Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/74

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and elevating its extensive tail, with graceful curvature of movement, sunk into the deep.

Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821, page 0046.png

It may here be proper to observe, that, from the improbability of seeing a whale, in a situation without either favourable water or ice, and from the sportive manner of its retiring, the experienced on board inferred that it had a young one with it; for whales often retire to some situation, unfrequented by other whales, for the purpose of giving early exercise to their young. In a short time the whale rose again, when a hand-harpoon was thrown at it as it was descending, but without effect; and here the advantage of a gun-harpoon was self-evident, as the distance was certainly not a boat's length. Boats now were disposed in various stations, ready again to assail it on its re-ascent to breathe, but probably the harpoon having touched it, it became alarmed, as it was seen no more. The boat appropriated to carry my gun did not go; the harpooner appointed to it being by illness confined to his birth.

It was now discovered, that the opinion of the experienced was correct, and that the whale we had seen was attending on its offspring, or instructing it to provide for itself, by collecting sustenance, and by swimming for protection to situations among ice,