Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/102

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me. The agony the poor animal now appeared to be suffering, would, on any other occasion, have excited sentiments of unmixed compassion; in the present instance the spectacle was rendered awfully grand by the astonishing exertions made by the fish with its fins and tail, to destroy its assailants. The other boats having come up, the crews actively applied lances to reach the vitals of the fish, and I imagine they speedily effected their object; for, in discharging the air from the blow-holes, it gave early indication of exhaustion, by a mixture of blood with the breath. The bustle of the combat—the confusion of voices—the struggle of departing life tinging the air with red—the surrounding sea turned to an ocean of blood—and, at the moment, when the last breath was observed to escape, three hearty cheers from the crews of the boats, to welcome the event,—all together presented a picture beyond the power of description. As soon as the bustle was over, a boat came for me, and the fish being secured by the tail, and the fins tied across the belly, it was, by the united efforts of every boat, rowed to the ship; this was a most cheerful part of the business, being accompanied with a merry song by all the men: on reaching the ship, the fish was placed along-side for the operation of flincing. After waiting this process, in anxious expectation that, by examining the contents of its stomach, I should be able to ascertain the quality of its food, and also to make many other important discoveries of the economy of nature in the structure of the whale, I regretted