The outsider with the darker skin, the one called Henson, was an intelligent and caring man. He walked among them, speaking to them in their own language and helping the Inuit when he could. These gentle people had great respect for him and couldn’t help but notice the strain on his handsome face as well as the five others who had accompanied him, the four Inuit, including the two brothers Ootah and Egingwah, and the stern, commanding one called Peary, on the far journey.
Upon their return to the ROOSEVELT, Henson had collapsed and remained in his bunk for several days. It was Henson who pushed the others four hundred nautical miles at record speed. Henson, expert dog driver that he was, knew they had to travel fast to avoid the start of the weak ice and quite possibly their own deaths. He pushed hard and they survived, but there was a price. To look into the faces of those men, those who had returned and to see those faces one knew there was always a price.
Ootah and Egingwah had said very little since their return and if anyone dared approach them, they were met with hostility and told to go away. The two brothers only wished to be alone, refusing to associate with their friends or family, their own people. If anyone could ever ask them why they made the journey they did, neither brother was sure that they could give any one answer to anybody’s satisfaction to that one question. They could not even give themselves a true answer. Fame and fortune were things they had no concept and little use of, so why? It was something they would ask themselves for a long time to come.
Robert Peary, civil engineer in the United States Navy, stretched his legs aboard the ROOSEVELT, glad that the ordeal was over. Eighteen years and three expeditions, he could say he had achieved his goal, the geographical North Pole.
His praise for Bartlett’s last base camp, one hundred and thirty-three miles from the pole was outstanding as well as the contributions of Professor Marvin, Borup and MacMillan.