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rest with the same feeling of want of repose as though night and proper roosting-time had arrived. After four hours of retirement, although unaccompanied with sleep, we find ourselves ready to renew the contest, and, organizing three separate parties, leave the ship with a new plan which we hope may succeed ; our object on this occasion being, if possible, after having spread ourselves some distance apart, to close in from all sides, and so surround the seals at some common centre. Our plan, clever as it seemed, did not succeed; the seals were more wary then ever, and demanded all our skill both for tracking them, and, when found, to account for those fired at; evidently the difficulty of shooting from a boat in a rough sea can be overcome by practice, and by practice alone. As the time wore on we knocked over a seal that had already been wounded by a bullet from some other ship. One would think a rifle bullet lodged in the back would be a source of inconvenience to the wearer, but there was nothing to indicate that he had suffered in the least from the leaden deposit.
One poor seal to-day interested us greatly in his fate, though our desire to capture him at all hazards. did not overcome our pity, for in his plight he happened to be close to the edge of the ice as we ap
proached, and after a steady gaze he dived with the evident intention of getting clear away. however ; the place where he dived was very shallow, owing to a long tongue of ice stretching out at a little distance beneath the surface, and each dive the poor wretch made only brought him nearer to us. His evident confusion only made matters worse, and as he rose each time he glared at us with baffled rage, and growled aloud meaningly in his perplexity, his whole aspect giving us the idea that he knew his impending fate, for he rushed madly towards us, when we, always ready with the haak-pick, secured him by a welldirected blow on the head. All this time the fog is steadily closing round us, creeping up with the wind from the far horizon. In order to discover our whereabouts we fire a gun from time to time, and the signal in reply comes sounding over the ice; without further delay, the oars force the boat through the ice cold water, and as we give way with all our might, after a three hours' pull, during which time we have to clear the many islets of ice which intercept our course, a clear space in the surrounding gloom, owing to the fog lifting, gives us a momentary view of the ship looming towards us in the distance, and thanks to this
opportunity we are saved a weary search for the long wished-for deck, The game being counted gave a
return of forty seals, about a third of the number we might have fairly reckoned upon had the shooting been good; to us, however, the bag seemed a heavy one, everything considered.
Our zeal in the pursuit of these animals having in no wise abated, we vary the performance by steering the schooner along the ice edge, the sportsman with his gun keeping a sharp lookout for game, particular attention being bestowed on each long-point end, as the promontories of the streams of ice are called, for at these points the hunted seals are always likely to make a short stand on their ever onward course towards the north and towards the depths of the pack-ice, where they would hope to obtain some respite from their pursuers.
Where that northern point may be towards which the westice or saddle-back seals (Phoca Grenlandica) are making, has hitherto been a puzzle to the seal fishermen ; that they rest in some remote northern latitude there can be little doubt, as they are found in the early season far south on the breeding grounds, where very young seals are found on the first coming of the fishermen, and at that season the gravid seals and their young of the year fall an easy prey to the sealfishers whenever they are fortunate enough to find their way to their breeding haunts. But as the season
DODGES TO GET WITHIN RANGE.
advances, they return to their northern homes, and escape further pursuit for that year.
Speculating upon the migratory habits of the seal, we come suddenly upon a small family, probably, from their extreme wariness, a batch we had been in pursuit of the previous day ; their heads are continually raised, and as the day is damp, and has the same effect upon seals as damp weather always has upon
of every kind, we find it almost impossible to get within range; we endeavour to stalk them, a matter of exceeding difficulty, owing to the inveterate habit of sailors to chatter and fidget whenever occasion demands perfect silence being preserved. We notice that the least rustle in the boat disturbs the game, we take off our boots, the oars are taken in, and one man, having an eye upon the herd, sculls the boat, always taking care to stop the same instant he notices that he is being observed. We try Hawker's dodge of burning a turf in the bows, and advance under cover of the smoke; in spite of every precaution we are forced to return on board, with only two seals accounted for.
The look-out man now declares he has seen clear water in the far distance, and the man on deck, guided by his directions, struggles through the streams running south, the good little vessel behaving admirably as we make our way towards the east. Our object is to
round the point end of the ice, and so stand away again to the north.
The fog on the following day hung like a pall round the ship, lifting occasionally its vapory fringe and letting us see in the clear spaces around such easy chances for obtaining sport with the seal, that we are all impatience to be gone in their pursnit, but the harpooneers, grown cautious by long experience, are strangely averse to any such proceedings in the present condition of the atmosphere. They tell of former misadventures and narrow escapes, which happened to themselves, enough to fill the stoutest heart with apprehension. One of these poor fellows was actually lost by his ship, and when almost on the point of giving up in sheer despair, he was picked up by another whaling vessel, and so got safe out of a danger which otherwise might have terminated fatally. Two boats' crews belonging to a captain who still sails in these seas were left to such a horrible fate as falls to the lot of those left behind, no haven for them but death, through their utter inability to find their ship again ; they were lured away by some such tempting chance as now offered of procuring a seal or two. Towards the afternoon the curtain lifted and the sun shone out; all semblance of danger being now removed, we get out the dingy, an unsteady little