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small mistake at the outset, we are improving, and I hope
will come out right in the end. I said a small mistake, but
in this I'm wrong, as it was a great mistake."

"And what was it, Stephen? Make no bones of telling
me of any blunder I may have committed, according to
your views of duty. You are so much older than myself,
that I '11 stand it."

"Why, sir, it's not in seamanship, or in sealing; if it
was, I 'd hold ray tongue ; but it 's in not keeping the Lord's
Day from the hour when we lifted our anchor in that bay
that bears the name of your family, Captain Gar'ner ; and
which ought to be, and I make no doubt is, dear to you on
that account, if for no other reason. I rather think, froi*
what they tell me, that the old Lord Gar'ner of all had
much preaching of the word, and much praying to the Lord
in the old times, when he lived there."

" There never was any Lord Gardiner among us," re
turned Roswell, modestly, " though it was a fashion among
the east-enders to give that title to the owner of the island.
My ancestor who first got the place was Lyon Gardiner, an
engineer in the service of the colony of Connecticut."

" Well, whether he was a lion or a lamb, I '11 answer for
it the Lord was not forgotten on that island, Captain Gar'
ner, and he shouldn't be on this. No man ever lost any
thing in this world, or in that which is to come a'ter it, by
remembering once in seven days to call on his Creator to
help him on in his path. I 've heard it said, sir, that you 're
a little partic'lar like in your idees of religion, and that you
do not altogether hold to the doctrines that are preached
up and down the land."

Roswell felt his cheeks warm at this remark, and he
thought of Mary, and of her meek reliance on that Saviour



214 THE SEA LIONS.

whom, in the pride of his youth, strength, and as he fancied
of his reason also, he doubted about, as being the Son of
God. The picture thus presented to his mind had its plea
sant and its unpleasant features. Strange as it may seem,
it is certain that the young man would have loved, would
have respected Mary less than he now did, could he imagine
that she entertained the same notions on this very subject
as those he entertained himself! Few men relish infidelity
in a woman, whose proper sphere would seem to be in be
lieving and in worshipping, and not in cavilling, or in split
ting straws on matters of faith. Perhaps it is that we are
apt to associate laxity of morals with laxity of belief, and
have a general distaste for releasing the other sex from any,
even the smallest of the restraints that the dogmas of the
church impose ; but we hold it to be without dispute that,
with very few exceptions, every man would prefer that the
woman in whom he feels an interest should err on the side
of bigotry rather than on that of what is called liberalism
in points of religious belief. Thus it is with most of us,
and thus was it with Roswell Gardiner. He could not
wonder at Mary's rigid notions, considering her education;
and, on the whole, he rather liked her the better for them,
at the very moment that he felt they might endanger his
own happiness. If women thoroughly understood how much
of their real power and influence with men arises from theii
seeming dependence, there would be very little tolerance
in their own circles for those among them who are for pro
claiming their independence and their right to equality in
all things.

While our young mariner and his companion were work
ing their way up to the table-land, which lay fully three
hundred feet above the level of the sea, there was little
opportunity for further discourse, so rough was the way,
and so difficult the ascent. At the summit, however, there
was a short pause, ere the two undertook the mountain
proper, and they came to a halt to take a look at the aspect
of things around them. There was the boat, a mere white
speck on the water, flying away with a fresh northerly
breeze towards the volcano, while the smoke from the latter
made a conspicuous and not very distant land-mark. Nearer
at home, all appeared unusually plain for a region in which



THE SEA LIONS.

fogs were so apt to prevail. The cove lay almost beneath
them, and the schooner, just then, struck the imagination
of her commander as a fearfully small craft to come so far
from home and to penetrate so deep among the mazes of
the ice. It was that ice, itself, however, that attracted
most of Roswell's attention. Far as the eye could reach,
north, south, east and west, the ocean was brilliant and
chill with the vast floating masses. The effect on the air
was always perceptible in that region, ' killing the summer,'
as the sealers expressed it ; but it seemed to be doubly so
at the elevation to which the two adventurers had attained.
Still, the panorama was magnificent. The only part of the
ocean that did not seem to be alive with ice-bergs, if one
may use such an expression, was the space within the group,
and that was as clear as an estuary in a mild climate. It
really appeared as if nature had tabooed that privileged
spot, in order that the communication between the different
islands should remain open. Of course, the presence of so
many obstacles to the billows without, and indeed even to
the rake of the winds, produced smooth water within, the
slow, breath-like heaving and setting of the ceaseless ground-
swell, being the only perceptible motion to the water in
side.

" 'Tis a very remarkable view, Stephen," said Roswell
Gardiner, " but there will be one much finer, if we can
work our way up that cone of a mountain, and stand on its
naked cap. I wish I had brought an old ensign and a
small spar along, to set up the gridiron, in honour of the
States. We're beginning to put out our feelers, old Stim-
son, and shall have 'em on far better bits of territory than
this, before the earth has gone round in its track another
hundred years."

" Well, to my notion, Captain Gar'ner," answered the
seaman, following his officer towards the base of the cone,
" Uncle Sam has got more land now than he knows what
to do with. If a body could discover a bit of ocean, or a
largish sort of a sea, there might be some use in it. Whales
are getting to be skeary, and are mostly driven off their old
grounds ; and as for the seals, you must bury yourself, craft
and all, up to the truck in ice, to get a smile from one of
their good-lookin' count'nances, as I always say."
19



216 THE SEA LIONS.

"I'm afraid, Stephen, it is all over with the discovery
of more seas. Even the moon, they now say, is altogether
without water, having not so much as a lake or a large pond
to take a duck in."

" Without water, sir !" exclaimed Stimson, quite aghast.
" If 'tis so, sir, it must be right, since the same hand that
made the moon made this 'arth, and all it contains. But
what can they do for seafaring folks in the moon, if what
you tell me, Captain Gar'ner, is the truth ?"

" They must do without them. I fancy oil and skins are
not very much in demand among the moonites, Stephen.
What's that, off here to the eastward, eh 1 East-and-by
north-half-east, or so?"

" I see what you mean, sir. It does look wonderfully like
a sail, and a sail pretty well surrounded by ice, too !"

There was no mistake in the matter. The white canvass
of a vessel was plainly visible, over a vast breadth of field-
ice, a little to the northward of the island that lay directly
opposite the cove. Although the sails of this stranger were
spread, it was plain enough he was closely beset, if not
actually jammed. From the first instant he saw the strange
craft, Koswell had not a doubt of her character. He felt
convinced it was his late consort, the Sea Lion of the Vine
yard, which had found her way to the group by means of
some hint that had fallen into Daggett's hands, if not by a
positive nautical instinct. So great had been his own suc
cess, however, and so certain did he now feel of filling up
in due season, that he cared much less for this invasion
on his privacy than he would have done a fortnight earlier.
On the contrary, it might be a good thing to have a consort
in the event of any accident occurring to his own vessel.
From the moment, then, that Gardiner felt certain of the
character of the strange sail, his policy was settled in his
own mind. It was to receive his old acquaintance with
good will, and to help fill him up too, as soon as he had
secured his own cargo, in order that they might sail for
home in company. By his aid and advice, the other schooner
might save a week in time at that most important season
of the year ; and by the experience and exertions of his
people, a whole month in filling up might readily ba
gained.



THE SEA LIONS. 217

All thoughts of climbing the peak were at once aban
doned ; and, in fifteen minutes after the sail was seen,
Roswell and Stephen both came panting down to the
house ; so much easier is it to descend in this world than,
to mount. A swivel was instantly loaded and fired as a
signal ; and, jn half an hour, a boat was manned and ready.
Roswell took command himself, leaving his second mate
to look after the schooner. Stimson went with his captain,
and in less than one hour after he had first seen the strange
sail, our hero was actually pulling out of the cove, with a
view to go to her assistance. Roswell Gardiner was as
good-hearted a fellow as ever lived. He had a sufficient
regard for his own interests, as well as for those of others
entrusted to his care ; but, these main points looked after,
he would cheerfully have worked a month to relieve the
Vineyard-men from the peril that so plainly beset them.
Setting his sails the instant the boat was clear of the rocks,
away he went, then, as fast as ash and canvass could carry
him, which was at a rate but little short of eight knots in the
hour.

As he was thus flying towards his object, our young
mariner formed a theory in his own mind, touching the
drift of the ice in the adjacent seas. It was simply this.
He had sounded in entering the great bay, and had ascer
tained that comparatively shallow water existed between
the south-eastern extremity of Sealer's Land and the nearest
island opposite. It was deep enough to admit the largest
vessel that ever floated, and a great deal more than this ;
but it was not deep enough to permit an ice-berg to pass.
The tides, too, ran in races among the islands, which pre
vented the accumulation of ice at the southern entrance,
while the outer currents seemed to set everything past the
group to allow of the floating mountains to collect to the
eastward, where they appeared to be thronged. It was on
the western verge of this wilderness of ice-bergs and ice
fields that the strange sail had been seen working her way
towards the group, which must be plainly in view from hei
decks, as her distance from the nearest of the islands cer
tainly did not exceed two leagues.

It required more than two hours for the whale-boat of
Roswell to cross the bay, and reach the margin of that vast



218 THE 8EA LIONS.

field of ice, which was prevented from drifting into the
open space only by encountering the stable rocks of the
first of the group. Every eye was now turned in quest of
an opening, by means of which it might be possible to get
further to the eastward. One, at length, was discovered,
and into it Gardiner dashed, ordering his boat's crew to
stretch themselves out at their oars, though every man with
him thought they were plunging into possible destruction.
On the boat went, however, now sheering to starboard,
now to port, to avoid projecting spurs of ice, until she had
ploughed her way through a fearfully narrow, and a de
viating passage, that sometimes barely permitted them to
go through, until a spot was reached where the two fields
which formed this strait actually came in close crushing
contact with each other. Roswell took a look before and
behind him, saw that his boat was safe owing to the forma
tion of the two outlines of the respective fields, when he
sprang upon the ice itself, bidding the boat-steerer to wait
for him. A shout broke out of the lips of the young cap
tain the instant he was erect on the ice. There lay the
schooner, the Martha's Vineyard craft, within half a mile
of him, in plain sight, and in as plain jeopardy. She was
iammed, with every prospect, as Roswell thought, of being
crushed, ere she could get free from the danger.



THE SEA LIONS. 219



*A sculler's notch in the stern he maae,
An oar he shaped of the bottle blade ;
Then sprung to his seat with a lightsome leap
And launched afar on the calm, blue deep."

The Culprit Fay.

ROSWELL was hardly on the ice before a sound of a most
portentous sort reached his ear. He knew at once that the
field had been rent in twain by outward pressure, and that
some new change was to occur that might release or might
destroy the schooner. He was on the point of springing
forward in order to join Daggett, when a call from the boat
arrested his steps.

" These here fields are coming together, Captain Gar'ner,
and our boat will soon be crushed unless we get it out of
the water."

Sure enough, a single glance behind him sufficed to as
sure the young master of the truth of this statement. The
field he was on was slowly swinging, bringing its western
margin in closer contact with the eastern edge of the floe
that lay within it. The movement could be seen merely
by the closing of the channel through which the boat had
come, and by the cracking and crushing of the ice on the
edges of the two fields. So tremendous was the pressure,
however, that cakes as large as a small house were broken
off, and forced upward on the surface of the field, or ground
into small fragments, as it might be under the vice of a
power hitherto unknown to the spectators. Slow as was
the movement of the floe, it was too fast to allow of delay ;



220 THE SEA LIONS,

and, finding a suitable place, the boat was hauled up, and
put in security on the floe that lay nearest the schooner.

" This may give us a long drag to get back into the wa
ter, Stimson, and a night out of our bunks," said Roswell,
looking about him, as soon as the task was achieved.

" I do not know that, sir," was the answer. " It seems
to me that the floe has parted alongside of them rocks, and
if-so-be that should turn out to be the case, the whull on
us, schooner, boat, and all hands, may drift into the bay ;
for that there is a current setting from this quarter up to
wards our island, I 'm sartain of, by the feel of my oar, aa
we come along."

"It may be so the currents run all manner of ways,
and field-ice may pass the shoals, though a berg never can.
I do not remember, nevertheless, to have ever seen even a
floe within the group nothing beyond large cakes that
have got adrift by some means or other."

" I have, sir, though only once. A few days a'ter we got
in, when I was ship-keeper, and all hands was down under
the rocks of the north eend, a field come in at the northern
entrance of the bay, and went out at the southern. It
might have been a league athwart it, and it drifted, as a
body might say, as if it had some one aboard to give it the
right sheer. Touch it did at the south cape, but just wind
ing as handy as a craft could have done it, in a good tide's
way, out to sea it went ag'in, bound to the south pole
for-ti-'now."

" Well, this is good news, and may be ,the means of
saving the Vineyard craft in the end. We do seem to be
setting bodily into the bay, and if we can only get clear of
that island, I do not see what is to hinder it. Here is a
famous fellow of a mountain to the northward, coming
down before the wind, as one might say, and giving us a
cant into the passage. I should think that chap must pro
duce some sort of a change, whether it be for better or
worse."

"Ay, ay, sir," put in Thompson, who acted as a boat-
steerer at need, " he may do just that, but it is all he can
do. Mr. Green and I sounded out from the cove for a
league or more, a few days since, and we found less than
twenty fathoms, as far as we went. That chap up to the



THE SEA LIONS. 221

aor'ard there, draws something like a hundred fathoms, if
he draws an inch. He shows more above water than a first-
rate's truck."

" That does he, and a good deal to spare. Thompson,
do you and Todd remain here, and look after the boat,
while the rest of us will shape our course for the schooner.
She seems to be in a wicked berth, and 'twill be no more
than neighbourly to try to get her out of it. 5 '

Truly enough might Roswell call the berth of the Sea
Lion, of the Vineyard, by any expressive name that implied
danger. When the party reached her, they found the situa
tion of that vessel to be as follows. She had been endea
vouring to work her. way through a passage between two
large fields, when she found the ice closing, and that she
was in great danger of being ' nipped.' Daggett was a
man of fertile resources, and great decision of character.
Perceiving that escape was impossible, all means of getting
clear being rendered useless by the floes soon touching,
both before and behind him, he set about adopting the
means most likely to save his vessel. Selecting a spot
where a curve, in the margin of the field to leeward, pro
mised temporary security, at least, he got his vessel into it,
anchored fast to the floe. Then he commenced cutting
away the ice, by means of axes first, and of saws afterwards,
in the hope that he might make such a cavity as, by its
size and shape, would receive the schooner's hull, and pre
vent her destruction. For several hours had he and his
people been at this work, when, to their joy, as well as to
their great astonishment, they were suddenly joined by
Roswell and his party. The fact was, that so intently had
every one of the Vineyard men's faculties been absorbed
by their own danger, and so much was each individual
occupied by his own duty, that not a man among them had
seen the boat, or even any of the crew, until Gardiner called
out to Daggett as he approached, announcing his presence
by his voice.

"This is good fortune, truly, Captain Gar'ner," said
Daggett, shaking his Brother master most cordially by the
hand ; " good fortune, do I call it ! I was satisfied that I
should fall in with you, somewhere about this group of
islands, for they lie just about where my late uncle had



222 THE SEA LIONS.

given us reason to suppose some good sealing ground
might be met with ; but I did not hope to see you this
morning. You observe our position, Captain Gar'ner;
there is every prospect of a most awful nip !"

" There is, indeed, though I see you have been making
some provision for it. What luck have you had in digging
a slip to let the schooner into?"

" Well, we might have had worse, though better would
have been more agreeable. It's plain sailing, so long as
we can work above water, and you see we 've cleared a fine
berth for the craft, down to the water's edge ; but, below
that, 't is blind work and slow. The field is some thirty
feet thick, and sawing through it is out of the question.
The most we can do is to get off pieces diagonally. I am
not without hopes that we have done enough of this to make
a wedge, on which the schooner will rise, if pressed hard
on her off-side. I have heard of such things, Captain Gar
'ner, though I cannot say I ever saw it."

"It's a ticklish business to trust to such a protector;
still, a great deal must be gained by cutting away so much
of this upper ice, and it is possible your schooner may be
lifted, as you seem to expect. Has anything been done to
strengthen the craft in-board?"

"Not as yet; though I've thought of that, too. But
what is the stoutest ship that ever floated, against the press
ure of such an enormous field of ice? Had we not better
keep cutting away?"

" You can continue to work the saw and the axes, but I
will give an eye to strengthening the craft in-board. Just
point out the spars and plank you can spare, and we'll see
what can be done. At any rate, my lads, you can now
work with the certainty that your lives are safe. My schoo
ner lies about six leagues from you, as safely moored as if
she lay in a dock. Come, Captain Daggett, let me see
your spare spars and plank."

Great encouragement it certainly was to these mariners,
so far from home, and in their imminently perilous condition,
to know that a countryman and a friend was so near them, to
afford shelter and protection. The American sailor is not
a cheering animal, like his English relative, but he quite as
clearly understands what ought to be received with congra



THE SEA LIONS. 223

Dilation, as those who are apt to make more noise. The
Vineyard men, in particular, were habitually quiet and
thoughtful, there being but one seaman in the craft who
did not husband his lay, and look forward to meet the wants
of a future day. This is the result of education, men usu
ally becoming quiet as they gain ideas, and feel that the
tongue has been given to us in order to communicate them
to our fellows. Still, the joy at receiving this unlooked-for
assistance was great among the Vineyard men, and each
party went to work with activity and zeal.

The task of Roswell Gardiner was in-board, while that
of Daggett and his men continued to be on the ice. The
latter resumed the labour of cutting and sawing the field,
and of getting up fenders, or skids, to protect the inner side
of their vessel from the effects of a ' nip.' As for Gardiner,
he set about his self-assumed duty with great readiness and
intelligence. His business was to strengthen the craft, by
getting supports up in her hold. This was done without
much difficulty, all the upper part of the hold being clear
and easily come at. Spars were cut to the proper length,
plank were placed in the broadest part of the vessel, oppo
site to each other, and the spars were wedged in carefully,
extending from side to side, so as to form a great additional
support to the regular construction of the schooner. In
little more than an hour, Roswell had his task accomplished,
while Daggett did not see that he could achieve much more
himself. They met on the ice to consult, and to survey
the condition of things around them.

The outer field had been steadily encroaching upon the
inner, breaking the edges of both, until the points of junc
tion were to be traced by a long line of fragments forced
upward, and piled high in the air. Open spaces, however,
still existed, owing to irregularities in the outlines of the
two floes ; and Daggett hoped that the little bay into which
he had got his schooner might not be entirely closed, ere a
shift of wind, or a change in the tides, might carry away
the causes of the tremendous pressure that menaced his
security. It is not easy for those who are accustomed to
look at natural objects in their more familiar aspects, fully
to appreciate the vast momentum of the weight that was
now drifting slowly down upon the schooner. The only



224 THE SEA LIONS.

ray of hope was to be found in the deficiency in one of the
two great requisites of such a force. Momentum being
weight, multiplied into velocity, there were some glimpses
visible, of a nature to produce a slight degree of expectation
that the last might yet be resisted. The movement was
slow, but it was absolutely grand, by its steadiness and
power. Any one who has ever stood on a lake or river
shore, and beheld the undeviating force with which a small
cake of ice crumbles and advances before a breeze, or in a
current, may form some idea of the majesty of the move
ment of a field of leagues in diameter, and which was borne
upon by a gale of the ocean, as well as by currents, and by
the weight of drifting ice-bergs from without. It is true
that the impetus came principally from a great distance,
and could scarcely be detected or observed by those around
the schooner ; still, these last were fully aware of the whole
character of the danger, which each minute appeared to
render more and more imminent and imposing. The two
fields were obviously closing still, and that with a resistless
power that boded destruction to the unfortunate vessel.
The open water near her was already narrowed to a space
that half an hour might suffice to close entirely.

" Have you set that nearest island by compass, Daggett?"
asked Roswell Gardiner, as soon as he had taken a good
look around him. " To me it seems that it bears more to
the eastward than it did an hour since. If this should be
true, our inner field here must have a very considerable
westerly set"

" In which case we may still hope to drift clear," returned



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