Letters From High Latitudes By Lord Dufferin

 -  Suddenly a cry
from Fitz, who had wandered a little to the right, brought
us helter-skelter to the spot - Page 220
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Suddenly A Cry From Fitz, Who Had Wandered A Little To The Right, Brought Us Helter-Skelter To The Spot Where Was Standing.

But it was not a stag he had called us to come and look upon. Half imbedded in the

Black moss at his feet, there lay a grey deal coffin falling almost to pieces with age; the lid was gone - blown off probably by the wind - and within were stretched the bleaching bones of a human skeleton. A rude cross at the head of the grave still stood partially upright, and a half obliterated Dutch inscription preserved a record of the dead man's name and age.


[Figure: fig-p174.gif]

It was evidently some poor whaler of the last century to whom his companions had given the only burial possible in this frost-hardened earth, which even the summer sun has no force to penetrate beyond a couple of inches, and which will not afford to man the shallowest grave. A bleak resting-place for that hundred years' slumber, I thought, as I gazed on the dead mariner's remains! -

"I was snowed over with snow, And beaten with rains, And drenched with the dews; Dead have I long been," -

- murmured the Vala to Odin in Nifelheim, - and whispers of a similar import seemed to rise up from the lidless coffin before us. It was no brother mortal that lay at our feet, softly folded in the embraces of "Mother Earth," but a poor scarecrow, gibbeted for ages on this bare rock, like a dead Prometheus; the vulture, frost, gnawing for ever on his bleaching relics, and yet eternally preserving them!

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