To a thinker, a dreamer, or a philosopher, nothing is more affecting than the departure of a ship for at the sight, the imagination runs loose and plays round the sails it sees her struggles with the sea and the wind in the adventurous journey, which does not always end in port . . . This, however, was the most unusual ship the Forward, the subject of Liverpool gossip for three long months. The brig was constructed with a solidity to withstand all tests of the sea, and to hold fast against enormous pressure with ribs built of teak and plated with iron. Why was the hull not built of sheet iron, as was the practice with other steamboats? As the sailors who asked this were told, the mysterious engineer who ordered the Forward had his own, personal reasons . . . reasons he had yet to share with the world. Her steel prow, cast in Newcastle, shined in the sun. A sixteen pounder cannon, mounted on a pivot to turn any direction whatsoever, loomed over the forecastle. Yet neither cannon nor stern, steel clad though they were, made it look warlike. It was a mystery ship with a mysterious purpose. Remarkable for its attention to authentic detail, The English at the North Pole was first published in the French Magazine of Education and Recreation in 1864, and is the first volume of a story continued in Le D sert de Glace, or The Field of Ice. The two novels together comprise The Adventures of Captain Hatteras.