Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/73

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captain of one of the great North Atlantic liners—a calm, self-contained man of fifty, with a smile that always gave way to a laugh, and a sincerity, courage, and capacity that made you turn over in your berth for another nap no matter how hard it blew.

“We were in his cabin near the bridge at the time, the walls of which were covered with photographs of the Antarctic, most of which he had taken himself, showing huge icebergs, vast stretches of hummock ice, black, clear-etched shore lines, and wastes of snow that swept up to high mountains, their tops lost in the fog. He was the first human being, so he told me, to land on that coast. He had left the ship in the outside pack and with his first mate and one of the scientists had forced a way through the floating floes, their object being to make the ascent of a range of low rolling mountains seen in one of the photographs. This was pure white from base to summit except for a dark shadow one-third the slope, which he knew must be caused by an overhanging ledge with possibly a cave beneath. If any explorers had ever reached this part of the Antarctic, this cave, he knew, would be the place of all others in which to search for records and remains.