With infinite patience, infinite hardship, the sledges one by one were advanced. So heavy were the three larger McClintocks that only one could be handled at a time, and that one taxed the combined efforts of men and dogs to the uttermost. The same ground had to be covered seven times. For every yard gained seven had to be travelled. It was not a march, it was a battle; a battle without rest and without end and without mercy; a battle with an Enemy whose power was beyond all estimate and whose movements were not reducible to any known law. A certain course would be mapped, certain plans formed, a certain objective determined, and before the course could be finished, the plans executed, or the objective point attained the perverse, inexplicable movement of the ice baffled their determination and set at naught their best ingenuity.
At four o'clock it began to snow. Since the middle of the forenoon the horizon had been obscured by clouds and mist so that no observation for position could be taken. Steadily the clouds had advanced, and by four o'clock the expedition found itself enveloped by wind and driving snow. The flags could no longer be distinguished; thin and treacherous ice was concealed under drifts; the dogs floundered helplessly; the men could scarcely open their eyes against the wind and fine, powder-like snow, and at times when they came to drag forward the last sledge they found it so nearly buried in the snow that it must be dug out before it could be moved.
Toward half past five the odometer on one of the dog-sleds registered a distance of three-quarters of a mile made since morning. Bennett called a halt, and camp was pitched in the lee of one of the larger hummocks. The alcohol cooker was set going, and supper was had under the tent, the men eating as they lay in their sleeping-bags. But even while eating they fell asleep, drooping lower and lower, finally collapsing upon the canvas floor of the tent, the food still in their mouths.
Yet, for all that, the night was miserable. Even after that day of superhuman struggle they were not to be allowed a few hours of unbroken rest.
In less than three minutes, and while the Freja's men stood watching, the level stretch toward which since morning they had struggled with incalculable toil was ground up into a vast mass of confused and pathless rubble. Frank Norris and the Wave: A Bibliography. Gates, who encouraged his writing. Norris, Frank [ - ]. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia,
By midnight the wind had veered to the east and was blowing a gale. An hour later the tent came down. Exhausted as they were, they must turn out and wrestle with that slatting, ice-sheathed canvas, and it was not until half an hour later that everything was fast again. Once more they crawled into the sleeping-bags, but soon the heat from their bodies melted the ice upon their clothes, and pools of water formed under each man, wetting him to the skin. Sleep was impossible. It grew colder and colder as the night advanced, and the gale increased.
At three o'clock in the morning the centigrade thermometer was at eighteen degrees below. The cooker was lighted again, and until six o'clock the party huddled wretchedly about it, dozing and waking, shivering continually.
Breakfast at half past six o'clock; under way again an hour later. There was no change in the nature of the ice. Ridge succeeded ridge, hummock followed upon hummock. The wind was going down, but the snow still fell as fine and bewildering as ever. The cold was intense. Dennison, the doctor and naturalist of the expedition, having slipped his mitten, had his hand frostbitten before he could recover it. Two of the dogs, Big Joe and Stryelka, were noticeably giving out. But Bennett, his huge jaws clenched, his small, distorted eyes twinkling viciously through the apertures of the wind-mask, his harsh, black eyebrows lowering under the narrow, contracted forehead, drove the expedition to its work relentlessly.
Not Muck Tu, the dog-master, had his Ostiaks more completely under his control than he his men. He himself did the work of three. On that vast frame of bone and muscle, fatigue seemed to leave no trace. Upon that inexorable bestial determination difficulties beyond belief left no mark. Not one of the twelve men under his command fighting the stubborn ice with tooth and nail who was not galvanised with his tremendous energy. It was as though a spur was in their flanks, a lash upon their backs.
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Their minds, their wills, their efforts, their physical strength to the last ounce and pennyweight belonged indissolubly to him. For the time being they were his slaves, his serfs, his beasts of burden, his draught animals, no better than the dogs straining in the traces beside them.
Forward they must and would go until they dropped in the harness or he gave the word to pause. At four o'clock in the afternoon Bennett halted. Two miles had been made since the last camp, and now human endurance could go no farther. Sometimes when the men fell they were unable to get up. It was evident there was no more in them that day. Two miles covered by 4 p. Our course continues to be south, 20 degrees west magnetic. The ice still hummocky. At this rate we shall be on half rations long before we reach Wrangel Island.
No observation possible since day before yesterday on account of snow and clouds. Stryelka, one of our best dogs, gave out to-day.
Shot him and fed him to the others. Our advance to the southwest is slow but sure, and every day brings nearer our objective. Temperature at 6 p. Wind, east; force, 2. The next morning was clear for two hours after breakfast, and when Ferriss returned from his task of path-finding he reported to Bennett that he had seen a great many water-blinks off to the southwest. The wind of yesterday has broken the ice up, observed Bennett; we shall have hard work to-day. A little after midday, at a time when they had wrested some thousand yards to the southward from the grip of the ice, the expedition came to the first lane of open water, about three hundred feet in width.
Bennett halted the sledges and at once set about constructing a bridge of floating cakes of ice.
But the work of keeping these ice-blocks in place long enough for the transfer of even a single sledge seemed at times to be beyond their most strenuous endeavour. The first sledge with. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Home Books.
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Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Had Hawthorne prompted his reader to do so, he would have risked the charge of animalism in art-the very indictment later leveled at Zola and Norris. Just how distasteful human sexuality was for many as late as may be seen in Norris's withering review of a novel by a fellow San Franciscan, Mrs. Her Robert Atterbury dealt with, as Norris phrased it, "the 'ultimate physical relation of man and woman.
Is it not true, Norris asked in his review, that "humanity still is, and for countless generations will be, three-quarters animal, living and dying, eating and sleeping, mating and reproducing even as animals; passing the half of each day's life in the performance of animal functions? Chesnutt's The House behind the Cedars did not reflect agreement with Norris.
They featured lovers who are, so to speak, neutered. In , even so irreverent and daring a writer as Stephen Crane proceeds by implication when describing his heroine's seduction, rejection by her lover, and descent into prostitution in Maggie ; and reference to her surrender to the bartender Pete occurs euphemistically only after the event is history. Two years later, in Rose of Dutcher's Coolly , Hamlin Garland repeatedly alludes to the dangers of sexual experience his chaste heroine faces, illustrating his point only briefly in the harassment of this unchaperoned country girl by a conductor and equally ill-mannered brakeman during a train ride.
She is not only unresponsive to their crude advances; she herself never knows randiness in any scene in this novel-not even when with the man who wins her heart and then her hand in marriage. Further, is Carrie ever subject to erotic impulses? One cannot tell. In McTeague , however, male and female sexual arousal is treated frankly. And Norris goes well beyond the one American predecessor in this respect of whom he was aware: James Lane Allen in belied his reputation as a genteel romance writer in Summer in Arcady by confessing the truth of the matter.
He was considerably more reticent than Norris, however, as he dreamily rhapsodizes in the work originally entitled "Butterflies" about the way in which Nature draws males and females together to accomplish procreation. That a mainstream commercial firm in New York City decided to publish McTeague in is nothing less than startling.
That Norris's more candid study of sexuality in real life, Vandover and the Brute , could not appear in print until is less surprising. Norris's penchant for exposing the "whole truth, and nothing but," as he saw it, found a broader scope than this. To the best kind of modern literature, he explained in , "belongs the wide world for range, and the unplumbed depths of the human heart, and the mystery of sex, and the problems of life, and the black, unsearched penetralia of the soul of man.
When Charles G. Norris arranged for the novel's posthumous publication in , he ignored the subtitle; but his brother composed Vandover as "A Study of Life and Manners in an American City at the End of the Nineteenth Century. As had Harold Frederic in The Damnation of Theron Ware , he focused on the manners and mores of representative Americans, observing the stresses felt by those in the midst of an increasingly pluralistic society undergoing rapid transformations that called into question the values, truths, and ultimate certainties with which they had been reared.
Norris was born in March , as Americans were attempting to put the Civil War behind them and to restore the conditions of normalcy that they knew prior to Many invested considerable energy in turning back the clock, particularly in the South through the s and s, as may be seen in the short stories and novels of Thomas Nelson Page and even after the turn of the century in the works of Thomas Dixon Jr. Returning to the good old days "befo' the wah," known by Norris's maternal grandmother in Charleston, South Carolina, was not easy.
The southern economy was in ruin. Washington, D. Hayes's election to the U. The Reconstruction era was a period of confusion: de construction of the Old South was the plan of the congressmen known as Radical Republicans; what was being reconstructed other than the prewar union of states was therefore not clear; and if the intent was not merely to punish but to make the South conform to what was prevalent in the righteous North, that too was problematic.
How was the South to mimic a region that was itself undergoing constant redefinition in the decades after the war? One reason may be that he took his craft as a writer seriously, as is shown by his posthumously published Responsibilities of the Novelist and Other Literary Essays and The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris, edited by Donald Pizer.
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