Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/24

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10

VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

ganger, or rope immediately attached to the harpoon, to be spanned on the socket at the shank of the weapon. I was much amused with this last process, as there were interwoven in the rope, at distances of two or three feet, pieces of riband of various colours. These decorations I was informed were the gifts of the men’s sweethearts; on some, I observed pieces that had undergone the useful office of garters; this at once elucidated the "magic spell," as they were intended to animate the powers of the harpooner, who derives fame, and consequently, the approbation of his lass, in proportion to the number of whales he is able to strike and to capture.


April 29. 
I had a most refreshing night's rest; and the brightness of the sun, reflecting through the convex lens into my cabin, urged me to rise early: a more beautiful day never shone from the heavens, and I felt infinitely cheered by the influence of the solar rays. Scarcely had my eye met the "vasty deep," all dressed in coldest blue, when it was attracted by pieces of ice, of perfect alabaster whiteness, with which the great circle of ocean was studded. As we proceeded, they increased in size, exciting my admiration and surprise, as I had never seen any thing of the kind before: they resembled human busts, towers, slender spires, massy pyramids, and every other form that it is possible to imagine: varying in height from four to ten feet, and in extent from ten to fifty yards. The rays of the brilliant sun on some of the angles,