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wheels, and set it going about the town for
the general convenience, it might be a very
ignoble use of common sense, but it would be
a very comfortable one.


YONDER is the coast of Norway; we shall
soon be at Spitzbergen. The " Phantom " is
fitted out for Arctic exploration, with
instructions to find her way, by the north-west,
to Behring Straits, and take the South Pole
on her passage home. Just now, we steer
due north, and yonder is the coast of Norway.
From that coast parted Hugh Willoughby,
three hundred years ago; the first of our
countrymen who wrought an ice-bound highway
to Cathay. Two years afterwards his
ships were found, in the haven of Arzina, in
Lapland, by some Russian fishermen; near
and about them Willoughby and his
companionsseventy dead men. The ships were
freighted with their frozen crews, and sailed
for England; but, " being unstaunch, as it is
supposed, by their two years' wintering in
Lapland, sunk, by the way, with their dead,
and them also that brought them."

Ice floats about us now, and here is a whale
blowing; a whale, too, very near Spitzbergen.
When first Spitzbergen was discovered, in
the good old times, there were whales here
in abundance; then a hundred Dutch ships,
in a crowd, might go to work, and boats
might jostle with each other, and the only
thing deficient would be stowage room for all
the produce of the fishery. Now one ship
may have the whole field to itself, and travel
home with an imperfect cargo. It was fine
fun in the good old times; there was no need
to cruize. Coppers and boilers were fitted on
the island, and little colonies about them, in
the fishing season, had nothing to do but tow
the whales in, with a boat, as fast as they were
wanted by the copper. No wonder that so
enviable a Tom Tidler's ground was claimed by
all who had a love for gold and silver. The
English called it theirs, for they first fished;
the Dutch said, nay, but the Island was of
their discovery; Danes, Hamburghers,
Biscayans, Spaniards, and French put in their
claims; and at length, it was agreed to
make partitions. The numerous bays and
harbours which indent the coast were divided
among the rival nations; and, to this day,
many of them bear, accordingly, such names
as English Bay, Danes Bay, and so forth.
One bay there is, with graves in it, named
Sorrow. For it seemed to the fishers most
desirable, if possible, to plant upon this island
permanent establishments, and condemned
convicts were offered, by the Russians, life and
pardon, if they would winter in Spitzbergen.
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.

Take heed. There is a noise like thunder,
and a mountain snaps in two. The upper
half comes, crashing, grinding, down into the
sea, and loosened streams of water follow it.
The sea is displaced before the mighty
heap; it boils and scatters up a cloud of
spray; it rushes back, and violently beats
upon the shore. The mountain rises from
its bath, sways to and fro, while water pours
along its mighty sides; now it is tolerably
quiet, letting crackers off as air escapes out of
its cavities. That is an iceberg, and in that way
are all icebergs formed. Mountains of ice
formed by rain and snowgrand Arctic
glaciers, undermined by the sea or by accumulation
over-balancedtopple down upon the
slightest provocation (moved by a shout,
perhaps) and where they float, as this black
looking fellow does, they need deep water. This
berg in height is about ninety feet, and a due
balance requires that a mass nine times as
large as the part visible should be
submerged. Icebergs are seen about us now
which rise two hundred feet above the
water's level.

There are above head plenty of aquatic
birds; ashore, or on the ice, are bears, foxes,
reindeer; and in the sea there are innumerable
animals. We shall not see so much life near
the North Pole, that is certain. It would
be worth while to go ashore upon an islet
there, near Vogel Sang, to pay a visit to the
eider-ducks. Their nests are so abundant
that one cannot avoid treading on them.
When the duck is driven by a hungry fox to
leave her eggs, she covers them with down,