Page:Yule Logs.djvu/83

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
67
VENTURE OF THE "BERTHA" WHALER

carefully, and passed over the ice to the deep snowy surface beyond it, sinking deeply at each step, and leaving a trail unmistakable.

The adventurers advanced cautiously, and perceived that the derelict had been driven upon the ice forward, while the stern still floated. However, she appeared firm; and, after staring at the great massive berg so close to them, so beautiful in its purity, so terrible in its calmness even in inaction, the lads advanced from the starboard side of the vessel, towards some seals, near which many penguins were resting themselves. Some of the latter actually leaped out of the "ice pools" upon the snowfield as the lads proceeded.

"Let's get close and blaze away," said Reginald. "Those birds will make soup, the doctor said."

"Look at those seals! they appear quite tame. That one," indicating a great, white-faced animal, "winked at me, Reggie; he really did. Now, look out!"

The lads had approached the penguins, and fired together. A brace fell, and the remainder of the birds scurried away, flapping, and pushing themselves along the snow like queer animated canoes. They made a curious "quacking" noise as they paddled away like aldermanic waiters, in black coats and white waistcoats, seen through the small end of an opera-glass. Their movements were very funny, and the lads laughed heartily at the evolutions of the penguins.

Several birds were secured, amongst them being a few "Cape pigeons," which, as Arthur remarked, had no "good hope" of returning thither. He would have been severely snubbed by his brother for this remark had not Reginald's attention been directed to the derelict, which appeared to be moving!

"Hullo!" he exclaimed; "the vessel is off the ice. Hurry up, Arthur, else we shall be left behind. Lucky we didn't go far!"