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vantage by interchanging, the fuperfluous produce of diftant climes, and exercising the mutual good offices of love and kindness. But to return to the whale; it has two orifices in the middle of the head, through which it fpouts water to a great height, and, when it is difturbed or wounded, with a noife, like thunder. Its eyes are not larger than those of an ox, and placed at a great distance from each, other. There is no fin on the back, but on the fides, under each eye there are two large ones which ferve it for rowing. The colour varies, the back of fome being red, others, black, and another variety is mottled; the belly is generally white. They are extremely, beautiful in the water; the fkin is very smooth and flippery. Under the skin the whale is co-. vered with fat or blubber, from fix to twelve. inches thick, which fometimes yields from one to two hundred barrels of oil. All Europe is fupplied with oil for lamps, and many other, purposes, from this blubber. The flesh is red and coarfe, fomewhat like beef; the Greenlanders eat it, and the Icelanders foak it in four whey.

?

Charles. It must be very difagreeable food. I should think, the oil would make it very grea

fy and strong.

Father. So it does; but the poor people who live in countries fo far north, have but little variety of meat to tempt their appetite. In winter, as your mother has already remarked, the ground is covered with fnow, and affords no vegetation but a little mofs, which is found on the bodies of trees, confequently the larger animals, fuch as cattle, &c. cannot fubfift there. The reindeer is peculiar to thofe parts, and fupplies his master with a fcanty provifion during that dreary feafon;

but as they are valuable for many other purpo fes, they are unwilling to kill them but from neceffity; the flesh of the whale is therefore reckoned a dainty, which may afford us a leffon, to be contented with beef and mutton, and to discourage that fpirit of gluttony and fenfual indulgence. that prevails too glaringly at the tables of the rich, who are feldom fatisfied with one or two plain difheз, but cover their tables with a profufion, that invites a

falfe appetite, and wastes the good things that are provided for our use.

Charles.

Do whales ever ftray fo far from their ufual haunts, as to be found on our coafts? it would give me great pleasure to

fee one.

Father. There have been inftances of a few, that have been left at low water on fhore, but they occur but feldom. Notwithstanding its vaft fize, the whale fwims fwiftly, and generally against the wind. The female brings but one, or at most two young ones at a time, which are nine or ten feet long; they fuckle their young, and if purfued, fhew the fame maternal folicitude for the prefervation of their offspring, as land animals, by wrapping them up in their fins close to their bodies.

Sophia. Pray, does the whale yield any other produce, that is useful to man, except oil and whalebone?

Father. Yes; Spermaceti is prepared from the oil that is found in the head of a whale. It is melted over a gentle fire, and

put into moulds, like thofe wherein fugar loaves are formed; when cold and drained, it is taken out and melted over again, till it be well purified and whitened; it is then cut with a knife into flakes, and is used as a medicine for various complaints of the lungs; it is also used for making candles, which are but little inferior to those made of wax.

Charles.

I cannot imagine what means can be devised to catch and manage an animal of fuch prodigious fize.

Father. No animal is fo large or powerful, but muft yield to the superior fagacity of man. The method of taking whales is truly curious, and I fhall have pleasure in entertaining you with a recital of it.

All. Pray begin, we are all attention.
Father.

The whale veffels ufually fail about the beginning of April, and steer northward, till they reach about the 75th degree of north latitude, where they ufually begin to meet with the ice. It is among thefe huge heaps of ice, that float about in these feas, that they find the whale, and there most of the

veffels take their station for the fishing, Every ship has fix or feven boats belonging to it, each of which has one harpooner, one man to steer, one to manage the line, and four feamen to row it; each boat is provided with two or three harpoons, feveral lances, and fix lines faftened together, each one hundred and twenty fathoms long. To each harping iron is fastened a strong stick, about fix feet long, and a foft pliable line of as many fathoms, called the fore guager, which is faftened to the lines in the boat. The inftrument with which the whale is ftruck, is a harping iron, or javelin, pointed with fteel, in a triangular shape, like the barb of an arrow. The harpooner, upon fight of the fish, flings the harping iron with all his might against its back; and if he be fo fortunate as to penetrate the skin and fat, into the flesh, he lets go a line faftened to the harping iron, at the end of which is a gourd, which swimming on the water, difcovers where the whale is : for the minute he is wounded, he plunges to the bottom, commonly fwimming against the wind; and this is the moment of danger, left

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