Page:Life with the Esquimaux - 1864 - Volume 1.djvu/54
Mariane. At that time two Esquimaux were seen coming at full speed toward us. In a few moments more they were alongside, and hoisted—kyacks and all—into the ship. Their names were "Sampson" and "Ephraim," each 5 feet 61 inches in height, with small hands, small feet, and pleasing features, except that both had some of their front teeth gone. These men had brought an abundance of salmon, caplins, sea-birds, &c. and eagerly began to trade with us. Speedily we were on the most friendly terms, and, as they were retained to pilot us in, merry-making was the order of the day. On entering the cabin to supper their conduct was most orderly, and when it was over they said, in good American, "Thank you."
That night I had not long retired to rest before the captain came and told me it was calm, and a good opportunity for halibut and codfish. I was quickly dressed and on deck with line in hand. Two or three minutes more, and a halibut weighing about 225 lbs. was fast to my line, fifty fathoms deep, and in another two minutes I had the fish up in the sun's rays with harpoon stuck through him. In one hour a ton weight of codfish and halibut was taken by the use of only three lines. Sometimes, as I was informed, halibut have been caught weighing 500 lbs. each, and measuring eight feet in length. The Esquimaux in Greenland use the transparent membrane of the stomach of this fish instead of plates of glass.
During the night our two faithful Esquimaux kept on deck, watching the almost obscured mountains, that they might guide us aright. Their clothing was quite wet from exposure to the high seas that prevailed when they came to us, but they sat themselves down on deck, and there watched, coughed, and quivered. I thought, at the time, it were better if they could be prevailed upon to adopt the custom of our seamen—always on the move when out in the open air; but I understood they look upon our walking to and fro as foolishness—a great amount of hard work, with much expenditure of tanned skins (shoe-leather) and muscle all for naught!For about an hour, one of the Esquimaux made his way up