We left camp at half-past seven in the morning of the 15th, a sharp wind blowing in our faces. We had not gone far when the dogs began to prick up their ears, and finally started off on a brisk run, barking and manifesting great excitement. The Inuits at once attributed this unwonted energy on the part of the dogs to the fact that there were people not far distant, and, sure enough, we soon saw several igloos about three-quarters of a mile ahead, with poles sticking in the snow around them - an evidence that they were inhabited. The sleds were now halted, and preparations made to open communication with the strangers. The Inuits of our party, especially Ishnark and Joe, were very much frightened, and said the people we were about to meet were as warlike as the Netchilliks, and always wanted to fight when they met strangers. They were somewhat reassured when their attention was called to the immense advantage we had over them with our breech-loaders and magazine guns against their bows and spears. In accordance with the custom of the country, the Inuits armed themselves with snow-knives and spears, while the white men carried their rifles or revolvers. All the men and boys then advanced toward the igloos, but not a soul was to be seen. Two or three dogs ran out and barked and then ran to where the sleds were halted, the women and children cowering down behind them. When within about three hundred yards of the camp our party halted, while Equeesik and Ishnark went a few paces further and began shouting something, which I afterward learned was Equeesik's name, with which they were acquainted, and announcing the fact that there were white men with our party. Presently one man crawled timidly out of the doorway of an igloo and asked a question, which must have been satisfactorily answered, for others soon followed and arranged themselves alongside of him; then all of them shouted an invitation to advance, whereupon we approached, and conversation between the Inuits became general. We were objects of great curiosity to the strangers, most of whom now saw white men for the first time. It seems that when they first saw us they thought we were Netchilliks, and were in consequence very much frightened, so that while some of our people were dreading an encounter, these poor creatures were shaking in their shoes and afraid to come out of their igloos. They all carried knives in their hands, but as weapons they might as well have carried nothing. Most of them were bits of hoop-iron or copper, worked down to a blade, and fastened upon long handles of reindeer horn.

There were in the party nine men, nearly all belonging to the immediate family of an old man, who acted as spokesman. He said he was an Ookjoolik, but he and others had been driven from their country by their more numerous and warlike neighbors the Netchilliks. His family comprised nearly all that was left of the tribe which formerly occupied the western coast of Adelaide Peninsula and King William Land. We concluded to encamp with them, and get what information we could from them concerning our mate and the Franklin ships. We were fortunate in finding the old man, an interesting and important witness. "Esquimau Joe," Ishnark, and Equeesik acted as interpreters, and through them we learned that these people were in great distress for food. The musk-ox we saw cached was all the meat they had in hand, or had had for a long time. An old man of their tribe had starved to death about a month before our arrival. We gave them some reindeer meat, of which we fortunately had plenty on the sleds, and told them where they would find the carcass of a reindeer that one of our party had killed the day before and left on the field because the sleds were too far off to wait for it. Their clothing was in a dilapidated condition, though originally well made, and instead of reindeer gloves and shoes, they wore articles made of musk-ox skin, which had a most extraordinary effect. The hair of the musk-ox is several inches long, and it looked as if they had an old-fashioned muff on each hand. They were very good natured and friendly, however, and helped to build our igloos and make them comfortable. We obtained from them a few trifling relics of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror', in exchange for knives and needles, which made them happy. It seemed strange to me that they should be hungry in a country swarming with reindeer, but our people explained to me that in winter it is almost impossible to get near enough to reindeer; to kill them with arrows, which are their only weapons. In summer they kill a few reindeer from their kyacks, or skin canoes, while crossing the big lakes on their migrations. The Netchilliks also kill a few reindeer in this way. In the summer and fall these people catch great quantities of salmon and cow-e-sil-lik, a species of fish peculiar to this country, and in the neighboring hills kill a few musk-oxen. Their main dependence, however, is upon fish from Back's and Harris's rivers.

From Ikinnelikpatolok, the old Ookjoolik, we learned at the interview that he had only once seen white men alive. That was when he was a little boy. He is now about sixty-five or seventy. He was fishing on Back's River when they came along in a boat and shook hands with him. There were ten men. The leader was called "Tos-ard-e-roak," which Joe says, from the sound, he thinks means Lieutenant Back. The next white man he saw was dead in a bunk of a big ship which was frozen in the ice near an island about five miles due west of Grant Point, on Adelaide Peninsula. They had to walk out about three miles on smooth ice to reach the ship. He said that his son, who was present, a man about thirty-five years old, was then about like a child he pointed out - probably seven or eight years old. About this time he saw the tracks of white men on the main-land. When he first saw them there were four, and afterward only three. This was when the spring snows were falling. When his people saw the ship so long without any one around, they used to go on board and steal pieces of wood and iron. They did not know how to get inside by the doors, and cut a hole in the side of the ship, on a level with the ice, so that when the ice broke up during the following summer the ship filled and sunk. No tracks were seen in the salt-water ice or on the ship, which also was covered with snow, but they saw scrapings and sweepings alongside, which seemed to have been brushed off by people who had been living on board. They found some red cans of fresh meat, with plenty of what looked like tallow mixed with it. A great many had been opened, and four were still unopened. They saw no bread. They found plenty of knives, forks, spoons, pans, cups, and plates on board, and afterward found a few such things on shore after the vessel had gone down. They also saw books on board, and left them there. They only took knives, forks, spoons, and pans; the other things they had no use for. He never saw or heard of the white men's cairn on Adelaide Peninsula.

Peowat, son-in-law of the previous witness, a man about forty, said that when about fourteen or fifteen years old he saw two boats come down Back's River. One had eight men in it, and the other he did not notice how many. He afterward saw a stone monument on Montreal Island, which, when he opened it, was found to contain a pocket-knife, a pair of scissors, and some fish-hooks, which he took away. He saw no papers anywhere about it.

We remained in this camp two days and a half, and before we left engaged a young man named Narleyow to accompany us as guide and seal hunter. His wife, Innokpizookzook, and their child, a little girl about three years old, also went with us. Our new hunter was given a gun and ammunition, and placed in the care of Equeesik to instruct in the use of fire-arms. I noticed that these people have slightly fairer complexions than the natives of Hudson's Bay, and the women are somewhat more elaborately tattooed, despite which they are quite comely. The children are all remarkably pretty, but the men have a ghastly look from wearing wooden goggles to guard against snow blindness, which makes the skin around the eyes, where protected by the goggles, several shades lighter than the rest of their face.

We reached Back's River in four more marches, two of which were on the Hayes River, and two on land, crossing from the great bend to avoid the detour that otherwise we would be compelled to make. We were compelled to remain in camp one day, while on the land, on account of a severe storm. The day we reached Back's River was also one of the most disagreeable days we marched, and it was a joyful sight to us, after nearly two months' travelling over an entirely unknown country, to find ourselves within easy reach of our destination. It seemed as if nothing now could prevent the accomplishment of our desire. As long as we were dependent upon the snow the prospect was growing more and more dubious; but with the salt-water ice beneath us, we felt assured of reaching our destination in due season. We remained one day at Montreal Island, to look for the remains of the cairn spoken of by Peowat, but every trace of it had been removed, as he said.

The day we left Montreal Island two seals were killed, which were the first since leaving Hudson's Bay. We found the distance from the north-east end of the island much less than mapped, and went into camp well up the coast, after killing three reindeer. We again took the land, crossing the Oyle Point and Richardson Point peninsulas, which we found much wider than mapped. In an inlet west of Richardson Point, or "Nu-oo-tar-ro," as it is known by the natives, we ran into the first of the Netchillik encampments, on the last day of May. The ceremony of opening communication was similar to that with the Ooquee-sik-silliks a few days before, with the exception that instead of remaining in their igloos the men were drawn up in line of battle in front of them, and sent out an old woman to find out who we were and what we wanted. If our designs had been hostile, and we had killed the old woman, their fighting strength would not have been reduced, and it would only have been one less old woman to care for. They carried their bows in their hands, with arrows fixed to the strings; but when the old woman shouted back that we were white men, they laid aside their arms and received us in a friendly manner, striking their breasts and saying, "Many-tu-me," though Joe afterward told me that one of the men wanted a fight anyhow. They have a custom of killing the first stranger who comes among them after a death in the tribe, and as we filled that requirement, it seems he wanted to carry out the custom. At Equeesik's suggestion a gun had been discharged in the air as we approached, and it is probable that the knowledge that we were better armed than they had some effect in securing peace. They acted in quite a friendly manner after we came among them, and Lieutenant Schwatka and I visited all their igloos, leaving needles, thimbles, spoons, knives, and fish-hooks with them in exchange for a few unimportant Franklin relics. The next day we interviewed an old man named Seeuteetuar, who had seen a number of skeletons near the water line in an inlet about three or four miles west from the present camp. He had also seen books and papers scattered around among the rocks along the shore and back from the beach. There were also knives, forks and spoons, dishes and cans. There was no sled there, but there was a boat, which was afterward broken up and taken away by the natives, with which to manufacture wooden implements. He was shown a watch, and said he saw several like it lying around, which were also taken and broken up by the children. Some were silver and some gold. He said the bones were still there, unless carried off by foxes and wolves. He had never seen or heard of a cairn erected by white men along the coast on this side of Simpson Strait, and had never heard of any other traces of white men here. It was a long time since he had been there, but he could show us the spot.

Toolooah, another Netchillik, about forty-five years old, had also been at the boat place, but after nearly everything had been removed. He had, however, seen traces of white men in the Ookjoolik country, on the western coast of Adelaide Peninsula, and as late as last summer had picked up pieces of bottles, iron, wood and tin cans on an island off Grant Point. Ookjoolik natives had pointed out this island as a place near which a ship had been sunk many years ago. A map was shown to him, and he pointed to a spot about eight miles due west of Grant Point as the place where the ship went down. Ooping, an Ookjoolik Inuit, who lived near the mouth of a big inlet that extends nearly across Adelaide Peninsula, from the head of Wilmot Bay, was the last Esquimau who had gone over the west coast of King William Land. This was two years ago. He had seen traces of white men near Cape Jane Franklin and along the coast of Cape Felix. This inlet, spoken of by Toolooah, seemed of sufficient importance to deserve surveying, and Lieutenant Schwatka decided to include it in the search of the Ookjoolik country.

The sun exerted sufficient power during the middle of the day to bring our igloo down; but we had finished our interviewing and were ready to visit the cove where the boat and skeletons had been found. One light sled, with plenty of dogs, took us over, with Seeuteetuar and Toolooah as guides, and our Toolooah as driver. We found the place about three miles from camp, and, though the ground was nearly all covered with snow, and nothing whatever distinguished it from the coast on either side, we could not but be impressed by the mournful interest with which the sad fate of the lost explorers invested it. To our minds there seemed little doubt but that this was the farthest point in the direction of Hudson's Bay that any of them had reached. The party was a small one, and had, probably, been sifted down to the few hardiest men, whose anticipation of rescue from the horrible death that awaited them had not faltered under all their terrible sufferings while they had the continent in view. It probably seemed that if they could only reach the mainland they would be comparatively safe. But even the bravest hearts must have sunk - and that there were many brave hearts among them cannot be doubted, when the awful desolation of this country forced itself upon them. No more powerful picture of utter abandonment could possibly be devised than this. The land low and barren, so low, indeed, as to be scarcely distinguished from the sea, as both lay covered with their mantle of snow. Neither tree nor sprout, and scarcely a hill visible - nothing whatever to relieve the crushing monotony of the scene - no living thing to be seen anywhere, though the eye had uninterrupted range over so vast a territory. Even a wolf prowling around would have been a relief in the utter loneliness that oppressed them. All this presented itself to our minds as we looked around but saw no traces of the lost ones. Had we known at this time what we learned a few days later, the place would have had an additional interest as the spot where the records of the expedition, which had been brought thus far with infinite toil and care, had been irrecoverably lost. We marked the spot carefully, for a thorough search when the snow was off the ground, and returned to camp. Our guides informed us that the boat was found upside down on the beach, and all the skeletons beneath it. They did not remember the exact number, but thought there were about five or more.

That night Equeesik learned from two natives who came in late that his sister was with another portion of the tribe near Richardson Point, and went there with his sled, returning the next day but one with several families, including an old woman whom we found to be another important and interesting witness. She was one of a party who met some of the survivors of the ill-fated ships on Washington Bay. Since then she had seen no white man until now. Her name was Ahlangyah, a Netchillik, about fifty-five years of age. She had a fine intelligent face, and a quantity of jet black hair, slightly tinged with gray, that had probably never been annoyed by any efforts at arrangement, and hung down over her shoulders or straggled over her face without reserve or molestation. I succeeded during the interview in getting a very characteristic portrait of her, the authenticity of which was subsequently attested when I had forgotten her name and her friends at once identified her by the portrait. It is but fair to state that we have reason to put great faith in the statements of these people, as truthfulness seems to be an inherent quality with them. They never attempted to deceive us in regard to relics, though perhaps it would seem easy and profitable. In many instances what appeared to us to be interesting relics they told us came from the natives of Repulse Bay and elsewhere.

Ahlangyah pointed out the eastern coast of Washington Bay as the spot where she, in company with her husband, and two other men with their wives, had seen ten white men dragging a sledge with a boat on it many years ago. There was another Inuit with them who did not go near the white men. The sledge was on the ice, and a wide crack separated them from the white men at the interview. The women went on shore, and the men awaited the white people at the crack on the ice. Five of the white men put up a tent on the shore, and five remained with the boat on the ice. The Inuits put up a tent not far from the white men, and they stayed together here five days. During this time the Inuits killed a number of seals on the ice and gave them to the white men. They gave her husband a chopping-knife. He was the one who had the most intercourse with the white crew. The knife is now lost, or broken and worn out. She has not seen it for a long time. At the end of five days they all started for Adelaide Peninsula, fearing that the ice, which was very rotten, might not let them across. They started at night, because then, the sun being low, the ice would be a little frozen. The white men followed, dragging their heavy sledge and boat, and could not cross the rotten ice as fast as the Inuits, who halted and waited for them at Gladman's Point. The Inuits could not cross to the mainland, the ice was too rotten, and they remained in King William Land all summer. They never saw the white men again, though they waited at Gladman's Point fishing in the neighboring lakes, going back and forth between the shore and lakes nearly all summer, and then went to the eastern shore near Matty Island.

Some of the white men were very thin, and their mouths were dry and hard and black. They had no fur clothing on. When asked if she remembered by what names the white men were called, she said one of them was called "Agloocar," and another "Toolooah." The latter seemed to be the chief, and it was he who gave the chopping-knife to her husband. (Agloocar and Toolooah are both common Esquimau names, and it is probable the names she heard the white men call resembled these in sound, and thus impressed themselves upon her mind.) Another one was called "Dok-took" (Doctor). "Toolooah" was a little older than the others, and had a large black beard, mixed with gray. He was bigger than any of the others - "a big, broad man." "Agloocar" was smaller, and had a brown beard about four or five inches below his chin (motioning with her hand). "Dok-took" was a short man, with a big stomach and red beard, about the same length as "Agloocar's." All three wore spectacles, not snow goggles, but, as the interpreters said, all the same seko (ice).

The following spring, when there was little snow on the ground, she saw a tent standing on the shore at the head of Terror Bay. There were dead bodies in the tent, and outside were some covered over with sand. There was no flesh on them - nothing but the bones and clothes. There were a great many; she had forgotten how many. Indeed, Inuits have little idea of numbers beyond "ten." She saw nothing to indicate any of the party she met before. The bones had the chords or sinews still attached to them. One of the bodies had the flesh on, but this one's stomach was gone. There were one or two graves outside. They did not open the graves at this time; saw a great many things lying around. There were knives, forks, spoons, watches, many books, clothing, blankets, and such things. The books were not taken notice of. This was the same party of Esquimaux who had met the white men the year before, and they were the first who saw the tent and graves. They had been in King William Land ever since they saw the white men until they found the tent place.