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the quiet service of prodding up and digging out clams and other shell-fish from their sand and mud beds in the shallow marine waters and estuaries of the north, and to grub the bulbous roots of the wild celery, and to tear juicy sea-weed fronds from their strong hold upon the rocky bottoms of rugged coasts and reefs. The walrus does not subsist upon any animal food or fish: he is a good vegetarian and has a decided taste for mollusks; he is far too clumsy as a swimmer to capture fish, and he seems to be too much oppressed with his own unwieldy bulk to fight either by land or sea, even in self-defense. Still, in some directions, awkward as he is on shore, he is capable of exerting immense muscular power and displaying unwonted agility. To give an illustration: the size and strength of a polar bear are well known, but the largest of its kind cannot knock down and drag out a full-grown walrus bull, while it could easily destroy and dispose of one of our heaviest oxen in that manner. An incident occurred under the eye of the writer, while surveying on St. Matthew's Island, in 1874, that very clearly presents the decidedly different natures of the two animals. At the base of a series of bold, high bluffs
on the north side of the island, quite a large herd of walrus were lying out from the surf on the rocks, stretching themselves comfortably in all sorts of positions, as they basked with great pleasure in the clear rays of an August sun. An old male walrus was hauled up, a little aloof from the herd, all alone, only a few hundred yards away, and enjoying himself, also, after the fashion of his kind when they come out for an air-bath. Lurking in the background, I observed a very large polar bear, as he took the scent of this old sea-horse, and watched him as he made a stealthy approach. Crouching and flattened to the ground, the bear rapidly came up to within a dozen yards of the dozing morse, when he sprang into a lumbering gallop, closed at once with him, and attempted, bearlike, to break in and crush his skull by dealing the astonished walrus a swift succession of thumping blows over the head with his heavy, powerful fore paws. The massive occipital of the walrus was, however, too thick to give way, even under the force of Bruin's immense feet; and, after the first shock of surprise, the clumsy amphibian righted himself, and, without striking back a single blow, turned and started for the water. The bear tried to head him off; but the strength of the walrus and the momentum of his bulky body, when started down grade to the surf, was more than his great white foe could overcome. So, instinctively realizing that his quarry was to escape, the infuriated bear leaped upon his broad, flabby back, buried his claws in the tough hide and his teeth in the neck of the
unhappy walrus, and actually hung on and rode down in this manner fifteen or twenty yards to the sea, where he quickly dismounted when the first wave combed over the flanks of his victim. This surf-bath, undoubtedly, cooled the bear's passion; but it did not destroy his interest, for he retreated, turned, squatted upon his haunches, and regarded the wake of the fleeing morse with great attention.
But when Bruin selects a young walrus, or a sick or feeble adult, then there is no
A ROUGH RIDER.
such failure; the skull is crushed by quick, repeated blows; then, when the stunned and quivering body of his prey lies extended, he fastens his ugly fangs upon the throat, tearing the hide and flesh until an artery is reached, when he settles down and fairly drinks out the life of the unfortunate walrus. In looking at this uncouth animal, the most natural question at once arises-What earthly service can such an ungainly, stupid beast render? What, indeed, is the use of its existence? But the answer is swift and VOL. XXII.-27.
satisfactory; were it not for the subsistence furnished so largely by the flesh and oil of the morse, it is exceedingly doubtful whether the Esquimaux of North America, from Behring Straits clear around to Labrador, could manage to live. It is not to be inferred that walrus-meat is the sole diet of these simple people, for that is very wide of the truth; but there are several months of every year when the exigencies of the climate render it absolutely impossible for the hardiest native to go out and procure
food, and then the value of the cache of walrus-meat is appreciated, when for weeks and weeks it forms the beginning and the end of every meal. The walrus responds to as many demands of the Innuit as the camel of the Arab, or the cocoa-palm of the South Sea islander. Its flesh feeds him; its oil illuminates and warms his dark hut; its sinews make his bird-nets; its tough skin, skillfully stretched over the light wooden frame, constitutes his famous kayak, and the serviceable oomiak, or bidarrah; its intestines
are converted into water-proof clothing, while the soles to its flippers are transferred to his feet; and, finally, its ivory is a source of endless utility to him in domestic use and in trade and barter.
Walrus famines among the Esquimaux have been recorded in pathetic legends by almost all of the savage settlements in the Arctic. Even now, as I write (November, 1880), comes the authentic corroboration of the harsh rumor of the starvation of the inhabitants of St. Lawrence Island-those people who live just midway between the Old World and the New, in Alaskan waters. The winter of 1879-80 was one of exceptional rigor in the Arctic, though in this country it was unusually mild and open. The ice closed in solid around St. Lawrence Island -so firm and unshaken by the mighty powers of wind and tide that the walrus were driven far to the southward and eastward, out of reach of the unhappy inhabitants of that island, who, thus unexpectedly deprived of their mainstay and support, seem to have miserably starved to death, with the exception of one small village on the north shore. The residents of the Poonook, Poogovellyak, and Kagallegak settlements perished, to a soul, from hunger-nearly three hundred men, women, and children. I was among these people in 1874, during the month of August, and remarked their manifold superiority over the savages of the northwest coast and the great plains. They seemed then to live, during nine months of the year, almost wholly upon the flesh and oil of the walrus. Clean-limbed, bright-eyed, and jovial, they profoundly impressed one
with their happy subsistence and reliance upon the walrus-herds of Behring Sea; and it was remarked then that these people had never been subjected to the temptationand subsequent sorrow of putting their trust in princes; hence their independence and good heart. But now it appears that it will not suffice, either, to put your trust in walrus.
Walrus naturally occupy a large place in the spiritual horizon of the Esquimaux ; his whole idea of paradise is bound up in finding walrus by countless herds in the spirit land, which in itself, however, does not differ at all from the one he now lives on, except that there he will be uniformly successful in the chase, and always sure of meat to eat day in and day out. When the writer attempted to argue with one of these people that we could get along very well in the next world without these unsavory animals, the emphatic response was: "Without walrus there is no heaven!"
In view of the unremitting warfare waged upon the walrus-herds of northern Europe, it is most likely that the sandy shoals and muddy bars of Bristol Bay, Behring Sea, are now the chosen resort of the largest congregations of these animals. When the icepack closes in solid above the straits between Asia and America, then the great mass of the walrus, which have been spending the summer on the broken ice-floes, engaged principally in breeding, return to the open waters of Bristol Bay and Norton Sound, where they spend the winter, scattered in herds from a dozen or so in number up to bodies of thousands; living in perfect peace
top of the square, flat head; the nostrils open directly above the muzzle, and are vertically oval and about an inch in diameter. Like the seal, the walrus, when traveling, swims entirely submerged, rising at prolonged intervals to breathe, when it "blows" with little jets of vapor and a noise not unlike a whale; on a cool, quiet day, the progress of these creatures as they swim may be traced by the succeeding tiny white columns of vapor thrown up. As the nostrils are scarcely raised above water, nothing is seen of the animal itself, unless it pauses in the act of swimming and rises up, head and shoulders, for a survey.
The chief glory of the rosmarus, however, must be embodied in its long white tusks, or canine teeth of the upper jaw, that
sea. Following the example of its elders, it soon begins to dig clams with its tiny tushes, to pull sea-grass and celery roots, and to tear up the tender sea-weed streamers, upon all of which it fairly thrives, until it reaches maturity in its eighth or ninth year, when it will measure twelve to thirteen feet in length from the nostrils to the root of its almost imperceptible. tail, and possess a girth of twelve to fourteen feet around its blubberloaded neck and shoulders. The immense accumulation of fat in the region of the neck and shoulders makes the head and posteriors look small in proportion and attenuated. The singularly flattened head and massive, abrupt, square muzzle strongly resemble those of the African river-horse. The nostrils, eyes, and ear-spots are planted nearly on
are set firmly beneath the nostrils in deep, massive, bony sockets, which cause the distinguishing breadth and square cut front of the muzzle. These ivory teeth grow down, sometimes spreading a little as they descend; then again the tips of the tusks will nearly meet, varying in size from the six or seven inch tushes of youth to the average of two feet at maturity; the writer has seen examples over three feet in length, so large, indeed, that they might have belonged to a young mastodon. The usual weight of a good full-grown tusk is about eight pounds, but such teeth are rare out of a herd of a hundred adult walrus, it will be very difficult to select an example which shall possess a perfect pair of tusks, because in rooting around for food they are almost
invariably broken off by their owners at the tips or even up as high as the jaw itself; when walrus ivory is perfectly white and free from cracks, it rates as high as the best elephant-teeth; but most of it has a yellow, porous core, and is badly cracked from the tips to the base.
The upper lips are thick and gristly, completely overhanging and shadowing the lower; they are set full of short, stout, grayish-white and horn-colored bristles, varying in length from a half to three and four inches; this mustache is decidedly the most sinister and peculiar in the whole animal kingdom.
A dull, wooden expression is given by the eyes of the walrus. These are small, and protrude from their sockets like those of a lobster; the iris and pupil form less than one
the nostrils of the morse, and instantly the clumsy brute would snort in fright, and push, roll, and slide its huge bulk back into the sheltering sea. Most emphatically does the walrus aver that seeing is not believing, but smelling is!
After all, the crowning peculiarity of this creature comes with age. When an Alaskan rosmarus has wintered and summered for eighteen or twenty years in the chilly, desolate regions of its choice, it becomes bald, and, more than that, all of its hair, from head to tail, falls out, with the trifling exception of little sparse tufts here and there, rooted in the deep wrinkles and plications of its hide, giving a raw and naked appearance to the old veteran. The skin, bare of hair, is covered with a multitude of unwholesome, pustular-looking warts and pim
quarter of the exposed surface. The sclerotic bulges out from the lids, which are tinged a coffee-yellow and brown, with an occasional admixture of white in tiny spots When the walrus is aroused, the eyes are rolled about in every direction,--forward, backward, up, down, and around,-while the head itself seldom turns, the animal only moving it, more or less stiffly, as it rears up. These odd, lobster-like optics, however, render their owners but little service out of water, and perhaps as little in. The natives have repeatedly amused the writer by going up gently to a walrus bull from the leeward, almost to within striking distance, causing that animal to make no other sign than a stupid stare and low grunts of curiosity; but did the man move a trifle to windward, so that the faintest whiff of his individuality reached
ples, deeply wrinkled and traversed with a coarse net-work of dark red venous lines, that show out in bold contrast through the thick, yellowish-brown cuticle, which in turn seems to be scaling off in places, as if from leprosy. A herd of these old stagers (they always keep together) strikes the eye of the observer in a most unpleasant manner.
This thick, tough hide of the walrus gives a strong superficial resemblance to the pachydermata; its weight alone, divested of blubber, is more than three hundred and fifty pounds! Naturally, its grain is very coarse, especially where it is three inches in depth, as it is found to be over the shoulders and around the neck, and nowhere is the skin of an adult less than half an inch in thickness; when young, however, it is thoroughly covered with short, moderately fine