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BESIDES the great mystery--that is, the finding of the pole--accounts of other mysteries or strange phenomena are met with in the published accounts of Arctic exploration, the writers laying an emphasis on their narratives all the more noteworthy since they do not pretend to solve the riddle propounded by Nature. A few instances culled from page 393 of Nansen's work will suffice for the present:
"That north wind is still persistent, sometimes with a velocity of nine or even thirteen feet, but yet we do not seem to be drifting south; we lie in 80 degs. north latitude, or even a few minutes farther north. What can be the reason of this? There is a little pressure every day just now. Curious that it should again occur at the moon's change of quarter. The moon stands high in the sky, and there is daylight now, too.
"Friday, February 16th.--Hurrah! A meridian observation to-day shows 80 deg. 1 min. north latitude, so that we have come a few minutes north since last Friday, and that in spite of constant northerly winds since Monday. There is something very singular about this. Is it, as I have thought all along from the appearance of the clouds and the haziness of the air, that there has been south wind in the south, preventing the drift of the ice that way, or have we at last come tinder the influence of a current? That shove we got to the south lately in the face of southerly winds was a remarkable thing, and so is our remaining where we are now in spite of the northerly ones. It would seem that new powers of some kind must be at work."
Next: Chapter IV. The Water-Sky: What It Is