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ful tail; we drive our long lances into his spotted side, and for ten minutes we keep up the unequal contest. After a final plunge and dying struggle he is our own; a rope is rove round his tail, and all hands together drag him on to the ice. We measure him, and find him a good eighteen feet. In a short time his blubber is cut up into pieces sufficiently small to go through the opening in the casks, and the whole is carefully stowed away, as the oil is of the finest quality. His horn, after a rough polishing up, is taken down with some ceremony and deposited in the state cabin, a trophy of the great deep. Then our men get together to make a vast fire-place out of his remains. This is a scientific operation, and is done with due
The framework of the carcase is rolled over, and turned with its back towards the wind; the interior is cleared out, and a hole is made somewhere in the back, destined to serve as a chimney. The openings between the ribs are made to serve the purpose of a grate, to let the air in below. Plenty of wood and oakum is packed inside, a match is set to the materials and he burns brightly. The greasy, oily flame is highly inflammable, and the mass soon frizzles up into a stinking cloud, the object being to attract any bears that may be straying in the neighbourhood, the olfactories of the great polar bear being, it is supposed, unable to resist MONODON MONOCEROS.
the tempting odour. He hurries to the scene in hot haste—at least they have been known to come a distance of twenty miles, attracted by burning animal matter. We, however, could tempt no bear, and concluded there could be none within our range at that time.
It has been noticed that the female Monodon monoceros is more spotted than the male ; the young is much darker ; some individuals are almost white, and we killed one destitute of any projecting tooth. Its food consists, it is said, of crustaceans, fish and cuttle fish. An investigation of its internal structure has satisfied the anatomists of its amphibious nature. The blowholes are placed directly on the top of the head; they are large, semilunar, opening on either side, and leading down to the bronchia and the lungs. The female is destitute of the long horn, and has two teeth about ten inches long instead. The tooth, or teeth, of the male, for sometimes a narwhal is taken, having two teeth protruding from the jaw, is smooth and tapering, and curiously twisted in the form of a spiral drawn out to a fine point, the spiral turned towards the left ; the surface of the tooth is wrinkled, and only the point during the lifetime of the animal is clean and ivorylooking, the remainder is covered with a bark of dirty matter which somewhat detracts from its beauty. The value of this ivory is considerable, and at one time the tooth of the narwhal had some reputation as a medicine. Master Pornet, in his “ Historie of Drugges,” gives some curious particulars respecting its qualities, and to the present day the tooth has a high medicinal value in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. In the palace of Rosenborg is a throne of the kings of Denmark manufactured of this ivory, and the father of Captain Scoresby had the posts of his state-bed constructed out of the splendid teeth of this animal. The oil we know to be of value; and Dr. R. Brown, during his recent travels in Greenland, where he has gathered the most complete materials for the history of this and other Arctic animals, states that a jelly made from the skin of the narwhal is looked upon, and justly so, as one of the prime dainties of a Greenlander. The hospitable Danish ladies resident in that country always make a point of presenting a dish of “mattak” to their foreign visitors, who soon begin to like it.
The narwhal is gregarious, generally travelling in great herds. We saw them going in flocks of many thousands, travelling north in their migrations tusk to tusk, and tail to tail, like a regiment of cavalry, so regularly do they seem to rise and sink into the water in their undulating movements as they swim. The use of the tusk has long been a matter in dis
ARCTIC BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA.
pute; it has been supposed by some that it stirs up its food from the bottom, but in such a case the female would be sadly at a loss for want of a similar appliance, though a recently described New Zealand bird seems just a case in point; for here we also find the male bird is furnished with a long and sharply curved beak, while the female of the same species is known to have a very much shorter bill, and there is no reason to believe that their food is different.
These narwhals are pugnacious one with another, often it happens that the tooth gets broken, and in savage encounters the point of one opponent's tooth has been found embedded in the broken piece of the other. Fabricius thought its use was to keep the holes open
in the ice during the winter; and the following occurrence seems to support this view. In April 1860, a Greenlander was travelling along the ice in the vicinity of Christianshaab, and discovered one of these open spaces in the ice, which, even in the most severe winters, remain open. In this hole hundreds of narwhals and white whales were protruding their heads to breathe, no other place presenting itself for miles around. It was described to Dr. R. Brown as akin to the Arctic Black Hole of Calcutta, in the eagerness of the animals to keep at the place. Hundreds of Eskimo and Danes resorted thither with their dogs and sledges,
and while one shot the animal, another harpooned it to prevent its being pushed aside by the anxious crowd of breathers. Dozens of both narwhals and white whales were killed, but many were lost before they were got home, the ice breaking up soon after. In the summer ensuing the natives found many of the dead washed up in the bays and inlets around.
We have fine weather on the 24th, with a calm sea, and the atmosphere has a curious effect upon the scene, which is novel, and not without its meaning ; the clear water in the distance seems as if it was lifted up far above the level of the ice floating on the sea. This is the result of refraction, and the harpooners notice the fact, and say it is an indication of a north or north-eastern wind, which will have the effect of liberating us from our enforced captivity, caused by the crowding together of the ice, which has held us back for the last three days.
Sure enough, the cold northern wind comes along, driving the ice before it ; it slowly effects this change, and the packed ice gradually opens, and it requires all our skill to drive aside the immense floors of ice which threaten every moment to squeeze us between the contracting gaps. But the ice soon begins to stream off, and we begin to comprehend the vexed question of currents flowing south, and the influence of the winds