAIN OF THE POLESTAR
AND OTHER TALES.

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

TO
MY FRIEND
MAJOR-GENERAL A. W. DRAYSON
AS A SLIGHT TOKEN
OF
MY ADMIRATION FOR HIS GREAT
AND AS YET UNRECOGNISED SERVICES TO ASTRONOMY
This little Volume
IS
DEDICATED

PREFACE
For the use of some of the following Tales I am
Indebted to the courtesy of the Proprietors of
“Cornhill,” “Temple Bar,” “Belgravia,” “London
Society,” “Cassell’s,” and “The Boy’s Own Paper.”
A. CONAN DOYLE, M. D.

CONTENTS.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE POLE-STAR
J. HABAKUK JEPHSON’S STATEMENT
THE GREAT KEINPLATZ EXPERIMENT
THE MAN FROM ARCHANGEL
THAT LITTLE SQUARE BOX
JOHN HUXFORD’S HIATUS
A LITERARY MOSAIC
JOHN BARRINGTON COWLES
THE PARSON OF JACKMAN’S GULCH
THE RING OF THOTH

THE CAPTAIN OF THE “POLE-STAR.”
[Being an extract from the singular journal of JOHN M`ALISTER RAY,
Student of medicine.]

September 11th. – Lat. 81 degrees 40′ N.; long. 2 degrees E. Still
Lying-to amid enormous ice fields. The one which stretches away to
The north of us, and to which our ice-anchor is attached, cannot be
Smaller than an English county. To the right and left unbroken
Sheets extend to the horizon. This morning the mate reported that
There were signs of pack ice to the southward. Should this form of
Sufficient thickness to bar our return, we shall be in a position
Of danger, as the food, I hear, is already running somewhat short.
It is late in the season, and the nights are beginning to reappear.

This morning I saw a star twinkling just over the fore-yard, the
First since the beginning of May. There is considerable discontent
Among the crew, many of whom

are anxious to get back home to be in
Time for the herring season, when labour always commands a high
Price upon the Scotch coast. As yet their displeasure is only
Signified by sullen countenances and black looks, but I heard from
The second mate this afternoon that they contemplated sending a
Deputation to the Captain to explain their grievance. I much doubt
How he will receive it, as he is a man of fierce temper, and very
Sensitive about anything approaching to an infringement of his
Rights. I shall venture after dinner to say a few words to him
Upon the subject. I have always found that he will tolerate from
Me what he would resent from any other member of the crew.
Amsterdam Island, at the north-west corner of Spitzbergen, is
Visible upon our starboard quarter – a rugged line of volcanic
Rocks, intersected by white seams, which represent glaciers. It is
Curious to think that at the present moment there is probably no
Human being nearer to us than the Danish settlements in the south
Of Greenland – a good nine hundred miles as the crow flies. A
Captain takes a great responsibility upon himself when he risks his
Vessel under such circumstances. No whaler has ever remained in
These latitudes till so advanced a period of the year.

9 P. M, – I have spoken to Captain Craigie, and though the result has
Been hardly satisfactory, I am bound to say that he listened to
What I had to say very quietly and even deferentially. When I had
Finished he put on that air of iron determination which I have
Frequently observed upon his face, and paced rapidly backwards and
Forwards across the narrow cabin for some minutes. At first I
Feared that I had seriously offended him, but he dispelled the idea
By sitting down again, and putting his hand upon my arm with a
Gesture which almost amounted to a caress. There was a depth of


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The captain of the polestar and other tales – sir arthur conan doyle