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put into moulds, like those wherein sugar 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 alfo ufed for making candles, which are but little inferior to thofe 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 fuperior 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.

Fatber. The whale veffels ufually fail about the beginning of April, and fteer 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 thefe feas, that they find the whale, and there most of the

veffels take their station for the fishing. Every fhip 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 fastened together, each one hundred and twenty fathoms long. To each harping iron is faftened a strong ftick, about fix feet long, and a foft pliable line of as many fathoms, called the fore guager, which is fastened to the lines in the boat. The inftrument with which the whale is struck, is a harping iron, or javelin, pointed with fteel, in a triangular fhape, like the barb of an 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 fastened 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

arrow.

he should outrun the length of the line, and pull the boat after him into the deep; to guard against this inconvenience, a man is fixed by the line with a fharp knife, ready to cut it in a moment, in case of neceffity. If the whale return for air to breathe, the harpooner takes the opportunity to give him a fresh wound, till fainting by lofs of blood, from repeated wounds, the men feize that moment for approaching him, and thrusting a long steel lance under his gills, into his breast, and through the intestines, foon dispatch him, When the carcafe begins to float, they cut holes in the fins and tail, and tying a rope in them, tow him to the veffel, where he is fastened to the larboard fide of the fhip, floating upon his back, almost level with the fea.

Charles. What wonderful skill and dexterity are requifite in a Greenland failor! I should like to make one voyage with them.

Mother. Your curiofity and ardour are excited by the account your father has given us of their expeditions, but you are not aware of the hardships they undergo from the severity of these northern climates.

ing. Your company will be always agreeable to me, and I hope our converfation will be inftructive to you.

Augusta. I accept the invitation with pleafure; but I hope to receive entertainment as well as inftruction; for I fhall never be able to attend to a long dry lecture, without fome amufement to render it palatable.

Father. I have chofen the Whale for our fubject to night, and the information it affords I expect will be new and wonderful to you all.

Charles. Is not the Whale found in the feas towards the north pole?

Father. Yes, my dear, they chiefly inhabit the feas towards the north pole; though many whales are caught in the South Seas toward that pole; but the chief fishery has been near the coaft of Spitzbergen, Nova Zembla, and Greenland; where many fhips go every year, for the fole purpose of catching whales.

Mother. We may admire the goodness of Providence, who leaves not the moft obfcure corner of the globe without its pecu

liar riches. Thefe countries, which fcarcely fupply food for their wretched inhabitants, and are covered with fnow, full nine months in the year, are vifited by people from diftant parts of the world who brave every danger, for the fake of taking the whales, which are found in their feas.

Cecilia. I cannot think what use they can be of, to tempt people to go fo far for them.

Father. You will find that they fupply feveral ufeful articles for our convenience. Your stays, for example, would not be fo well fhaped without whalebone.

Cecilia. Are the bones that stiffen our stays really the bones of whales ?

Fatber. The fubftance called whalebone, adheres to the upper jaw, and is formed of thin parallel lamina, called whiskers; fome of the longest are four yards in length; they are furrounded by long ftrong hair, to guard the tongue from being hurt, and also to prevent the return of their food, when they dif charge the water out of their mouth.

Henry. Whiskers four yards long! how

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