Boekgegevens
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
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
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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•229
ed its capture, and added its produce to
the cargo of the ship.
Such intentional mischief, Captain Scores-
by remarks, on the part of a whale as
seems to have been displayed in this in-
stance, is not frequent. It is probable, in-
deed , that nothing properly deserving the
name of an intention to inflict injury can
justly be attributed to the animal in any
circumstances; these violent movements are
merely the convulsions either of agony, or
of trepidation and intense fear. With all
its enormous physical strength the whale is
singularly gentle and harmless — so re-
markably so indeed that it has been cha-
racterized by those who have had the best
opportunities of observing it as a stupid
animal. It would require belter proof, how-
ever, we think, than the mere absence of
ferocity to make out this conclusion. There
are some circumstances which would rather
seem to show that the creature is possess-
ed of considerable sagacity. It exhibits the
usual instinctive sense of danger when it
perceives the approach of its natural ene-
my, man; and, both before and after it has
been struck with the harpoon, it most com-
monly adopts the very best expedients open
to it to give itself a chance of escape. If
a field of ice be near, for instance, it makes
for the water under it, whither it cannot be
followed by the boat; and even when it
tries to release itself merely by a precipit-
ate plunge downwards into the sea, it would
be difficult to say how it could act more
wisely with a view to snap the line to
which it has got attached. If the effort
were not met on the part of the crew in
the boat with the most energetic applica-
tion of those various resources of art, dex-
terity, and decision, which are peculiarly
at the command of man, it would probably
be in every case successful. If it be the
fact, also, as is asserted, that the whales of
the North Seas have abandoned certain
parts of their original domain, which are
more accessible to the fishing-vessels, and
retired to other situations which are more
difficult of approach; this would seem to
imply, not only something of reflection and
contrivance in individuals, but almost the
possession of a power in the species to
transmit the results of experience from one
generation to another. But be this as it
may, if the whale should not be allowed to
be a very intellectual animal, its affections,
at least, towards its own kind, appear to
be deep-seated and strong. The fishers,
indeed , are in the habit of taking advant-
age of the love of the old whale for its
offspring, to entice it into their snares; and
the artifice often succeeds when, probably,
no other would. The cub, though of little
value in itself, is struck, to induce the
mother to come to its assistance. 'In this
case', says Captain Scoresby, 'she joins it
at the surface of the water, whenever it
has occasion to rise for respiration; en-
courages it to swim off; assists its fligtht,
by taking it under her fin; and seldom de-
serts it while life remains. She is then
dangerous to approach; but affords fre-
quent opportunities for attack. She loses
all regard for her own safety, in anxiety
for the preservation of her young; —dashes
through the midst of her enemies ; —
despises the danger that threatens her; —
and even voluntarily remains with her off-
spring, after various attacks on herself from
the harpoons of the fishers. In June 1811,
one of my harpooners struck a sucker, with
the hope of its leading to the capture of
the mother. Presently she arose close by
the 'fast-boat;' and seizing the young one ,
dragged about a hundred fathoms of line
out of the boat with remarkable force and
velocity. Again she arose to the surface;
darted furiously to and fro; frequently stop-
ped short, or suddenly changed her direc-
tion, and gave every possible intimation of
extreme agony. For a length of time she
continued thus to act, though closely pur-
sued by the boats; and, inspired with cour-
age and resolution by her concern for her
offspring, seemed regardless of the danger
which surrounded her. At length, one of
the boats approached so near, that a har-
poon was hove at her. It hit, but did not
attach itself A second harpoon was struck;
this also failed to penetrate : but a third
was more effectual, and held. Still she did
not attempt to escape, but allowed other
boats to approach; so that, in a few mi-
nutes, three more harpoons were fastened;
and, in the course of an hour afterwards,
she was killed.'
In some instances, the boat, instead of
being struck into the water, has met with
the equally alarming fate of being project-
ed by a stroke of the powerful animal's
head or tail into the air.
In the early days of the whale fishery,
when the fish were found in great numbers
immediately around the shores of Spitz-
bergen, the Dutch formed a settlement on
that island, and performed there all the
operations of preparing the bone and ex-
tracting the oil from the blubber. To so
lloursihing an extent was the fishery at the
latter part of the seventeenth century car-
ried on by that nation, that they actually
erected a village on this desolate coast, all