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duced me to persevere an hour longer, when the wind having increased to a gale, which prevented our hearing any of the guns, I reluctantly bore up for our former landing-place. Captain Lyon and his party having quartered themselves at the south. ern tents, we took up our lodgings at the others, to which we were welcomed in the kindest and most hospitable manner. That we might incommode the Esquimaux as little as possible, we divided into parties of two in each tent, though they would willingly have accommodated twice that number. Immediately on our arrival they offered us dry boots, and it was not long before we were entirely “rigged out" in their dresses, which, thoroughly drenched as we were by the sea, proved no small comfort to us. With these, and a sealskin or two as a blanket, we kept ourselves tolerably warm du. ring a most inclement night; and the tents, which but a few hours before we had looked upon as the most comfortless habitations imaginable, now af. forded us a sufficient and most acceptable shelter,
The evening was passed in dealing out our information from the southward, and never did any arrival excite more anxious inquiries than those we were now obliged to answer. So intimate was the knowledge we possessed respecting many of their relationships, that, by the help of a memorandum.book in which these had been inserted, I believe we almost at times excited a degree of superstitious alarm in their minds. This sort of gossip; and incessant chattering and laughing, continued till near midnight, when the numerous visiters in our tents began to retire to their own and to leave us to our repose.
Awaking at four A.M. on the 17th, I found that the weather had moderated and cleared and the ships soon after appearing in sight, we called our boat's crew up, and sent one of the Esquimaux round to the other tents to inform Captain Lyon of our setting out. Several of the natives accom. panied us to our boat, which they cheerfully helped us to launch, and then went round to another part of the beach for their own canoes. A thick fog had come on before this time, notwithstanding which, however, we managed to find the ships, and got on board by seven o'clock. Five canoes arrived soon after, and the wind being now light and variable, we lay-to for an hour to repay our kind friends for the hospitable reception they had given
After supplying them abundantly with tin canisters, knives, and pieces of iron hoop, we hauled to the northeastward to continue our examination of the state of the ice, in hopes of finding that the late gale had in this respect done us some service.
Finding that a farther examination of the eastern lands
could not at present be carried on, with. out incurring the risk of hampering the ships at a time when, for aught that we knew, the ice might be breaking up at the entrance of the strait, we stood back to the westward, and, having fetched near the middle of Igloolik, were gratified in ob. serving that a large patch” of the fixed ice* had broken off and drifted out of sight during our ab
At nine A.M. we saw eleven canoes com. ing off from the shore, our distance from the tents
* The expression “ fixed ice" appearing better suited to our present obstacle than that of “land ice,” I shall in future adopt it in speaking of this barrier.
being about four miles. We now hoisted two of them on board, their owners Kā-kểe and Nů.yāk-kă being very well pleased with the expedient, to avoid damaging them alongside. Above an hour was occupied in endeavouring to gain additional information respecting the land to the westward, and the time when we might expect the ice to break up in the strait, after which we dismissed them with va. rious useful presents, the atmosphere becoming extremely thick with snow, and threatening a repetition of the same inclement weather as we had late. ly experienced.
On the 23d we went on shore to pay another visit to the Esquimaux, who came down on the ice in great numbers to receive us, repeatedly stroking down the front of their jackets with the palm of the hand as they advanced, a custom not before mentioned, as we had some doubt about it at Win. ter Island, and which they soon discontinued here. They also frequently called out tima, a word which, according to Hearne, signifies in the Esquimaux language, “ What cheer !” and which Captain Franklin heard frequently used on first accosting the natives at the mouth of the Coppermine River. It seems to be among these people a salutation equivalent to that understood by these travellers, or at least some equally civil and friendly one, for nothing could exceed the attention which they paid us on landing. Some individual always attached himself to each of us immediately on our leaving the boat, pointing out the best road, and taking us by the hand or arm to help us over the streams of water or fissures in the ice, and attending us where ever we went during our stay on shore.
The day proving extremely fine and pleasant, everything assumed a different appearance from that at our former visit, and we passed some hours on shore very agreeably. About half a mile in. land of the tents, and situated upon the rising ground beyond the swamps and ponds before mentioned, we found the ruins of several winter habi. tations, which, upon land so low as Igloolik, formed very conspicuous objects at the distance of several miles to seaward. These were of the same cira cular and dome-like form as the snow-huts, but built with much more durable materials, the lower part or foundation being of stones, and the rest of the various bones of the whale and walrus, gradu. ally inclining inward and meeting at the top. The crevices, as well as the whole of the outside, were then covered with turf, which, with the additional coating of snow in the winter, serves to exclude the cold air very effectually. The entrance is to. wards the south, and consists of a passage ten feet long, and not more than two in height and breadth, built of flat slabs of stone, having the same external covering as that of the huts. The beds are raised by stones two feet from the ground, and oc. cupy about one third of the apartment at the inner end, and the windows and a part of the roofs had been taken away for the convenience of removing their furniture in the spring. It was a natural in. ference, from the nature of these habitations, that these people, or at least a portion of them, were constant residents on this spot, which, indeed, seemed admirably calculated to afford in luxuri. ous profusion all that constitutes Esquimaux felici. ty. This, however, did not afterward prove to be
absolutely the case ; for though Igloolik (as perhaps the name may imply) is certainly one of their principal and favourite rendezvous, yet we subse. quently found the island entirely deserted by them at the same season.
In every direction around the huts were lying innumerable bones of walruses and seals, together with sculls of dogs, bears, and foxes, on many of which a part of the putrid flesh still remaining sent forth the most offensive effluvia. We were not a little surprised to find also a number of human sculls lying about among the rest, within a few yards of the huts; and were somewhat inclined to be out of humour on this account with our new friends, who not only treated the matter with the utmost indifference, but, on observing that we were inclined to add some of them to our collections, went eagerly about to look for them, and tumbled, perhaps, the craniums of some of their own relations into our bag, without delicacy or remorse. In various other parts of the island we soon after met with similar relics no better disposed of; but we had yet to learn how little pains these people take to place their dead out of the reach of hungry bears or anatomical collectors.
The account we gave of our visit to the shore naturally exciting the curiosity and interest of those who had not yet landed, and the ice remaining unchanged on the 24th, a couple of boats were de. spatched from each ship, with a large party of the officers and men, while the ships stood off and on. On the return of the boats in the evening, I found from Lieutenant Reid that a new family of the na. tives had arrived to-day from the main land, bring.