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 houses of which were brought ready
prepared from Holland. They gave it the
name of Smeerenberg (from Smeeren, to
molt), 'This/ says Mr. Macculloch, 'was
the grand rendezvous of the Dutch whale
ships, and was amply provided with boilers,
tanks, and every sort of apparatus requir-
ed for preparing the oil and the bone. But
this was not all. The whale fleets were at-
tended by a number of provision ships, the
cargoes of which were landed at Smeeren-
berg; which abounded during the busy sea-
son with well-furnished ships, good inns,
&c., so that many of the conveniences and
enjoyments of Amsterdam were found with-
in eleven degrees of the pole! It is par-
ticularly mentioned, that the sailors and
others were every morning supplied with
what a Dutchman regards as a very great
luxury — hot rofls for breakfast. Batavia
and Smeerenberg were founded nearly at
the same period, and it was for a consider-
able time doubted whether the latter was
not the most important establishment.*
When the whales, however, at length en-
tirely abandoned this neighbourhood, and
were not to be found within a distance of
about two thousand miles, Smeerenberg was
deserted. The exact spot where it stood
is now a matter of doubt. Since then the
only operation performed upon the whale
in its native region after its capture, has
been the process called flensing, that is,
the clearing the carcass of its bone and
blubber. This is effected by bringing the
dead animal alongside the ship, and, after
it has been secured there, sending down
the men upon it, having their feet secured
with spurs to prevent them from slipping,
who by means of knives and other proper
instruments cut off the blubber in slips.
After one side has been cleared there is a
contrivance for turning the fish over upon
the other. The blubber is received from
the flensers by the boat-steerers and line-
managers, who, after dividing it into small-
er pieces, hand it over to two men called
kings, by whom it is finally deposited in
the ship's hold. While this process is go-
ing on, various birds of prey attend in great
numbers, and bears and sharks are also at
no great distance, ready to fall upon the
remainder of the carcass before it sinks into
the deep. The operation of flensing is com-
monly performed by British fishers in about
four hours. Even this part of the business,
although the struggle with the living ani-
mal is now over, is far from being with-
out its perils. 'Flensing in a sv/ell,' says
Captain Scoresby, 'is a most difficult and
dangerous undertaking; and when the swell
is at all considerable, it is commonly im-
practicable. No ropes or blocks are cap-
able of bearing the jerk of the sea. The
harpooners are annoyed by the surf, and
repeatedly drenched in water; and are like-
wise subject to be wounded by the break-
ing of ropes or hooks of tackles, and even
by strokes from each other's knives. Hence
accidents in this kind of flensing, in parti-
cular, are not uncommon. The harpooners
not unfrequently fall into the fish's mouth,
when it is exposed by the removal of a
surface of blubber; where they might easily
be drowned, but for the prompt assistance
which is always at hand. Some years ago
I was witness of a circumstance, in which
a harpooner was exposed to the most im-
minent risk of his life, at the conclusion of
a flensing process, by a very curious acci-
dent. This harpooner stood on one of the
jawbones of the fish, with a boat by his
side. In this situation, while he was in the
act of cutting the kreng (the skeleton)
adrift, a boy inadvertently struck the point
of the boat-hook, with which he usually
held the boat, through the ring ofthehar-
pooner's spur; and, in the same act, seized
the jawbone of the fish with the hook of
the same instrument. Before this was dis-
covered, the kreng was set at liberty, and
began instantly to sink. The harpooner
then threw himself towards the boat; but
being firmly entangled by the foot, he fell
into the water. Providentially, he caught
the gunwale of the boat with his hands;
but, overpowered by the force of the sink-
ing kreng, he was on the point of relin-
quishing his grasp, when some of his com-
panions got hold of his hands, while others
threw a rope round his body. The carcass
of the fish was now suspended entirely by
the poor fellow's body, which was, conse-
quently, so dreadfully extended, that there
was some danger of his being drawn as-
under. But such was his terror of being
taken under water, and not indeed without
cause, for he could never haven risen again,
that notwith^tandig the exciniciating pain
he suffered, he constantly cried out to his
companions to 'haul away the rope.' He
remained in this dreadful state until means
were adopted for hooking the kreng with
a grapnel, and drawing it back to the sur-
face of the water. His escape was singu-
larly providential: for, had he not caught
hold of the boat as he was sinking, and
met with such prompt assistance, he must
infallibly have perished.'