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lands and sea in that direction. Lieutenant Reid and Mr. Bushnan were once more selected for that service, to be accompanied by eight men, a large number being preferred, because by this means only is it practicable to accomplish a tolerably long jour. ney, especially on account of the additional weight of warm clothing which the present advanced state of the season rendered indispensable. Lieutenant Reid was furnished with six days' provisions, and directed to land where most practicable on the northern shore, and thence to pursue his journey to the westward as far as his resources would admit, gaining all possible information that might be useful or interesting.
On the 14th, while an easterly breeze continued, the water increased very much in breadth to the westward of the fixed floe to which we were at. tached; several lanes opening out, and leaving in some places a channel not less than three miles in width. At two P.M., the wind suddenly shifting to the westward, closed up every open space in a few hours, leaving not a drop of water in sight from the masthead in that direction. To this, however, we had no objection; for being now certain that the ice was at liberty to move in the western part of the strait, we felt confident that, if once our present narrow barrier were also detached, the ordinary changes of wind and tide would inevitably af. ford us opportunities of making progress. The westerly wind was accompanied by fine snow, which continued during the night, rendering the weather extremely thick, and our situation, conse. quently, very precarious, should the ice give way during the hours of darkness.
At four P.M. on the 15th we discovered our travellers upon the ice. A fresh party being despatched to meet and to relieve them of their knapsacks, Lieutenant Reid arrived safely on board at seven P.M., having, by a quick and most satisfac. tory journey, ascertained the immediate junction of the Strait of the Fury and Hecla with the Polar Sea.
The weather continuing very thick, with small snow, and there being now every reason to suppose a final disruption of the fixed ice at hand, I determined to provide against the danger to which, at night, this long-wished-for event would expose the ships, by adopting a plan that had often before oc. curred to me as likely to prove beneficial in an un. known and critical navigation such as this. This was nothing more than the establishment of a tem. porary lighthouse on shore during the night, which, in case of our getting adrift, would, together with the soundings, afford us that security which the sluggish traversing of the compasses otherwise rendered extremely doubtful. For this purpose, two steady men, provided with a tent and blankets, were landed on the east point of Amherst Island at sunset, to keep up some bright lights during the eight hours of darkness, and to be sent for at day. light in the morning.
On the 17th the wind freshened almost to a gale from the northwest, with thicker and more con. stant snow than before. The thermometer fell to 16jo at six A.M., rose no higher than 20° in the course of the day, and got down to 12o at night, so that the young ice began now to form about us in great quantities.
Appearances had now become so much against our making any farther progress this season, as to render it a matter of very serious consideration whether we ought to risk being shut up during the winter in the middle of the strait, where, from whatever cause it might proceed, the last year's ice was not yet wholly detached from the shores, and where a fresh formation had already commenced, which there was too much reason to believe would prove a permament one. Our wintering in the strait involved the certainty of being frozen up for eleven months; a sickening prospect under any circumstances, but in the present instance, proba. bly, fatal to our best hopes and expectations.
The young ice had now formed so thick about the Fury, that it became rather doubtful whether we should get her out without an increase of wind to assist in extricating her, or a decrease of cold. At ten A.M., however, we began to attempt it, but by noon had not moved the ship more than half her own length. As soon as we had reached the outer point of the floe, in a bay of which we had been lying, we had no longer the means of apply. ing a force from without, and, if alone, should therefore have been helpless, at least for a time. The Hecla, however, being fortunately unencum. bered, in consequence of having lain in a less sheltered place, sent her boats with a hawser to the margin of the young ice; and ours being carried to meet it, by men walking upon planks, at consid. erable risk of going through, she at length succeed. ed in pulling us out; and, getting into clear water, or, rather, into less tough ice, at three P.M. we shaped a course to the eastward.
In our return to Igloolik we encountered a severe gale, but we luckily discovered it at half past ten A.M., though such was the difficulty of distinguish. ing this from Neerlo-nakto, or either from the main land, on account of the snow that covered them, that, had it not been for the Esquimaux huts, we should not easily have recognised the place. At noon on the 241h we arrived off the point where the tents had first been pitched, and were immedi. ately greeted by a number of Esquimaux, who came running down to the beach, shouting and jumping with all their might.
As soon as we had anchored I went on shore, accompanied by several of the officers, to pay the Esquimaux a visit, a crowd of them meeting us, as usual, on the beach, and greeting us with every dem. onstration of joy. They seemed disappointed that we had not reached Akkolee, for they always receive with eagerness any intelligence of their distant country people. Many of them, and Toole. mak among the number, frequently repeated the expressions “Owyak Na-o!" (no summer), “ Tooktoo Na.o!” (no reindeer), which we considered at the time as some confirmation of our own surmises respecting the badness of the past summer. When we told them we were come to winter among them, they expressed very great, and, doubtless, very sin. cere delight, and even a few koyennas (thanks) es. caped them on the first communication of this piece of intelligence.
We found these people already established in their winter residences, which consisted principal. ly of the huts before described, but modified in va. rious ways both as to form and materials. The
roofs, which were wholly wanting in the summer, were now formed by skins stretched tight across from side to side. This, however, as we soon af. terward found, was only a preparation for the final winter covering of snow; and, indeed, many of the huts were subsequently lined in the same way within, the skins being attached to the sides and roof by slender threads of whalebone, disposed in large and regular stitches. Before the passages already described, others were now added, from ten to fifteen feet in length, and from four to five feet high, neatly constructed of large flat slabs of ice, cemented together by snow and water. Some huts also were entirely built of this material, of a rude circular or octangular form, and roofed with skins like the others. The light and transparent effect within these singular habitations gave one the idea of being in a house of ground-glass, and their newness made them look clean, comfortable, and whole.
Not so the more substantial bone huts, which, from their extreme closeness and accumula. ted filth, emitted an almost insupportable stench, to which an abundant supply of raw and half-putrid walrus' flesh in no small degree contributed." The passages to these are so low as to make it neces. sary to crawl on the hands and knees to enter
and the foors of the apartments were in some places so slippery, that we could with diffi. culty pass
without the risk of continual. ly falling among the filth with which they were covered. These were the dirtiest, because the most durable, of any Esquimaux habitations we had yet seen, and it may be supposed they did not much improve during the winter. Some bitch