Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/28

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14

VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

upon one of the boats; it probably had been blown off the coast of Greenland, as it appeared much fatigued.


May 1. 
No sooner had eight bells struck to hail the arrival of the festive day, than the most grotesque group of figures imaginable advanced slowly towards a garland, composed of hoops, decorated with ribands, that was already suspended from the mizen stay, by the last married man in the ship. Here, as usual, three cheers were given. The sailor who personated Neptune, and whose authority all must obey, bearing the emblems of fishing in one hand, and a brazen trumpet in the other, was so extravagantly attired, as to excite the most irresistible laughter. He approached towards me, and inquired whence I came, which, with several other interrogatories, was answered to his apparent satisfaction; but I believe his complacency arose from the remembrance of the "cape bottle," with which I had formerly regaled the crew. His marine majesty now issued orders to his constables, each holding a harpoon shaft, to arrest every person who was similarly situated with myself, on a first voyage, and to bring them before him. They were constrained to go and answer his interrogatories, some of which were of the most humorous and ridiculous kind. I will here describe his appearance: his face was covered with a most unsightly mask: a large full-bottomed wig was on his head, and a loose cloak with a border of old blanket, tufted with rope-yarn to represent ermine, was