Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/122

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on the north side, where the massive pieces that had been forced upon it by the violence of storms, were generally in an upright position, so that the snow could not lodge upon the summits. Several yawning chasms that I had passed over in the ardour of the chase, I examined on my return; and found the ice to vary in thickness from three feet to a thin stratum that would have been dangerous to pass over. Traces of bears, whose footsteps were very large, were observable on its surface. The rich tint of blue that filled the shades, gave a beautiful variety to this immense tract of whiteness. I can conceive nothing similar to it, unless it should be an unbounded plain covered with fragments of rock, and encased in snow.

The lines, after three hours' labour, having been hauled in and coiled up, we returned to the ship, where, perhaps, the most beautiful whale ever beheld, was lying, with its belly uppermost, ready for flincing. No admirer of black cattle ever saw in a favourite breed, marks more pleasing to the eye, better in their arrangement, or stronger contrasts of the purest black and white, than were exhibited on this fish. I now learned some interesting particulars of this extraordinary whale; besides fifteen lines of two hundred and forty yards each, which it had taken from our own boats, it had fast to it, six similar lines, a harpoon, and a boat belonging to the Trafalgar. For the purpose of affording an idea of the animal's strength, I may mention, that it carried five thousand and forty yards of rope, weigh-