Jackson, and the engineers are honest. Keep quiet now till I am well again, and wait with your eyes wide open. Later on we shall certainly see something!"
The surgeon then lay silent. During the night the lads sat up with him, watching in turn. Esau came down to make inquiry, and Jackson also looked in. The Rushtons attended to their friend under his own directions, and decided to "play possum" until they fell in with a ship or landed somewhere. In this way three weeks passed, and southern climes were reached.
By that time the doctor had perfectly recovered. He assisted in the fishing for the albatross with a hook and bait, and finally secured one of these fine birds by these means. He and all the rest on board enjoyed the novel sights of whales and porpoises, the various birds, and the unusual appearances of the southern climate. A gale drove the Bertha past the Falklands, greatly to the disgust of many on board who had anticipated a run ashore; and then, when the weather moderated, the passengers came on deck again muffled up to meet the Antarctic cold. Christmas was already looming on the horizon of the almanac, and festivity was indulged in in anticipation. The doctor stuffed birds (mollymauks and Cape pigeons); Reginald and Arthur fished, shot, and thoroughly enjoyed the voyage, while still on their guard respecting the commander. In fact, to all appearance, the ill-feeling which had arisen on board had by this time passed away.
One afternoon the thermometer fell decidedly, and a report of ice was promulgated. The air became very chilly, and bergs were anticipated. Ice for Christmas!
"What a lark!" cried Arthur. "This will be fun! May we land upon an iceberg?"
The commander, who was searching the ocean through his glass, looked steadily and with much interest at the lad. He did not reply at once, but resumed his survey.
"Can we, Mr. Cordell?" asked Arthur again.