Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/208

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feet in height. This phenomenon, so very extraordinary and singularly beautiful in these regions, is produced by two streams of air of different temperatures, which occasion an irregular deposition of imperfectly condensed vapour, passing the verge of the horizon.

July 25. 
Had not the ship been surrounded by ice, it would not have been possible to conceive that we were in the arctic regions, for a brighter sun never shone in England, and the thermometer, influenced by its beams, was at 66°. Its genial warmth animated the creatures of this frozen sea, and the ides of July brought with them their attendant consequences. The powerful blowings of unicorns were heard on every side, the males were chasing the females, and all were in an unusual state of gaiety. Such was the astonishing transparency of the sea, that I distinctly observed a narwal, at least a hundred feet below the surface, and not only saw it turn upon its side to look at the boat, but could afterwards plainly discover that it was a female fish. After coming to the surface several times in the most sportive manner, it at length rose upwards of thirty yards from the boat, when I fired a harpoon from my small gun designed only for shells; but the excessive impetus of the discharge broke the shackle, and knocked me over the boat's thwart, without any injury, however, beyond a slight bruise. From this accident, I had the misfortune to lose the fish, for the gun having entangled the rope, the sharp part of