In The Heart Of Labrador
From: Doctor Jones' Picnic
The central room of the cabin was called the 'engine room.' It was
fifteen feet square, with a hole three feet in diameter in one corner,
now securely covered. It was used for lowering or hoisting objects
through while the globe was at anchor. An aluminum frame or cage,
attached to a windlass by a chain of the same material, was used for
this purpose. A powerful coil steel spring operated the windlass. In
each of the other corners of the room were anchors of aluminum, also
attached to windlasses and worked by steel springs. There was a dynamo
that afforded abundance of light for the ship. This, too, was run by
spring power. The rooms of the cabin were brilliantly lighted, and the
spiral stairway, from the foot of the mast which stood upon the center
of the floor of the engine-room, was illuminated by several lights, up
to the observatory itself. At the top, or ball of the mast, was a light
of thirty-two hundred candle power. Altogether, the ship must have been
at night an object of terrific splendor to the observer below.
Will was the originator of the steel-springs motor idea, and he daily
attended to winding them with great faithfulness and pride. And it was a
most invaluable adjunct to the comfort and success of the expedition, as
will be seen before the end of this history is reached.
At daylight, on the following morning, all were up and looking out upon
wild Canadian forests. Here and there were small towns and settlements,
but they realized that they were fast hastening beyond the pale of
civilization. The wind had moved during the night into the southwest,
and the Professor informed them that they were sailing at the rate of
more than thirty miles an hour.
"If this wind will only continue, we shall not be long reaching our
destination," said the Doctor. "While I am enjoying the trip splendidly,
yet I am anxious to reach the Pole as soon as possible. After that we
will start on a general sightseeing tour. But until I have planted our
aluminum shaft exactly upon the north end of the earth's axis,
sightseeing is but incidental and secondary."
All day they skimmed like a frigate bird across the face of Canada, at
an altitude of about two thousand feet. All were delighted with the
behavior of the ship. Her capacity for floating and retaining heat far
exceeded their most sanguine expectations.
It was interesting to watch the fast changing appearance of the country,
and they could note that the timber was rapidly growing smaller.
Clearings and settlements became more and more rare, and as the day
closed they were looking upon primitive, unbroken forests, known only to
hunters, both white and red.
Another night passed without incident. The wind held all night in the
same quarter. On the following morning the beautiful ship was enveloped
in a dense fog. "We are in the midst of a great cloud," said Professor
"I think we will rise a few hundred feet and see if we can get out of
it," replied Dr. Jones.
The temperature within the globe was raised a few degrees, and the ship
rapidly rose to twenty-five hundred feet altitude. This carried them
high above the clouds, and it was with new and strange sensations that
our aerial navigators looked down upon the dense cloud that obscured the
face of the earth from their view. The sun, meantime, was shining with
what seemed to them greatly increased splendor in this super-cloud
"Well, girls," cried the Doctor, "I am for some exercise. Who will mount
with me to the observatory?"
They each assented, and a few moments later were sitting in that
elevated place, very warm and breathless from the unwonted exercise of
the long climb. This was Mattie's first visit to the observatory, and
her eyes dilated with terror as she looked over the rolling sides of the
"O, Doctor, Doctor! isn't this perfectly awful! Think of what the very
slightest mistake or mishap would do. We should go flying down through
those clouds, and be dashed to pieces in those uninhabited Canadian
forests. And I suppose that our friends would never hear of us again.
"Tut, tut, Mattie. Cheer up, little girl," said the doctor, very
soothingly, and patting her head with his steady, strong hand. "No
mishap is possible. We cannot explode, collapse, burn, collide, nor
capsize. No enterprise ever entered upon by man possessed so much of
interest and importance, and was attended by so little of the element of
danger. You were never safer in your life than you are at this moment.
Think of it! Here we are above the clouds, the world with all its care
and heartaches shut out, basking in this glorious sunlight, sailing on
in this clear, bracing, microbeless atmosphere. The clouds beneath our
feet, the sun above our heads, and God's empyrean all about us. What can
be more inspiring and grand? How does the chorus of that old hymn run?
'Let us look above the clouds,
Above the clouds, above the clouds;
Up above the stormy clouds
To fairer worlds on high.'"
The Doctor sang this simple chorus in his great sonorous voice that rang
out over the clouds like a bugle blast.
"Well, I declare Doctor, you will not let me get into a real good
fright," cried Mattie, smiling through eyes filled with tears.
"No, indeed, I will not, Mattie. The only fear I have now is that we may
keep breakfast waiting. Let's descend."
The forenoon passed away very uneventfully. About the middle of the
afternoon they were treated to a splendid spectacle. A terrific thunder
storm raged beneath them; and as they looked below into the inky depths
of the thunder clouds, pierced and riven by jagged lightnings, followed
by deafening bellowings and crashings of thunder, and then cast their
eyes up to the sun shining in full-orbed splendor over all, they
realized as never before the presence and majesty of Omnipotence.
At four o'clock, P.M. the storm clouds cleared away, and the bleak,
uninviting face of Labrador was plainly visible. The ship had settled to
an altitude of fifteen hundred feet, and was moving northeasterly at the
rate of thirty miles an hour.
"Isn't that a settlement I see ahead a few miles?" asked Will.
The Doctor and Professor Gray decided that it must be a fort or trading
post. The ship, meantime, was lowering quite rapidly, and was but eight
hundred feet above the earth.
"I have a mind to drop anchor at that fort for the night," said Dr.
Jones. "Some fresh meat, especially game and fish, would not be at all
bad to take. What do you all say?"
A general desire was expressed to do so.
They could see that the inhabitants of the place were greatly excited,
and were running to and fro. The globe was lowered to within three
hundred feet of the earth. As they neared the spot, two of the anchors
were dropped, and soon caught in the birch tree tops. The ship strained
tremendously at the cables for a moment or two, and then rode easily at
anchorage, three hundred feet above the buildings.
"Fort ahoy!" shouted the Doctor.
"Ahoy!" replied a hoarse voice.
"What fort is this?"
"This is not a fort, but Constance House."
"Well, we are a party bound for the North Pole, and we wish to buy some
"All right. Come down, and we will do the best we can for you. But I
think you have scared everybody on the place about to death."
The spring power was turned on, and the windlasses drew the globe to
within one hundred feet of the earth. Then the Doctor and Denison
descended in the cage. They met a splendidly built, large man, dressed
in a semi-arctic suit of woolens and furs. The two voyagers introduced
themselves, explained their business, and they were received very
cordially by this man, John Barton, the proprietor and owner of
Constance House. He invited the whole company to descend and make
themselves at home as long as they desired to remain. So two by two they
descended, Sing also joining the group below. The anchors were lashed to
the trunks of the trees to prevent accidents from sudden gusts of wind.
They found Constance House to be a large one-story stone building, which
served for both residence and storeroom. One-half of it was devoted to
the storage of provisions, clothing, and such other goods as are
required by hunters and trappers. These Mr. Barton exchanged for furs
with said hunters and trappers. Hunting, trapping, and fishing
constituted the sole business of the simple-minded inhabitants. Here
they are born, live, die contentedly, knowing little of and caring
nothing about the great world which the most of us are so anxious to
Barton's family consisted of a wife, two strapping sons, who were
hunters and trappers, and a daughter. The daughter's name was Jennie,
aged eighteen. She was a strong, healthy, beautiful girl. Nothing could
exceed the loveliness of her skin, the whiteness of her even teeth, or
the graceful shapeliness of her form. Mrs. Jones and Mattie were
immediately drawn to her. She met their advances freely and frankly,
though her manners showed at once that she was not accustomed to such
society. But she was so unaffectedly sweet and pure that the two ladies
loved her all the better for her unsophistication. Mrs. Barton was an
invalid, and they did not see her that evening.
After a bountiful supper the whole party drew up to a vast fireplace. In
it roared a huge fire, for the night was very cold and frosty. For a
time the air-ship and the object of their voyage was discussed. The
admiration of Barton and the inhabitants of Constance House for the
globe was unbounded. The wind had lulled away to a very gentle breeze,
and the superlatively splendid globe hung above them so majestically,
and glistened so beautifully in the moonlight, that it is not wonderful
that these people, who saw and knew so little of the outside world,
should be struck dumb with wonder and astonishment as they looked upon
"I must say," said Barton, "that I never experienced such sensations in
my life as I did when your ship hove in sight. I have been mate of some
good ships in my time, and have traveled over a good portion of the
earth. I have seen many strange sights on land and sea, but this beats
them all by so much that I shall never mention them again. And you are
going to make the North Pole beyond a peradventure. Nothing could
please me so well as to make one of your party. But my poor, poor wife!"
He dropped his face into his hands, and tears trickled down upon his
massive grey beard. The two sons and Jennie also participated in their
"What is the matter with your wife?" asked Mrs. Jones, very gently.
"Perhaps Dr. Jones might do something for her."
"No, no, madam; her case is a hopeless one. I took her down to Montreal
last year, and the best medical men there were consulted. They could do
absolutely nothing for her, and I have brought her home to die. I wanted
to stay there with her, where she could have more of the comforts of
life, but she preferred to come back to Constance House."
"While I know nothing of the nature of your wife's disease, yet I will
say that I have cured many cases of so-called incurables. It is not that
I know more of the nature of disease than the average physician, but I
use drugs that they know nothing of, will not investigate, look at, nor
even touch with the longest of tongs," said Dr. Jones.
"But, Doctor, my wife's case is cancer. They showed me the latest and
best authorities, and they invariably gave what they called an
'unfavorable prognosis.' You would not undertake to say that this
fearful disease is curable, would you?" cried Barton, very earnestly.
The Doctor saw that he had a very intelligent and well-informed man to
deal with. He had conceived a liking for the grand old man, and desired,
with all his good and kindly heart, to help this noble family in its
distress and isolation from the civilized world. So he said slowly and
"Mr. Barton, I came to you this afternoon like a messenger from the
skies. The way in which I came, and the ship in which I sailed, ought to
entitle my word to some weight with you. Now I am going to say this: I
have cured cancers, and believe that a large percentage of them are
curable. I would like to see your wife, and if I can do anything for
her, I shall be glad to do it."
"I thank you, Dr. Jones, with all my heart. Come right in with me," and
Barton led the way to his wife's room. Half an hour later the Doctor
came from the sick room, went out, jumped into the cage and mounted to
the globe. He returned in a few moments and said: "I have here medicine,
Mr. Barton, that is certain to do your wife a great amount of good. And
I am quite positive that it will work a perfect cure. Her symptoms point
so unmistakably and pronouncedly to a certain remedy that I feel safe in
assuring you of immediate relief. I shall be much surprised if you do
not see less pain, burning, restlessness, thirst--in short, a decidedly
better night than she has known for months."
Constance House was not prepared with sleeping accommodations for so
large a company of visitors, and at ten o'clock they mounted to the ship
for the night. At seven o'clock on the following morning they all
descended again and partook of the substantial breakfast prepared for
them by Jennie, with the help of a half-breed Indian girl.
The surprise and delight of the family was immeasurable at the
palliative effects of Dr. Jones' medicine. Mrs. Barton had rested quite
comfortably nearly all night, a thing that she had not done in many
months. Barton grasped the Doctor's hand when he first appeared in the
morning, and could not speak for emotion.
"That is all right, Mr. Barton; just what I expected."
"Doctor, you have inspired me with a degree of hope that I never
expected to know again. Do you really think you can cure her?"
"Mr. Barton, I will just reiterate what I said to you last night: I have
seen some astonishing cures done by the remedy indicated by the
symptoms, and in what we call a 'high potency.' I cannot stop to explain
all this to you, but you can rest assured that it is the only help or
hope for your wife. Anxious though I am to be off toward our
destination, yet I am going to stop over and study your wife's symptoms
more closely, and leave you medicines with written directions as to
The joy of the Barton family was unbounded at this announcement of the
After breakfast, Denison, Fred, and Will decided to accompany the Barton
boys up the river that flowed near Constance House, visiting their
"What game do you have in this country?" asked Denison.
"We have reindeer, bear, wolves, foxes, hare, marten, otter, and in the
spring and summer we have an abundance of geese, ducks, etc.," replied
Joe, the elder of the boys. Sam was the younger of the brothers, and
they were aged twenty-three and twenty-one years respectively. The
voyagers were surprised at the correctness of their speech and other
indications of education.
"Our mother is an educated woman, and has taken great pains with our
education," said Sam in reply to a remark of Denison upon the subject.
"And she has done as much for father. Our long winter nights we always
spend in reading, music, and sometimes in such games as chess,
backgammon, drafts, etc. Mother is a most splendid mathematician. She is
also quite a linguist. But I am afraid that mother's days of teaching
are over in this world. Dr. Jones is exceedingly kind, but do you really
think that he has any hopes of curing her?" And the two sons looked
anxiously into Denison's face as they awaited his reply.
"Well," replied Denison slowly, as if carefully weighing his words, "I
have known Dr. Jones more than twenty years very intimately, and I tell
you candidly that you may rely implicitly upon his word. He is a
physician of remarkable skill, and to my positive knowledge has cured
several cases of cancer that had been, like your mother's, given up as
incurable. So I should hope a great deal if he gives you encouragement."
"God is good, and has heard our prayers," said Sam.
While this party spent the day until the middle of the afternoon
paddling from trap to trap, capturing three otters, and catching several
dozen beautiful trout and black bass, the Doctor and the Professor
ascended with Mr. Barton to the ship. As he passed through the elegant
rooms of the cabin, and saw the wonderful degree of comfort, and even
luxury, that our voyagers were enjoying, he cried out, like the Queen of
Sheba, "The half was never told!" And the wonderful metal of which
everything was composed where practicable--aluminum--excited his special
"Without this metal you could never have made the trip," he declared.
But when he had mounted the spiral stairway, and was standing in the
observatory, for some time he was speechless. As his eye ran up the
shining mast, then off over the glistening sides of the globe to the
earth, three hundred feet below, then away over the trackless wastes of
Labrador, he finally exclaimed, "This, gentlemen, is too wonderful for
me. I cannot give expression to my feelings. If you had told me that you
were visitors from Venus or Mars, I should be obliged to believe you."
And so they sat and discussed for an hour or more the object of the
expedition, and the probability of success. All agreed that, so far as
human thought and judgment could foresee, failure was hardly possible.
They descended to the cabin. The aluminum mast especially attracted the
attention of the old sailor.
"And you intend erecting this magnificent spar at the North Pole!" he
exclaimed, all his sailor instincts thoroughly aroused. "How do you
intend to manage that business, Doctor?"
"We shall be governed in that matter entirely by circumstances," replied
Dr. Jones. "I do not know what we may find there, and so cannot say
exactly what we may have to do. But I shall consider the trip a partial
failure if I do not leave this stately shaft, exactly to the quarter of
an inch, standing at the North Pole, with that aluminum flag flying at
its peak, there to float till time shall be no more."
"Well, Doctor, I am a thoroughbred British subject, and can't help
wishing that it was the Union Jack that you were going to leave there;
but you deserve all the honor of the occasion, and I am glad to bid you
Godspeed," said Barton heartily.
"Thank you," replied Dr. Jones, "now let us go down and see further
about your wife's case. I must be off to-morrow morning, bright and
The Doctor and Barton repaired to the sick chamber. After nearly an hour
they left the house, walked down to the river bank, and talked long and
earnestly concerning the treatment of Mrs. Barton.
"I will tell you just what I am doing for your wife, and the grounds I
have for hope. I think, under the circumstances, that an expose of the
rationale of my treatment is due you, for two reasons, first, because I
desire to give you a reason for the hope that is within me, and so make
you as happy and comfortable as possible by filling you up with a
lively faith; secondly, because I delight in instructing intelligent
people in what I conceive to be the only rational and scientific system
of medicine known to man.
"In this pocket-case book, you will observe that I have taken Mrs.
Barton's symptoms very carefully and minutely:
"1. A fearful and apprehensive state of mind. She cannot tolerate being
"2. Intolerable thirst for cold water. Drinks often, and but a sip or
two at a time.
"3. The pains are very sharp, lancinating, and burning.
"4. She is always worse at night, from twelve o'clock until two or
three, A.M. The pains then are intolerable, and burning like red-hot
iron, so that you are obliged to hold her in your arms to prevent her
doing herself injury.
"5. Great restlessness.
"6. Skin yellow, or straw-colored, dry and wrinkled.
"7. Very emaciated and weak.
"There are quite a number of other symptoms of less importance, but all
are found under but one drug in all the earth, and that drug is arsenic.
Do not be alarmed at the name, for the doses I give are absolutely
immaterial and can do no harm. But they do possess a curative power that
is truly miraculous and past the comprehension of man. What gives me
greater hope and confidence in your wife's case is the fact that she has
never been under the surgeon's knife. Operations for cancer not only do
no good whatever, but they reduce the patient's chances of cure, so that
after the second or third one the case is rendered absolutely incurable.
And another thing greatly in her favor is that she has taken but little
medicine, and so I have been able to get a clear picture of the case.
And I must strictly forbid the use of any drugs whatever, internally or
externally, except what I give you."
"But, Doctor, the terrible odor!" said Barton, "Must I not use the
disinfectant as I have been doing?"
"No; nothing but washing with warm castile soap-suds, two or three times
daily. The odor will all disappear within a few days."
"Well, that is astonishing! And is arsenic the remedy for all cases of
"Not by any manner of means. That is the great mistake of the medical
world in all ages. They are continually on the lookout for specifics,
or medicines that cure all cases of any given disease, irrespective of
symptoms. Every case must be taken upon its individual merits, and
differentiated upon symptomatology alone. And a drug must be prescribed
that is indicated by the symptoms. Anything more or less than this is
unscientific, and a contrariety to one of God's most beautiful and
universal laws--'Similia similibus curanter,'--'Like cures like.' That
is to say, arsenic is the remedy for your wife, because, when taken in
material doses, it always produces symptoms identical with those
manifested in her case. Hence I meet them with immaterial doses of that
drug. Had her symptoms been different, then I should have been obliged
to seek and find, if possible, a drug capable of causing this different
set of symptoms, whatever they might have been. Now this rule of law
holds good throughout all the field of medicine, except that which is
purely surgical. Do you catch the idea?"
"I do, Doctor, I do; and I declare that it looks very reasonable as you
put it. I like the theory, and if it always holds good in practice, then
it is certainly one of the most beneficent of God's laws."
"Thousands of times, Barton, in an active practice of more than
twenty-five years, I have tested this law; and I tell you, as an honest
man, and one who expects to answer for the deeds done in the body at the
bar of God, that it never failed me once. I have failed many times
because I could not read aright the symptoms of the case; or when it was
an incurable affair, rendered so by drugs and surgery," said Dr. Jones
with great earnestness. "But come, I have given you quite a medical
lecture. Let's look up the girls and see what they are about."
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