An interview with Captain Bob Bartlett
A forthright, downright, willing-to-be-happy set are these Eskimo women. Do they quarrel sometimes with their husbands?
“ Sometimes,” says Captain Bartlett, “sometimes they do. They would not be human wives if they did not. But again, they settle the thing — they don’t nurse a grudge forever. For instance, if the husband feels that his wife has botched up his fur pants when she plied her needle, he doesn’t grouch. He pokes her forcefully in the ribs, to show her he means business, and isn’t suited with her sewing.
“Of if, perchance, he is still angrier, he lays her across his knees and gives her a meaningful spanking.
“She accepts it, like a genuine person, and does better on the pants the next time she takes up her needle again.
“Again, if she feels her husband has not brought home all the bear meat the family needs, she pokes him in the ribs with force, to show him she also means business. That poke brings him to his feet. He sees that Mother is up in arms.”
So, with understanding, does this Boston seafarin’ man tell of some of the people he has met when he has gone exploring.
He never married, he says, because a woman can break a man’s heart so — at least if she is a sailor’s wife or sweetheart.
So says Captain Bob. Then he speaks of that faith or perhaps we might call it that endeavour by which he lives.
“To see what there is, over the rim of the world. I’m happy anywhere. I’m sure I’d be happy in the very hot place they told us about in Sunday School. Perhaps because I’m sure I would meet some fine fellows, my friends, who have gone there before me. But for one thing, I’d be the happiest man in the world.
“That’s enough money to build a small, stout ice ship. Then to drift off Alaska through the polar pack and come out between Spitzberg and Greenland. It would take two or three years. The drift is more or less conjectural. But the results would be marvellous for science. We’d find out these things, imperative to know, now that dirigibles will soon go into that region, making exact scientific knowledge necessary for safety and the proper handling of the airship.
“Here’s what this trip I covet would disclose:
“Questions as to the magnetic points; the dip of the needle; currents, the directness with which