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danger. They, therefore, deemed it prudent to keep closer to the shore. Cracks and fissures in the hitherto unbroken surface--sometimes extending two or three feet in breadth-now began to appear. These, however, are common, and to those accustomed to sledge travelling are of little consequence. The dogs easily leap over such interstices, drawing the sledges after them, and it only requires some degree of caution and skill, on the part of the travellers, to maintain the balance. Towards evening, however, the sky became clouded, the wind arose, and all the indications of an approaching storm manifested themselves. The snow began to drift violently, and the sledges, instead of gliding smoothly and steadily onward, acquired an oscillating and undulatory motion. Noises were heard in all directions ; sometimes from the bursting up of the ice-plains, loud and violent, like the report of a park of artillery; sometimes harsh, dull, and grating, as the vast disrupted masses ground against one another, being forced into collision by the combined action upon them of the winds and waves.
The Esquimaux, well aware what these signs portended, drove with all possible speed toward the shore; but as they approached it,
they were appalled at the spectacle which presented itself. The ice, rent away from the rocks, was forced up and down as the waves sank and rose, breaking into fragments against the cliff's with terrific violence. The noise from the roaring of the wind, and the crashing and bursting of the ice-plains, was tremendous, and as the snow drifted heavily at the time, the travellers could neither see nor hear distinctly. The affrighted dogs, too, could scarcely be urged forward, and frequently stopped altogether. The field of ice on which they were was in ceaseless motion, sometimes raised far above the level of the coast, and at others depressed below it, as the stormy waters beneath happened to rise or fall. It was only at the moment when the ice and the top of the cliffs were parallel, that they could hope to land at all. If they made the attempt and failed, their destruction was inevitable. Having committed themselves, therefore, to God, they watched their opportunity, and impelling their terrified dogs forward at the critical moment, the whole party providentially succeeded in gaining the shore.
Scarcely had they done so, and uttered a ; fervent ejaculation of praise to their great
Deliverer, when they beheld a scene of awful and tremendous grandeur. The field of ice from which they had the instant before escaped, burst asunder with a deafening roar into ten thousand fragments, and was swallowed up in the yeast of waves. Then, as if at a given signal, the whole mass, for miles in extent, burst up, and was overwhelmed by the raging
The missionaries fell upon their knees, and poured out their hearts in gratitude for their almost miraculous deliverance; and even the heathen Esquimaux, awed at the sight, acknowledged that this was none other than " the hand of God.” But their perils were far from
The tempest was howling round them with increased fury, and they had no shelter, save such as the snow could be made to afford; their stock of provisions was but small, and it might be very many days before the ice formed again, so as to allow of their escape from the spot, which was at once their refuge and their dreary prison.
Their first effort was to build a snow-house. This they completed by about nine o'clock at night, and crept into it, thankful for even this poor shelter from the keen piercing wind, which
had become so violent that they could hardly stand against it. The Esquimaux slept instantly and soundly; but, wearied as Liebrisch was with the toils of the day, he could not sleep; agitation and excitement of feeling kept him awake. Well for them was it that he could not; for it proved the deliverance of the party from a new and unexpected danger. About two o'clock in the morning, he fancied that some of the water which dripped upon him tasted salt. The next drop which fell on his lips confirmed his suspicions ; they had built their hut too near the beach, and the tide, brought up by the wind, was breaking over and surrounding them. He instantly started up and gave the alarm. The Esquimaux proceeded with all possible speed to cut a passage though the side of the hut furthest from the
Before they could effect this, the surf broke violently over them, and they had barely succeeded in escaping to a slight eminence, when a towering wave swept away the hut and all that was left in it Thus a second time had the preserving providence of God delivered them. Eventually, too, they were enabled to reach the place of their destination in safety.
Of a different, but no less remarkable cha
racter, was the escape of a party of Moravian missionaries, labouring in another part of the world. They had penetrated far into the woods, and stopped for the night, after a day of excessive toil, at the hut of a friendly native Indian. Two or three barrels of gunpowder stood in the apartment, and through carelessness in opening them, a portion of their dangerous contents was mingled with the straw which covered the floor of the room. With the usual recklessness of the Indian character, a lighted candle was brought in. David Zeisberger, the leader of the mission band, expostulated with the natives on the danger they thus incurred, but in vain. All he could effect was, a promise that they would use the utmost caution, and not go to sleep till they had extinguished the light. Compelled to be content with this assurance, and overpowered with fatigue, they at length fell asleep. In the morning, Zeisberger called one of the brethren out of the house into the wood, took a piece of candle from his pocket, and said, “My brother, had we not had the eye of Him who never slumbereth nor sleepeth upon us, we should all this night have been precipitated into eternity ; and no one would have remained to tell how it happened. I slept