CHAPTER II. THE WINTER CAMP.
But our more immediate business was with Captain Potter. I asked him if he remembered Captain Barry's getting a Franklin spoon while with him on the 'Glacier', and he said he had never heard anything about it until he read in the newspapers that Barry had sent one to Sir John Franklin's niece, Miss Craycroft, which surprised him very much. He further said that he (Potter) had received three spoons at that time, one of which mysteriously disappeared shortly afterward. The published description of Barry's spoon corresponded exactly with the one he had lost, even to its being broken off near the bowl and mended with copper, as was the one he had received from Sinuksook's wife. Captain Potter further said, that to one who had lived with the Esquimaux, and acquired the pigeon English they use in communicating with the whalers in Hudson's Bay, and contrasted it with the language they use in conversation with each other, the assertion of Captain Barry, that he overheard them talking about books and understood them, was supremely ridiculous. There is probably no white man in the Arctic, or who ever visited it, that would understand them under such circumstances unless it be one or two in Cumberland, who have lived with them for fifteen or twenty years.
In this crucible of fact the famous spoon melted. So far as Captain Barry and his clews were concerned, we had come on a fool's errand.