Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/178

This page has been validated.

132

VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

it left in the snow, and which from curiosity I measured, and found the length of the impression of the hind paw to be one foot ten inches, and its breadth one foot, and that of the fore paw one foot one inch in length, and one foot in breadth. A fog hastily came on, which, though it hid the bear from our sight, gave us the opportunity long after, of hearing his loud growlings; whether they proceeded from disappointment at not having attained the food of which he was in search, or whether they were love strains to apprize some favourite of his approach, I must leave to more competent judges to determine.


July 17. 
The fog dispersing at eight o'clock in the morning, we endeavoured to proceed round a compact patch[1] of ice that impeded us in our western course; several unicorns were seen, and I went in a boat after them without success, as they retired under the ice. I waited their return for some time, but they were too shy to allow a harpoon to be thrown into them; I therefore fired a shell at one that was rapidly passing along at some distance, having an extraordinary large horn; but it passed about an inch above his back, and after repeatedly bounding from the surface of the water, it burst at least half a mile distant.

Just as we were sitting down to dinner, the man at the mast head, called out that a great bear had

  1. A compact patch of ice, is a collection of pieces of considerable magnitude with openings among them, the extent of which patch is visible.