Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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   First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
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The whale, as we have already noticed,
appears to have been pursued at first chief-
ly for the sake of its flesh. Afterwards the
highly elastic substance, described before
with which its jaws are lined, formed one
of the principal commercial objects on ac-
count of which it was valued. But the part
of the whale which gives the chief value to
the fish is what is called its blubber, being
the substance from which train oil is ob-
tained. This substance, which is really the
fat of the animal, lies immediately under
the skin, encompassing the whole body, fins,
and tail. 'Its colour,' says Captain Scores-
by, 'is yellowish-white, yellow, or red. In
the very young animal it is always yellow-
ish-white. In some old animals it resembles
the colour of the salmon. It swims in wa-
ter. Its thickness all round the body is
eight, or ten, or twenty inches, varying in
different parts as well as in different indi-
viduals. The hps are composed almost en-
tirely of blubber, and yield from one to
two tons of pure oil each. The tongue is
chiefly composed of a soft kind of fat, that
affords less oil than any other blubber....
The blubber, in its fresh state, is without
any unpleasant smell; and it is not until
after the termination of the voyage, when
the cargo is unstowed, that a Greenland
ship becomes disagreeable.'
A Greenland ship, besides a master and
surgeon, generally carries a crew of forty
or fifty men, comprising several classes of
officers, such as harpooners, boat-steerers,
line-managers, carpenters, coopers, &c. She
is commonly provided with six of seven
boats, which, as affording the principal
means by which the fishery is to be carried
on, are hung round her in such a manner
as to admit of being detached and launched
with the greatest possible expedition. Alter
the whale is killed and cut up, the bone
and blubber are stowed in the ship; but
the attack upon the animal and all the
operations of its capture and destruction
are carried on in the boats. The chief in-
struments with which every boat is provid-
ed are two harpoons and six or eight lan-
ces. The harpoon is made wholly of iron,
and is about three feet in length. It con-
sists of a shank with a barded head, each
barb, or wither, as it is called, having an
inner and smaller barb in a reserve posi-
tion. This instrument is attached by the
shank to a hne or rope of about two in-
ches and a quarter in circumference, and
420 fathoms in length. Each boat is fur-
nished with six of these lines, making in
all 720 fathoms, or 4320 feet. The use of
the harpoon, which is commonly projected
from the hand, but sometimes from a sort
of gun, is merely to strike and hook the
fish. It is by the lance that its destruction
is accomplished. This is a spear of the
length of six feet, consisting principally of
a stock or handle of fir fitted with a steel
head, which is made very thin and exceed-
ingly sharp. The lance is not flung from
the hand like the harpoon, but held fast as
it is thrust into the body of the animal.
Whenever a whale lies on the surface of
the water, unconscious of the approach of
its enemies, the hardy fisher rows directly
upon it, and an instant before the boat
touches it, buries his harpoon in its back...
The wounded whale, in the surprise and
agony of the moment, makes a convulsive
effort to escape. Then is the moment of
danger. The boat is subjected to the most
violent blows from its head, or its fins, but
particularly from its ponderous tail, which
sometimes sweeps the air with such tremen-
dous fury that both boat and men are ex-
posed to one common destruction. The
whale on being struck immediately dives
down into the water with great velocity. It
appears, from the line which it draws out,
that it goes down at the rate of eight or
ten miles an hour. The moment that the
wounded whale disappears, or leaves the
boat, d jack or flag, elevated on a staff, is
displayed, on sight of which, those on watch
in the ship give alarm by stamping on
the deck, accompanied by a simultaneous
and continued shout of 'a fall.' At the
sound of this the sleeping crew are roused,
jump from their beds, rush upon deck, with
their clothes tied by a string in their hands,
and crowd into the boats. With a tempe-
rature at zero, should a fall occur, the crew
would appear upon deck, shielded only by
their drawers, stockings, and shirts, or
other habiliments in which they sleep. The
alarm of 'a fall' has a singular effect on
the feelings of a sleeping person, unaccus-
tomed to the whale-fishing business. It has
often been mistaken as a cry of distress.
A landsman, in a Hull ship, seeing the crew,
on an occasion of a fall, rush upon deck,
with their clothes in their hands, and leap
into the boats, when there was no appear-
ance of danger, thought the men were all
The rapidity with which the line is drawn
out by the whale, occasions so much fric-
tion as it passes over the edge of the boat
as frequently to envelop the harpooner in
smoke; and it is only by pouring water
upon the wood that it is prevented from
catching fire. Frequently also the whole
line in the first boat is run out before an-