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It is possible to send the index of an ordinary thermometer up to the top in ten or fifteen seconds by rubbing it between the slightly moistened thumb and the finger, exerting considerable pressure at the time.

Now one of these swept over the Rio Blanco Valley. The clouds thickened, the air grew chill. The thermometer was falling fast. Houck swung the team up from the valley road to the mesa. Along this they traveled, close to the sage-covered foothills. At a point where a draw dipped down to the road, Houck pulled up and dismounted.

"At one spot, particularly, about 30 degrees, there were marked indications of volcanic action, and several hollows resembling small craters of extinct volcanoes, near one of which we found a small spring of water, maintaining always a temperature of about 76 degrees Farenheit, when the thermometer standing in water in the kegs stood at 52 degrees, and in the atmosphere at 54 degrees.

It was a glory of frigid colour to ravish the artist eye. The men on the trail had lost all sense of degrees of cold. It was simply cold. Always cold. A thermometer would have frozen solid. They knew that. Cold? So long as a strong, warm life burned in their bodies, and their stores of food remained, it was the best they could hope for. And the dogs. They were bred to the Arctic cold.

The distance of Madeira from the coast of Africa is about 400 miles or about 4000 stadia. The climate of Madeira is very temperate: the thermometer seldom sinks below 60°, though it sometimes rises as high as 90° of Fahrenheit. On the high and mountainous parts there are heavy dews, and rain falls at all seasons.

At seven in the morning the thermometer marked eight degrees below zero. The doctor was tempted to stay quietly in his cabin, and read the Arctic voyages over again; but, according to his custom, he asked himself what would be the most disagreeable thing he could do, which he settled was to go on deck and assist the men to work in such a temperature.

We found the thermometer of incalculable service, both for ascertaining when we got into the stream, and for disclosing our dangerous proximity to icebergs. That we had approached near icebergs we discovered one evening to be the case by the mercury falling, suddenly, below 40°, in foggy weather. We notwithstanding held on our course, and fortunately escaped accident.

Then there was the mamei, a fruit as large as a water-melon, very nice, fresh, and not to be despised when preserved. Then there were several sorts of pine apples, and a variety of melons. Indeed, the climate of this region is especially favourable to the production of fruit, as the thermometer seldom falls below 68 degrees, and never rises much above 76 degrees.

Half an hour later it had dropped to 13.175 inches and had shot us up another one hundred feet into the air. Soon the water was boiling in the little tubes of the boiling-point thermometer and the steam pouring out of the vent. The thread of mercury rose to 174.9° and stayed there.

There is hard frost in the early morning, and at nine o'clock the thermometer stands at 2°. The sky is clear, but it clouds rapidly with films of cirrus and of stratus in the south and west. Soon it is covered over with grey vapour in a level sheet, all the hill-tops standing hard against the steely heavens. The cold wind from the west freezes the moustache to one's pipe-stem.