“Old Bill” Suggests—
On Peary’s first polar expedition in 1891 an iceberg struck the rudder while he was steering and reversed the wheel so violently that the spokes broke his leg in two places, jamming and mangling it against the casement. Other members, disheartened at the accident to their leader, suggested returning and starting again the next year.
Instead, Peary insisted on being landed as originally planned, on the ground that he must “make good” for friends who had invested their money in the project. Between his own powerful will and the bracing arctic air, he healed so rapidly that by Christmas he was able to take part in the snowshoe races arranged as part of the festivities and to outrace not only his own men but the most speedy of Eskimos.
Sentimentalists shudder over “gross materialism” whenever men put results ahead of their own comfort or safety. But the real builders of civilization have been doing nothing else, ever since the first caveman got frostbite chasing a bear through a snowdrift.
ROYAL F. MUNGER.