They Agreed; But, When They Saw The
Icy Mountains And The Stormy Sea, Repented, And Went Back, To Meet A
Death Exempt From Torture.
The Dutch tempted free men, by high
rewards, to try the dangerous experiment.
One of their victims left
a journal, which describes his suffering and that of his companions.
Their mouths, he says, became so sore that, if they had food, they
could not eat; their limbs were swollen and disabled with
excruciating pain; they died of scurvy. Those who died first were
coffined by their dying friends; a row of coffins was found, in the
spring, each with a man in it; two men uncoffined, side by side,
were dead upon the floor. The journal told how once the traces of a
bear excited their hope of fresh meat and amended health; how, with
a lantern, two or three had limped upon the track, until the light
became extinguished, and they came back in despair to die. We might
speak, also, of eight English sailors, left, by accident, upon
Spitzbergen, who lived to return and tell their winter's tale; but a
long journey is before us and we must not linger on the way. As for
our whalers, it need scarcely be related that the multitude of
whales diminished as the slaughtering went on, until it was no
longer possible to keep the coppers full. The whales had to be
searched for by the vessels, and thereafter it was not worth while
to take the blubber to Spitzbergen to be boiled; and the different
nations, having carried home their coppers, left the apparatus of
those fishing stations to decay.
Enter page number
Page 3 of 178
Words from 524 to 797