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dark for seal-shooting. A bear, however, came to look at the ship at night, and was chased by the dogs on to some thin ice, through which he broke. All hands turned out on this occasion to see the sport; and, notwithstanding the intense cold, many of the men, in their excitement, did not wait to put on their extra clothes. The bear was despatched with their rifles, after making some resistance and maiming several of the dogs.
In December, a school for reading, writing, and navigation was commenced, for Captain M'Clintock lost no opportunity of attending to the amusement and recreation of the men, so necessary in such a dreary life. Besides the ordinary duties of the ship, the men were also exercised daily in building snow houses, and preparing travelling equipages.
At the winter solstice, December 21st, they had only about half an hour's partial daylight, once in twenty-four hours, by which the type of the Times newspaper could just be distinguished on a board facing the south, where, near noon, a slight glimmer of light is refracted above the horizon, while in the zenith and northwards, the stars are shining brilliantly. In the absence of light and shade, it is not possible to see to walk over the ice, for the hummocks can scarcely be distinguished from the floe; all presents a uniform level surface; and, in walking, one constantly falls into the fissures, or runs full butt against the blocks of ice.
All must now, therefore, be content with an hour or two's tramp alongside, or on the snow-covered deck under housing; and, during the remainder of the day, they must sit below in their cabins, which are crystallized by the breath condensing and freezing on the bulkheads, endeavouring to read and talk away the time. But, the common subjects of conversation get miserably worn out, the stories that are told get old, and are oft-repeated, impossible theories are started, and wagers are laid on the result of the observations as tó progress, as vessel and crew unconsciously drift and drift before the gale.
At night, officers and men retire once more to their beds, thankful that another day has passed : a death-like stillness reigns around, broken only by the ravings of some sleeptalker, the tramp of the watch upon deck, a passing bear causing a general rousing of the dogs, or a simultaneous rush of these poor ravenous creatures at the cherished stores of seal-beef in the shrouds ; and as the wakeful listen to the distant groaning and sighing of the ice, they are prompted to thank God that they have still a home in those terrible wastes.
After Christmas, the days of these men, who were held as prisoners by the ice, were mere repetitions of one another. They saw no change, nor did they hope for any till the spring. Gale followed gale ; and, an occasional alarm of a disruption in the ice, a bear or seal hunt formed their only excitement ; indeed, they sometimes hoped for some crisis, were it only to break the dreadful monotony of their lives. Their walks abroad afforded them no recreation ; on the contrary, it was really a trying task to spin out the time necessary for exercise. Talk of a dull turnpike-road at home! Are not the larks singing and the farm boys whistling? But with these Arctic voyagers, what a contrast! Their walks were without an object, for there was literally nothing to see or hear; turn north, south, east, or west, still snow and hummocks. You see a little black mark waving in the air ; walk to it, it is a crack in a hummock. You think a berg is close to you ; go to it, still a hummock refracted through the gloom. The only thing you can do is to walk to windward, so as to be certain of returning safe and not frost-bitten, to pick out a smooth place and form imaginary patterns with your foot prints.
By January 29th, 1858, the Fox had drifted into latitude 72° 46' north, longitude 62° west, and, by the aid of refraction, the crew saw the sun for the first time since November 2nd in the preceding year. The weather had now become intensely cold, the mercury was frozen, and the spirit thermometer registered 46° below zero. The men had great difficulty in clearing their bed-places of ice, and their blankets froze nightly to the ship’s-side ; but they had the sun to shine on them, and that made amends for all. A different world was then before their eyes. Even in those dreary regions where nothing moves and no sounds are heard save the rustling of the snow-drift, the effects of the
bright sun are so exhilarating that a walk is then quite enjoyable.
A memorable day was February 26th, when the crew of the Fox opened the skylight, and let'in daylight below, where they had been living for four months by the light of their solitary dips. The change was indeed wonderful,
and, at first uncomfortable, for it exposed the manner in which they had been content to live. With proper clothing you may laugh at the climate, if not exposed too long without food. It is not the cold outside that is to be feared, but the damp, and plague-engendering state of things below. This can only be guarded against by having good fires and plenty of light.
The breaking up of the ice was attended with considerable danger. On March 25th, a wide fissure, which had been opening and closing during the previous fortnight, closed with such force as to pile up tons and tons of ice within forty yards of the ship, and shattered the floe in a line with the deck. The nipping continued, and on the following night a huge block was hurled within thirty yards of the ship. Another such a night, and the little Fox would have been knocked into lucifer matches, and the crew would have been turned out upon the floe.
The Fox did not get free of the ice until April 25th, when a swell entered into the pack, and gradually increased, until the ice commenced churning up round the vessel and dashing against her sides. These violent shocks continued throughout the morning, and seemed as if they would destroy the ship. However, by the power of steam, the vessel's head was got towards the swell, and, with a strong fair wind the crew commenced pushing out.
On the following day not a piece of ice could be seen, save a few distant bergs. The little vessel was dancing on the waters, surrounded by innumerable sea-birds, seals, and whales. On April 28th, she was safely moored in Holsteinborg harbour. Her anchors had not been down, nor had any of the crew stood on the land since August 3rd in the preceding year. Ice-bound and imprisoned, they had drifted upwards of 1200 miles. Need it be added how thankful they were to that kind Providence who had watched over them, and under Him, to their gallant captain, to whose un. remitting attentions to their comforts and safety they owed their health and deliverance.
EXERCISE.-67. MEANING OF WORDS. 1. Give the meaning of the following :-auxiliary, survived, anxiety, refracted, equipages, hummocks, ordinary, unconsciously, contrast, recreation, exhilarating, zero.
2. Distinguish between :-chase, chaise ; boys, buoys; bear, bare ; place, plaice; owed, ode.
3. Illustrate the different meanings of :-chase, feed, tell, deck, ordinary, air, crew,
ROBERT BUCHANAN. grips (A.-S. gripan, to seize], grasps, seizes and holds fast. clatters (A.-S. clatrung, anything that makes a rattling noise), strikes so as to produce a rattling sound. The wind, wife, the wind; how it blows, how it blows; It grips the latch, it shakes the house, it whistles, it screams,
it crows; It dashes on the window-pane, then rushes off with a cry, Ye scarce can hear your own loud voice, it clatters so loud
and high ; And far away upon the sea it floats with thunder-call, The wind, wife; the wind, wife; the wind that did it all. The wind, wife, the wind ; how it blew, how it blew; The very night our boy was born, it whistled, it screamed,
it crew ; And while you moaned upon your bed, and your heart was
dark with fright, I swear it mingled with the soul of the boy you bore that
night; * ROBERT BUCHANAN, the author of the above stanzas, is a young and rising writer, who must one day stand in the first rank of British poets. His chief works are his “ Idylls and Legends of Inverburn," 1. Undertones,” “ London Poems," and "Ballad Stories of the Affections, translated from the Scandinavian. Speaking of “ London Poems," 'a writer in the Atheneum says,-“They are true and genuine work; the result of real observation and personal emotion. Nothing is here derived from the moral consciousness; no make-believes, no dreams, and no composing. These verses have been lived before they were written down."
It scarcely seems a winter since, and the wind is with us
still, The wind, wife; the wind, wife; the wind that blew us
ill! The wind, wife, the wind ; how it blows, how it blows; It changes, shifts, without a cause, it ceases, it comes and
goes ; And David ever was the same; wayward, and wild, and
bold For wilful lad will have his way, and the wind no hand can But ah! the wind, the changeful wind, was more in the
blame than he ; The wind, wife ; the wind, wife ; that blew him out to sea! The wind, wife, the wind; now 'tis still, now 'tis still ; And as we sit I seem to feel the silence shiver and thrill ; 'Twas thus the night he went away, and we sat in silence
here, We listened to our beating hearts, and all was weary and
drear ; We longed to hear the wind again, and to hold our David's
handThe wind, wife; the wind, wife; that blew him out from
land. The wind, wife, the wind ; up again, up again! It blew our David round the world, yet shrieked at our
window-pane ; And ever since that time, old wife, in rain, and in sun, and
Whether I work or weary here, I hear it whistle and blow, It moans around, it groans around, it wanders with scream
The wind, wife ; the wind, wife ; may it blow him home to
EXERCISE.-68. COMPOSITION. 1. Give other expressions for : wayward and wild; weary and drear : dark with fright.
2. Select 'six sentences from this poem describing what the wind did.