Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/143

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

a mile from the ice, before the boat could overtake it. When this was accomplished, the bear resolutely faced the boat, and efforts were made to wound it with lances, but, the thickness of its skin, as the men stated, was impenetrable to the weapons, though I cannot help thinking that Bruin's hideous grins, his loud roar, and his daring attempts to reach the boat, by intimidating the assailants, kept them at too great a distance to attack him successfully. After several conflicts he swam to the ice, where he was opposed by two men, but whether the lances would not enter his breast, or whether the men still apprehended the consequences of approaching so formidable an enemy, I know not; but he marched away uninjured, and I was only astonished that he did not make a meal of one of the assailants.

After breakfast, we again sailed towards the west. The difficulties which we had to encounter were even more numerous than they had hitherto been, and the nature of our sailing was quite different from any that had before been exhibited; we had to work directly against the wind through a passage or lead, at least three miles in length, and in many parts not more than a hundred yards wide, with heavy pieces of ice in the channel. It must be observed that this navigation is totally unlike working through a narrow passage, with the advantage of a tide; for here is no such assistance, and every thing must be attained by nicety in management of the helm and sail. In no sailing match, even with numerous vessels in competition, could that skill