stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-019

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Samara Cary at May 15, 2024 06:30 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-019

- 19 -

camp had a chance to get away. There is not a single entry in Knight'd
diary to indicate that they even considered doing this. Obviously they
continued to feel that it did not make much difference how many chances they
missed; there would always be an abundance of other chances. Wrangell Island
was to them still a game paradise beyond anything they had experienced or
heard about, and they took it for granted it would continue so.

No one who has kept a diary on an exploring expedition
will be surprised or critical because Knight leaves out some of the most
important things and they have to be inferred from the context if they do not
escape the reader entirely. My experience, at leat, has been that although
I keep more voluminous notes than most travelers, still the things that stick
in my memory after a lapse of years are usually the things that are never men-
tioned in the notes if the day. Knight records how himself, Galle and the
Eskimo woman were looking forward to Christmas eagerly chiefly because Crawford
and Maurer were coming home to spend it with them. He tells how Ada was sing-
ing all day at her sewing and how she cooked and prepared in every way for
Christmas. But there is no account of the actual arrival of Crawford and
Maurer nor anything said about the Christmas of 1921 except, "Spending the
day doing nothing but eating although we are not hungry."

There is further evidence of the Christmas rejoicing in
the entry for December 26th. They had long been waiting eagerly for a wind
that would break the ice near shore and give them open water for sealing. Such
a wind finally did come Christmas night but at this time of year there are only
four or five yours of shooting light around noon and Knight's diary for Decem-
ber 26th explains laconically, "Open water to be seen but overslept. Hauled
wood to-day." That means that although they had slept until one or two in the
afternoon they did get up in time so that there was a little twilight left,
not enough for shooting but ample for hauling in a sledge load or two of wood.

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-019

- 19 -

camp had a chance to get away. There is not a single entry in Knight'd
diary to indicate that they even considered doing this. Obviously they
continued to feel that it did not make much difference how many chances they
missed; there would always be an abundance of other chances. Wrangell Island
was to them still a game paradise beyond anything they had experienced or
heard about, and they took it for granted it would continue so.

No one who has kept a diary on an exploring expedition
will be surprised or critical because Knight leaves out some of the most
important things and they have to be inferred from the context if they do not
escape the reader entirely. My experience, at leat, has been that although
I keep more voluminous notes than most travelers, still the things that stick
in my memory after a lapse of years are usually the things that are never men-
tioned in the notes if the day. Knight records how himself, Galle and the
Eskimo woman were looking forward to Christmas eagerly chiefly because Crawford
and Maurer were coming home to spend it with them. He tells how Ada was sing-
ing all day at her sewing and how she cooked and prepared in every way for
Christmas. But there is no account of the actual arrival of Crawford and
Maurer nor anything said about the Christmas of 1921 except, "Spending the
day doing nothing but eating although we are not hungry."

There is further evidence of the Christmas rejoicing in
the entry for December 26th. They had long been waiting eagerly for a wind
that would break the ice near shore and give them open water for sealing. Such
a wind finally did come Christmas night but at this time of year there are only
four or five yours of shooting light around noon and Knight's diary for Decem-
ber 26th explains laconically, "Open water to be seen but overslept. Hauled
wood to-day." That means that although they had slept until one or two in the
afternoon they did get up in time so that there was a little twilight left,
not enough for shooting but ample for hauling in a sledge load or two of wood.