The Hospodin Ivaskin from Verchnei had been desired by Mayor Behm to attend the English officers on their return to the harbour, in order to be their interpreter. He now came. He was an exile; and was of a considerable family in Russia; his father was a general, and he himself, after having received his education partly in France and partly in Germany, had been page to the Empress Elizabeth, and ensign in her guards. At the age of sixteen, he was knowted, had his nose slit, and was banished, first to Siberia, end afterward to Kamtschatka, where he had lived thirty-one years. He bore in his whole figure the strongest marks of old age, though he had scarcely reached his fifty-fourth year. No one there knew the cause of his banishment, but they took it for granted, that it must have been for something very atrocious, as two or three of the commanders of Kamtschatka, had in vain endeavoured to get him recalled since the present empress's reign. For the first twenty years he had not tasted bread, nor been allowed subsistence of any kind, but had lived during that period among the Kamtschatdales, on what his own activity and toil in the chase could procure him. Afterward, he had a small pension granted him. This Major Behm by his intercession had caused to be increased to one hundred roubles a year, which is the common pay of an ensign in all parts of the empress's dominions, except in this province, where the pay of all the officers is double.
This gentleman joined Captains Gore and King on a bear-hunting party on the 17th, for two days; in which, first from the party being too large, and the unavoidable noise that was the consequence of it, and next, from the unfavourable weather after they separated, they were wholly unsuccessful.
On the 22nd, the anniversary of his majesty's coronation, and when they were sitting down to as handsome a feast as their situation would admit of, in honour of the day, the arrival of Captain Shmalelf from Bolcheretsk was announced. He partook of their festivities, and set off on his return on the 25th. Before his departure, he reinstated the serjeant in the command of the place, and took with him the sub-lieutenant who had superseded him. Captain King accompanied Captain Shmalelf to the entrance of Awatska river, and on Sunday, the 26th, attended him to church at Paratounea. The church is of wood, and by far the best building in the country round about the bay. It is ornamented by many paintings, particularly with two pictures of St. Peter and St. Paul, presented by Beering, and which, in the real richness of their drapery, would carry off the prize from the first of European performances; for all the principal parts of it are made of thick plates of solid silver, fastened to the canvass, and fashioned into the various foldings of the robes.
The next day another hunting party was set on foot, under the direction of the clerk of the parish, who was a celebrated bear-hunter. The produce was a female bear, beyond the common size, which they shot in the water, and found dead the next morning in the place to which she had been watched. The mode of hunting these animals by the natives is as follows: When they come to the ground frequented by the bears, their first step is to look for their tracks: these are found in the greatest numbers leading from the woods down to the lakes, and among the long sedgy grass and brakes by the edge of the water. The place of ambuscade being determined on, the hunters next fix in the ground the crutches upon which their firelocks are made to rest, pointing them in the direction they mean to shoot. This done, they kneel, or lie down, and, with their bear-spears by their side, wait for the game. These precautions, which are chiefly taken in order to make sure of their mark, are, on several accounts, highly expedient. For, in the first place, ammunition is so dear in Kamtschatka, that the price of a bear will not purchase more of it than is sufficient to load a musket four or five times; and, what is more material, if the bear be not rendered incapable of pursuit by the first shot, the consequences are often fatal. He immediately makes towards the place whence the noise and smoke issue, and attacks his adversaries with great fury. It is impossible for them to reload, as the animal is seldom at more than twelve or fifteen yards' distance when he is fired at: so that, if he does not fall, they immediately put themselves in a posture to receive him upon their spears, and their safety greatly depends on their giving him a mortal stab as he first comes upon them. If he parries the thrust (which bears, by the extraordinary strength and agility of their paws, are often enabled to do) and thereby breaks in upon his adversaries, the conflict becomes very unequal, and it is well if the life of one of the party alone suffice to pay the forfeit.
On the 1st of October, the cattle arrived from Verchnei, and the 3rd, being the nameday of the empress, Captain Gore invited the priest of Paratounea, Ivaskin, and the serjeant, to dinner, and an entertainment was also provided for the inferior officers of the garrison, for the toions of Paratounea and Petropaulowska, and for the better sort of the Kamtschatdale inhabitants. The rest of the natives of every description were invited to partake with the ships' companies, who had a pound of good fat beef served up to each man, and what remained of their spirits was made into grog, and divided amongst them.