Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

biscuit and tobacco. It is a letter. How long it bas lain there, or who it is intended for, we cannot imagine. Long since the envelope has been frayed away, and become tattered; the address, if ever it had any, is no longer decipherable. The note it contained is safe enough, but somewhat torn. It began, “My dearest,” and wound up with "from your own fond love." What else it contained we must not say, but it brought back tender thoughts of home and friends, and we felt it might have been for our reading, and we put it away carefully, and once more turned to our task. One long hour's toil, and at last we sat astride the high peak. The enchantment of the scene forbids any attempt at description ; and the vague feeling of insecurity, as we looked down from our giddy height upon the steep mountain side, made us rather think of our safety thin linger there with so much danger pressing around us. The cold, too, which we could not feel in our ascent, now began to warn us that if it once got possession of our limbs, it could not easily be shaken off, as we had learned by experience. So, without remaining one minute longer than the time demanded while we satisfied ourselves as to the problem that brought us there, we dismounted, and began slowly to pick our downward steps. The steep places on a mountain of this character are exceedingly difficult to descend, but we overcame the difficulties, and arrived at the schooner in time to see all hands busily at work. For during our absence the ice had shifted, and, drifting down and across the schooner's bows, her position had at once to be altered, and to do this all hands had been engaged upon her during the night. We were glad, then, to find that good fellow the cook had not forgotten us --- far from it. “It's steaming ’ot, sir! Been waiting for you, sir, for the last five hours !”



“ Jacet extra sidera Tellus

Extra anni solisque vias."

We saw no foxes here; in most of the other valleys we saw a few, but on no occasion could we secure a specimen. At this season the reindeer, finding food abundant, grow very fat, and their condition is at its best ; roast haunch of venison, served up hot five hours after the stag has fallen, is food of the highest quality. And a neighbouring Russian hut, with its scant appliances, quickly serves us for our banquet-hall; driftwood abounds. The vegetation on which the deer fattens is abundant, and is becoming dry and nutritious food for them, but in the winter here, when supplies grow short, the deer must suffer greatly; it serves us as well for fuel. We must follow the course of the ice day by day, as some good result may come from the record of our observations here. We found the wind shifting again to the north on the 18th of August, and bringing down upon us the ice, so we moved to the southward of the point. Here we lay one whole day, and then growing weary of this perpetual buffeting with the ice, we make

sail and work our way out of the bay, keeping well to the west side, where the water is pretty free from our opponent. Once outside, the sea looks tempting, and it again sets us thinking of a northerly run, late as the season is. But before we have quite resolved, the ice is once more about us, and we run from it to Red Bay, the ice being driven by a north-westerly


breeze. Here we anchored under the lee of a “point," and bad the misfortune to break our anchor. The ice coming down so fast upon us we could not hold our own against it without much labour, in which we lost two hawsers we had just been using as warps, our boat was capsized, and little David nearly drowned ; we haul in alongside an iceberg lying aground in

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »