I will not detain the reader long with the first part of our journey from Anadyrsk to the Pacific Coast, as it did not differ much from our previous Siberian experience. Riding all day over the ice of the river, or across barren steppes, and camping out at night on the snow, in all kinds of weather, made up our life; and its dreary monotony was relieved only by anticipations of a joyful meeting with our exiled friends and the exciting consciousness that we were penetrating a country never before visited by civilised man. Day by day the fringe of alder bushes along the river bank grew lower and more scanty, and the great steppes that bordered the river became whiter and more barren as the river widened toward the sea. Finally we left behind us the last vestige of vegetation, and began the tenth day of our journey along a river which had increased to a mile in width, and amidst plains perfectly destitute of all life, which stretched away in one unbroken white expanse until they blended with the distant sky. It was not without uneasiness that I thought of the possibility of being overtaken by a ten days' storm in such a region as this. We had made, as nearly as we could estimate, since leaving Anadyrsk, about two hundred versts; but whether we were anywhere near the seacoast or not we had no means of knowing. The weather for nearly a week had been generally clear, and not very cold; but on the night of February 1st the thermometer sank to - 35 deg., and we could find only just enough small green bushes to boil our teakettle. We dug everywhere in the snow in search of wood, but found nothing except moss, and a few small cranberry bushes which would not burn. Tired with the long day's travel, and the fruitless diggings for wood, Dodd and I returned to camp, and threw ourselves down upon our bearskins to drink tea. Hardly had Dodd put his cup to his lips when I noticed that a curious, puzzled expression came over his face, as if he found something singular and unusual in the taste of the tea. I was just about to ask him what was the matter, when he cried in a joyful and surprised voice, "Tide-water! The tea is salt!" Thinking that perhaps a little salt might have been dropped accidentally into the tea, I sent the men down to the river for some fresh ice, which we carefully melted. It was unquestionably salt. We had reached the tide-water of the Pacific, and the ocean itself could not be far distant. One more day must certainly bring us to the house of the American party, or to the mouth of the river. From all appearances we should find no more wood; and anxious to make the most of the clear weather, we slept only about six hours, and started on at midnight by the light of a brilliant moon.

On the eleventh day after our departure from Anadyrsk, toward the close of the long twilight which succeeds an arctic day, our little train of eleven sledges drew near the place where, from Chukchi accounts, we expected to find the long-exiled party of Americans. The night was clear, still, and intensely cold, the thermometer at sunset marking forty-four degrees below zero, and sinking rapidly to - 50 deg. as the rosy flush in the west grew fainter and fainter, and darkness settled down upon the vast steppe. Many times before, in Siberia and Kamchatka, I had seen nature in her sterner moods and winter garb; but never before had the elements of cold, barrenness, and desolation seemed to combine into a picture so dreary as the one which was presented to us that night near Bering Strait. Far as eye could pierce the gathering gloom in every direction lay the barren steppe like a boundless ocean of snow, blown into long wave-like ridges by previous storms. There was not a tree, nor a bush, nor any sign of animal or vegetable life, to show that we were not travelling on a frozen ocean. All was silence and desolation. The country seemed abandoned by God and man to the Arctic Spirit, whose trembling banners of auroral light flared out fitfully in the north in token of his conquest and dominion. About eight o'clock the full moon rose huge and red in the east, casting a lurid glare over the vast field of snow; but, as if it too were under the control of the Arctic Spirit, it was nothing more than the mockery of a moon, and was constantly assuming the most fantastic and varied shapes. Now it extended itself laterally into a long ellipse, then gathered itself up into the semblance of a huge red urn, lengthened out to a long perpendicular bar with rounded ends, and finally became triangular. It can hardly be imagined what added wildness and strangeness this blood-red distorted moon gave to a scene already wild and strange. We seemed to have entered upon some frozen abandoned world, where all the ordinary laws and phenomena of Nature were suspended, where animal and vegetable life were extinct, and from which even the favour of the Creator had been withdrawn. The intense cold, the solitude, the oppressive silence, and the red, gloomy moonlight, like the glare of a distant but mighty conflagration, all united to excite in the mind feelings of awe, which were perhaps intensified by the consciousness that never before had any human being, save a few Wandering Chukchis, ventured in winter upon these domains of the Frost King. There was none of the singing, joking, and hallooing, with which our drivers were wont to enliven a night journey. Stolid and unimpressible though they might be, there was something in the scene which even they felt and were silent. Hour after hour wore slowly away until midnight. We had passed by more than twenty miles the point on the river where the party of Americans was supposed to be; but no sign had been found of the subterranean house or its projecting stove-pipe, and the great steppe still stretched away before us, white, ghastly, and illimitable as ever. For nearly twenty-four hours we had travelled without a single stop, night or day, except one at sunrise to rest our tired dogs; and the intense cold, fatigue, anxiety, and lack of warm food, began at last to tell upon our silent but suffering men. We realised for the first time the hazardous nature of the adventure in which we were engaged, and the almost absolute hopelessness of the search which we were making for the lost American party. We had not one chance in a hundred of finding at midnight on that vast waste of snow a little buried hut, whose location we did not know within fifty miles, and of whose very existence we were by no means certain. Who could tell whether the Americans had not abandoned their subterranean house two months before, and removed with some friendly natives to a more comfortable and sheltered situation? We had heard nothing from them later than December 1st, and it was now February. They might in that time have gone a hundred miles down the coast looking for a settlement, or have wandered far back into the interior with a band of Reindeer Chukchis. It was not probable that they would have spent four months in that dreary, desolate region without making an effort to escape. Even if they were still in their old camp, however, how were we to find them? We might have passed their little underground hut unobserved hours before, and might be now going farther and farther away from it, from wood, and from shelter. It had seemed a very easy thing before we left Anadyrsk, to simply go down the river until we came to a house on the bank, or saw a stove-pipe sticking out of a snow-drift; but now, two hundred and fifty or three hundred miles from the settlement, in a temperature of 50 deg. below zero, when our lives perhaps depended upon finding that little buried hut, we realised how wild had been our anticipations, and how faint were our prospects of success. The nearest wood was more than fifty miles behind us, and in our chilled and exhausted condition we dared not camp without a fire. We must go either forward or back - find the hut within four hours, or abandon the search and return as rapidly as possible to the nearest wood. Our dogs were beginning already to show unmistakable signs of exhaustion, and their feet, lacerated by ice which had formed between the toes, were now spotting the snow with blood at every step. Unwilling to give up the search while there remained any hope, we still went on to the eastward, along the edges of high bare bluffs skirting the river, separating our sledges as widely as possible, and extending our line so as to cover a greater extent of ground. A full moon now high in the heavens, lighted up the vast lonely plain on the north side of the river as brilliantly as day; but its whiteness was unbroken by any dark object, save here and there little hillocks of moss or swampy grass from which the snow had been swept by furious winds.

We were all suffering severely from cold, and our fur hoods and the breasts of our fur coats were masses of white frost which had been formed by our breaths. I had put on two heavy reindeerskinkukhlankas weighing in the aggregate about thirty pounds, belted them tightly about the waist with a sash, drawn their thick hoods up over my head and covered my face with a squirrelskin mask; but in spite of all I could only keep from freezing by running beside my sledge. Dodd said nothing, but was evidently disheartened and half-frozen, while the natives sat silently upon their sledges as if they expected nothing and hoped for nothing. Only Gregorie and an old Chukchi whom we had brought with us as a guide showed any energy or seemed to have any confidence in the ultimate discovery of the party. They went on in advance, digging everywhere in the snow for wood, examining carefully the banks of the river, and making occasional detours into the snowy plain to the northward. At last Dodd, without saying anything to me, gave his spiked stick to one of the natives, drew his head and arms into the body of his fur coat, and lay down upon his sledge to sleep, regardless of my remonstrances, and paying no attention whatever to my questions. He was evidently becoming stupefied by the deadly chill, which struck through the heaviest furs, and which was constantly making insidious advances from the extremities to the seat of life. He probably would not live through the night unless he could be roused, and might not live two hours. Discouraged by his apparently hopeless condition, and exhausted by the constant struggle to keep warm, I finally lost all hope and reluctantly decided to abandon the search and camp. By stopping where we were, breaking up one of our sledges for firewood, and boiling a little tea, I thought that Dodd might be revived; but to go on to the eastward seemed to be needlessly risking the lives of all without any apparent prospect of discovering the party or of finding wood. I had just given the order to the natives nearest me to camp, when I thought I heard a faint halloo in the distance. All the blood in my veins suddenly rushed with a great throb to the heart as I threw back my fur hood and listened. Again, a faint, long-drawn cry came back through the still atmosphere from the sledges in advance. My dogs pricked up their ears at the startling sound and dashed eagerly forward, and in a moment I came upon several of our leading drivers gathered in a little group around what seemed to be an old overturned whale-boat, which lay half buried in snow by the river's bank. The footprint in the sand was not more suggestive to Robinson Crusoe than was this weather-beaten, abandoned whale-boat to us, for it showed that somewhere in the vicinity were shelter and life. One of the men a few moments before had driven over some dark, hard object in the snow, which he at first supposed to be a log of driftwood; but upon stopping to examine it, he found it to be an American whale-boat. If ever we thanked God from the bottom of our hearts, it was then. Brushing away with my mitten the long fringes of frost which hung to my eyelashes, I looked eagerly around for a house, but Gregorie had been quicker than I, and a joyful shout from a point a little farther down the river announced another discovery. I left my dogs to go where they chose, threw away my spiked stick, and started at a run in the direction of the sound. In a moment I saw Gregorie and the old Chukchi standing beside a low mound of snow, about a hundred yards back from the river-bank, examining some dark object which projected from its smooth white surface. It was the long talked-of, long-looked-for stove-pipe! The Anadyr River party was found.

The unexpected discovery, at midnight, of this party of countrymen, when we had just given up all hope of shelter, and almost of life, was a God-send to our disheartened spirits, and I hardly knew in my excitement what I did. I remember now walking hastily back and forth in front of the snow-drift, repeating softly to myself at every step, "Thank God!" "Thank God!" but at the time I was not conscious of anything except the great fact that we had found that party. Dodd, who had been roused from his half-frozen lethargy by the strong excitement of the discovery, now suggested that we try to find the entrance to the house and get in as quickly, as possible, as he was nearly dead from cold and exhaustion. There was no sound of life in the lonely snow-drift before us, and the inmates, if it had any, were evidently asleep. Seeing no sign anywhere of a door, I walked up on the drift, and shouted down through the stove-pipe in tremendous tones, "Halloo the house!" A startled voice from under my feet demanded "Who's there?"

"Come out and see! Where's the door?"

My voice seemed to the astounded Americans inside to come out of the stove - a phenomenon which was utterly unparalleled in all their previous experience; but they reasoned very correctly that any stove which could ask in good English for the door in the middle of the night had an indubitable right to be answered; and they replied in a hesitating and half-frightened tone that the door was "on the south-east corner." This left us about as wise as before. In the first place we did not know which way south-east was, and in the second a snow-drift could not properly be described as having a corner. I started around the stove-pipe, however, in a circle, with the hope of finding some sort of an entrance. The inmates had dug a deep ditch or trench about thirty feet in length for a doorway, and had covered it over with sticks and reindeerskins to keep out the drifting snow. Stepping incautiously upon this frail roof I fell through just as one of the startled men was coming out in his shirt and drawers, holding a candle above his head, and peering through the darkness of the tunnel to see who would enter. The sudden descent through the roof of such an apparition as I knew myself to be, was not calculated to restore the steadiness of startled nerves. I had on two heavy kukhlankas which swelled out my figure to gigantic proportions; two thick reindeerskin hoods with long frosty fringes of black bearskin were pulled up over my head, a squirrelskin mask frozen into a sheet of ice concealed my face, and nothing but the eyes peering out through tangled masses of frosty hair showed that the furs contained a human being. The man took two or three frightened steps backward and nearly dropped his candle. I came in such a "questionable shape" that he might well demand "whether my intents were wicked or charitable!" As I recognised his face, however, and addressed him again in English, he stopped; and tearing off my mask and fur hoods I spoke my name. Never was there such rejoicing as that which then took place in that little underground cellar, as I recognised in the exiled party two of my old comrades and friends, to whom eight months before I had bid good-bye, as the Olga sailed out of the Golden Gate of San Francisco. I little thought when I shook hands with Harder and Robinson then, that I should next meet them at midnight, in a little snow-covered cellar, on the great lonely steppes of the lower Anadyr. As soon as we had taken off our heavy furs and seated ourselves beside a warm fire, we began to feel the sudden reaction which necessarily followed twenty-four hours of such exposure, suffering, and anxiety. Our overstrained nerves gave way all at once, and in ten minutes I could hardly raise a cup of coffee to my lips. Ashamed of such womanish weakness, I tried to conceal it from the Americans, and I presume they do not know to this day that Dodd and I nearly fainted several times within the first twenty minutes, from the suddenness of the change from 50 deg. below zero to 70 deg. above, and the nervous exhaustion produced by anxiety and lack of sleep. We felt an irresistible craving for some powerful stimulant and called for brandy, but there was no liquor of any kind to be had. This weakness, however, soon passed away, and we proceeded to relate to one another our respective histories and adventures, while our drivers huddled together in a mass at one end of the little hut and refreshed themselves with hot tea.

The party of Americans which we had thus found buried in the snow, more than three hundred versts from Anadyrsk, had been landed there by one of the Company's vessels, some time in September. Their intention had been to ascend the river in a whale-boat until they should reach some settlement, and then try to open communication with us; but winter set in so suddenly, and the river froze over so unexpectedly, that this plan could not be carried out. Having no means of transportation but their boat, they could do nothing more than build themselves a house, and go into winter quarters, with the faint hope that, some time before spring, Major Abaza would send a party of men to their relief. They had built a sort of burrow underground, with bushes, driftwood, and a few boards which had been left by the vessel, and there they had been living by lamp-light for five months, without ever seeing the face of a civilised human being. The Wandering Chukchis had soon found out their situation and frequently visited them on reindeer-sledges, and brought them fresh meat, and blubber which they used for lamp-oil; but these natives, on account of a superstition which I have previously mentioned, refused to sell them any living reindeer, so that all their efforts to procure transportation were unavailing. The party originally consisted of five men - Macrae, Arnold, Robinson, Harder, and Smith; but Macrae and Arnold, about three weeks previous to our arrival, had organised themselves into a "forlorn hope," and had gone away with a large band of Wandering Chukchis in search, of some Russian settlement. Since that time nothing had been heard from them, and Robinson, Harder, and Smith had been living alone.

Such was the situation when we found the party. Of course, there was nothing to be done but carry these three men and all their stores back to Anadyrsk, where we should probably find Macrae and Arnold awaiting our arrival. The Chukchis came to Anadyrsk, I knew, every winter, for the purpose of trade, and would probably bring the two Americans with them.

After three days spent in resting, refitting, and packing up, we started back with the rescued party, and on February 6th we returned in safety to Anadyrsk.