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The English at the North Pole, Page 2

Jules Verne



  The letter received by Richard Shandon, eight months before, ran asfollows:--


  "August 2nd, 1859.

  "To Mr. Richard Shandon,


  "SIR,--I beg to advise you that the sum of sixteen thousand poundssterling has been placed in the hands of Messrs. Marcuart and Co.,bankers, of Liverpool. I join herewith a series of cheques, signedby me, which will allow you to draw upon the said Messrs. Marcuartfor the above-mentioned sum. You do not know me, but that is of noconsequence. I know you: that is sufficient. I offer you the placeof second on board the brig _Forward_ for a voyage that may be longand perilous. If you agree to my conditions you will receive a salaryof 500 pounds, and all through the voyage it will be augmentedone-tenth at the end of each year. The _Forward_ is not yet inexistence. You must have it built so as to be ready for sea at thebeginning of April, 1860, at the latest. Herewith is a detailed planand estimate. You will take care that it is scrupulously followed.The ship is to be built by Messrs. Scott and Co., who will settlewith you. I particularly recommend you the choice of the _Forward's_crew; it will be composed of a captain, myself, of a second, you,of a third officer, a boatswain, two engineers, an ice pilot, eightsailors, and two others, eighteen men in all, comprising Dr. Clawbonny,of this town, who will introduce himself to you when necessary. The_Forward's_ crew must be composed of Englishmen without incumbrance;they should be all bachelors and sober--for no spirits, nor even beer,will be allowed on board--ready to undertake anything, and to bearwith anything. You will give the preference to men of a sanguineconstitution, as they carry a greater amount of animal heat. Offerthem five times the usual pay, with an increase of one-tenth for eachyear of service. At the end of the voyage five hundred pounds willbe placed at the disposition of each, and two thousand at yours. Thesefunds will be placed with Messrs. Marcuart and Co. The voyage willbe long and difficult, but honourable, so you need not hesitate toaccept my conditions. Be good enough to send your answer to K. Z.,Poste Restante, Goteborg, Sweden.

  "P.S.--On the 15th of February next you will receive a large Danishdog, with hanging lips, and tawny coat with black stripes. You willtake it on board and have it fed with oaten bread, mixed with tallowgrease. You will acknowledge the reception of the said dog to me underthe same initials as above, Poste Restante, Leghorn, Italy.

  "The captain of the _Forward_ will introduce himself to you whennecessary. When you are ready to start you will receive furtherinstructions.


  "K. Z."