"It is 1850, we are halfway through this century, and I have little notion as to whether my efforts have all been in vain.
It is said the whales are becoming scarcer in the Greenland Sea. The seals are more infrequent among the ice floes. The walrus colonies are dwindling, their tusks and bristles raised impotently against gaff hooks and grappling irons. Even that most invisible of the polar beasts, the white bear, may one day entirely vanish.
Clara once told me to believe, and I try to stay true to this each hour and each day, even when I lose hope. I have chosen a solitary life in order to complete all I promised to her, but there is still a kernel of anger in me that wishes to tell the world what I have tried to save. I have been greatly affected by the death and slaughter I saw in the Arctic. It has stayed with me. I think of it constantly. I want to confront the men who have ruined our world. I want to go to the cities – where the Arctic’s great animals have been reduced to collar stiffeners and parasol ribs, corset stays and combs, where their oil lights the lamps and greases the axles and gears and chains of a relentless industry – and list the crimes that have been committed in the Arctic in the name of profit. How a man like Captain Sykes, who I truly believe was not an evil-hearted individual, can nonetheless be warped by greed until he can make no moral judgement. Perhaps one day, man will save the Arctic in all its multitude of extraordinary life, but perhaps by then man will be too late, as he always seems to be. It is a fight that will need to be fought, and it is for this reason that I have written this account."
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