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The Frozen Deep - Wilkie Collins

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by Wilkie Collins

First Scene--The Ball-room

Chapter 1.

The date is between twenty and thirty years ago. The place is an
English sea-port. The time is night. And the business of the
moment is--dancing.

The Mayor and Corporation of the town are giving a grand ball, in
celebration of the departure of an Arctic expedition from their
port. The ships of the expedition are two in number--the
_Wanderer_ and the _Sea-mew_. They are to sail (in search of the
Northwest Passage) on the next day, with the morning tide.

Honor to the Mayor and Corporation! It is a brilliant ball. The
band is complete. The room is spacious. The large conservatory
opening out of it is pleasantly lighted with Chinese lanterns,
and beautifully decorated with shrubs and flowers. All officers
of the army and navy who are present wear their uniforms in honor
of the occasion. Among the ladies, the display of dresses (a
subject which the men don't understand) is bewildering--and the
average of beauty (a subject which the men do understand) is the
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