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eleven o'clock, and overhead a few barred clouds burned against the green sky. Strútr was enveloped in a fog which stole up towards the jökull, touched the plum-coloured crags of Eiriks gnypa, clung to them, pushed farther, threw a gauzy sash athwart the glacier mountain, and began stealthily to veil its sides. Not a moment was to be lost; I caught up brushes and colours, and running to a spot which commanded our camp, as well as the mountain, I made a hasty sketch before the cloud obliterated all. Grímr pointed to the fog, and said, “It shall be bad weather to-night !” “Prophet of woe " I exclaimed; “find some other spot for the tents.” “There shall be none other,” he answered, and I believe he was right. “Now for the cooking !” I turned up my cuffs, drew out my long hunting-knife, and ranged the birds before me—four ptarmigan, three whimbrel, and six golden plover. A dish for 8. king, indeed ! I skinned the whimbrel, most of the plover, and three ptarmigan; disemboweled them, washed them in the lake, broke the backs of the big birds, and tossed them into the pot. Meanwhile the preacher guide, at my particular request, had undertaken to skin and clean the remaining ptarmigan and plover. I heard his dejected sighs drawn frequently and heavily over the work, but I took no notice of them. Presently he brought the ptarmigan, and flung it in with the rest of the birds. “Come, Grimrl " I said, “you must give me some sticks, and blow the fire; I will stir the pot, and make a savoury mess.” The dry willow-roots blazed up merrily, and then died out, so that the work of keeping a brisk fire about the pot absorbed my attention so completely, that I did not examine Grimr's handiwork before consigning his ptarmigan to the pot. A capital mess it promised to be : I put in a tin of preserved vegetables, a few slices of portable soup, salt, pepper, some Brighton sauce, and sprinkled the whole with garlic powder; the meal-bag stood temptingly by ; Iventured on a bold stroke, and poured into the saucepan several spoonfuls of oatmeal.
“Grímr l’” I cried sharply, as a horrible suspicion flashed across me; “what is the matter with that ptarmigan at the . top of the stew?—the fellow you skinned—it is swollen out and looks so fat, that—Why, Grímr l you never 3 y “No, I did not take the insides out. I do not know how.” “So you have let me boil it thus, and never said a word, though you saw what I was about. The soup is spoiled.” “I will take of the ptarmigan out and clean him now.” So the matter was settled. But for this untoward accident the stew would have been perfect. “Fire off a shot as a signal to Mr. Briggs and the others that all is ready,” said I. “I will,” answered Grímr. “But wait, there is of a skúa, a rare one, I think.” I saw a dark bird with sharp-pointed wings wheeling near. Grímr lifted his gun, pulled the trigger, and the skua fell fluttering at his feet. “I have only once seen this kjói before,” said he. “It is a beautiful bird.” It was so indeed. At the time I did not know of its extreme rarity, and I was ignorant of its name ; but on reference to M. Preyer's index I find that he saw the skin of a similar skua, and named it Lestris Thuliaca ; his account of it tallies so closely with the notes I made, that I cannot doubt that the specimens are identical, and that the bird is a variety of the Lestris parasitica. The beak, legs, and webbed feet are perfectly black, the plumage grey, with the exception of these spots: 1st, many of the lesser wing covert plumes are white, so also are the scapulars; on the underside of the wings are white flecks, and the whole wing edge of the greater wing coverts are speckled with white. 2nd, on the belly, between the legs, is a W in white feathers, the angle pointing towards the head. 3rd, the throat beneath the beak is white. The quills of the primaries are of a yellowish white; of the tail feathers, white below and black above; the extremities, however, are black; the quills of the other feathers, excepting those on the white flecks, are grey. The plumage of the specimen shot by M. Preyer was brownish grey, in that shot by Grimr the colour was more of an iron grey.
I now proceeded to cook the lake char (Salmo alpinus), which the natives call silungur; their delicate salmoncoloured flesh is delicious. Having split and stewed them with a little meal, all was ready by the time that my comrades returned. “Mr. Briggs—what luck?” “Not much. I have been trying the fly for trout, but they will not rise. I believe that they are so unaccustomed to such things as flies here, that the only chance of catching them is with minnow or spoon.” “Have you shot anything 2 ” “No,” from Martin ; “but we came upon a northern diver's nest. Here are the two eggs I took from it—nest it can hardly be called though, for the bird seems to have laid haphazard on mud and stone.” He held out to me two olive-brown eggs sprinkled with grey and brown spots—length, 3 in. 5} lines; width, 2 in. 2} lines. The bird had escaped, but we could see it now and then sailing on the water out of range. The diver is a noble bird; its dark plumage has a metallic lustre; the head and neck are black or green, according to the light in which they are seen; one broad white collar surrounds the neck, beneath the chin is a thread of white like the commencement of a second collar; the black of the body is flecked with white, as though the bird were dressed in magnificent black lace over white. The eye is of a blood-red colour. The bird swims with great celerity, and it is hopeless attempting to come up with it in a boat; it rarely lands, as its short legs thrown beyond the point of equilibrium in the body almost preclude its walking, yet are calculated to give great propelling force in the water. It can remain below
the surface for a considerable time, and when it rises, if alarmed, it will keep its body submerged, the dark head alone showing. As one comes suddenly on the diver in a lone tarn, its harsh loud cry, like the howl of a wolf mixed with jeering bursts of laughter, or the screams of a man in distress, is sufficiently startling. These Eagle lakes teem with wild fowl.
GREAt Northern DIVE R.
dreary cry, cower over their young before the wheeling falcon; and the plover pipes sadly on the stony hills. My cookery was highly relished; the fish were done to a turn; the game would have been better, but for the carelessness of Grimr. After a cup of hot toddy, we went to bed; Grímr, the farmer, Güthmundr, and Magnús, were put with the boxes into my tent, 7 ft. by 54 ft., and the rest of us huddled into the larger one. It was high time for us to get under shelter, for a dense fog had covered the lake, and the wind was beginning to sob over the waste, and bluster round our canvas, shaking the tent sides ominously. About five in the morning my hammock vibrated like a pendulum; and I woke to find that the gale had increased to a storm, and threatened to upset tent and hammock on the sleepers below. The pegs I knew were not driven into firm soil, and the guys were loose. The sides of the tent bellied in, and flapped like sails. “Mr. Briggs | "I called. “Ay, what?” “Oh! you are awake l’” I said. “Do, there's a good fellow, take the mallet, drive in the pins all round, and tighten the cords.” “It is raining as it rains nowhere but in Iceland, driving horizontally great splashes of water, and the wind is blowing like—” “Some one must go, but I cannot,” said I, “for if I were to alter my balance, the whole tent would collapse.” “Well, let us make the Yankee go. Mr. Blank l’’ But the American was too “wide awake" to be otherwise than fast asleep at that moment. “Throw a boot at him ' " I suggested. “I can't,” answered Mr. Briggs, “for the salt is in one and the pepper in the other; but here is your fishing stocking with the leg of mutton in it, or better, an old preserved-meat tin ; ” and that whizzed below me and struck the Yankee on the back. A loud snore proclaimed him to be invincibly