Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/188

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138

VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

purser shot him in the head by the eye, which did not cause him to quit his prey; but he continued holding the body by the neck, and devouring it. After several other attacks being made, he was killed. The two half-devoured bodies were interred in the Isle of Slates, and the skin of the bear was carried to Amsterdam."

Other instances, which have occurred not many years since, exemplify the strength and ferocity of the polar bear: a whale ship was moored to a piece of ice in Davis's Straits, and the crew were all in the ship with the exception of one man who had strayed some distance on the ice; a bear approached him unobserved, seized him by the thigh, and carried him away before he could be rescued. It is also related, that as a ship was lying by the side of the ice, a bear came on board, and compelled the crew who were on the deck, to get upon the rigging to preserve themselves. Instances have also occurred, in which bears have not only upset the boats from which they were attacked, but have even got on board of them and compelled the crews to jump overboard, and leave them in possession. In the year 1783, Captain Cook of the Archangel, of Lynn, being on the coast of Spitzbergen, landed, accompanied by his surgeon and mate; while traversing the shore, the Captain was unexpectedly attacked by a bear, which seized him in an instant between its paws: at this awful juncture when a moment's pause must have been fatal to him, he called to his surgeon to fire; who, with admirable resolution and