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cessful termination to the voyage in all its parts. While on
the rocks, Roswell took such a survey of the localities as
might enable him to issue his orders hereafter with discre
tion and intelligence. The schooner was already making
short tacks to get close in with the island, in obedience to
a signal to that effect; and the second mate had pulled out
to the entrance of the little haven, with a view to act as
pilot. Before the captain had descended from the summit
of the northern barrier, the vessel came in under her jib,
the wind being nearly aft, and she dropped two anchors in
suitable spots, making another flying moor of it.

General joy now illuminated every face. It was, in itself,
a great point gained to get the schooner into a perfectly
safe haven, where her people could take their natural rest
at night, or during their watches below, without feeling any
apprehension of being crushed in the ice ; but here was
not only security, but the source of that wealth of which
they were in quest, and which had induced them all to en
counter so many privations and so much danger. The
crew landed to a man, each individual ascending to the
summit of the barrier, to feast his eyes on the spectacle
that lay spread in such affluent abundance, along the low
rocks of the northern side of the island.

As there were yet several hours of light remaining, Ros
well, still attended by Stimson, each armed with a sealing-
spear or lance, not only as a weapon of defence but as a
leaping-staff, set out to climb as high up the central accli
vity of the island as circumstances would allow him to go.
He was deceived in the distances, however, and soon found



HE SEA LIONS. 203

that an entire day would be necessary to achieve such an
enterprise, could it be performed at all ; but he did succeed
in reaching a low spur of the central mountain that com
manded a wide and noble view of all that lay to the north
and east of it. From this height, which must have been a
few hundred feet above the level of the ocean, our adven
turers got a still better view of the whole north coast, or
of what might have been called the sealing quarter of the
island. They also got a tolerably accurate idea of the
general formation of that lone fragment of rock and earth,
as well as of the islets and islands that lay in its vicinity.
The outline of the first was that of a rude, and of course
an irregular triangle, the three principal points of which
were the two low capes already mentioned, and a third that
lay to the northward and westward. The whole of the
western or south-western shore seemed to be a nearly per
pendicular wall of rock, that, in the main, rose some two
or three hundred feet above the ocean. Against this side
of the island in particular, the waves of the ocean were
sullenly beating, while the ice drove up ' home,' as sailors
express it ; showing a vast depth of water. On the two
other sides, it was different. The winds prevailed most
from the south-west, which rendered the perpendicular face
of the island its weather-wall ; while the two other sides
of the triangle were more favoured by position. The north
side, of course, lay most exposed to the sun, everything of
this nature being reversed in the southern hemisphere from
what we have it in the northern ; while the eastern or north
eastern side, to be precisely accurate, was protected by the
group of islands that lay in its front. Such was the general
character of Sealer's Land, so far as the hurried observa
tions of its present master enabled him to ascertain. The
near approach of night induced him now to hasten to get
off of the somewhat dangerous acclivities to which he had
climbed, and to rejoin his people and his schooner.



18



204 THE SEA LIONS.



CHAPTER XV.

M Ye dart upon the deep, and straight is heard

A wilder roar; and men grow pale, and pray:
Ye fling its waters round you, as a bird

Flings o'er las shivering plumes the fountain's spray.
See! to the breaking mast the sailor clings!
Ye scoop the ocean to its briny springs,
And take the mountain billows on your wings,
And pile the wreck of navies round the bay."

BRYANT'S WIITDS

No unnecessary delay was permitted to interfere with the
one great purpose of the sealers. The season was so short,
and the difficulties and dangers of entering among and of
quitting the ice were so very serious, that every soul be
longing to the schooner felt the importance of activity and
industry. The very day that succeeded the vessel's arrival,
not only was great progress made in the preliminary ar
rangements, but a goodly number of fur-seals, of excellent
quality, were actually killed and secured. Two noble sea-
elephants were also lanced, animals that measured near
thirty feet in length, each of which yielded a very ample
return for the risk and trouble of taking it, in oil. The
skins of the fur-seals, however, were RoswelPs principal
object; and glad enough was he to find the creature that
pays this tribute to the wants and luxuries of man, in num
bers sufficient to promise him a speedy return to the north
ward. While the slaughter, and skinning, and curing, and
trying out were all in active operation, our young man paid
some attention to certain minor arrangements, which had
a direct bearing on the comforts of his people, as well aa
the getting in of cargo.

An old store-house, of respectable size, had stood on the
deacon's wharf, while the schooner was fitting out, but it
had been taken to pieces, in order to make room for a
more eligible substitute The materials of this building,
Roswell Gardiner had persuaded his owner to send on



THE SEA LIONS. 205

board, and they had all been received and stowed away, a
part below and a part on deck, as a provision for the pos
sible wants of the people. As it was necessary to clear the
decks and break out the hold, all these materials, consisting
principally of the timbers of the frame, the siding, and a
quantity of planks and boards, were now floated ashore in
the cove, and hauled up on the rocks. Roswell took a lei
sure moment to select a place for the site of his building,
which he intended to erect at once, in order to save the
time that would otherwise be lost in pulling between the
schooner and the shore.

It was not difficult to find the sort of spot that was desi
rable for the dwelling. That chosen by Gardiner was a
shelf of rock of sufficient extent, that lay perfectly exposed
to the north and north-east, or to the sunny side of the
island, while it was sheltered from the south and south-west
by masses of rock, that formed a complete protection
against the colder winds of the region. These walls of
stone, however, were not sufficiently near to permit any
snows they might collect to impend over the building, but
enough space was left between them and the house, to
admit of a capacious yard, in which might be placed any
articles that were necessary to the ordinary work, or to' the
wants of the sealers.

Had it been advisable to set all hands at the business of
slaughtering, Roswell Gardiner certainly would not have
lost the time he did, in the erection of his house. But our
master was a judicious and wary commander at his calling.
The seals were now perfectly tame, and nothing was easier
than to kill them in scores. The great difficulty was in
removing the spoils across the rocks, as it was sometimes
necessary to do so for a distance of several miles. Means
were found, in the end, to use the boats on this service,
though even then, at midsummer, the northern shore of the
island was frequently so closely beset by the ice as com
pletely to block up the passage. This, too, occurred at
times when the larger bay was nearly free, and the cove,
which went by the name of the " Deacon's Bight," among
the men, was entirely so. In order to prevent a premature
panic among the victims of this intended foray, then, Gar
diner allowed no one to go out to " kill" but the experienced



206 THE SEA LIONS

hands, and no more to be slain each day than could be
skinned or cut up at that particular time. In consequence
of this prudent caution, the work soon got into a regular
train; and it was early found that more was done in this
mode, than could have been effected by a less guarded as
sault on the seals.

As for the materials of the building, they were hauled
up the rocks without much difficulty. The frame was of
some size, as is the case generally with most old construc
tions in America; but being of pine, thoroughly seasoned,
the sills and plates were not so heavy but that they might
be readily enough handled by the non-sealing portion of the
crew. Robert Smith, the landsman, was a carpenter by
trade, and it fell to his lot to put together again the mate
rials of the old warehouse. Had there not been such a
mechanic among the crew, however, a dozen Americans
could, at any time, construct a house, the ' rough and ready'
habits of the people usually teaching them, in a rude way,
a good deal of a great many other arts, besides this of the
carpenter. Mott had served a part of his time with a black
smith, and he now set up his forge. When the frame was
ready, all hands assembled to assist in raising it; and, by
the end of the first week, the building was actually enclosed,
the labour amounting to no more than putting each portion
in its place, and securing it there, the saw being scarcely
used during the whole process. This building had two
apartments, one of which Gardiner appropriated to the uses
of a sitting-room, and the other to that of a dormitory.
Rough bunks were constructed, and the mattresses of the
men were all brought ashore, and put in the house. It was
intended that everybody should sleep in the building, as it
would save a great deal of going to and fro, as well as a
great deal of time. The cargo was to be collected on a
shelf of rock, that lay about twenty feet below that on which
the building stood ; by following which, it was possible to
turn the highest point of the pass, that which formed the
southern protection of the building, and come out on the
side of the cove at another shelf, that was not more than
fifty feet above the level of the vessel's decks. Down this
last declivity, Roswell proposed to lower his casks by means
of a projecting derrick, the rock being sufficiently precipi-



THE SEA LIONS. 207

tous to admit of this arrangement, while his spare spars
furnished him with the necessary means. Thus was every
preparation made with judgment and foresight.

In this manner did the first ten.days pass, every man and
boy being as busy as bees. To own the truth, no attention
was paid to the Sabbath, which would seem to have been
left behind them by the people, among the descendants of
those Puritans who were so rigid in their observance of
that festival. At the end of the time just mentioned, a
great deal had been done. The house, such as it was, was
completed. To be sure, it was nothing but an old store
house re-vamped, but it was found to be of infinite service,
and greatly did all hands felicitate themselves at having
brought its materials along with them. Even those who
had most complained of the labour of getting the timbers
on board, had the most often cursed them for being in the
way, during the passage, and had continued the loudest to
deride the idea of ' sealers turning carpenters,' were shortly
willing to allow that the possession of this dwelling was of
the greatest value to them, and that, so far from the extra
work's causing them to fall behind in their main operations,
the comfort they found, in having a home like this to go to,
after a long day's toil, refreshed them to a degree which en
abled every man to return to his labour, with a zeal and an
energy that might otherwise have been wanting. Although
it was in the warmest season of the year, and the nights
could scarcely be called nights at all, yet the sun never got
very low without leaving "a chilliness in the air that would
have rendered sleeping without a cover and a protection
from the winds, not only excessively uncomfortable, but
somewhat dangerous. Indeed, it was often found necessary
to light a fire in the old ware-house. This was done by
means of a capacious box-stove, that was almost as old as
the building itself, and which had also been brought along
as an article of great necessity in that climate. Fuel could
not be wanting, as long as the ' scraps' from the try-works
abounded, and there were many more of these than were
needed to ' try out' the sea-elephant oil. The schooner,
however, had a very ample supply of wood to burn, that
being an article which abounded on Shelter Island, and
which the deacon had consented to lay in, in some abun-
18*



208 THE SEA LIONS

dance. Gardiner got this concession out of the miserly
temperament of the old man, by persuading him that a
sealer could not work to any advantage, unless he had the
means of occasionally warming himself. The miserly pro
pensities of the deacon were not so engrossing that he did
not comprehend the wisdom of making sufficient outlay to
secure the execution of his main object; and among other
things of this nature, the schooner had sailed with a very
large supply of wood, as has just been stated. Wood and
onions, indeed, were more abundant in her than any other
stores.

The arrangements described were completed by the end
of the first fortnight, during which period the business of
sealing was also carried on with great industry and success.
So very tame were the victims, and so totally unconscious
of the danger they incurred from the presence of man, that
the crew moved round among them, seemingly but very
little observed, and not at all molested. The utmost care
was taken to give no unnecessary alarm ; and when an ani
mal was lanced, it was done in such a quiet way as to pro
duce as little commotion as possible. By the end of the
time named, however, the sealing had got so advanced as
to require the aid of all hands in securing the spoils. To
work, then, everybody went, with a hearty good-will: and
the shelf of rock just below the house was soon well gar
nished with casks and skins. Had the labour been limited
to the mere killing, and skinning, and curing, and barrel
ing of oil, it would have been comparatively quite light;
but the necessity of transporting the fruits of all this skill
and luck considerable distances, in some cases several
miles, and this over broken rocks, formed the great obsta
cle to immediate success. It was the opinion of Roswell
Gardiner, that he could have filled his schooner in a month,
were it possible to place her directly alongside of the rock&
frequented by the seals, and prevent all this toil in trans
porting. This, however, was impossible, the waves and the
ice rendering it certain destruction to lay a craft anywhere
along the northern shore of the island. The boats might
be, and occasionally they were used, bringing loads of skin
and oil round the cape, quite into the cove. These little
cargoes were immediately transferred to the hold of the



THE SEA LIONS. 209

schooner, a ground-tier of large casks having been left in
her purposely to receive the oil, which was emptied into
them by means of a hose. By the end of the third week,
this ground-tier was filled, and the craft became stiff, and
was in good ballast trim, although the spare water was now
entirely pumped out of her.

All this time the weather was very fair for so high a lati
tude, and every way propitious. The twenty-third day after
the schooner got in, Roswell was standing on a spur of the
hill, at no great distance from the house, overlooking the
long reach of rocky coast over which the ' sea-elephants,'
and 'lions,' and 'dogs,' and 'bears,' were waddling in as
much seeming security as the hour when he first saw them.
The sun was just rising, and the seals were clambering up
out of the water to enjoy its warm rays, as they placed
hemselves in positions favourable to such a purpose.

" That is a pleasant sight to a true sealer, Captain Gar'-
ner," observed Stimson, who as usual had kept near his
officer, " and one that I can say I never before saw equalled.
I've been in this business now some five-and-twenty years,
and never before have I met with so safe a. harbour for a
craft, and so large herds that have not been stirred up and
got to be skeary."

" We have certainly been very fortunate thus far, Ste
phen, and I am now in hopes we may fill up and be off in
good season to get clear of the ice," returned Roswell.
" Our luck has been surprising, all things considered."

"You call it luck, Captain Gar'ner; but, in my creed,
there is a truer and a better word for it, sir."

"Ay, I know well enough what you mean, Stephen ;
though I cannot fancy that Providence cares much whether
we shall take a hundred seals to-day, or none at all."

" Such is not my idee, sir ; and I 'm not ashamed to own
it. In my humble way of thinking, Captain Gar'ner, the
finger of Divine Providence is in all that comes to pass ; if
not straight ahead like, as a body would receive a fall, still,
by sartain laws that bring about everything that is to hap
pen, just as it does happen. I believe now, sir, that Provi
dence does not intend we shall take any seals at all to-day,
ir"



210 THE SEA LIONS.

" Why not, Stimson ? It is the very finest day we have
had since we have been on the island !"

" That 's true enough ; and it is this glorious sunny day,
glorious and sunny for sich a high latitude, that makes me
feel and think that this day was not intended for work.
You probably forget it is the Sabbath, Captain Gar'ner."

" Sure enough ; 1 had forgotten that, Stephen ; but we
sealers seldom lie by for such a reason."

" So much the worse for us sealers, then, sir. This is
my seventeenth v'y'ge into these seas, sir, and I will say
that more of them have been made with officers and crews
that did not keep the Sabbath, than with officers and crews
that did. Still, I have obsarved one thing, sir, that the
man who takes his rest one day in seven, and freshens his
nind, as it might be, with thinking of other matters than
his every-day consarns, comes to his task with so much
better will, when he does set about it, as to turn off greater
profit than if he worked night and day, Sundays and all."

Roswell Gardiner had no great reverence for the Chris
tian Sabbath, and this more because it was so called, than
for any sufficient reason in itself. Pride of reason rendered
him jealous of everything like a concession to the faith of
those who believed in the Son of God ; and he was very
apt to dissent from all admission that had even the most
remote bearing on its truth. Still, as a kind-hearted com
mander, as well as a judicious reasoner on the economy of
his fellow-creatures, he fully felt the policy of granting re
laxation to labour. Nor was he indisposed to believe in the
care of a Divine Providence, or in its justice, though less
believing in this respect than the illiterate but earnest-
minded seaman who stood at his side. He knew very well
that " all work, and no play, makes Jack a dull boy;" and
he understood well enough that it was good for man, at
stated seasons, to raise his mind from the cares and busi
ness of this world, to muse on those of the world that is to
come. Though inclined to Deism, Roswell worshipped in
his heart the creator of all he saw and understood, as well
as much that he could neither scan nor comprehend.

" This is not the seaman's usual way of thinking," re
turned our hero, after regarding his companion for a mo



THE SEA LIONS. 211

ment, a little intently. " With us, there is very little
Sabbath in blue-water."

" Too little, sir; much too little. Depend on 't, Captain
Gar'ner, God is on the face of the waters as well as on the
hill-tops. His Spirit is everywhere ; and it must grieve it
to see human beings, that have been created in his image,
so bent on gain as to set apart no time even for rest ; much
less for his worship and praise !"

" I am not certain you are wrong, Stimson, and I feel
much more sure that you are right as a political economist
than in your, religion. There should be seasons of rest and
reflection yet I greatly dislike losing a day as fine as
this."

" ' The better the day, the better the deed/ sir. No time
is lost to him who stops in his work to think a little of his
God. Our crew is used to having a Sabbath ; and though
we work on lays, there is not a hand aboard us, Captain
Gar'ner, who would not be glad to hear the word pass
among 'em which should say this is the Lord's Day, and
you 've to knock off from your labour."

"As I believe you understand the people, Stephen, and
we have had a busy time of it since we got in, I'll take you
at your word, and give the order. Go and tell Mr. Hazard
there '11 be no duty carried on to-day beyond what is indis
pensable. It is Sunday, and we '11 make it a day of rest."

Truth compels us to say that Roswell was quite as much
influenced in giving this order, by recollecting the pleasure
it would give Mary, as by any higher consideration.

Glad enough was Stimson to hear this order, and away
he hastened to find the mate, that it might be at once com
municated to the men. Although this well-disposed seaman
a little overrated the motives of a portion of the crew at
least, he was right enough as to the manner in which they
would receive the new regulation. Rest and relaxation
had become, in a measure, necessary to them ; and leisure
was also needed to enable the people to clean themselves ;
the business in which they had been engaged being one
that accumulates oily substances, and requiring occasional
purifications of the body in order to preserve the health.
The scurvy, that great curse of long voyages, is as much
owing to neglect of cleanliness as to diet.



212 THE SEA LIONS.

No sooner was it known that this day was to be treated
as the Sabbath, than soap, razors, scissors, and all the usual
appliances of the sailor's toilet, were drawn out of bags and
chests, and paraded about on the rocks. An hour passed
in scrubbing, shaving, cutting hair, holding garments up
to the light to look for holes and ascertain their condition,
and rummaging among " properties," as the player would
term the different wardrobes that were thus brought into
view. The mates came out of the m&Ue ' shaven and shorn,'
as well as neatly attired ; and there was not a man on the
island who did not look like a different being from what he
had appeared an hour before, in consequence of this pause
in the regular business of sealing, and the promised holi
day. A strict order was given that no one should go among
the seals, as it was feared that some indiscretion or other
might have a tendency to create an alarm. In all other
respects the island was placed at the disposal of the men,
if anything could be made of such a lone spot, a speck on
the surface of the antarctic seas, and nearly encircled by
mountains of floating ice.

As for Roswell himself, after reading a chapter or two
in Mary Pratt's bible, he determined to make another effort
to ascend to the summit, of the sterile rocks which capped
the pile that rose vertically in the centre of the island. The
day was nearly all before him ; and, summoning Stimson
as a companion, for he had taken a great fancy to this man,
away he went, young, active, and full of buoyancy. Almost
at the same instant, Hazard, the chief mate, pulled out of
the cove in one of the whale-boats, manned by volunteers
and provided with sails, with an intention to cross the Great
Bay, and get a nearer view of the volcanic hill, out of which
smoke was constantly pouring, and occasionally flames.
The second mate and one or two of the hands remained
near the house, to keep a look-out on the vessel and other
property.

The season had now advanced to the first day of January,
a month that in the southern hemisphere corresponds with
our own July. As Roswell picked his way among the broken
rocks that covered the ascent to what might be termed the
table-land of the island, if indeed any portion of so ragged
a bit of this earth could properly be so named, his thoughts



THE SEA LIONS. 213

recurred to this question of the season, and to the proba
bility of his getting a cargo before it would be absolutely
necessary to go to the northward. On the whole, he fancied
his chances good ; and such he found to be Stimson's
opinion, when this experienced sealer was questioned on
the subject.

"We've begun right in all respects but one, Captain
Gar'ner," said Stephen, as he closed his remarks on the
subject; "and even in that matter in which we made a



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