Northward: Peary’s 1908-09 Expedition

A dark Christmas morn

A dark Christmas morn, overcast but very warm, then down to 21-. Have made out the programme for the day.

“Christmas Day”

2 o’clock - 50 yard dash on the ice: First heat Eskimo children, 2nd heat Eskimo women, 3rd heat Eskimo men, 4th heat “Kabloonahs”, Tug of War, Men aft vs. Men for’ard

3 o’clock - Distributing of food to Inuits

4 o’clock - Dinner

5 o’clock - Throwing dice for prizes

8 o’clock - In forecastle forward: Finger pulling, Back pulling, Head pulling, Boxing, Grand concert on Graphaphone by Steward Percy, Flash light pictures by Prof. George Borup

Cheers, Goodnight

The Capt. and Borup helped me with the course. When I came out of tidal igloo at 2 o’clock every thing was already. The course looked fine lighted up with about fifteen lanterns.
    All were enthusiastic. The races were hotly contested, especially the last heat of the “Koonah” race which was composed mostly of women with babies in the hood. The dash for Esquimaux men was won by Siglu, for Kabloonah’s by Marvin, for women by Te-cu-mah, for boys by Panik-pah’s boy “Jimmie”. In the tug of war the men for’ard won by about a foot. In the dice throwing contest the winners were Mr. Gushue, Paddy Skeins, In-u-pee, [undecipherable] and We-shark-ob-see.
    Commander here kindly presented me with a fine knife for my efforts in working up the programme.
    Our mess room was decorated with the now famous and historical flags of former expeditions. George took two flashlights of us seated. A fine dinner, musk ox, plum pudding, candy decorated cake. We each received candy and nuts from Mrs. Peary. Our first Christmas in the Arctic has been a most enjoyable one – plenty of everything – of good feeling and of good cheer far more important than an abundance of good food. We are all happy. With us the “dread arctic night” does not exist. The days are all too short for what we would like to do. With me the sun has not been missed even. He will be welcome when he comes but he is not essential to our happiness or thus far to our good health. I think we are, excepting the Doctor, in better condition than we were when we left New York – fatter, healthier, and as happy as one can be, all eagerly looking forward to the more serious work of the polar ice. 

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