Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/158

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constituted an immense field, silently opened by a fissure, the previous existence of which had only been suspected by the appearance of a long crack which, winding in different directions and branching into many filaments, extended to a large space of water at least three miles distant; by what agency this separation was effected I will not hazard an opinion. As soon as the opening was sufficiently large to admit the ship by the aid of boats a-head, and the setting of all the sails, we passed along what had been but a short time before a compact body; immense floes of ice were on each side of us extending beyond the reach of the human eye. In this situation it was impossible to preserve my mind from being assailed with horrible apprehensions, of the inevitable result which awaited us, if these boundaries of ice should prove capricious and close around the ship; particularly, as several who were conversant with the navigation of these seas, expressed, in my hearing, their strongest fears of the undertaking, mingled with astonishment at the boldness of the enterprise, and the intrepidity of Captain Scoresby. I am, indeed, still persuaded that nothing but his consummate judgment and superior knowledge in the movements of polar ice, could have succeeded in so daring an attempt. Some of the officers and men near me, having on former occasions escaped only with their lives from ships, the sides of which had been literally squeezed together in a few minutes, exactly in similar situations to the present, made no secret of their appre-