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compared with the vast bulk of its parent; it hardly equals in size a spaniel puppy of a few days old.
The bear of the Arctic regions does not hug like other bears, but bites at his opponent; and he declines to eat his captive until life is quite extinct. Like a cat, he plays with the victim. Amongst the Eskimo of Greenland he plays strange pranks, often creeping upon the hunter whilst busily flencing a seal, and tapping him on the shoulder with his powerful paw. Then it is the unfortunate man's cue to "feign dead,” so that when the Brownie retreats a few paces to enjoy the prospect of his intended meal, the gun can be got ready before he returns again to the attack.
Byers has not been idle. On the open water near the ship he has watched for a narwhal, and without much difficulty has fired the harpoon right through the "fish.” It has no horn, and the men are hard to satisfy respecting this peculiarity in the individual captured. The oil is abundant, however, and this is some compensation in settling the obscure question as to the want of a horn; had it been a female there would have been no question raised.
The wind shifting brings down the ice upon us, and the threatened danger fills us with apprehension for the safety of the ship. Some smaller bits of ice come crunching and grating against her sides,
and we determine to push out into a more secure position.
The crow's-nest signal man, in the early morning, informs us of a bear being to windward, about four miles away, attracted probably by the odour of his grilled companions. Our friend, with his harpooneer Byers, goes in pursuit, while we mount into the rigging to see their plan of operations. We see them mount a hillock, and look in all directions with their glasses for the grizzly monster ; but in vain. They pull round to another point with similar result. Growing tired of the tedious delay, we get quietly below, and the men not knowing the moment when their energies will be tried to the utmost, creep back to finish their sleep, leaving the schooner deck a few minutes quite deserted. The bear steadily advancing, takes the water and gets upon the ice we are moored to. The look-out man, detecting the manœuvre of the sly beast, again spoils our sport by yelling out the tidings ; and before we can do anything the bear has galloped off into space. On the boat's return we are ashamed to recount our adventure ; as the tables are turned, we laugh over the cunning generalship of the bear. Waiting behind some heap of snow which effectually concealed him from his pursuers, he must have slipped by them and so gained upon us without attracting attention. As another instance of the animal's cunning, we may mention that Byers once saw a seal upon the ice a short distance from the breathing hole it also uses as a means of escape in moments of danger. A bear, after seeming deliberation, dived under the ice, and thrusting its paw through the hole, struck the seal a blow which killed it.
We perceive our bear still lurking about at some distance, disappointed of a meal, and grown impatient at his failure. He runs hither and thither, dodging out of view behind every little inequality in the ice, and always coming nearer to the smouldering carcase. All this time the aspect of affairs about us wears a threatening look, and the wind rises rapidly; the ice comes upon us at a pace that is certainly alarming. We are about fifteen miles from the outer edge. Our lake, in which we Avat, is rapidly contracting, and although we cannot complain of the action of the wind upon ourselves, the falling barometer warns us of a gale on the outer verge of the ice, whose force is rapidly increasing. Some ice presses towards us from the southwards-a circumstance to be noted, as ice never comes in this direction undess driven by strong winds. The large pieces continue their course towards the south, heedless of the gale, drifting to certain destruction. Now the question grows serious—What shall
we do? Had we a steamer, there would be little difficulty in forcing a passage out, but this southerly gale may so encumber us with ice we shall find ourselves, after all, but farther away from the pack.
We do all that can be done. We press on all sail, and fight our way to the south-east. The trial is too much for us. The result is not as we had expected. Had we gone towards the north-east, or had we remained as we were, we might have done well; we certainly would have done better. Had we gone to the north-east, when we had the opportunity of doing, all would have been well with us. Had we even remained, the temporary difficulty would have adjusted itself; and our little vessel, under the shelter of some protecting “point-ends,” would have rested securely enough, while we could have found time to enjoy the pursuit of the game which abounded in the neighbourhood.
It happened otherwise. Experience, however laboriously obtained, is of no avail, if it is not accompanied with sterling common sense ; and we sail to the south-east, and fall into the open trap. We cannot get through, and the ice surges backwards and forwards for miles between us and the open sea. Large streams of ice scud past, and we tack through the best openings we can find ; the swell lifts the little vessel aloft and brings her down upon a great piece of ice with a force which sends her shivering from stem to stern, but her stanch timbers are equal to the shock, and she seems none the worse.
Now we miss stays and make a stern board, losing our headway. This endangers our rudder, but it is stoutly built, and resists the hardest knocks. We get her round, and run at high speed between two blocks of ice that threaten to crush us up.
This danger being averted, there is a pause in which cvery heart feels grateful to a merciful Providence for an escape so unexpected. We were now forced to make fast to some ice, and in a short time we were in a sea of water as calm as a pond ; the ice closing us in on all sides was like a low wall opposed to the outside waves. Weary with labour and watching, our sleep is now only disturbed by an occasional trembling of the ship's timbers as she gets a squeeze from the ice pressing upon her sides. For the next seven days we are beset. The men pass the time pleasantly enough with various extemporised games, and with keeping a good look-out for game.
We go in quest of snow-birds, and one afternoon we see the curious and goodhumoured antics of a mother bear playing with her cubs. These savage animals are not devoid of tender affection towards their offspring in times of