Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/181

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

just quitted the ice and was in the sea. On hearing this, I instantly requested a boat, and went after him. Seeing that he was going leisurely to a large floe of ice at some distance, we got within a hundred yards of him before we were noticed; when he instantly turned to endeavour to regain the ice, and we rowed with all our might to cut him off: finding that he failed in his object, he changed his route to face the boat, and approached it, keeping up a continued growling with other indications of rage, such as shewing his frightful teeth, and elevating his head and much of his body out of the water. Being desirous to preserve the head of an animal represented to be of an unusual size, I let him come within twelve yards, when I fired a ball through his shoulder, which deprived him of the use of a fore leg, when he roared hideously, pressed towards us in the most ferocious manner, and endeavoured to board or upset the boat, but failed from the loss of his leg: he was then attacked by the crew with lances, the thrusts of some of which he avoided with astonishing dexterity, and, in the most resolute manner, again made several attempts to reach the boat, but being repulsed by an overpowering thrust of a lance from the harpooner on his flank, he was unable longer to hold the contest. During its continuance he had bitten a lance with such exasperated rage, as to break one of his long tusks: finding battle fruitless in the water, he retreated towards the ice, swimming most astonishingly fast, considering the great propelling power