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cheaply fitted, by which greater speed is attainable, or the consumption of a less quantity of fuel is secured, are to be found on board the Norwegian steam whalers. Their stowage also is very defective, and this involves the additional expense of a tender, generally a sailing craft in tow. They creep along rather than steam, and are totally useless even for the purpose they fill at the present, time. A steamer of this kind, homebuilt, with vertical engines of the old pattern, making its fussy way over the sea, is a curious addition to the Arctic landscape. The slow rate is preposterous; the dark volume of filthy smoke rolling out, and the noise of her engines fretting and fuming as they plod along fill us with pity for the backwardness of the people who are forced to remain content with such old-fashioned appliances in this age of improvements.
We sailed into King's Bay and anchored in view of the glacier, which shares in interest with the rare and beautiful marble found here by the few visitors who make their way so far north. We climbed amongst the cliffs in search of specimens, and in one place, where the rocks are hollowed out into a lofty cavern with a current of pure water flowing along its bottom, we found some charming bits of pure white stone curiously veined with streaks of red; specimens of these we carried away with us.
The glacier next attracted our attention; its vast proportions filled the mind with awe. The whole of the upper part of the harbour is occupied with this imposing object. As we gazed on the novel scene, a bottle-nose whale suddenly presented himself in the waters close by, and the men at once gave chase ; with varying fortune they pursued him over the sea, and at length, after seven hours' hard pull, they were forced to desist from the vain pursuit. We landed in the evening, if that can be called landing, when the boat can only touch the foundations of some frowning fortress whose lofty walls rise abruptly from the waves.
Here we scrambled up the steep sides whose every ledge and “coigne of vantage” was occupied with Aocks of sea fowl. Flocks, say rather countless myriads of spectators in some vast arena. We watched them for a long time, and their attitude resembled closely a crowd of spectators looking on at some spectacle; the old and the young together chattering away as if they had one common purpose. Near by was a patch of low land running inland, and the ground was everywhere broken up by foxes in search of food of some kind. What its nature might have been we could not detect; worms we hardly think exist, for there was no sign of life of that kind, and the scattered blocks of timber, bored and pierced in all directions with some sea-worm,
THE SNOW GOOSE.
were tenantless, although it was the warm summer time; and had they ever lived in these latitudes we should have certainly found them when the wood was being split for firewood.
Here it was we saw those northern geese called by the Norwegians “rein-geese.” We had ascended a steep, rocky ledge of rocks, 800 feet above the sea level ; clambering and creeping by turns we scaled the rugged mountain wall; slowly we made our ascent to the steep brow of the crags, and as soon as we mastered the height we found we were on a level with the top, near to the edge of a deep blue lake, the surface of which was as smooth as a mirror. On it were reposing a number of large pure white geese, resting undisturbed in the awful solitude. Our sudden appearance was a warning of a danger they were not slow in avoiding; rapidly they rose from the margin of the water and flew towards us, making for the open sea. We quickly recovered from the surprise the unexpected vision of these birds threw us into, but in our haste we fired, without reflecting that the birds would fall into the sea if killed or wounded; and so it happened-our two birds killed in an easy shot were lost to us. So ended the solitary opportunity we had during the voyage of securing specimens of the rare snow goose of Spitz