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Cook & Peary
The Polar Controversy, Resolved
By Robert M. Bryce

Chapter One: The Sunrise of Ambition

The prisoner sat in his cell, alone but for his memories. Still, even in confinement, the eye of his mind was free to survey and summarize the sweep of a spectacular career. And when that inner vision had crystallized itself into words, he took up a pencil to preserve them:

They have called me the Prince of Liars, but, in truth, I am King of the Luckless.

Life has taken me to the top of the world, and down into the abyss.

Kings and felons, savants and savages, have been my associates; I have lived in the rarest luxury of civilization, and in aboriginal simplicity. Once the far horizon was my only confine, which now is a barred cell and the towering walls of the Federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Civilized humanity has hailed me as one of history's immortals, only to snatch the laurels from my brow and place there instead the brand of fraud and criminal.

Wealth has flowed to me in torrents, then trickled away to leave me at last in utter poverty.

But though Fortune has cast me deep in the shadows; though the world's plaudits have changed to condemning hisses; though I am penniless and ageing, there is no bitterness in me, for I have three things remaining that are above those which have been stripped from me--my friends, my hopes, and my philosophy.

Brave words. Yet Frederick Albert Cook--physician, explorer, lecturer and author, federal prisoner No. 23118--later admitted that this was his blackest hour.

He had always been an introspective man. Now there was limitless opportunity for introspection:

The purview of life is ever the outcome of memories. Foresight can never be more than hindsight ... through which to envision the future. If we saw life in one whole sphere, ... how much more thorough our culture would become. But we see the unit of human endeavor only in sections--mostly in spectacular sections. History is seldom more than somebody's opinion of the thrill source of life--the stagy artifice of an upstaged world. This is to a large extent unavoidable for the mind does not retain the commonplace in which union of purpose must ever be grounded.
As he paged backward through the mental record of his life to the very limit of his earliest memories, Frederick Cook must have wondered at the chain of chance and circumstance, the opportunities presented or made, then taken or turned aside, that had led him to this place and to this hour.

But life's chances are not all our own. A life is not a story written front to back from birth to death; it is rather a series of related events; a chapter in a continuing story passed one to the next as long as life lasts.

And so, as for countless other Americans before and since, Frederick Cook's chances were ultimately the result of his immigrant parents' decision to leave behind an Old World for the New, to abandon the known for the unknown, and to strike out on a untried path toward a new destiny. It was a course he, too, would follow, but in a different way.

Looking from that barred window beyond the gray walls to the far horizon now denied him, and farther still into the limitless expanse of the starry Kansas sky, he mused: "It is a long step from the doom of Leavenworth to the sunrise of ambition."

There was little to set Theodor Albrecht Koch apart from his neighbors. A plain-looking man of average height and weight, with his high forehead and fringe of dark whiskers framing an otherwise cleanly shaven face, he had the look of an Amish farmer. Born on June 8, 1822, in the town of Schneverdingen, about 20 miles south of Hamburg, he was the first of his family to leave Germany. Why he left is less than clear.

For years he had assisted his father, who held the medical concession in Schneverdingen. After Dr. Koch died, Theodor continued to minister to the sick, despite having no formal medical training. When a licensed doctor complained of this, the townspeople paid to send Theodor to Hamburg to study. But they suffered by his absence and petitioned that he be given his father's concession before he completed his course. Perhaps their request was refused, or perhaps he came to America, like so many other northern Germans of the time, because he had no prospect of inheritance under German law, the estate falling to the eldest son.

Whatever his reasons, he did come, landing at New York in 1855. In the company of several other new arrivals from Germany, he traveled to Newburgh, then westward into Sullivan County. The concentration of Germans already in the area may have caused him to settle in Jeffersonville after a brief stay in Lake Huntington. He must have found the country agreeable, since eventually his three brothers followed, leaving only a sister in Europe.

Among the immigrants already established in the area was Frederick Long, formerly a successful manufacturer of cigars in New York. To escape an epidemic of cholera that struck that city in 1850, he had taken his family west, up the Hudson to Newburgh by raft, then overland by covered wagon. He, his wife and eight-year-old daughter, Magdalena, had come to America from Frankfurt in 1844. Now they intended to go much farther west. But passing through the rolling wooded country above the Delaware River, they paused at a place called Beechwoods, six miles west of Jeffersonville. Here the Longs settled, cleared the top of a hillside and prospered, the family growing to six children.

In Jeffersonville at a community dance Dr. Koch met the fair-haired Magdalena Long. It was an attraction of opposites: he a Lutheran, she a Catholic; he known for having an excitable temperament, she from a family noted for its reserve; he in his thirties, she still in her teens. But if there were objections or obstacles, all were overcome. After a proper period of courtship, they married on March 12, 1858.

For a year, the Kochs lived in Jeffersonville before moving to Beechwoods and finally, in 1860, they settled with their son Theodore in the hamlet of Hortonville at the foot of the Catskills, two miles from Callicoon Depot on the Erie line.

No doubt they lived a hard yet respectable life. Though Dr. Koch enjoyed an extensive practice, cash was scarce; his patients usually paid him with eggs, fruits and vegetables, or an occasional chicken. Of the Koch farm's 15 rocky acres, only two were tillable. But the doctor, fond of horses and hunting, supplemented the larder with game from the surrounding hills.

There, between Callicoon Creek and Joe Brook, in a slab house with two bedrooms and a third room that served as living room and kitchen, the rest of children came--first William, then an infant who lived but a few days, and then Lillian. The Kochs solved their religious differences through choice or circumstance, attending the German Reformed church in Hortonville, where they enrolled their children in Sunday school.

During the Civil War, Dr. Koch found employment as an examining physician for recruits entering the Union Army at Goshen. The payroll clerk listed him on the roster by the English equivalent of his name, Cook. Having been irritated since his arrival in America by the inability of most non-Germans to pronounce his name properly, most calling him "Cox" or "Kotch," Dr. Koch capitulated long before Appomattox, and "Cook" it remained even after he left the Army's service.

The war was over hardly two months when a fourth child arrived on June 10, 1865. They named him Frederick Albert and called him, affectionately, Freddy.

The boy's earliest recollections were of traumatic experiences. At two, while playing with his dog, he had leapt upon the stove. One of its covers gave way and his foot went into the fire, setting his clothes alight. The feel of the fire licking at his leg was frightening enough, but the unexpected bucket of cold water his mother doused him with was even worse, leaving him gasping for breath. He next remembered sitting on a table nursing his burns, helpless as his family fought the rising water of the two creeks lapping at the door. "I watched its advance and cried," he recalled, as he did at the sight of a small herd of deer driven into the nearby woods by hunters. There was the sound of shots, and his tears came at the realization that the beautiful, terrified creatures must die.

Even to one so young, death already had meaning, it was so commonplace. The Longs had fled from New York before its shadow, but few families escaped it completely. Even remote Sullivan County offered no safe refuge, and the Cooks were no exceptions.

They had been fortunate. The cemetery was dotted with tiny graves, but they had lost only one child. And with the addition of August Heinrich in 1868, they now counted five healthy children. But the family's life was irrevocably redirected when Dr. Cook, after a brief illness, died of pneumonia on May 10, 1870, at age 47; Freddy was not quite five:

Of this tragedy I only remember Father's under-chin whiskers and his mud colored suit left hanging on the wall after he was buried. I do not remember the funeral, but I do remember tears and a cold cry which made me shiver at sometime about the coffin.
Magdalena Cook used the money from her husband's small life insurance policy to build a one-story-and-garret frame house on the high banks above the creek, out of harm's way. Little was left to live on, but with tenacity and frugality the Cooks scratched a living from what they could grow or earn at odd jobs, while Mrs. Cook tried to collect unpaid doctor bills to buy food and clothing. The hard times brought with them hard lessons for young Frederick:
For a few years we struggled for a bare subsistence. Sour milk and potatoes with apples and an occasional rabbit or woodchuck linger in my memory of food delicacies.... Life here muse represent the beginning of my schooling for the hardship to follow in wild adventures to the brim of the unknown.
The children walked the three quarters of a mile to school on Callicoon Creek. As in many rural places where children provided the farm labor, the session lasted only four months. In his later years Frederick Cook would look back on that one-room schoolhouse next to the graveyard and call it "the most attractive place on Earth." It was through its door that he first entered the world of ideas, a world he embraced and held fast for the rest of his life. Geographical locations especially interested him, and he gathered together every book on the subject that he could obtain.

Not all was happy at school for Freddy Cook, though. Outside of class he seemed always to be in trouble. Rivalries between the town boys and the country boys often led to fistfights. He and his brothers sometimes came home battered and bruised and got an additional whipping to discourage such behavior.

Despite these frequent scrapes, Freddy was known for his "natural reticence." Perhaps he had inherited his mother's reserve along with her large facial features and remarkably fine, clear blue eyes, set below asymmetric eyelids that gave his face an open yet contemplative look. Or maybe the slight lisp with which he spoke made him think better of speaking too much and exposing himself to ridicule.

He had but one particular friend, Peter Weiss--PY, as he was known. PY stuttered. Perhaps their shared speech impediments made it that much easier to talk to each other and to form a common bond. Freddy and PY liked to have adventures and visit forbidden places, like the local swimming hole, where Freddy's career almost ended when he plunged into its depths and nearly drowned. "I shall never forget that struggle," he recalled long after, "and though I nearly gave out, in that short time I learned to swim. It seems to me now I have been swimming and struggling ever since."

But life is never all hardship for a growing boy. The surrounding country was wild enough for any imaginative youngster to find adventure in. Everlasting springs fell from its hillsides, and it was full of secret nooks and caves to explore. Freddy would often venture into the woods, alone or with his brothers, as far as time and nerve allowed, then find his way home, using the position of the sun as a guide.

Without a father, the Cook brothers learned to be independent at an early age. Will Cook remembered that Freddy, especially, depended upon no other if he felt his own efforts would succeed alone. When he decided to build a "bunker," he went out and chopped down the young trees himself, and out of them he fashioned a sled of such quality that it had no equal in the entire neighborhood.

In a countryside so broad and high, with so much to stimulate a boy's imagination, Freddy Cook found himself drawn to the natural world around him and wondered at the things he didn't understand. He learned by observation, and this led to some curious childhood experiments:

I had noted that if I looked at my dog long enough I would get his attention, and the dog seemingly got the same idea, for he made some experiments of his own. At these times he would look intently for prolonged periods. If in due time my eyes did not respond, a little whimper would come from a seeming distance. When the eye connection was made he would come to my side and proceed to talk. His language was wordless, but I understood....

I next tried the lesson my dog taught me on Mother....

... I tried to get her attention from various parts of the room by prolonged gazing without success. Finally I made a boyish discovery that pleased me very much. There was just one place from which I could always get her attention. That was when I came between her and the stove.... It was probably the heat waves that carried my gaze impulse....

What is the language of the unsaid message of the gaze?

In 1878 Mrs. Cook, seeking better opportunities, rented out the farm for $25 a year, and the family took the train 48 miles east to Port Jervis. The two eldest boys were old enough for outside work, and even Fred, now 12, held part-time jobs while attending Mountain House School.

His first was in a glass factory in Port Jervis. Later Fred took work as a lamplighter, cleaning, filling and lighting the naphtha lights that lined the streets of the town. He also helped his two older brothers with the spring log-rafting on the Delaware, which provided thrills they all looked forward to with great anticipation.

But even with what the boys brought home and the money she earned by taking in sewing, Lena Cook was hardly better off than she had been in Hortonville. She sent Theodore to New York City to try to find steady employment. He secured a job in a beer keg factory, and a year later she followed with the other four children. They found shelter at the foot of South First Street in the shadow of the Havemeyer Sugar Refinery, along the East River in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. There, August died of scarlet fever, but life for Fred and the other children continued on its pleasureless course:

Now I was the baby, about 15 years old. We all worked; sister and I went to school but worked on Saturdays and Sundays. Slowly a way was made out of poverty to scant but secure subsistence.

I never liked New York. It was slushy and dirty when snow came, stuffy, hot and sweaty in summer. There were no nearby woods in which to enjoy what a bare footed boy wants, but it did serve well to co-ordinate that Indian inclination deep seated in all country boys of my age and time.

Fred was now a restless youth seeking an ambition but lacking in guidance:
This was, I suppose, that nebulous desire which sometimes manifests itself in early youth and later is asserted in strivings toward some splendid, sometimes spectacular aim.... I was discontented, and from the earliest days of consciousness I felt the burden of two things which accompanied me through later life--an innate and abnormal desire for exploration, then the manifestation of my yearning, and the constant struggle to make ends meet, that sting of poverty, which, while it tantalizes one with its horrid grind, sometimes drives men by reason of the strength developed in overcoming its concomitant obstacles to some extraordinary accomplishment.
Through the good offices of a distant relative, William Ihrig, Will Cook found work selling vegetables in Manhattan's Fulton Market. Mr. Ihrig, impressed by Will's industry, agreed to hire his brother as well. Fred worked in the market on weekends from 2 A.M. until noon. Coming from a household with the plainest kind of fare, he marveled at all the things there were to eat in the world. There he saw for the first time many exotic edibles, including mock-oranges, as grapefruit were then called.

During the week Fred attended P.S. 37, two blocks from his house, where the principal took an interest in him and encouraged his studies. He graduated from grammer school at 16, but as Theodore, and then Will, married and assumed new responsibilities, Fred had to help support his mother. He secured a job as an office boy and rent collector for a real estate agency in Greenpoint, then enrolled in night school.

Fred accumulated enough money to buy a second hand press with which he printed advertising bills for his employer and local merchants, as well as greeting and calling cards. These generated such a demand that he decided to devote his full time to printing. Proud of his work, he designed his own business card. Bordered by a Chinese scene of a boy fishing by a lake, it read: "F.A. Cook, Job Printer, 255 South First Street, Brooklyn."

But Fred Cook always had bigger ambitions. His mother suggested that one of the boys should follow in their father's footsteps and become a doctor. The idea fired Fred's imagination; he decided the advantage would fall to him.

By now he had finished his high school studies and, flushed with a new goal, set out to accomplish it. Fred sold his printing business and used the profits to purchase a milk route in the hope that he could earn enough to pay for a medical education. Milkmen delivered between 2 and 8 A.M. He reasoned this would give him a source of income and leave his days free to finish his college course.

He started out with a small hand-delivered route requiring little capital and a manageable amount of time, buying his milk from Rauch and Hartman, a local milk wholesaler. This milk, a new, richer product from Delaware County, quickly outstripped demand for the standard milk then coming from Orange County. As a result, Fred's business flourished, and his brothers heard opportunity knocking. They gave Fred a loan for expansion, and with it he bought his first wagon and a big brown mare for $150. Theodore, who had become an expert woodworker at the barrel factory, helped modify the wagon to carry glass bottles, which were just beginning to replace the tin cans then in use. Fred moved in with Will on Bedford Avenue and established a milk depot there, renting stable space from their next-door neighbor, Mr. West, a manufacturer of ketchup and pickles.

In 1887 he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. As the son of a physician, he received a reduction in his matriculation fee.

In that simpler time, an entrant needed only to be of good moral character and 21 years of age. Two winter lecture series were prerequisites to a course in practical anatomy and the passing of satisfactory written examinations in surgery, chemistry, practice of medicine, materia medica, anatomy, physiology and obstetrics. Practical examinations on a cadaver and for urinalysis competency were also required before a medical degree could be conferred.

Between school and his growing business enterprise, Fred Cook found little time for leisure. He went to work at 1 A.M. and worked through the night, reporting to school by 9, where he remained until 4. Between 5:30 and 1 in the morning, he slept. He worked every day, but on weekends, when there was no school, he tried to catch up on his sleep. Whatever few spare waking moments the young man had, he spent in studying.

It took an hour and a half to travel from Brooklyn to New York on the 23rd Street Ferry. When the college moved from 23rd Street to 59th Street, Fred Cook could not afford the extra hour of commuting time entailed. He transferred to New York University, located more conveniently at 26th Street.

His milk business continued to grow, so Fred returned the favor Will had done him years before by making him his partner. They soon owned six horses and were delivering as far as Rockaway Beach, and their milk wagons now also carried specialties, such as sweet cream and fresh print butter.

As Will took on his share of the responsibilities, Fred had more time for other shines. One was more sleep. The grueling schedule he had been keeping had taken its toll; now there was a better attitude for schoolwork, more time for study and a chance for a social life.

When a stupendous blizzard struck New York on March 11-12, 1888, the effects of the unexpected storm were devastating. All transportation, even the elevated railways, ground to a halt, and what electrical and telephone service existed was cut off. At least a hundred people perished, some in attempts to reach their places of employment on foot. Hundreds of horses froze to death along with tens of thousands of the sparrows that plagued the city.

Fred's medical classes were suspended, and the milk business, like all others, closed down. But the storm only posed another opportunity for the Cook brothers to show their ingenuity. Coal was selling at fabulous prices--as much as a dollar a pail at the height of the storm. So Theodore put runners on an 18-foot boat he had built, and hitching their horses to it, Will and Fred made coal deliveries over streets made impassable to ordinary vehicles by the three-foot drifts.

Patches of snow from the "Dakota Blizzard" still remained in shady places as late as June. By then, Fred Cook had met Libby Forbes at a temperance festival at the 2nd Street Methodist Church. Miss Forbes, one of four Forbes sisters from Greenpoint, worked for the French, Shriner and Urner shoe factory as a stenographer, an unusual job for a woman. Soon Fred was seeing Libby regularly. After a courtship of less than a year, Fred proposed. Her family, at first opposed, since Fred was still in school, relented, and the couple married in the spring of 1889.

Fred's final examinations were due in June 1890, just before his wife was expecting their first child, and with Libby no longer employed, money was short. Somehow, though, he managed to keep up with his business obligations during those first months of married life and even found time for private instruction in medical diagnosis.

As summer came round, since Fred was not yet a doctor, Libby's family selected a homeopath for the delivery. There were complications. The baby girl lived but a few hours, and in a week Libby Cook was gone, too, a victim of peritonitis. Fred was shattered. The future had suddenly become a vacuum. Months of loneliness and depression set in.

Word soon arrived that he had passed his examinations and was now a physician. Dr. Frederick A. Cook decided to lose himself in his new work.

He sold his share in Cook Brothers Milk and Cream Company to Will and from the proceeds bought the furnishings and equipment for an office away from Brooklyn and its sad memories.

Though 25 and a widower, Dr. Cook still looked boyish. He decided to do something about it:

Young doctors of this period considered it important to cultivate a full crop of whiskers to better express the dignity of their calling.... I ... allowed my hairy head to fill out to artistic ... fashion. Thus beset in facial pride, armed with a diploma from one of the best medical schools of the land, endowed with the usual self-confidence of university graduates, and vested with the sublimity of my profession, I opened an office in New York [at 338 W.] 55th St.
He thought all he had to do was hang out his shingle and the patients would come. But even the addition of his whiskers failed to bring them to his door. He learned quickly that it took hard work and patience for a new doctor to build up a practice. Suddenly time, which had always been so scarce, became a burden. Dr. Cook sought escape in reading:
To this time I was an average young man of twenty-five who had risen out of poverty with an unusual hunger for knowledge. I had read very few books of fiction and among books of travel only Dr. Kane's Arctic [Explorations] and Stanley's [In] Darkest Africa.

With time to think and plan there developed a longing to get out over the world into the unknown to blaze the trail for a life of useful adventure.

Kane's Arctic Explorations! What other book set so many young men to dreaming of adventures untold? Perhaps the fact that Elisha Kent Kane was a physician himself caused the young doctor sitting in his empty office to look between the covers of that book Dr. Kane had left like a spell upon the nation.

A review of it published in the London Saturday Review might almost be taken as a prefigurement of Dr. Cook's own future, and of a book that he would write about his past:

Looked at merely from a literary point of view, the book is a very remarkable one.... The general impression which the book conveys is graphic to the last degree, and its effect is greatly heightened by what Dr. Kane speaks of as defects. It consists almost entirely of extracts from a journal kept at the time, connected by narrative matter more or less compressed from it. An attentive reader can trace the feelings and prospects of the little knot of icebound prisoners, and of their gallant leader with extraordinary clearness, for Dr. Kane is obviously a cultivated man, and by no means unaccustomed to watch the process of his own mind. The hoping against hope, the determination to look at the bright side of things, and the effort to write himself into a cheerful frame of mind, which may be detected in the lines penned by the light of the dim perpetual lamp, in the filthy little den into which the crew was crowded--penned, too, when all but the writer had half forgotten their trouble in sleep--seems to us far better worth having than any amount of artistic composition.
What thoughts stirred in Frederick Cook's mind as he read the incredible adventures of this man, who managed to pack into 37 years of life more than an average lifetime of experiences? Dr. Cook had wished to escape. Perhaps in the pages of Arctic Explorations he first glimpsed the route of that escape, and in Dr. Kane's vivid descriptions of the wild people and places of Greenland he heard for the first time the mysterious call of the North.

One morning in the very early spring, as he was reading the New York Telegram, he chanced upon a small notice datelined Philadelphia:

Robert E. Peary, Engineer at the Naval Dockyard, is now engaged in fitting our his expedition to North Greenland. As is well known, it is his intention to try to ascertain the extension of Greenland northwards, by undertaking an excursion on sledges over its snowcovered interior. His companions on the expedition are not yet decided upon.
Dr. Cook had hoped to absorb himself in work and forger his recent tragic losses. But the work did not come, and there was no relief from his thoughts. Now, before his very eyes, had appeared an avenue for complete escape. He immediately wrote to Peary, volunteering to serve as his surgeon without pay, then waited impatiently several weeks before a telegram arrived asking him to come to Philadelphia.

That trip must have been an adventure in itself. Up to then he had never left his native state except for brief excursions into Pike County, Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River from his boyhood home.

As he walked up the steps at 4118 Elm Avenue, opposite Fairmount Park, he didn't know what to expect. Could he hope to be selected with so little experience? His knock at the door was answered by a charming young woman who showed him into the drawing room, where her husband was sitting in full uniform.

Robert E. Peary, Civil Engineer, U.S. Navy, was an impressive-looking figure as he rose to shake the young doctor's hand. He was 34 years old and six feet tall, his ruddy complexion set off by his sandy, reddish hair and an even redder mustache, large and twisted to pointed ends, which nearly obscured his narrow mouth. When he smiled, a fine set of white teeth showed in his squared jaw, marred only by a space between the two front ones. He looked every inch the picture of a proud naval officer. But it was his eyes, most of all, that one noticed. Stern and steely gray-blue, despite the smiling face, they had a veiled appearance that was hard to penetrate, yet they seemed to look right through a man.

Peary invited the doctor to sit down. The tall figure of his wife leaned lovingly on her husband's shoulders as he outlined his plans to his attentive guest:

With a company of five or six members I shall be landed at Whale Sound, on the west coast of Greenland, in 77 [degrees] 35' latitude, in the month of June or July. We shall spend the remainder of the summer and autumn in erecting a hut for our wintering, lay in an abundant store of meat, make scientific investigations and excursions to the inland ice, and, if the season is favorable, also establish a provision-depot near the south corner of the Humboldt Glacier. In the course of the winter we shall prepare sledges, "ski," clothes and travelling outfit, and practice running on "ski," and Canadian snow-shoes, for which purpose the head of Whale Sound is well adapted.

When spring begins, four or five of the company will start over the inland ice for the Humboldt Glacier, one or two remaining behind to take care of the house. If good progress is made, we shall continue from the Humboldt Glacier to the head of Petermanfjord. From here two or three of us will push on, whilst the others return to Whale Sound with the necessary provisions for the home route. Those in advance will continue to Sherard Osborne fjord, go farther on to the head of De Long fjord, and finally push on towards the northernmost point of Greenland. When this is reached, and its geographical position determined, the party will return by the same route to Whale Sound, and the expedition will take the first chance to return to America.

After Lieutenant Peary finished the outline of his expedition, there were many questions for the doctor to ask and to answer. They discussed the techniques of fieldwork. Peary had been in Nicaragua and had made a reconnaissance of Greenland, but he readily admitted that he had yet to master the science of arctic research.

Dr. Cook's first impression was that of "a thoroughly decent fellow, and a strong character." Peary questioned him closely as to his qualifications, but the doctor confessed he had few beyond good health, his medical degree and a strong desire to walk where no others had gone before.

"The life up there under the Pole is terribly hard," Peary said. "Where the expedition is going we will be as much out of touch with the world as we would on another planet. Death will be hovering near us always. Some of us more than likely will never return to civilization. I advise you not to go if there is any fear in your heart."

But Frederick Cook had already had his taste of death. "I am willing to take the chances," he replied. "This is my great opportunity, and I won't be held back by dread of hardships." But as he said the words he shivered a little, inwardly, at the picture Peary painted.

By the end of the afternoon, it was agreed. Dr. Cook would be the surgeon of the North Greenland Expedition. The Pearys asked him to stay for dinner, but he excused himself, saying he had another engagement in New York. As he walked down the steps of the Pearys' Elm Avenue apartment building after saying goodbye, he saw more than the green expanse of Fairmount Park stretching away before his eyes:

A new school of life now in prospect came over a spreading horizon. The first pages of the art of poleward travel were soon to be set into my book of endeavor. This was quite as exciting as the actual execution of the dream of future adventure.
1997 Robert M. Bryce
Stackpole Books

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