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brightness. Suddenly the monotonous quietude is broken by an animated voice from the masthead, exclaiming, "There he spouts !"
2. The captain starts on deck in an instant, and inquires "Where away?" but, perhaps, the next moment every one aloft and on deck, can perceive an enormous whale lying about a quarter of a mile from the ship, on the surface of the sea, having just come up to breathe,—his large "hump" projecting three feet out of the water. At the end of every ten seconds, the spout is seen rushing from the fore part of his enormous head, followed by the cry of every one on board, who join in the chorus of "There again!" keeping time with the duration of the spout.
3. But, while they have been looking, a few seconds have expired. They rush into the boats, which are directly lowered to receive them; and, in two minutes from the time of first observing the whale, three or four boats are down, and are darting through the water with their utmost speed toward their intended victim, perhaps accompanied with a song from the headsman, who urges the quick and powerful plying of the oar, with the common whaling chant of
"Away, my boys, away, my boys, 'tis time for us to go."
4. But, while they are rushing along, the whale is breathing; they have yet, perhaps, some distance to pull before they can get a chance of striking him with the harpoon. His "spoutings are nearly out," he is about to descend, or he hears the boats approaching. The few sailors left on board, and who are anxiously watching the whale and the gradual approach of the boats, exclaim, “Ah, he is going down!" Yet he spouts again, but slowly, the water is seen agitated around him; the spectators on board with breathless anxiety think they perceive him rising in preparation for
his descent. "He will be lost!" they exclaim; for the boats are not yet near enough to strike him, and the men are still bending their oars in each boat with all their strength, to claim the honor of the first blow with the harpoon.
5. The bow-boat has the advantage of being the nearest to the whale; the others, for fear of disturbing the unconscious monster, are now ordered to drop astern. One more spout is seen slowly curling forth,-it is his last; but the boat shoots rapidly alongside of the gigantic creature. "Peak your oars!" exclaims the mate, and directly they flourish in the air; the glistening harpoon is seen above the head of the harpooner. In an instant it is darted with unerring force and aim, and is buried deeply in the side of the huge animal. It is "socket up;" that is, it is buried in his flesh up to the socket which admits the handle or pole of the harpoon.
6. A cheer from those in the boats, and from the seamen on board, reverberates along the still deep at the same moment. The sea, which a moment before was unruffled, now becomes lashed into foam by the immense strength of the wounded whale, which, with his vast tail, strikes in all directions at his enemies. Now his enormous head rises high into the air, then his flukes are seen lashing everywhere, his huge body writhes in violent contortions from the agony the harpoon has inflicted. The water all around him is a mass of foam, and the sounds of the blows from his tail on the surface of the sea, can be heard for miles!
7. "Stern all!" cries the headsman; but the whale suddenly disappears; he has "sounded;" the line is running through the groove at the head of the boat, with lightninglike velocity; it smokes; it ignites from the heat produced by the friction; but the headsman, cool and collected, pours water upon it as it passes. But an oar is now held up in
their boat; it signifies that their line is rapidly running out; two hundred fathoms are nearly exhausted; up flies one of the other boats, and "bends on" another line, just in time to save that which was nearly lost.
8. But still the monster descends; he is seeking to rid himself of his enemies by descending deeply into the dark and unknown depths of the vast ocean. Two more lines are exhausted, he is six hundred fathoms deep! "Stand ready to bend on!" cries the mate to the fourth boat; (for sometimes they take the whole four lines away with them,— eight hundred fathoms !!) but, it is not required, he is rising. "Haul in the slack!" observes the headsman, while the boat-steerer coils it again carefully into the tubs as it is drawn up.
9. The whale is now seen approaching the surface; the gurgling and bubbling water which rises, proclaims that he is near; his nose starts from the sea; the rushing spout is projected high and suddenly, from his agitation. The slack of the line is now coiled in the tubs, and those in the fast boat, haul themselves gently toward the whale. The boatsteerer places the headsman close to the fin of the trembling animal, who immediately buries his long lance in the vitals of the leviathan, while, at the same moment, those in one of the other boats, dart another harpoon into his opposite side. Then, "Stern all!" is again vociferated, and the boats shoot rapidly away from the danger.
10. Mad with the agony which he endures from these fresh attacks, the infuriated " sea monster" rolls over and over, and coils an amazing length of line around him. He rears his enormous head, and, with wide-expanded jaws, snaps at every thing around him. He rushes at the boats with his head, they are propelled before him with vast swiftness. and sometimes utterly destroyed.
11. He is lanced again,-and his pain appears more than he can bear. He throws himself, in his agony, completely out of his element; the boats are violently jerked, by which one of the lines is snapped asunder; at the same time the other boat is upset, and its crew are swimming for their lives. The whale is now free! he passes along the surface with remarkable swiftness, "going head out;" but the two boats that have not yet "fastened,” and are fresh and free, now give chase.
12. The whale becomes exhausted from the blood which flows from his deep and dangerous wounds, and the two hundred fathoms of line belonging to the overturned boat, which he is dragging after him through the water, checks him in his course; his pursuers again overtake him, and another harpoon is darted and buried deeply in his flesh.
13. The fatal lance is, at length, given; the blood gushes from the nostrils of the unfortunate animal in a thick, black stream, which stains the clear blue water of the ocean to a considerable distance around the scene of the affray. The immense creature may now again endeavor to "sound," to escape from his unrelenting pursuers; but he is powerless. He soon rises to the surface, and passes slowly along until the death-pang seizes him, when his appearance is awful in the
14. Suffering from suffocation, or from the stoppage of some important organ, the whole strength of his enormous frame is set in motion, for a few seconds, when his convulsions. throw him into a hundred different contortions of the most violent description, by which the sea is beaten into foam, and boats are sometimes crushed to atoms, with their crews.
15. But this violent action being soon over, the now unconscious animal passes rapidly along, describing in his rapid course the segment of a circle; this is his "flurry," which
ends in his sudden dissolution. The mighty rencounter is finished. The gigantic animal rolls over on his side, and floats an inanimate mass on the surface of the crystal deep, a victim to the tyranny and selfishness, as well as a wonderful proof of the great power of the mind of man.
QUESTIONS.-1. How are whales generally discovered? 2. Why do they come to the surface of the water? 3. How far do they sometimes descen、 in the ocean? 4. Describe the manner in which they are captured
1. My hour had now come, and I entered the car. With a singular taste, the band struck up, at this moment, the melting air of "Sweet Home." It almost overcame me. A thousand associations of youth, friends, of all that I must leave, rushed upon my mind. But I had no leisure for sentiment. A buzz ran through the assemblage; unnumbered hands were clapping, unnumbered hearts beating high; and I was the cause. Every eye was upon me. There was pride in the thought.
2. "Let go!" was the word. The cheers redoubled;