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another tempting shot, and not to weary our reader with recitals of scenes which to the seal hunter are full of exciting incidents, we record our subsequent successes that day with the tale of four other captures, and conclude our day's work by a long evening's sport amongst a little colony as we go sailing steadily along. We saw in the distance cne little party far in on the ice, a habit the bladder-nose seal indulges in, perhaps relying on his greater size and the security he feels in being under the protecting influence of some patriarchal fellow who shows marks of his prowess in former conflicts. So, at least, it might be inferred on this occasion, for one of the largest seals we had yet seen lay surrounded with a family of five of his fellows. As we can easily sail the schooner within range, the steersman is instructed to use all his skill in approaching them, while we distribute rifles amongst the eager crew. Twelve men crouch down along the gunwale of the schooner, breathing quickly with impatient expectation; no other sound disturbs the victims as we rapidly approach within gunshot range. An occasional lifting of the heads and uneasy glance to the right and left indicates that the watchful leader is fearful of some impending danger, and presently the others participate in his apprehensions. We are close enough to risk a shot, when one of the seals, more nervous than the rest, begins to waddle towards the edge. He has nearly gained the water, when the quick word is given to fire, and a volley, well directed, knocks over all but one. This one seems to bear a charmed life, for he rallies through the crowd of prostrate companions, in a hail of bullets, without receiving a single wound, and while all on board are madly intent upon the chase, no one, not even the steersman, heeds the position of the ship, now in such close proximity to the ice, and before the danger can be averted, our schooner bears down upon the point-end and the jibboom bends like a bow as it comes full-tilt against the hummock of ice which lately afforded a resting-place to the seals. The loud barking of the dog, with the wild shout the sailors raised to “ blaze 'em,” as they say, in order to bewilder the escaping seal, was rapidly hushed, and the dead silence which ensued was only broken by the falling of the head-gear which came tumbling down in consequence of the shock. There lay the seals on the ice abeam of us, the old and savage bladder-nose, the leader of the family, glaring grimly at us, the loose skin over his nose distended to the utmost, giving him a hideous appearance ; his whole aspect full of threatening should we dare to approach. Every thought is now turned to the safety of the ship, and it is not until after proper order is restored on board, that the
men proceed to flence and bring in their valuable booty.
The cold northern wind at length arrives and the ice begins to slack off perceptibly ; up to this time it had been twisting about in a curious way, although seemingly jammed closely and compactly together. The motion is now more clearly defined—now it threatens us with a squeeze, but we manage to give the mass a different direction, pushing it on one side, and compelling it to vent its force upon its icy neighbour. We get the warps and ice anchors out, make sail, and with a boat all ready to take the men from hummock to hummock, we commence the arduous task of “boring out.” After a few hours we get into a stream running to the southward, the ice also slacking off, and also trending in the same direction.
The 11th of June we speed on our way, keeping a sharp look out for the point ends as we coast ; the ice yields but little game, one seal only falling to our gun, and we pushed on some forty miles to the northwards without any further gain worthy of notice. There we saw a steamer far in the pack, and near her the ice is covered with seals; thousands and thousands of these animals recline upon the ice in long lines, and every block of ice in sight appeared quite blackened by the numbers upon them. These
were the mothers with their young on their northward passage-interspersed amongst them were a few bladder noses. This steamer can force herself in amongst the ice without much risk or difficulty. With our schooner it would be impossible to attempt so much, and our boats are unable to force their way after seals, yet we lose no chance that may present itself of following up the sport. While we loiter here in doubt respecting the course to be pursued, the question is finally settled by the appearance of two fresh arrivals on the scene ; two steamers come puffing and screaming towards us, following their system of joining in the sport whenever they find any indication of the presence of seal hunters, who, though lacking some of the advantages of the steamer, have far greater opportunities of sport, being less noisy and demonstrative than they necessarily are in their progress under steam. There is now nothing for it, but to stand away far to the north of the new comers, and to wait for the arrival of the seals which are sure to be driven in our direction by the steamers to the southward of us.
The men say that after the month of August no seals are to be found on the west ice so far to the south, and we begin again to speculate upon their northernmost haunts.
“ So on we journey'd through the evening air,
STEAM-VESSELS intended for the ice require to be not only of a very strong construction but of a peculiar model. It is essentially necessary that a vessel frequenting the Arctic seas should be full-rigged, and sailed, in case of a break-down of the engines, or the running short of coal; when the vessel would be in a safe condition to prosecute her voyage. The construction of a ship for this purpose is also novel when compared with others. The sharp run and clean entrance into the water of a steamship has to be kept in view, as well as the peculiar breadth of beam necessary to all sailing craft to give her hold in the water, but something must be given up to ensure both sailing and steaming qualities; everything depends upon a judicious economy of steam propelling power with a small consumption of coal, so that it may last with