My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out thus. But I
must finish. Heaven bless my beloved sister!
To Mrs. Saville, England
AUGUST 5TH, 17 --.
SO STRANGE an accident has happened to us that I cannot for-
bear recording it, although it is very probable that you will see
me before these papers can come into your possession.
Last Monday (July 31st), we were nearly surrounded by ice,
which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the
sea-room in which she floated. Our situation was somewhat
dangerous, especially as we were compassed round by a very
thick fog. We accordingly lay to, hoping that some change
would take place in the atmosphere and weather.
About two o'clock the mist cleared away, and we beheld,
stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice,
which seemed to have no end. Some of my comrades groaned,
and my own mind began to grow watchful with anxious
thoughts, when a strange sight suddenly attracted our attention,
and diverted our solicitude from our own situation. We per-
ceived a low carriage, fixed on a sledge and drawn by dogs, pass
on towards the north, at the distance of half a mile: a being
which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic
stature, sat in the sledge, and guided the dogs. We watched the
rapid progress of the traveller with our telescopes, until he was
lost among the distant inequalities of the ice.
This appearance excited our unqualified wonder. We were,
as we believed, many hundred miles from any land; but this
apparition seemed to denote that it was not, in reality, so dis-
tant as we had supposed. Shut in, however, by ice, it was im-
possible to follow his track, which we had observed with the
About two hours after this occurrence, we heard the ground
sea; and before night the ice broke, and freed our ship. We,
however, lay to until the morning, fearing to encounter in the