Imágenes de páginas


“Still pressing on beyond Tornea's Lake,

And Hecla, flaming through a waste of snow,
And farthest Greenland to the Pole itself,
Where, failing gradual, life at length goes out,
The Muse expands her solitary flight.”


Now we go seeking for deer up a long valley, accompanied by one of the men; we come to a rapid river, and find a herd of eighteen reindeer on the opposite side. Going up to the valley end we look down upon a scene of rare beauty, almost of enchantment. Spread out beneath us we see three large lakes fed by a mighty glacier which flows out close by. On either hand the scene is shut in by two ranges of steep and rugged mountains. We come upon more deer : two fine stags at one place, a small herd at another. We successfully stalk a single stag, but are too tired to attempt to carry it to the boats, some two miles off. We get back at 2 A.M. and mention our experience. Our friend at once starts in pursuit, while we promise to join him after a couple of hours' rest ; but the ice shift

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ing, our schooner is carried to the northward. The noise and confusion, carrying warps out, raising of chains, and other severe work on deck, banishes sleep, and as soon as we can we land, resolved to join our friend, who is about five miles away. We take two men with us ; they think we are right in attempting to make a short cut by descending one side of a steep ravine, which lies directly in our path, and after crossing a river which flows in the low ground, to ascend the opposite side of the ravine and so overtake the party we are in pursuit of. The steep side of the ravine is about five hundred feet in descent, very perpendicular, and by no means easylooking. We do not stop to weigh the propriety of going out of our way to the head of the valley, so we commence our journey downwards. At first we are compelled to return, with difficulty, from some very false starts we have made ; but as we have resolved, we go on, taking in as we go the charming details of the prospect. Great rugged rocks jut out from the sides on either hand; leading to them we notice ledges of rock in layers, all tending downwards; beneath, we see the mountain torrent boiling in its narrow bed as it rushes to the sea. The opposite side seems no less difficult than that we are striving with, and the valley is seen to terminate abruptly at some distance above. We let ourselves down with great care, holding on to every


little projecting stone until we reach a secure boulder stone some distance down. Here we are brought to a standstill, and looking up we find, to our dismay, we cannot return. The rocks so overhang it would be impossible. Our faces wear a puzzled look. At length Hayward volunteers to be lowered by our rifle belts to



a footing he sees below. Arrived there, we call out, sailor-like, “Stand from under," and ire let him go. He lands safely, luckily for us. Now Roberts disappears over the ledge, then the rifles and our companion's lunch. Roberts now mounts on Hayward's shoulders, and we slip down first to one, then to the other man. Again we stand together in as difficult a position as before. After that comes the stream, and beyond lies the rugged ascent of the ravine. Again Hayward goes first, “sweep fashion,” he calls it. Being a slender, active man he finds little difficulty apparently. With assistance we follow, and we eventually cross the stream, with no other hurt than a few bruises. Once over we find the trial of the ascent less than we expected, and we hasten forward with all

[ocr errors]

speed, fearing to lose our party. Several shots had already been fired to inform us of their whereabouts, but these we did not hear; and when at length we came up with the others, they had given up the hope of meeting us and were returning to the schooner. We had decided to walk towards the deer killed during the previous night, concluding that a visit would be paid to that point, and we are so far successful. The luncheon we carried proved most acceptable. Coasting along the bay, we make up a party to stalk other deer we have seen to-day, and our hunt has proved more successful than we had looked for. We are so rich now we can share with a neighbour from our larder. We go again in search of three large stags not accounted for, and this time we take the M. H. express rifle. Its heavy weight, with all our practice, tells against our muscular structure, and while we write, we feel the effects of carrying this useful gun, in certain pains about the hollow of our back; yet we killed all three deer before returning on board. The details of the sport, various and full of interest as they ever will be to ourselves, might cause weariness to the reader ; suffice it to say, then, that the second and third stags were shot in full view of the crew, who saw each scene in the act, and as the last stag rolled over dead from the shot, the

« AnteriorContinuar »