Daylight travelled late and early, the hours
formerly used by camp-making and dog-tending being now devoted to the trail.
It chanced to be a rush day at Durham's, and all the long morning he limped about with his aching foot; by noontime the pain was so great that it made him faint, and after a couple of hours
in the afternoon he was fairly beaten, and had to tell the boss.
It was not four and twenty hours
ago since they had met there to the same repast, but in circumstances how different!
But this sleep could be neither peaceful nor lasting, the minds of these three men were too much occupied, and some hours after, about seven in the morning, all three were on foot at the same instant.
Seventeen hours more, and the moment for action would have arrived.
They counted the hours as they passed too slow for their wish; Barbicane and Nicholl were obstinately plunged in their calculations, Michel going and coming between the narrow walls, and watching that impassive moon with a longing eye.
Flying fish skimmed the water like thick spray; petrels were so few that I could count them; another shark swam round me for an hour. In sudden panic I dashed my knuckles on the wooden bars, to get at a duck to give the monster for a sop.
All hands had taken their spell at everything as the fancy seized them; not a bell had been struck from first to last; and I can only conjecture that the fire raged four or five hours, from the fact that it was midnight by my watch when I left it on my cabin drawers, and that the final extinction of the smouldering keel was so soon followed by the first deep hint of dawn.
I was my poor self again; it was my own little life, and no other, that I wanted to go on living;, and yet I felt vaguely there was some special thing I wished to live for, something that had not been very long in my ken; something that had perhaps nerved and strengthened me all these hours. What, then, could it be?
On this day for several hours I used my pickaxe vigorously.
The injection was begun, and three hours after the thermometer marked 6@ below zero outside.
I do not know how many hours passed thus, but I was conscious of the agony that was coming over me.