Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/106

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pointed out, it rose, and lay upon the water, as if in a torpid state, until it received the fatal harpoon; on the call of "a fall!" five other boats were despatched, and the fish soon rose again in water free from ice, where it exhibited less energy than is usual in such cases; as the ship was brought to the scene of action, we had an opportunity of distinguishing all that passed. The boats having approached it, and applying their missiles of destruction, it soon gave evident signs of exhaustion, making but one feeble struggle to disengage itself from its enemies; in doing which, it warned the boats to keep at a safe distance, while it rolled about in the agonies of death, until it had lost its strength, when the lances terminated its existence. It was a very large fish, in many parts striped, and marked with large spots of the purest white. The edges of the fins and tail were diversified, and beneath it was much marked with the same colour; its nose and lower jaw were yellow, on evident symptom of great age; and probably its easy capture may be attributed to the decay of nature, as manifested in its feeble resistance and early exhaustion. It was towed to the ship for flincing, when nothing was particularly observable, but that its skin was thinner, its blubber of a higher colour than usual, and the reticulated cells in which the oil is contained, much thicker and tougher, and consequently retaining less oil than is found in a full-grown proper-aged fish. The length of its laminæ was twelve feet eleven inches