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records of the four men who died, and when he undertook to with-
hold these from their friends and relatives until he had published
a narrative which he alleged was based on the records, he placed
himself in a position which (wholly apart from the legal aspect)
was one of grave moral responsibility. As to good intentions,
integrity and ability, the reputations of the dead had no defense
except in the honesty and discretion of Mr. Noice. Under those
circumstances he did and said the following things, among others:

Mr. Noice erased certain paragraphs of Knight’s diary (the only
diary) so thoroughly that all but one of the erasures have so far
remained undeciphered. He then said to several people in Nome,
Toronto, New York and doubtless elsewhere that he had erased
these paragraphs because they contained evidence disgraceful to
Knight himself and to the other men. These statements have cir-
culated widely, and those who have heard them have imagined all
sorts of things, each according to his bent. But on the assumption
that the paragraphs which Mr. Noice erased were in tenor similar
to the ones he tore out and has since been induced to return, we
now know with fair certainty that the erased paragraphs orig-
inally showed only what might be called a “Mid-Victorian” or per-
haps a “puritanical” attitude of the four men towards the one
woman in their carefulness to avoid alike improprieties and the
appearance of any. The reader will find this inference clear from
our full quotation of the restored fragments of Knight’s diary in
Appendix V. He must then figure out for himself what motives
Mr. Noice had for his whole line of conduct—unless he is willing
to accept, as we do, the explanation of temporary nervous break-
down which Mr. Noice gives in his signed statement.

Repeatedly speaking of Lorne Knight as his “trail mate” and
“pal,” Mr. Noice nevertheless gives in the newspaper story con-
stantly the impression that Knight and his companions were in-
competent. At times he uses epithets and characterizations directly
derogatory, as when he refers to Knight as “a piece of driftwood,”
and says that Knight “was not mentally equipped to save himself
or others.” These would be hard words to use of a dead man, even
if they had been as true as they are false—and especially ungenerous
words to use while exploiting and withholding from others that
man’s only written record. In dealing with such a situation I
have to choose between justice to the dead and charity to their liv-

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