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saw that the waves were stained with blood, and by this they knew that the whale was severely wounded, and would soon die.
By and by the fishermen noticed that the rope began to slacken, and at length it was drawn out no more. They pulled the rope, but felt no motion. They then knew that the whale was dead. In about half an hour the body of the huge creature rose to the top of the water, and lay floating upon the surface.
Tow, pulled by a boat.
The whale was now towed alongside of the ship, and the whole crew fell to cutting it up. Several of the men got upon the side of the whale, having sharp irons in their shoes to prevent their slipping off. They cut off the fat part, or blubber (which lies between the skin and the lean parts, or muscles), in pieces about three feet thick, and eight inches long. These pieces were drawn up the side of the vessel by a windlass. They were then put into tubs, in the hold of the ship.
After the fat was all taken off, they cut out what is called the whalebone with an axe. I suppose you have often seen a whalebone. After it is cut into small rods, &c., these are used for the frames of umbrellas, for whip stocks, and many other purposes.
After all was done, the immense carcass of the whale was left floating upon the sea, and the vessel pursued its way in search of more fish.
Make amends for, give a return for.
After this the whale-ship went still farther in search of whales. One day the sailors saw one of these creatures apparently asleep upon the water. They approached it very cautiously, and one of the men struck the harpoon into its side. The fish im
mediately lifted its tail out of the water, and then brought it down again with the utmost violence.
In descending, it struck the end of the boat, in which there were three or four men. Such was the force of the blow, that the boat was thrown at least twenty feet into the air, and it came down bottom upwards. The men were all thrown out except one, who went up with the boat, and when it came down he was caught under it. They would all have been drowned had not another boat came immediately to their assistance.
I dare say you fancy that you can see the boat in the air, and the poor fishermen thrown in different ways amid the billows. If you want to keep out of danger, never go a whalefishing.
I can hardly tell you all that happened to the whale-ship in these northern seas. After staying there three or four months, and getting a large quantity of oil, the captain set sail for home.
George had been greatly delighted with all he had seen; but now that he was about to return to his own country, the thought of his mother crowded upon his mind. Although he knew that he deserved her reproaches, yet he was anxious to see her. He longed to confess his fault, to obtain her forgiveness, and in some way to make amends for the pain he had given her.
For a long time, in sailing back, the vessel had head-winds, which obliged her to run off from her course, for a great distance. But at length they came within a few hundred miles of port. The sailors were all looking forward to the pleasure of soon being on land; and George was thinking of his mother.
Recognise him, tell who he was.
At length George reached the seaport near his home. of anxiety, he immediately set out to see his mother. evening when he reached the house where she used to live.
With a beating heart, he approached the door, and discovered that there was no light within. He knocked, but no answer
was returned. He put his hand against the door, and being rotten, it fell to the ground. He looked into the house, and it was all in ruins. The roof had partly fallen in, the plastering was broken, and the chimney was thrown down.
In an agony of distress, he went to a neighbor's house, and inquired for his mother. The people stared in his face, and it was long before they could recognise him. When they discovered that it was George Gordon, an old man offered to take him to his mother. They set out together, and in a short time they arrived at the workhouse.
There, in a dark apartment, on a miserable bed, lay the mother of the cabin-boy. She was clearly very near her end. Distress, anxiety, and mourning on account of her boy, had wasted her strength, until at length she was unable to procure an existence by her industry. For a time, she was supported by the charity of the neighbors; but at last she had been taken to the workhouse, and there, for several months, she had lingered out the remainder of a sad existence.
At this moment her son arrived; she appeared to have closed her eyes for ever. When he spoke to her, she opened them for a short time. She looked into his face, and she evidently knew him; but her lips were sealed, and she could not speak. Yet there was a smile on her countenance, and a gentleness in her manner, which seemed to say, "My dear boy, I forgive you all." She then closed her eyes, and her heart ceased to beat. She was dead.
Lowering, gloomy and threatening.
Hurricane, violent storm of wind and rain.
Starboard, right side (looking towards the poop); opp. larboard,
Weatherside, or windward, the side exposed to the wind.
A WRECK (AUSTRALIA).
THE morning of the 25th November showed a dark and lowering sky. All that day the heavens were overcast, and the wind was high; yet nothing, I am sure, was further from the thoughts of any one on board, than the notion of danger.
I was at the time lying in my cot dangerously ill. A screen of tarpaulin had been drawn across the break of the poop, to protect me from the wind and rain. This tarpaulin, towards evening, was split by the wind into ribbons, and I was removed into the captain's cabin. Here I stayed for some hours in fancied safety, till the gun-room steward appeared in the cabin with the startling news that we had parted both anchors!
The hurricane had begun, and we were now wholly at the mercy of the winds and waves. I immediately begged the young man to go on deck, and look out for his own safety, assuring him he could be of no service to me in my then weakly state. "No, sir," he nobly replied, "I will never leave you so long as the ship holds together." In spite of all my entreaties he could not be persuaded to leave my bedside.
At last she struck: it was on mud, and we hoped that she had thus made a bed for herself during the night. But the now raging hurricane would not allow her to rest quietly even here. The lightning flashed, and the thunder pealed in a way you, in your climate, have no idea of. As wave succeeded wave, and each broke over our vessel, the ship trembled while she shook off the foaming sea. But, as I have already said, the raging of the wind would not allow the vessel to rest in her bed. Suddenly she gave a heavy lurch to port, and almost in a moment fell over on her starboard side, there to fill and sink!
It was not my lot to be on deck at this fearful period.
But the shrieks of those who were at this moment plunged into the boiling surf-the agonising struggles of the drowningwere all the more terrible to me.
The rush of water through the hatchways was now dreadful. The cabin was being rapidly filled. Not an instant was lost in trying to escape into the gun-room passage, through the door which was now over our heads! A lantern had but a few minutes previously been hung by the surgeon to a cothook, on what fortunately proved to be the weather side of the ship, and by its light all had reached the passage, save a sailor and myself. This man, on my pressing him to hasten to the door, refused till he had seen me there first.
At last I reached the passage, but from my extreme weakness at the time, I dropped back again into the middle of the cabin, which was filled with drawers, and crockery, &c., thrown from their proper places. The marine, to his honor, again came down, and brought me in safety to the door. Still the water rose, and still we awaited our fate with fear and trembling. The lantern at last went out, and left us in darkness.
Suspense, state of great anxiety.
The water had, by this time, risen to our shoulders, and I found myself still struggling between fear and hope. The events of a whole life crowded into my memory in a moment. Events of yesterday, and events long since past and forgotten-scenes of youth, and scenes dearer and more distant-all were distinctly and powerfully brought to mind.
The rush of water then moved back and forward over our heads, burying the whole body,-another breath, and the wave returned.
I know not how long we were thus held between life and death; but at length the water began to retire, and we were enabled to breathe more freely. For some time longer it rose and fell, keeping us in a most awful suspense, till at length