plans be known. As to equipment, the choice was their
own, for they and not I were going and Knight and
Maurer had almost as much experience in the Arctic as I.
Maurer had even been six months on Wrangel itself,
while neither Knight nor I had ever seen it. In certain
matters of plan and equipment, Maurer was therefore our
guide and court of last resort.
Some friends who have read the proofs of this book as
it was going through the press have said that the narra-
tive makes it plain why I remained South while Craw-
ford, Galle, Knight and Maurer went North; others say
this needs clearer restatement in this preface, and per-
haps it does.
From the point of view of the four who went, the
reason I stayed behind was that such was the division of
labor upon which we had agreed on the basis of what we
thought of each other’s capacities. They were as well
qualified as I to go North to hold our political rights in
Wrangel Island, while I was supposed to be better fitted
than any of them to convince the Government meantime
that our rights were worth holding. The result may have
showed that I was not well chosen for the subdivision of
the common task that was assigned to me; he who reads
this book will see that they succeeded far better than I.
Besides agreeing with my colleagues as just outlined, I
had reasons of my own for not going. I had already
served in arctic exploration longer than any well-known
explorer—I had spent ten arctic winters, as against nine
for Peary, who had previously held the record for polar
service, and as against seven polar winters (arctic or ant-
arctic), the highest record, so far as I know, for any living
commander of polar expeditions.
In a way my length of arctic service was a reason for
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