Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/105

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

from the bill to the tail, twenty-eight inches; extent of wing, five feet; its cry is remarkably harsh, and so loud; as distinctly to be heard when the bird is not to be seen.


May 27. 
Early this morning, (Sunday,) the officer of the watch reported to the captain, that a very large whale was lying on the surface of the water, near the ship, and asked permission to lower a boat and attack it, but was refused; two or three hours afterwards, on its rising again, the officer returned, making the same application, urged by the crew, who had actually carried one of the harpooners by force into the boat, and were preparing to lower it down; but the same denial was not only peremptorily made, but an order issued that the fullest reverence to the day must be observed. Thus did the Sabbath bring with it the charms of peace, while our Christian captain taught the lessons of gentleness and forbearance to his crew. In the morning service he read to them a most appropriate and impressive sermon from the twentieth chapter of Exodus, and the eighth verse: "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy." This religious lecture was evidently felt by his hearers, and their hearts were not only softened, but reconciled to a temporary respite from the work of violence.


May 28. 
Soon after breakfast; Captain Scoresby, from the mast-head, caught a glimpse of a whale descending, and instantly ordered a boat to be sent in pursuit; as the boat approached the place