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Title: After Icebergs with a Painter - A Summer Voyage to Labrador and Around Newfoundland.
Author: Noble, Louis Legrand
Language: English
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                             AFTER ICEBERGS
                                 WITH A
                                PAINTER

                           ICEBERG AT SUNSET

                 D. APPLETON & C^o. 443 & 445 BROADWAY

                          Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp 449 Broadway NY.



                             AFTER ICEBERGS

                            WITH A PAINTER:

                                   A

                  SUMMER VOYAGE TO LABRADOR AND AROUND
                             NEWFOUNDLAND.


                                   BY

                          REV. LOUIS L. NOBLE,

              AUTHOR OF THE “LIFE OF COLE,” “POEMS,” ETC.


                               NEW YORK:
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
                          443 & 445 BROADWAY.
                       LONDON: 16 LITTLE BRITAIN.
                              M.DCCC.LXI.



        ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861,
                         BY D. APPLETON & CO.,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                                Southern
                         District of New York.



                                   TO

                             E. D. PALMER,

                             THE SCULPTOR,

                      THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY

                               Dedicated.



                                PREFACE.


THE title-page alone would serve for a preface to the present volume. It
is the record of a voyage, during the summer of 1859, in company with a
distinguished landscape painter, along the north-eastern coast of
British America, for the purpose of studying and sketching icebergs.

It was thought, at first, that the shores in the neighborhood of St.
Johns, Newfoundland, upon which many bergs are often floated in, would
afford all facilities. It was found, however, upon experiment, that they
did not. Icebergs were too few for the requisite variety; too scattered
to be reached conveniently; and too distant to be minutely examined from
land. One needed to be in the midst of them, where he could command
views, near or remote, of all sides of them, at all hours of the day and
evening.

For that purpose a small vessel was hired to take us to Labrador.
Favoring circumstances directed us to Battle Harbor, near Cape St.
Louis, in the waters of which icebergs, and all facilities for sketching
them, abounded.

To diversify the journey, we returned through the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
coasting the west of Newfoundland, and the shores of Cape Breton, and
concluding with a ride across the island, and through Nova Scotia to the
Bay of Fundy.

If the writer has succeeded in picturing to his reader, with some
freshness, what he saw and felt, then will the purpose of the book, made
from notes pencilled rapidly, have been accomplished.

                                                             L. L. N.

HUDSON, NEW JERSEY,

   _March, 1861_.



                               CONTENTS.


                                                       PAGE
                             CHAPTER I.

              Cool and Novel,                             1


                            CHAPTER II.

              On the Edge of the Gulf-Stream,             5


                            CHAPTER III.

              The Painter’s Story,                        8


                            CHAPTER IV.

              Halifax,                                   15


                             CHAPTER V.

              The Merlin,                                19


                            CHAPTER VI.

              Sydney.—Cape Breton.—The Ocean,            23


                            CHAPTER VII.

              The first Icebergs,                        27


                           CHAPTER VIII.

              Newfoundland.—St. Johns,                   30


                            CHAPTER IX.

              An English Inn.—The Governor and
                Bishop.—Signal Hill,                     33


                             CHAPTER X.

              The Ride to Torbay.—The lost Sailor.—The
                Newfoundland Dog,                        38


                            CHAPTER XI.

              Torbay.—Flakes and Fish-houses.—The
                Fishing-barge.—The Cliffs.—The Retreat
                to Flat Rock Harbor.—William Waterman,
                the fisherman,                           41


                            CHAPTER XII.

              The Whales.—The Iceberg.—The Return, and
                the Ride to St. Johns by Starlight,      52


                           CHAPTER XIII.

              St. Mary’s Church.—The Ride to Petty
                Harbor,                                  60


                            CHAPTER XIV.

              Petty Harbor.—The Mountain
                River.—Cod-liver Oil.—The Evening Ride
                back to St. Johns,                       65


                            CHAPTER XV.

              The Church Ship.—The Hero of Kars.—The
                Missionary of Labrador,                  71


                            CHAPTER XVI.

              Sunday Evening at the Bishop’s.—The Rev.
                Mr. Wood’s Talk about Icebergs,          74


                           CHAPTER XVII.

              Our Vessel for Labrador.—Wreck of the
                Argo.—The Fisherman’s Funeral,           76


                           CHAPTER XVIII.

              Our First Evening at Sea,                  80


                            CHAPTER XIX.

              Icebergs of the Open Sea.—The Ocean
                Chase.—The Retreat to Cat Harbor,        82


                            CHAPTER XX.

              Cat Harbor.—Evening Service in
                Church.—The Fisherman’s Fire.—The
                Return at Midnight,                      89


                            CHAPTER XXI.

              After Icebergs again.—Among the
                Sea-Fowl,                                93


                           CHAPTER XXII.

              Notre Dame Bay.—Fogo Island and the
                Three Hundred Isles.—The Freedom of
                the Seas.—The Iceberg of the Sunset,
                and the Flight into Twillingate,         96


                           CHAPTER XXIII.

              The Sunday in Twillingate.—The Morning
                of the Fourth,                          103


                           CHAPTER XXIV.

              The Iceberg of Twillingate,               106


                            CHAPTER XXV.

              The Freedom of the Seas once more.—A
                Bumper to the Queen and President,      112


                           CHAPTER XXVI.

              Gull Island.—The Icebergs of Cape St.
                John,                                   115


                           CHAPTER XXVII.

              The Splendid Icebergs of Cape St. John,   121


                          CHAPTER XXVIII.

              The Seal Fields.—Seals and
                Sealing.—Captain Knight’s Shipwreck,    129


                           CHAPTER XXIX.

              Belle Isle and the Coast.—After-dinner
                Discussion.—First View of
                Labrador.—Icebergs.—The Ocean and the
                Sunset,                                 135


                            CHAPTER XXX.

              The Midnight Look-out Forward.—A Stormy
                Night.—The Comedy in the Cabin,         143


                           CHAPTER XXXI.

              The Cape and Bay of St. Louis.—The
                Iceberg.—Cariboo Island.—Battle Harbor
                and Island.—The Anchorage.—The
                Missionaries,                           149


                           CHAPTER XXXII.

              Battle Island and its Scenery,            155


                          CHAPTER XXXIII.

              Mosses, Odors, and Flowers.—A Dinner
                Party,                                  161


                           CHAPTER XXXIV.

              Our Boat for the Icebergs.—After the
                Alpine Berg.—Study of its Western
                Face,                                   165


                           CHAPTER XXXV.

              The Alpine Berg.—Studies of its Southern
                Front.—Frightful Explosion and Fall of
                Ice.—Studies of the Western Side.—Our
                Play with the Moose Horns.—Splendor of
                the Berg at Sunset,                     169


                           CHAPTER XXXVI.

              Ramble among the Flowers of Battle
                Island.—A Visit to the Fishermen.—Walk
                among the Hills of Cariboo,             179


                          CHAPTER XXXVII.

              After the Bay St. Louis Iceberg.—Windsor
                Castle Iceberg.—Founders Suddenly.—A
                Brilliant Spectacle,                    184


                          CHAPTER XXXVIII.

              Sunday in Labrador.—Evening Walk to the
                Graveyard.—The Rocky Ocean Shore,       188


                           CHAPTER XXXIX.

              The Sail to Fox Harbor.—A Day with the
                Esquimaux, and our Return,              192


                            CHAPTER XL.

              A Morning Ramble over Cariboo.—Excursion
                on the Bay, and the Tea-drinking at
                the Solitary Fisherman’s,               196


                            CHAPTER XLI.

              Painting the Cavern of Great Island, and
                our Sail Homeward in a Gale,            200


                           CHAPTER XLII.

              After the Iceberg of Belle Isle.—The
                Retreat to Cartwright’s
                Tickle.—Bridget Kennedy’s Cottage, and
                the Lonely Stroll over Cariboo,         204


                           CHAPTER XLIII.

              The Iceberg of the Figure-head.—The
                Glory and the Music of the Sea at
                Evening,                                210


                           CHAPTER XLIV.

              Cape St. Charles.—The Rip Van Winkle
                Berg.—The Great Castle Berg.—Studies
                of its Different Fronts,                214


                            CHAPTER XLV.

              The Sail for St. Charles Mountain.—The
                Salmon Fishers.—The Cavern of St.
                Charles Mountain.—Burton’s
                Cottage.—Magnificent Scene from St.
                Charles Mountain.—The Painting of the
                Rip Van Winkle Berg.—The Ice-vase, and
                the Return by Moonlight,                219


                           CHAPTER XLVI.

              After our Last Iceberg.—The
                Isles.—Twilight Beauties of
                Icebergs.—Midnight Illumination,        228


                           CHAPTER XLVII.

              Farewell to Battle Harbor.—The Straits
                of Belle Isle.—Labrador
                Landscapes.—The Wreck of the
                Fishermen,                              236


                          CHAPTER XLVIII.

              Sketching the Passing Bergs.—The Story
                of an Iceberg,                          241


                           CHAPTER XLIX.

              Drifting in the Straits.—Retreat to
                Temple Bay.—Picturesque
                Scenery.—Voyager’s Saturday Night,      264


                             CHAPTER L.

              Sunday in Temple Bay.—Religious
                Services.—The Fisherman’s Dinner and
                Conversation.—Chateau.—The
                Wreck.—Winters in Labrador.—Icebergs
                in the Winter.—The French Officers’
                Frolic with an Iceberg.—Theory of
                Icebergs.—Currents of the Strait.—The
                Red Indians.—The Return to the Vessel,  267


                            CHAPTER LI.

              Evening Walk to Temple Bay Mountain.—The
                Little Iceberg.—Troubles of the Night,
                and Pleasures of the Morning.—Up the
                Straits.—The Pinnacle of the Last
                Iceberg.—Gulf of St. Lawrence,          274


                            CHAPTER LII.

              Coast Scenery.—Farewell to Labrador,      279


                           CHAPTER LIII.

              Western Newfoundland.—The Bay, the
                Islands, and the Highlands of St.
                Johns.—Ingornachoix Bay,                284


                            CHAPTER LIV.

              Slow Sailing by the Bay of Islands.—The
                River Humber.—St. George’s River,
                Cape, and Bay.—A Brilliant Sunset,      287


                            CHAPTER LV.

              Foul Weather.—Cape Anguille.—The
                Clearing Off.—The Frolic of the
                Porpoises.—The New Cooks.—The Ship’s
                Cat,                                    290


                            CHAPTER LVI.

              St. Paul’s Island.—Cape North.—Coast of
                Cape Breton.—Sydney Light and
                Harbor.—The End of our Voyage to
                Labrador, and around Newfoundland,      298


                           CHAPTER LVII.

              Farewell to Captain Knight.—On our way
                across Cape Breton.—A Merry Ride, and
                the Rustic Lover,                       301


                           CHAPTER LVIII.

              Evening Ride to Mrs. Kelly’s Tavern.—The
                Supper and the Lodging,                 306


                            CHAPTER LIX.

              Sunday at David Murdoch’s.—Scenery of
                Bras d’Or,                              314


                            CHAPTER LX.

              Off for the Strait of Canso.—St. Peters,
                and the Country.—David Murdoch’s
                Horses, and his Driving.—Plaster Cove,  318


                            CHAPTER LXI.

              Adieu to David and Cape Breton.—The
                Strait of Canso.—Our Nova Scotia
                Coach.—St. George’s Bay.—The Ride into
                Antigonish,                             322


                           CHAPTER LXII.

              New Glasgow.—The Ride to Truro.—Railway
                Ride to Halifax.—Parting with the
                Painter,                                326


                           CHAPTER LXIII.

              Coach Ride from Halifax to Windsor.—The
                Prince Edward’s Man, and the Gentleman
                from Newfoundland,                      329


                           CHAPTER LXIV.

              Windsor.—The Avon, and the Tide.—Steamer
                for St. Johns, New Brunswick.—Mines
                Basin.—Coast Scenery.—The Scene of
                Evangeline.—Parsboro.—The Bay of
                Fundy.—Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
                Shores.—St. Johns.—The Maine
                Coast.—Island of Grand Manan,           332



                             ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                       PAGE

              No. 1.—VIGNETTE—ICEBERGS AT SUNSET,         1

              No. 2.—A LARGE ICEBERG IN THE FORENOON
                LIGHT NEAR THE INTEGRITY,               119

              No. 3.—AN ARCHED ICEBERG IN THE
                AFTERNOON LIGHT,                        136

              No. 4.—ICE FALLING FROM A LOFTY BERG,     173

              No. 5.—ICEBERG IN THE MORNING
                MIST—WHALE-BOAT,                        214

              No. 6.—ICEBERG IN THE STRAIT OF BELLE
                ISLE,                                   241



                     AFTER ICEBERGS WITH A PAINTER.



                               CHAPTER I.


                            COOL AND NOVEL.

“AFTER icebergs!” exclaims a prudent, but imaginary person, as I pencil
the title on the front leaf of my note-book.

“Why, after deer and trout among the Adirondack Mountains with John
Cheeney, the Leather-stocking of those wilds, who kills his moose and
panther with a pistol; or after salmon on the Jaques Cartier and
Saguenay, is thought to be quite enough for your summer tourist.

“After buffalo is almost too much for any not at home in the great
unfenced, Uncle Sam’s continental parks, where he pastures his herds,
and waters them in the Platte and Colorado, and walls out the Pacific
with the Rocky Mountains. He is rather a fast hunter who indulges in the
chase in those fair fields. It is no boy’s play to commit yourself to
mule and horse, the yawls of the prairie, riding yourself sore and
thirsty over the gracefully rolling, never-breaking swells, the green
seas sparkling with dewy flowers, but never coming ashore. The ocean
done up in solid land is weary voyaging to one whose youthful footsteps
were over the fields, to the sound of sabbath bells.

“After ostriches, with the ship of the desert, although rather a hot
chase for John and Jonathan over broad sands, yellow with the sunshine
of centuries, and the bird speeding on legs swift as the spokes of the
rapid wheels, is, nevertheless, a pleasure enjoyed now and then.

“But after icebergs is certainly a cool, if not a novel and perilous
adventure. A few climb to the ices of the Andes; but after the ices of
Greenland, except by leave of government or your merchant prince, is
entirely another thing.

“You will do well to recollect, that nature works in other ways in the
high north than in the high Cordilleras and Alps, and especially in the
latter, where she carefully slides her mer-de-glace into the warm
valley, and gently melts it off, letting it run merrily and freely to
the sea, every crystal fetter broken into silvery foam. But in Greenland
she heaves her mile-wide glacier, in all its flinty hardness, into the
great deep bodily, and sends it, both a glory and a terror, to flourish
or perish as the currents of the solemn main move it to wintry or to
summer climes. After icebergs! Weigh well the perils and the pleasures
of this new summer hunting.”

“We have weighed them, I confess, not very carefully; only ‘hefting’
them a little, just enough to help us to a guess that both are somewhat
heavier than the ordinary delights and dangers of sporting nearer home.
But, Prudens, my good friend, consider the ancient saw, ‘Nothing venture
nothing have.’ Not in the least weary of the old, we would yet have
something new, altogether new. You shall seek the beauties of scales and
of plumage, and the graces of motion and the wild music of voices, among
the creatures of the brooks and woodlands. Our game, for once, is the
wandering alp of the waves; our wilderness, the ocean; our steed, the
winged vessel; our arms, the pencil and the pen; our game-bags, the
portfolio, painting-box, and note-book, all harmless instruments, you
perceive, with mild report. It is seldom that they are heard at any
distance, although, at intervals, the sound has gone out as far as the
guns of the battle-field.

“Should we have the sport we anticipate, you may see the rarest specimen
of our luck preserved in oil and colors, a method peculiar to those few,
who intend their articles less for the market than for immortality, as
men call the dim glimmering of things in the dusky reaches of the past.

“But you shall hear from us, from time to time, if possible, how we
speed in our grand hunt, and how the pleasures and the risks make the
scale of our experience vibrate. Within a few minutes, we shall be on
our way to Boston, darting across grassy New England, regardless as the
riders of the steeple-chase of cliff and gulf, fence, wall and river,
with a velocity of wheels that would set the coach on fire, did not
ingenuity stand over the axles putting out the flame with oil.

“This evening, we meet a choice few in one of those bowery spots of
Brookline, where intelligence dwells with taste and virtue, and talk of
our excursion.

“To-morrow, amid leave-takings, smiles and tears, and the waving of
handkerchiefs, of which we shall be only quiet spectators, with the odor
of our first sea-dinner seasoning the brief excitement of the scene, and
all handsomely rounded off with the quick thunder of the parting gun, we
sail, at noon, in the America.”



                              CHAPTER II.


                    ON THE EDGE OF THE GULF-STREAM.

FRIDAY MORNING, _June 17, 1859_. Here we are on the edge of the
Gulf-Stream, loitering in a fog that would seem to drape the whole
Atlantic in its chilly, dismal shroud. We are as impatient as children
before the drop-curtain of a country show, and in momentary expectation
that this unlucky mist will rise and exhibit Halifax, where we leave the
steamer, and take a small coasting-vessel for Cape Breton and
Newfoundland.

As we anticipated, both of us have been sea-sick continually. I had
hoped that we should have the pleasure of one dinner at least, with that
good appetite so common upon coming off into the salt air. But before
the soup was fairly off there came over me the old qualm, the herald of
those dreadful impulses that drive the unhappy victim either to the side
of the vessel, or down into its interior, where he lays himself out,
pale and trembling, on his appointed shelf, and awaits in gloomy silence
the final issue. It is needless to record, that, with that unlucky
attempt to enjoy the luxuries of the table, perished, not only the
power, but the wish to eat.

Yesterday, when I came on deck, I found C—— conversing with Agassiz.
Although so familiar with the Alpine glaciers, and all that appertains
to them, he had never seen an iceberg, and almost envied us the delight
and excitement of hunting them. But not even the presence and the fine
talk of the great naturalist could lay the spirit of sea-sickness. Like
a very adder lurking under the doorstone of appetite, it refused to hear
the voice of the charmer. Out it glided, repulsive reptile! and away we
stole, creeping down into our state-room, there to burrow in damp
sheets, taciturn and melancholy “wretches, with thoughts concentred all
in self.” An occasional remark, either sad or laughable, broke the
sameness of the literally rolling hours. By what particular process of
mind, I shall not trouble myself to explain, the Painter, who occupied
the lower berth, all at once gave signs that he had come upon the
borders of a capital story, and with the spirit to carry even a dull
listener to the further side of it, and keep him thoroughly amused. It
was a traveller’s tale, a story of his own first ride over the mountains
of New Granada, accompanied by a friend, on his way to the Andes.



                              CHAPTER III.


                          THE PAINTER’S STORY.

TWENTY days, and most of them days of intense heat and sea-sickness,
were spent on a brig from New York to the mouth of the Magdalena. In
twenty minutes all that tedious voyage was sailed over again, and he was
in the best humor possible for the next nine days in a steamboat up the
river, a mighty stream, whose forests appear like hills of verdure
ranging along its almost endless banks.

After the steamboat, came a tiresome time in a canoe, followed by a dark
and fireless night in the great woods, where they were stung by the
ants, and startled by the hootings and howlings, and all the strange
voices and noises of a tropical forest.

Then the tale kept pace with the mules all day, jogging on slowly, an
all-day story that pictured to the listener’s mind all the passing
scenery and incidents, the people and the travellers themselves, even
the ears of the self-willed, ever-curious mules. Towards sunset, the
wayfarers found themselves journeying along the slope of a mountain,
willing to turn in for the night at almost any dwelling that appeared at
the road-side. The guide and the baggage were behind, and suggested the
propriety of an early halt. But each place, to which they looked
forward, seemed sufficiently repulsive, upon coming up, to make them
venture on to the next. They ventured, without knowing it, beyond the
very last, and got benighted where it was difficult enough in the broad
day. After a weary ride up and up, until it did appear that they would
never go down again in that direction, they stopped and consulted, but
finally concluded to continue on, although the darkness was almost
total, trusting to the mules to keep the path. At length it was evident
that they were at the top of the mountain, and passing over upon its
opposite side. Very soon, the road, a mere bridle-path, became steep and
rugged, leading along the edges of precipices, and down rocky, zigzag
steps, that nothing but the bold, sure-footed mule would or could
descend. The fact was, they were going down a fearfully dangerous
mountain-road, on one of the darkest nights. And, wonderful to tell,
they went down safely, coming out of the forest into a level vale beset
with thickets and vine-covered trees, a horrible perplexity, in which
they became heated, scratched, and vexed beyond all endurance. At last,
they lost the way and came to a dead halt. Here C—— got off, and
leaving the mule with F——, plunged into the bushes to feel for the
path, pausing occasionally to shout and to wait for an answer. No path,
however, could be found. In his discouragement, he climbed a tree with
the hope of seeing a light. He climbed it to the very top, and gazed
around in all directions into the wide, unbroken night. There was a star
or two in the black vault, but no gleam of human dwelling to be seen
below.

Extremes do indeed meet, even the dreadful and the ridiculous. And so it
was with C—— in the tree-top. From almost desperation, he passed into
a frolicsome mood, and began to talk and shout, at the top of his voice,
in about the only Spanish he could then speak, that he would give cinco
pesos, cinco pesos,—five dollars, five dollars, to any one that would
come and help them. From five he rose to ten. But being scant of
Spanish, he could express the ten in no other way than by doubling the
cinco—cinco cinco pesos, cinco cinco pesos. Fruitless effort! A
thousand pounds would have evoked no friendly voice from the
inhospitable solitude.

The airing, though, was refreshing, and he clambered down and attempted
his way back, shouting as usual, but now, to his surprise, getting no
reply. What could it mean? Where was F——? Had he got tired of waiting,
and gone off? With redoubled energy C—— pushed on through the
interminable brush to see. He was in a perfect blaze of heat, and
dripping with perspiration. A thousand vines tripped him, a thousand
branches whipped him in the face. When he stopped to listen, his ears
rung with the beating of his own heart, and he made the night ring too
with his loud hallooing. But no one answered, and no mules could be
found. Nothing was left but to push forward, and he did it, with a still
increasing energy. Instantly, with a crack and crash he pitched headlong
down quite a high bank into a broad brook. For a moment he was
frightened, but finding himself sound, and safely seated on the soft
bottom of the brook, he concluded to enjoy himself, moving up and down,
with the warm water nearly to his neck, till he had enough of it; when
he got up, and felt his way to the opposite bank, which, unfortunately
for him, was some seven or eight feet of steep, wet clay. Again and
again did he crawl nearly to the top, and slip back into the water—a
treadmill operation that was no joke. A successful attempt at scaling
this muddy barrier was made, at length, through the kindly intervention
of some vines.

But how was all that? Where was he? He never crossed a stream in going
to the tree. He must be lost. He must have become turned at the tree,
and gone in a wrong direction. And yet he could not relinquish the
notion that all was right. He decided to continue forward, pausing more
frequently to halloo. To his exceeding joy, he presently heard a faint,
and no very distant reply. He quickly heard it again—close at
hand—“C——, come here!—come here!” He hastened forward. F—— was
sitting on the mule. He said, in a low tone of voice, “Come here, and
help me off. I am very sick.” He was alarmingly sick. C—— helped him
down, and laid him on the ground. The only thing to be done was to make
a rough bed of the saddles and blankets, secure the mules, and wait for
daylight. While engaged in this, one of the mules suddenly broke away,
and with a perilous flourish of heels about C——’s head, dashed off
through the thickets, and was seen no more. To crown their troubles, a
ferocious kind of ant attacked them at all points, and kept up their
assault during the remainder of the miserable night. They had made their
bed upon a large ant-hill. In the morning, there they were, they knew
not where, with but one mule, trappings for two, and F—— too
indisposed to proceed. C—— mounted the mule and set off for relief. A
short ride brought him out upon the path, which soon led down to the
border of a wide marsh. The crossing of the marsh was terrible. The poor
animal sank into the mire to the girth, reared, plunged and rolled,
plastering himself and rider all over and over again with the foulest
mud. When they reached the solid ground, and trotted along towards some
natives coming abroad to their labor, the appearance of our traveller,
in quest of the sublime and beautiful, was certainly not imposing. He
told his story to the staring Indians in the best way his ingenuity
could invent, none of which they could be made to comprehend. He
inquired the way to the town, the very name of which they seemed never
to have heard. He asked the distance to any place,—the nearest,—no
matter what. It was just as far as he was pleased to make it.

“Was it two leagues?”

“Si, Señor.”

“Was it five leagues?”

“Si, Señor.”

“Was it eight, nine, ten leagues?”

“Si, Señor.”

“For how much money would they guide him to the town?”

Ah! that was a different thing; they had more intelligence on that
subject. They would guide him for a great deal. In fact, they would do
it for about ten times its value. He spurred his muddy mule, galloped
out of sight and hearing, more amused than vexed, and went ahead at a
venture. The venture was lucky. In the course of the morning he made his
entrance into the city, succeeded in finding out the residence of the
person to whom he had letters of introduction, presented himself to the
gentleman of the house, an American, and had both a welcome and a
breakfast. Before the day was past, F—— and himself were comfortably
settled, and, with their kind host, were making merry over their first
ride on the mountains of South America. I am sure I was made merry at
the quiet recital. Lying as I was in my berth, rolled in cloak and
blanket, and looking neither at the face nor motions of the speaker, but
only at the blank beams and boards close above, I laughed till the tears
ran copiously, and I forgot that I was miserable and sea-sick.



                              CHAPTER IV.


                                HALIFAX.

WE have now been lying for hours off Halifax. The fog appears to be in a
profound slumber. Whistle, bell and big guns have no power to wake it
up. The waves themselves have gone to sleep under the fleecy covering.
Old Ocean lazily breathes and dreams. The top-mast, lofty and slim,
marks and flourishes on the misty sky, as an idler marks the sand with
his cane. Pricked on by our impatience, back and forth we step the deck,
about as purposeless as leopards step their cage. They are letting off
the steam. It is flowing up from the great fountains, a deep and solemn
voice, a grand ventriloquism, that muffles in its breadth and fulness
all the smaller sounds, as the mighty roar dampens the noisy dashings of
the cataract. What a sublime translation of human skill and genius is an
engine, this stupendous creature of iron! How splendid are its polished
limbs! What power in all those easy motions! What execution in those
still and oily manœuvres!

Among the ladies there is one of more than ordinary beauty. Luxuriant,
dark hair, a fair complexion with the bloom of health, a head and neck
that would attract a sculptor, and surpassingly fine, black eyes. There
is a power in beauty. Why has not God given it to us all? You shall
answer me that in heaven. There is indeed a power in beauty. It goes
forth from this young woman on all sides, like rays from some central
light. I have called her a New England girl, but she turns out to be
Welsh.

How like magic is the work of this fog! Instantly almost it is pulled
apart like a fleece of wool, and lo! the heavens, the ocean, and the
rugged shores. A pilot comes aboard from a fishing-boat, looking as
rough and craggy as if he had been, toad-like, blasted out of the rocks
of his flinty country, so brown and warty is his skin, so shaggy are his
beard and hair, so sail-like and tarry is his raiment. The ancient
mariner for all the world! His skinny hand touches no common mortal. His
glittering eye looks right on, as he moves with silent importance to the
place where shine the gilded buttons of the captain.

This is a wild northern scene. Hills, bony with rock and bristling with
pointed firs, slope down to the sea. But yet how beautiful is any land
looking off upon the barren deeps of ocean. Distant is the city on a
hill-side, glittering at a thousand points, while on either hand, as we
move in at the entrance of the harbor, are the pleasant woods and the
white dwellings, country steeples and cultivated grounds. As the
comfortless mist rolls away, and the golden light follows after, warming
the wet and chilly landscape, I feel that there are bliss and beauty in
Nova Scotia.

Grandly as we parade ourselves, in the presence of the country and the
town, I prefer the more modest, back-street entrance of the railroad.
The fact is, I am afraid of your great steamer on the main, and for the
reason given by a friend of mine: if you have a smash-up on the land,
why, there you are; if, on the sea, where are you?

I have been talking with the fair lady of Wales. She was all spirit.
“There was much,” she said, “that was fine, in America; but Wales was
most beautiful of all. Had I ever been in Wales?” One could well have
felt sorry he was not then on his way to Wales. We parted where we met,
probably to meet no more, and I went forward to gaze upon the crowded
wharf, which we were then approaching. A few hasty adieus to some
newly-formed acquaintances, and we passed ashore to seek the steamer for
Cape Breton. It was waiting for us just behind the storehouse where we
landed, and soon followed the America with a speed not exactly in
proportion to the noise and effort.



                               CHAPTER V.


                              THE MERLIN.

BE it known that the Merlin, the name in which our vessel delights, is a
small propeller, with a screw wheel, and a crazy mess of machinery in
the middle, which go far towards making one deaf and dumb by day, but
very wakeful and talkative by night; so thoroughly are the rumbling,
thumping and clanking disseminated through all those parts appointed for
the passengers. The Merlin has not only her peculiar noises, but her own
peculiar ways and motions; motions half wallowing and half progressive;
a compound motion very difficult to describe, at the time, mainly on
account of a disagreeable confusion in the brain and stomach.

The arrangements in the Merlin for going to repose are better than those
for quitting it. No chestnut lies more snugly in the burr than your
passenger in his berth. If he happen to be short and slender, it is sure
to fit him all the better. But when he gets out of it, he is pushed
forward into company immediately, and washes in the one bowl, and looks
at the one glass. On board the Merlin, one feels disposed to give the
harshest words of his vocabulary a frequent airing. He sees how it is,
and he says to himself: I have the secret of this Merlin; she is
intended to put a stop to travel; to hinder people from leaving Halifax
for Sydney and St. Johns. Wait you eight and forty hours after this
ungenerous soliloquy, and speak out then. What do you say? The Merlin is
the thing!

Away in this dusky corner of the world Peril spins her web. High and
wide and deep she stretches her subtle lines: cliffs, reefs and banks,
ice, currents, mists and winds. But the Merlin is no moth, no feeble
insect to get entangled in this terrible snare. Dark-winged dragonfly of
the sea, she cuts right through them all. Your grand ocean steamer, with
commander of repute, plays the tragic actress quite too frequently in
the presence of these dread capes. But the Merlin, with Captain
Sampson’s tread upon the deck, in the night and in the light, with his
look ahead and his eye aloft, and his plummet in the deep sea, trips
along her billowy path as lightly as a lady trips among her flowers. A
blessing upon Captain Sampson who sails the little Merlin from Nova
Scotia to Newfoundland. He deserves to sail an Adriatic.

Here we are again in that same bad fog, that smothered much of our
pleasure, and some of our good luck, in the America. It is gloomy
midnight, and the sea is up. A pale, blue flame crowns the smoke-stack,
and sheds a dreary light upon the sooty, brown sails. The breeze plays
its wild music in the tight rigging, while the swells beat the bass on
the hollow bow. To a landsman, how frightfully the Merlin rolls! But we
are dashing along through this awful wilderness, right steadily. Every
hour carries us ten miles nearer port. Ye wandering barks, on this dark,
uncertain highway, do hear the mournful clang of our bell, and turn out
in time as the law of nature directs! Ye patient, watchful mariners that
keep the look-out forward, pierce the black mist with your keen sight,
and spy the iceberg, that white sepulchre of the careless sailor. Just
here there is a mountain in the deep, and we are crossing its summit,
which accounts for the sharp, rough sea, the captain tells me. The
vessel now turns into the wind, the loose sails roar and crack, and
bound in their strong harness, like frightened horses; loud voices cut
through the uproar, rapid footsteps thump, and rattling ropes lash the
deck. Then there is a momentary lull: they heave the lead. The mountain
top is under us, say, five hundred feet. All is right. Captain Sampson
puts off into wider waters, and I, chilly and damp, creep into my berth,
full of hope and sleep.



                              CHAPTER VI.


                    SYDNEY.—CAPE BRETON.—THE OCEAN.

MONDAY, _June 19, 1859_. We are still rising and sinking on the misty
ocean, and somewhere on those great currents flowing from the Gulf of
St. Lawrence.

Yesterday, at an early hour, we were entering Sydney Harbor, Cape
Breton, with a tide from sea, and a flood of brightness from the sun.
The lively waters, the grassy fields dotted with white dwellings, and
the dark green woodlands were bathed in splendor. A few clouds, that
might have floated away from the cotton-fields of Alabama, kept Sunday
in the quiet heavens. We went ashore with some thought of attending
church, but found the time would not permit. A short walk to some Indian
huts, with the smoke curling up from their peaks like the pictures of
volcanoes, a cup of tea of our own making, some toast and fresh eggs in
the village tavern, with the comfort of sitting to enjoy them at a
steady table on firm land, gave an agreeable seasoning to the hour we
lingered in Sydney, and braced us for the long stretch across to
Newfoundland.

As you enter Sydney Bay, you see northward some remarkable cliffs,
fan-like in shape as they rise from the sea. In the clear and brilliant
morning air, they had a roseate and almost flame-like hue, which made
them appear very beautiful. I thought of them as some gigantic
sea-shells placed upon the brim of the blue main. When they set in the
waves, along in the afternoon, the picturesque coast of Cape Breton was
lost to view, and we became, to all appearance, a fixture in the centre
of the circle made by the sky and the sea. How wearisome it grew! Always
moving forward,—yet never getting further from the line behind,—never
getting nearer to the line before,—ever in the centre of the circle.
The azure dome was over us, its pearl-colored eaves all around us. Oh!
that some power would lift its edge, all dripping with the brine of
centuries, out of the ocean, and let the eye peep under! But all is
changeless. We were under the centre of the dome, and on the hub of the
great wheel, run out upon its long spokes as rapidly and persistently as
we would. Our stiff ship was dashing, breast-deep, through the green and
purple banks that old Neptune heaved up across our path. Bank after bank
he rolled up before us, and our strong bows burst them all, striking
foam, snowy foam, out of them by day, and liquid jewelry out of them by
night. The circle was still around us, the tip of the dome above. We
were leaving half a world of things, and approaching half a world of
things, and yet we were that same fixture. Our brave motions, after all,
turned out to be a kind of writhing on a point, in the middle of the
mighty ring, under the key-stone of the marvellous vault. The comfort of
the weary time was, that we sailed away from the morning, passed under
the noon, and came up with, and cut through the evening.

When we caught up with the evening yesterday, and saw the sun set fire
to, and burn off that everlasting ring, we were sitting quietly on deck,
touched with the sweet solemnities of the hallowed hour. The night, with
all that it would bring us, was coming out of the east, moving up its
stupendous shadow over the ocean; the day, with all it had been to us,
was leaving us, going off into the west over the great continent. We
were crossing the twilight, that narrow, lonesome, neutral ground, where
gloom and splendor interlock and wrestle. The little petrel piped his
feeble notes, and flew close up, following under the very feathers of
the ship, now skimming the glassy hollow of the swells, and then tiptoe
on the crest. The wind was strengthening, tuning every cord and
straining every sail, winnowing the fiery chaff, and sowing the
sparkling grain forward on the furrowed waters. We had a vessel full of
wind; and so vessel, wind and sparks together, went away across the sea
as if they were seeking some grand rendezvous. Far and wide the waves
all hastened in the same direction, rolling, leaping, crumbling into
foam, bristling the snowy feathers on neck and breast as they skipped
and flew upon each other in their play and passion. And so we all sped
forward with one will, and with one step, keeping time to the music of
the mighty band: clouds, winds and billows, seabirds, sails and
sparkling smoke, and Merlin with her men; all moving forward, as some
grand army moves onward to a battle-field. When there is really nothing
to describe, why should not one record the conceits and fancies born of
an evening at sea? So I thought, last evening, when I was a little
sea-sick, and sick of the monotony of the scene, and a little home-sick,
and felt that this was pleasure rather dearly bought. Still if one would
see the planet upon which he has taken his passage round the sun, and
through the spaces of the universe, he must be brave and patient,
hopeful and good-tempered. Be this, or turn back, at the first view of
salt-water, and go home to toil, to contentment and self-possession.



                              CHAPTER VII.


                          THE FIRST ICEBERGS.

NEWFOUNDLAND seems to be wreathed with fogs forever. As a
dwelling-place, this world certainly appears far from complete,—an
argument for a better country. But yonder is the blue sky peeping
through the mist, an intimation of that better country. A solitary bird
sits upon a stick floating by, looking back curiously as it grows less
and less. Now it merely dots the gleaming wave, and now it is quite
wiped away. Thus float off into the past the winged pleasures of the
hour.

Again we are at blindman’s-buff in the fog. The whistle and the bell
remind us of the perils of this play. The gloom of evening deepens, and
we go below with the hope of rounding Cape Race, and of wheeling down
the northern sea direct for port, before daylight. _Down_ the northern
sea!—This calling north _down_ instead of _up_, appears to me to be
reversing the right order of things. It is _against_ the stream, which,
inshore, sets from Baffin’s Bay south; and, in respect of latitude, it
is _up-hill_: the nearer the pole, the higher the latitude. And besides,
it is _up_ on the map, and was _up_ all through my boyhood, when
geography was a favorite study. But as down seems to be the direction
settled upon in common parlance, _down_ it shall be in all these pages.

Icebergs! Icebergs!—The cry brought us upon deck at sunrise. There they
were, two of them, a large one and a smaller: the latter pitched upon
the dark and misty desert of the sea like an Arab’s tent; and the larger
like a domed mosque in marble of a greenish white. The vaporous
atmosphere veiled its sharp outlines, and gave it a softened, dreamy and
mysterious character. Distant and dim, it was yet very grand and
impressive. Enthroned on the deep in lonely majesty, the dread of
mariners, and the wonder of the traveller, it was one of those imperial
creations of nature that awaken powerful emotions, and illumine the
imagination. Wonderful structure! Fashioned by those fingers that
wrought the glittering fabrics of the upper deep, and launched upon
those adamantine ways into Arctic seas, how beautiful, how strong and
terrible! A glacier slipped into the ocean, and henceforth a wandering
cape, a restless headland, a revolving island, to compromise the
security of the world’s broad highway. No chart, no sounding, no
knowledge of latitude avails to fix thy whereabout, thou roving Ishmael
of the sea. No look-out, and no friendly hail or authoritative warning
can cope with thy secrecy or thy silence. Mist and darkness are thy
work-day raiment. Though the watchman lay his ear to the water, he may
not hear thy coming footsteps.

We gazed at the great ark of nature’s building with steady, silent eyes.
Motionless and solemn as a tomb, it seemed to look back over the waves
as we sped forward into its grand presence. The captain changed the
course of the steamer a few points so as to pass it as closely as
possible. C—— was quietly making preparation to sketch it. The
interest was momentarily increasing. We were on our way to hunt
icebergs, and had unexpectedly come up with the game. We fancied it was
growing colder, and felt delighted at the chilly air, as if it had been
so much breath fresh from the living ice. To our regret, I may say, to
our grief, the fog suddenly closed the view. No drop-curtain could have
shut out the spectacle more quickly and more completely. The steamer was
at once put on her true course, and the icebergs were left to pursue
their solitary way along the misty Atlantic.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


                        NEWFOUNDLAND.—ST. JOHNS.

WHEN the mist dispersed, the rocky shores of Newfoundland were close
upon our left,—lofty cliffs, red and gray, terribly beaten by the waves
of the broad ocean. We amused ourselves, as we passed abreast the bays
and headlands and rugged islands, with gazing at the wild scene, and
searching out the beauty timidly reposing among the bleak and desolate.
On the whole, Newfoundland, to the voyager from the States, is a lean
and bony land, in thin, ragged clothes, with the smallest amount of
ornament. Along the sides of the dull, brown mountains there is a
suspicion of verdure, spotted and striped here and there with meagre
woods of birch and fir. The glory of this hard region is its coast: a
wonderful perplexity of fiords, bays and creeks, islands, peninsulas and
capes, endlessly picturesque, and very often magnificently grand.
Nothing can well exceed the headlands and precipices, honey-combed,
shattered, and hollowed out into vast caverns, and given up to the
thunders and the fury of the deep-sea billows. Read the Pirate of Scott
again, and Sumburg Head will picture for you numbers of heads, of which
it is not important to mention the name. The brooks that flow from the
highlands, and fall over cliffs of great elevation into the very surf,
and that would be counted features of grandeur in some countries, are
here the merest trifles, a kind of jewelry on the hem of the landscape.

The harbor of St. Johns is certainly one of the most remarkable for bold
and effective scenery on the Atlantic shore. The pictures of it, which
of late abound, and are quite truthful as miniature portraits, fail
entirely to suggest the grand expression and strong character of the
coast. We were moving spiritedly forward over a bright and lively sea,
watching the stern headlands receding in the south, and starting out to
view in the north, when we passed Cape Spear, a lofty promontory,
crowned with a light-house and a signal-shaft, upon which was floating
the meteor-flag of England, and at once found ourselves abreast the bay
in front of St. Johns. Not a vestige, though, of any thing like a city
was in sight, except another flag flitting on a distant pinnacle of
rock. Like a mighty Coliseum, the sea-wall half encircled the deep water
of this outer bay, into which the full power of the ocean let itself
under every wind except the westerly. Right towards the coast where it
gathered itself up into the greatest massiveness, and tied itself into a
very Gordian knot, we cut across, curious to behold when and where the
rugged adamant was going to split and let us through. At length it
opened, and we looked through, and presently glided through a kind of
mountain-pass, with all the lonely grandeur of the Franconia Notch.
Above us, and close above, the rugged, brown cliffs rose to a fine
height, armed at certain points with cannon, and before us, to all
appearance, opened out a most beautiful mountain lake, with a little
city looking down from the mountain side, and a swamp of shipping along
its shores. We were in the harbor, and before St. Johns. As we bade
adieu to the sea, and hailed the land with our plucky little gun, the
echoes rolled among the hills, and rattled along the rocky galleries of
the mountains in the finest style. We were quite delighted. So fresh and
novel was the prospect, so unexpected were the peculiar sentiment and
character of the scene, one could hardly realize that it was old to the
experience of tens of thousands. I could scarcely help feeling, there
was stupidity somewhere, that more had not been said about what had been
seen by so many for so long a time.



                              CHAPTER IX.


           AN ENGLISH INN.—GOVERNOR AND BISHOP.—SIGNAL HILL.

WEDNESDAY, _June 22, 1859_.—We are at Warrington’s, a genuine English
inn, with nice rooms and a home-like quiet, where the finest salmon,
with other luxuries, can be had at moderate prices. Every thing is
English but ourselves. I feel that the Yankee in me is about as
prominent as the bowsprit of the Great Republic, the queen ship of the
metropolis of yankeedom, the renowned port from which we sailed, and
through the scholarly air of which my thoughts wing their flight home.

Among other qualities foremost at this moment, (and for which I discover
the Bull family is certainly pre-eminent,) is appetite, the measure of
which, at table, is time, not quantity. My chief solicitude at
breakfast, dinner, tea and supper, is not so much about _what_ I am to
eat, as about _how_ I shall eat, so as not to distinguish myself. C——,
who is looked upon as one of the immortals, and I, in his wake, perhaps
as his private chaplain, may be regarded as representative people from
the States. We would, therefore, avoid signalizing ourselves at the
trencher. The method adopted on these frequent occasions, is to be on
hand early, to expend small energy in useless conversation, and to
retire modestly, though late, from the entertainment. It is surprising
how well we acquit ourselves without exciting admiration. I am hopeful
that the impression in the house is, that we are small eaters and
talkers, persons slightly diffident, who eat chiefly in order to live,
and prosper on our voyage. Under this cover, it is wonderful what an
amount of spoil we bear away, over which merriment applauds in the
privacy of our rooms.

When the gray morning light stole at the same time into my chamber and
my dreams, it was raining heavily, a seasonable hindrance to early
excursions, affording ample time to arrange those plans which we are now
carrying out. In company with Mr. Newman, our consul, to whom we are
indebted for unremitting attentions and hospitalities, we first called
on the Bishop of Newfoundland.

The visitation of his large diocese, which embraces both the island and
Labrador, together with the distant isle of Bermuda, has given him a
thorough knowledge of the shores and ices of these northern seas. An
hour’s conversation, illustrated with maps and drawings, seems to have
put us in possession of nearly all the facts necessary in order to a
pleasant and successful expedition. At the close of our interview,
during which the Bishop informed us that he was just setting off upon an
extensive coast visitation, he very kindly invited us to join his party
for the summer, and take our passage in the Hawk, his “Church Ship.” It
was a most tempting offer, and would have been accepted with delight had
the voyage been shorter. There was no certainty of the vessel’s return
before September, a time too long for my purposes. To be left in any
port, in those out-of-the-way waters, with the expectation of a chance
return, was not to be thought of. We declined the generous offer of the
Bishop, but with real regret. To have made the tour of Newfoundland and
Labrador, with a Christian gentleman and scholar so accomplished, would
have been a privilege indeed. From the house of the Bishop, a neat
residence near his cathedral, we climbed the hill upon which stands the
palace of the Governor, Sir Alexander Bannerman, commanding a fine
prospect of the town and harbor, the ocean and adjacent country. As we
passed up the broad avenue, shaded by the poplar, birch and fir, instead
of those patricians of the wood, the maple, oak and elm; the flag,
waving in the cool sea-breeze, and the brown-coated soldier, pacing to
and fro, reminded one of the presence of English power. His Excellency,
a stately and venerable man, to whom we had come purposely to pay our
respects, received us in a spacious room with antique furniture. During
the conversation, he expressed much pleasure that a painter of
distinction had come to visit the scenery of Newfoundland, and kindly
offered such assistance as would facilitate sketching in the
neighborhood. A soldier should watch for icebergs, on Signal Hill, a
lofty peak that overlooks the sea; a boat should be at his command, the
moment one was needed. Upon leaving, he gave us for perusal Sir Richard
Bonnycastle’s Newfoundland. From the western front of the house, we
overlooked a broad vale, dotted with farmhouses, and, in its June dress
of grass and dandelions, quite New-England-like. We continued our walk
to Quidy Viddy, a pretty lake, and returned in time to call upon Mr.
Ambrose Shea, Speaker of the Assembly, to whom C—— had letters of
introduction.

After dinner we set off for Signal Hill, the grand observatory of the
country, both by nature and art. Before we were half-way up, we found
that June was June, even in Newfoundland. But there is something in a
mountain ramble that pays for all warmth and fatigue. Little rills
rattled by, paths wound among rocky notches and grassy chasms, and led
out to dizzy “over-looks” and “short-offs.” The town with its thousand
smokes sat in a kind of amphitheatre, and seemed to enjoy the spectacle
of sails and colors in the harbor. Below us were the fishing-flakes, a
kind of thousand-legged shelves, made of poles, and covered with spruce
boughs, for drying fish, the local term for cod, and placed like
terraces or large steps one above another on the rocky slopes. We struck
into a fine military road, and passed spacious stone barracks, soldiers
and soldiers’ families, goats and little gardens.

From the observatory, situated on the craggy pinnacle, both the rugged
interior and the expanse of ocean were before us. Far off at sea a cloud
of canvas was shining in the afternoon sun, a kind of golden white,
while down the northern coast, distant several miles, was an iceberg. It
was glittering in the sunshine like a mighty crystal. The work and play
of to-morrow were resolved upon immediately, and we descended at our
leisure, plucking the wild flowers among the moss and herbage, and
gazing quietly at the hues and features of the extended prospect.



                               CHAPTER X.


    THE RIDE TO TORBAY.—THE LOST SAILOR.—THE NEWFOUNDLAND DOG.

THURSDAY, _June 23_. We were stirring betimes, making preparations for
our first venture after an iceberg. Unluckily, it was a Romish holiday,
and every vehicle in town seemed to be busy carrying people about, by
the time we thought it necessary to engage one for ourselves. We
succeeded at length in securing a hard-riding wagon, driven by a young
Englishman, and were soon on our way, trundling along at a good pace
over the smooth road leading from St. Johns to Torbay, the nearest water
to our berg, and distant some eight or nine miles. The morning was fine,
the sunshine cheering, the air cool and bracing, and all went
promisingly. The adjacent country is an elevated kind of barren, clothed
with brushwood, spruce and birch, crossed by numerous little trout
brooks, and spotted with ponds and wet meadows, with here and there a
lonely-looking hut. But there were the songs of birds, the tinkling of
cow-bells, and the odor of evergreens and flowers. A characteristic of
the coast is its elevation above the country lying behind. Instead of
descending, the lands rise, as you approach the ocean, into craggy
domes, walls and towers, breaking off precipitously, and affording from
the eminences of our road prospects of sparkling sea. Our hearts were
full of music, and our minds and conversation were a kind of reflection
of the solitary scene. For months, our young man tells us, the snow lies
so deeply along this fine road as to render it impassable for sleighs,
except when sufficiently hard to bear a horse. The snow-shoe is then in
general use. One of the pests of early summer is the black fly, as we
have already experienced. A few years ago, a sailor ran away from his
vessel, at St. Johns, and took to these bushy wilds, in which, at
length, he got lost, and finally perished from the bites of this
pestilent fly. He was found accidentally, and in a state of
insensibility, being covered with them, and so nearly devoured that he
died within a few hours after his discovery.

Speaking of the Newfoundland dog, he told us that one of pure, original
blood, was scarcely to be found. I had supposed, and had good reason for
it, from what I had read in the papers, about the time of the visit to
St. Johns, upon the laying of the Atlantic Cable, that any person could
for a small sum purchase numbers of the finest dogs. I think a certain
correspondent of some New York daily, told us that several gentlemen
supplied themselves with these animals upon their departure. If such was
the case, then they took away with them about the last of the real
breed, and must have paid for them such prices as they would not like to
own. Scarcely a splendid dog is now to be seen, and five, ten, and even
twenty pounds sterling might be refused for him. We have not seen the
first animal that compares with those which trot up and down Broadway
nearly every week; and they are not the pure-blooded creature, either,
by a good deal. It is to be regretted, that dogs of such strength,
beauty and sagacity should have been permitted to become almost extinct
in their native country.



                              CHAPTER XI.


    TORBAY.—FLAKES AND FISH-HOUSES.—THE FISHING BARGE.—THE
    CLIFFS.—THE RETREAT TO FLAT ROCK HARBOR.—WILLIAM WATERMAN, THE
    FISHERMAN.

TORBAY, finely described in a recent novel by the Rev. R. T. S. Lowell,
is an arm of the sea, a short, strong arm with a slim hand and finger,
reaching into the rocky land, and touching the waterfalls and rapids of
a pretty brook. Here is a little village, with Romish and Protestant
steeples, and the dwellings of fishermen, with the universal appendages
of fishing-houses, boats and flakes. One seldom looks upon a hamlet so
picturesque and wild. The rocks slope steeply down to the wonderfully
clear water. Thousands of poles support half-acres of the spruce-bough
shelf, beneath which is a dark, cool region, crossed with footpaths, and
not unfrequently sprinkled and washed by the surf,—a most kindly office
on the part of the sea, you will allow, when once you have scented the
fish-offal perpetually dropping from the evergreen fish-house above.
These little buildings on the flakes are conspicuous features, and look
as fresh and wild as if they had just wandered away from the woodlands.

There they stand, on the edge of the lofty pole-shelf, or upon the
extreme end of that part of it which runs off frequently over the water
like a wharf, an assemblage of huts and halls, bowers and arbors, a
curious huddle made of poles and sweet-smelling branches and sheets of
birch-bark. A kind of evening haunts these rooms of spruce, at noonday,
while at night a hanging lamp, like those we see in old pictures of
crypts and dungeons, is to the stranger only a kind of buoy by which he
is to steer his way through the darkness. To come off then without
pitching headlong, and soiling your hands and coat, is the merest
chance. Strange! one is continually allured into these piscatory bowers
whenever he comes near them. In spite of the chilly, salt air, and the
repulsive smells about the tables where they dress the fish, I have a
fancy for these queer structures. Their front door opens upon the sea,
and their steps are a mammoth ladder, leading down to the swells and the
boats. There is a charm also about fine fishes, fresh from the net and
the hook,—the salmon, for example, whose pink and yellow flesh has
given a name to one of the most delicate hues of Art or Nature.

But where was the iceberg? We were not a little disappointed when all
Torbay was before us, and nothing but dark water to be seen. To our
surprise, no one had ever seen or heard of it. It must lie off Flat Bock
Harbor, a little bay below, to the north. We agreed with the supposition
that the berg must lie below, and made speedy preparations to pursue, by
securing the only boat to be had in the village,—a substantial
fishing-barge, laden rather heavily in the stern with at least a cord of
cod-seine, but manned by six stalwart men, a motive power, as it turned
out, none too large for the occasion. We embarked at the foot of a
fish-house ladder, being carefully handed down by the kind-hearted men,
and took our seats forward on the little bow-deck. All ready, they
pulled away at their long, ponderous oars, with the skill and
deliberation of life-long practice, and we moved out upon the broad,
glassy swells of the bay towards the open sea, not indeed with the
rapidity of a Yankee club-boat, but with a most agreeable steadiness,
and a speed happily fitted for a review of the shores, which, under the
afternoon sun, were made brilliant with lights and shadows.

We were presently met by a breeze, which increased the swell, and made
it easier to fall in close under the northern shore, a line of
stupendous precipices, to which the ocean goes deep home. The ride
beneath these mighty cliffs was by far the finest boat-ride of my life.
While they do not equal the rocks of the Saguenay, yet, with all their
appendages of extent, structure, complexion and adjacent sea, they are
sufficiently lofty to produce an almost appalling sense of sublimity.
The surges lave them at a great height, sliding from angle to angle, and
fretting into foam as they slip obliquely along the face of the vast
walls. They descend as deeply as two hundred feet, and rise
perpendicularly two, three, and four hundred feet from the water. Their
stratifications are up and down, and of different shades of light and
dark, a ribbed and striped appearance that increases the effect of
height, and gives variety and spirit to the surface.

At one point, where the rocks advance from the main front, and form a
kind of headland, the strata, six and eight feet thick, assume the form
of a pyramid, from a broad base of a hundred yards or more running up to
meet in a point. The heart of this vast cone has partly fallen out, and
left the resemblance of an enormous tent with cavernous recesses and
halls, in which the shades of evening were already lurking, and the surf
was sounding mournfully. Occasionally it was musical, pealing forth like
the low tones of a great organ with awful solemnity. Now and then, the
gloomy silence of a minute was broken by the crash of a billow far
within, when the reverberations were like the slamming of great doors.

After passing this grand specimen of the architecture of the sea, there
appeared long rocky reaches, like Egyptian temples, old dead cliffs of
yellowish gray, checked off by lines and seams into squares, and having
the resemblance, where they have fallen out into the ocean, of doors and
windows opening in upon the fresher stone. Presently we came to a break,
where there were grassy slopes and crags intermingled, and a flock of
goats skipping about, or ruminating in the warm sunshine. A knot of
kids—the reckless little creatures!—were sporting along the edge of
the precipice in a manner almost painful to witness. The pleasure of
leaping from point to point, where a single mis-step would have dropped
them hundreds of feet, seemed to be in proportion to the danger. The
sight of some women, who were after the goats, reminded the boatmen of
an accident which occurred here only a few days before: a lad playing
about the steep, fell into the sea, and was drowned.

We were now close upon the point just behind which we expected to behold
the iceberg. The surf was sweeping the black reef, that flanked the
small cape, in the finest style,—a beautiful dance of breakers of
dazzling white and green. As every stroke of the oars shot us forward,
and enlarged our view of the field in which the ice was reposing, our
hearts fairly throbbed with an excitement of expectation. “There it is!”
one exclaimed. An instant revealed the mistake. It was only the next
headland in a fog, which unwelcome mist was now coming down upon us from
the broad waters, and covering the very tract where the berg was
expected to be seen. Further and further out the long, strong sweep of
the great oars carried us, until the depth of the bay between us and the
next headland was in full view. It may appear almost too trifling a
matter over which to have had any feeling worth mentioning or
remembering, but I shall not soon forget the disappointment, when from
the deck of our barge, as it rose and sank on the large swells, we stood
up and looked around, and saw that if the iceberg, over which our very
hearts had been beating with delight for twenty-four hours, was
anywhere, it was somewhere in the depths of that untoward fog. It might
as well have been in the depths of the ocean.

While the pale cloud slept there, there was nothing left for us but to
wait patiently where we were, or retreat. We chose the latter. C——
gave the word to pull for the settlement, at the head of the little bay
just mentioned, and so they rounded the breakers on the reef, and we
turned away for the second time, when the game, as we had thought, was
fairly ours. Even the hardy fishermen, no lovers of “islands-of-ice,” as
they call the bergs, felt for us, as they read in our looks the
disappointment, not to say a little vexation. While on our passage in,
we filled a half-hour with questions and discussions about that iceberg.

“We certainly saw it yesterday evening; and a soldier of Signal Hill
told us that it had been close in at Torbay for several days. And you,
my man there, say that you had a glimpse of it last evening. How happens
it to be away just now? Where do you think it is?”

“Indeed, sir, he must be out in the fog, a mile or over. De’il a bit can
a man look after a thing in a fog more nor into a snow-bank. Maybe, sir,
he’s foundered; or he might be gone off to sea altogether, as they
sometimes does.”

“Well, this is rather remarkable. Huge as these bergs are, they escape
very easily under their old cover. No sooner do we think we have them,
than they are gone. No jackal was ever more faithful to his lion, no
pilot-fish to his shark, than the fog to its berg. We will run in yonder
and inquire about it. We may get the exact bearing, and reach it yet,
even in the fog.”

The wind and sea being in our favor, we soon reached a fishery-ladder,
which we now knew very well how to climb, and wound our “dim and
perilous way” through the evergreen labyrinth of fish-bowers, emerging
on the solid rock, and taking the path to the fisherman’s house. Here
lives and works and wears himself out, William Waterman, a deep-voiced,
broad-chested, round-shouldered wight, dressed, not in cloth of gold,
but of oil, with the foxy remnant of a last winter’s fur cap clinging to
his large, bony head, a little in the style of a piece of turf to a
stone. You seldom look into a more kindly, patient face, or into an eye
that more directly lets up the light out of a large, warm heart. His
countenance is one sober shadow of honest brown, occasionally lighted by
a true and guileless smile. William Waterman has seen the
“island-of-ice.” “It lies off there, two miles or more, grounded on a
bank, in forty fathoms water.”

It was nearly six o’clock; and yet, as there were signs of the fog
clearing away, we thought it prudent to wait. A dull, long hour passed
by, and still the sun was high in the north-west. That heavy cod-seine,
a hundred fathoms long, sank the stern of our barge rather deeply, and
made it row heavily. For all that, there was time enough yet, if we
could only use it. The fog still came in masses from the sea, sweeping
across the promontory between us and Torbay, and fading into air nearly
as soon as it was over the land. In the mean time, we sat upon the
rocks—upon the wood-pile—stood around and talked—looked out into the
endless mist—looked at the fishermen’s houses—their children—their
fowls and dogs. A couple of young women, that might have been teachers
of the village school, had there been a school, belles of the place,
rather neatly dressed, and with hair nicely combed, tripped shyly by,
each with an arm about the other’s waist, and very merry until abreast
of us, when they were as silent and downcast as if they had been passing
by their sovereign queen, or the Great Mogul. Their curiosity and
timidity combined were quite amusing. We speculated upon the
astonishment that would have seized upon their simple, innocent hearts,
had they beheld, instead of us, a bevy of our city fashionables in full
bloom.

At length we accepted an invitation to walk into the house, and sat, not
under the good-man’s roof, but under his chimney, a species of large
funnel, into which nearly one end of the house resolved itself. Here we
sat upon some box-like benches before a wood fire, and warmed ourselves,
chatting with the family. While we were making ourselves comfortable and
agreeable, we made the novel, and rather funny discovery of a hen
sitting on her nest just under the bench, with her red comb at our
fingers’ ends. A large griddle hung suspended in the more smoky regions
of the chimney, ready to be lowered for the baking of cakes or frying
fish. Having tarred my hand, the fisherman’s wife, kind woman, insisted
upon washing it herself. After rubbing it with a little grease, she
first scratched it with her finger-nail, and then finished with soap and
water and a good wiping with a coarse towel. I begged that she would
spare herself the trouble, and allow me to help myself. But it was no
trouble at all for her, and the greatest pleasure. And what should I
know about washing off tar?

They were members of the Church of England, and seemed pleased when they
found that I was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church. They had a pastor,
who visited them and others in the village occasionally, and held divine
service on Sunday at Torbay, where they attended, going in boats in
summer, and over the hills on snow-shoes in the winter. The woman told
me, in an undertone, that the family relations were not all agreed in
their religious faith, and that they could not stop there any longer,
but had gone to “America,” which they liked much better. It was a hard
country, any way, no matter whether one were Protestant or Papist. Three
months were all their summer, and nearly all their time for getting
ready for the long, cold winter. To be sure, they had codfish and
potatoes, flour and butter, tea and sugar; but then it took a deal of
hard work to make ends meet. The winter was not as cold as we thought,
perhaps; but then it was so long and snowy! The snow lay five, six, and
seven feet deep. Wood was a great trouble. There was a plenty of it, but
they could not keep cattle or horses to draw it home. Dogs were their
only teams, and they could fetch but small loads at a time. In the mean
while, a chubby little boy, with cheeks like a red apple, had ventured
from behind his young mother, where he had kept dodging as she moved
about the house, and edged himself up near enough to be patted on the
head, and rewarded for his little liberties with a half-dime.



                              CHAPTER XII.


    THE WHALES.—THE ICEBERG.—THE RETURN, AND THE RIDE TO ST. JOHNS
    BY STARLIGHT.

THE sunshine was now streaming in at a bit of a window, and I went out
to see what prospect of success. C——, who had left some little time
before, was nowhere to be seen. The fog seemed to be in sufficient
motion to disclose the berg down some of the avenues of clear air that
were opened occasionally. They all ended, however, with fog instead of
ice. I made it convenient to walk to the boat, and pocket a few cakes,
brought along as a kind of scattering lunch. C—— was descried, at
length, climbing the broad, rocky ridge the eastern point of which we
had doubled on our passage from Torbay. Making haste up the crags by a
short cut, I joined him on the verge of the promontory, pretty well
heated and out of breath.

The effort was richly rewarded. The mist was dispersing in the sunny air
around us; the ocean was clearing off; the surge was breaking with a
pleasant sound below. At the foot of the precipice were four or five
whales, from thirty to fifty feet in length, apparently. We could have
tossed a pebble upon them. At times abreast, and then in single file,
round and round they went, now rising with a puff followed by a wisp of
vapor, then plunging into the deep again. There was something in their
large movements very imposing, and yet very graceless. There seemed to
be no muscular effort, no exertion of any force from within, and no more
flexibility in their motions than if they had been built of timber. They
appeared to move very much as a wooden whale might be supposed to move
down a mighty rapid, rolling and plunging and borne along irresistibly
by the current. As they rose, we could see their mouths occasionally,
and the lighter colors of the skin below. As they went under, their
huge, black tails, great winged things not unlike the screw-wheel of a
propeller, tipped up above the waves. Now and then one would give the
water a good round slap, the noise of which smote sharply upon the ear,
like the crack of a pistol in an alley. It was a novel sight to watch
them in their play, or labor rather; for they were feeding upon the
capelin, pretty little fishes that swarm along these shores at this
particular season. We could track them beneath the surface about as well
as upon it. In the sunshine, and in contrast with the fog, the sea was a
very dark blue or deep purple. Above the whales the water was green, a
darker green as they descended, a lighter green as they came up. Large
oval spots of changeable green water, moving silently and shadow-like
along, in strong contrast with the surrounding dark, marked the places
where the monsters were gliding below. When their broad, blackish backs
were above the waves, there was frequently a ring or ruffle of snowy
surf, formed by the breaking of the swell, around the edges of the fish.
The review of whales, the only review we had witnessed in Her Majesty’s
dominions, was, on the whole, an imposing spectacle. We turned from it
to witness another, of a more brilliant character.

To the north and east, the ocean, dark and sparkling, was, by the magic
action of the wind, entirely clear of fog; and there, about two miles
distant, stood revealed the iceberg in all its cold and solitary glory.
It was of a greenish white, and of the Greek-temple form, seeming to be
over a hundred feet high. We gazed some minutes with silent delight on
the splendid and impressive object, and then hastened down to the boat,
and pulled away with all speed to reach it, if possible, before the fog
should cover it again, and in time for C—— to paint it. The moderation
of the oarsmen and the slowness of our progress were quite provoking. I
watched the sun, the distant fog, the wind and waves, the increasing
motion of the boat, and the seemingly retreating berg. A good
half-hour’s toil had carried us into broad waters, and yet, to all
appearance, very little nearer. The wind was freshening from the south,
the sea was rising, thin mists—a species of scout from the main body of
fog lying off in the east—were scudding across our track. James Goss,
our captain, threw out a hint of a little difficulty in getting back.
But Yankee energy was indomitable: C—— quietly arranged his
painting-apparatus; and I, wrapped in my cloak more snugly, crept out
forward on the little deck,—a sort of look-out. To be honest, I began
to wish ourselves on our way back, as the black, angry-looking swells
chased us up, and flung the foam upon the bow and stern. All at once,
huge squadrons of fog swept in, and swamped the whole of us, boat and
berg, in their thin, white obscurity. For a moment we thought ourselves
foiled again. But still the word was On! And on they pulled, the
hard-handed fishermen, now flushed and moist with rowing. Again the ice
was visible, but dimly, in his misty drapery. There was no time to be
lost. Now, or not at all. And so C—— began. For half an hour, pausing
occasionally for passing flocks of fog, he plied the brush with a
rapidity not usual, and under disadvantages that would have mastered a
less experienced hand.

We were getting close down upon the berg, and in fearfully rough water.
In their curiosity to catch glimpses of the advancing sketch, the men
pulled with little regularity, and trimmed the boat very badly. We were
rolling frightfully to a landsman. C—— begged of them to keep their
seats, and hold the barge just there as near as possible. To amuse them,
I passed an opera-glass around among them, with which they examined the
iceberg and the coast. They turned out to be excellent good fellows, and
entered into the spirit of the thing in a way that pleased us. I am sure
they would have held on willingly till dark, if C—— had only said the
word, so much interest did they feel in the attempt to paint the
“island-of-ice.” The hope was to linger about it until sunset, for its
colors, lights and shadows. That, however, was suddenly extinguished.
Heavy fog came on, and we retreated, not with the satisfaction of a
conquest, nor with the disappointment of a defeat, but cheered with the
hope of complete success, perhaps the next day, when C—— thought that
we could return upon our game in a little steamer, and so secure it
beyond the possibility of escape.

The seine was now hauled from the stern to the centre of the barge; and
the men pulled away for Torbay, a long six miles, rough and chilly. For
my part, I was trembling with cold, and found it necessary to lend a
hand at the oars, an exercise which soon made the weather feel several
degrees warmer, and rendered me quite comfortable. After a little, the
wind lulled, the fog dispersed again, and the iceberg seemed to
contemplate our slow departure with complacent serenity. We regretted
that the hour forbade a return. It would have been pleasant to play
around that Parthenon of the sea in the twilight. The best that was left
us, was to look back and watch the effects of light, which were
wonderfully fine, and had the charm of entire novelty. The last view was
the very finest. All the east front was a most tender blue; the fissures
on the southern face, from which we were rowing directly away, were
glittering green; the western front glowed in the yellow sunlight;
around were the dark waters, and above, one of the most beautiful of
skies.

We fell under the land presently, and passed near the northern cape of
Flat-Rock Bay, a grand headland of red sandstone, a vast and dome-like
pile, fleeced at the summit with green turf and shrubs of fir. The sun,
at last, was really setting. There was the old magnificence of the king
of day,—airy deeps of ineffable blue and pearl, stained with scarlets
and crimsons, and striped with living gold. A blaze of white light,
deepening into the richest orange, crowned the distant ridge behind
which the sun was vanishing. A vapory splendor, rose-color and purple,
was dissolving in the atmosphere; and every wave of the ocean, a dark
violet, nearly black, was “a flash of golden fire.” Bathed with this
almost supernatural glory, the headland, in itself richly complexioned
with red, brown and green, was at once a spectacle of singular grandeur
and solemnity. I have no remembrance of more brilliant effects of light
and color. The view filled us with emotions of delight. We shot from
beneath the great cliff into Flat-Rock Bay, rounding, at length, the
breakers and the cape into the smoother waters of Torbay. As the oars
dipped regularly into the polished swells, reflecting the heavens and
the wonderful shores, all lapsed into silence. In the gloom of evening
the rocks assumed an unusual height and sublimity. Gliding quietly below
them, we were saluted, every now and then, by the billows thundering in
some adjacent cavern. The song of the sea in its old halls rung out in a
style quite unearthly. The slamming of the mighty doors seemed far off
in the chambers of the cliff, and the echoes trembled themselves away,
muffled into stillness by the stupendous masses.

Thus ended our first real hunting of an iceberg. When we landed, we were
thoroughly chilled. Our man was waiting with his wagon, and so was a
little supper in a house near by, which we enjoyed with an appetite that
assumed several phases of keenness as we proceeded. There was a tower of
cold roast beef, flanked by bread and butter and bowls of hot tea. The
whole was carried silently, without remark, at the point of knife and
fork. We were a forlorn-hope of two, and fell to, winning the victory in
the very breach. We drove back over the fine gravel road at a round
trot, watching the last edge of day in the north-west and north, where
it no sooner fades than it buds again to bloom into morning. We lived
the new iceberg experience all over again, and planned for the morrow.
The stars gradually came out of the cool, clear heavens, until they
filled them with their sparkling multitudes. For every star we seemed to
have a lively and pleasurable thought, which came out and ran among our
talk, a thread of light. When we looked at the hour, as we sat fresh and
wakeful, warming at our English inn, in St. Johns, it was after
midnight.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


              ST. MARY’S CHURCH.—THE RIDE TO PETTY HARBOR.

FRIDAY, _June 24_. Daylight, with the street noises, surprised me in the
very midst of the sweetest slumbers. I had already learned that the
summer daybreak, in these more northern latitudes, was far enough ahead
of breakfast, and so I flattered myself back into one of those light and
dreamy sleeps that last, or seem to last, for several long and pleasant
hours. When the bell aroused me, the day appeared old and glittering
enough for noon. But it was only in good time for us, a little worn with
the excitement and toils of the day before, and in trim to enjoy a good
solid breakfast. All thought of revisiting the iceberg of Torbay was
postponed, at least for the present, and the day given up to previous
invitations.

At eleven o’clock, I attended the consecration of St. Mary’s, a fine new
church on the South Side, as the street on the opposite shore of the
harbor is called. As I walked across the bridge, conducting to that
side, the sacred edifice, together with other buildings in the
neighborhood, adorned with numerous English flags, presented, in
contrast with the craggy mountain above, a lively and picturesque
appearance. I may mention, by the way, that St. Johns might well be
denominated the city of flags. They are flying everywhere thick as
butterflies and poppies in a Yankee garden.

I was made acquainted with a number of clergymen, some of them Cambridge
and Oxford men, and invited to take a part in the services. The sermon,
preached by Archdeacon Lower, was remarkable for its plainness,
simplicity and earnestness, a characteristic of all the sermons I have
heard from the clergy of Bishop Field, himself a preacher of singular
simplicity and earnestness. I could not avoid drawing the contrast
between the simple, practical character of this gospel preaching by
accomplished scholars, and the florid, pompous style of many
half-educated men in my own country. While the latter may, at times,
stir a popular audience more sensibly with the fire that crackles among
their brushwood of words, the former are infinitely superior as sound,
healthy, evangelical teachers.

On my return to the inn, I found C—— in his room, busily painting a
duplicate of the berg of Torbay. Soon after dinner we set off, in
company with Mr. Shea, for Petty Harbor, a small fishing port, nine or
ten miles to the south. The road—one of the finest I ever saw, an
old-fashioned English gravel road, smooth and hard almost as iron, a
very luxury for the wheels of a springless wagon—keeps up the bank of a
small river, a good-sized trout stream, flowing from the inland valley
into the harbor of St. Johns. Contrasted with the bold regions that
front the ocean, these valleys are soft and fertile. We passed smooth
meadows, and sloping plough-lands, and green pastures, and houses
peeping out of pretty groves. One might have called it a Canadian or New
Hampshire vale. At no great distance from the town, we crossed the
stream over such a bridge as one would be glad to find more frequently
upon the streams at home, and gradually ascended to a shrubby, sterile
country, with broad views inland.

From the long, low hills of the western horizon, at no great distance,
Mr. Shea informed us that there were prospects of Trinity Bay, of great
beauty. Our road, at length, carried us up among the bleak coast hills,
winding among them in a most agreeable manner, and bringing to view
numbers of small lakes, liquid gems set in black and craggy banks, and
which are all to be united by cuttings through the rocks, and then
conducted to St. Johns, thus forming one of the completest reservoirs.

The flowers by the wayside, mostly small and pale, touched the air with
delicate perfume. I looked for the bees, but there were none abroad;
neither was there to be heard the hum of insects nor warbling of birds.
Now and then a lonely bird piped a feeble strain. We continued winding
among the thinly-wooded hills, our wheels ringing along the narrow
gravel road for an hour. At last we reached the height of land, and
overlooked the ocean. Here we rested a few moments, rose from the seats,
and looked around upon the majestic scene. Far out upon the blue were
many sails, white in the bright sunshine as the wings of doves. The
fishing boats, little schooners with raking masts, which swarm in these
seas, were scudding under their tan-colored canvas, in all directions,
looking like so many winged flies far down upon the spangled plain, a
most lively and agreeable contrast to the desolate highlands, where you
behold no dwelling, or field, or sign of human work, except the road,
which, I cannot help repeating, lies among the rough hills, and rocky
masses, as cleanly cut, and smooth as a road in a gentleman’s park. What
a token of greatness and refinement is the perfect road! No nation makes
such roads as these, in a land bristling with rugged difficulties, that
has not wound its way up to the summit of power and cultivation. The
savage contents himself with a path that is engineered and beaten by the
wild beast.

The praise which an American, used to the rough roads of home, is
continually disposed to lavish upon these admirable English roads of
rugged Newfoundland, must by no manner of means be shared by the
carriages that travel them, things at least one hundred years behind the
time. Such vehicles, on such roads, fit about as well as a horseman on
one of our city avenues dressed in the iron clothes of a crusader. No
Yankee rides in them who does not have his laugh at their absurd
strength and clumsiness. They are evidently intended to descend from
father to son; and they are just as certain to do it as they are to
descend the hills, from which no common horse and harness can prevent
them, when tolerably loaded. If the intelligence which designs, and
executes, and orders these wagons about, was not British intelligence,
one would not have a word to say. As it is, a little ridicule is at
least an innocent pastime. Take off the box, the pleasure-box, and put
upon the stalwart machine anything you choose, stones, saw-logs,
fire-engine, cannon, and all will go safely. When you return, put on
your pleasure-box, again, and you are ready for an airing, wife and
daughters.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


    PETTY HARBOR.—THE MOUNTAIN RIVER.—COD-LIVER OIL.—THE EVENING
    RIDE BACK TO ST. JOHNS.

TO venture a geological remark: All these coast highlands correspond
with the summits of the Alleghenies, and with those regions of the
Cordilleras, C—— tells me, which are just below the snow-line. From
the sea-line up to the peak, they correspond with our mountains above
the upper belt of woods. Their icy pinnacles and eternal snows are
floating below in the form of icebergs. Imagine all the mid-mountain
region in the deep, and you have the Andes here.

We descended in a zigzag way into a deep gorge, one of those cuts
through the shore mountains from inland regions to the sea, which
occasionally become fiords or narrow bays. Along the rocky steps,
resembling galleries, were patches of grass and beds of flowering
mosses, with springs bubbling up in the spongy turf, and spinning
themselves out into snowy threads from the points and edges of the
crags. At the bottom is the little village of Petty Harbor, where the
river, a roaring torrent, meets the salt tide. We alighted at a cottage,
Swiss-like among the rocks, before we were quite down, and were pleased
to hear Mr. Shea, whose guests we were, making arrangements with a
nice-looking woman for an abundant supper, on our return. Mr. S., in
company with several persons who now joined us from St. Johns, then
proceeded to show us the lions of the place, or lion rather, for every
thing and everybody are run up into, and knit into one body, the
fishery.

In the first place, we were struck with the general appearance of
things. The fishing flakes completely floor the river, and ascend in
terraces for a short distance up the sides of the vale. Beneath these
wide, evergreen floors, upon which was fish in all states, fresh from
the knife, and dry enough for packing, ran the river, a brawling stream
at low tide, and deeper, silent water when the tide was in. We could
look up the dark stream, and see it dancing in the mountain sunshine,
and down through the dim forest of slender props, and catch glances of
the glittering sea. Boats were gliding up out of the daylight into the
half-darkness, slowly sculled by brown fishermen, and freighted with the
browner cod, laced occasionally with a salmon. In this wide and
noiseless shade, these cool, Lethean realms, sitting upon some
well-washed boulder, one might easily forget the heat and uproar of all
cities, and become absorbed in the contemplation of merely present and
momentary things. If one doubts it, let him immerse himself for half an
hour, in those still and gloomy shadows, strongly seasoned with “ancient
and fish-like smells.” Should he be able to reflect upon the absent, or
engage his thoughts upon any thing except that which most immediately
affects his senses, he will possess a power of abstraction which a
philosopher and a Brahmin might envy.

In the course of our walk we visited a cod-liver oil manufactory. The
process of making this article is quite simple. The livers, fresh from
the fish, and nearly white, are cleanly washed, and thrown into a
cauldron heated by steam instead of fire, where they gradually dissolve
into oil, which is dipped out hot and strained, first through conical
felt bags, and then through those made of white moleskin, from which it
runs pure and sweet as table-oil. Wine-glasses were at hand, from which
we tasted it, and found it entirely agreeable. In this state it is
barrelled for market, and sold at an average price of one dollar and
fifty cents per gallon. By what process it is transmuted into that
horrid stuff which is sold at a high price, in small bottles, perhaps
the druggist can inform us. When I mentioned the character of cod-liver
oil in New York, a gentleman present, qualified to decide, did not
hesitate to say that it was adulterated with some cheap, base oil. Near
by a fish-house, there is ordinarily seen a row of hogsheads open to the
sun, and breathing smells that none but a fisherman can abide. A near
approach discovers these casks to be filled with cod livers in a state
of fermentation. After a few days in the sun, these corpulent and sweaty
vessels yield a rancid, nauseous fluid, of a nut-brown hue, at a much
less cost than the refined oil of the manufactory, and which, I imagine,
must have a flavor not unlike that which the invalid finds lurking in
those genteel flasks on the apothecary’s shelves. After all, our common
whale-oil, I suspect, after some cleansing and bleaching, and slight
seasoning with the pure, is bad enough for sick people.

The catch, as the fisher terms the number of fish taken, was small that
day, and we encountered, here and there, knots of idle men, smoking,
chewing, whittling and talking. For the most part, they were a russet,
tangle-haired and shaggy-bearded set, shy and grum at first, but
presently talkative enough, and intelligent upon all matters in their
own little world. Fish were so glutted with capelin that they would not
bite well. The seines did better. Among the dwellings that we passed or
entered, was one of a young English woman, of such exceeding neatness,
that the painter could not forget it. That fine-looking, healthy, young
English woman, with her bit of a house just as neat as wax, was often
spoken of.

Upon our return to the cottage on the hill-side, where we at first
alighted, we sat down, with sharp appetite, to a supper of fried capelin
and cods’ tongues, garnished with cups of excellent tea. We ate and
drank with the relish of travellers, and talked of the continent from
Greenland to Cape Horn. After supper, we climbed out of the valley, in
advance of the wagons and our company, to an eminence from which C——
sketched the surrounding scenery, more for the sake of comparison with
some of his Andean pencillings than for any thing really new. He
remarked that the wild and rocky prospect bore a strong resemblance to
the high regions of the Cordilleras.

While he was engaged with the pencil, I scrambled to a high place, and
looked at the Atlantic, touched with long shafts of the light and shade
of sunset. All arrived at length, and we were fairly on our way back to
St. Johns. I buttoned my coat tightly, and wound my cloak around me with
a pleasing sense of comfort in the clear and almost wintry air. All
talked somewhat loudly, and in the best possible good humor, our three
wagons keeping close company, and making a pleasant sound of wheels, as
we ran down our serpentine way among the hills and lakes, now darkening
in the dusk, and reflecting the colored skies. Although there was not a
water-fowl in sight, the words came to memory spontaneously, and I
recited them to myself:

                 “Whither, midst falling dew,
             While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
             Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
                   Thy solitary way?”

As we approached the town, we were much amused with some boyish sports
of a new kind. We saw what appeared through the darkness to be balls of
fire, chasing each other down the craggy hill-side, but which turned out
to be a company of frolicsome boys with lighted torches, bounding down
the zigzag mountain road.



                              CHAPTER XV.


    THE CHURCH SHIP.—THE HERO OF KARS.—THE MISSIONARY OF LABRADOR.

SATURDAY, _June 25_. This has been a quiet day, mostly spent in making
calls and social visits. At an early hour, in company with Mr. Newman,
the consul, we visited the Church Ship, a pretty vessel of not more than
sixty tons, called the Hawk, a name suggested by that line in the
Odyssey, where the poet says, “the auspicious bird flew under the
guidance of God.” By an ingenious arrangement, the cabin, which is a
large part of the vessel, can be changed, in a few minutes, from
state-rooms into a saloon, which, again, by a slight alteration, becomes
a chapel. In this, at once home and church, the Bishop visits not only
the harbors and islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, but the island of
Bermuda. It was the gift of the Rev. Robert Eden, a clergyman of
England, some twelve years ago, and has been employed in that benevolent
and sacred service ever since, with the promise of the same for years to
come. There are now more than forty settled clergymen and missionaries
along those cold and rugged shores, who are visited from time to time by
their Bishop in this bold little ship, which I shall dismiss for the
present, for the reason that there will be occasion to speak of it
again.

From the Bishop’s ship we went to his house, where we had the honor of
an introduction to General Williams, the hero of Kars, and to Colonel
Law, one of the few now living who distinguished themselves at the
battle of Waterloo. In the presence of one who had mingled in the grand
scenes of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, emotions of admiration
were spontaneous. The hero of Kars stands foremost among what are called
fine-looking military men,—a tall, commanding person, with a most
pleasing address.

We closed the day with the consul, who invited to join us the Rev.
George Hutchinson, a nephew of the poet Wordsworth, and accustomed, in
his youthful days, to see at his uncle’s such literary worthies as Lamb
and Southey. He talked much of Hartley Coleridge, of whose abilities he
had a high opinion. Southey, of all, seemed to be his admiration. He
was, all in all, indeed a wonderful man; a perfect Hercules in literary
labors. A few years ago, Mr. Hutchinson, moved by a religious spirit,
was induced to give up a pleasant living in Dorsetshire, under the
Malvern Hills, and devote himself to the toils and privations of a
missionary in Labrador. Upon the death of his mother he went home, over
a year ago, and became possessed of a small property. He has returned
recently, and is now waiting for an opportunity to get back to Labrador.
This meeting and conversation with the Rev. George Hutchinson, has
turned out to be of more than ordinary interest. C—— has determined to
hire a vessel for a month, and set the missionary down in the midst of
his people, without further trouble. We retired, pleasantly excited with
visions of icebergs and northern coast scenery, and with thoughts of
preparation for the voyage.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


    SUNDAY EVENING AT THE BISHOP’S.—THE REV. MR. WOOD’S TALK ABOUT
    ICEBERGS.

MONDAY, _June 27_. We attended church, yesterday, at the cathedral,
where we heard practical sermons and fine congregational singing. The
evening was passed at the Bishop’s, when the conversation was about
Oxford, and Keble, English parsonages, and Christian art. A few poems
were read from Keble’s Christian Year, and commented upon by the Bishop,
who is a personal friend and admirer of the poet. Before the company
separated, all moved into a very beautiful private chapel, and closed
the evening with devotions.

This has been a bright day, and favorable for our preparations. We took
tea with the Consul, and had the pleasure of meeting the Rev. Mr. Wood,
the Rector of St. Thomas’, one of the city churches; who has true
feeling, and a thorough appreciation of fine scenery, and whose
descriptive abilities are rare. He says that an iceberg is to him the
most impressive of all objects. Most beautiful in its life and changes,
it is, next to an earthquake, most terrible and appalling, in the moment
of its destruction, to those who may happen to be near it. Upon the
falling of its peaks and precipices, waves and thunders carry the
intelligence across the waters. Lofty as it frequently is, the head
only, helmeted and plumed with dazzling beauty, is above the sea. In its
solemn march along the blue main, how it steps upon the high places of
the deep, is all unseen. Around its mighty form, far down its alabaster
cliffs and caverns, no eye plays but that of the imagination. When it
pauses in its last repose, and perishes, at times; as quickly as if it
were smitten by the lightning, you may stand in the distance and gaze
with awe, but never draw near to witness the motions and sounds of its
dissolution. After tea, we sat by the windows, which face the east and
command the harbor, with its grand entrance from the Atlantic, and
enjoyed the scene, one of unusual splendor, every cliff glowing with
hues of reddish orange.



                             CHAPTER XVII.


    OUR VESSEL FOR LABRADOR.—WRECK OF THE ARGO.—THE FISHERMAN’S
    FUNERAL.

WEDNESDAY, _June 29_. We are far advanced in our preparations for the
voyage. Yesterday and to-day, we have been busily engaged, and now see
the way clear for leaving to-morrow morning. Bishop Field, who, with
many others, is pleased that C—— has volunteered to take Mr.
Hutchinson and Mr. Botwood, his associate, to Labrador, sailed on the
visitation of his extended diocese to-day. The Church Ship, which we
visited in the morning, looked, in her perfect order and neatness, with
her signal guns and her colors flying, quite like a little man-of-war.
We shall follow for awhile in her track, but with no expectation of
seeing her again.

Allow me now to take you to the wharf, and show you the craft which
C—— has selected for his novel, and somewhat perilous expedition. Here
she lies, the Integrity, of Sydney, Cape Breton, a pink-sterned
schooner, of only sixty-five tons, but reputed safe and a good sailer.
Her forecastle contains the skipper and mate, a young man of twenty-two,
the owner of the vessel, and three men, the youngest an overgrown Scotch
lad, who has been serving, and will continue to serve us, in the
capacity of cook. Her cabin is for Captain Knight, the commander, pro
tem., with whom you will be made much better acquainted. Just forward of
the cabin, in the hold, there has been a temporary cabin partitioned
off, and furnished with beds, bedding, chairs and table; in short, with
every necessary article for the comfort and convenience of five
individuals. In this snug little room, and in the hold, laden only with
a light stone ballast, are stores and provisions, of the very best
quality, for two full months, wood and water to be taken along shore as
need shall require.

At C——’s sole expense, and under his control, this vessel is to cruise
for a few weeks in the region of the icebergs, setting down the
missionaries by the way. The sheet anchor and mainstay (I begin to speak
the language of the mariner) of our hopes of a pleasant and successful
trip, humanly speaking, is Captain Knight, a respected citizen of St.
Johns, and an accomplished sailor, whom C—— has had the good fortune
to secure as master, pilot, and companion.

We have been startled by the intelligence, that the Argo, of the Galway
line of steamers, from New York to Scotland, is ashore at St. Shotts,
near Cape Race. As usual, a variety of reports have agitated the
community, and made people look with eagerness for the return of the two
small harbor steamers, which Mr. Shea, the agent for that line,
dispatched yesterday to the scene of distress. One of the tugs, the Blue
Jacket, has at length arrived with a part of the passengers in sad
plight. It is the old story of shipwreck on these rocky coasts. Wrapped
in fogs, and borne forward by a powerful current, the ill-fated ship
struck the shore, a few moments after it was discovered. Providentially,
it was calm weather, and the sea unusually quiet, or all had perished.
As it was, all went safely to land, and encamped in the woods. Numbers
of the passengers, saddened by the loss of trunks containing clothing
and other valuables, excited and fatigued, tell bitter stories of
carelessness and inefficiency.

While, with a crowd of people, we were at the pier, awaiting the arrival
of the Blue Jacket, a funeral procession of boats with little white
flags, half-pole, came slowly rowing in from sea, and across the harbor,
and landed with the coffin near where we were standing. Not only the
relatives were dressed in mourning, but the bearers. There were long
flowing weeds of black crape upon all their hats, and wide white cambric
cuffs upon the sleeves of their coats. They were of the fishing class,
from some village up or down the coast, and conducted matters apparently
with more dispatch than mournfulness. A hearse or black carriage, of
very substantial make, with a high top, and white fringe or valance
depending from its eaves instead of curtains, was waiting on the wharf,
attended by a man with a flag of white linen attached to his hat.

Among our last calls to-day, was one of ceremony upon Sir Alexander and
Lady Bannerman, from whom we had received an invitation to dine. Her
ladyship, a fine-looking person, of graceful and dignified manners and
pleasing conversation, talked with interest of C——’s excursion, and
particularly of that part of it relating to his carrying Mr. Hutchinson
to Labrador. After taking our leave, we went with Mr. Newman to look
after some fireworks, which his Excellency has been pleased to order for
our amusement at night among the icebergs.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.


                       OUR FIRST EVENING AT SEA.

THURSDAY EVENING, _June 30_. At sea. I am now writing, for the first
time to-day, by the candles on our table in the main cabin of the
Integrity. We are sailing northward with a fair wind, but with fog and
rather rough water. But let me go back, and take the day from the
beginning, passing lightly over its labors and vexations.

The morning opened upon us brilliantly, and all were employed about
those many little things which only can be done at the last moment. Noon
came and an early dinner, before that all were in readiness and aboard.
And then, as if in retaliation for our delay during so many lovely
hours, the wind was not ready, and so we were obliged to be towed by the
Blue Jacket quite out into broad water, where she left us with our
colors quivering in the sunshine, and all our canvas swelling in a mild
southerly breeze. The coast scenery, and the iceberg of Torbay, and the
last gleams of sunset upon land and ocean, were the lions of the
afternoon.

We have taken our first tea, counting, with a lad in the charge of Mr.
Hutchinson, six around the table, and making, with the crew, eleven
souls, quite a little congregation, could all be spared to attend the
short morning and evening services. We are just beginning to feel the
effects of a small vessel with no lading beyond a light ballast. She
rolls excessively, rises with every swell, and pitches into the
succeeding hollow. This has already begun to disperse our company to
their berths, as the more comfortable place for the random conversation
which will close the day.



                              CHAPTER XIX.


    ICEBERGS OF THE OPEN SEA.—THE OCEAN CHASE.—THE RETREAT TO CAT
    HARBOR.

FRIDAY, _July 1_. The fog is so dense that the rigging drips as if it
rained. In fact, if it be not the finest of all rain, then it is the
thickest of all mists. C—— and I are sea-sick, almost as a matter of
course, and look upon all preparations for breakfast with no peculiar
satisfaction. Our consolation is, that we are sailing forward, although
with only very moderate speed.

Delightful change! It is clearing up. The noonday sun is showering the
dark ocean, here and there, with the whitest light. And lo! an iceberg
on our left. Lo! an iceberg on our right. An iceberg ahead! Yes, two of
them!—four!—five—six!—and there, a white pinnacle just pricking
above the horizon. Wonderful to behold, there are no less than thirteen
icebergs in fair view. We run forward, and then we run aft, and then to
this side, and that. We lean towards them over the railing, and spring
up into the shrouds, as if these boyish efforts brought us nearer, and
made them plainer to our delighted eyes. With a quiet energy, C——
betakes himself to painting, and I to my note-book. But can you tell me
why I pause, almost put up the pencil, and pocket the book? I am only a
little sea-sick. The cold sweat starts upon the forehead, and I feel
pale. We bear away now, such is the order, for the largest berg in
sight. I freshen again with the growing excitement of this novel chase,
and feel a pleasurable sense of freedom that I can never describe. I
could bound like a deer, and shout like the wild Indian, for very joy.
The vessel seems to sympathize, and spring forward with new spirit. The
words leap out of the memory, and I give them a good strong voice:

            “O’er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
             Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free.”

Indeed, there is a hearty pleasure in this freedom of the ocean, when,
as now with us, it is “all before you where to choose.” Tied to no task,
fettered to no line of voyage, to no scant time allowanced, the ship,
the ocean and the day, are ours. Like the poet’s river, that “windeth at
its own sweet will,” our wishes flow down the meandering channel of
circumstances, and we go with the current.

And how lovely the prospect as we go! That this is all God’s own world,
which he holdeth in the hollow of his hand, is manifest from the
impartial bestowal of beauty. No apple, peach or rose is more within one
network of sweet, living grace, than the round world. How wonderful and
precious a thing must this beauty be, that it is thus all-pervading, and
universal! Here on these bleak and barren shores, so rocky, rough and
savage, is a rich and delicate splendor that amazes. The pure azure of
the skies, and the deeply blue waters, one would think were sufficient
for rude and fruitless regions such as these. But look, how they shine
and scintillate! The iron cheeks of yonder headland blush with glory,
and the west is all magnificent. Gaze below into the everlasting evening
of the deep. Glassy, glittering things, like chandeliers dispersed,
twinkle in the fluid darkness. The very fishes, clad in purple and
satin, silvery tissues and cloth-of-gold, seem to move with colored
lights. God hath apparelled all his creatures, and we call it beauty.

As we approach the bergs, they assume a great variety of forms. Indeed,
their changes are quite wonderful. In passing around a single one, we
see as good as ten, so protean is its character. I know of no object in
all nature so marvelously sensitive to a steady gaze. Sit motionless,
and look at one, and, fixture as it appears, it has its changes then. It
marks with unerring faithfulness every condition of atmosphere, and
every amount of light and shadow. Thus manifold complexions tremble over
it, for which the careless observer may see no reason, and many shapes,
heights and distances swell and shrink it, move it to and from, of which
the mind may not readily assign a cause.

The large iceberg, for which we bore away this morning, resembled, at
one moment, a cluster of Chinese buildings, then a Gothic cathedral,
early style. It was curious to see how all that mimicry of a grand
religious pile was soon transmuted into something like the Coliseum, its
vast interior now a delicate blue, and then a greenish white. It was
only necessary to run on half a mile to find this icy theatre split
asunder. An age of ruin appeared to have passed over it, leaving only
the two extremes, the inner cliffs of one a glistening white, of the
other, a blue, soft and airy as the July heavens.

In the neighborhood, were numbers of block-like bergs, which, when
thrown together by our perpetual change of position, resembled the ruins
of a marble city. The play of the light and shadows among its
inequalities was charming in the extreme. In the outskirts of this
Palmyra of the waves, lay a berg closely resembling a huge ship of war,
with the stern submerged, over which the surf was breaking finely, while
the stem, sixty or seventy feet aloft, with what the fancy easily shaped
into a majestic figure-head, looked with fixed serenity over the distant
waters. As we ran athwart the bow, it changed instantly into the
appearance of some gigantic sculpture, with broad surfaces as smooth as
polished ivory, and with salient points cut with wonderful perfection.
The dashing of the waves sounded like the dashing at the foot of rocky
cliffs, indicative of the mass of ice below the surface.

As the afternoon advances the breeze strengthens, blowing sharply off to
sea. We have the most brilliant sunshine, with a clear, cold,
exhilarating air. It very nearly dispels all the nausea caused by this
excessive rolling. We are now beating up from the east toward the land,
and passing several of the bergs, in the chase of which we have spent so
many joyous hours. Every few minutes we have new forms and new effects,
new thoughts and fresh emotions. The grand ruins of the Oriental
deserts, hunted on the fleetest coursers, would awaken, I fancy, kindred
feelings. Full of shadowy sublimities are these great broken masses, as
we sweep around them, fall away, tack and return again.

I never could have felt, and so must not think of making others feel
through the medium of language, the possibility of being so deceived in
respect of the bulk of these islands-of-ice, as our sailors always call
them. What seems, in the distance, a mere piece of ice, of good
snow-bank size only, is really a mass of such dimensions as to require
you to look up to it, as you sail around it, and feel, as you gaze, a
sense of grandeur. What you might suppose could be run down as easily as
a pile of light cotton, would wreck the proudest clipper as effectually
as the immovable adamant.

Between the great northern current, and the breeze which plumes the
innumerable waves with sparkling white, our course has become rather
more tortuous and rough than is agreeable to landsmen who have only come
abroad upon the deep for pleasure and instruction. The painter has
cleaned his pallet, wiped his brushes, shut his painting-box, and gone
below. I am sitting here, near the helm, close upon the deck, screened
from the spray that occasionally flies over, heavily coated, and cold at
that, making some almost illegible notes. Life, it is often said, is a
stormy ocean. It is on the ocean, certainly, that one feels the whole
force of the comparison.

The wind, which is blowing strongly, is getting into the north, dead
ahead, and sweeping us away upon our back track. We are too lightly
ballasted to tack with success, and hold our own. The bergs are
retiring, and appear like ruins and broken columns. We are now fairly on
the retreat, and flying under reefed sails to a little bay, called Cat
Harbor. All aloft has the tightness and the ring of drums, and the
whistling of a hundred fifes. The voice of the master is quick, and to
the point, and the motions and the footsteps of the men, rapid. On our
bows are the explosion and the shock of swells, the resounding knocks
and calls of old Neptune, and upon the deck such showers of his most
brilliant flowers and bouquets as I feel in no haste to gather. The
sea-fowl whirl in the gale like loose plumes and papers, pouring out
their wild complaints as they pass.



                              CHAPTER XX.


    CAT HARBOR.—EVENING SERVICE IN CHURCH.—THE FISHERMAN’S
    FIRE.—THE RETURN AT MIDNIGHT.

AT eight o’clock, our brave little pink-stern was lying at anchor in her
haven, as quietly as a babe in its cradle, with the wind piping a
pleasant lullaby in the rigging, and the roar of the ocean nearly lost
in the distance. A few rude erections along the rocky shore, with a
small church, a store and warehouse, compose the town of Cat Harbor, the
life of which seems to be the water-craft busy in the one common
employment, some returning with the catch of the day, others going for
the catch of the night. While C—— was painting a sketch of the scene,
the sun vanished behind the purple inland hills, with unusual splendor,
and left the distant icebergs in such a white “as no fuller on earth can
white them.”

After dinner, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, Mr. Hutchinson,
who knew that the clergyman in charge was absent, resolved to go ashore,
and invite the people to attend divine service. As soon as we were
landed, he left us to make our way to the church, at our leisure, while
he ran from house to house to announce himself, and to give notice of
the intended services. Our path, as usual in these coast hamlets, went
in zigzag, serpentine ways, among evergreen fishing-bowers, and
many-legged flakes and huts, and oddly-fenced potato-patches. In the
marshy field around the church, we had some time to amuse ourselves with
gathering slender bulrushes tipped with plumes of whitest down. They
were sprinkled all abroad like snow-flakes over the dusky green ground,
and we ran about with the eagerness of boys, selecting the prettiest as
specimens for home.

Twilight was already close upon the darkness. We turned from the chase
of our thistle-down toys, and gazed upon the solemn magnificence around
us—the dark and lonesome land—the bay, reflecting the colored
heavens—the warm orange fading out into the cool pearl, and the pearl
finally lost in the broad blue above.

It was fully candle-light when the congregation, about forty, assembled,
and the service began. The missionary preached extempore a practical
sermon adapted to his hearers, and we sang, to the tune of Old Hundred,
the One Hundredth Psalm, making the dimly-lighted sanctuary ring again.
After church, our party were invited to warm at one of the houses, which
we did most effectually before a broad and roaring fire, while mine host
recounted the toil and the pleasure of getting winter wood over the deep
snows with his team of dogs, and the more perilous and exciting labors
of the fish-harvest, upon which life and all depend. At the mention of
the puff-pig, the local name for the common porpoise, we indulged
ourselves in a childish laugh. A more ludicrous, and at the same time a
more descriptive name could not be hit upon.

During the half-hour around the exhilarating July fire, there dropped
in, one by one, a room-full, curious to see and hear the strangers from
St. Johns and America, as the United States are often called. We parted
with a general shaking of hands, and plenty of good wishes, among which
was one, “that we might have many igh hicebergs.” Some half dozen
attended us to the shore, and brought us off in handsome style over the
calm and phosphorescent waters. At every dip of the oars it was like
unraking the sparkling embers, so brilliant was that beautiful light of
the sea. The boatmen called it the burning of the water. “When the water
burnt,” they said, “it was a sure sign of south wind and a plenty of
fish.”

It was one of those still and starry nights which require only an
incident or so to make them too beautiful ever to be forgotten. Those
incidents were now present, in a peculiarly plaintive murmur of the
ocean, the kindling waves, and a delicate play of the Aurora Borealis.
When we reached our vessel it was almost midnight, and still there was
sweet daylight in the far north-west, moving along the circle of the
northern horizon to brighten into morning before we were half through
our light and dreamy slumbers. Weary and drowsy, all have crept to their
berths; and I will creep into mine when I have put the period to the
notes of this long and delightful day. I hear the footfalls of the watch
on deck. May God keep us through the short, but most solitary night, and
speed us early on our northern voyage!



                              CHAPTER XXI.


               AFTER ICEBERGS AGAIN.—AMONG THE SEA-FOWL.

SATURDAY, _July 2_. It is five o’clock, and the morning has kindled in
the clouds its brightest fires. We are moving off to sea gracefully
before a fair, light wind. The heart delights in this golden promise of
a fine summer day, and the blue Atlantic all before us. As the rising
sun looks over it, the glittering waves seem to participate in these
joyful emotions. How marvelously beautiful is this vast scene! Give me
the sea, I say, now that I am on the sea. Give me the mountains, I say,
when I am on the mountains! Henceforth, when I am weary with the task of
life, I will cry, Give me the mountains _and_ the sea.

The rugged islands, landward, have only an olive, not the living green,
and seem never to have rejoiced in the blessing of a tree, or felt the
delicious mercy of a leafy shade. There blow the whales, and here is the
edge of an innumerable multitude of sea-birds feeding upon the capelin,
and flying to the right and left, thick as grasshoppers, as we advance
among them. Poor things, they are so glutted that they are obliged to
disgorge before they can gain the wing, and many of them merely scramble
aside a few yards, and become the mark of the roguish sailors,
especially of Sandy, our young Scotch cook, who is in a perfect frolic,
pelting them with stones. They sprinkle the sea by the million, and
present, with their white breasts and perpetually arching wings, a
lively and novel appearance. On the roll of the swells, as the sunlight
glances on them, they flash out white like water-lilies.

How the pages of a book fail to carry these scenes into the heart! I
have been reading of them for years, and, as I have thought, reading
understandingly and feelingly; but I can now say that I have never
known, certainly never felt them until now. The living presence of them
has an originality, a taste and odor for the imagination, which can
never be expressed even by the vivid and sensuous language of the
painter, much less by the more subtle, intellectual medium of written
records. It is so new and fresh to me, that I feel as if none had ever
seen this prospect before. Old and familiar as these waters are, I am
thrilled with emotions, kindred to those of a discoverer, and remember
and repeat the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner:

                     We were the first that ever burst
                       Into that silent sea.

Silent sea! This is any thing but that. The surf, which leaps up with
the lightness and rapidity of flames, for many and many a white mile,
roars among the sharp, bleak crags of the islands and the coast like
mighty cataracts. Words of the Psalmist fall naturally upon the tongue,
and I speak them in low tones to myself:

                  Voices are heard among them.
                  Their sound is gone out into all lands.

“And so sail we,” this glorious morning, after the icebergs, several of
which stand sentinel along our eastern horizon; but we do not turn aside
for them, for the reason that we confidently look for others more
closely on our proper track.



                             CHAPTER XXII.


    NOTRE DAME BAY.—FOGO ISLAND AND THE THREE HUNDRED ISLES.—THE
    FREEDOM OF THE SEAS.—THE ICEBERG OF THE SUNSET, AND THE FLIGHT
    INTO TWILLINGATE.

AFTER noon, with the faintest breeze, and the sea like a flowing mirror.
We have sailed by the most eastern promontories, Cape Bonavista and Cape
Freels, and have now arrived at a point where the coast falls off far to
the west, and gives place to Notre Dame Bay, the great Archipelago of
Newfoundland, of which there is comparatively little known. Our true
course is nearly north, and along the eastern or Atlantic side of Fogo,
which is now before us, the first and largest of some three hundred
islands. For the sake of the romantic scenery, we conclude to take the
inside route.

From the shores of Fogo, which are broken, and exceedingly picturesque
further on, as Captain Knight informs us, the land rises into moderate
hills, thinly wooded with evergreens, with here and there a little farm
and dwelling. Perhaps there are twenty rural smokes in sight and a spire
or two. Under the full-blown summer all looks pleasant and inviting.
What will not the glorious sunshine bless and beautify? A dark and dusty
garret wakes up to life and brightness, give it an open window and the
morning sun.

The western headlands of Fogo are exceedingly attractive, lofty, finely
broken, of a red and purplish brown, tinted here and there with pale
green. The painter is busy with his colors. As we pass the bold
prominences and deep, narrow bays or fiords, they are continually
changing and surprising us with a new scenery. And now the great
sea-wall, on our right, opens and discloses the harbor and village of
Fogo, the chief place of the island, gleaming in the setting sun as if
there were flames shining through the windows. Looking to the left, all
the western region is one fine Ægean, a sea filled with a multitude of
isles, of manifold forms and sizes, and of every height, from mountain
pyramids and crested ridges down to rounded knolls and tables, rocky
ruins split and shattered, giant slabs sliding edgewise into the deep,
columns and grotesque masses ruffled with curling surf—the Cyclades of
the west. I climb the shrouds, and behold fields and lanes of water, an
endless and beautiful network, a little Switzerland with her vales and
gorges filled with the purple sea.

After dinner, and nearly sunset. We are breaking away from the isles
into the open Atlantic, bearing northerly for Cape St. John, where
Captain Knight promises the very finest coast scenery. Far away on the
blue, floats a solitary pyramid of ice, while a few miles to the east of
us there stands the image of some grand Capitol, in shining marble.
Looking back upon the isles, as they retire in the south and west, with
the hues of sunset upon their green and cloud-like blue, we behold, the
painter tells me, a likeness to some West-Indian views.

Once again the breeze swells every sail, and we are speeding forward
after the icebergs. All goes merrily. It sings and cracks aloft, and
roars around the prow. We speed onward. The little ship, like a very
falcon, flies down the wind after the game, and promises to reach it by
the last of daylight. A long line of gilding tracks the violet sea, and
expands in a lake of dazzling brightness under the sun. Beneath all this
press of sail, we ride on fast and steadily, as a car over the prairies.
We seem to be all alive. This is fine, inexpressibly fine! This is
freedom! I lean forward and look over the bow, and, like a rider in a
race, feel a new delight and excitement. Wonderful and beautiful! Like
the Arab on his sands, I say, almost involuntarily, God is great! How
soft is the feeling of this breeze, and how balmy is the smell, “like
the smell of Lebanon,” and yet how powerful to bear us onward! We rise
and bow gracefully to the passing swells, but keep right on. Fogo is
sinking in the south, a line of roseate heights, and fresh ice sparkles
like stars on the northern horizon.

We dart off a mile or more from our right path in order to bring a small
berg between us and the sun, that we may look into his sunset beauties.
A dull cloud, close down upon the waves, may defeat this manœuvre. We
shall conquer yet. There, he rises from the sea, a sphinx of pure white
against the glowing sky, and every man aboard is as full of fine
excitement as if we were to grapple with, and chain him. We pass
directly under the great face, the upper line of which overlooks our
top-mast. Every curve, swell and depression have the finish of the most
exquisite sculpture, and all drips with silvery water as if newly risen
from the deep. In the pure, white mass there is the suspicion of green.
Every wave, by contrast, and by some optical effect, nearly black as it
approaches, is instantly changed into the loveliest green as it rolls up
to the silvery bright ice. And all the adjacent deep is a luminous
pea-green. The eye follows the ice into its awful depths, and is at once
startled and delighted to find that the mighty crystal hangs suspended
in a vast transparency, or floats in an abyss of liquid emerald.

We pass on the shadow side, soft and delicate as satin; and changeable
as costliest silk; the white, the dove-color and the green playing into
each other with the subtlety and fleetness of an Aurora-Borealis. As the
light streams over and around from the illuminated side, the entire
outline of the berg shines like newly-burnished silver in the blaze of
noon. The painter is working with all possible rapidity; but we pass too
quick to harvest all this beauty: he can only glean some golden straws.
A few sharp words from the captain bring the vessel to, and we pause
long enough for some finishing touches. He has them, and we are off
again. An iceberg is an object most difficult to study, for which many
facilities, much time, and some danger are indispensable. The voyager,
passing at a safe distance, really knows little or nothing of one.

Ten o’clock, and only twilight. We are now about to put up note-book and
painting-box, and join our English companions in a walk up and down our
little deck. Notwithstanding their familiarity with icebergs, they
appear to enjoy them with as keen a zest as we, now that they are
brought into this familiar contact with them. After the walk, and by
candle-light in the cabin. The wind is strengthening, and promises a
gale. The black and jagged coast of Twillingate island, to the south,
frowns upon us, and the great pyramid berg of sunset awaits us close at
hand. For some time past, it has borne the appearance of the cathedral
of Milan, shorn of all its pinnacles, but it now resumes its pyramidal
form, and towers, in the dusk of evening, to a great height. After a
brief consultation, we resolve to slip into the harbor of Twillingate, a
safe retreat from the coming storm, and there pass our first Sunday out
of St. Johns. To dare this precipitous coast, haunted with icebergs, and
a gale blowing right on, in so light a craft as ours, would be rash.
Much as I wish to make the most of our time, I am glad to find that we
are making harbor, and intend to rest, according to the law.

I cannot take my mind’s eye from the brilliant spectacle of the waves in
conflict with the iceberg. I still hear the surf in the blue chasms. But
with all the power of its charge, it is the merest toy to the great
arctic mass, a playful kitten on the paws of the lion.

After ten, and after prayer. We are rolling most uncomfortably while we
are beating towards our anchorage between the headlands of the harbor.
It is midnight nearly, and yet I am not in the least sleepy. The day is
so lengthy, and we are so continually stimulated with the grandeur and
novelty of these scenes that it is quite troublesome to sleep at all. A
few hours of slumber, so thin that the sounds on deck easily break
through and wake the mind, is about all I have. We are coming about, and
roll down almost upon the vessel’s side. The sails are loose, and roar
in the breeze. The anchor drops home to its bed. The chain rattles and
runs its length. We repose in safe waters, and I turn in thankfully to
my berth.



                             CHAPTER XXIII.


         THE SUNDAY IN TWILLINGATE.—THE MORNING OF THE FOURTH.

MONDAY MORNING, _July 4, 1859_. We were roused from our slumbers very
suddenly, yesterday morning, by Mr. Hutchinson, in a loud and cheerful
voice, telling us the pleasing news that the Church Ship was at anchor
near by, and that he had exchanged salutations with the Bishop. His
vessel had lost a spar in the same squall that drove us into Cat Harbor.
To that accident we owed the pleasure of meeting him in Twillingate, and
of passing a profitable and happy Lord’s day. The wind was blowing a
perfect gale, and roared among the evergreen woods on the surrounding
hills. At half-past ten, the Bishop’s boat glided alongside, and bore us
ashore, from which we walked past the church, through the assembling
congregation, to the house of the Rector, the Rev. Thomas Boone, where
we joined the Bishop and two or three of the leading persons of the
island. There were the regular morning and evening services, and a third
service at night, completed though by good strong daylight. The house
was filled, and the sermons plain and practical, their burden being
repentance, faith in Christ, and obedience to his law. After supper, and
a social hour with the Rector and his family, we returned to our vessels
respectively, the north-western sky still white with daylight, and the
thunder of the ocean breaking with impressive grandeur upon the solemn
repose, into which all nature seemed gladly to have fallen after the
tempest.

I was up this morning at an early hour, and away upon the hills with Mr.
Hutchinson and Master William Boone, a fine youth of fifteen, for our
guide and companion. The main object was to get a view of the iceberg of
Saturday evening. To my surprise and disappointment, the ocean was one
spotless blue. The berg had foundered, or gone off to sea. It was barely
possible that it lay behind a lofty headland, beneath which we passed in
making the harbor. To settle a question, which in some measure involved
the pleasure of the day, we climbed a rocky peak beset with brushwood,
and descried the berg close in upon the headland apparently, and, as I
supposed, rapidly diminishing, a lengthy procession of fragments moving
up the coast. Looking south, there was unrolled to view, spread out from
east to west, the splendid island scenery of Notre Dame Bay, already
described. A single reach of water, with islets and mountainous shores,
had a striking resemblance to Lake George.

At eight o’clock, we were again on board and ready for the boat, which,
by appointment, was to take our party to the Hawk for a farewell
breakfast with the Bishop. It is needless to say that we were most
kindly and pleasantly entertained. The Bishop was pleased to accompany
us back to our vessel, and to give us his parting blessing, on our own
more humble deck. Just before sailing, Master Boone came off to us in a
boat with a gift of milk and eggs, and a nice, fat lamb. By ten o’clock,
both the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes were waving on high in a
south-west breeze, and we glided through the narrows toward the open
sea, the chasms of the precipices heavily charged with the last winter’s
snow.



                             CHAPTER XXIV.


                      THE ICEBERG OF TWILLINGATE.

TWELVE o’clock. The day we celebrate. Three cheers! How we are after the
iceberg. Upon getting near, we find it grounded in fifty fathoms of
water, apparently storm-worn, and much the worse for the terrible
buffeting of the recent gale. Masses of the huge, glassy precipices seem
to have been blasted off within the last hour, and gone away in a
lengthy line of white fragments upon the mighty stream. We are now
bearing down upon it, under full sail, intending to pass close under it.
Our good angels bear us company as we pass.

What an exquisite specimen of nature’s handiwork it looks to be, in the
blaze of noon! It shines like polished silver dripping with dews. The
painter is all ready with his colors, having sketched the outlines with
lead. The water streams down in all directions in little rills and
falls, glistening in the light like molten glass. Veins of gem-like
transparency, blue as sapphire, obliquely cross the opaque white of the
prodigious mass, the precious beauty of which no language can picture.
Fragments lie upon the slopes, like bowlders, ready to be dislodged at
any moment, and launched into the waves. Now we dash across his cool
shadow, and take his breath. There looks to be the permanency of
adamant, while in reality all is perishable as a cloud, and charged with
awful peril. Imagine the impressive grandeur and terrific character of
cliffs, broad and lofty cliffs, at once so solid, and yet so liable at
any moment to burst asunder into countless pieces. We all know the
danger, and I confess that I feel it painfully, and wish ourselves at a
safe distance.

The wind increases, and all is alive on deck. To my relief, we have
fallen off to leeward beyond all harm. But we are on the back track, and
mean to take him again, and take the risques also of his terrible, but
very beautiful presence. Now we run. If he were a hostile castle, he
would open upon us his big guns, at this instant. Bravely and busily the
waves beat under the hollow of the long, straight water-line, rushing
through the low archways with a variety of noises,—roaring, hissing,
slapping, cracking, lashing the icy vaults, and polishing and mining
away with a wild, joyous energy. Poor Ishmael of the sea! every hand and
every force is against him. If he move, he dashes a foot against the
deep down stones. While he reposes, the sun pierces his gleaming helmet,
and strikes through the joints of his glassy armor.

In the seams and fissures the shadows are the softest blue of the skies,
and as plain and palpable as smoke. It melts at every pore, and streams
as if a perpetually overflowing fountain were upon the summit, and
flashes and scintillates like one vast brilliant. Prongs and reefs of
ice jutting from the body of the berg below, and over which we pass,
give the water that emerald clearness so lovely to the eye, and open to
the view something like the fanciful sea-green caves. We now lie to,
under the lee side, fearfully close, it seems to me, when I recollect
the warning of the Bishop, never, on any account, to venture near an
iceberg. Its water-line, under which the waves disappear in a lengthy,
piazza-like cavern, with explosive sounds, is certainly a remarkable
feature. Occasional glimpses unfold the polish, the colors, and the
graceful winding of sea-shells. A strong current in connection with the
wind forces us, I am glad to say, to a more safe and comfortable
distance. The last ten minutes has given us a startling illustration of
the dangers of which we have been forewarned: a crack like a field-piece
was followed by the falling of ice, on the opposite side of the berg,
attended with a sullen roar.

We round to, and take the breeze in our faces. The ice is up the wind,
square before us, and we must after it by a tack or two. The stars and
stripes yet float aloft, and seem to tremble with delight as we sport
through these splendid hours of Freedom’s holiday. The berg with its
dazzling white, and dove-colored shadows,—the electric breeze,—the
dark sea with its draperies of sparkling foam, north, east, south, out
to the pure azure of the encircling sky,—the sunshine, that bright
spirit and ceaseless miracle of the firmament,—the white-winged vessel
boxing the billow, now rolling on black and cloud-like, now falling off
with the spotless purity of a snow-drift,—the battle of the surges and
the solid cliffs, all conspire to enliven and excite.

While the painter is busy, overlooked by Mr. Hutchinson, and I lean over
the bow and scribble in my note-book, a sailor comes forward and gazes
upon the iceberg as if he, too, was looking at something new. He has
passed them by, time out of mind, either idly or with dislike, as things
to be shunned, and not to be looked back at when safely weathered. Now
that his attention is called, he finds that this useless mass, tumbling
about in the path of mariners, is truly a most wonderful creation. Like
all the larger structures of nature, these crystalline vessels are
freighted with God’s power and glory, and must be reverently and
thoughtfully studied, to “see into the life of them.” The common clouds,
which unnoticed drop their shadows upon our dwellings, and spot the
landscape, are found to be wonderful by those alone who watch them
patiently and thoughtfully. “The witchery of the soft blue sky did never
melt into the poet’s heart; he never felt the witchery of the soft blue
sky” but from silent, loving study.

Captain Knight backs the sails, and we hold on near enough to the ice to
see the zone of emerald water, a fearfully close proximity. Look up to
those massy folds and wreaths of icy drapery, all flashing in the sun!
See that gigantic wing, not unlike the pictured wings of angels,
unfolded from one of the vast shoulders, and spread upon the high air.
As the wind sweeps over and falls upon us, we feel an icy chilliness.
Beyond a very short distance, however, we are unable to perceive the
smallest influence.

We are now to the leeward, half a mile or so, and are watching the
Captain, who has gone with the boat and a couple of men to gather ice
out of the drift, which stretches from the berg in a broken line for two
miles or more. Portions of this have fallen within the last hour,
keeping up a kind of artillery discharge, very agreeable to hear at this
distance, and quite in harmony with the day at home. They have struck
the ice, a mile off, and the chips sparkle in the sunshine as they ply
the axe. As they return, we drop down the wind to meet them. Here they
come with a cart-load of the real arctic alabaster, the very same, I
have no question, that hung an hour ago as one of the shining crags of
the lofty ice-cliff. And now, with all sail spread, and a spirited
breeze, away to the north-west for Cape St. John.



                              CHAPTER XXV.


    THE FREEDOM OF THE SEAS ONCE MORE.—A BUMPER TO THE QUEEN AND
    PRESIDENT.

THE waves are crisp with a snowy mane, and the rocky shores of
Twillingate are draped with splendid lights and shadows. While the seams
and surfaces of the cliffs are strikingly plain in the sunlight, they
are dark as caverns in the shade. This gives the coast a wonderfully
broken, wild, and picturesque look.

Once more the sea “is all before us where to choose.” The joy of this
freedom is utterly inexpressible, although, in consideration of the day,
we—we Yankees—occasionally hurra right heartily. But no words can do
justice to the delightful emotions of moments such as these. “Messmates,
hear a brother sailor sing the _dangers_ of the sea,” runs the old song.
None that I have ever heard or read express at all the real pleasure of
its _freedom_. The freedom of the seas! If any great city council would
do a man of feeling a noble pleasure, let them vote him that.

A lonely isle of crystalline brightness, all the way from Melville Bay,
most likely, gleams in the north-east. Pale and solitary, like some
marble mausoleum, the iceberg of Twillingate stands off in the southern
waters. After all, how feeble is man in the presence of these arctic
wonders! With all his skill, intelligence and power, he passes, either
on the sunny or the shady side, closely at his peril, only in safety at
a distance too great to satisfy his curiosity, and gazes at their
greatness and their splendor, and thinks and feels, records his thoughts
and feelings, draws their figure and paints their complexion, but may no
more lay his hand upon them than the Jew of old might lay his hand upon
the ark of the covenant. He may do it and live, do it twice or thrice,
and then he may perish for his temerity. There now reposes, amid the
currents and billows of the ocean, the huge, polar structure, which has
been to us an object of the liveliest interest and wonder; its bright
foundations fifty fathoms in the deep; an erection suggestive of the
skill and strength of the Creator; with a mystery enveloping its story,
its conception, birth and growth, its native land, the hour of its
departure, its strange and labyrinthine voyage. While the body of this
building-of-the-elements sleeps below, and only its gables and towers
glow and melt in the brightness of these summer days, yet is it as
dissolvable as the clouds from which it originally fell. It is but the
clouds condensed and crystallized. A column of vapor, mainly invisible,
perpetually ascends into its native heavens, while the atmosphere, and
the warm, briny currents melt and wear, at every imaginable point of the
vast surface. Pass a few sunny weeks, and all will be melted, and, like
a snow-flake, lost in the immensity of waters.

Still the flags wave above. We fill our glasses with iceberg-water, and
drink with cheers to the Queen and President. As the breeze dies away in
the long, long afternoon, and we roll lazily on the glassy swells, the
painter and I, the poorest of sailors, lapse into sea-sickness, and go
below.



                             CHAPTER XXVI.


              GULL ISLAND.—THE ICEBERGS OF CAPE ST. JOHN.

TUESDAY, _July 5_. Off Cape St. John, with fog and head winds. We are
weary of this fruitless beating about, and resolve to put into smooth
water for the sake of relief from sea-sickness. While our English guests
seem to enjoy the breakfast, we have gone no further than to sip a
little tea, take a few turns on deck in the chilly morning air, and
return to the cabin, where I pencil these notes.

There is a dome-shaped berg before us in the mist, but not of sufficient
beauty in the dull gray atmosphere to attract attention. Exclamations of
our friends on deck have brought me up to look at the ice as we pass it,
distant, it may be, five hundred yards. It bears a strange resemblance
to a balloon lying on its side in a collapsed condition. It has recently
undergone some heavy disruptions, and rolled so far over as to bring its
late water-line, a deep and polished fissure, nearly across the top of
it.

There is a promise of clear weather. The clouds, to our delight, are
breaking, and giving us peeps of the sunny azure far above. The Cape is
in full view, a promontory of shaggy precipices, suggestive of all the
fiends of Pandemonium, rather than the lovely Apostle, whose name has
been gibbeted on the black and dismal crags. The salt of that saintly
name cannot save it. Nay, it is better fitted to spoil the saint. Cape
St. John! Better, Cape “Moloch, Horrid King,” or some other demon of
those that figure in the dark Miltonic scenes. It is terribly awful and
impressive. Our lamb, poor innocent, seems to feel lonely under the
frown of a coast so inhospitable and savage, and comes bleating around
us as if for sympathy. The wind is cold and bracing, sweeping alike the
sea and the sky of all fog and clouds, and driving us to heavy winter
clothing.

As we bear down toward the Cape, we pass Gull Isle, a mere pile of naked
rocks delicately wreathed with lace-like mists. Imagine the last hundred
feet of Corway Peak, the very finest of the New Hampshire mountain tops,
pricking above the waves, and you will see this little outpost and
breakwater of Cape St. John. All things have their uses. Even this bone
of the earth, picked of all vegetable growth and beauty, and flung into
the deep, has the marrow of goodness in it to a degree that invites a
multitude of God’s fair creatures to make it their estate and
dwelling-place. Gulls with cimetar-like pinions, cut and slash the air
in all directions. Pretty little sea-pigeons fly to and fro, flying off
with whistling wings in straight lines, and flying back, full of news,
and full of alarm.

A grand iceberg is before us, remarkable, in this particular light, for
its pure, white surface. A snow-drift, with its icy enamel, after a
silver thaw, might be taken as a model of its complexion. This is a berg
evidently of more varied fortunes than any we have yet seen. It is
crossed and recrossed with old water-lines, every one of which is cut at
right angles with its own system of lines, formed by the perpendicular
dripping. It is ploughed and fluted and scratched deeply in all possible
directions. At this very moment a new system of lines is rapidly forming
by the copiously descending drip, over-streaming all those made when the
berg had other perpendiculars. Any large fall of ice, for example, from
the opposite side, would bow the berg toward us, sinking the present
sea-line on this side, and lifting it on the other. In nearly every case
the berg, when it rolls, loses its old horizontal position, and settles
in a new one. Immediately a new horizon-line, if it may so be called,
with its countless vertical ones, of course, instantly commences
forming, to be followed by a similar process, at each successive roll of
the berg, unto the end. There are draperies of white sea-shell-like ice,
with streaks of shadow in their great folds, which rival the softest
azure. Indicative of the projections of the submarine ice, the
light-green water extends out in long, radiating points, a kind of
emerald spangle, with its bright central diamond on the purple sea.

It is a wonderfully magnificent sight to see an almost black wave roll
against an iceberg, and instantly change in its entire length, hundreds
of feet, into that delicate green. Where the swell strikes obliquely, it
reaches high, and runs along the face, sweeping like a satellite of
loveliness in merry revolutions round its glittering orb. Like cumulous
clouds, icebergs are perpetually mimicking the human face. This fine
crystal creature, by a change in our position, becomes a gigantic bust
of poet or philosopher, leaning back and gazing with a fixed placidity
into the skies. In the brilliant noon, portions of it glisten like a
glassy waterfall. The cold, dead white, the subtle greens, the blues,
shadows of the softest slate, all contrast with the flashing brightness
in a way most exquisite to behold. True to all the forms of nature that
swell to the sublime, an iceberg grows upon the mind astonishingly. On
the boundless plains of water, of course, it is the merest molehill: in
itself, it has the lonely grandeur of a broad precipice in the
mountains.

[Illustration: PLATE N^o. 2.
A LARGE ICEBERG IN THE FORENOON LIGHT NEAR THE INTEGRITY
Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway NY.]

Foremost of several bergs, now hovering about the Cape, is one of
greater magnitude than any we have previously met. It is, on this front,
a broad and lofty precipice, very nearly resembling the finest
statue-marble, newly broken. It is losing its upper crags, every now and
then, and vibrating very grandly. At short intervals, we hear sharp
reports, like those of brass ordnance, followed by the rough, rumbling
crash of the descending ice, and the dull roar of its final plunge into
the ocean. After this awful burial of its dead, with such grand honors,
a splendid regiment of waves retreats from the mournful scene, in a
series of concentric circles, rivalling the finest surf that rolls in
upon the sand. It is the very flower of the ocean cavalry. Under its
fierce and brilliant charge, an ordinary ship’s boat would go down,
almost to a certainty. It is what we have been most carefully warned to
avoid. This fine iceberg presents, I fancy, much the same appearance it
had in the Greenland waters. Its water-line, which is the only one
visible, is not less than fifteen feet deep, and rises and falls, in its
ponderous rockings back and forth, not more than twenty feet, so vast
the bulk below. I have little doubt that the Alpine slopes and summits
are its primitive surface.



                             CHAPTER XXVII.


                THE SPLENDID ICEBERGS OF CAPE ST. JOHN.

WE are making a round of calls on all the icebergs of Cape St. John,
painting, sketching, and pencilling as we go. Our calls are cut short
for the want of wind, and we lie becalmed on the low, broad swells,
majestically rolling in upon the Cape, only a mile to the south-west.
Captain Knight is evidently unquiet at this proximity. A powerful
current is setting rapidly in, carrying us over depths too great for our
cables, up to the very cliffs. If the adventurous mariner, who first
sighted this bold and forward headland, was bent upon christening it by
an apostolic name, why did he not call it Cape St. Peter? All in all, it
is certainly the finest coast scenery I have ever seen; and Captain
Knight assures us it is the very finest on the eastern shore of
Newfoundland. It is a black, jagged wall, often four, and even five
hundred feet in height, with a five-mile front, and the deep sea close
in to the rock, without a beach, and almost without a foothold. This
stupendous, natural wharf stretches back into the south-west toward the
mainland, widening very little for twenty miles or more, dividing the
large expanse of White Bay on the west from the larger expanse of Notre
Dame Bay on the east and south, the fine Ægean, before mentioned, with
its multitudinous islands, of which we get not the least notion from any
of our popular maps.

Such is a kind of charcoal sketch of Cape St. John, toward which, in
spite of all we can yet do, we are slowly drifting. Unless there be
power in our boat, manned by all the crew pulling across the current,
with the Captain on the bow cracking them up with his fine, firm voice,
I do not see why we are not in the greatest danger of drifting ashore.
It is possible that there is a breath of wind under the cliffs, by which
we might escape round into still water. With all the quiet of the ocean,
I see the white surf spring up against the precipices. In the strongest
gales of the Atlantic, the surges here must be perfectly terrific, and
equal to any thing of the kind on the globe. The great Baffin current,
sweeping past with force and velocity, makes this a point of singular
danger. To be wrecked here, with all gentleness, would be pretty sure
destruction. In a storm, the chance of escape would be about the same,
as in the rapids of Niagara. After all, there is a fine excitement in
this rather perilous play with the sublime and desolate. Would any
believe it? I am actually sea-sick, and that in the full enjoyment of
this grandeur of adamant and ice. I find I am not alone. The painter
with his live colors falls to the same level of suffering with the man
of the dull lead-pencil and the note-book. A slight breeze has relieved
us of all anxiety, and all necessity of further effort to row out of
danger. We are moving perceptibly up the wide current, and propose to
escape to the north as soon as the wind shall favor.

We have just passed a fragment of some one of the surrounding icebergs
that has amused us. It bore the resemblance of a huge polar bear,
reposing upon the base of an inverted cone with a twist of a sea-shell,
and whirling slowly round and round. The ever-attending green water,
with its aerial clearness, enabled us to see its spiral folds and horns
as they hung suspended in the deep. The bear, a ten-foot mass in
tolerable proportion, seemed to be regularly beset by a pack of hungry
little swells. First, one would take him on the haunch, then whip back
into the sea over his tail and between his legs. Presently a bolder
swell would rise and pitch into his back with a ferocity that threatened
instant destruction. It only washed his satin fleece the whiter. While
Bruin was turning to look the daring assailant in the face, the rogue
had pitched himself back into his cave. No sooner that, than a very
bull-dog of a billow would attack him in the face. The serenity with
which the impertinent assault was borne was complete. It was but a puff
of silvery dust, powdering his mane with fresher brightness. Nothing
would be left of bull but a little froth of all the foam displayed in
the fierce onset. He too would turn and scud into his hiding-place.
Persistent little waves! After a dash singly, all around, upon the
common enemy, as if by some silent agreement under water, they would all
rush on, at once, with their loudest roar and shaggiest foam, and
overwhelm poor bear so completely, that nothing less might be expected
than to behold him broken into his four quarters, and floating
helplessly asunder. Mistaken spectators! Although, by his momentary
rolling and plunging, he was evidently aroused, yet neither Bruin nor
his burrow were at all the worse for all the wear and washing. The deep
fluting, the wrinkled folds and cavities, over and through which the
green and silvery water rushed back into the sea, rivalled the most
exquisite sculpture. And nature not only gives her marbles, with the
finest lines, the most perfect lights and shades, she colors them also.
She is no monochromist, but polychroic, imparting such touches of
dove-tints, emerald and azure, as she bestows upon her gems and her
skies.

We are bearing up under the big berg as closely as we dare. To our
delight, what we have been wishing, and watching for, is actually taking
place: loud explosions with heavy falls of ice, followed by the
cataract-like roar, and the high, thin seas, wheeling away beautifully
crested with sparkling foam. If it is possible, imagine the effect upon
the beholder: This precipice of ice, with tremendous cracking, is
falling toward us with a majestic and awful motion. Down sinks the long
water-line into the black deep; down go the porcelain crags, and
galleries of glassy sculptures, a speechless and awful baptism. Now it
pauses and returns: up rise sculptures and crags streaming with the
shining, white brine; up comes the great, encircling line, followed by
things new and strange, crags, niches, balconies and caves; up, up it
rises, higher and higher still, crossing the very breast of the grand
ice, and all bathed with rivulets of gleaming foam. Over goes the
summit, ridge, pinnacles and all, standing off obliquely in the opposite
air. Now it pauses in its upward roll: back it comes again, cracking,
cracking, cracking, “groaning out harsh thunder” as it comes, and
threatening to burst, like a mighty bomb, into millions of glittering
fragments. The spectacle is terrific and magnificent. Emotion is
irrepressible, and peals of wild hurra burst forth from all.

The effect of the sky-line of this berg is marvellously beautiful. An
overhanging precipice on this side, and steep slopes on the other, give
a thin and notched ridge, with an almost knife-like sharpness, and the
transparency and tint of sapphire, a miracle of beauty along the heights
of the dead white ice, over which the sight darts into the spotless
ultramarine of the heavens. On the right and left shoulders of the berg,
the slopes fall off steeply this way, having the folds and the strange
purity peculiar to snow-drifts. One who has dwelt pleasantly upon
draperies in marble,—upon those lovely swellings and
depressions,—those sweet surfaces and lines of grace and beauty of the
human form, perfected in the works of sculptors, will appreciate the
sentiment of the ices to which I point.

At the risque of being thought over-sentimental and extravagant, I will
say something more of the great iceberg of Cape St. John, now that we
are retiring from it, and giving it our last look. Of all objects an
iceberg is in the highest degree multiform in its effects. Changeable in
its colors as the streamers of the northern sky, it will also pass from
one shape to another with singular rapidity. As we recede, the upper
portions of the solid ice have a light and aerial effect, a description
of which is simply impossible. Peaks and spires rise out of the strong
and apparently unchanging base with the light activity of flame. A
mighty structure on fire, all in ice!

Cape St. John!—As we slowly glide away toward the north, and gaze back
upon its everlasting cliffs, confronted by these wonderful icebergs, the
glorious architecture of the polar night, I think of the apostle’s
vision of permanent and shining walls, “the heavenly Jerusalem,” “the
city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

“The good south wind” blows at last with strength, and we speed on our
way over the great ocean, darkly shining in all its violet beauty.
Pricking above the horizon, the peak of a berg sparkles in the glowing
daylight of the west like a silvery star. C—— has painted with great
effect, notwithstanding the difficulty of lines and touches from the
motion of the vessel. If one is curious about the troubles of painting
on a little coaster, lightly ballasted, dashing forward frequently under
a press of sail, with a short sea, I would recommend him to a good,
stout swing. While in the enjoyment of his smooth and sickening
vibrations, let him spread his pallet, arrange his canvas, and paint a
pair of colts at their gambols in some adjacent field.

The novelty and grandeur of these Newfoundland seas and shores have
busied the pencil so completely as to exclude much interesting matter,
especially such as Captain Knight is continually contributing in his
conversation. As we have been, for some time past, crossing the fields
of the sealer, and as the Captain himself has a large experience in that
adventurous business, seals and sealing have legitimately a small place,
at least, in this recital.



                            CHAPTER XXVIII.


    THE SEAL FIELDS.—SEALS AND SEALING.—CAPTAIN KNIGHT’S
    SHIPWRECK.

THE sealers from St. Johns, for example, start upon their northern
voyage, early in March, falling in with both ice and seals very
frequently off the Capes of Conception and Trinity Bays. The ice, a
snowy white, lies in vast fields upon the ocean, cracked in all ways,
and broken into cakes or “pans” of all shapes and sizes. At one time, it
resembles a boundless pavement dappled with dark water, into which
vessels work their way, and upon which the seals travel: at another
time, without the displacement of a block, this grand pavement of the
sea rolls with its billows, rising and falling with such perfect order,
that the men run along the ridges and down the hollows of the swells in
safety. But this order goes into confusion in a storm, presenting in the
succeeding calm a waste of ruins, masses of ice thrown into a thousand
forms. In the long, starry nights, or the moonlight, or in the magic
brilliancy of the aurora-borealis, the splendor of the scene,—dark
avenues and parks of sleeping water, the silent glittering of mimic
palaces and temples, sparkling minarets and towers, is almost
supernatural. As will be seen at once, both the beauties and the perils
incident to the ice, in calm and tempest, enter largely into the
experience of the sealers. To-night, their vessel may repose in a fairy
land or fairy sea, of which poets and painters may dream without the
least suspicion that any mortal ever beholds the reality, and to-morrow
night, it may encounter the double dangers of ice and storm.

Upon the fields just mentioned, the seals come from the ocean, in the
depth of winter, and bring forth their young by thousands. There, while
their parents come and go, the young things lie on the ice, fattening on
their mothers’ milk with marvellous rapidity, helpless and white as
lambs, with expressive eyes almost human, and with the piteous cries of
little children. In March, about as soon as the voyagers can reach them,
they are of suitable age and size for capture, which is effected by a
blow on the head with a club, a much more compassionate way of killing
these poor lambs of the sea than by the gun, which is much used in
taking the old ones. Occasionally they are drawn bodily to the vessel,
but usually skinned on the spot, the fat, two or three inches deep,
coming off from the tough, red carcass with the hide, which, with
several others is made into a bundle, dragged in by a rope, and thrown
upon deck to cool. After a little, they are packed away as solidly as
possible, to remain until discharged in port. Five, six, and seven
thousand skins are frequently thus laid down, loading the vessel to the
water’s edge. An accident to which the lucky sealer was formerly liable,
was the melting of the fat into oil from the sliding of the skins,
caused by the rolling of the ship in stormy weather. To such an extent
was this dissolving process sometimes carried, as to reduce the cargo to
skins and oil, half filling cabin and forecastle, driving the crew on
deck, rendering the vessel unmanageable in rough weather, and requiring
it to be abandoned. This is now securely guarded against by numbers of
upright posts, which crib, and hold the cargo from shifting.

Several years ago, Captain Knight, while beset with the kind of ice,
described as so beautiful in the bright nights, encountered, with many
others, a terrific gale, to this day, a mournful remembrance to many
people. If I am not mistaken, some eighty sail were wrecked, at the
time, along these iron shores. In fact, very few that were out escaped.
Several crews left their vessels and fled to land over the rolling
ice-fields, the more prudent way. A forlorn hope was to put to sea, the
course adopted by Captain Knight. By skill and coolness he slipped from
the teeth of destruction, and in the face of the tempest escaped into
the broad ocean. It was but an escape, just the next thing to a wreck.
One single sea, the largest he ever experienced in numerous voyages
along this dreadful coast, swept his deck, and nearly made a wreck of
him in a moment, carrying overboard one man, nine boats, every
sealing-boat on board, and every thing else that could be wrenched away.
Another gigantic roller of the kind would have destroyed him. But he
triumphed, and returned to St. Johns in time to refit, and start again.

Captain Knight was less fortunate, no later than last April, when he
lost a fine brig with a costly outfit for a sealing voyage, under the
following circumstances: Immersed in the densest fog, and driven by the
gale, he was running down a narrow lane or opening in the ice, when the
shout of breakers ahead, and the crash of the bows upon a reef, came in
the same moment. Instantly, overboard they sprang, forty men of them,
and saw their strong and beautiful vessel almost immediately buried in
the ocean. There they stood, on the heaving field of ice, gazing in
mournful silence upon the great, black billows as they rolled on, one
after another, bursting in thunder on the sunken cliffs, a tremendous
display of surf where the trembling spars of the brig had disappeared
forever. To the west of them were the precipitous shores of Cape
Bonavista, lashed by the surge, and the dizzy roost of wild sea-birds.
For this, the nearest land, in single file, with Captain Knight at their
head, they commenced at sunset their dreadful, and almost hopeless
march. All night, without refreshment or rest, they went stumbling and
plunging on their perilous way, now and then sinking into the slush
between the pans or ice-cakes, and having to be drawn out by their
companions. But for their leader and a few bold spirits, the party would
have sunk down with fatigue and despair, and perished. At daybreak, they
were still on the rolling ice-fields, beclouded with fog, and with
nothing in prospect but the terrible Cape and its solitary chance of
escape. Thirsty, famished, and worn down, they toiled on, all the
morning, all the forenoon, all the afternoon, more and more slowly, and
with increasing silence, bewildered and lost in the dreadful cloud
travelling along parallel with the coast, and passing the Cape, but
without knowing it at the time. But for some remarkable interposition of
Divine Providence, the approaching sunset would be their last. Only the
most determined would continue the march into the next night. The
worn-out and hopeless ones would drop down singly, or gather into little
groups on the cold ice, and die. As the Captain looked back on them, a
drawn-out line of suffering men, now in the hollow of the waves, and
then crossing the ridge, the last of them scarcely seen in the mist, he
prayed that God would interpose, and save them. A man who prays in fair
weather, may trust God in the storm. So thought Captain Knight, when he
thought of home, and wife and children, and the wives and the children
of his men, and made his supplication. They had shouted until they were
hoarse, and looked into the endless, gray cloud until they had no heart
for looking any longer. Wonderful to tell! Just before sundown they came
to a vessel. A few rods to the right or to the left, and they must have
missed it, and been lost. It was owing to this disaster that Captain
Knight was at leisure in St. Johns upon our arrival, and found it
agreeable to undertake, for a few weeks, our guidance after the
icebergs.



                             CHAPTER XXIX.


    BELLE ISLE AND THE COAST.—AFTER-DINNER DISCUSSION.—FIRST VIEW
    OF LABRADOR.—ICEBERGS.—THE OCEAN AND THE SUNSET.

WEDNESDAY, _July 6_. After a quiet night, with a mild and favorable
breeze, the morning opens with the promise of a bright day. Our little
cloud of sail is all up in the early sunshine, and moving before the
cool south wind steadily forward down the northern sea. Brilliantly as
the summer sun looks abroad upon the mighty waters, I walk the clean,
wet deck, in the heaviest winter clothing, and have that pleasant
tingling in the veins which one feels in a brisk walk on a frosty
autumnal morning. We are abreast of South Belle Isle, high lands
fronting the ocean, with huge precipices, the fashion of most of the
eastern coast of Newfoundland. With all their sameness, their rugged
grandeur and the ceaseless battle of the waves below make them ever
interesting. Imagine the Palisades of the Hudson, and the steeper parts
of the Highlands exposed to the open Atlantic, and you will have no
imperfect picture of these shores. They have no great bank of earth and
loose rocks heaped up along their base, but step at once into the great
deep; so deep that the icebergs, several of which are in sight, float
close in, and seem to dare their very crags.

Afternoon. We have a pleasant custom of coming up, after dinner, and
eating nuts and fruits on deck. It is one of the merry seasons of the
day, when John Bull and Jonathan are apt to meet in those pleasant
encounters which bring up the past, and draw rather largely upon the
future, of their history. John is always the greatest, of course, and
ever will be, _secula seculorum_. Jonathan, “considering,” is greater
than John. To be sure he is thinner, and eats his dinner in a minute;
but then he has every thing to do, and the longest roads on earth to
travel, in the shortest time. In fact, he has many of the roads to make,
and the least help and the shortest purse of any fellow in the world
that undertakes and completes grand things. John’s first thousand years
is behind him; Jonathan’s, before him. One’s work is done; the other’s
begun. John’s fine roads were made by his forefathers; Jonathan is the
forefather himself, and is making roads for his posterity. In fact,
Jonathan is a youth only, and John an old man. When the lad gets his
growth, he will be everywhere, and the old fogy, by that time,
comparatively nowhere. Jonathan insists that he is up earlier in the
morning than John, and smarter, faster, and more ingenious. He contends
that he has seen his worst days, and John his very best. The longer the
diverging lines of the dispute continue, the further they get from any
end; and wind up finally with one general outburst of rhetoric,
distinguished for its noise, in which each springs up entirely conscious
of a perfect victory. In the complicated enjoyment of almonds, figs, and
victory, we betake ourselves to reading, the pencil and the brush.

[Illustration: PLATE N^o. 3.
AN ARCHED ICEBERG IN THE AFTERNOON LIGHT
Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway NY.]

We are coasting along the extreme northern limb of Newfoundland, bound
with its endless girdle of adamant, upon which the white lions of old
Neptune are perpetually leaping, but which they will never wrench away.
The snow lies in drifts along the heights, a novel, but rather dreary
decoration for a summer landscape. Between us and the descending sun
stands a berg, church-like in form. The blue shadows in contrast with
the pure white, have a deep, cloud-like, and grand appearance. It is
certainly a most superb thing, rising out of the blue-black waves, now
gleaming in the slant sunlight like molten silver. So vast and varied is
the scene, at this moment, that many pencils and many pens would fail to
keep pace with the rapid description of the mind.

Directly west, is the Land’s End of Newfoundland, Cape Quirpon—in the
seaman’s tongue, Carpoon, which we now shoot past. A few miles to the
north, as if it might have been split off from the Cape, lies Belle
Isle. The broad avenue of dark sea, extending westward between the cape
and the island, opens out into the Strait of Belle Isle, and carries the
eye to the shore of Labrador, our first view of that bony and starved
hermit of a country. In this skeleton sketch, as it shows on paper,
there is nothing very remarkable; but with the flesh and the apparel of
nature upon it, it is more beautiful than language can paint to the
reader’s eye. The entire east is curtained by one smooth cloud, of the
hue called the ashes-of-roses. Full against it, an iceberg rises from
the ocean, after the figure of a thunderhead, and of the color of a
newly-blown rose of Damascus—a gorgeous spectacle. The waters have that
dark violet, with a silvery surface, lucent like the face of a mirror,
and a complexion in the deeps reminding one of the soft, dusky hues of a
Claude Lorraine glass. The painter is busy with his colors, and all are
silently opening mind and heart to the universal beauty. We move on over
the lovely sea with a quiet gracefulness, in harmony with the visible
scene and with our emotions. We are looking for unusual splendors, at
the approaching sunset. I close the note-book, and give myself entirely
to the enjoyment of the lonely and still magnificence.

The book is open to record. The sun on the rugged hills of Labrador, a
golden dome; Belle Isle, a rocky, blue mass, with a wavy outline, rising
from the purple main pricked with icebergs, some a pure white, others
flaming in the resplendent sunset like red-hot metal. We are sailing
quietly as an eagle on the still air. Our English friends are heard
singing while they walk the deck, and look off upon the lonesome land
where their home is waiting for them.

All that we anticipated of the sunset, or the after-sunset, is now
present. The ocean with its waves of Tyrian dye laced with silver, the
tinted bergs, the dark-blue inland hills and brown headlands underlie a
sky of unutterable beauty. The west is all one paradise of colors.
Surely, nature, if she follows as a mourner on the footsteps of the
fall, also returns jubilant and glorious to the scenes of Eden. Here,
between the white light of day and the dark of the true evening, shade
and brightness, like Jacob and the angel, now meet and wrestle for the
mastery. Close down along the gloomy purple of the rugged earth, beam
the brightest lemon hues, soon deepening into the richest orange, with
scattered tints of new straw, freshly blown lilacs, young peas, pearl
and blue intermingled. Above are the royal draperies of the twilight
skies. Clouds in silken threads and skeins; broad velvet belts and ample
folds black as night, but pierced and steeped and edged with flaming
gold, scarlet and crimson, crimson deep as blood; crimson fleeces,
crimson deep as blood; plumes tinged with pink, and tipped with fire,
white fire. And all this glory lies sleeping on the shore, only on the
near shore of the great ethereal ocean, in the depths of which are
melted and poured out ruby, sapphire and emerald, pearl and gold, with
the living moist blue of human eyes. The painter gazes with speechless,
loving wonder, and I whisper to myself: This is the pathway home to an
immortality of bliss and beauty. Of all the days in the year, this may
be the birth-day of the King-of-day, and this effulgence an imperial
progress through the grand gate of the west. How the soul follows on in
quiet joy, dreaming of lovely ones, waiting at home, and lovely ones
departed, waiting with Christ! Here come those wondrous lines of Goethe,
marching into the memory with glowing pomp:

    . . . . “The setting Sun! He bends and sinks—the day is
    over-lived. Yonder he hurries off, and quickens other life. Oh!
    that I have no wing to lift me from the ground, to struggle
    after, forever after him! I should see, in everlasting evening
    beams, the stilly world at my feet,—every height on
    fire,—every vale in repose,—the silver brook flowing into
    golden streams. The rugged mountain, with all its dark defiles,
    would not then break my god-like course. Already the sea, with
    its heated bays, opens on my enraptured sight. Yet the god seems
    at last to sink away. But the new impulse wakes. I hurry on to
    drink his everlasting light,—the day before me and the night
    behind,—the heavens above, and under me the waves. A glorious
    dream! as it is passing, he is gone.” . . . . .

Here come the last touches of the living coloring, tinging the purple
waves around the vessel. Under the icebergs hang their pale and spectral
images, piercing the depths with their mimic spires, and giving them a
lustrous, aërial appearance. The wind is lulling, and we rise and fall
gracefully on the rolling plain. “The day is fading into the later
twilight, and the twilight into the solemn darkness.” No, not into
darkness; for in these months, the faint flame flickering all night
above the white ashes of day from the west circling around to the north
and east, the moonlight and the starlight and the northern-light, all
conspire to make the night, if not “more beloved than day,” at least
very lovely. A gloomy duskiness drapes the cape, beneath the solitary
cliffs of which lies half entombed a shattered iceberg, a ghostly wreck,
around whose dead, white ruins the mad surf springs up and flings abroad
its ghastly arms. Softly comes its sad moaning and blends with the
plaintive melodies of the ocean. Hark! a sullen roar booms across the
dusky sea—nature’s burial service and the funeral guns. A tower of the
old iceberg of the cape has tumbled into the billows. We gather
presently into the cabin for prayer, and so the first scene closes on
the coast of Labrador.



                              CHAPTER XXX.


    THE MIDNIGHT LOOK-OUT FORWARD.—A STORMY NIGHT.—THE COMEDY IN
    THE CABIN.

PAST Midnight. I have been up and watching forward for more than an
hour, roused from my berth by the cry of ice. A large ship, with a cloud
of sail, passed just across our head, bound for Old England. “That’s a
happy fellow,” says the man at the helm; “past the dangers of the St.
Lawrence and the Straits, and fairly out to sea.” The wind is rising,
and promises a rough time. “There is something,” I said to myself, as I
leaned, and looked over the bow, “there is something in all this,
familiar as it is to many, very grand and awful, as we rise upon the
black seas, and plunge into the darkness, rushing on our gloomy, strange
way. We seem to be above the very ‘blackness of darkness,’ and riding
upon the bosom of the night. The sounding foam, sweeping forward from
beneath our bows, looks like a cloud of supernatural brightness, its
whiteness filled, as it is, with the fire and electric scintillations of
the sea. One could easily imagine himself sailing on the breeze through
the night, with sparks of lightning and a cloud at his vessel’s bow.”
The wind freshens to a gale nearly, and all hands are called on deck. We
are rolling in a most uncomfortable manner, and I have retreated to my
cabin, and will creep back to my berth.

THURSDAY NOON, _July 7_. A few scrawls of the pencil will serve to give
an outline of our experience for the last twelve hours. A dense fog,
high wind and a heavy swell. As a matter of course, our little ship has
been in great commotion, and we, miserably sea-sick, regardless of
breakfast, absent from the cold, wet deck, and rolled up below, dull and
speechless in bed. We have been gradually creeping up into the world, of
late, sipping a little coffee and nibbling at crackers. We are off Cape
St. Louis, the most eastern land of the continent. The few turns on deck
have sufficiently electrified the brain to enable me to get on thus far
with my notes, and to venture upon a short description of a cabin-scene,
at a very late hour last night.

Three sides of our cabin, a room some ten feet by twelve, and barely six
feet under the beams, are taken up by four roughly-made berths; one on
each side, and two extending crosswise, with a space between them,
fitted up with shelves, and used for the flour-barrel, and as a
cupboard. Beneath the berths are trunks, tubs, bags, boxes and bundles,
most of our choicest stores. From the centre, and close upon the steep,
obtrusive stairs, covered with a glossy oil-cloth, of a cloudy brown and
yellow, our table looks round placidly upon this domestic scene, so
indicative of refreshment and repose. With this little sketch of our
sea-apartment, the stage upon which was enacted our last night’s brief
play, I will undertake its description, promising a brevity that rather
suggests, than paints it.

After the midnight look-out forward for ice, and the retreat to the
cabin, I soon joined in the general doze, rather suffered than enjoyed.
In the uproar above, sharp voices and the rush of footsteps over the
deck, occasionally stamping almost in our very faces, we were too
frequently called back to full consciousness, to escape away into any
thing better than the merest snatch of a dream. In my own case, the
stomach, as usual, indulged itself in taking the measure of those
motions, so disastrous to its peace and equipose; those rollings,
risings, sinkings, divings, flings and swings, in which there is the
sense of falling, and of vibrations smooth and oily. Where one’s mind’s
eye is perpetually looking down in upon the poor remains of his late
departed dinner, there is no possibility for the outer eye to sink into
any true and honest slumber. The shut lid is a falsehood. It is not
sleep. The live, wakeful eye is under it, looking up against the skinny
veil. Occasionally the veil is lifted just to let the dark out;
occasionally the dumb blackness falls in upon the retina like a stifling
dust, and dims it, for a moment, to a doze. But the fire of wakefulness
soon flashes up from the cells of the brain, and throws out the sleepy
darkness, as the volcanic crater throws out its smoke and ashes.

Through some marine manœuvre, thought necessary by the master spirit on
deck, and which could be explained by a single nautical word, if I only
knew what the word is, we began to roll and plunge in a manner
sufficiently violent and frightful to startle from its staid quiet
almost every movable in the cabin. Out shot trunks and boxes—off slid
cups and plates with a smash—back and forth, in one rough scramble with
the luggage, trundled the table, followed by the nimble chairs. At this
rate of going on, our valuables would soon mix in one common wreck.
Determining to interfere, I sprang into the unruly confusion, and
succeeded in lighting a candle just in time to join in the
rough-and-tumble, at the risk of ribs and limbs, and the object of
mingled merriment and alarm to the more prudent spectators. Botswood, an
experienced voyager, shouted me back to my berth instantly, if I would
not have my bones broken at the next heavy lurch of the vessel. I was
beginning to feel the force of the counsel, when another roll, almost
down upon the beam-ends, overturned the butter-tub and a box of
loaf-sugar, and brought their contents loose upon the field of action.
They divided themselves between the legs of the table and the
individual, and so, candle in hand and adorned in modest white, he sat
flat down upon the floor among them, at once their companion in trouble
and their protector. The marble-white sugar and the yellow butter, our
luxuries and indispensable necessaries, there they were, on the common
floor, and disposed for once to join in a low frolic with plebeian boots
and shoes and scullion trumpery. With an earnest resolve to prevent all
improprieties of the kind, one hand grasped, knuckle deep, the golden
mellow mass, of the size of a good Yankee pumpkin, and held on, while
the other was busy in restoring, by the rapid handful, the sugar to the
safety of its box. The candle, in the mean time, encouraged by the peals
of laughter in the galleries, slid back and forth in the most trifling
manner possible. When we tipped one way, then I sat on a steep
hill-side, looking down toward the painter, roaring in his happy valley:
away slid the candle in her tin slippers, and away the barefooted butter
wanted to roll after, encouraged to indulge in the foolish caper by a
saucy trunk jumping down from behind. When we tipped the other way, then
I sat on the same hill-side, legs up, looking up, an unsatisfactory
position: back slid the candle, followed by a charge of sharp-pointed
baggage, and off started the butter with the best intentions toward the
tub, waiting prostrate and with open arms. Notwithstanding the
repetition and sameness of this performance, the beholders applauded
with the same heartiness, as if each change back and forth was a novel
and original exhibition. What heightened the effect of the scene, and
gave it a suspicion of the tragic, was a keg of gunpowder, which
evinced, by several demonstrations of discontent in the dark corner
where it tumbled about, a disposition to come out and join the candle.
By a happy lull, not unusual in the very midst of these cabin confusions
during a brush at sea, the powder did not enter, and I was enabled to
pitch the butter into the tub, and finally myself, after some few
preliminaries with a towel, into my berth, where, in the course of the
small remnant of the night, I fell into some broken slumbers.



                             CHAPTER XXXI.


    THE CAPE AND BAY OF ST. LOUIS.—THE ICEBERG.—CARIBOO
    ISLAND.—BATTLE HARBOR AND ISLAND.—THE ANCHORAGE.—THE
    MISSIONARIES.

FIVE o’clock, P. M. What a pleasing contrast! We have been tossing
nearly all day upon a rough, inclement ocean, and are now on the sunny,
smooth waters of the bay, gliding westward, with Cape St. Louis close
upon our right. We have sailed from winter into summer, almost as
suddenly as we come out of the fog, at times—bursting out of it into
the clear air, as an eagle breaks out of a cloud. It is fairly a luxury
to bask in this delicious sunshine, and smell the mingled perfume of
flowers and the musky spruce. Mr. Hutchinson is filled with delight to
find himself once more on this beautiful bay. The rocky hill-country
along the western shores, nine or ten miles distant, is not the
mainland, he tells us, but islands, separated from the mainland, and
from each other, by narrow waters, occasionally expanding into lakes of
great depth, and extending more than forty miles from the sea. Were
these savage hills and cliffs beautified with verdure, and sprinkled
with villages and dwellings, this would class among the finest bays of
the world. Across it to the south, some seven miles, and partly out to
sea, lies a cluster of picturesque islands, where is Battle Harbor, the
home of the missionaries, and the principal port on the lengthy coast of
Labrador.

A fine iceberg, of the fashion of a sea-shell, broken open to the
afternoon sun, and unfolding great beauty, lies in the middle of the
bay. We are sailing past it, on our passage to the harbor, just near
enough for a good view. It gleams in the warm sun like highly-burnished
steel, changing, as we pass it, into many complexions—changeable silks
and the rarest china. The superlatives are the words that one
involuntarily calls to his aid in the presence of an iceberg. From this
bright creation floating in the purple water, I look up to the bright
clouds floating in the blue air, and easily discover likenesses in their
features, ways and colors.

The coast of Labrador is the edge of a vast solitude of rocky hills,
split and blasted by the frosts, and beaten by the waves of the
Atlantic, for unknown ages. Every form into which rocks can be washed
and broken, is visible along its almost interminable shores. A grand
headland, yellow, brown and black, in its horrid nakedness, is ever in
sight, one to the north of you, one to the south. Here and there upon
them are stripes and patches of pale green—mosses, lean grasses, and
dwarf shrubbery. Occasionally, miles of precipice front the sea, in
which the fancy may roughly shape all the structures of human art,
castles, palaces and temples. Imagine an entire side of Broadway piled
up solidly, one, two, three hundred feet in height, often more, and
exposed to the charge of the great Atlantic rollers, rushing into the
churches, halls, and spacious buildings, thundering through the
doorways, dashing in at the windows, sweeping up the lofty fronts,
twisting the very cornices with snowy spray, falling back in bright
green scrolls and cascades of silvery foam. And yet, all this imagined,
can never reach the sentiment of these precipices.

More frequent, though, than headlands and perpendicular sea-fronts are
the sea-slopes, often bald, tame, and wearisome to the eye, now and then
the perfection of all that is picturesque and rough, a precipice gone to
pieces, its softer portions dissolved down to its roots, its flinty
bones left standing, a savage scene that scares away all thoughts of
order and design in nature. If I am not mistaken, there are times when a
slope of the kind, a mile or more in length, and in places some hundreds
of feet in breadth from the tide up to the highest line of washing, is
one of the most terribly beautiful of ocean sights. In an easterly gale,
the billows roll up out of the level of the ocean, and wreck themselves
upon these crags, rushing back through gulfs and chasms in a way at once
awfully brilliant and terrific.

This is the rosy time of Labrador. The blue interior hills, and the
stony vales that wind up among them from the sea, have a summer-like and
pleasant air. I find myself peopling these regions, and dotting their
hills, valleys, and wild shores with human habitations. A second
thought, and a mournful one it is, tells me that no men toil in the
fields away there; no women keep the house off there; there no children
play by the brooks, or shout around the country school-house; no bees
come home to the hive; no smoke curls from the farm-house chimney; no
orchard blooms; no bleating sheep fleck the mountain-sides with
whiteness; and no heifer lows in the twilight. There is nobody there;
there never was but a miserable and scattered few, and there never will
be. It is a great and terrible wilderness of a thousand miles, and
lonesome to the very wild animals and birds. Left to the still
visitations of the light from the sun, moon, and stars, and the auroral
fires, it is only fit to look upon, and then be given over to its
primeval solitariness. But for the living things of its waters, the cod,
the salmon and the seal, which bring thousands of adventurous fishermen
and traders to its bleak shores, Labrador would be as desolate as
Greenland.

We are now entering Battle Harbor, a most romantic nook of water, or
Strait rather, between the islands forming the south side of the bay St.
Louis. Cariboo Island fronts to the north on the bay, five or six miles,
I should guess, and is a rugged mountain-pile of dark gray rock, rounded
in its upper masses, and slashed along its shores with abrupt chasms. It
drops short off, at its eastern extremity, several hundred feet, into a
narrow gulf of deep water. This is Battle Harbor. The billowy pile of
igneous rock, perhaps two hundred and fifty feet high, lying between
this quiet water and the broad Atlantic, is Battle Island, and the site
of the town. We pass a couple of wild islets, lying seaward, as we glide
gently along toward our anchorage. There is little to be seen but hard,
iron-bound bay, and yet we are all out, gazing abroad with silent
curiosity, as if we were entering the Golden Horn. Up runs the Union
Jack, and flings its ancient crosses to the sun and breeze, and the
fishermen look down upon us from their rude dwellings perched among the
crags, and wonder who, and from whence we are. For the moment, nothing
seems to be going on but standing still and looking, men, women, and
children. And now they will look and wonder still more: up run the Stars
and Stripes, higher up than all, and overfloat the flag of England, and
salute the sun and cliffs of Labrador. The missionary waves his
handkerchief—waves his hat—calls pleasantly to a group upon the
nearest shore. They look, and hearken, in the stillness of uncertainty.
Instantly there is a movement of recognition. The people know it is
their pastor. The intelligence has caught, and runs from house to house.
Down drop the sails, rattling down the masts; the anchor plunges, and
the cable runs, runs rattling and ringing from its coil. Round the
vessel swings in line with the breeze, and comes to its repose. We
congratulate the missionary on his safe return, while he points us
feelingly to the little church and parsonage, just above us on the mossy
hill-side, and bids us welcome as long as we shall find it agreeable to
remain. With light and thankful hearts, and pleasant anticipations, we
prepare to go ashore, and take our first run upon the hills.



                             CHAPTER XXXII.


                     BATTLE ISLAND AND ITS SCENERY.

WE sit down upon the summit of Battle Island, after a zigzag scramble up
its craggy side, and talk and sketch and scribble, as we rest and look
upon the blue, barren sea, and the brown and more barren continent, with
its mountains of desert rock. With all this desolateness, the
approaching sunset and the warm skies, the stern headlands, the white
icebergs and bleak islands, and the bay with its rays and points of
water, like a vast spangle on the savage landscape, all compose a
picture of singular novelty and grandeur; at the present moment,
wonderfully heightened in beauty and spirit by a distant shower, itself
a spectacle of brilliancy and darkness sweeping up from the north. Mr.
Hutchinson here joins us, looking all the pleasure that he feels, and
points out what is visible of the lengthy, but narrow field of his
religious labors. The harbor, with its vessels and various buildings,
lies quite below. One could very nearly throw a stone over the little
church spire, and shoot a rifle ball into the cliffs opposite. The air
is spiced with the most delicate odors, which invites us to a short
ramble in search of flowers, after which we descend to the parsonage for
tea.

I have stolen out upon the small front piazza with a chair, to enjoy the
warm sunshine and the sights of a Labrador village. The parsonage, which
has been closed for more than a year past, has been cleaned and put in
order by some kind Esquimaux parishioners, and looks neat and
comfortable. H—— has taken us all through, from room to room—to the
kitchen, pantry, bed-rooms, parlor, which serves also for dining-room,
library and study, to the school-room up stairs, which is used at times
as a chapel. As we passed the house clock, the pointer still upon the
hour where it stopped more than eighteen months ago, the painter wound
it up, and gave it a fresh start and the true time, which it began to
measure by loud and cheerful ticks, as if conscious that life and spirit
had returned again to the vacant dwelling. On the shelf, over the
fireplace, lay a prayer-book, the gift of Wordsworth to his nephew, with
an affectionate inscription on a fly-leaf, in his own handwriting, while
near by stood a couple of small pictures of the poet and his wife.

As some fishermen are now drawing in their capelin seine, we are going
to run down and see the sight. And quite a pretty sight it was. Not less
than a barrel or two were inclosed, which they dipped with a small
scoop-net into their boat, where they lay for a moment, fluttering like
so many little birds of gaudy plumage under the fowler’s net. The males
and females of these delicate fishes, are called here, very comically,
cocks and hens. As our boat, just then, came across from the vessel, the
fishers gave us a mess for breakfast, all of half a bushel, which we
carried over at once. At the sight of several fine salmon, on the
fishing-flake close by, fresh from the net, the poor little capelin sank
into immediate contempt. We must have a salmon or two. It was a question
whether we could not eat several. It resulted in the purchase of one of
sixteen pounds, at the cost of a dollar. We were pulled back immediately
in order to sup with Mr. Hutchinson, and spend the remainder of the
long, light evening in running over Battle Island. I shall not yield to
the temptation to dwell upon the brilliant sunset which we saw from the
summit rocks. Its glories were reflected in the bay, and shed upon the
grim wilderness, dissolving all its gloomy ruggedness into softest
beauty. No language can depict the still and solemn splendor of the
icebergs, reposing upon the burnished waters. Temples and mausoleums of
dazzling white, warming into tints of pink, or deepening on their shaded
side into the sweetest azure, seemed to be standing upon a mighty mirror
with their images below. I thought of that standing on the sea of glass,
in the glorious visions of St. John, and was filled with emotions of
wonder and admiration. The words of the psalmist could hardly fail to be
remembered: “These men see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the
deep.”

One would think that all is couleur de rose in these lands beyond the
reach of fashionable summer tourists. Let him remember that nature here
blooms, beautifies, and bears for the entire year, in a few short weeks.
We are in the very flush of that transient and charming time. Believe
me, when I speak of the plants and flowers, shrubbery and mosses. At
this moment, the rocky isle, bombarded by the ocean, and flayed by the
sword of the blast for months in the year, is a little paradise of
beauty. There are fields of mossy carpet that sinks beneath the foot,
with beds of such delicate flowers as one seldom sees.

There is a refined delicacy in the odor, which the ordinary flora of
warmer climes seldom has. Some rare exotic, reared with cost, and
pampered by all the appliances of art, may suggest the subtle spirit of
these tiny blossoms. It steals upon the sense of smell with the
indescribable tenderness of the music of the æolian harp upon the ear.
As I enjoy it, I know that I cannot paint it to the reader, and that I
shall probably never “look upon its like again.” It is very likely that
the cool and very pure air, a refinement of our common atmosphere, has
much to do with it.

In our stroll, we found banks of snow still sleeping in the fissures
above the showering of the surf, and peeping out from beneath their
edges were clusters of pretty flowers. As we returned in the twilight,
upon the mournful stillness of which broke the voice of the surge, I
lingered upon the cliffs to listen to the wood-thrush, the same most
plaintive and sweet bird that sings in the Catskill mountain woods, at
dusk and in the early morning. The pathos of its wild melody stole in
upon the heart, waking “thoughts too deep for tears,” and calling up a
throng of tender memories of Cole and others, with whom the songster,
the hour, and mountain scenery are forever associated. Startled by the
voices of my companions, one a nephew of the famous poet, and the other
a pupil of the painter scarcely less renowned, I hastened to join them
at the humble parsonage below the cliffs, when we went across to the
vessel, and united, for the last time in the cabin, in those pleasant
devotions which we had enjoyed, morning and evening, since our departure
from St. Johns.



                            CHAPTER XXXIII.


               MOSSES, ODORS AND FLOWERS.—A DINNER-PARTY.

FRIDAY, _July 8, 1859_. A bright, cool morning. After breakfast at the
parsonage, we went rambling again up and down the moss-covered fields of
Battle Island, smelling the fine perfume, gathering flowers, and
counting the icebergs. There are more than forty in the neighborhood,
and some of them grand and imposing at a distance. Have you thought, as
I did, that there are no flowers, or next to none, in Labrador? You
might as well have thought that all, or nearly all the flowers were in
Florida. Along the brook-banks under the Catskills—to me about the
loveliest banks on earth, in the late spring and early summer days—I
have never seen such fairy loveliness as I find here upon this bleak
islet, where nature seems to have been playing at Switzerland. Green and
yellow mosses, ankle-deep and spotted with blood-red stains, carpet the
crags and little vales and cradle-like hollows. Wonderful to behold!
flowers pink and white, yellow, red and blue, are countless as
dew-drops, and breathe out upon the pure air that odor, so spirit-like.
Such surely was the perfume of Eden around the footsteps of the Lord,
walking among the trees of the garden in the cool of the day. What
grounds these, for such souls as write, “The moss supplicateth for the
poet,” and the closing lines of the “Ode, Intimations of Immortality
from recollections of early Childhood.” The Painter, passionately in
love with the flowers of the tropics, lay down and rolled upon these
soft, sweet beds of beauty with delight. Little gorges and chasms,
overhung with miniature precipices, wind gracefully from the summits
down to meet the waves, and are filled, where the sun can warm them,
with all bloom and sweetness, a kind of wild greenhouse. We run up them,
and we run down them, fall upon the cushioned stones, tumble upon their
banks of softness as children tumble upon deep feather-beds, and dive
into the yielding cradles embroidered with silken blossoms. Willows with
a silvery down upon the leaves, willow-trees no larger than fresh
lettuce, and the mountain laurel of the size of knitting-needles, with
pink flowers to correspond, cluster here and there in patches of a
breadth to suit a sleeping child.

After our ramble, we returned on board, arranged the cabin, now become
quite roomy from the departure of our friends, and prepared for dinner,
to which a small company is invited. Our cook, a young Sandy, excelling
in good nature, but failing in all the essentials of his art, was
suspended, for the time, from the exercise of all duties about the
caboose, except those of the mere lackey, and two more important
personages self-inducted into his place. Some pounds of fresh salmon
bagged in linen, a measure of peeled potatoes, a pudding of rice well
shotted with raisins, one after another, found their way to the oven and
the boilers; from which, in due time and order, they emerged in a
satisfactory condition, and, with appropriate sauce and gravy, descended
in savory procession to the cabin, to which they were unexpectedly
welcomed by a whole dress circle of fashionable dishes seated in the
surrounding berths, jelly-cake, sponge-cake, raspberry-jam, nuts, figs,
almonds and raisins, and a corpulent pitcher, sweating in his naked
white, filled with iceberg water. It is not necessary to dwell upon the
fact, that the cooks subsided into the more quiet character of hosts,
and made themselves, and endeavored to make their guests, merry at their
own expense. Whether the Queen of England, or the President of the
United States will be pleased, it never occurred to us at the time,
when, without thinking of either, we drank to their health in the
transparent vintage of Greenland.



                             CHAPTER XXXIV.


    OUR BOAT FOR THE ICEBERGS.—AFTER THE ALPINE BERG.—STUDY OF ITS
    WESTERN FACE.

AFTER dinner. Mr. Hutchinson has placed at our service his parish
vessel, at once a schooner and a row-boat, of which Captain Knight, of
course, is master, and our men the sailors. We are all ready, waiting
its arrival alongside, in order for our first excursion after icebergs,
equipped entirely to our mind.

An hour’s sail has brought us off into the broad waters, south of Battle
Harbor, close to a berg selected from the heights this morning. We drop
sails, and row rapidly around it, for the best point of observation in
the present light. The intention is to study the ices of these waters,
at all points, and in all lights, with great care. From this, the
western side, now glittering in the face of the sun, at six o’clock, it
is alpine in its form, with one crowning peak, supported by pinnacles
and buttresses, with intervening gulfs and hollows, each with its
torrent hissing along down in white haste over glassy cliffs and in
alabaster channels, until it comes spouting into the sea from an
overhanging precipice, varying from six, to twenty feet in height.
Between the upper edge of this ice-coast and the great steeps of the
berg, lies a broad slope, smooth as ivory, a paradise for the boys of a
village school. We are actually tempted to land at a low place, and have
a run. Without skates, or some arming of the boots, however, we guess it
would be rather perilous sport; in short, simply impossible. We content
ourselves with catching a panfull of water, fresh from the great
Humboldt glacier, quite likely, and cold and pure it is. While we are
busy at the fountain, we amuse ourselves with looking down through the
clear, green water—right under us, clear almost as air—at the roots
and prongs of the mountain mass. They shoot out into the dark sea below
far beyond our boat, not a pleasing vision to dwell upon, when we
reflect, that these very prongs and spurs only wait to take their turn
in the sunshine, under the aspect of upright towers. A heavy fall of
ice, which may happen in a minute, on the opposite side of the berg,
instantly gives the preponderance to this, when over this way slowly
rolls the alpine peak, down sinks all this precipice, and after it, all
the slanting field above; then on rushes the sea in curling waves, and
we are swept on with them. Before we can get back, and get away to a
safe distance, by the force of mere sailor power, back rolls the berg,
up rises the broad slope, followed quickly by the precipices rising up,
up, and up into lofty cliffs, with a foreground, a new revelation of
ice; in a word, the prongs and spurs now below us in the transparent
deep. In all this play of the iceberg and the sea, what will be our
part? And who knows whether the moment is not now close upon us for this
sparkling planet of the main to burst asunder, a common process by which
the mother berg throws off her little ones, rather, resolves herself
entirely into a shoal of small icebergs? Should that moment really come
while we are in this fearful proximity, you need not ask any questions
about us, except those which you yourself can answer. There are the dead
in these very waters, I believe, whose last earthly experience was among
the final thunders of these ices.

I am struck with the rapid rate at which the bergs are perishing. They
are dissolving at every point and pore, both in the air and in the sea.
One sheet of water, although no thicker than a linen sheet, covers the
entire alp. It trickles from every height, yonder glimmering like a
distant window in the sunset, here cutting into the glassy surface and
working out a kind of jewelry, which sparkles with points of emerald and
ruby. It rains from eves and gables, cornices and balconies, and spouts
from gutters. All around, there is the pattering of a shower on the sea,
and the sharp, metallic ringing of great drops, similar to what is heard
around a pond in the still woods, when the dew-drops fall from the
overhanging boughs. Below, the currents, now penetrated with the summer
warmth, are washing it away. Around the surface-line, the ever-busy
waves are polishing the newly-broken corners, and cutting under, and
mining their way in, with deceitful rapidity. Unceasingly they bore and
drill, without holiday or sabbath, or rest at night, as the perpetual
thunders of their blasting testify. Thus their ruin is hourly hastening
to a consummation, and the danger of approaching them made more and more
imminent. The iceberg in winter, in the Arctic regions, and even here,
is a different affair. In the cold, they are tolerably safe and sound.
But now, in these comparatively tepid seas, and in this warm atmosphere,
lone wanderer, it finds no mercy. Motionless as this and several bergs
appear, they are all slowly moving in toward the Strait of Belle Isle,
borne forward by the great Baffin current, a stream of which bends
around Cape St. Louis and these adjacent isles, and sets along the shore
of Labrador into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.



                             CHAPTER XXXV.


    THE ALPINE BERG.—STUDIES OF ITS SOUTHERN FRONT.—FRIGHTFUL
    EXPLOSION AND FALL OF ICE.—STUDIES OF THE WESTERN SIDE.—OUR
    PLAY WITH THE MOOSE HORNS.—THE SPLENDOR OF THE BERG IN THE
    SUNSET.

WE are now lying under oars, riding quietly on the swells, distant, say,
a hundred yards south of the berg, which has a visible, perpendicular
front of five hundred, by one hundred and fifty feet or more elevation.
It resembles a precipice of newly-broken porcelain, wet and dripping,
its vast face of dead white tinged with green, here and there, from the
reflection of the green water at its base. We are in its shadow, which
reaches off on the sunny sea, a long, dark track. The outline of the
berg is one edge of dazzling brightness, a kind of irregular, flowing
frame, gilt with sunlight, which comes pouring over in full tide from
behind. Where the ice shoots up into thin spear-points, or runs along a
semi-transparent blade, the light shines through, and gives the tint of
flame, with a greenish band below, and lower still, a soft blue,
presently lost in the broad white. In these ices, never think of any
such as you see at home, from Rockland and Catskill. Frozen under
enormous pressure, and frozen to dry and flinty hardness, it has all the
sparkle of minutest crystallization, and resembles, as I have said
already, freshly broken statue-marble or porcelain, as you see it on the
edge newly snapped. The surface of this ice is in itself a study
singularly complex and subtle. How the mere passer-by, at a distance, is
going to know any thing of value to a painter, I cannot tell. The fact
is, he knows just nothing at all. A portrait-painter might as well
pretend to have a knowledge of flesh, from seeing people at a distance.
I think if I could study just here, for hours, I should be able to speak
more correctly. Of course, the Painter, whose eye is trained to look
into the texture of surfaces, sees all more readily. I am looking up to
rough crags, and enormous bulges, where the recent fracture would seem
to have an almost painful sharpness to the touch. Where the surfaces
have been for a time exposed to the weather, they have the flesh-finish
of a statue. Along the lower portion, where you see the glassing effects
of the waves, there it resembles the rarest Sèvres vase, or even pearl
itself, so exquisitely fine is the polish. It is almost mirror-like. You
perceive the dim images of passing objects, shadowy ships and shores.
Where the light pours over it in its strength, it shines like burnished
steel in the sunshine.

Under the manifold effects of atmosphere, light and shade, none can
imagine, through the medium of mere description, the grandeur and glory
of these moving Alps of ice. Here now, is one simple feature, which our
dangerous proximity alone enables us to view, the wondrous beauty of
which—beauty to the feelings as well as to the eye—I cannot find any
language to paint. I may talk of it through a hundred periods, and yet
you will never feel and see a tithe of what you would in a moment, were
you here upon the spot. The berg, in the deep shadow of which we now sit
painting and writing, as I have intimated, is in form a mountain
pinnacle, split down from the summit square, and the split side toward
our boat. What has became of the lost half, the Great Builder of
icebergs only knows. We are under the cliffs, from which that unknown
part burst off and fell away. It is an awful precipice, with all the
features of precipices, such as are seen about capes, headlands and
ocean shores. Here it swells out, there it sinks in, masses have slidden
out, and left square-headed doorways opening into the solid porcelain,
ridges run off, and hollows run in and around. In these very hollows and
depressions is the one feature of which I am speaking. And, after all,
what is it? It is simply shadow. Is that all? That is all: only shadow.
All the grand façade is one shadow, with a rim of splendor like liquid
gold leaf or yellow flame, but in those depressions is a _deeper_
shadow. Shadow under shadow, dove-colored and blue. Thus there seems to
be drifting about, in the hollow lurking-places of the dead white, a
colored atmosphere, the warmth, softness, and delicate beauty of which
no mind can think of words to express. So subtle is it and evanescent,
that recollection cannot recall it when once gone, but by the help of
the heart and the feelings, where the spirit of beauty last dies away.
You can feel it, after you have forgotten what its complexion precisely
is, and from that emotion you may come to remember it. You would
remember nothing more beautiful.

[Illustration: PLATE N^o. 4.
ICE FALLING FROM A LOFTY BERG
Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway NY.]

Any doubt that I may have entertained about the danger of lying under
the shadow of this great ice-rock is now wholly dispelled. We have just
witnessed what was, for the moment, a perfect cataract of ice, with all
its motion, and many times its noise. Quick as lightning and loud as
thunder, when bolt and thunder come at the same instant, there was one
terrific crack, a sharp and silvery ringing blow upon the atmosphere,
which I shall never forget, nor ever be able to describe. It shook me
through, and struck the very heart. The only response on my part, and I
was not alone in the fright, was a convulsive spring to the feet, and a
shout to the oarsmen, of fierce command, “Row back! row back!” The
spectacle was nearly as startling as the explosion. At once, the upper
face of the berg burst out upon the air, as if it had been blasted, and
swept down across the great cliff, a huge cataract of green and snowy
fragments, with a wild, crashing roar, followed by the heavy, sullen
thunder of the plunge into the ocean, and the rolling away of the
high-crested seas, and the rocking of the mighty mass back and forth, in
the effort to regain its equilibrium. I dreaded the encounter; but our
whale-boat was quite at home, and breasted the lofty swells most
gracefully. But how fearfully impressive is all this! I recall the
warning of the Bishop of Newfoundland, and recollect the conversation of
the Rev. Mr. Wood, the rector of St. Thomas’.

We now pass round to the other side of the berg, and take a position
between it and the sun. Upon our first circumnavigation, we found this
edge of the ice, in its lowest part, about six feet above the sea, with
a cavernous hollow running all round, into which the waves were playing
with their strange and many sounds. Now, from the recent loss of ice on
the opposite heights, all this edge has sunk below the waves, leaving
only an inclined plane sweeping up from the water’s edge to the steeper
parts of the berg, at an angle of about 20 degrees. Fancy a slab of
Italian marble, four and five hundred feet in width, extending from the
eaves of the City Hall, New York, half-way or more down the park. I
think you will have a tolerable notion of the slope now before us. Up
this slippery field of ivory hardness roll the waves, dark as night
until they strike the ice, when, in a flash, they turn into that lovely
green of the sea, and afterward break in long lines of tumultuous foam.
The spectacle is perfectly magnificent. A seam of ice, apparently six
inches in diameter, of the hue of a sapphire, cuts the berg from its
very top down, and doubtless cuts through the entire submarine body.
This jewel of the iceberg is a wonderful beauty. Sparkles of light seem
to come from its blue, transparent depths. What, at first, appears
singular is, that these blue veins are much softer than the surrounding
ice, melting faster, and so becoming channels in which little torrents
glitter as they run. At first, we were at a loss to know how they
originated, but presently felt satisfied, that they were cracks filled
with water, and frozen when the berg was a glacier. This indelible mark
of primitive breakage and repair indicates with some correctness the
original perpendicular of the ice. According to the blue band in the
berg now before us, it is occupying very nearly the position it was in
when it was a fissure or crevasse of the glacier. Long processional
lines of broken ice are continually floating off from the parent berg,
which, in the process of melting, assume many curious shapes, huge
antlers of the moose and elk, and sea-fowl, geese and ducks, of gigantic
figure. We have just succeeded in securing one of these antlers, and a
merry time we had. Before reaching it, we supposed one could bend over
and lift it out of the water as easily as he stoops and picks up a
buck’s horn out of the prairie grass. It was a match for three of us,
and escaped out of our hands and arms repeatedly, slipping back into the
waves, and requiring us to round to again and again before we fairly had
it. As it is the hardest and the heaviest, so it is the most slippery of
all ices, and certainly it seems to me the coldest thing upon which
human hands were ever laid. Our summer cakes, handed in by the ice-man,
are warm, I fancy, in comparison. I do not wonder that the face of
icebergs burst off, under the expansion of the heat they receive in
these July days. The surface of this horn is not the least curious
feature of it: it is melted into circular depressions about the depth
and size of a large watch-crystal, all cutting into each other with such
regularity that their angles fall into lines parallel and diagonal in
the most artistic manner. Now that we have it in the boat, it resembles
a pair of mammoth moose-horns sculptured from water-soaked alabaster. We
see several of them now, five or six feet tall, rocking and nodding on
the swells as if they were the living appendages of some old moose of
the briny deep, come up to sport a little in the world of warmth and
sunshine.

C—— finds great difficulty in painting, from the motion of the boat;
but it is the best thing in the service, after all, for the men can take
a position, and keep it by the help of oars, in spite of the waves and
currents which beset an iceberg. The moments for which we have been
waiting are now passing, and the berg is immersed in almost supernatural
splendors. The white alpine peak rises out of a field of delicate
purple, fading out on one edge into pale sky-blue. Every instant changes
the quality of the colors. They flit from tint to tint, and dissolve
into other hues perpetually, and with a rapidity impossible to describe
or paint. I am tempted to look over my shoulder into the north, and see
if the “merry dancers” are not coming, so marvellously do the colors
come and go. The blue and the purple pass up into peach-blow and pink.
Now it blushes in the last look of the sun-red blushes of beauty—tints
of the roseate birds of the south—the complexion of the roses of
Damascus. In this delicious dye it stands embalmed—only for a minute,
though; for now the softest dove-colors steal into the changing glory,
and turn it all into light and shade on the whitest satin. The bright
green waves are toiling to wash it whiter, as they roll up from the
violet sea, and explode in foam along the broad alabaster. Power and
Beauty, hand in hand, bathing the bosom of Purity. I need not pause to
explain how all this is; but so it is, and many times more, in the
passing away of the sunshine and the daylight. It is wonderful! I had
never dreamed of it, even while I have been reading of icebergs well
described. As I sit and look at this broken work of the Divine
fingers,—only a shred broken from the edge of a glacier, vast as it
is—I whisper these words of Revelation: “and hath washed their robes,
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” It hangs before us, with
the sea and the sky behind it, like some great robe made in heaven.
Where the flowing folds break into marble-like cliffs, on the extreme
wings of the berg, an inward green seems to be pricking through a fine
straw tint, spangled with gold. Weary, chilly, and a little sea-sick, I
am glad to find the Painter giving the last touches to a sketch, and to
hear him give the word for return. The men, who in common with all these
people of this northern sea have a terror of icebergs, gladly lift the
sails, and so, with Captain Knight at the helm, we are speeding over the
waves for Battle Harbor.



                             CHAPTER XXXVI.


    RAMBLE AMONG THE FLOWERS OF BATTLE ISLAND.—A VISIT TO THE
    FISHERMEN.—WALK AMONG THE HILLS OF CARIBOO.

SATURDAY, _July 9_. We are abroad again on the rocky hills, fanned with
the soft, summer wind, and blessed with the loveliest sunshine. The
mosses sparkle with their sweet-scented blossoms of purple, white, and
red, and the wood-thrush is pouring out its plaintive melody over the
bleak crags, and the homes of fishermen, around whose doors I see the
children playing as merrily as the children of fortune in more favored
lands. How many a tender parent, now watching over a sick child in the
wealthy city, would be glad to have the sufferer here, to be the
playfellow of these simple boys and girls, if he could have their health
and promise of life. Captain Knight comes with his hands full of
flowers, not unlike the daisy; and here come Hutchinson and the Painter.
We meet around this moss-covered crag, where I am sitting with my book
and pencil, and resolve at once to go down, and visit an islet of the
harbor, where a few families have a summer residence during the fishing
season.

Here we are among the huts and dogs, and English people, with the ways
of Labrador. A kind woman, with whom I have been talking about the
deprivations of her lot in life, has offered to bake bread for us when
we can send the flour. The Painter is out sketching this summer nest
upon the bleak, surf-washed rocks, about as wild-looking as the
nesting-place of sea-birds. Generous-hearted people! I am pleased with
their simple ways, and their affectionate, but most respectful manner
toward their pastor. Well, indeed, they may be both respectful and
affectionate. His life is a sacrifice for them and their children. What
but the love of Christ and of men could lead one here, and keep him
here, who can ornament and bless the most cultivated society? I thank
God, that He gives us witness, in such men, of the power and excellency
of His grace upon the human heart. We sail across the harbor to a cove,
or chasm in the lofty sea-wall, with the intention of a walk over the
hills of Cariboo, while Hutchinson visits a few of his parishioners
thereabouts.

After a pleasant ramble, during which we were often tempted to run and
jump with very delight along the spongy, springy moss, blushing here and
there with its sweet bloom, we sit down on the top of a high hill, and
look off upon the ocean and the bay of St. Louis, extending far into the
desolate interior like a series of blue lakes. All the beauteous apparel
of summer has been stripped off, and the brown and broken bones of the
sad earth are bleaching in the wind and sun. You would be delighted,
though, with the little vales, notched and shelved with craggy terraces
that catch and hold the sunshine. They have the sultry warmth and scent
of a conservatory, and are frequently rich with herbage, now in flower.
It seems a pity that these nooks of verdure and floral beauty should
thus “waste their sweetness on the desert air.” For a few days, the
woolly flocks of New England would thrive in Labrador. During those few
days, there are thousands of her fair daughters who would love to tend
them. I prophesy the time is coming when the invalid and tourist from
the States will be often found spending the brief, but lovely summer
here, notwithstanding its ruggedness and desolation. Upon reflection, a
broad and ancient solitude like this has a sadness in it which no bloom,
no sun can dispel. Never, never, in all my life, have I beheld a land
like this, the expression and sentiment of which are essentially
mournful and melancholy. The sunshine, skies, “the pomp and circumstance
of” ocean, sweet smells, and sounds, and one’s own joyous, healthy
feelings, flowing out and washing out as they flow the natural sadness
of the soul, cannot take away nor cover up that which really and
everlastingly is, and ever will be, namely, the sentiment of
mournfulness. Nature here is at a funeral forever, and these beauties,
so delicately fashioned, are but flowers in the coffin.

It is a coincidence a little curious that I should have written these
periods above, and then have plunged into just the most lonesome little
valley in all the world to hit upon a graveyard. But there it was, a
gloomy, silent field, enclosed with the merest dry skeleton of a fence,
for no purpose to keep a creature out where no creature is, but just to
make a scratch around the few narrow beds where the dead repose,
unpraised and unnamed, under the lightest possible covering of dust, as
undisturbed as in the deeps of the Atlantic. From the tombless cemetery,
our way back to the vessel over the hills resembled the crossing of
mountains just below the line of perpetual snow. Upon the summit we
encountered a small lake and marshes with water-plants and flowers. At
the eastern extremity of the island, where the rocks break off steeply
some hundreds of feet, we saw every object of the port nearly beneath,
and apparently within stone’s throw. A novel sight to us was the bottom
of the harbor, seen through the clear, greenish water with considerable
distinctness almost from end to end. Patches of sea-weed, dark rocks,
and white gravel, seemed to be lying in the bottom of a shallow mirror,
across which small fishes, large ones in reality, were wandering at
their leisure. This was a picturesque revelation. Upon the surface of
the harbor, the depth of water very nearly shuts out all view of the
bottom. I am beginning to think that a few thousand feet above the
ocean, in a bright day, would enable the eye to pierce it to an
extraordinary depth.



                            CHAPTER XXXVII.


    AFTER THE BAY ST. LOUIS ICEBERG.—WINDSOR CASTLE
    ICEBERG.—FOUNDERS SUDDENLY.—A BRILLIANT SPECTACLE.

AFTER dinner, upon the heights of Battle Island, gathering roots,
plants, and mosses to carry home. We notice with pleasure the largest
iceberg by far that we have ever yet seen. It is the last arrival from
Greenland, and is abreast Cape St. Louis, in the northeast. It is a
stupendous thing, and reminds me of Windsor Castle, as I know it from
pictures and engravings. It appears to be wheeling in toward the bay,
with a front of great elevation and extent, finely adorned with
projections and massive towers not unlike those of the regal structure
of which it reminds me. I see by the watch it is nearly 4 P. M., the
time set for our departure to a Bay St. Louis berg. Pencil and note-book
must be pocketed, and haste be made with my vegetable gatherings.

Pencil and note-book reappear, and the sketch recommences. Half-way to
the chosen iceberg, in the mouth of the bay, rowing slowly over the
glassy, low swells, as they move in from sea. These are the swells for
me: broad, imperial swells, full of majesty, dignity, and grace; placid
and serene of countenance; solemn, slow, and silent in their roll. They
are the swells of olden time, royal and aristocratic, legitimately
descended from those that bore the ark upon their bosom, and used to
bear the unbroken images of the orbs of heaven. Replete with gentleness
and love and power, they lift us lightly, and pass us over tenderly from
hand to hand, and toss us pleasantly and softly from breast to breast,
and roll us carefully from lap to lap, and smile upon us with their
shining smiles. Grand and gracious seas! With you I love the ocean. With
you I am not afraid. And with you, how kind and compassionate of you, ye
old patrician billows! with you I am not sea-sick. Save us from those
plebeian waves, that rabble-rout of surges, that democratic “lop,”
lately born, and puffed into noisy importance! They scare me, and, worst
of all, make me sick and miserable.

Every few minutes we hear the artillery of the icebergs, and are on the
watch for fine displays, this warm afternoon. C—— is sketching
hastily, with the pencil, Windsor Castle berg, now in complete view, and
distant, I should guess, five miles. It is a mighty and imposing
structure.

Between making my last dot and now—an interval of ten minutes—Windsor
Castle has experienced the convulsions of an earthquake, and gone to
ruin. To use the term common here, it has “foundered.” A magazine of
powder fired in its centre, could not more effectually, and not much
more quickly, have blown it up. While in the act of sketching, C——
suddenly exclaimed: when, lo! walls and towers were falling asunder, and
tumbling at various angles with apparent silence into the ocean,
attended with the most prodigious dashing and commotion of water.
Enormous sheaves of foam sprung aloft and burst in air; high, green
waves, crested with white-caps, rolled away in circles, mingling with
leaping shafts and fragments of ice reappearing from the deep in all
directions. Nearly the whole of this brilliant spectacle was the
performance of a minute, and to us as noiseless as the motions of a
cloud, for a length of time I had not expected. When the uproar reached
us, it was thunder doubled and redoubled, rolling upon the ear like the
quick successive strokes of a drum, or volleys of the largest ordnance.
It was awfully grand, and altogether the most startling exhibition I
ever witnessed. At this moment, there is a large field of ruins, some of
them huge masses like towers prone along the waters, with a lofty
steeple left alone standing in the midst, and rocking slowly to and fro.



                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.


    SUNDAY IN LABRADOR.—EVENING WALK TO THE GRAVEYARD.—THE ROCKY
    OCEAN SHORE.

SUNDAY EVENING, _July 10_. We have had a beautiful and interesting day.
Early in the morning, flags were flying from the shipping, and from the
tall staff in front of the church, the only bell-tower of the town.
Boats, with people in their Sunday best, soon came rowing in from
different quarters, for the services of the day, in which I had the
pleasure of assisting. The house, seating about two hundred people, was
crowded, morning and afternoon, with a devout and attentive
congregation, responding loudly, and singing very spiritedly.

Before sunset, we left the parsonage for a quiet walk. Falling into a
crooked path, we followed it to the burying-ground in the bottom of a
narrow, deep hollow, where time has gathered from the surrounding rocks
a depth of earth sufficient for shallow graves. While yet the sunshine
was bright upon the high, overhanging cliffs, dotted with lichens and
tufted with their summer greenery, the little vale below, with its brown
gravestones nearly lost in the rank verdure, was immersed in cool and
lonesome shadows. An unavoidable incumbrance of the sacred field was
several large bowlders, among which the long grass, and weeds and
tablets were irregularly dispersed.

It is the custom of the English church to consecrate burying-grounds.
Eleven years ago, Bishop Field consecrated this. It was a pleasant
Sunday morning, and the procession, with the bishop at its head clothed
in his official robes, descended by the winding path, and performed the
appointed service. Nearly the whole population of the region was
present, either in the procession, or looking down with silent
admiration from the rocky galleries around. A better resting-place, when
one lies down weary from the tasks and troubles of the present life,
could not well be imagined. Its perpetual solitude, never profaned by
the noisy feet of the busy world, draped alternately with snowy fleeces
and blooming verdure, is always made musical by the solemn murmurs of
the ocean. I found by the inscriptions, that England was the native
country of most of those whose bones repose below, and whose names are
gathering moss and lichens, while the sea, close by, sings their
mournful requiem.

From this lone hamlet of the dead, we picked our way among broken rocks
out to the sea shore, all white with the sounding surf, and gazed with
silent pleasure on the blue Atlantic, the dark headlands, and the
icebergs glittering in the sunset. Glittering in the sunset! They glowed
with golden fire—pointed, motionless, and solid flames.

Battle Island, had there never been any bloody contest of angry men,
would be an appropriate name. The whole northeastern shore, once a lofty
precipice, no doubt, but now a descent of indescribable ruggedness, is
an extended field, whereon for ages flinty rocks and mighty waves have
contended in battle. A favorite walk of Hutchinson’s, during the wintry
tempests, is along the height overlooking this mighty slope or glacis.
His quiet description of the terrible grandeur of the scene, was truly
thrilling. In the course of our walk, we came upon the verge of a
fissure, which looked like an original intention to split the island
through its centre. Banks of snow still lay in the nooks and closets of
its gloomy chambers, through which, every now and then, boomed the low
thunder of the plunging surf.

Upon our return, late in the evening, although quite light, we wandered
over tracts of the elastic, flowering moss. The step is rendered
exceedingly bouyant, and invites you to skip and bound through the
richly carpeted hollows. After prayer at the parsonage, we returned to
the vessel, and talked in our berths until slumber made us silent, past
midnight.



                             CHAPTER XXXIX.


    THE SAIL TO FOX HARBOR.—A DAY WITH THE ESQUIMAUX, AND OUR
    RETURN.

MONDAY, _July 11_. After icebergs in St. Michael’s Bay, was to have been
the order of the morning. It lies northward forty miles, and usually
abounds in icebergs of the largest size, Mr. Hutchinson informs us.
There is not, however, the least necessity for passing Cape St. Louis,
south of which there is ice enough in sight for all the painters in the
world. But the charm of novelty is almost irresistible. Had we the time,
we would see the glaciers themselves, of which these bergs are merely
the chippings. What has suddenly caused this change in our plans is an
approaching storm. It will never do for us to be out at sea in a cold
northeaster, if it possibly can be avoided. The painter and I are so
given over to sea-sickness, in rough weather, that nothing can be
enjoyed, and nothing done with pen or pencil. The work and play of the
day are finally determined. C—— with the Captain will cruise southerly
among the bergs of Belle Isle, and I will go with Mr. Hutchinson and
Botwood north, across St. Louis water to Fox Harbor, one of the points
of this extended parish.

We leave, past noon a little, sailing very pleasantly by the ices, which
appear to be in considerable motion. Several are going to sea, and may
reach the track of New Yorkers voyaging to Europe, and be thought very
wonderful and fine; and so indeed they will be, should they lose half of
their present bulk. There appears to be no end to the combinations of
these icy edifices. They mimic all the styles of architecture upon
earth; rather, all styles of architecture may be said to imitate them,
inasmuch as they were floating here in what we please to call Greek and
Gothic forms long before Greek or Goth were in existence. Yonder, now,
is a cluster of Gothic cottages. I trace out a multitude of peaked
gables and low porches, and think of Sunny Side upon the Hudson.

Two hours have slipped away, and we approach the northern shore,
attended by no less a travelling companion than a small whale. Now he
blows just behind us, disappears, and blows again upon our right. There
he blows ahead of us. Here he is close upon our left. The fellow is
diving under us. All this may be very pretty sport for the whale, but
with all the merry remarks of Hutchinson, respecting the good nature of
our twenty-foot out-rider, I confess I am relieved to find that he is
gradually enlarging the field of his amusements.

The mouth of Fox Harbor all at once discovers itself, and lets us in
upon a small sheet of water, not unlike a mountain lake with its
back-ground of black, wild hills. A few huts, a wharf, and fish-house
appear upon the margin of the narrow peninsula that lies between the
harbor and the bay. The people are pure Esquimaux and English, with a
mixture from intermarriage. The patriarch of the place, perhaps sixty
years of age, with his wife, and, I believe, the elder members of the
family, are natives of a high latitude, and a good specimen of the
arctic race. They are now members of the English Church, and for piety
and virtue compare well with Christians anywhere.

In the course of the afternoon, their pastor held divine service, and
administered the sacrament of baptism. There were between twenty and
thirty present, old and young, some of whom had prayer-books and
responded. The sermon, which I was invited to preach, I made as simple
and practical as possible, and found earnest and honest listeners. After
an examination of furs and snow-shoes, reindeer horns, and seal-skin,
fresh from the seal, and still loaded with its fat or blubber, we had an
exhibition of the kayak. It was light and tight, and ringy as a drum,
and floated on the water like a bubble. Under the strokes of the
kayaker, it darted forward over the low swells with a grace and
fleetness unknown to the birch-bark canoe. After tea, and a very good
tea, too; in fact, after two teas, we bade the Esquimaux farewell and
sailed away, taking one of their number along with us, who had formerly
been a servant, and was now to resume her old place as such, in the
parsonage. About half way across the bay, a squall from sea struck us
with startling suddenness. But our bold young sailing-master, McDonald,
the mate and owner of our vessel, managed the boat admirably, and we
fairly flew through the white-caps to the smooth water of our harbor. In
the evening we gathered in at the parsonage, taking tea, made and served
by the Esquimaux woman, telling the adventures of the day, both north
and south, and returning at midnight to our cabin.



                              CHAPTER XL.


    A MORNING RAMBLE OVER CARIBOO.—EXCURSION ON THE BAY, AND THE
    TEA-DRINKING AT THE SOLITARY FISHERMAN’S.

TUESDAY, _July 12_. Cold as November, and a gale outside. After a late
breakfast, we roam the hills of Cariboo, under the cliffs of which the
Integrity now lies tied to the rocks. We gather roots and flowers, gaze
upon the vast and desolate prospect, count the icebergs, and watch the
motions of the fog driving, in large, cloud-like masses, across the
angry ocean. It is surprising how much we do in these, to us, almost
interminable days. But for the necessity of it, I believe that we should
not sleep at all, but work and play right on from midnight into morning,
and from morning down to midnight. We have a large afternoon excursion
before us. Previous to that, however, the Captain and myself are going
upon an exploring expedition.

Coasting the southern shores of St. Louis water, having a little private
amusement by ourselves. The breeze, in from sea, gives us about as much
as we can manage. Gives _us_ about as much as _we_ can manage! “Us” and
“We” have not a great deal to do with it. This half of the “us” and the
“we,” the Me and the subjective I, as your Kantian philosopher calls his
essential self, sits here about midship, bear-skinned in with a fleecy
brown coat, holding on, and dodging the spray that cuffs him on the
right and left; while the other, and vastly larger half, in the shape of
the captain, holds all the reins of this marine chariot in his own
single hand—ropes, rudder and all, and holds them, too, well and
wisely. But we enjoy the freedom of these spirited, though harmless
seas, and dash along through most charmingly.

What coasts these are! “Precipitous, black, jagged rocks,” savage as
lions and tigers showing their claws and teeth, and foaming at the lips.
Here is a chasm called a cove, up which the green water runs in the
shape of a scimetar or horn—the piercing and the goring of the sea for
unknown centuries. Away in the extreme hollow of this horn is a
fishing-flake, and half-way up, where the sea-birds would naturally
nest, a Scotch fisherman has his summer-home. We are going in to see
him.

He met us at the water’s edge, and welcomed us with a fisherman’s
welcome—none heartier in the world—and sent us forward by a zigzag
path to the house hidden away among the upper rocks. In the very
tightest place of the ascent, there swept down upon us an avalanche of
dogs furiously barking—a kind of onset for which I have had a peculiar
disrelish ever since I was overthrown by a ferocious mastiff in my
childhood. I sprang to the tip of a crag, and stood out of their reach,
while they bristled and barked at the Captain, who coolly maintained his
ground. The shout of the fisherman’s wife, who now appeared on the edge
of the scene above, instantly stilled the uproar, and invited us up with
the cheering assurance that they seldom bit anybody, and were rather
glad than angry that we had come. The language of dogs being very much
the same in all countries, I took occasion to doubt any pleasure that
Bull, Brindle, and Bowse were thought to have felt at our presence. The
rascals smelt closely at my heels and hands, with an accompaniment of
bristling backs and tails, and deep-throated growls. We were no sooner
in the house and seated than the good man himself arrived, and ordered
the kettle to the fire for a “bit of tea.” “It would do us good,” he
said, “When strangers came, he commonly had a bit of tea.” His life had
been a struggle for food and raiment: such was the tenor of his brief
history. Four children were with him; four were in a better world. Forty
years he had been a fisherman. Thirty, on these shores. They came up
yearly from Carbonear in the early days of June, cleared the house of
ice and snow, and got ready for the fish. Their dogs, which are their
only team in Newfoundland, would be lost if left behind, and so they
brought them along to save them. After tea, a fine game-cock took
possession of the floor, walking close in front, looking up sideways in
an inquisitive and comical manner, and crowing very spiritedly. Hard by,
in a box beneath a bed, I caught a glimpse of the red comb of a hen, his
only mate. A little, flaxen-haired, blue-eyed girl ran and brought her
out as something to surprise and delight us. And so with cock and hen,
and children, the fisherman and his wife, mariner and minister, we were
a social party. Thus the human heart spins out its threads of love, and
fastens them even to the far-distant rocks of cold and barren Labrador.
They took us through their fish-house, which hung like a birdcage among
the crags, and afterwards followed us down to the water, and gave our
bark a kindly push, “and thus we parted.”



                              CHAPTER XLI.


    PAINTING THE CAVERN OF GREAT ISLAND, AND OUR SAIL HOMEWARD IN A
    GALE.

TWO o’clock P. M. The wind has moderated, and blows from the land. We
sail out upon the eastern or ocean side of Great Island. This is not
precisely the excursion proposed in the morning, which was to an iceberg
in the bay. It is the best, though, that we can do, and may turn out
very well. I could wish a less exciting passage in than we had out,
when, for the first, I learned the power of wind to knock a vessel over
at a single blow. It pounced upon us, as it swept over the lofty ridge
of the island, in puffs and gusts quite frightful. At one moment, the
sails would be without a breath; at another, the wonder is that they
were not burst from their fastenings. As the Captain turned into the
wind, the boat would jump as if going out of the water. Some training is
necessary for your landsman to bear this with perfect coolness. After
landing us, the Captain, with a couple of men, plays off and on between
a fishing-fleet and shore, while C—— paints the particular part of the
coast for which we have come.

It consists of what once might have been a grand cavern, but now fallen
in, and all its cragged gulf opened to the day. Into the yawning portal
of this savage chasm plunge the big waves of the Atlantic. In an
easterly gale, there is performed in this gloomy theatre no farce of the
surges, but the grandest tragedy. In fact, this whole coast, a thousand
miles or more, is built up, rather torn down, on the most stupendous
scale—vast and shattered—terrifically rough—tumult and storm all in
horrid stone. It would well pay the painter of coast scenery to spend a
fall and winter upon these shores. The breaking of the waves upon such
rocks as these must be an astonishing spectacle of power and fury. The
charge and the retreat of billows upon slopes of rock so torn and
shattered, for miles and miles at the same moment, Mr. Hutchinson
repeatedly declares, is one of the most brilliant and imposing sights on
earth. While C—— is painting, I have been writing these periods, and
clambering the mossy cliffs for plants and flowers. Half-past 7, and
Captain Knight below, waiting for us near the mouth of the chasm. The
fishing-fleet is dispersing, homeward-bound, and we are now ready to put
up paint and pencil, and join in the general run.

There is nothing like a dash of peril to wake one up. Now that I am
quietly sitting by the cabin candles, I will sketch you our passage in.
These notes are usually taken on the spot; upon the occasion of which I
am at present speaking, my note-book was buttoned in pretty tightly in
its pocket.

It was blowing a gale, but, fortunately for us, from the land. In from
sea, the same wind would have driven all into the surf. Close-reefed as
we were, and under the island, with a capital craft, and Captain Knight,
the very best of sailors, it was quite enough for us. We were almost
over at times. The sharp, short seas thumped our bows like
sledge-hammers. The spray flashed across like water from an engine.
There were the hum and trembling of a swiftly revolving wheel. When she
came into the wind for a tack, all shook and cracked again, and then
sang on shrill and wildly as shuttle-like we shot to the next point of
turning. A few small islands make a net-work of channels. Through this
entanglement we and the fishing-fleet were now making our way home,
crossing and recrossing, shooting here and there, singly and in pairs,
with sails black, white, and red—a lively and picturesque sight, and
just the prettiest play in all the world. In a narrow strait leading
into the harbor, we were nearly baffled. The tempest, for to such it had
increased, at some moments, seemed to fall upon us from above,
flattening the swells, and sweeping the spray about as a whirlwind
sweeps the dust. Back and forth we darted between the iron shores,
wheeling in the nick of time, and losing nearly as often as we gained.
C—— and I lay close below the booms, and watched the strife as one
might watch a battle round the corner of a wall. Wrapped in heavy
overcoats, and wet and chilly, we came, notwithstanding, to enjoy it
vastly. C—— fairly overflowed with fun and humor. But what admirable
sailors are these northern seamen, in their schooner whaleboats! the
very Tartars and Camanches of the ocean! They go off to the
fishing-grounds in stormy weather, and stay with unconquerable patience
at their hard and dangerous labor. Under the cliffs of Cariboo we glided
into calm water, and looked back at the dark and troubled deep, in broad
contrast with the clouds and icebergs resplendent with rosy sunlight.



                             CHAPTER XLII.


    AFTER THE ICEBERG OF BELLE ISLE.—THE RETREAT TO CARTWRIGHT’S
    TICKLE.—BRIDGET KENNEDY’S COTTAGE, AND THE LONELY STROLL OVER
    CARIBOO.

WEDNESDAY, _July 13_. We rise with the intention of spending the day in
Belle Isle water to the south, around what we call the Great Castle
Berg—an object, from the first, of our particular regard. The breeze
freshens from the north, but the Captain thinks we may lie safely to the
leeward of the ice, and so sketch and write. Battle Harbor has a narrow
and shallow passage into the south water. We have slipped through that,
and are now scudding before a pleasant northeaster, directly toward the
castle, and the northern cape of Belle Isle. We are having a long
ground-swell, roughened with a “lop” or short sea, and the promise of
high wind. The fishing boats, more out to sea, are putting in—a signal
for our retreat. We confess ourselves beaten for the day, and run for
Cartwright’s Tickle, a small inlet, a mile or so distant. And a merry
run of it we are having; a kind of experience to which we were put
yesterday afternoon. Wet with spray, and chilly, we are glad to jump
ashore at Mrs. Bridget Kennedy’s fishing-flake.

Kind woman, she was on the spot to ask us up “to warm, and take a drop
of tea,” although no later than 10 o’clock. Mrs. Kennedy, a smart Irish
widow of Newfoundland, is “the fisherman;” and has men and maidens in
her employ. While the tea was really refreshing, and the fire
acceptable, the smoke was terrible—a circumstance over which I wept
bitterly, wiping away the tears with one hand, while I plied the hot
drink with the other. From this painfully affecting scene I was
presently fain to retire to a sunny slope near by, where I was soon
joined by my companion in suffering, who indulged himself, perhaps too
freely, in remarks that reflected no great credit on the architect and
builder of Mrs. Kennedy’s summer-house and chimney. I cannot say that we
wasted, but we whiled away, not overwillingly, the best part of two
hours, looking around—looking across a bight of water, at a nest of
flakes and huts on the hill-side, to which Swiss cottages are
tame—looking over upon the good woman’s garden, the merest spot of
black, in which there is nothing but soil slightly freckled with
vegetation, fenced in with old fish-net to keep out the fowls, and a
couple of goats—looking at the astonishment of our sailors over a
syphon, made from the pliant, hollow stalk of a sea-weed, through which
water flowed from the surface of the sea into a basin placed upon the
beach; quite a magical performance they fancied it, until explained.

Tired of waiting for the wind to lull sufficiently for an escape back by
sea, I resolved to foot it over the hills to Battle Harbor, and have
come off alone. I am sitting on the moss, out of the breeze, on the warm
side of a crag, “basking in the noontide sun; disporting here like any
other fly.” A part of the aforesaid amusement consists in scribbling
these notes, and especially the ones relating our enjoyments and trials
at hospitable Bridget Kennedy’s.

From the hill-top above me I had a wide prospect of the dark, rough
ocean; and of darker and rougher land. Looking westerly, what should I
discover but the painter, silent and motionless, looking out from
another hill-top? Beyond him, far inland, is a chain of purple
mountains, lording it over the surrounding tumult of brown and sterile
hills, in the mossy valleys of which, they say, are dwarf woods of birch
and spruce, pretty brooks, and reaches of blue sea-water.

I have turned my walk back to the vessel, into a regular holiday stroll,
jotting down from time to time whatever happens to please me. These deep
amphitheatres opening out of the hills to the sea, are quite charming,
and novelties in landscape. And how almost painfully still they are! But
for the dull roar of the surf, they would be silent as paintings. The
cloudless sun, pouring its July brightness into them, gives them a
hot-house sultriness; and, in their moist places, almost a hot-house
growth. The universal moss, the turf of the country, carpets their
depths and graceful slopes, and lies upon their shelves like the richest
rugs; bright red, green, and yellow, and sprinkled with small,
sweet-smelling flowers. Along the margin of the sea all is cracked and
slashed, and has no pretty beach. Here now is a fast little brook,
eagerly driving its spirited steed down one of these rocky cuts. Pleased
with its speed, it hurras and cracks its whip, and swings its
white-plumed cap, all in its way, as if rivers were looking on, and
cataracts were listening with delight. Silly rivulet! it sounds like
water in a mill-wheel, and will in a moment more be lost in the great
deep. Here again, a few steps higher up the vale, the rill expands into
a pool, daintily cushioned round its edges. I lie down and drink; kneel
down and wash my hands; wash my handkerchief and spread it in the sun to
dry. Poor little fishes! They dart and dodge about, as if they had never
felt before the look of a human face. Over there is a bed of grass,
luxuriant as grain, with a sprinkling of those cotton-tufted rushes. And
I sing, as I sang in my boyhood:

                 “Green grow the rushes, O!
                  ’Tis neither you nor I do know,
                  How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.”

After this lyrical feat, I straighten up, and look all around, to see if
any one hears me, but only catch a glimpse of a tiny waterfall; a little
virgin all in white, spinning her silvery thread, as she looks out of
her chamber window among the rocks above. For all the world! Here comes
a fly—one of our own house flies—the same careless, familiar fellow,
whose motto is: “The dwelling owes me a living.” Now what do you expect,
you self-complacent little vagabond, standing here on my hand, and
rubbing your head at this rate, looking me in the face, with all the
thousand eyes you have, and none of the modesty of bugs finely dressed,
and vastly your superior? I do suppose myself the first Yankee here, and
here you are. Away with you! I have a mind to run up yonder soft and
sunny hill-side, and roll over and over to the bottom. I did run up the
hill-side, but not to roll back to the foot of it, on this most springy
of all turfs. I sat down and panted, wiping the moisture from my
forehead, and breathing the cool ocean breeze. A half hour’s walk
brought me over to the brow of the mountain, with the harbor and its
vessels at my feet.



                             CHAPTER XLIII.


    THE ICEBERG OF THE FIGURE-HEAD.—THE GLORY AND THE MUSIC OF THE
    SEA AT EVENING.

LATE in the afternoon, and the breeze gone down. We are off on the
gentle rollers of the Bay of St. Louis, after a low, broad iceberg,
covering, say, an acre of surface, and grounded in forty fathoms of
water. It has upon one extremity a bulky tower of sixty feet, on the
other, forty, and in the middle a huge pile of ice blocks of all shapes
and sizes, the ruins of some spire. While the outside of this heap of
fragments is white, with tints of green, touched here and there with
what seems to be the most delicate bronze and gilding; every crevice,
where there is a shadow lurking, is a blue, the purity and softness of
which cannot be described nor easily imagined. To one who has any
feeling for color, it has a sentiment as sweet as any thing in all
visible nature. A pure, white surface, like this fine opaque ice, seen
through deep shade produces blue, and such a blue as one sees in the
stainless sky when it is full of warmth and light. It is quite beyond
the rarest ultramarine of the painter. The lovely azure appears to
pervade and fill the hollows like so much visible atmosphere or smoke.
One almost looks to see it float out of the crystal cells where it
reposes, and thin away into colorless air.

We have just been honored by a royal salute from the walls of the
alabaster fortress. Our kind angels will keep us at a safer distance
than we are disposed to keep ourselves. A projecting table has fallen
with that peculiarly startling crack, quick as lightning and loud as
thunder. It seems impossible for my nerves to become accustomed to the
shock. I tremble, in spite of myself, as one does after a fright. The
explosion unquestionably has the voice of the earthquake and volcano. To
my surprise, I find myself with cold feet and headache—those unfailing
symptoms of sea-sickness. By the painful expression of his face, I
suspect the painter is even worse off than myself. It is impossible to
avoid feeling both vexed and amused at this companionship in misery. In
his case, the climax has been attained. Laying down box and brushes with
uncommon emphasis, he made a rapid movement to the edge of the boat, and
looked over at his own image reflected in the glassy, oily-rolling
swell, with loud and violent demonstrations of disagreement with
himself. After this unhappy outbreak, he wiped away the tears, and
returned subdued and composed to the gentler employment of the
paint-box.

It is nearly nine o’clock in the evening, with the downiest clouds
dropped around the retiring sun. What light must be behind them to fill
them with such wealth of color, and dye their front with such rich and
varied red! The very waves below bloom with a crimson splendor. C——
has finished his pictures, and we row around the berg, a singularly
irregular one, both above and below the surface. The surrounding water,
to the eye nearly black, is irradiated, star-like, with tracts of the
clear, tender green. The effect upon us is indescribably fine. I think
of deep down caverns of light shining up through the dark sea. The
blocks and bowlders, wrecks of former towers, which lie scattered and in
heaps upon the main berg, are like the purest alabaster on their outer
and upper sides, but of that heavenly azure in their fissures and
spaces, although wrapped in the one great shade of evening. We now pause
at the corner of the ice, and look down both its northern and western
fronts; the upper stories, to all appearance, in rough marble—the
lower, polished as a mirror. Almost over us, a Greek-like figure-head,
sculptured from shining crystal, gazes with serene majesty upon the
white daylight in the northwest. Possessed with the mournful and nearly
supernatural beauty, we forget the dangers of this intimacy. There is a
strange fascination, and particularly at this hour, that draws like the
fabulous music of the Sirens. We are headed homeward, riding silently
over the glassy waves. The surf rings in the hollows of the iceberg, and
sounds upon the shores like the last blows of the weary day.



                             CHAPTER XLIV.


    CAPE ST. CHARLES.—THE RIP VAN WINKLE BERG.—THE GREAT CASTLE
    BERG.—STUDIES OF ITS DIFFERENT FRONTS.

THURSDAY, _July 14_. Off again for the Great Castle Berg. The passage
from Battle Harbor into the south waters is a shallow, rocky lane, and
furnishes very rare studies of color in stone. A large agate cut across
would serve the painter very well as a sample of much that is seen here
along the rough margin of this little strait. Wave-washed, and sparkling
with mica and crystallizations, and tinged with green and yellow mosses
soft as plush, the rocks are frequently very beautiful. Foremost along
the coast, reaching southwest into the straits of Belle Isle, is Cape
St. Charles, a brown promontory, rising, as it recedes from the sea,
into rocky hills tinged with a pale green, the moss-pastures of the
reindeer. Beyond the cape is a bay with mountain shores, not unlike
those of Lake George. The fine smoke-like shadow along their sides is
dappled with olive-green and yellowish tracts of moss and shrubbery. The
annual expenditure of nature, on those poor mountains, for clothing and
decoration is very small. She furnishes holiday suits of cheap and
flimsy cloud, and the showy jewelry of the passing showers, but refuses
any bounteous outlay for the rich and sumptuous apparel of green fields
and forests. Beneath those sunny but desolate heights, there slumbers,
in the purple, calm waters, an iceberg with a form and expression that
harmonize with the landscape. I would call it the Rip Van Winkle
iceberg. It seems to have been lying down, but now to be half up,
reposing upon its elbow. Its head, recently pillowed on the drowsy
swells, wears a shapeless, peaked hat, from the tip of which is dropping
silvery rain through the warm, dreamy air. Between the calm and the
currents, our oarsmen are having a warm time of it. I lay hold and labor
until my hands smart, and I feel that hot weather has come at last to
Labrador.

[Illustration: PLATE N^o. 5.
ICEBERG IN THE MORNING MIST.—WHALEBOAT
Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway NY.]

We rest in front of the Great Castle Berg, the grand capitol of the city
of icebergs now in the waters of Belle Isle, and, if I except the
Windsor Castle Berg which we saw founder, the largest we have seen, and,
what is most likely, the largest we ever shall see. We merely guess at
the dimensions. Sailing up the Niagara in the little steamer, how wide
should you judge the falls to be from Table Rock across to the
horse-shoe tower? I judge this ice-front to be two-thirds that width,
and quite as high, if not higher, than the cataract. If this were
floated up into that grand bend of Niagara, I think it would fill a
large part of it very handsomely, with a tower rising sufficiently above
the brink of the fall to be seen from the edge of the river for some
distance above. Imagine the main sheet, reaching from Table Rock toward
the Horseshoe, to be silent ice, and you will have no very wrong notion
of the ice before us at this moment. I do not mean to say that it has
the bend of the great cataract, for it is on this side quite devoid of
flowing lines, and abounds with the perpendicular and horizontal for
about fifty feet from the water, when the long and very level lines
begin to be crossed by a fluted surface, resembling the folds of
carefully arranged drapery hanging gracefully from the serrated line at
the top. No other side will present this view at all. Change of position
gives an iceberg almost as many appearances as a cumulous cloud assumes
at sunset in the summer sky.

We have rounded an angle to the southern front, and look upon a
precipice of newly broken alabaster crowned with a lofty peak and
pinnacles. A slight sketch seems to satisfy the painter, and so we pass
round to the eastern or ocean side, at which Captain Knight, an
experienced iceberger, expresses both delight and surprise. It is a
cluster of Alpine mountains in miniature: peaks, precipices, slopes and
gorges, a wondrous multitude of shining things, the general effect of
which is imposing and sublime. We have been looking out from Battle
Island upon this for days, and never dreamed of all this world of forms
so grand and beautiful. Besides the main, there are two smaller bergs,
but all nothing more than the crowning towers and spires of the great
mass under the sea. Here is quite a little bay with two entrances, in
which the pale emerald waves dash and thunder, washing the pearly
shores, and wearing out glassy caverns. The marvellous beauty of these
ices prompts one to speak in language that sounds extravagant. Had our
forefathers lived along these seas, and among these wonders, we should
have had a language better fitted to describe them. I can easily suppose
that there must be a strong descriptive element in the Icelandic, and
even in the Greenlandic tongues. I am quite tired of the words: emerald,
pea-green, pearl, sea-shells, crystal, porcelain and sapphire, ivory,
marble and alabaster, snowy and rosy, Alps, cathedrals, towers,
pinnacles, domes and spires. I could fling them all, at this moment,
upon a large descriptive fire, and the blaze would not be sufficiently
brilliant to light the mere reader to the scene. I will give it up, at
least for the present, and remark merely that we have received what the
French newspapers occasionally receive—a warning. It came in the shape
of a smart cracking of rifles in some large reverberating hall. There is
undoubtedly at hand the finest opportunity one could wish of witnessing
an ice-fall. As it is now nearly 8 o’clock P. M., and the painting done,
we shall take a hasty leave, and content ourselves with a distant view
of ice-exhibitions, tame as they are, when contrasted with those more
dangerously close by. Our men have had some trouble in keeping the boat
up to the berg in the right place for painting, (so powerful is the
current on this side setting away,) and are glad of a change.



                              CHAPTER XLV.


    THE SAIL FOR ST. CHARLES MOUNTAIN.—THE SALMON FISHERS.—THE
    CAVERN OF THE ST. CHARLES MOUNTAIN.—BURTON’S
    COTTAGE.—MAGNIFICENT SCENE FROM ST. CHARLES MOUNTAIN.—THE
    PAINTING OF THE RIP VAN WINKLE BERG.—THE ICE-VASE, AND THE
    RETURN BY MOONLIGHT.

OUR sails are up, and we glide landward, stopping to warm at a hut on a
rocky islet. Two young fellows, engaged here in the salmon fishery,
welcomed us to their cabin, and soon made their rusty old cooking-stove
hot enough. The salmon are taken very much like our river shad, in nets
set in sheltered waters. We have frequently sailed past them, and seen
the salmon entangled in the meshes at quite a depth in the clear sea
water, where they have the singular appearance of yellow serpents
writhing and bounding in the folds of the seine—an optical illusion
caused by the distorting and magnifying effects of the rolling surface.
These young fishermen have several hogsheads filled, and are about
closing up for the season. They were not a little amused with the idea
of our coming so far to visit icebergs, but expressed surprise that we
would run the risk of being close about them in such warm weather. After
a walk over their island, the merest crest of rough rocks, in a storm
washed very nearly from end to end, we set off for St. Charles Mountain,
quite lofty and rising perpendicularly from the sea. It is gashed and
pierced with black chasms, some of which are whitened with a kind of
snowy glacier. We are now approaching a cavern to all appearance
spacious enough for the dusk of a very pretty little twilight, with a
doorway fifty feet in width and a clear three hundred feet high. The
summit of the hill is six hundred and twenty feet above the tide, and
the square-headed portal reaches all but half-way up. The ocean goes
deep home to the precipice, and so we sail right in. With the wet, black
walls and the chilly shade behind, we look back upon the bright,
sparkling sea and the shining icebergs. The sound of the waves rings and
rolls through the huge space like the deep bass of a mighty organ. We
retreat slowly, rising and sinking on the dark, inky swells coming in,
and steer for Mr. Burton’s, the sole inhabitant of the small bay close
by, where we hope for supper.

Between our landing and the supper, two hours passed, during which C——
painted the Rip Van Winkle berg, and I ascended the mountain. Crossing a
little dell to the west of the house, through which flow a couple of
tinkling rills bordered with rank grass, and sheeted with flowers white
and fragrant, I struck the foot of a small glacier, or chasm filled with
perpetual snow, and commenced the ascent. At first I was pleased with
the notion of climbing this mer-de-neige, and went up right merrily,
crossing and recrossing, stepping sharply into the thawing surface in
order to secure a good foothold. But as I wound my way up the cold
track, beginning to be walled in by savage crags, it seemed so lonesome,
and sounded so hollow below, and looked so far down and steep behind me,
that I became suspicious, and afraid, and timidly crept out upon its icy
edge, and leaped to the solid cliff. By this time I was too warm with a
heavy overcoat, and left it hanging upon a rock against my return. Cold
and windy as it was, I was glowing with heat when I reached the top.

The prospect was a new one to me, although long accustomed to mountain
views, and more impressive than any thing of the kind I can remember.
Rather more than half of the great circle was filled with the ocean; the
remainder was Labrador, a most desolate extent of small rocky mountains,
faintly tinted here and there with a greenish gray, and frequently
slanting down to lakes and inlets of the sea. It may be said that
Neptune, setting his net of blue waters along this solitary land, sprung
it at last and caught it full of these bony hills, so hopelessly hard
and barren, that he, poor old fellow, appears to have thought it never
worth his trouble to look after either net or game. Quite in the
interior were a few summits higher than the St. Charles, the one upon
which I was standing. The sun was looking red and fiery through long
lines and bars of dun clouds, and shed his rays in streams that bathed
the stern and gloomy waste with wonderful brightness. Seaward, the
prospect exceeds any power of mine at description. I have no expectation
of witnessing again any such magnificence in that field of nature. Poets
and painters will hereafter behold it, and feel how suggestive it is of
facts and truths, past, present, and to come. The coast—that irregular
and extended line far north, and far away south and west, upon which the
ocean and the continent embrace and wrestle—with its reefs and islets,
inlets, bays, and capes, waves breaking into snowy foam, twilight
shadows streaming out upon the sea from behind the headlands, and the
lights of sunset glancing through the gorges and valleys of the shore,
all combined to weave a fringe of glory both for land and ocean. The sky
over the ocean was of great extent, and gave a wonderful breadth and
vastness to the water. There was truly “the face of the deep.” And a
most awful, yet a glorious countenance it was, and most exquisitely
complexioned, reflecting faintly both the imagery and the hues of
heaven, the bright, the purple and the blue, the saffron and the rosy.
Belle Isle, with its steep shores reddening with light, lay in the
south, lovely to look upon but desolate in reality, and often fatal to
the mariner. Looking farther south and southwest, a dark line lay along
the sky—the coast of Newfoundland. I was looking up the straits of
Belle Isle. All the sea in that quarter, under the last sunlight, shone
like a pavement of amethyst, over which all the chariots of the earth
might have rolled, and all its cavalry wheeled with ample room.
Wonderful to behold! it was only a fair field for the steepled icebergs,
a vast metropolis in ice, pearly white and red as roses, glittering in
the sunset. Solemn, still, and half-celestial scene! In its presence,
cities, tented fields, and fleets dwindled into toys. I said aloud, but
low: “The City of God! The sea of glass! the plains of heaven”! The
sweet notes of a wood-thrush, now lost in the voices of the wind, and
then returning with soft murmurs of the surf, recalled me from the
reverie into which I had lapsed unconsciously, and I descended carefully
the front of the mountain until I stood just above the portal of the
lofty cavern into which we had sailed. The fishing-boats in a
neighboring cove, moored for the night, appeared like corks upon the
dark water, and Burton’s house like the merest box. He was just ashore
from his salmon-nets, and was tossing the shining fishes from his boat
to the rocks. I counted seven.

Coming round upon the northern slope, I was tempted by the mossy footing
to try the reindeer method, and went bounding to the right and left
until I was brought up waist-deep in a thicket of crisp and fragrant
evergreens. When I say thicket, do not fancy any ordinary cluster of
shrubs, such as is common, for example, among the Catskills. This, of
which I am speaking, and which is found spotting these cold hill-sides,
is a perfect forest in miniature, covering a space twenty or thirty feet
across, compact as a phalanx of soldiery, and from three feet to six
inches high. In fact, it reminds me of a train-band standing straight
and trim, and bristling with bayonets. The little troop looked as if it
was marching up the mountain, the taller ones in front, and the little
inch-fellows following in the rear, all keeping step and time. There are
gentlemen on the Hudson and around our cities, that would give a
thousand dollars for such a tiny little wood. It is an exquisite
curiosity, and must excel the dwarf shrubbery of the Japanese. The
little trees—no mere yearlings playing forest—are venerable with moss
and lichens, and bear the symbols of suffering and experience. All are
well-developed, complete trees, mimicking the forms and the ways of
majestic firs. The lower boughs droop with a sad, mournful air, and
their pointed tops look up into the sunshine and down upon the minute
shrubbery below, with the gloomy repose of dark, old pines. It made me
laugh. As I waded through the pigmy woods, running my fingers through
the loftier tops, as I would run them through the hair of a curly-headed
child, and stepping over hills and dales of green forest, I was highly
amused, both at the little woodlands and the moral of the thing. Cutting
an armful of the sweet-scented branches, and thinking of the children at
home as I dinted the mossy pincushions bright as worsted-work all over
the ground, I hastened to regain my coat, and get down to the
fisherman’s. The painter soon came in, when we sat down to an excellent
supper of tea and fried salmon, and presently set sail by moonlight.

Among the incidents of painting the berg, C—— related one of some
novelty. It was in deep water, but close to the shore, and so nicely
poised that it was evidently standing tiptoe-like on some point, and
vibrating largely at every discharge of ice. Near by as it was, he could
paint from the shore with security—a rare chance in summer. A heavier
fall than usual from the part fronting the land was followed by
correspondingly large vibrations, leaving the berg, after it had settled
to rest, leaning toward the sea with new exposures of ice. Among these
was an isolated mass resembling a superbly fashioned vase. Quite apart
from the parent berg, and close to the rocks, it first appeared slowly
rising out of the sea like some work of enchantment, ascending higher
and higher until it stood, in the dark waters before him, some twenty
feet in height—a finely proportioned vase, pure as pearl or alabaster,
and shining with the tints of emerald and sapphire throughout its
manifold flutings and decorations. It was actually startling. As it was
ascending from the sea, the water in the Titanic vase, an exquisite pale
green, spouted in all directions from the corrugated brim, and the waves
leaped up and covered its pedestal and stem with a drift of sparkling
foam. While in the process of painting this almost magical and beautiful
apparition, nearly one half of the bowl burst off with the crack of a
rifle, and fell with a heavy plunge into the sea. How much in olden
times would have been made of this! In the twilight of truth it is easy
to see that there is but a step, an easy and a willing step, from plain
facts into wild and fanciful forms of superstition. On our way back to
harbor, we passed the Rip Van Winkle iceberg, and saw his broken goblet
pale and spectral in the moonlight. How lengthy will be the slumbers of
the venerable wanderer beneath the shadows of the mountain, there is
none but the hospitable Burtons to report. For their sakes, whose
salmon-nets his ponderous movements along shore have greatly disturbed,
it is to be hoped he will speedily perish and be buried where he is, or
wake up and be off to sea with the dignity befitting an iceberg of so
much character.



                             CHAPTER XLVI.


    AFTER OUR LAST ICEBERG.—THE ISLES.—TWILIGHT BEAUTIES OF
    ICEBERGS.—MIDNIGHT ILLUMINATION.

FRIDAY, _July 15_. This is another of the summer days of Labrador, with
a soft, southerly wind, tempting one to ramble in spite of musquitoes
and black flies, which, though few, are uncommonly pestilent. The
painter is sleeping from very weariness, and I am loitering about these
cliffs, note-book in hand, in a drowsy state, for a similar reason.
These long days and late hours about headlands and icebergs are attended
with their pains as well as pleasures. From the tenor of my pages one
would think that all was joyous and interesting. Let him reflect, that
for his sake I record the joyous and the interesting, and pass by the
dull and the vexatious. I flit from frowning cliff to cliff where the
surf thunders and Leviathan spends his holiday among the capelin, and
linger in the sunshine and shadow of an iceberg, the choicest among
fifty, but give you but a suspicion of the common things between. The
sparkling points of the life of this novel voyage are for the reader’s
eye; the chill and the weariness, and the sea-sickness, and the mass of
things, lumpish and brown in “the light of common day,” are for that
tomb of the Capulets away back in the fields of one’s own memory. But to
return: this kind of life begins to wear upon us, to wear upon the
nerves, and suggests the importance of keeping dull and still awhile.

I find myself looking towards home, looking that way over the sea from
the hill-tops, and rather dreading the rough and tumble and chances of
the journey. I regret that time will not permit a continuation of the
voyage, at least as far as Sandwich Bay, where the mountains are now
covered with snow. We shall visit, this afternoon and evening, our last
iceberg, and mainly for some experiments with lights. The rocks here,
among which I saunter, are a kind of gallery tufted with wild grass and
herbage, up to which a few goats climb from the dwellings near our
vessel, and upon a patch of which I lounge and scribble. If there were
any spirit in me, the fine prospect, although somewhat familiar, would
awaken some fresh thoughts and feelings. One thought comes swelling up
from the sluggish depths—it is this: There is a fascination in these
northern seas, with their ices and their horrid shores. The arctic
voyagers feel and act under its impulse. I can understand their
readiness to return to polar scenes.

Late in the afternoon, sailing up the bay, after an ugly iceberg of no
particular shape or remarkable attraction. In New York Bay, it would be
thought a most splendid thing, and so indeed it would be; but here, in
contrast with the great berg of Belle Isle water, and many others, it is
a small matter, a harmless and dull specimen of its kind. Its merit is
its convenience. And yet, let me tell you, we pause in our approach at a
distance of seventy yards. I am not willing to go any nearer upon this,
the cliff side. The agent, Mr. Bendle, told us this morning, that when
he first came from England to these shores, he was fond of playing about
icebergs, and once rowed a boat under a lofty arch, passing quite
through the berg, a thing that he could not now be persuaded to attempt.
The wind blows rather strongly, and we lie to the leeward of the ice,
rolling quite too much for painting. There is no accounting for these
currents which flow in upon, and flow away from these bergs. The
submarine ice so interferes with the upper and lower streams that the
surface water rolls and whirls in a manner upon which you cannot
calculate. Under the leeward here, one would naturally suppose that the
current would set toward the ice, and require an effort on our part to
keep away. The contrary is the case. Two good oars are busy in order to
hold us up to our present position. The wind and the swell increase, and
so we make sail and scud to some small islands distant half a mile. We
moor our boat under the shelter of the rocks and clamber up, look around
upon the ruins washed and rusty, and take a run.

At seven o’clock I sit down on the warm side of a crag, and look about
with the intention of seeing what there is worth looking at in a spot to
which one might flee who was tired of seeing too much. Upon the word of
a quiet man, I find myself in the very middle of the beautiful, and
ought to be thankful that we are here, and wish that we might be
suffered to come again. And what is there here? Wise men have written
volumes over less. I do not know but here are groups of the South Sea
Isles in miniature. For example, separated from us by a narrow gulf of
water, and such clear, bright water, is an islet with a ridge, a kind of
half-moon crest, carpeted with olive-tinted moss, over which the lone
sun pours a stream of almost blinding light. What glory the God of
nature sheds upon these rugged outworks of the earth! The painter that
could faithfully repeat upon canvas this one effect of light would leave
Claude and Cole, and the like, far enough behind to be forgotten. The
wind is lulling; the sun touches and seems to burn the crest of the
island opposite, after eight o’clock. C—— is finishing a sketch; the
Captain and I have been hunting the sea-pigeons’ nests, a pair of which
keep flying off and on; and now the men are making the boat ready for
our twilight and evening play around “the ugly iceberg.” How glad the
poor little family of ducks must be, from whose home we have driven
them, that we are going away. They have been pretending to swim off, and
yet have managed to keep back near enough to watch us over the shoulder,
ever since we arrived. Timid, cunning fellows, how much they appear to
know! A stone disperses them, some to the wing and some to the bottom;
and now here they are again, all riding the same swell, and seeming to
swim away while they watch our motions, continually turning their slick,
black heads quickly over the shoulder.

If you would look upon the perfectly white and pure, see an iceberg
between you and the day’s last red heavens. If you would behold perfect
brilliancy, gaze at the crest of an iceberg cutting sharply into those
same red heavens. To all appearance it will burn and scintillate like a
crown of costly gems. In all its notched, zigzag and flowing outline, it
palpitates and glitters as if it were bordered with the very lightning.
He that watches the Andean clouds of a July sunset, and beholds them
rimmed, now with pink and rose-hues, and now with golden fire, will see
the edges of an iceberg when it stands against the sky glowing with the
yellow and orange blaze of sunset. We go to the skies for pure azure;
you will find it at twilight in these wonderful Greenland ices. I am
looking now upon what mimics the ruins of a tower, every block of which,
in one light, gleams like crystal; in another, as if they had been
quarried from the divinest sky. Cloud-like and smoke-like, they look
light as the cerulean air. This, as I have said already, is the effect
of perfect white seen through deep, transparent shadow. True azure is
the necessary result. More than enough, it would seem, has been said of
these forms and colors. But really the eye never wearies of these arctic
palaces so grandly corniced and pillared; these sculptures so
marvellously draped. As we gaze at them, even in this meagre and common
berg, under this delicate light veiled with the dusk of evening, they
are astonishing in their beauty. I look at them with joyful emotions,
with wonder and with love. Why do they not rustle with a silken, satin
rustle?

After dark, we sailed round to the northern extremity, where from the
lowness of the ice it was more safe to approach it, and dropped sail in
order to experiment with the blue lights furnished us by the governor.
Rowing up quite closely, within eight yards perhaps, C——, who stood
ready upon the bow, fired a couple. In the smoke and glare “we were a
ghastly crew,” while the berg was rather obscured than beautified. We
then rowed round to the side where the current was setting rapidly
towards the ice, and launched a flaming tar-barrel. With a stone for
ballast, it kept upright, and floated in fine style directly into the
face of the berg—an irregular cliff of sixty feet, pierced with
caverns. It was kept for some time under a succession of the brightest
flashes of pink light. Upon one slope of the swells the sheaf of red
flames gushing from the barrel would be turned from, on the other,
toward the ice. Thus the whole eastern front was kept changing from
light to darkness, from darkness to light. As the brightness was flung
back and forth from the sea to the berg, and from the berg to the sea,
the effect was exceedingly novel and beautiful. When the swells bore the
full-blown torch into a cave, and its ruddy tongues were licking the
green, glassy arches, we hoisted sail and went gaily bounding back to
harbor. For a while, the fire shot its fitful rays over the lonely
waters, and gleamed “like a star in the midst of the ocean.” At last it
was quenched in the distant gloom. A ghostly figure with dim outline was
all that was visible, and our work and play with icebergs were
over—over forever. It was midnight and past, when we dropped sails
alongside the vessel, after a quick run, enlivened, as we entered the
harbor, by a sudden display of the northern-light.



                             CHAPTER XLVII.


    FAREWELL TO BATTLE HARBOR.—THE STRAITS OF BELLE ISLE.—LABRADOR
    LANDSCAPES.—THE WRECK OF THE FISHERMEN.

SATURDAY, _July 16_. “Once more upon the waters, yet once more.” We were
awakened from sound slumbers by the footsteps and voices of the men
above, making ready for sea. It was a pleasant sound, and the sunshine
streaming down into the cabin was welcome intelligence of the brightness
of the morning. We dressed in time to get on deck, and wave a final
adieu to our friends, from whom we had formally parted yesterday, as
well as from Mr. and Mrs. Bendle, of whose hospitality we bear away
agreeable recollections.

And now the broad Atlantic is before, and Cape St. Louis, its waters and
its ices, behind the intervening islands. The signal staffs of Battle
and Cariboo Islands are yet visible from the high rocks that overlook
that busy nest of fishermen, with its steepled church and parsonage.
God’s love abide with the man that lives there, and ministers to the
religious wants of men, women, and children, who have little else than
respect and affection to make his home comfortable and happy. While kind
hearts, and none kinder than those of the Esquimaux, throb beneath rough
manners and uncomely raiment, there are wicked spirits there, no doubt,
as everywhere, that hurt and hinder, and never help, and render the
solitary path among the rocks insufferably lonesome and painful. The
remembrances of famous and beloved kindred, of old and honored
Cambridge, and of the quiet rectory under the Malvern Hills, are much to
a cultivated and sensitive nature; the bliss that flows from daily
duties cheerfully done with an habitual resignation to the will of God,
and with hopes of glory in the future, is more than recollections, to a
heart whose motive powers are Christian faith and love. But amid all the
sweetest memories, and the brightest hopes, and the comforting
satisfaction of believing well and doing well, it is a fearful thing for
cultivated man to toil in solitude and deprivation. Although heaven is
above him, and his pathway certainly upward, yet a double portion of all
those good and perfect gifts coming from above, be awarded to the man
whose parish is in Labrador; who, when he leaves the still companionship
of books for the toils of the gospel from door to door, must take down
either his oars or his snow-shoes, and sweep over the snow-drift or the
billow.

We now beat slowly up the straits of Belle Isle for the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, hoping to pass these dangerous waters by daylight. They are
very fair to look upon at this time of day, studded in all directions
with those shining palaces of ice seen from the top of St. Charles
Mountain. The coast hills have a graceful outline, and slant quite
smoothly down, abutting on the sea in low broken cliffs. They resemble
the hills of Maine and Canada after April thaws, while the heavier
snow-drifts yet remain, and the yellow brown sod is patched with faint
green. Forsaken country! if that can be called forsaken which appears
never to have been possessed. Doleful and neglected land! Chilly
solitude keeps watch over your unvisited fields, and frightens away the
glory of the fruitful seasons. The loving sunshine and the healing
warmth wander hand in hand tenderly abroad, calling upon the lowly moss
to wake up and blossom, and to the tiny, half-smothered, flattened
willows to rise and walk along the brook banks. But the white-coated
police of winter, the grim snow-drifts, watch on the craggy battlements
of desolation, and luxuriance and life peep from their dark cells only
to sink back pale and spiritless. To a traveller there is real beauty on
the tawny desert and the wild prairie; but there is to me an awful
lonesomeness and gloom in these houseless wastes where the eye with an
insane perverseness will keep looking for cottage smokes and pasture
fences. I think of landscapes drying off after the flood.

The bergs are in part behind us, and we are rocking on the easy swells
of Henly Harbor, where we can glean no more signs of human “toil and
trouble” than are just enough to tie a name to, and quite a pretty name
too. The lazy sails flap idly in the sunshine, and the cold air cuts
with the sharpness of a frosty October morning. I sit in the July heat
with overcoat, and cloak over the overcoat, woollen mittens and woollen
stockings, and with cold feet at that. And yet this miserable shore has,
in its cod and salmon, attractions for thousands of people during the
transient summer. Even the long and almost arctic winter with its seals
and foxes detains hundreds. But, as a fisherman told me one day, while
tossing upon the dock with his pitchfork a boat-load of cod, “It is a
poor trade.” It is a little trying to patience to be rolling in this
idle way, with the creak of spars and the rattling of blocks and
rigging, especially as a breeze has been winging the blue water for an
hour not more than a mile ahead of us. We do move a little, just a
little, enough to keep the hope breathing that we shall soon move off
with reasonable speed.

The current is almost a river stream, and we are drifting rapidly, which
is not a pleasant thing to be thinking about, with these waters scouring
the very banks, and a short cable. I am gazing back upon the southern
point of Belle Isle with a mournful interest. It was only the night of
the second, the same night we ran into Twillingate to escape a gale,
that a vessel was lost there, and all, or nearly all, on board perished.
At this moment there is a faint line of white, but not a murmur. All
looks quiet there and peaceful, as if the lion was going up to lie down
with the lamb.

[Illustration: PLATE N^o. 6.
ICEBERG IN THE STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE
Lith. of Sarony Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway NY.]



                            CHAPTER XLVIII.


         SKETCHING THE PASSING BERGS.—THE STORY OF AN ICEBERG.

THE painter is a model of industry, sketching and painting the bergs as
we pass them. They are now clustered on the northern horizon, with a few
exceptions. We have been for some time near one, out of which might be
cut an entire block of Broadway buildings, evidently presenting the same
upper surface that it had when it slid as a glacier from the polar
shore. If such is the fact, we infer that in its long glacial experience
it could not have remained long near any mass of earth higher than
itself, for there is not a stone or particle of dust or earthy stain
upon it. It is as spotless as a cloud “after the tempest.” How beautiful
is the sentiment of it! It carries the imagination away to those
heavenly walls depicted in Revelation, and sends it back upon the track
of its own story.

The story of an iceberg! yes, indeed; and a most wonderful tale would it
be, could it be truthfully written. It would run up into, and become
lost in the story of the great glaciers of Greenland; the half of which
science itself has not learned, profoundly as it has penetrated the
mysteries of the Alpine glaciers.

There are valleys reaching from the interior to the coast, filled with
glaciers of great depth and breadth, which move forward with an
imperceptible but regular motion. The continent, as one might call
Greenland, does not shed the bulk of its central waters in fluid rivers,
but discharges them to the ocean in solid, crystalline, slowly
progressing streams. They flow, or rather march, with irresistible,
mighty force, and far-resounding footsteps, crossing the shore line, a
perpetual procession of block-like masses, flat or diversified with hill
and hollow on the top, advancing upon the sea until too deeply immersed
longer to resist the buoyant power and pressure of the surrounding
waters, when they break upwards, and float suspended in the vast oceanic
abyss. The van of the glacial host, previously marked off by fissures
into ranks, rushes from the too close embrace of its new element, and
wheels away, an iceberg—the glistening planet of the sea, whose mazy,
tortuous orbit none can calculate but Him who maps the unseen currents
of the main.

When and where, on the lengthy Greenland coast, did this huge block make
the grand exchange of elements? Which, if any of these great buildings
“not made with hands,” now whitening the blue fields of Neptune,
followed or preceded it? What have been its solemn rounds? Through what
winters has it slept, and caught the snows upon the folds of its
sculptured draperies? How many summers has it bared its spotless bosom
to the sun and rains? What nights of auroral splendors have glassed
their celestial countenance in its shining mirrors? What baths and vases
of blue water have opened their pure depths to moon and stars? What
torrents and cascades have murmured in its glassy chasms, crystal
grottoes, Alpine dells? And who shall count its battles with the waves
and tempests, when with the surf about its shoulders and among its
locks, and the clouds around its brow, it stood far up from the
unsounded valleys of ocean “tiptoe on the mountain top”?

In the defiles and gorges of the Arctic coast are prodigious
accumulations of ice—the congelation of small streams flowing from the
adjacent mountains—the glaciers of the coast range, in short. These
gradually encroach upon, and overhang the sea; and are continually
breaking off, from the undermining of the waves which beat at their
base. Such is the depth of water, that the hugest avalanche of ice can
fall with safety to itself, and float away.

When, and in what bay or inlet, may this Great Northern have been
launched? Out of what gloomy fiord may have rolled the billows, after
its icy fastenings were loosed, and it slid, with the thunder of an
earthquake, down its slippery ways, and plunged into the black deep?

Until science have her beaten pathway over polar waves and hills, and
measure the rain-falls and the snow-falls, and the freezings of the one
and the compactings of the other, the story of the glacier and the
iceberg, in their native land and seas, will be left, in part, to the
imagination—a faculty, after all, that will ever deal with those
wonderful ices about as satisfactorily as the faculty that judges
according to the sense, as Bishop Leighton calls the mere scientific
faculty. The truth of this is illustrated by the very icebergs about us.
Emphatically as they speak to the naturalist with his various
instrumentalities, they speak, at the same moment, with marvellous
eloquence to the poet and the painter. There are forces, motions, and
forms, voices, beauties, and a sentiment, which escape the touch of
science, and are scarcely caught by the subtle, poetic mind. Icebergs,
to the imaginative soul, have a kind of individuality and life. They
startle, frighten, awe; they astonish, excite, amuse, delight and
fascinate; clouds, mountains and structures, angels, demons, animals and
men spring to the view of the beholder. They are a favorite playground
of the lines, surfaces and shapes of the whole world, the heavens above,
the earth and the waters under: of their sounds, motions and colors
also. These are the poet’s and the painter’s fields, more than they are
the fields of the mere naturalist, much as they are his. Do not these
fifty bergs, in sight from any crag frowning in its iron strength above
the surf, speak more a living language to the creative, than to the
mensural faculty? Let us see.

They have a daily experience, and a current history more remarkable now
than ever. Whatever may have been the wonders of their conception, birth
and growth; however lengthy and devious their voyage, they are present
in these strange seas, in these tepid waters and soft airs, to undergo
their last, fatal changes, and dissolve forever into their final tomb.
There are fifty icebergs, more or less. Apparently similar in
appearance, yet each differs widely from all others. Exhibiting similar
phenomena, yet each has complexions, movements, sounds and wonders of
its own. If we choose, though, to add to the performances of to-day,
those of yesterday and to-morrow, we shall find that the experience of
any one berg closely resembles that of all. The entire circle of its
looks and doings corresponds with the circle of nearly every other berg,
and so of all together, differing merely in the matter of time—as to
_when_ the changes take place. The description upon which I will
venture, and which might be gleaned from the foregoing pages, is,
therefore, strictly true, except that the phases and accidents are
supposed to occur in rapid succession. In a word, what you would behold
in all of these fifty, within twenty-four hours, you are to fancy of
one, in the course of an afternoon.

I have before me, in my mind’s eye, the Windsor Castle berg, fresh from
the north, and the Great Castle berg, of Belle Isle water, which it
entered early last May, and as large, at the time of its arrival, as
both of them at present combined. And so I am looking at a veritable
berg of Cape St. Louis, small, though, in comparison with the berg of
Cape St. Francis, “a vast cathedral of dazzling white ice, with a front
of 250 feet perpendicular from the sea,” visited by the Bishop of
Newfoundland in the summer of 1853.

I will describe, first, the figure of the berg. It is a combination of
Alp, castle, mosque, Parthenon and cathedral. It has peaks and slopes;
cliffs, crags, chasms and caverns; lakes, streams and waterfalls. It has
towers, battlements and portals. It has minarets, domes and steeples;
roofs and gables; balustrades and balconies; fronts, sides and
interiors; doors, windows and porches; steps and entrances; columns,
pilasters, capitals and entablatures; frieze, architrave and cornice;
arches, cloisters, niches, statuary and countless decorations; flutings,
corrugations, carvings, panels of glassy polish and in the rough; Greek,
Roman, Gothic, Saracenic, Pagan, Savage. It is crested with blades and
needles; heaped here and there with ruins, blocks and bowlders,
splintered and crumbled masses. This precipice has a fresh, sharp
fracture; yonder front, with its expanse of surface beautifully
diversified with sculptured imagery and other ornament, has the polish
of ivory—the glassy polish of mirrors—the enamel of sea-shells—the
fierce brightness of burnished steel—the face of rubbed marble—of
smoothest alabaster—of pearl—porcelain—lily-white flesh—lily-white
wax—the flesh-finish of beauty done in the spotless stone of Italy.
This, though, is but the iceberg of the air; the head and crown only of
the iceberg of the deep sea.

From the figure of the berg, I will come to describe an important
feature of its life and history: its motion; not its movement from place
to place, but upon its centre—its rotation and vibration. Where the
berg is not grounded—in which case it only beats and sways to and fro,
vibrating through the arc of a circle like an inverted pendulum—when it
is not grounded, it must be supposed to hang suspended at the
surface—all but the topmost part—just _under_ the surface of the
ocean, very much as a cloud, a great white thunder-head, hangs suspended
in the upper air. Balanced around its heart, far down in the deep, and
in its cold solidity “dry as summer dust”—poised upon its centre with
perfect exactness, it is evident that the loss of a single ton of ice
shifts that centre, shifts it an ounce-notch on the bar of the mighty
scale, destroys the equilibrium, and subjects the whole to the necessity
of some small movement in order to regain its rest. When, instead of one
ton, thousands fall off, it sets a rolling the whole clifted and
pinnacled circumference.

And here begins that exhibition of novel forms and shapes, and of awful
force, and the sublimity of stupendous masses in motion, that so
impresses, awes, startles, and fascinates the beholder. A berg in
repose, wondrous as it is to him that dares to linger in its presence,
differs from itself in action, as a hero in his sleep differs from
himself upon the field of battle.

With regard to the motions of the berg, it must be borne in mind, that,
from the fact of its centre being not on a level with the surface of the
sea, but at depths below, they are quite different from what might at
first be imagined. A rough globe, revolving upon its axis, with but a
small portion of its bulk, say a twelfth, above the water; or, better
still, the hub and spokes merely of a common wagon wheel, slowly rolling
back and forth, will serve for illustration. The uppermost spoke, in its
vibrations to the right and left, describes a line of some extent along
the surface, not unlike an upright stick moving to and fro, and
gradually rising and sinking as it moves. In this movement back and
forth, the two adjacent spokes will be observed to emerge and disappear
correspondingly. In this way, a berg of large diameter, instead of
falling over upon the sea like a wall or precipice, appears to advance
bodily, slowly sinking as it comes, with a slightly increasing
inclination toward you. In its backward roll, this is reversed. It seems
to be retreating, slowly rising as it floats away, with a slightly
increasing inclination from you. In these grand vibrations, projecting
points and masses of opposite sides correspondingly emerge and
disappear, rising apparently straight up out of the sea on this side,
going down as straight on the other.

From the figure and motion of the berg, I come to describe the motive
power, rather the explosive power, through which the delicate balance is
destroyed, and motion made a necessity in order to gain again
equilibrium and rest. Whatever may be the latent heat of ice, is a
question for the professed naturalist. Two things are evident to the
unlearned observer: an iceberg is as solid as ivory, or marble from the
lowest depths of a quarry, and cold apparently as any substance on the
earth can be made. This compact and perfectly frozen body, immersed in
the warm seas of summer, and warmer atmosphere, finds its entire
outside, and especially that portion of it which is exposed to the July
sun, expanding under the influence of the penetrating heat. The scrutiny
of science would, no doubt, find it certain that this heat, in some
measure, darts in from all sides in converging rays to the very heart.
The expanding power of heat becomes at length an explosive force, and
throws off, with all the violence and suddenness of gunpowder, in
successive flakes, portions of the surface. The berg, then, bursts from
expansion, as when porcelain cracks with sharp report, suddenly and
unequally heated on the winter stove. Judge of the report when the
porcelain of a great cliff cracks and falls, or when the entire berg is
blasted asunder by the subtle, internal fire of the summer sun! If you
would hear thunders, or whole broadsides and batteries of the heaviest
ordnance, come to the iceberg then.

Speaking incidentally of noises, reminds me of the hues and tints of the
iceberg. Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like the flowers of
the field. Would you behold this berg apparelled with a glory that
eclipses all floral beauty, and makes you think, not only of the clouds
of heaven at sunrise and sunset, but of heaven itself, you must come to
it at sunrise and at sunset. Then, too, you would hear its voices and
its melodies, the deep and mournful murmuring of the surf in its
caverns. Hark! In fancy I hear them now, half thunder, and half the
music of some mighty organ.

And this reminds me of the sea, which shares with the iceberg something
of the glory and the power. In the first place, from the white
brightness of the ice, the eye is tuned to such a high key, or so
stimulated and bedazzled, that the ocean is not only dark by contrast,
but dark in reality. It is purple, so deep as to amount almost to
blackness—an evening violet I would call it, a complexion magnificent
and rich exceedingly in the blaze of noon, and at late and early hours
when the skies are full of brilliant colors. What heightens the effect
of this dye of the ocean, is the pale emerald water around the berg, and
in which it floats as in a vast bath, the loveliness, clarity and divine
beauty of which no language can paint in a way to kindle the proper
feeling and emotion. From ten to fifty feet in breadth, it encircles the
berg, a zone or girdle of sky-green, that most delicate tint of the
sunset heavens, and lies, or plays with a kind of serpent play, between
the greenish white ice and the violet water, as the bright deeps of air
lie beyond the edge of a blue-black cloud. There is no perceptible
blending, but a sharp line which follows, between the bright and the
dark, the windings of the berg, across which you may, if you have the
temerity, row the bow of your whale-boat, and gaze down, down the
fearfully transparent abyss, until the dim ice-cliffs and the black
deeps are lost in each other’s awful embrace.

I have spoken of the figure, motion, and the breaking of the iceberg,
incidentally mentioning its sounds, its colors, and the surrounding
waters. You are now ready to go with us, and spend the afternoon about
it. Early in the morning, and for the last hour, all but its heights and
peaks has been wrapped in cloud-like fog. That, you discover, is
thinning off, and will presently all pass away. The breeze is fresh from
the north, and we will sail down upon the north-eastern side, until we
have it between us and the 3 o’clock sun. We are upon soundings, and, as
we glide from the broad sunny tract into the shadow of the berg, the
ocean should be green, a deep green. But we have been sailing with the
white ice in our eyes, and you see the ocean a dark purple. The captain
drops sail, and sets the men at their oars. As the current sets back
from the berg—the reverse of the current below—you notice that they
are pulling slowly, but steadily forward without any perceptible
advance. We are distant a good hundred yards, as near again as we ought
to be for safety. But this is the position for the painter, and it will
be the care of the captain to keep it, the required time, as nearly as
possible.

As the broad roller lifts us lightly and gracefully, and leaves us
sinking on its after-slope, how majestic is the silent march of it, the
noiseless flight of it! But look!—look!—as it flees in all its
imposing breadth of darkness, see the great, green star upon its
breast—a spangle green as grass, as the young spring grass in the
sunshine, gleaming like some skylight of the deep, some emerald window
in the dome of the sea-palace, letting up the splendor. What do you
suppose that is? It is ice, a point of the berg pricking up into the
illuminated surface and reflecting the light. You will understand that
better, perhaps, by and by. But wait an instant. Now!—now!—Beauty
strikes the billow with her magic rod, and, presto—change!—all is
glittering green. A thousand feet of purple, cloud-like wave passes, in
the twinkling of an eye, into the brightness of an emerald gem, and thus
rolls up and smites the iceberg. And thus, like night perpetually
bursting into the splendid noon, roll up the billows, and strike the
minutes of the hour. How beautiful is the transfiguration! See them
split upon this angle of the castle; and as they run along the walls,
with the whispery, hissing sound of smoothly sliding waters, mark how
high they wash, and sweep them with their snowy banners, here and there
bending over, and curling into long scrolls of molten glass, which burst
in dazzling foam, and plunge in many an avalanche of sparkling jewelry.
Into the great porch of yonder Parthenon they rush in crowds, and
thunder their applause upon the steps.

Is not all this very grand and beautiful? Have you ever seen the like
before? The like of it is not to be seen upon the planet, apart from the
icebergs. With cold, fixed, white death, life—warm, elastic,
palpitating, glorious, powerful life—is wrestling, and will inevitably
throw. Do you see “the witchery of the shadows”? Pray look aloft.
Castle, temple, cliff, all built into one, are draped with shadows
softer than the tint of doves, the morning’s early gray, dappled with
the warm pearly blues of heaven, and edged with fire. The sun is behind
the ice, and the light is pouring over. A flood of light is pouring
over. All is edged with fire, streaming with lightning; all its notched
and flowing edges hemmed with live, scintillating sunshine, ruby,
golden, green, and blue. See you below that royal sepulchre through its
crystal door? Beauty hangs her lamp in there, and the sky-blue shadow
looks like the fragrant smoke of it. Now tell me, was there ever any
thing more lovely? Have the poets dreamed of rarer loveliness? The surf
springs up like an angel from the tomb, and, with a shout of triumph,
strikes it with its silvery wings. Ha! you start. But do not be
frightened. It was only the cracking of the iceberg. But was there ever
such a blow?—quick—tremulous—ringing—penetrating. Why, it jarred the
sea, and thrilled the heart like an electric shock. One feels as if the
berg had dropped, instantly dropped an inch, and cracked to the very
core. Captain Knight, shall we not fall back a little? we are surely
getting too close under.

While I have been talking, the painter, who sits midship, with his thin,
broad box upon his knees, making his easel of the open lid, has been
dashing in the colors. The picture is finished, and so, at the word, the
men pull heavily at their oars, and we come round upon the
south-eastern, or the cathedral front, as I will call it, from the fact
that the general appearance is architectural, and the prevailing style,
the Gothic. A dome and minaret, curiously thrown in upon one wing of the
berg, and some elaborately cut arches opening through the water-line
into the cloister-like cavern, would suggest the Saracenic. But the
pointed and the perpendicular prevail, springing up full of life and
energy, vivid and flame-like in their forms.

As the berg faces, we are getting the last glances of the 4 o’clock sun,
and have broad sheets of both light and shadow. You see how spirited the
whole thing is. It is full of brilliant, strong effects. While the
hollows and depressions harbor the soft, slaty shadows, points and
prominences fairly blaze and sparkle with sunshine. The current now, you
discover, sweeps us past the ice, and compels us to turn about and row
up the stream. Here is the point where all is strong and picturesque,
and here they hold on for the painter. Let us sit upon the little
bow-deck, and look, and listen to the noises of the waves at play in the
long, concealed, under-sea piazza. How they slap the hollow arches!
Hisses, long-drawn sighs, booming thunder-sounds, mingle with low
muttering, plunging, rattling, and popping—a bedlam of all the lunatic
voices of the ocean. We appear to be at the edge of a shower, such a
sprinkling and spattering of drops. All abroad, and all aloft, from
every edge and gutter the iceberg spouts, and rains, and drips. Over the
entire face of the ice is flowing swiftly down one noiseless river thin
as glass, looking, for all the world, like the perpetual falling of a
transparent veil over the richest satin. Here and there, the delicate
stream cuts into the silvery enamel, and engraves, in high relief,
brilliant shields of jewelry, diamonds, rubies, amethysts, emeralds and
sapphires. But yonder is a rare touch of the enchanter. Pray, look at it
carefully. It is a glistening blue line of ice, threading the whiteness
from top to bottom, a good two hundred feet. It looks as if the berg
were struck, not with lightning, but with sapphire. It is simply
transparent ice, and may be compared to a fissure filled with pellucid
spring-water, with depths of darkness beyond the visible, illuminated
edge. Darkness below the pure light flowing in, and reflecting from the
inner sides of the white ice, gives us the blue. You understand the
process by which so beautiful a result is effected? Well, the glacier of
which this berg is a kind of spark, is mainly compacted snows,
compressed to metallic hardness in the omnipotent grasp of nature. As it
slides on the long, inland valley slope, it bends and cracks. The
surface-water fills the crevice, and is frozen. Thus the glacier is
mended, but marked forever with the splendid scar which you see before
you. You fancy it has the hardness of a gem; it is softer than the
flinty masses between which it seems to have been run like a casting. On
the opposite slope of the berg, you will find it the channel of a
torrent, melting and wearing faster than the primitive ice.

How terribly startling is this explosion! It resounded like a
field-piece. And yet you perceive only a small bank of ice floating out
from below where it burst off. Small as it is, the whole berg has felt
it, and is slightly rolling on its deep down centre. You perceive that
it is a perfectly adjusted pair of scales, and weighs itself anew at the
loss of every pound. At the loss of every _ounce_, the central point,
around which millions of tons are balanced, darts aside a very little,
and calls upon the entire bulk to make ready and balance all afresh. You
see the process going on. There, the water-line is slowly rising; and
you peep into the long, greenish-white hollow, polished and winding as
the interior of a sea-shell. Now it pauses, and returns. So will it rise
and sink alternately until it stands like a headland of everlasting
marble.

Again the painter wipes his brushes, puts away his second picture, and
tacks a fresh pasteboard within the cover of his box, and gives the word
to pull for the south-western side. How finely nature sculptures her
decorations! Would not Palmer, Powers, and others of that company, whose
poetic language is in spotless stone, love to be with us? Mark the high
reliefs, and the deep, fine fluting of this angle, as we pass from the
Temple front to the clifted. Here you see less to please, and more to
terrify. A word or so describes it: It is a precipice of sparkling,
white ice, freshly broken. The edge of newly broken china is nearest
like it, with the suspicion of green for forty feet or more up, the
reflection of that lovely pale green water. How the currents recoil and
roll in upon the huge wall in whirling eddies, requiring steady toil at
the oars, to keep off a plump two hundred yards, the proper distance for
sketching so large a perpendicular mass.

If we except the quality and texture of the fracture, there is little to
paint in all this blaze of sunlight. The outline of the berg, though, is
worth remembering. It cuts the blue vault like the edge of a bright
sword, and pricks it with flashing spears. The eye darts from point to
point along its lengthy, zig-zag and flowing thread, and sweeps from the
sea upward and over to the sea again. How persistently the treacherous
current labors to bear us in upon the cliff! Let alone the oars five
minutes, and we should be among the great rain-drops slipping from the
overhanging crags.

Horrible! The berg is burst. The whole upper front is coming. There it
is—gone in the sea. Keep still!—Keep still!—Don’t be frightened! The
captain will manage it. Here come the big swells. Hurra! Look out for
the next! Here we go—splendid! Now for the third and last. How she
combs as she comes. Hurra!—Hurra! Here we are—all safe—inside of
them. See them go!—racing over the ocean, circles of plumed cavalry.
Now for the berg. He’ll make a magnificent roll of it, if he don’t go to
pieces. Should he, then put us half a mile away. See it rise!—The
water-line—rising—rising—up—up. It looks like a carriage-way.
Hark!—Crack—crack—crack. Quick!—quick! Look at the black water
here!—all spots and spangles of green. Something is coming! There it
comes! The very witchcraft of the deep—Neptune’s half-acre, bowers,
thrones, giants, eagles, elephants, vases spilling, fountains pouring,
torrents tumbling, glassy banks. Look at the peaks slanting off into the
blue air, and the great slant precipice. Hah! Don’t you see? It is
coming again—slowly coming! Crack—crack—crack. Down sinks the
garden—on roll the swells—down go bowers, thrones, statuary—lost amid
the tumult and thunder of the surf. Over bends the precipice—this way
over—frightfully over—in roll the waves—roaring, thundering
in—dashing, lashing crag and chasm. Wonderful to see! Waterfalls
bursting into light above—plunging in snowy columns to the sea.

How terrible—terrible all this is! But O, how beautiful! Who, that does
not witness it, knows any thing of the bursting of an iceberg? It comes
with the crash of a thunderbolt. But how can one tell the horrible,
shocking noise? A pine split by lightning has the point, but not the
awful breadth and fulness of the sound. Air, ocean, and the berg, all
fairly spring at the power of it. And then the ice-fall, with its
ringing, rumbling, crashing roar, and the heavy, explosion-like voice of
the final plunge, followed by the wild, frantic dashing of the waters.
You see the whole upper face of the ice, yards deep, and scores of them
in width, all gone. All was blasted off instantly, and dropped at once,
a stupendous cataract of brilliant ruins.

Here we are, at last, where the painter will revel—between the glories
of sunset and the iceberg. What shall we call all this magnificence,
clustered in a square quarter of a mile? The Bernese Alps in miniature.
A dark violet sea, and Alps in burnished silver, with the colors of the
rainbow dissolving among them. Lofty ridges, of the shape of flames,
have the tint of flame; out of the purity of lilies bloom the pink and
rose; sky-blue shadows sleep in the defiles; I will not say cloth of
gold drapes, but water of gold washes—water of green, of orange,
scarlet, crimson, purple, wash the crags and steeps; strange metallic
tints gleam in the shaggy caverns—copper, bronze, and gold. Endless
grace of form and outline!—endless, endless beauty! Its shining image
is in the deep, hanging there as in a molten looking-glass. Look down
and see it. Now the last rays of day strike the berg. How the hues and
tints change and flit, flush and fade! A very mirror for the fleeting
glories of the sunset, or the fitful complexions of the northern light.
Prodigal Nature! Is she ever wasting splendors at this rate? Watch them
on this broad, slanting park of lily-white satin. White!—It has just a
breath of pink. Pink?—It is the richest rose—rose deepening into
purple—purple trembling into blue, pearly blue, skirted with
salmon-tints and lilac. Where are the train-bearers of this imperial
robe? There they are, the smooth, black swells, one, two, three, rolling
up, and changing into green as they roll up—far up, and break in
sparkling diamonds on the bosom of the lustrous alabaster.

Do you hear the music? O what power in sound! Clothed in green and
silver, the royal bands of the great deep are playing at every portal of
the iceberg. Hark! Half thunder, and half the harmony of grand organs.

                    “Waters, in the still magnificence,
                     Their solemn cymbals beat.”

The painter’s work is over. And now for harbor—all sails spread—a
downy pressure on them, and the twilight ocean. Indomitable pencil! If
the man is not at it again!—A last, flying sketch in lead. Let us take
one more look at the berg—a farewell look. It is a beautiful
creation—superlatively beautiful. It is more—sublime and
beautiful—fold upon fold—spotless ermine—caught up from the billows,
and suspended by the fingers of Omnipotence.

The Merciful One! It is falling!—Cliffs and pinnacles
bursting—crashing—tumbling with redoubling thunders.—Pillars and
sheaves of foam leap aloft.—Wave chases wave, careering wild and
high.—Columns and splintered fragments spring from the deep
convulsively, toppling and plunging.—A multitude of small icebergs spot
the dusky waters. One slender obelisk, slowly rocking to and fro, stands
a monument among the scattered ruins.



                             CHAPTER XLIX.


    DRIFTING IN THE STRAITS.—RETREAT TO TEMPLE BAY.—PICTURESQUE
    SCENERY.—VOYAGERS’ SATURDAY NIGHT.

WE are drifting to the north shore in spite of all that can be done, and
positively have not been before in so great danger. Our anchor, with all
the cable we have, would be swinging above the bottom, were we close to
the rocks. A reckless skipper, not long ago in a similar predicament,
let go his anchor with the expectation that it would catch in time to
save him, but he went bows on, and lost his vessel. Our hope is that
some one of the flaws of wind, now ruffling the water every little while
in various directions, will catch our sails, and allow us to escape into
Temple Bay, a land-locked harbor close by. My anxiety to return home
makes this delay a little vexatious, and galls my thin-skinned patience.
We had every reason to hope, this morning, that we should be through
these perilous narrows and upon the broad gulf by midnight.

The breeze touches us at the last moment, and we are gliding through the
narrow pass between high craggy banks, over a comparatively shallow
bottom, visible from the deck, into what appears to be a lake surrounded
by mountains not unlike those about West Point, barring their fine
woods. Really Labrador can show us, at last, a little forest greenery.
Without a point of grandeur, this is the most picturesque scenery we
have found on the coast. The greenish waters, tinted by the verdure
reflected from their surface, expand to the breadth of a mile by six or
seven in length, with a depth of fifty fathoms or more. We glide past
the village—a knot of fish-houses, flakes and dwellings, in the bight
to the left or south, and drop anchor within pistol-shot of the spruces
and a mountain brook. Here we are, till next week, like a lonely fly on
this mirror of the mountains, and must make the most of our shadows and
reflections, sunshine and solitude, and see what they will bring us.

I sit upon deck and look about upon the wild, noiseless scene, and say:
What a lonely Saturday afternoon! The weary week is just lying down to
ruminate in these solemn shades. A few scattering sounds, the finishing
strokes of the axe and hammer, and the low wail of the surf beyond the
coast-ridge break the rest of the cool, bracing air. The upper end of
the lake, as I call the bay or fiord, is hidden behind a headland,
reminding me of our Hudson Butter Hill. Nothing would be pleasanter than
a small voyage of discovery by twilight. Below the stern of the
schooner, which swings near the beach, are the timbers of a ship peeping
above water, and full of story, no doubt, as so many old salts. We have
had a most agreeable tea-time, the Captain entertaining us with
incidents of his life upon these northern seas. My regret, not to say
vexation, that we had to leave the strait and retreat to the safety of
this lovely fold, provided by the Good Shepherd of the deep, is quite
dissipated after a little sketch of the perils to which we should have
been subjected among the currents, becalmed and immersed in fog, banks
of which I see already peeping over the hills along the shore. Sunset
and twilight and the dusk of evening have come and gone. The stars are
out in multitudes, Arcturus among them high in the great arch, and the
depths, above which we seem to hang suspended, are thickly sown with
their trembling images.



                               CHAPTER L.


    SUNDAY IN TEMPLE BAY.—RELIGIOUS SERVICES.—THE FISHERMAN’S
    DINNER AND CONVERSATION.—CHATEAU.—THE WRECK.—WINTERS IN
    LABRADOR.—ICEBERGS IN THE WINTER.—THE FRENCH OFFICERS’ FROLIC
    WITH AN ICEBERG.—THEORY OF ICEBERGS.—CURRENTS OF THE
    STRAIT.—THE RED INDIANS.—THE RETURN TO THE VESSEL.

MONDAY, _July 19_. Early yesterday morning, a boat with tan-colored
sails came off from the town, and found that we were not traders from
Newfoundland, as they supposed, but visitors merely, and direct from Mr.
Hutchinson, their minister, of whose return they were delighted to hear
tidings. It was soon settled that I should be their clergyman for the
day, notice of which was given very quickly upon their going back to the
village, by sending from house to house, and flying the Sunday flag, a
white banner with a red cross. Our men, in holiday clothes, were prompt
at their oars, and soon placed us on the beach, where we were met by Mr.
Clark, one of the city fathers, who politely invited us to his house,
and afterward attended us to the place of worship, a small rude
building, which was crowded, the children gathering close about me.
After the usual Church of England service, I preached extempore on our
need of redemption, and the sufficiency and freeness of that which has
been graciously provided. After a brief intermission, all returned to
the evening service and sermon, which concluded the religious exercises
of the day. We dined at Mr. Clark’s, on fisherman’s fare, garnished with
salted duck, a new dish to us, and requiring the discipline of use and a
rough life in order to relish very well.

While at dinner and after, our host entertained us in a simple, sketchy
way with incidents and adventures illustrating the story of the place,
and of his own life. Chateau, the name of the village, is more ancient
than the old French and English war, during which it suffered pillage
and burning. The wreck beneath our stern, of which I spoke, was that of
an English vessel with a cargo of furs, fish and oil, and was there run
aground and fired by the captain, to prevent her falling into the hands
of the enemy. Even these remote rocks and waters have historic
associations of thrilling interest.

According to the custom of those who live permanently in Labrador, Clark
and a few of his neighbors remove, in autumn, to the evergreen woods
along the streams at the head of the bay, and spend more than half of
the year in hunting and sealing, and getting timber and firewood for the
summer. In some respects, it is a holiday time, and compensates for the
unremitting toil of the fishing season.

The experience of years with icebergs has not made them common things,
like the waves and hills, but rather increased the sense of their
terrible power and grandeur. They frequently arrive covered with earth
and stones, an indication of their recent lapse from the land, and of
the brevity of their time upon the sea. During the cold months they are
deeply covered with snow, and have a rounded, heavy, and drowsy aspect.
It is the warm weather that gives them their naked brilliancy, and melts
them into picturesque forms, and rolls and explodes them in the
magnificent style, I have attempted to describe. They are seen to move
occasionally at the same rate of speed, whether through the densely
packed ice or the open sea. Wind, current and tide, and the ocean
crowded with ice as far as sight can reach, all frequently set in one
direction, and the bergs in another. On they move, majestic and serene,
tossing the crystal masses from their shaggy breasts, cracking,
crashing, thundering along. There are spaces of dark water spotting the
white expanse. It makes no difference; all move on alike. None hastens
in the open water; none pauses at the heaped-up banks. All on the
surface of the deep is only so much froth before the Alp whose
foundations are immersed in the great submarine currents.

He told us a story illustrating the danger of icebergs, and the temerity
of making familiar with them. A few years ago, while a French man-of-war
was lying at anchor in Temple Bay, the younger officers resolved on
amusing themselves with an iceberg, a mile or more distant in the
straits. They made sumptuous preparations for a pic-nic upon the very
top of it, the mysteries of which they were curious to see. All warnings
of the brown and simple fishermen, in the ears of the smartly dressed
gentlemen who had seen the world, were quite idle. It was a bright
summer morning, and the jolly boat with a showy flag went off to the
berg. By twelve o’clock the colors were flying from the icy turrets, and
the wild midshipmen were shouting from its walls. For two hours or so
they hacked, and clambered the crystal palace; frolicked and feasted;
drank wine to the king and the ladies, and laughed at the thought of
peril where all was so fixed and solid. As if in amazement at such
rashness, the grim Alp of the sea made neither sound nor motion. A
profound stillness watched on his shining pinnacles, and hearkened in
the blue shadows of his caves. When, like thoughtless children, they had
played themselves weary, the old alabaster of Greenland mercifully
suffered them to gather up their toys, and go down to their cockle of a
boat, and flee away. As if the time and the distance were measured, he
waited until they could see it and live, when, as if his heart had been
volcanic fire, he burst with awful thunders, and filled the surrounding
waters with his ruins. A more astonished little party seldom comes home
to tell the story of their panic. It was their first, and their last day
of amusement with an iceberg.

It seems rather late in the day for persons of some experience in these
regions, to be ignorant of the origin of icebergs. I asked our friend,
as I had others, how he supposed that they were formed. He imagined that
they were merely the accumulations of loose ice, snow and frozen spray,
in the intensely cold regions of the arctic ocean. Piles of broken ice,
driven together, and cemented by the heavy snows and the repeated
dashing of the surf, would in time become the huge and solid islands
that we see. Such is the theory of their formation with all whom I have
heard express themselves on the subject, and I believe the one very
generally received. When this explanation was objected to, and the facts
stated that icebergs were glaciers, first formed on the land, and then
launched into the sea, our kind host expressed his doubts more modestly
than some others had done of less intelligence and experience.

Speaking of the currents in the straits, he said he could not well
conceive any in the world more dangerous. While exceedingly powerful,
they were shifting. What rendered this perilous to the last degree, was
the excessively deep water and the boldness of the shores. One could
toss a bullet into water frequently too deep for the anchorage of
smaller vessels. In times of calm, and in connection with the dense fogs
peculiar to those coasts, a vessel could not drift about in the straits
without the risk of being thrown upon the rocks and lost. When we were
lying becalmed off Temple Bay, on Saturday afternoon, he was watching us
from a hill-top, and remarked to a neighbor, that he was sorry for the
skipper out there, and feared, unless the wind came to his relief before
dark, he would get ashore.

He remarked that fresh water may be dipped in winter, from small open
spaces in the bay—a fact I do not remember to have read of in the pages
of arctic voyagers. I concluded that this only is true, where the water
is undisturbed below, and where the open spaces are small, and hemmed in
with ice in a way to break off the wind. It is simply rain-water, I
suppose, resting upon the surface of the heavier salt water. In the
course of the conversation, he stated that there was, at some distance
back in the interior, a remnant of the red Indians so called, once a
savage and troublesome tribe in Newfoundland. Driven from thence on
account of their hostile and untamable nature, they had finally taken
refuge in the remote vales of Labrador, where they now live, as is
commonly reported, nursing their ancient enmity, but too prudent to
reappear among the whites, or let their exact habitation be known.

Pleased with the talk of the fisherman of Chateau, we bade him and his
family good-by, and returned on board to a second dinner, a little more
to our taste.



                              CHAPTER LI.


    EVENING WALK TO TEMPLE BAY MOUNTAIN.—THE LITTLE
    ICEBERG.—TROUBLES OF THE NIGHT AND PLEASURES OF THE
    MORNING.—UP THE STRAITS.—THE PINNACLE OF THE LAST
    ICEBERG.—THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE.

AFTER dinner and a pleasant conversation on deck, we found time to slip
ashore, and thread our way through thickets of sweet-scented spruce to
the mountain-top for a prospect. Once in my life, on the borders of a
forest pond, in the lower St. Lawrence country, I experienced the plague
of black flies to an extent that was quite frightful. I turned from the
margin where, head and face covered with handkerchiefs, I was fishing,
and ran to a woodman’s hut. The same flies swarmed about us on the
mountain of Temple Bay, and drove us down through its evergreens with
all the speed it was prudent to make.

In the edge of the twilight, the Captain went across the bay to a little
mouse of a berg, that had been all day creeping in from sea, to get a
few cakes of ice; and asked our company. Our mouse, as might be
expected, turned out to be a lion. We rowed alongside, notwithstanding,
and sprung upon his white, glassy back melted all over into a roughness
that resembled the rippled surface of a pond. In attempting to walk to a
fairy-like bowl, full of that lovely blue water, the painter slipped up,
and came near sliding off altogether. But for the Captain, at whose legs
he caught as he was going by, he would have had a fine plunge and a
ducking. Our chick of a berg, only ten or twelve feet across with a few
minute pieces of sculpture in the shape of vases and recumbent animals,
lay in its pale green bath like a burr or star, its white points visible
at quite a depth—a fact which served to corroborate some experiments we
had been making with respect to the parts of an iceberg under water.
Here was a mass, with the exception of a few trifling spurs, only a
little above the surface, but with a bulk, the extreme points of which
were too far below to be discovered. To conclude several amusing
liberties we were taking with it, the Captain proceeded to split off a
kind of figure-head attached to the main body by a sort of horse-neck,
which no sooner fell into the water than our bantling began to imitate
the motions of the tallest giant of the icebergs. In making the grand
swing, however, it rolled completely over, and came within an ace of
catching us upon one of its horns. Anticipating the chance of danger
from below, I looked over the side of the boat, when, sure enough, a
prong was coming up in a way to give us a toss that would be no sport. A
lucky push off saved us. Like the spoke of a big wheel it rolled up,
giving us a blow in the ribs as it passed, and a good rocking on the
swash. One would scarcely think that there was any excitement in so
trifling an incident, but there was, and enough of it to make me resolve
to meddle no more with a thing of the kind larger than a lamb. When it
settled to rest, it was exactly upside down, and presented a curious
specimen of the honey-comb work of the waters. It may occur to some that
we were sporting upon the Lord’s Day. Upon reflection I confess that we
were, although we might plead the privilege of voyagers, and the long
day which touches hard upon our midnight.

Upon our return we found the musquitoes, a peculiarly hungry and
poisonous species, coming down from the woods in numbers. We determined
to crush that mischief in the bud, and did it most effectually, by
filling the cabin with the dense smoke of spruce boughs, and then, upon
its escape, covering the entrance with a sheet. One only came feebly and
timidly singing about my face before I got to sleep. About one o’clock,
there were sounds above: shaking of blocks and cordage, now and then a
thump with a creak of booms, and jerking of the rudder. I went up; there
was no watch; all were soundly sleeping. The ship’s cat was out on the
rail, running from place to place, and mewing mournfully. The sky looked
ominous, and there was the roar of wind outside. The waters and the
woods of the bay, so prettily named, were gloomy as the crypt of a
temple. I crept to my dreams, out of which in no long time I was
startled by the painter. He was getting up to have his look. He reported
breezes, but in the wrong direction, and without comment felt his way
back to bed. At two, the voice of the Captain put an end to slumbers,
fore and aft. He was calling all hands to the deck, where presently all
was noise and bustle, hoisting sail, and heaving at the anchor. The old
motion was soon perceptible, and we knew that we were taking leave of
Temple Bay—a fact of which we were assured by the Captain, who peeped
in upon us, by lifting a corner of the musquito-sheet, and announced the
good tidings that the wind, northeast, was blowing briskly, and that the
straits would give us no further trouble.

No sooner were we clear of the “tickle,” or narrows, than “Iceberg
ahead!”—“Ice on the lee bow!” was cried by the man forward. It was no
more to our purpose to go up and look at ices. It was a comfortable
reflection that we were now bidding them farewell. By way of a parting
salute, one of the bergs burst asunder with a great noise, before that
we were out of the reach of its shells. But its thunder fell but faintly
on our practised ears, and rather encouraged than disturbed our
disposition to sleep. When daylight was broad upon the straits, we were
over the worst, and the last iceberg, like the top of some solitary
mausoleum of the desert, was sinking below the horizon. The high wind
and sea were after us, and we ran with speed and comparative stillness.
By noon we were fairly through; with Forteau, the last of Labrador, on
the north—to the south, the coast of Newfoundland, and the broad gulf
of St. Lawrence expanding before us. We felt that we might then breathe
freely. The breeze most surely did, and we sped on our way southward
toward Cape Breton.



                              CHAPTER LII.


                  COAST SCENERY.—FAREWELL TO LABRADOR.

THE coast of Labrador was really fine, all the forenoon, and sometimes
strikingly grand. It has lost something of the desolate and savage
character it has about the Capes St. Louis and St. Charles, and seems
more like a habitable land. There are long and graceful slopes and
outlines of pale green hills slanting down to the sea, along which is
the craggy shore-line, black, brown and red. The last few miles, and
which is near the Canadian border, the red sandstone shore is
exceedingly picturesque. It has a right royal presence along the deep.
Lofty, semicircular promontories descend in regular terraces nearly
down, then sweep out gracefully with an ample lap to the margin. No art
could produce better effect. The long, terraced galleries are touched
with a tender green, and the well-hollowed vales, now and then
occurring, and ascending to the distant horizon between ranks of rounded
hills, look green and pasture-like. All, you must bear in mind, is
treeless nearly, and utterly lonely. Here and there are small
detachments of dwarf firs, looking as if they were either on their
retreat to the woodlands of a warmer clime, or on their march from it,
in order to get a foothold, and make a forest settlement remote from the
woodman’s axe. Anyway, in their lonesome and inhospitable halt, they
darken the light greens and the gray greens with very lively effect.

The Battery, as sailors call it, is a wall of red sandstone, of some two
or three miles in extent, with horizontal lines extending from one
extreme to the other, and perpendicular fissures resembling embrasures
and gateways. Swelling out with grand proportions toward the sea, it has
a most military and picturesque appearance. At one point of this huge
citadel of solitude, there is the resemblance of a giant portal, with
stupendous piers two hundred feet or more in elevation. They are much
broken by the yearly assaults of the frost, and the eye darts up the
ruddy ruins with surprise. If there was anything to defend, here is a
Gibraltar at hand, with comparatively small labor, whose guns could
nearly cross the strait. Beneath its precipitous cliffs the debris
slopes like a glacis to the beach, with both smooth and broken surfaces,
and all very handsomely decorated with rank herbage. Above the great
walls, there is a range of terraces ascending with marked regularity for
quite a distance. Miles of ascending country, prairie-like, greet the
eye along this edge of Labrador. “Arms of gold”—is it? Possibly these
promontories, golden in the rising and the setting sun, may have
suggested to Cabot or some other explorer, before or since, the
propriety of christening this dead body of a country by some redeeming
name.

Among the very pretty and refreshing features of the coast are its
brooks, seen occasionally falling over the rocks in white cascades.
Harbors are passed now and then with small fishing fleets and dwellings.
Forteau has a church-spire pointing heavenward among its white buildings
and brown masts, and is the most eastern place in the diocese of
Newfoundland visited by Bishop Field. It is not unlikely that he is now
there engaged in the sacred duties of his office, and certainly would
have attracted us thither, could we have spared a day. On the point from
which we took our final departure from the north shore, stands a high
lighthouse, erected at great cost, and around its base are clustering
the greens of a kitchen garden! Adieu, bleak Labrador! They tell me that
the warmest of summers is now upon thy honeyless and milkless land. If
this is thy July—I say it under an overcoat of the deepest nap—spare
me thy December.

But why, at parting, should I speak roughly unto thee, and whet the
temper to talk ill of thee, in the presence of rich gardens, yellow
fields, and ruddy orchards? Hast not thou thy horned cariboo, thy
reindeer, thy fox of costly fur, and thy wild-fowl of wintry plumage?
Hast not thou thy bright-eyed salmon, graced with lines as delicate and
lovely as those of beauty’s arm, and complexioned like the marigold
“damasked by the neighboring rose”?—thy whales and seals to fill with
oil the lighthouse lamp, to fill with starry flame the lighthouse
lantern?—thy pale green capelin, silvery-sided myriads that allure the
“fish,” calling their millions to the hooks and seines of thy toiling
fishermen—hardy, hospitable people, whose kentles of white-fleshed cod
buy the ruby wine and yellow fruits of Cuba and Oporto? Hast thou not
dealt kindly with us, and shown us these thy fat things, and all thy
richer, nobler treasures? Hast thou not uncurtained thy resplendent
pictures of the sky, the ocean, and the land? And have we not gazed
delighted and awe-struck upon the grandeur of a great and terrible
wilderness, upon the gloom of its shadowy atmosphere, upon the
brilliancy of its sunlight? Have we not heard the footsteps of the
billows marching to their encampment in the grottoes of the cliffs; and
seen the silent, inshore deeps; the imprisoned islands and grim
headlands armed with impenetrable granite; the vales and dells, and
hill-sides with their mosses and their flowers, sweet odors, and sweet
melodies?—most beautiful, most wonderful of all, thine icebergs, and
thy twilight heavens? All these, and more, of thy greatness and thy
glory, have we looked upon, and they will have their reflections, and
their echoes in the memory forever. Beauty may watch, and supplicate,
and weep sometimes upon the crags now receding from our view, but she is
surely there, and native to the wildest pinnacle and cavern. And while
to the careless eye and thoughtless heart thou art verily dark and
bleak, yet art thou neither barren nor unfruitful. Old Labrador,
farewell!



                             CHAPTER LIII.


    WESTERN NEWFOUNDLAND.—THE BAY, THE ISLANDS, AND THE HIGHLANDS
    OF ST. JOHNS.—INGORNACHOIX BAY.

NEWFOUNDLAND now lifts its blue summits along the southeast sky, a kind
of Catskill heights, with here and there patches of snow, that recall to
mind the White Mountain House. In the course of the afternoon, we pass
them, and find that they are the highlands of St. Johns, the loftiest, I
believe, in the island, and bound the bay called by the same lovely
name.

What a region for romantic excursion! Yonder are wooded mountains with a
sleepy atmosphere, and attractive vales, and a fine river, the river
Castor, flowing from a country almost unexplored; and here are green
isles spotting the sea—the islands of St. Johns. Behind them is an
expanse of water, alive with fish and fowl, the extremes of which are
lost in the deep, untroubled wilderness. A month would not suffice to
find out and enjoy its manifold and picturesque beauties, through which
wind the deserted trails of the Red Indian, now extinct or banished. Why
they should have left, with all these unappropriated breadths of
solitude for their inheritance, I do not precisely understand. There are
mournful tales told of their wrongs and their revenges, the old story of
contests between the civilized and the savage.

Yonder, at the termination of the highlands, is a cape, no matter what
is its French name, since directly behind it is a bay with an Indian
name tough enough to last one round a dozen capes—the Bay of
Ingornachoix, noted for its harbors, inlets, and pretty streams, another
fine region for the summer tourist. Beyond the woody distances rising in
the east, there lies a lengthy lake, the centre of a little world of
interest to the lovers of nature and the picturesque. It is no great
distance across the island here to the shores of White Bay, a remote
expanse of waters, to which few but fishermen have any occasion to
penetrate.

As the evening advances the wind strengthens, and bears us rapidly along
the coast. Thus we are encircling Newfoundland, and finding spots of
beauty, to which, if we may not return ourselves, we can direct others
of like taste and sentiment. We come down from the cold air, and from
looking at a fine aurora now playing in the skies, and gleaming by
reflection in the waves, and sit by the cabin lights, and talk and
write, inspect the sketches, and listen to the roar of winds and
surges—rather melancholy music.



                              CHAPTER LIV.


    SLOW SAILING BY THE BAY OF ISLANDS.—THE RIVER HUMBER.—ST.
    GEORGE’S RIVER, CAPE, AND BAY.—A BRILLIANT SUNSET.

TUESDAY, _July 19_. We have a brilliant morning and a favoring breeze,
but a vexatious current. What a net of these currents has the tyrannous
Neptune set around his beloved Newfoundland! Like a web in a dim cellar
window, it is perpetually entangling some fly of a craft in its subtle
meshes. Buzz and struggle as we will, he has got us by the foot, and,
spider-like, may look on, and enjoy our perplexity. We advance with
insufferable slowness, notwithstanding the considerable speed of our
rounded bows, through the water. “That is the Bay of Islands,” they
said, early in the morning. It is the Bay of Islands still. We are a
long time sailing by the Bay of Islands. But it gives us time to look,
and talk about it with the Captain. Beyond the forest-covered hills
which surround it, are lakes as beautiful, and larger than Lake George,
the cold, clear waters of which flow to the bay under the name of the
river Humber. It has a valley like Wyoming, and more romantic scenery
than the Susquehanna. The Bay of Islands is also a bay of streams and
inlets, an endless labyrinth of cliffs and woods and waters, where the
summer voyager would delight to wander, and which is worth a volume
sparkling with pictures.

How fine a blue the waters of the gulf are in this light! We seem to be
upon the broad Atlantic. What a realm of seas and shores, islands, bays
and rivers, is this St. Lawrence world, in the midst of which we now
are, and of which our people know so little! Where are our young men,
who have the time and money to skip, from summer to summer, in the
fashionable rounds of travel, that they do not seek this virgin scenery?
One long, loud yell of the black loon, deep diver of these lakes and
fiords, pealing through the silent evening, would ring in their
recollection long after the music of city parks abroad had been
forgotten.

Late in the day, and Cape St. George in view, a bold and clifted point
pushed out from the mainland twenty miles or more, and commanding
extensive prospects both inland and along the coast. A month would not
suffice for all its many landscapes. St. George’s River is a wild, rapid
stream, and St. George’s Bay is quite a little sea, deep, and darkened
by the shadows of fine mountains, and broad woodlands. Like the Bay of
Islands, it is a paradise for the huntsman, and the fisher. Awake, ye
devotees of the fishing-rod and rifle, and the red camp-fire beneath the
green-wood trees, and know that to visit St. George’s cape and bay and
river, and all that is St. George’s, is better late than never.

The sun is in the waves, and yonder we have those wonderful heavens
again. The west is all one bath of colors, colors of the rainbow. And
clouds like piled-up fleeces, and like fleeces pulled apart and
scattered, and fleeces spun into soft and woolly threads, and again
those threads woven into downy fabrics, are weltering in the glory. The
wind has fallen, and the waves have put out all their white, flashing
lights, and now mould themselves into the flowing lines and the sweetest
forms of beauty. We go down with glad hearts, and ask protection for the
night.



                              CHAPTER LV.


    FOUL WEATHER.—CAPE ANGUILLE.—THE CLEARING OFF.—THE FROLIC OF
    THE PORPOISES.—THE NEW COOKS.—THE SHIP’S CAT.

WEDNESDAY, _July 20_. We have a misty morning, and a contrary wind. If
there are any two words in English, that early fell in love and married,
and have a numerous progeny, those words are Patience and Progress. They
do not walk hand in hand, but, like the red Indians, in single file. If
Progress walk before, Patience is close behind, which order of march now
happens to prevail, and a good deal to our discomfort. In the mean time,
in company with this leisurely and quiet maid, we are beating in and out
from land, in long and tedious stretches, with large gains upon one
tack, and nearly as large losses on the other.

Peeping through the rainy atmosphere is Cape Anguille, the neighboring
heights of which are five hundred feet above the tide, and sweep off in
dim and lengthy lines. The strong head-wind is blowing away the mists,
the seas are up in arms, crested with snowy plumes, flashing and
sparkling. Clouds, in white uniform, at quick-time march in long
battalions, moving inland and leaving the defenceless shores to sunshine
and the dashing surf. The sails mutter a deep, low bass. The “puffpigs,”
classic name for porpoise, are playing a thousand pranks about us, and
we are partners in the frolic; watching, laughing at, and pelting them,
all of which they seem to regard as the merest nonsense of only a
tubfull of helpless creatures in the upper air. They appear to be in the
very highest glee, a party of fast young fellows, well bred and fed, and
in holiday fin and skin. Like swallows round a barn, they play about our
bows, wheeling, plunging, darting to the surface, spouting, splashing,
every tail and rolling back of them full of fun and laughter. After a
spell of this ground and lofty tumbling in the shadow of our jib, away
they trip it, like so many frisky buffalo calves, side by side, in
squads and couples, crossing and recrossing, kicking up their heels and
turning summersets—a kind of rollicking good-by. Not a bit of it: round
they come again, by tens and twenties, wild with merriment, on a perfect
gallop, and dive below the vessel. Up they pop with puff and snort on
all sides and ends, and dart away like shuttles, with a thread of light
behind them, to go over and over again the gamesome round.

Sandy, whose coarse good nature has been dropping from his very finger
ends in the way of stones thrown at the jolly fishes, has the smallest
possible aptitude for the domestic art he is practising. Neither does
his fancy take at all to the fair ways of neatness. Beyond frying pork
and fish in one pan, and boiling potatoes in one pot, and making tea in
one kettle, as a housewife steeps her simples, and every separate
vessel, fakir-like, to sit from meal to meal in undisturbed repose,
wrapped in the dingy mantle of its own defilement, Sandy has no
ambition. Indignant, his superiors have read him several homilies to the
point. But the lessons have fallen upon his attention like the first
drops of a shower upon a duck’s back. The painter even went so far as to
indulge himself in a brief, emphatic charge, in the end of which there
darted out a stinging threat, anent washing and scouring. Across the
cloud of Sandy’s unhappy brow a faint smile was, at length, seen to
pass, and charge and threat dropped like pebbles into the muddy deeps of
his forgetfulness. Sandy, therefore, has virtually been deposed, and now
occupies the lowly position of a mere lackey to cooks of character.
There are now, instead of one indifferent, three pre-eminent cooks: a
painter, a captain, and a writer. They employ, divert, and frequently
disappoint themselves in the several dishes they attempt. Not that the
dishes in themselves are so bad, but that they fall so far short of the
ideal of the excellent.

When I was a lad, spruce-beer and gingerbread were the nectar and
ambrosia at general trainings. I wanted some ambrosia. The cooking-stove
was instantly fired, and so was the painter, on the important occasion,
who, from his skill in combining pigments on his pallet, had suspicions
of ability in compounding ingredients for the pan and oven; and
therefore, nothing loth, was persuaded to undertake, with the secrecy of
some hoar alchemist of old, in the dim retirement of the cabin, the
conglomeration from flour and ginger, sugar, salt, soda and hot water,
of a tremulous mass that should emanate, under his plastic hand, in a
generous and tempting cake. To the large surprise of both mariner and
author, order at length arose out of that chaos in a milk-pan, and
appeared in upper day, when, with conscious but with a modest air of
triumph, it was passed into the hands of the chief-baker, who roasted
both it and himself, for a sultry and smoky hour, with entire success.
Hot as metal from a furnace, and of a rich Potawatomie red, it was
tasted, and found nearly as hot with ginger, and then prudently laid
away to cool and petrify. The history of the decline and fall of that
memorable loaf will probably never be written. It is enough to say,
that, although the disintegrating process was at first a little
difficult, owing to some doubt about the proper instrumentalities, yet
it is now easily dissected with a saw. It is unnecessary to remark, that
but one such batch of the ruddy bread is needed on a pleasure-voyage.
The painter has fresh reason to congratulate himself that in all his
works he succeeds in imparting an element of perpetuity.

Our great difficulty is the smallness of the caboose and the stove,
which will not permit the carrying on of all operations at the same
time—a circumstance which is apt to leave no more than a kindly warmth,
if not a decided coolness, in all dishes but the last in hand. We, the
landsmen of the culinary trio, have also a dreadful foe to fight, and,
in any thing like a severe battle, are sure to fall. It is ever lurking
near our outposts, and is sure to rush upon us in rough weather. They
called it sea-sickness, I dare say, as early as when they voyaged for
the golden fleece. Its effects are described in a language more
venerable than that of Greece: “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a
drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.” That describes our case
exactly. It lays both dishes and ourselves completely on the shelf.
Forthwith tea, cakes and coffee, meats, vegetables, fruits, and fish are
allowed a play-spell, perhaps a long yellow holiday, and may go on a
pic-nic, a bathing, or a fishing, or a shooting frolic under the table,
among the baggage, or around the cabin floor, as the bend of things
incline. The Captain, however, is apt to interpose in such disorders,
and discipline the wild wares much to his own, and often to our relief.

We are amused, annoyed, and distressed at the ship’s cat. She is an
incorrigible thief and pick-shelf, and bent on making the most of us
while we last. The painter is down upon her, and will not endure her for
a moment. The cabin was recently the field of a bloodless battle, the
din whereof was startling as far off as the caboose, in the smoke of
which I was weeping over the remains of the late breakfast. Loud
shouting, interspersed with shocks of irate bodies, boots, broom, cane,
against barrels and amongst boxes came upon the peaceful ear, and warned
me to hasten to the edge of things and look down. Tantæne animis
celestibus iræ! There was no consciousness of a spectator of the
militant manœuvres, but a mighty thrashing and furious thrusting, and
whipping of a scraggy spruce-bough among tubs, jugs, and cans, and away
behind. There was a steady fire in the face, and a pistol-shot sharpness
in the “scat.” Grimalkin answered with a terrible wauling, and finally
with fixed tail made a dash past the enemy, escaping up the steps into
my face and eyes almost, and retreating to the bowsprit. Puss is a bold
sailor. She skips upon the taffrail, climbs the shrouds, sits with ease
and dignity upon the boom, yawns and stretches among the rigging. Poor
Pussy, she is not a silken-haired, daintily-fed cat, but a creature of
backbone and ribs, coated with fur unlicked and scorched, indicative of
kicks and a meagre cupboard. She treads no downy bed, and purrs in no
loved daughter’s lap. As she comes mewing gingerly about my feet, and
coils herself in a sunny twist of rope, I think of our own household
tabby, and call her by all the feline names expressive of good-will and
tenderness.

How the breeze pipes! Hoarse music this, played upon the cordage of our
light little schooner. Old Saint Laurent, thy winds and waves are not
always symbols of a martyr’s gentleness. A few seasons ago, just here in
sight of yonder hills and valleys now dreaming under an atmosphere of
quiet, Captain Knight experienced a most appalling sea. While there is
nothing terrible in these now breaking over our barriers every few
minutes, yet they effectually upset the stomach, and hence all comfort.
We lie upon the slant deck in the sunshine, sheltered near the helm, and
see the spray fly over us, and watch the idle flourishing of the
topmast.



                              CHAPTER LVI.


    ST. PAUL’S ISLAND.—CAPE NORTH.—COAST OF CAPE BRETON.—SYDNEY
    LIGHT AND HARBOR.—THE END OF OUR VOYAGE TO LABRADOR, AND AROUND
    NEWFOUNDLAND.

THURSDAY, _July 21_. After a boisterous night we are on deck again, and
find a pleasant change in the wind. It is gray and rainy, but then our
sails swell, and we rush southward.

A dome of inhospitable rock peers through the mist, one of nature’s
penitentiaries, which no living man would own, and so has been deeded to
St. Paul: Melita is Eden to it. The saints, it appears to me, have been
gifted with the ruggedest odds and ends. Wherever, on all these
cast-iron shores, there is a flinty promontory, upon which Prometheus
himself would have shuddered to be chained, there the name of an apostle
has been transfixed. Yonder is Cape North, the stony arrow-head of Cape
Breton, a headland, rather a multitudinous group of mountain headlands,
draped with gloomy grandeur, against the black cliffs of which the surf
is now firing its snowy rockets. How is it they have not called it Cape
St. Mary or St. John? All in all, this is a fine termination of the
picturesque isle. Steep and lofty, its summits are darkened by steepled
evergreens, and its many sides gashed with horrid fissures and ravines.

Here we part from the broad gulf, and enter the broader ocean, passing
between the promontories of Cape Breton and the last capes of
Newfoundland, Cape Anguille, and Cape Ray with its rocky domes and
tables. Thus have we fairly encompassed this Ireland of America, in all
but climate. White seabirds, with long wings tipped with black, sweep
the air. We speed onward and homeward past the many-folded mountains.
The eye slides along their graceful outlines, and follows their winding
shores. Through the deep valleys we look upon the landscapes interior,
softened by a purple atmosphere. Clouds are breaking around the woody
summits, seas of forest-tops are smiling in the sunshine, and shadows
are filling the rocky gorges with a kind of twilight. At last the sun is
sinking behind the distant heights, and leaving his red footsteps on the
clouds. C—— is painting his last picture, and these are the last
pencillings of the voyage. We hail the cliffs of Sydney—those
remarkable cliffs that sat upon the horizon like tinted sea-shells, on
the Sunday afternoon we were on our way to St. Johns. And yonder is the
Sydney light twinkling through the dusk of evening. Our summer sail to
Labrador and around Newfoundland is over. Where the anchor brings the
vessel to a pause, there shall we leave the brave little pinkstern. May
her wanderings in the future under the Union Jack be as happy as those
of the present have been under the Stars and Stripes. Thankful for the
Divine care, we will ask protection for the night, and guidance home,
the final haven where we would be.



                             CHAPTER LVII.


    FAREWELL TO CAPTAIN KNIGHT.—ON OUR WAY ACROSS CAPE BRETON.—A
    MERRY RIDE, AND THE RUSTIC LOVER.

FRIDAY, _July 22_. Sydney harbor. A bright morning, and the wind from
the quarter where we should be happy to find it, were we going to sea.
But, selfish souls! because it puts us to a small inconvenience, we now
wish that it did not blow, and that we may have calm weather. We are to
breakfast, to finish packing, and take our leave of Captain Knight, from
whom we part with emotions of regret. He will depart in the next steamer
for St. Johns, and we start for Halifax by an inland route.

Here we are, on our way across the Island of Cape Breton, bound for Nova
Scotia. Our baggage—trunks, carpet-bags, reindeer-horns, snow-shoes,
plants, and mosses—in a one-horse wagon, goes ahead; we follow in
another. We are delighted with the change from rolling waves to rolling
wheels. We are delighted with our spirited nag. We are delighted with
the scenery, which, however, is in no way remarkable. I believe that we
should be delighted if we were riding through a smoky tunnel. The truth
is the delight is in us, and will flow out, and would, be the world
about us what it might. Every thing amuses us, even the provoking trick
our pony has of slightly kicking up, every time the breeching cuts into
his hams upon going down hill. As may be supposed, said pony is a
creature of importance to us, now that he is our motive power. We do not
look at the clouds now, and watch the temper of the atmosphere; our eyes
are upon the body and legs of the little fellow wrapped in this brown
skin. After the first effervescence of spirit upon starting, with which,
of course, we were much delighted, he began to lag a trifle, and to
raise suspicions that he was not the horse good-natured Mr. Dearing, his
master, said he was. We are pleased to find ourselves mistaken. Our very
blunders are satisfactory. The longer he goes the smarter he grows,
giving us symptoms of a disposition to run away, when ordinarily we
might look for any thing else. Let him run. We can ride as fast, and
come in not a length behind, at the end of our thirty-two miles, the
distance to a tavern.

The ride along the shore of Sydney harbor, over a smooth, hard road, was
really charming, and would have been to travellers of ill temper. Wild
roses incensed the fresh air, and the sunshine was bright upon the
clover-fields. On the steamer down from Halifax to Sydney, I became
acquainted with a tradesman, an intelligent Scotch Presbyterian. Who
should come running out of a little country store by the road-side, with
a shout that brought our nag down upon his haunches, but our friend! He,
too, was delighted, and shook us heartily by the hand, asking after “the
Labrador,” the icebergs, and our voyage in general. Set in the midst of
our pleasure was one regret: our want of time to visit Louisburg, or the
ruins of it. We talked it over, and then dismissed both the ruins and
the regret.

From the bay of Sydney the way is wonderfully serpentine for a main
road, winding about apparently for the mere love of winding, and when
there seems no more real necessity for it than for a brook in a level
meadow. We have liked it all the better, though, running, as it does,
around the slightest hills, wooded with the perpetual spruce,
intermingled with the birch and maple, crossing with a graceful twist
little farms, and coming around garden fences, by the farmers’ doors,
under the willows and the apple trees. The native Indians, tricked out
with cheap, showy finery, whose huts are seen lazily smoking among the
bushes, were occasionally met, and chatted with. A young Mc. something,
upon whose sleepy face was the moonshine of a smile, was found trotting
his chestnut filly close behind our wagon. The persistence in the thing
was becoming disagreeable, and we looked round several times with an
expression which said plainly: “Please keep a little back.” Mc. was in
no humor to take the hint. When our pace quickened, the click of his
horse’s shoes, and the breath of his steed, which carried a high head,
were close upon us; a sudden slackening of our speed brought him,
horse-head and all, as suddenly into our midst. Presently he changed his
tactics, and dashed by, brushing the wheels with his stirrup, and so
trotting on ahead, taking occasion to twist himself on the saddle, when
a walk permitted, and look back. The fellow was a character, although of
the softer kind, and we struck up an acquaintance, during which, in the
effort to sustain his part of the conversation, he rode around us in all
possible ways. A particularly favorite position was in the gutter at our
side, where, in spite of our united care, he would now and then be
literally run up a stump, or a bank. Whether on the lead, or following,
we kept him frequently at break-neck speed, during which the
conversation was mostly confined to monosyllables—loud and few—and,
when forward, discharged now over one, and then over the other shoulder.
Mc. was a farmer, and lived with “the old folks at home.” He had been on
a courting expedition, in which he considered himself successful. In
fact, he made a clean breast of it, and told us the pleasant story of
his love, and the fine qualities of the lass of whom he was enamored.
Although she might not be thought handsome by a great many, yet she was
handsome to him. Never errant knight rehearsed a softer tale in shorter
periods, with a louder voice, or happier heart. He was full of it, and
it mattered little to whom, or how he uttered it. For what distance he
was intending to bear us company, I have no notion. The house of an
acquaintance, at the gate of which were several persons, who seemed at
once to understand him, and whose faces were so many open doors of
curiosity, finally relieved us of him. It was evidently undesigned, and
he pulled up, I thought, somewhat reluctantly.



                             CHAPTER LVIII.


    EVENING RIDE TO MRS. KELLY’S TAVERN.—THE SUPPER, AND THE
    LODGING.

AT a sort of half-way house, the driver of the baggage-wagon stopped to
feed and water, and I walked on alone, leaving the painter with his
sketch-book. For a mile or more, the road wound its way through thick
woods, mostly spruce, and “I whistled as I went,” certainly not “for
want of thought,” and sang for the solitude, and was answered by the
ringing echoes and the wood-thrush, whose sweet melody, sounding with a
silvery, metallic ring, often made me pause and listen. Red raspberries,
pendent from the slender bushes, tempted me frequently to spring up the
broken, earthy bank, where, to my surprise I met the first strawberries
coming on from the juicier climes. Ruby darlings, they had got only thus
far along, and looked timid and disheartened, dropping wearily into the
mossy turf, where they trembled like drops of blood. And so I loitered
along the lonely highway, up which the sweetest of all the fruits were
coming, and over which the wild birds were pouring forth their songs,
and felt that I was only very, very happily going on toward heaven,
taking home and loving, and beloved ones by the way. In the middle of
the forest, I met a tall, thin Indian in ragged, English dress. He
passed me by silently, and with an air of bashfulness. I was a little
disappointed. When I saw him approaching, I proposed to myself a rest
upon a log near by, and a talk with the man about his people. The wagons
came up presently, and I resumed the reins, having, at the outset, been
voted by a small majority much the better whip.

Late in the afternoon, we came upon the shores of Bras D’or, a fiord or
inlet extending in from the ocean, and winding for many miles among
hills, farms and woodlands in a manner exceedingly picturesque. The ride
was lovely, too lovely for the merriment in which we had been freely
indulging. Ebullitions of mirth gave way to thoughts and emotions
arising from the beauty of the scenery and the hour. Clouds of dazzling
flame, and a rosy sunset were reflected in the purple waters. As we came
on at a rapid pace through the twilight and the succeeding darkness,
rounding the hills abutting on the water, and thridding bits of wood, we
settled into a stillness as unbroken as if we had been riding alone. It
was nearly ten o’clock when we arrived at our inn, none the worse for
our drive of thirty-two miles, good measure.

Our inn! Imagine, if you will, a long, low-roofed, dingy white house,
with a front piazza, and hard by a sign swinging from the limb of a
broad shade tree, creaking harsh plaints to the lazy breeze, and, in
dark letters, asserting from year to year that this is the traveller’s
home. If it be your pleasure to indulge in such imaginings, let me at
once assure you that in our Cape Breton Inn there is no corresponding
reality. Instantly extinguish from your mind said white house, tree and
sign, and put in the place of them a log cabin of the old school, in the
naked arms of the weather, backed by a stumpy field and weedy
potato-patch, and fronted by a couple of rickety log sheds. That antique
mensuration accomplished by the swinging of a cat would very nearly
decide the whole extent of the interior, one side of which is a
fire-place and fire, around which revolve, as primary orb, the hostess,
Mrs. Kelly, and as satellites, a son and daughter and maid-servant. With
all these powers, and with ample time, you may guess that we sat down at
last to a savory and generous supper. There was tea, somewhat intimate,
to be sure, with the waterpot, and there was bread, nice as the Queen
herself ever gets at Balmoral. The butter, alas! was afflicted with that
ailment which seems to be chronic throughout these her majesty’s
dominions, rancidity and salt. But the milk was creamy, and the eggs
fresh as newly-cut marble, and the berry-pie, served at the hands of the
daughter, a neat and modest girl with pretty face and figure, was a
becoming finish to the meal.

Mrs. Kelly is a Highland widow, of whom a story may be told, not indeed
of the tragic character of Sir Walter’s Highland Widow, but sufficiently
mournful. She walked back and forth before the door, and seemed to take
a melancholy pleasure in relating it. Two fine boys had been tempted to
leave her, of whom she had not heard a syllable for years, but for whom,
even then, she was looking with the hope and yearning love of Margaret
in Wordsworth’s “Excursion.” Her husband, kind man, was in the grave.
Her two children and her little farm were much to be thankful for. But
then it was not Scotland. A sad day for her when they were persuaded to
leave “home.” The land here was not productive, and the winters were so
long and snowy. There was, however, a bright side to her fortunes, and I
tried to make her see it. At the conclusion of the talk, she asked me in
to read a chapter, and offer the evening prayer.

It was getting late, and I asked to retire. I found that we had retired.
We were sitting in our private chamber, and the closely-curtained bed
behind us, a match for one in an opposite corner, too long and too wide
for a lad in his teens, was the appointed couch for two of us, and all
ready. There were nine or ten of us, all told, and among them the
daughter’s lover, a good-looking and very well-appearing young man. Now
that we were provided for, it was certainly no concern of ours how and
where the others were to lodge, although I could not avoid feeling some
interest in the matter. To hasten things to a conclusion, I rose, wound
my watch, took off my boots, my coat and vest, demonstrations of my
intention of going at once to bed that were not mistaken. Immediately
all walked out of the house, and remained out, talking in the open air,
until we were snugly packed away and pinned in behind the scant
curtains, when they returned, and noiselessly went to rest in some order
peculiar to the household, dividing between them the other bed, the
floor, and the small chamber under the roof. When, in her native land,
an ebony lady entertained Mungo Park, she and her maids lightened their
nocturnal labors—spinning cotton—by singing plaintive songs, the
burden of which was “the poor white man who came and sat under our
tree.” Thus our two maidens lightened both their labors and our
slumbers, but by a less poetic process. While they busied themselves
with sweeping the house, and washing dishes until after midnight, they
kept a continual whispering, the subject of which was, in part, the poor
sunburnt men who came to sleep under their curtains—but could not do
it. Considering that the daughter had a sweetheart in the house, the
sibilant disturbances of the girls were meekly suffered until they
naturally whispered and swept their way to bed. After this we had a fair
field, and did our best to improve it. The room being warm and smoky, I
unpinned the curtain, and started for fresh air, stealing out as quietly
as possible. Treacherous door! When I had succeeded in hitting upon the
wooden latch, up it came with a jerk and a clack that went, it seemed to
me, to the ears of every sleeper. I waited till I thought the effect of
the noise had passed away, when I began slowly opening the door. It
squealed like a bagpipe, startling the dreamers from their pillows, and
arousing suspicions of a rogue creeping in, while it was only the
restless traveller creeping out. There had been a kitten mewing at the
door for some time. With tail erect, she whipped in between my feet.
There was a puppy outside also, and some pigs; each in its way promising
to keep up till daylight the serenade of barking and grunting, with
which, from an earlier hour, they had entertained us. It was starlight,
and I could see my ground, as I thought. I determined to have
satisfaction by setting the dog upon the pigs, and then flogging the
dog. Rapping one over the head with a bean-pole, by way of prelude to
rapping the other, the puppy instantly joined in the assault, which, but
for an unlucky stubbing of my naked toes, would have proved successful.
I flung down my bean-pole with disgust, and beat, instead of the young
rascal of a dog, an inglorious retreat. For the rest of the night, it
was a triumph with the enemy, reinforced by some goslings and quacking
ducks. If there was needed any more rosin on the bow that kept sawing
across my tightly tuned nerves, two or three fleas supplied it at short
intervals. The bite of the little villains made me jump like sparks of
fire. There was, also, toward the chilly morning hours, a tide in our
affairs, a regular ebb and flow of bed-clothes, and a final cataract of
them, the entire sheet descending into some abyss, from which we never
succeeded in recovering hardly any thing more than some scanty edges and
corners of a blanket. It was a wonder to me how my companion in arms
could sleep as he did, a pleasure he declares he did not enjoy; but in
his restlessness was surprised that I could slumber on so soundly, and
snore through so many troubles—a dulness from which, of course, I tried
stoutly to clear myself. Thus, as frequently happens, each imagined the
other to have slept, and himself to have been wakeful all night.
Undoubtedly, both waked and slumbered, and magnified the several small
annoyances.

When we were ready to get up, which was disagreeably early, the
household was stirring. But a peep through the crevice of the curtains,
which had been carefully pinned together again by some fingers unknown,
while we were dreaming, gave the needful hint, when out they went again
among the ducks and goslings. We sprang out of bed, and dressed with all
reasonable dispatch—an exercise in which we were slightly interrupted
by a younger puppy, the pestilent animal persisting, in spite of a kick
or two, in springing at and nibbling our feet.



                              CHAPTER LIX.


          SUNDAY AT DAVID MURDOCH’S.—THE SCENERY OF BRAS D’OR.

SATURDAY, _July 23_. We were off betimes, and trundling right merrily
again along the hilly shores of Bras D’or, a much more expanded sheet of
water than yesterday. At three o’clock, P. M., we arrived at David
Murdoch’s, the end of our journey with Dearing’s conveyances, and where
we remain until Monday morning.

I have just returned from a walk through wood and meadow, picking
berries by the way, and now wait for dinner, which, from the linen on
the table, the look of the landlady, and the general air of things,
promises uncommonly well. From this frequent mention of the quality of
our dinner, it may be thought that I think them of great importance. I
do think them of very great importance; not so much because good meals
are necessary and the best on mere sanatory grounds, but because they
are an allowable luxury, especially at a time when one is apt to have a
sharp appetite and good digestion. A man is something of an animal, and
likes excellent eating for the comfort of it, and the stomach’s sake,
and that _like_ is defensible on good moral grounds. I need not add,
that the indulgence of it should have upon it the bit and curb of
moderation; in the application of which moral force consists temperance,
a virtue that stands not in the scantiness, the meanness, or the entire
absence of things drank and eaten, but in the strong, controlling will.
After this brief apology for the hungry traveller’s love of bountiful
dinners well and neatly served, I will return to the sylvan nook where
ours, for to-day and to-morrow, are to be cooked and eaten.

We are at the foot of a high, broad hill, verdant with meadows and
pastures, and checkered with woods and orchards, around the lake-end of
which the road comes gracefully winding down to the creek and the bridge
close by. The expanse of water lying off to the west, as you might have
guessed, is named St. Peter’s Bay, and the buildings, a mile or more
distant along the spruce and pine-covered shore, is St. Peter’s itself,
a village. The accommodations of Mr. Murdoch are ampler than those of
the Widow Kelly; and the brown, wooden house stands backed into the
thick evergreen forest, the front door dressing to the right and left,
with its square-toed stone step in line with the trees along the street.
We have each a neat room, softened under foot with a rag carpet, and
dimmed by a small window and its clean white curtain. The narrow
feather-beds are freshened with the cleanest linen. We have seen the
last of our driver, who returns to-day as far as the Widow Kelly’s.

With one horse attached to the hinder end of the forward wagon, he went
over the bridge and up the hill, “an hour and a half ago.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

SUNDAY, _July 24_. We rest according to the commandment, and have
religious service in the family, the members of which, like most of the
Scotch of Cape Breton, are Presbyterians. In the afternoon, we sauntered
through the adjoining woods and fields, picking a few strawberries, and
giving to ourselves a practical illustration of the ease with which
people slip into the habit of Sabbath-breaking, who live in
out-of-the-way places, distant from the parish church, and beyond the
restraints of a well-ordered community. In the course of our walk, we
came out upon the beach, and looked at the beautiful evening sky across
the water. Bountiful Providence! Where hast thou not sown the seeds of
loveliness, and made the flowers of glory bloom? Celestial colors are
also beneath the foot. The swells that fretted, and left their froth
along the sloping sand, were freighted with the jelly-fish, several of
which were of the most exquisite purple.



                              CHAPTER LX.


    OFF FOR THE STRAIT OF CANSO.—ST. PETER’S AND THE
    COUNTRY.—DAVID MURDOCH’S HORSES, AND HIS DRIVING.—ARRIVE AT
    PLASTER COVE.

MONDAY, _July 25_. We are out “by the dawn’s early light,” and assist in
getting our baggage upon the coach, as David Murdoch calls his two-horse
covered wagon, which is to carry us on to the Strait of Canso. We have
breakfasted, and all is ready. As I pen these notes, here and there by
the wayside, I keep them mainly in the present tense. David, a little
fair-complexioned, sandy-whiskered farmer, innkeeper, stage-proprietor,
and driver, all in one, is exactly the man for his vocation. Quick in
his motions, intelligent and good-tempered, he is entirely to our
purpose. He starts his Cape Bretons, a span of light, wiry animals, upon
a canter, in our opinion an indiscreet pace. We pass St. Peter’s, a
superlative place—superlatively minute, the smallest city in the world.
It had, for several years, one house, but has of late been in a more
thriving condition. It has now a name on the map, a population of some
nine or ten souls, and two houses, a large public work in the shape of a
beach, and a little shipping, not able to say how much exactly, as it is
all absent but a skiff and a bark canoe, and the wreck of a schooner, in
a poor and neglected condition. How long, at this rate of progress, it
will take for St. Peter’s to grow out of existence, is a fair question
of arithmetic, left for the statist of the island to cipher out. We
pause for a moment only, and that in front of a mercantile
establishment, if one may guess from a tin-foil-covered paper of
tobacco, and astride of it a couple of pipes in the window, but dash
through its suburbs, a pig-pen and a hen-roost, and pass the gates of a
calf-pen and a potato-patch, and gain the open country, a wild and
lonesome tract, half-wooded, and the other half weeds, brush, and stumps
of all calibre and colors, from rotten-red and brown down to coal-black,
and all torn to pieces, and tangled into one briery wilderness, just fit
for the fires that occasionally scour through.

We were mistaken about the indiscretion of David, in his driving, and
add two more to the list of those impertinent travellers who hastily
pass judgment upon persons and things of which they are quite ignorant.
David is the Jehu of the road, and his steeds are chosen, and fitted to
their master. Like locomotives, they work with the greater ease and
spirit as they wax hotter. For three hours they trotted, galloped, ran,
as if something more than horse was in them, and something worse than
man was in their driver. There was; as we knew by the flame in his face
and about his nostrils, and by his breath that had spirit in it. Around
the hills, and at their foot, over bridges, and through the bushy dales,
the road described many a Hogarth’s line of beauty, and many a
full-blooded S. In whirling through these graceful sinuosities, now
strongly on the right wheels, then heavily on the left, flirting the
dust or mud into the air, we seemed to swim or fly on the oily brim of
peril. Expostulation flashed out upon the lips in vain. A shake of the
head, and a knowing smile, sharpened off by the crack of the whip,
restored assurance, and fairly straightened all things out. But all went
well, and passengers as well as driver became rash and brave, and
foolishly came to like and applaud what at first they were disposed to
protest against.

A change of horses has enabled David to persist in this extraordinary
driving, which brings us to Plaster Cove at noon, where we part with
both the mercurial little Scotchman, and Cape Breton. Thus have we
coasted, and crossed this British Island, in which, with all that is
repulsive and desolate, nature has done much, especially in the
picturesque, and where agriculture and commerce have large fields for
improvement. To the tourist that loves nature, and who, for the manifold
beauties by hill and shore, by woods and waters, is happy to make small
sacrifices of personal comfort, I would commend Cape Breton. Your
fashionable, whose main object is company, dress, and frivolous pleasure
with the gay, and whose only tolerable stopping-place is the grand
hotel, had better content himself with reading of this Island.



                              CHAPTER LXI.


    ADIEU TO DAVID AND CAPE BRETON.—THE STRAIT OF CANSO.—OUR NOVA
    SCOTIA COACH.—ST. GEORGE’S BAY, AND THE RIDE INTO ANTIGONISH.

PLASTER COVE, a small village, and our dining-place, is at the main
point of departure for Nova Scotia on the Strait of Canso, a river to
all appearance, and not unlike the Niagara, pouring its deep, green
tides back and forth through its rocky channel, overlooked by cliffs and
highlands. Directly opposite, the hills rise into quite a mountain,
thickly wooded, down the sides of which is a broad clearing for the
telegraphic wire connecting with the Atlantic cable. At first a very
high tower of timber was erected on this, the Cape Breton side, in order
to carry the wire above the highest mast, but it was soon abandoned and
left to fall into ruin. The wire is now submerged, and enters the water
in the form of a substantial iron rope strong enough for the anchor of a
man-of-war.

Two o’clock, P. M., we crossed the strait in a small sail-boat, and
encountered quite a disagreeable sea, enough so to give us a few dashes
of salt water, and frighten the women that were in company. We have a
two-horse post-coach, of queer shape and uncomfortable dimensions, being
short and narrow in the body, but tall enough to serve for a canopy at
the head of a procession. One could easily spread his umbrella overhead,
and find some inconvenience in disposing of it closed down below. To
Antigonish, the town for which we start in this—I am at a loss to
determine whether antique, or an anticipation of the future—carriage,
it is thirty-six miles, and not greatly different from as many miles
lately passed over, if I may guess from what I can see for a mile ahead.
Our fellow-sufferers in this strait jacket of a carriage are Scotchmen,
and think in Gaelic before they speak, I imagine, as have many of them
that we have met. They are much amused at the humour of the painter, of
whose vocation and standing in the world they have not the remotest
notion.

                      “St. George, he was for England,
                       St. Denis was for France;
                       Sing, Honi soit qui mal y pense,”

is the refrain of Master John Grubb, of Christ Church, Oxford, his
ballad, rehearsed at the anniversary feast of St. George’s club, on St.
George’s Day, the 23d of April. And now for the reason that I have been
humming this classic nonsense, or rather that I should have thought of
it: To the north of us is a blue expanse, dotted and bordered by
inlands, headlands, and the warm blue heights of Cape Breton. It is a
kind of azure reticule, or pocket of the Gulf, and was early christened,
by whom I cannot tell, St. George’s Bay. This is the second Bay in honor
of the martyr of Nicomedia, the patron Saint of England, to repeat a
popish fancy, that we have encountered within a few days. And truly,
could the old religious hero revisit these earthly scenes, he would own
that they had given his name to a very fine extent of water, whose
purple hills to the northeast stand at the opening of the Strait of
Canso. Due north, a vessel would touch, in a few hours’ sail, the
eastern cape of Prince Edward’s Island, the garden of all the Gulf,
another region for the summer traveller.

These landscapes of island, sky, and water are softly beautiful in the
afternoon and sunset lights, but scarcely picturesque, and never grand.
The country is dull and wearisome, gently diversified with hill and
dale, woodlands and farms, in no very high state of culture, and thinly
populated. There is some advantage, however, resulting from this dulness
of scenery: it drives us to ourselves for entertainment. A merrier time
I do not remember than that lately passed on the driver’s seat. The
theme was scarecrows—a peculiar walk of art, in which the painter,
during a recent stay in a remote part of the country, became
sufficiently adept to frighten, not only the little creatures that
pulled up the corn, but even the larger ones that planted it. To such
perfection did he finally carry old clothes and straw, that, like the
statue of Pygmalion, his images became indued with life, and ended with
running after the astonished rustics of the neighborhood. We ride into
Antigonish, a thriving village, with pretty white houses and spreading
shade-trees, at dusk, and alight at a comfortable tavern, where we sup
on salmon, and rest until after midnight.



                             CHAPTER LXII.


    NEW GLASGOW.—THE RIDE TO TRURO.—THE RAILWAY RIDE TO
    HALIFAX.—PARTING WITH THE PAINTER.

TUESDAY, _July 26_. New Glasgow. We halt here for breakfast, after a
sociable and merry ride of several hours from Antigonish, where, after a
refreshing sleep, we were favored by a change of coaches, and the
pleasant company of an officer of the English army. Here is a broad and
fertile vale with a pretty river and town; all reminding us of New
England. Across the river are coal-mines, a railroad, and the roar of
cars, merely coal-cars, however. Tide-water is close by, setting in from
the Strait of Northumberland, the lengthy water lying between the
mainland and Prince Edward’s Island. We are all ready for our ride to
Truro, on Mines Bay, or a spur of it, an eastern reach of the Bay of
Fundy, and distant forty miles, where we take the cars for Halifax, or
all the world. Those wonderful cars! Why, at Truro, I shall begin to
feel at home, a point more remote than Europe, in the day of only sails
and horse-power.

The ride is cheering, as we take it on the coach-top in the breezy,
bright day. Broad farms, with barns and dwellings, grass and grain and
orchards, cattle and bleating sheep spread out upon the hills, and
stretch along the valleys. The plain of Truro has many of the features
of a populous and well-cultivated county. Its groves and trees and wide
meadows, waiting for the mower, form a pretty and extended landscape.
The town itself, reached at three o’clock, with its central square and
grass and shades, is too much like a village of New England to need
further mention. While at dinner, the whistle of the locomotive
indicated the direction of the station, a welcome call, which we obeyed
with rather more than ordinary alacrity. The ride to Halifax, which
occupied from four o’clock until dusk, was by no means at Yankee speed,
and took us through a thinly inhabited country, somewhat broken, and
interspersed with woods and waters—a region that makes no very definite
or lasting impression, and yet one that the traveller looks out upon
with some pleasure. The last few miles along the banks of the river
flowing into Halifax Bay was a lovely valley ride. Rounded hills and
bluffs green and bowery, and handsome residences looking out between
pretty groves and down grassy lawns, never appeared more attractive. Had
we been going the other way, perhaps they would not have seemed
deserving of more than a passing look. In the weary hours, and along the
torrid portions of the path of life, I am sure that I shall remember the
quiet, refreshing scenery of that river, and wish myself among its
graceful and placid beauties. From the noisy station we trundled in an
omnibus through the narrow streets of an old-fashioned, hill-side city,
crowned with a fortress looking off south upon a bay and the distant
ocean, and alighted at a hotel of stories and many windows, where we
heard a gong, instrument of Pandemonium, and took tea with the relish of
medicine, and talked over the conclusion of our journey. As haste was
more requisite on my part, I resolved to post across the province to
Windsor, that night, and leave the painter to wend his way homeward at
his leisure.



                             CHAPTER LXIII.


    COACH RIDE AT NIGHT FROM HALIFAX TO WINDSOR.—THE PRINCE
    EDWARD’S MAN, AND THE GENTLEMAN FROM NEWFOUNDLAND.

IMMERSED in fog, and shut up in a small coach, three of us, a Prince
Edward’s man and a gentleman from Newfoundland, rode at a round trot,
with but two or three brief intermissions, from ten o’clock in the
evening until six next morning. The country, I conclude—if a man may
have any conclusions, who rides with his eyes fast shut, and sleeps and
nods—is a succession of hills and dales. From the bridges, over which
we rumbled, and from the crowing of the cocks at midnight and at dawn, I
argue that there were farms and streams. My companions were agreeable.
Being partners in the enterprise, at the cost of twenty-two dollars and
a half for an eight hours’ drive, we had fellow-feelings on all things
in general, and upon the expensiveness of night travelling in Nova
Scotia in particular. The Prince Edward’s man, a tradesman, was on his
first visit to the States, in fact to the great world, and was a modest,
thoughtful person, who talked as men of merely home experience are apt
to talk, saying nothing to object to, nothing to startle, and some
little to remember concerning the climate, the society, and products of
his native isle. The gentleman from Newfoundland had seen the world to
his soul’s content, and now was a most passionate lover of wild nature.
He had dined with nobility and gentry, and could talk of them and of
cities, from the end of his tongue; but of the pleasures of the
sportsman in British America, out of his very heart. A more genial
companion the lonely traveller could not easily light upon. I had seen
him before, but forgot to mention it. It was at Murdoch’s, on the last
Sunday, which I was sorry to recollect of him. He drove up about noon,
in wood-man’s dress partly; washed, dined, and departed in great haste
for Pictou, in order to reach Halifax in time for the very steamer that
we were hoping to catch. With all his speed he missed it as well as we.
Hinc illæ lachrymæ. In his conversation you heard the crack of the
rifle, and the roar of the forest and the ocean. He was often reeling in
the largest salmon and the finest trout, and bringing down with a crash
in the brushwood the fattest of all bucks. The light of his nut-brown
pipe, a costly article, flashing faintly on his well-marked face,
reminded me of the red blaze of camp-fires in the woods, on the banks of
mountain brooks, and the shores of solitary lakes. From one of a nature
so companionable you part, on the road, after no longer than a day’s
acquaintance, with genuine regret. He was a character for the novelist,
with a head and countenance both for painter and sculptor.



                             CHAPTER LXIV.


    WINDSOR.—THE AVON AND THE TIDE.—THE STEAMER FOR ST. JOHNS, NEW
    BRUNSWICK.—MINES BASIN.—COAST SCENERY.—THE SCENE OF
    EVANGELINE.—PARSBORO.—THE BAY OF FUNDY.—NOVA SCOTIA AND NEW
    BRUNSWICK SHORES.—ST. JOHNS.—THE MAINE COAST, AND GRAND MANAN.

WEDNESDAY, _July 27_. Windsor, N. S. Soon after our arrival, I walked
down to the Avon, an arm of Mines Bay, itself an expanded inlet of the
great Bay of Fundy, to view the wonderful tide. It was not coming in, as
I had hoped, but quite out, leaving miles of black river-bottom entirely
bare, with only a small stream coursing through in a serpentine manner.
A line of blue water was visible on the northern horizon. After an
absence of an hour or so, I loitered back, when, to my surprise, there
was a river like the Hudson at Catskill, running up with a powerful
current. The high wharf, upon which, but a short time before, I had
stood and surveyed the black, unsightly fields of mud, was now up to its
middle in the turbid and whirling stream, and very nearly in, the
steamer from St. Johns, N. B.

In the course of an hour more I was on board, and waiting for the turn
of the tide, upon which, of necessity, the boat takes her departure. I
had missed, after all, seeing the first approach of the tidal wave, and
had to content myself with what I have described, and with a short walk
in the town, of late esteeming itself noteworthy on account of being the
birthplace of General Williams, the hero of Kars, of whose fine personal
appearance I have spoken.

We are now at the opening of the Avon into Mines Bay or Basin, as they
call this small sea, and look upon scenes of which Longfellow speaks in
the first pages of his Evangeline. It is simply a pleasant-looking
farming country, checkered with fields of green, now of a yellow tint
and then of a blue. Shores of reddish rocks and sand make a pretty
foreground line along the west, and rise to the picturesque as they wind
away northward. Headlands of gray and red rocks in slopes and precipices
stand out in bold relief crowned with underwood and loftier trees. The
clouds are clearing away before the breeze, and letting us have a
sparkling sea, a fine blue sky, and landscapes dappled with light and
shadow.

Parsboro, a village on the north shore of the Basin, enjoys more than
its share of broad, gravelly beach, overhung with clifted and woody
bluffs. One fresh from the dead walls of a great city would be delighted
with the sylvan shores of Parsboro. The beach, with all its breadth, a
miracle of pebbly beauty, slants steeply to the surf, which is now
rolling up in curling clouds of green and white. Here we turn westward
into the great bay itself, going with a tide that rushes like a mighty
river toward a cataract, whirling, boiling, breaking in half moons of
crispy foam. Behind us is the blue reach of Chignecto Bay, the northern
of the two long and winding horns of the main body of water, up which it
would be play for a fortnight to hunt romantic scenery, and witness the
“bore,” that most brilliant of all tidal displays.

Here is a broad sea, moving with strange velocity for a sea. The
prospect to the south is singularly fine. Nova Scotia, sloping from the
far-off sky gently down to the shores, its fields and villages and
country dwellings gleaming in the warm noon-day, or darkening in the
shadow of a transient cloud—a contrast to the northern, New Brunswick
coast, iron-bound and covered with dark forests. Drops from a coming
shower are wasting their sweet freshness upon the briny deep, an
agreeable discord in the common music of the day, and chime in, among
pleasant incidents, with the talk of the Prince Edward’s man, and the
sparkling conversation of the Newfoundland gentleman. “And so sail we”
into the harbor of St. Johns, the last of the waters of this divine
apostle, in time for supper and a pleasant ramble about the city. You
might call it the city of hills.

                 *        *        *        *        *

THURSDAY, _July 28, 1859_. St. Johns, N. B. This is my last date, and I
write it out in full, in the light of a fine morning, on the deck of the
steamer for Portland. The coast of Maine, truly picturesque as it is,
with its rocky points, lake-like bays, and islands bristling in their
dark evergreens like porcupines, and particularly Mount Desert Island
and Frenchman’s Bay, is the mildest form of Newfoundland scenery as you
see it on the Atlantic side, with an additional dressing of forest and
vegetation, sparsely studded with towns and habitations.

Speaking of Mount Desert Island, recalls Cole to memory, who was, I
believe, the first landscape painter of our country that visited that
picturesque region. I remember with what enthusiasm he spoke of the
coast scenery—the fine surf upon Sand Beach—the play of the surge in
the caverns of Great Head—the Ægean beauty of Frenchman’s Bay—the
forests, and the wild, rugged mountains, from the tops of which he could
count a multitude of sails upon the blue ocean, and follow the rocky
shores and sparkling breakers for many and many a mile. Familiar to me
as all that has long since become, I shall not pass it to-day without
emotion.

Grand Manan, a favorite summer haunt of the painter, is the very throne
of the bold and romantic. The high, precipitous shores, but for the
woods which beautify them, are quite in the style of Labrador. I look
upon its grand old cliffs with double interest from the fact that he has
made me familiar with its people and scenery. As it recedes from my
view, and becomes a dot in the boundless waters, I will put the period
to this record.

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Punctuation and
obvious typesetting errors have been corrected without note. Some
illustrations have been moved slightly from their original positions to
keep paragraphs intact. There are many references to St. Johns,
Newfoundland throughout the book which have been left as printed but
which would normally be spelled as St. John’s.

page xiv, Steamer for St. Johns, New Brunswick. ==> references to St.
  Johns, New Brunswick in the Contents and throughout Chapter LXIV most
  likely refer to St. John, New Brunswick.

page xiv, Mines Basin. ==> Mines Basin as given in the Contents and within
  Chapter LXIV most likely refer to Minas Basin.

page 326, to Truro, on Mines Bay, ==> likely refers to Minas Basin

                 *        *        *        *        *

[End of _After Icebergs with a Painter_, by Louis Legrand Noble]





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