Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/92

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

the capture of the young whale, before the water assumed the colour known to be the favourite resort of whales, and soon after, a fish being seen, boats were sent in pursuit; the mate threw a harpoon at it, but without effect, it being eight or nine yards from him. All were now looking out, and I retired to my cabin at twelve o'clock, and, as usual, slept in my clothes, in anxious expectation of soon being roused by the noise of war with the mighty animal of whom we were in quest.


May 25. 
At three o'clock my expectation was realized, for I was disturbed by such a noise, bustle, and confusion, that, had I not been acquainted with the cause, I should naturally have imagined, either that the crew had mutinied, the ship was on fire, or some inevitable destruction fast approaching. I arose and went on deck, and saw near us a boat with its jack flying, as a signal that a whale had been stricken; the watch were stamping on the deck like madmen, while others, running to their separate boats, were exclaiming "a fall! a fall!" that is, a fish is fast, and all must turn out in pursuit. This welcome summons brought the remainder of the crew instantly upon the deck, when it was truly ludicrous to see them come from below, in their shirts, just as they had left their births, with their clothes under their arms, hurrying to their boats to dress themselves in them, whilst they were lowered from the cranes that suspended them over the sides of the ship. The boats soon repaired towards the scene of action, and were arranged in dif-