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ward and eastward. The ice in the offing was of the “hummocky" kind, and drifting rapidly about with the tides, leaving us a navigable channel vary. ing in width from two miles to three or four hun. dred yards.
The closeness of the ice again obliging us to make fast on the 3d, we soon after perceived a party of people with a sledge upon the land-floe. I therefore sent Mr. Bushnan, with some of our men, to meet them and to bring them on board, be. ing desirous of ascertaining whereabout, according to their geography, we now were. We found the party to consist, as we expected, of those who had taken leave of us forty days before on their depar. ture to the northward, and who now readily ac. companied our people to the ships ; leaving only Togolat's idiot-boy by the sledge, tying him to a dog and the dog to the ice. As soon as they came under the bows, they halted in a line, and, according to their former promise, gave three cheers, which salutation a few of us on the fore. castle did not fail to return. As soon as they got on board they expressed extreme joy at seeing us again, repeated each of our names with great earnestness, and were, indeed, much gratified by this unexpected rencounter. Ewerat being now mounted on the plank which goes across the gun. wales of our ships for conning them conveniently among the ice, explained, in a very clear and pilotlike manner, that the island which we observed to lie off Cape Wilson was that marked by Iligliuk in one of her charts, and there called Awlikteewik, pronounced by Ewerat Ow-littee-week. On asking how many days' journey it was still to Amitioke,
they all agreed in saying ten; and back to Winter Island oonõoktoot (a great many), so that we had good reason to hope we were not far from the for. mer place. I may at once remark, however, that great caution is requisite in judging of the informa. tion these people give of the distances from one place to another, as expressed by the number of seēniks (sleeps) or days' journeys, to which, in other countries, a definite value is affixed. No two Es. quimaux will give the same account in this respect, though each is equally desirous of furnishing cor. rect information ; for, besides their deficiency as arithmeticians, which renders the enumeration of ten a labour, and of fifteen almost an impossibility to many of them, each individual forms his idea of the distance according to the season of the year, and, consequently, the mode of travelling in which his own journey has been performed. Instances of this kind will be observed in the charts of the Es. quimaux, in which they not only differ from each other in this respect, but the same individual dif. fers from himself at different times. It is only, therefore, by a careful comparison of the various accounts, and by making allowances for the different circumstances under which the journeys have been made, that these apparent inconsistencies can be reconciled, and an approximation to the truth obtained.
Many of our officers and men cordially greeted these poor people as old acquaintances they were glad to see again, and they were loaded, as usual, with numerous presents, of which the only danger to be apprehended was lest they should
go account of them. The women screamed in a con.
vulsive manner at everything they received, and cried for five minutes together with the excess of their joy; and to the honour of “ John Bull” be it recorded, he sent by one of the men as he left the ship a piece of sealskin, as a present to Parree, be. ing the first offering of real gratitude, and without any expectation of return, that I had ever received from any of them. I never saw them express more surprise than on being assured that we had left Winter Island only a single day; a circum. stance which might well excite their wonder, con. sidering that they had themselves been above forty in reaching our present station. They had obtain. ed one reindeer, and had now a large seal on their sledge, to which we added a quantity of breaddust, that seemed acceptable enough to them. As our way lay in the same direction as theirs, I would gladly have taken their whole establishment on board the ships to convey them to Amitioke, but for the uncertain nature of this navigation, which might eventually have put it out of my pow. er to land them at the precise place of their des. tination. The ice again opening, we were now obliged to dismiss them, after half an hour's visit, when, having run to the Hecla's bows to see Captain Lyon and his people, they returned to their sledge as fast as their loads of presents would al. low them.
We continued our progress northward, contend. ing with the flood-tide and the drifting masses of ice; and the difficulties of such a navigation may be conceived from the following description of what happened to us on the 9th.
At half past eight on the morning of the 9th, a
open water being left to the northward of us by the ice that had broken off the preceding night, I left the Fury in a boat for the purpose of sounding along the shore in that direction, in readiness for moving whenever the Hecla should be enabled to rejoin us. I found the sound. ings regular in almost every part, and had just landed to obtain a view from an eminence, when I was recalled by a signal from the Fury, appointed to inform me of the approach of any ice. On my return, I found the external body once more in rap. id motion to the southward with the flood-tide, and assuming its usual threatening appearance. For an hour or two the Fury was continually grazed, and sometimes heeled over by a degree of pressure which, under any other circumstances, would not have been considered a moderate one, but which the last two or three days' navigation had taught us to disregard, when compared with what we had reason almost every moment to expect. A little before noon a heavy floe, some miles in length, be. ing probably a part of that lately detached from the shore, came driving down fast towards us, giv. ing us serious reason to apprehend some more fatal catastrophe than any we had yet encountered. In a few minutes it came in contact, at the rate of a mile and a half an hour, with a point of the land. ice left the preceding night by its own separation, breaking it up with a tremendous crash, and for. cing numberless immense masses, perhaps many tons in weight, to the height of fifty or sixty feet, from whence they again rolled down on the inner or land side, and were quickly succeeded by a fresh supply. While we were obliged to be quiet spec.
tators of this grand but terrific sight, being within five or six hundred yards of the point, the danger to ourselves was twofold; first, lest the floe should now swing in, and serve us much in the same man. ner; and, secondly, lest its pressure should detach the land-ice to which we were secured, and thus set us adrift and at the mercy of the tides. Happily, however, neither of these occurred, the floe remaining stationary for the rest of the tide, and setting off with the ebb which made soon after. In the mean while the Hecla had been enabled to get under sail, and was making considerable progress towards us, which determined me to move the Fury as soon as possible from her present situation into the bight I had sounded in the morning, where we made fast in five and a half fathoms alongside some very heavy grounded ice, one third of a mile from a point of land lying next to the northward of Cape Wilson, and which is low for a short dis. tance next the sea. At nine o'clock a large mass of ice fell off the land-floe and struck our stern; and a “calf” lying under it, having lost its superincumbent weight, rose to the surface with consid. erable force, lifting our rudder violently in its pas. sage, but doing no material injury.
On the 12th, observing an opening in the land like a river, I left the ship in a boat to examine the soundings of the coast. On approaching the open. ing, we found so strong a current setting out of it as to induce me to taste the water, which proved scarcely brackish ; and a little closer in, perfectly fresh, though the depth was from fourteen to fifteen fathoms. As this stream was a sufficient security against any ice coming in, I determined to anchor