“Boys! The jig is up! Listen to this!
“’Special Dispatch to the Bulletin
“’New York, October 15.
“’In consequence of the success of the Atlantic cable, all work on the Russian-American telegraph line has been stopped and the enterprise has been abandoned.’”
“Well!” said Robinson, after a moment of thoughtful silence, “that seems to settle it. The cable has knocked us out.”
Late in the afternoon, we pulled back, with heavy hearts, to the beacon-tower at the mouth of the river, and on the following day returned to Gizhiga, to await the arrival of a vessel from San Francisco with an official notification of the abandonment of the enterprise.
[Illustration: Women’s Knives used in making clothing]
OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION OF THE BAD NEWS—THE ENTERPRISE ABANDONED—A VOYAGE TO OKHOTSK—THE AURORA OF THE SEA
On the 15th of July, the Company’s bark Onward (which should have been named Backward) arrived at Gizhiga with orders to sell all of our stores that were salable; use the proceeds in the payment of our debts; discharge our native labourers; gather up our men, and return to the United States. The Atlantic cable had proved to be a complete success, and our Company, after sinking about $3,000,000 in the attempt to build an overland line from America to Europe, had finally decided to put up with its loss and abandon the undertaking. Letters from the directors to Major Abaza, stated that they would be willing to go on with the work, in spite of the success of the Atlantic cable, if the Russian Government would agree to complete the line on the Siberian side of Bering Strait; but they did not think they should be required, under the circumstances, to do all the work on the American side and half of that on the Russian.
Major Abaza, hoping that he could prevail upon the Russian Minister of Ways and Communications to take the Asiatic Division off the hands of the American Company, and thus prevent the complete abandonment of the enterprise, decided at once to go to St. Petersburg overland. He therefore sailed in the Onward with me for Okhotsk, intending to disembark there, start for Yakutsk on horseback, and send me back in the ship to pick up our working parties along the coast.