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The position of bow oarsman is red clots of blood well from the no joy in a Nantucket sleigh ride. wound, showing that the “life” has The chauffer in a racing automobile been reached. is in a paradise of ease and laxation Then it is "back," sometimes for compared with him. He must keep dear life. .
A whale may take his the boat in position by his unaided deatli so quietly, so passively, that strength. From the time he gets it is pitiable to see so mighty a the line until the ride is ended, he swimmer killed thus easily by man, drives into a smothering sheet of or he may fight till the boat seems salt spray. When the sea is high only a black atom in the sudden every billow is met by the boat uproar that smites the ocean and with a smash that wrenches his sends tons of water rising till they arms. The strain on the wet line seem high enough to wash the sky. cuts and burns his hands. And, if The danger from fighting a whale he lets a foot of it slip, he is dis- is not alone in the whale himself. graced. Once he is in it, he is in The boat is a perfect man-trap of it for good, with no chance for help keen, deadly tools. Lances and haror relief till the wild adventure is poons, cutting spades, knives and done. Often the boat is hauled so boat hooks, all sharpened to the close on a harpooned whale that the finest edge the ship's grindstone can harpooner leans over and steadies give them, fill the boat. If the
, himself by resting one hand on the whale gets at it and hurls it into butt of the harpoon that is sticking the air, the men find themselves in in the great sea mammal, while murderous company when the weapwith the other he drives the killing come raining down on them. lance. Again and again the long The harpoon line goes hissing outweapon is buried deep in the black
a serpent of rope far more dangersides, until suddenly thick, black- ous than any cobra, for let it but
kink in the least and catch a man, hich is the huge cheeks and lips, and he will fly overboard with it yields oil very freely, and as it and out of sight as if he were a is part of the head, is counted as mere splinter of wood. So there such. are enough sporting chances in a
These whales are not, as a general whale to excite and content the thing, much for fighting, seeking most exacting of sportsman. And
safety in fight, but occasionally a the size of the trophy, if a whale is lone bull, that has been separated "bagged,” certainly leaves nothing from the school or herd, is fallen in to be desired.
with, and his ugly disposition, made The sperm whale is the one most more sour and morose by the want sought for an account of the oil
of companionship, makes him an being of more value than any other ugly customer to deal with, often species. The sperm is the only charging on the boat and crushing whale having teeth, and these are it like an eggshell with his ponderonly in the lower jaw; in the upper ous jaw, leaving the whalemen jaw there are cavities, into which minus boat and gear, and lucky, the teeth fit snugly when the jaw is indeed, if they escape with their closed. These teeth are fine ivory,
lives. but do not command a great price The whalemen of New England in the market, being valuable only have been the sinews of the Amerias curiosities, as they become dis- can navy. Inured to danger by a colored with age, which unfits them calling in which the chances were for use in any of the arts for which as desperate as those of battle, they ivory is employed. The habitat of stepped from the whale-boat to the this species of whale in the north man-of-war simply to face a foe of Atlantic Ocean is on the coast of
a different kind; when they reCentral America, the borders of the sponded to their country's call they
, Gulf Stream, on what is called Hat- grimly applied to each hostile ship teras and Charleston grounds, off the old whaling motto, "Dead whale Cape de Verde Islands, and others or stove boat.” known to whalemen as the “Cor- The New Bedford boy who ties nell," "Twelve-forty," etc.
a fork to his mother's darning cot-The principal food of this whale ton and then tries to harpoon the is the squid or cuttle fish that are cat, yelling, as the latter makes its plenty in the warm waters of these escape," Pay out, mother, pay out! grounds. The yield of oil in a full There she sounds through the wingrown whale will be about one hun
dow!" is certainly worthy of the dred barrels, from one-third to one
"boat-steerer" who was his sire. half being contained in the head. In New Bedford and Nantucket One peculiarity of this species is may still hear snatches of the case, so called; this is a cavity
"Round Cape Horn," a song much in the head, from which clear oil in vogue in the days when the is bailed with buckets, amounting whaling industry was at its height. sometimes to twelve or fifteen bar- Following are a few characteristic rels. This makes the very best oil,
stanzas: and only requires heating so that it
"I asked a maiden by my side, will not become rancid. The junk,
Who sighed and looked to me forlorni,
*W'here is your heart?' she quick replied, sels are, of course, doing corre‘Round Cape Horn.'
spondingly better. The bark “Sun“I said, “I'll let your fathers know,'
beam,” when out but two months, To boys in mischief on the lawn;
reported from Fayal that she had They all replied, 'Then you must go
already secured six hundred and Round Cape Horn.'
fifty barrels of oil. She bids fair to "In fact, I asked a little boy
equal her recent record when she If he could tell where he was born; arrived in port with oil and bone He answered, with a mark of joy, 'Round Cape Horn.'”
that sold for over sixty-five thou
sand dollars. Another bark, the There is no exaggeration in these “Morning Star,” reported taking stanzas. The male population of seven hundred and fifty barrels in the old whaling ports was divided a little less than six months. Since into those who were away on
leaving home on this voyage she whaling voyage, those who were had taken one thousand and three just returning from one, and those hundred barrels. who were preparing to start on one. An old-time whaler, the oldest
The New England whaling fleet in the world, the ship “Canton," is bringing in gold again—not so lately sailed on another voyage to much before the
distant seas. She brought home on whale oil was worth dizzy prices, her last voyage two thousand and but enough to make a good voyage two hundred barrels of sperm oil in mean big profit. Even
the sixteen months—an exceptionally schooners able to remain out only a short voyage for a vessel of her few months and able to carry only size. The “Canton” sailed the a limited quantity of oil, have been whale grounds of the world long coming home with from six to before the garish days of kerosene. eight thousand dollars' worth of She struck whale in waters almost oil and whalebone. The large ves- unknown to the rest of the mari
time world. And stout in every Some idea of the size of a right timber, able as the day when she whale yielding two hundred and was launched, with ribs so well pre- fifty barrels of oil may be formed served that they chip fresh and by the following dimensions given bright under the shipwright's adze, by Captain Benjamin Higgins, of she promises to carry her white and the bark “Sunbeam": blue house flag, with the black let- “The blubber of such a whale,” ter “W” on the white and the red he says, “is half a yard thick, and ball on the blue field, the famous
if put together in a strip, would be old pennant of the “Wings” of New sixty-six feet long and twenty Bedford, around the world før many seven feet wide. The upper jaw years to come. She was built more would make a room nine feet high than half a century ago, a typical and twenty feet long. The lips and whaler of the far off days when throat of the brute, with the supmen built ships like churches. She porting jaw bones, will weigh as is about two hundred and fifty tons much as twenty-five oxen of one burden, but she has the appearance thousand pounds each. The tongue
big merchantman, for she will often weigh as much as ten towers out of the water with bulky
The spread of the lips is sides and her fat bowsprit is almost thirty feet, and he can take in fifty as big as a mast.
barrels of water at one mouthful." Within the last few years the A valuable secretion is found in whaling industry has been robbed the sperm whale called ambergris. of much of its romance by the adop- This is found in hard bunches in tion of the dart-gun to take the the whale's intestines; it is of a dark place of the old-fashioned method chocolate color, and in most cases of harpooning The dart-gun is the specific gravity is greater than fastened to the bow of the boat,
water though there are cases where and discharges the harpoon which it has been known to float. It is attaches the whale to the boat, and one of the best known articles as a almost simultaneously sends an ex- base on which to fix perfumes, and plosive lance or "darting-bomb" is largely used in France for that which generally kills the whale. If
purpose. A good article is worth it fails to do so, a shoulder gun is more than its weight in gold, or at used, and the whale is instantly present prices about three hundred despatched. Sometimes, indeed, the dollars a pound. It has a strong old method of harpooning is used odor, pungent but by no means unwhen the boats are lowered in the pleasant. Its formation is not fully midst of a school, since it makes known but it is supposed in some less noise; but the modern improve way to be connected with the food ment is surer and safer. Still many this species eats. It is never found of the old-time whalers refuse to in a healthy whale. It occurs most use the “new-fangled" thing, and frequently in whales caught off the claim that the method they have coast of Central America, where used since boyhood good the squid are of small size, generenough; they got the whales with ally in lumps weighing from five to it then, and could do so now. This fifteen pounds; occasionally, though is true as to getting the whales. the cases are rare, pieces have been
found weighing as much as half a pound. There are no teeth, hundred pounds.
but the mouth is furnished with The schooner "Montezuma," of large plates of this bone, twelve to Provincetown, while engaged in fourteen feet in length, and two feet sperm whaling on the Mosquito and over in breadth where it is coast, Central America, killed a attached to the jaw. A whale yieldlarge sperm whale. In "cutting ing one hundred barrels of oil will in” the whale, the spade struck a have about one thousand pounds of hard substance which upon fur- bone, by which the whale obtains ther investigation proved to be a
its food. Swimming through the large piece of ambergris, somewhat water with open mouth, it takes in larger than a quarter-barrel, and immense quantities of small shrimp judged to weigh over a hundred and other animalcula called whale pounds. The wind was blowing food; it then closes the mouth and heavily at the time, and the sea ejects the water, the long fibres rerough; all hands were excited over taining the food collected, which is the find and due precaution was not
then taken off by the tongue and taken to secure it; in hauling it on conveyed to the stomach; the board the vessel it slipped from the amount that a whale will eat is slings and falling between the whale immense, and can only be estimated and the vessel, slowly sank from by barrels. sight in sixty fathoms of water. At The bark "Bertha" lately arrived the price of the article at that time in port with one hundred and fifty the crew had the mortification of pounds of ambergris. This is estiseeing over thirty thousand dollars mated to be worth sixty-five thousink slowly from their possession. sand dollars, which together with
The right whale is the largest forty-eight thousand dollars, the known species of animal life, weigh- value of the two thousand, six huning upward of one hundred tons, dred and fifty barrels of sperm oil and yielding in known instances taken, brought the proceeds of the three hundred barrels of oil. The voyage to something like one hunwhale most sought after, and in dred and thirteen thousand dollars. every respect the most valuable is The crew of this vessel consisted of the bow-head Arctic whale, the captain, three mates, three boatwhich makes its home and cruising steerers, the cooper, the cook, the grounds in the far north, up Beh- steward, the cabin boy and eighteen ring sea and near Wrangel Land. men before the mast. Of the fortyThe season for taking this whale is eight thousand dollar catch and short, rarely extending over six whatever the ambergris brings, the weeks. Nature has provided him captain gets
. with a thick coat of blubber to with Counting the ambergris at sixty-five stand the rigors of the Arctic cli- thousand dollars, he has for his voymate, and it is no uncommon occur- age five thousand, five hundred and rence to kill a whale with the blub- fifty dollars. The shares of the ber two feet thick and more.
This mates are less, the boat steerers and whale also furnishes the whalebone cooper come next, then the steward, of commerce, which readily sells in followed in order by the cook, crew the market for two dollars and a and cabin boy. The latter on board