Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/417

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365
THE LABRADOR JOURNAL

saw Bears, Wolves, and Devils of all sorts scampering away on the rugged shore. When we reached the schooner we saw beyond some thirty fishing-boats, fishing for cod, and to our great pleasure found Captain Billings of Eastport standing in the bow of his vessel; he bid us welcome, and we saw the codfish thrown on his deck by thousands. We were now opposite to the mouth of the Natasquan River, where the Hudson's Bay Company have a fishing establishment, but where no American vessels are allowed to come in. The shore was lined with bark-covered huts, and some vessels were within the bight, or long point of land which pushes out from the extreme eastern side of the entrance of the river. We went on to an American Harbor, four or five miles distant to the westward, and after a while came to anchor in a small bay, perfectly secure from any winds. And now we are positively on the Labrador coast, latitude 50° and a little more, —farther north than I ever was before. But what a country! When we landed and passed the beach, we sank nearly up to our knees in mosses of various sorts, producing as we moved through them a curious sensation. These mosses, which at a distance look like hard rocks, are, under foot, like a velvet cushion. We scrambled about, and with anxiety stretched our necks and looked over the country far and near, but not a square foot of earth could we see. A poor, rugged, miserable country; the trees like so many mops of wiry composition, and where the soil is not rocky it is boggy up to a man's waist. We searched and searched; but, after all, only shot an adult Pigeon-Hawk, a summer-plumage Tell-tale Godwit, and an Alca torda. We visited all the islands about the harbor; they were all rocky, nothing but rocks. The Larus marinus was sailing magnificently all about us. The Great Tern was plunging after shrimps in every pool, and we found four eggs of the Totanus macularius;[1] the nest was situ-

  1. Spotted Sandpiper, now Actitis macutaria.—E. C.