« AnteriorContinuar »
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
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 DANGEROUS DESCENT.
a footing he sees below. Arrived there, we call out, sailor-like, “Stand from under,” and we let him go. He lands safely, luckily for
Now Roberts disappears over the ledge, then the rifles and our panion's lunch.
Roberts now mounts on Hayward's shoulders, and 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
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
A SIGNAL NOT UNDERSTOOD.
men raised a hearty cheer. There is a lake near Albert Dirk's Bay marked “Salmon ” in the chart, and though we have not much faith in the chart itself, we are anxious, for sake of change, to combine fish with our venison and tender gosling dishes; we make sail in that direction. The ice steadily opposes itself to our wishes —that bugbear of all our voyage is driving down upon this side of the bay. A Norwegian sloop is in company with us, and her skipper seems rather anxious ; once or twice he has hailed in broken English, and at last be runs up a flag and bears away. We beat backwards and forwards. After half an hour's anxious tacking about to and fro, like some newly caught animal in a cage, we manage to escape through some lucky chance, just as the ice had almost caught us, and we cross to the opposite side of the bay where our Norwegian has already cast anchor under the lee of the land. Her captain offered to help us with a gift of some hard wood-he called it “ “Hekey wood” — to repair our broken stem ; but we had no experienced hands on board to attempt the work, and declined. He explained the custom of hoisting a flag to signal that the ice was open ahead, in order to warn his less lucky companion of the chance,-a signal we did not comprehend at the time.
We made yet another hunting party for the pursuit
of the deer, and shot. a stag with the velvet still on his horns. At this early season the horns look handsomer than they are later on, when the dry antlers are divested of this covering. As we go
As we go in pursuit of our game, we see another herd too far
and yet if seen by our companions within easy reach of them by stalking. We make a sign which is fortunately understood, and our companion sends on his
behind some rocks and so gets well on to his mark. The frightened stag runs off, and is rolled over by that clever marksman. A second deer refused to leave his dead companion ; while he stood undecided what to do, he gave the sailor the opportunity of firing two shots at him, before a well-directed bullet rolled him over.
Then we had a laborious four hours after some deer before we could stalk them near enough for a shot, but succeeded in the end in bagging two deer with a right and left shot. To show the attachment of these beasts to their fellows, we may mention that during the previous
year Mr. Leigh Smith, sailing in Hinlopen Straits, shot a large stag, but missed or could not get near its companion; as they were a long way from the ship, and the ground was very swampy to walk over, he had the head and horns removed, and brought along with him to his schooner. They saw the survivor go to the