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the flowers! How hur did knock about to be sure !--summer and winter hur were allus a doing. She hadn't a lazy bone in hur body. She were a very endeevouring woman she were; and we niver had a word together for nine-and-thirty year!"
As they stood at the wicket they saw Joshua walking slowly away, having apparently just passed the house, with an affectation of not looking round.
“I wunna speak to him," said Nathan. “ Bessie couldn't abide him. I wonder Roland hasna iver been to inquire after her, she set great store by him. And he know'd she were ill, for I sent up to him. Joshua gives it out as he's made a very deal o' money; happen he's grow'd too grand for such as we. And there's a farmer nigh to York where he's dealings in the cattle line, and where Roland goes a deal they say. That's where he is now I take it. I wonder whether there's any females in the house there?” said the old man dreamily. “But a should ha' come and seon his auld friend a should, afore he went; a thing prizeable is an old friend, and she were allus one to him."
It was with a weary heart that Ca sie went home that day ; “unknown females” danced before her imagination. What if his father had schemed Roland into marrying some York beauty ? 66 What shall I care for the money then ? " said the poor girl to herself. At first she had been glad of her dower: “but I've lost aunt Bessie as loved me, and now there's Roland going too; what good will money do me?”
As she turned off the high-road out of the broad Dale, she saw a storm of min come travelling slowly up the valley : each fold of hill was slowly blotted out one after another ; before it all seemed fair and glowing, behind it the beautiful details of rock and wood vanished as under the sweep a brush of dark colour, the outlines were blurred, the beauty effaced as its finger touched them. When she reached Stone Edge, the skirts of the cloud had broken over her: she was wet to the skin; the beauty seemed to have been wiped out of her day, the cloud to be slowly gathering over her life.
Voyage of the “ Diana” ihaler of Bull,
IN THE YEARS 1866-67.
Tuis short narrative of a voyage to the Eastern Greenland seas, and the northern regions of Davis Straits, is prepared from information given by the survivors and from the journals of the surgeon and the ship's log-book. It illustrates some of the dangers to which our whale-fishers are still exposed, notwithstanding the great improvements in the construction of ships, the introduction of steam, and knowledge and experience acquired by the various Arctic expeditions. Owing to the high value of oil and seal-skins, and the great demand for whalebone, which is now worked up for every conceivable article of use, and has reached a marketable value of nearly 7001. per ton, great encouragement has lately been offered to embark in the Northern fisheries, and quite a fleet of fine steam and sailing ships annually leave our shores on these adventurous voyages.
The ships sail about the end of February, having engaged all their principal officers, harpooners, boat-steerers, and seamen at the Northern ports, and proceed to fill up their complement of oarsmen, or rowers, with the hardy fishermen of the Shetland Islands. Withont loss of time they sail to the edge of the Polar ice, in the Eastern Greenland seas, and the neighbourhood of Jan Mayen Island ; and through storms and bitter frosts they cruise along, keeping a constant look-out from the crow's-nest at the mast-head for the young seals, which are born in thousands upon the ice. Incurring the greatest risks from collision with the pack-ice, the violent gales, and the loss of boats and men sent away in the search, they frequently after weeks and weeks of this laborious work return home without success, having missed the seals in the wild wastes around them. If, however, they have the good fortune to fall in with the seals, which are often seen in such quantities as to blacken the ice for miles away, the ship is immediately forced into the pack, and the men are sent away with rifles, clubs, and long knives, to kill them by hundreds, and to drag their skins and blubber to the ship. Should the weather remain fine and the pack so close that the poor seals cannot escape into the water, a ship will often fill up in a few days; but if a gale arise the men hasten on board, and the ship has to make all speed out of the ice, or remain to be crushed to atoms and the crews to perish. The sealing scason at an end, the ships then return homeward to recruit their men and to replenish their stores for the voyage to Davis Straits in search of whales.
Formerly the whalers used to be content with trying the seas on the West coast of Greenland, in Davis Straits, as far as latitude 70°, and in
the vicinity of Disco Island, beyond which it was considered impossible to pass. But owing to the expedition which was sent in 1818 for the discovery of the North-west passage having given information of the great numbers of whales seen in the extreme northern limits of Davis Straits, and more particularly on the western side, our whalers have since penetrated year after year these inhospitable regions, and oftentimes with astonishing success.
As the whales always seek the protection (from the attacks of the swordfish,) of the fast ice, or ice which is still attached to the land and bays after the main body has broken away in the summer, and as they are found to be numerous in the neighbourhood of Lancaster Sound and Pond's Bay, the chief object of the whalers is to arrive there about the commencement of July. Succeeding in this, they are almost certain of a full ship, but they must encounter a most dangerous navigation on their way.
Northern Davis Straits and Baffin's Sea are full of a vast loose pack of floe-ice and enormous icebergs, either forced upon the land with incredible violence, or driven off it according to the direction of the gales of wind at the time. To arrive, then, at the north-western limits of Baffin's Sea, it is necessary to follow the indentations of the Greenland shores, pushing forward whenever the pack is driven to sea by the force of the wind ; but when the pack drives upon the land, to hold on with every endeavour to the ice still attached to the shore, and even at times with large ice-saws to cut a dock for the ship in it for protection against the violence of the shock. To deviate from this course is considered fatal, for once to become entangled in the mass of drifting ice is to be carried out to sea with it and to be there frozen in. Escape is then almost impossible; the ship becomes more and more surrounded until, perhaps, land and water are alike lost to view; and if she is not soon crushed by the violent agitation of the ice-floes, or driven to pieces against a grounded iceberg, she is carried helplessly throughout the long winter wherever the storms and currents may drive the frozen sea, and until she is hurled into the Atlantic in following spring-time.
Such has been the fate of several of the whale-ships, some having been lost with all on board, never to be heard of again, others to be released in the spring with the greater part of their crews dead or dying. Such also was our fate in the Fox discovery ship, when we were for nine weary months thus hopelessly beset without once seeing either land or the open sea, and again only last year as happened to the Diana whaler, whose recent return home after having been given up for lost has created so much interest and sympathy for her unfortunate crew.
The Diana sailed from Hull on February 19th, and from Lerwick, March 8, 1866, for the Eastern Greenland fisheries, Having arrived at the ice in latitude 69° 45'--the magnificent peak of Jan Mayen island in sight—the search for seals was immediately commenced; but after battering about in the ice-edge, and in the pack, during four weeks, amid a succession of violent gales, she sailed on April 19, on her return homeward, having only succeeded in obtaining about twenty seals. It must have been with a heavy heart that Captain Gravill bore up from his more fortunate companions ; for only the previous day he had spoken the ships Vilmka with 3,000, the Alexandra with 3,000, and Jan Mayen with 1,500 seals. The season was at an end; no time was to be lost in pushing on to Davis Straits, and he could only hope that better fortune might attend him in the perilous voyage he had in prospect. The Diana arrived in Lerwick on April 28th, and the surgeon, Dr. Smith, thus describes his rambles on shore in Shetland :-"The country has a bleak and barren aspect, from the hills and undulations being covered with heather, varied only by the numbers of little stacks of peat. We met droves of small shague ponies, active long-woolled sheep, and stunted hide-bound cattle, with listless men and boys, followed by collie-dogs, attending to the stock, groups of women, girls, and aged men carrying turf along the winding roads in baskets upon their backs, all the women knitting as they walked. We entered the dwellings of some of the country-people: they were chiefly built of stone, with a thatched roof, and consisted of one room, with bed-cabins ranged around the sides, a fire of peat burning upon the floor, the smoke finding its way out through a small hole in the roof, and the reek of the peat most painful to the eyes, and rendering it difficult to find the proffered seat. We were offered milk at a penny a bowlful, and it was remarkable with what kindness and unaffected hospitality we were welcomed to these gloomy abodes. They seemed so glad to meet with sailors, for almost all the husbands, fathers, sons, and sweethearts in the island are engaged in the fisheries. One old woman in particular was delighted to see me. She told me that her husband and all her sons were at sea, and that she had lost one son in a ship that was never heard of again. She remarked that God had sent me to cheer her up a bit.' Other women dropped in at the same time, one of them a spaewife, or wizard, and these good creatures told many stories of the hardships and privations of a Shetlander's life, as they smoked their pipes filled with the Diana's tobacco. A ramble along the cliffs was most enjoyable. We sat down upon the turf and smoked, and drank fresh water from the springs, and we watched the hooded-crow picking up shellfish from the beach, dropping it from a height upon the rocks, and descending again to pick the fish from the broken shell. Inland were women and old men busy manuring the ground with seaweed, and planting potatoes, which are dibbled in and covered by a light harrow, invariably drawn by women. I never saw a horse or pony at work upon the land."
By the 8th of May the Diana was all ready for sea, and sailed on her voyage to Davis Straits, and running across the Atlantic with farourable winds, she passed Cape Farewell, the extreme southern point of Greenland, on the 17th, and arrived off Disco on the 26th. Every preparation was now made for the capture of fish, the boats' gear was all rove and the lines coiled in them, the harpoons and lances sharpened, harpoon-guns cleaned, and the different crews told off to their boats. Several of the whaling-fleet were already in sight, ranging about in search of whales, and waiting for the rupture of ice to allow them to proceed northward.
On the 28th the first whale was seen, and the ship immediately
forced through a sheam of ice ; but without success. The same evening, however, they saw the Jack flying from the mizen of the Wildfire, the signal that her boats were fast to a fish, which they soon killed.
From this time till 17th June they were struggling through the intricate navigation to the northward, along the Greenland coast, and through Melville Bay. They had several narrow escapes ; but this being (as described above) the anxious period of the whalers' voyage, they had good reason to congratulate themselves upon arriving off Cape York with every prospect before them of sailing across the north water to the western shores before the land ice had disappeared and the whalers had left its protection. In this passage they had fallen in with many white bears roaming about, six being seen together on the 13th ; but they do not appear to have killed any; and, indeed, our whale-fishers seem to have great dread of these animals. They relate stories of a single bear having attacked a whole ship's company of forty men, and invariably appear to have made all haste to the ship whenever a bear has been encountered in their rambles on the ice. The Diana's crew, however, succeeded in harpooning some of those beautiful narwhales, whose spiral horns of ivory are now so very valuable and so much sought after, especially by the Chinese. They are the “unicorn" of the whalers, and are killed with a harpoon discharged from the gun, generally taking out about one line, or 130 fathoms, before they are exhausted.
The course of the “Diana" on this Chart is indicated by the dots and dates.
On passing Cape York, they found the wild Esquimaux of Smith Sound, with their sledges and dogs drawn up on the ice, awaiting the arrival of the whalers in the hopes of barter. These poor Esquimaux are