Page:The cruise of the Corwin.djvu/85

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had a wife and four boys and two girls to hunt seals for, and therefore could not go. As Joe interpreted him in whaler English, he was "already hungry like hell." Another said that the journey was too long for him, that our friends were not along the coast, else he would certainly have heard about them, and therefore the journey would be vain. We urged that we were going to seek them whether they were to be found or not, and that if they would go with us we would leave more food for their families than they could get for them by hunting.

Two of the number at length consented to go, after being assured that we would pay them well, whether the journey proved successful or otherwise. Then we intimated that we would like to visit their village, which seemed to please them; for they started at once to guide us over the hummocky ice to where they had left their dog-teams and sleds. It was a rough scramble at best, and even the natives slipped at tunes and hesitated cautiously in choosing a way, while we, encumbered with overcoats and not so well shod, kept sinking with awkward glints and slumps into hopper-shaped hollows and chasms filled with snow. One of them kindly gave me his balancing-stick.

Beyond the roughest portion of the hummock region we found the dogs, nearly a hun-