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necessary to proceed with greater caution. About this time, also, a great deal of high land came in sight to the northward and eastward, which, on the first inspection of the Esquimaux charts, we took to be the large portion of land called Keiyuk-tar. ruoke,* between which and the continent the prom. ised strait lay that was to lead us to the westward. So far all was satisfactory; but, after sailing a few miles farther, it is impossible to describe our disappointment and mortification in perceiving an un. broken sheet of ice extending completely across the supposed passage from one land to the other. This consisted of a floe so level and continuous, that a single glance was sufficient to assure us of the disagreeable fact, that it was the ice formed in its present situation during the winter, and still firmly attached to the land on every side. It was certain, from its continuous appearance for some miles that we ran along its edge, that it had suffered no dis. ruption this season, which circumstance involved the necessity of our awaiting that operation, which nature seemed scarcely yet to have commenced in this neighbourhood, before we could hope to sail round the northeastern point of the American continent.
At thirty minutes past nine A.M. we observed several tents on the low shore immediately abreast of us, and presently afterward five canoes made their
appearance at the edge of the land-ice intervening between us and the beach. We soon found, by the cautious manner in which the canoes ap
* This name being applied by the Esquimaux to several other portions of land, all of which are insular, or nearly so, it is probable that the word simply signifies an island.
proached us, that our Winter Island friends had not yet reached this neighbourhood. In a few min. utes after we had joined them, however, a few pres. ents served to dissipate all their apprehensions, if, indeed, people could be said to entertain any who thus fearlessly met us half way; and we immediately persuaded them to turn back with us to the shore. Being under sail in the boat, with a fresh breeze, we took two of the canoes in tow, and drag. ged them along at a great rate, much to the satisfaction of the Esquimaux, who were very assiduous in piloting us to the best landing-place upon
the ice, where we were met by several of their companions and conducted to the tents. Before we had reach. ed the shore, however, we had obtained one very interesting piece of information, namely, that it was Igloolik on which we were now about to land, and that we must therefore have made a very near approach to the strait which, as we hoped, was to conduct us once more into the Polar Sea.
We found here two divisions of tents, there being eleven where we landed, and five more about half a mile to the northward. By the time we reached the tents we were surrounded by a crowd of men, women, and children, all carrying some trifling article, which they offered in barter, a business they seemed to understand as well, and to need much more than their countrymen to the southward. We were,
of course, not backward in promoting a good understanding by means of such presents as we had brought with us, but they seemed to have no idea of our giving them anything gratis, always offering some trifle in exchange, and expressing hesitation and surprise when we declined accepting
it. This was not to be wondered at among people who scarcely know what a free gift is among them. selves; but they were not long in getting rid of all delicacy or hesitation on this score.
The tents, which varied in size according to the number of occupants, consisted of several seal and walrus skins, the former dressed without the hair, and the latter with the thick outer coat taken off, and the rest shaved thin, so as to allow of the transmission of light through it. These were put together in a clumsy and irregular patchwork, form. ing a sort of bag of a shape rather oval than round, and supported near the middle by a rude tent-pole composed of several deer's horns or the bones of other animals lashed together. At the upper end of this is attached another short piece of bone at right angles, for the purpose of extending the skins a little at the top, which is generally from six to seven feet from the ground. The lower part of the tent-pole rests on a large stone, to keep it from sinking into the ground, and, being no way secured, is frequently knocked down by persons accident. ally coming against it, and again replaced upon the stone. The lower borders of the skins are held down by stones laid on them outside ; and, to keep the whole fabric in an erect position, a line of thong is extended from the top, on the side where the door is, to a larger stone placed at some distance. The door consists merely of two flaps, contrived so as to overlap one another, and to be secured by a stone laid upon them at the bottom. This entrance faces the south or southeast; and as the wind was now blowing fresh from that quar. ter, and thick snow beginning to fall, these habita.
tions did not impress us at first sight with a very favourable idea of the comfort and accommodation afforded by them. The interior of the tents may be described in few words. On one side of the end next the door is the usual stone lamp, resting on rough stones, with the ootkooseek, or cooking pot, suspended over it; and round this are huddled to: gether, in great confusion, the rest of the women's utensils, together with great lumps of raw seahorse flesh and blubber, which at this season they enjoy. ed in most disgusting abundance. At the inner end of the tent, which is also the broadest, and oce cupying about one third of the whole apartment, their skins are laid as a bed, having under them some of the andromeda tetragona when the ground is hard, but in this case placed on the bare dry shingle. Comfortless as these simple habitations appeared to us in a snowstorm, they are, in general, not deficient in warmth as summer residences; and, being easily removed from place to place, they are certainly well suited to the wants and habits of this wandering people. When a larger habita. tion than usual is required, they contrive, by putting two of these together, to form a sort of double tent somewhat resembling a marquee, and support. ed by two poles. The difference between these tents and the one I had seen in Lyon Inlet the preceding autumn, struck me as remarkable, these having no wall of stones around them, as is usual in many that we have before met with, nor do I know their reason for adopting this different mode of construction.
Even if it were not the natural and happy dis. position of these people to be pleased, and to place
implicit confidence wherever kind treatment is experienced, that confidence would soon have been ensured by our knowledge of their friends and re. lations to the southward, and the information which we were enabled to give respecting their late and intended movements. This, while it excited in them extreme surprise, served also at once to remove all distrust or apprehension, so that we soon found ourselves on the best terms imaginable. In return for all this interesting information, they gave us the names of the different portions of land in sight, many of which being recognised in their countrymen's charts, we no longer entertained a doubt of our being near the entrance of the strait to which all our hopes were directed. We now found also that a point of land in sight, a few miles to the southward of the tents, was near that marked Ping-it-ka-lik on Ewerat's chart, and that, therefore, the low shore along which we had been constantly sailing the preceding night was certain. ly a part of the continent.
By the time we had distributed most of our presents, and told some long stories about Winter Isl. and, to all which they listened with eager delight and interest, we found the weather becoming so inclement as to determine us to make the best of our way on
bard, and to take a more favourable opportunity of renewing our visit to the Esquimaux. After pulling out for an hour and a half, Captain Lyon, who had a boat's crew composed of officers, and had, unfortunately, broken one of his oars, was under the necessity of returning to the shore. My anxiety lest the ships should be ventured too near the shore, from a desire to pick up the boats, in.