« ZurückWeiter »
1769. journey, through pathless woods, in which it was too proJanuary
bable they might be bewildered till they were overtaken by Monday 16.
the next night; and, not having prepared for a journey of more than eight or ten hours, they were wholly destitute of provisions, except a vulture, which they happened to shoot. while they were out; and which, if equally divided, would not afford each of them half a meal; and they knew not how much more they might suffer from the cold, as the snow still continued to fall. A dreadful testimony of the sea verity of the climate, as it was now the midst of summer in this part of the world, the twenty-first of December being here the longest day; and every thing might justly be dreaded from a phænomenon which, in the corresponding season, is
unknown even in Norway and Lapland. Tuesday 17
When the morning dawned, they saw nothing round them, as far as the eye could reach, but snow, which seemed to lie as thick upon the trees as upon the ground; and the blasts returned so frequently, and with such violence, that they found it impossible for them to set out: how long this might last they knew not, and they had but too much reason to apprehend that it would confine them in that desolate forest till they perished with hunger and cold.
After having fuffered the misery and terror of this situation till six o'clock in the morning, they conceived some hope of deliverance by discovering the place of the sun through the clouds, which were become thinner, and began to break away. Their first care was to see whether the poor wretches whom they had been obliged to leave among the bushes were yet alive; three of the company were dispatched for that purpose, and very soon afterwards returned with the melan. choly news, that they were dead.
Notwithstanding the flattering appearance of the sky, the 1769, snow still continued to fall fo thick that they could not ven
. ture out upon their journey to the ship; but about 8 o'clock Tuesday 17. a small regular breeze sprung up, which, with the prevailing influence of the sun, at length cleared the air; and they soon after, with great joy, saw the snow fall in large flakes from the trees, a certain sign of an approaching thaw: they now examined more critically the state of their invalids; Briscoe was still very ill, but said, that he thought himself able to walk; and Mr. Buchan was much better than either he or his friends had any reason to expect. They were now, however, pressed by the calls of hunger, to which, after long fasting, every confideration of future good or evil immediately gives way. Before they set forward, therefore, it was unanimously agreed, that they should eat their vulture; the bird was accordingly skinned, and, it being thought best to divide it before it was fit to be eaten, it was cut into ten portions, and every man cooked his own as he thought fit. After this repast, which furnished each of them with about three mouthfuls, they prepared to set out; but it was ten o'clock before the snow was sufficiently gone off to render a march practicable. After a walk of about three hours, they were very agreeably surprised to find themselves upon the beach, and much nearer to the ship than they had any reason to expect. Upon reviewing their track from the vessel, they perceived, that, instead of ascending the hill in a line, so as to penetrate into the country, they had made almost a circle round it. When they came on board, they congratu. lated each other upon their safety, with a joy that no man can feel who has not been exposed to equal danger; and as I had suffered great anxiety at their not returning in the evening of the day on which they set out, I was not wholly without
The Passage through the Streight of Le Maire, and a further Description of the Inhabitants of Terra del
Fuego, and its Productions.
the 18th and 19th, we were delayed in getting on January
board our wood and water by a swell: but on the 20th, Wednes. 18. the weather being more moderate, we again sent the boat Thursday 19 Friday 20. on shore, and Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went in it. They
landed in the bottom of the bay, and while my people were employed in cutting brooms, they pursued their great object, the improvement of natural knowlege, with success, collecting many shells and plants which hitherto have been altogether unknown: they came on board to dinner, and afterwards went again on shore to visit an Indian town, which some of the people had reported to lie about two miles up the country. They found the distance not more than by the account, and they approached it by what appeared to be the common road, yet they were above an hour in getting thither, for they were frequently up to their knees in mud; when they got within a small distance, two of the people came out to meet them, with such state as they could assume ; when they joined them, they began to hollow as they had done on board the ship, without addressing themselves either to the strangers or their companions ; and having continued this Atrange vociferation some time, they conducted them to the town. It was situated on a dry knoll, or small hill, covered with wood, none of which seemed to have been cleared away, and confifted of about twelve or fourteen hovels, of the most