Infomotions, Inc.The Voyages of Captain Scott : Retold from the Voyage of the Discovery and Scott's Last Expedition / Turley, Charles, 1868-1940



Author: Turley, Charles, 1868-1940
Title: The Voyages of Captain Scott : Retold from the Voyage of the Discovery and Scott's Last Expedition
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): scott; sledge; evans; depot; wilson; ponies; ice; bowers; camp; cape evans; ship; snow; cape crozier; scott wrote
Contributor(s): Tieck, Dorothea, 1799-1841 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 112,802 words (average) Grade range: 11-13 (high school) Readability score: 59 (average)
Identifier: etext6721
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Title: The Voyages of Captain Scott
       Retold from 'The Voyage of the "Discovery"' and 'Scott's
       Last Expedition'

Author: Charles Turley

Release Date: January 7, 2006 [EBook #6721]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE VOYAGES OF CAPTAIN SCOTT ***




Produced by Robert J. Hall




[Page ii]
[Illustration: Captain Robert F. Scott R.N.

_J. Russell & Sons, Southsea, photographers_]


[Page iii]
THE VOYAGES OF CAPTAIN SCOTT


_Retold from 'The Voyage of the "Discovery"' and 'Scott's Last
Expedition'_


BY CHARLES TURLEY

Author of 'Godfrey Marten, Schoolboy,' 'A Band of Brothers,' etc.


With an introduction by

SIR J. M. BARRIE, BART.


Numerous illustrations in colour and black and white and a map




[Page v]
CONTENTS

  INTRODUCTION

  THE VOYAGE OF THE 'DISCOVERY'

  Chapter
       I. The 'Discovery'.
      II. Southward Ho!
     III. In Search of Winter Quarters.
      IV. The Polar Winter.
       V. The Start of the Southern Journey.
      VI. The Return.
     VII. A Second Winter.
    VIII. The Western Journey.
      IX. The Return from the West.
       X. Release.

  THE LAST EXPEDITION

  Chapter
          Preface to 'Scott's Last Expedition'.
          Biographical Note.
          British Antarctic Expedition, 1910.
[Page vi]
       I. Through Stormy Seas.
      II. Depot Laying to One Ton Camp.
     III. Perils.
      IV. A Happy Family.
       V. Winter.
      VI. Good-bye to Cape Evans.
     VII. The Southern Journey Begins.
    VIII. On the Beardmore Glacier.
      IX. The South Pole.
       X. On the Homeward Journey.
      XI. The Last March.
          Search Party Discovers the Tent.
          In Memoriam.
          Farewell Letters.
          Message to the Public.
          Index.




[Page vii]
ILLUSTRATIONS

  _PHOTOGRAVURE PLATE_

    Portrait of Captain Robert F. Scott
      _From a photograph by J. Russell & Son, Southsea_.

  _COLOURED PLATES_

    _From Water-Colour Drawings by Dr. Edward A. Wilson._.

    Sledding.
    Mount Erebus.
    Lunar Corona.
    'Birdie' Bowers reading the thermometer on the ramp.

  _DOUBLE PAGE PLATE_

    Panorama at Cape Evans.
    Berg in South Bay.

  _FULL PAGE PLATES_

    Robert F. Scott at the age of thirteen as a naval cadet.
    The 'Discovery'.
    Looking up the gateway from Pony Depot.
    Pinnacled ice at mouth of Ferrar Glacier.
    Pressure ridges north side of Discovery Bluff.
    The 'Terra Nova' leaving the Antarctic.
    Pony Camp on the barrier.
    Snowed-up tent after three days' blizzard.
    Pitching the double tent on the summit.
[Page viii]
    Adelie Penguin on nest.
    Emperor Penguins on sea-ice.
    Dog party starting from Hut Point.
    Dog lines.
    Looking up the gateway from Pony Depot.
    Looking south from Lower Glacier depot,
    Man hauling camp, 87th parallel.
    The party at the South Pole.
    'The Last Rest'.

    Facsimile of the last words of Captain Scott's Journal.

    Track chart of main southern journey.




[Page 1]
INTRODUCTION

BY SIR J. M. BARRIE, BART.

On the night of my original meeting with Scott he was but lately
home from his first adventure into the Antarctic and my chief
recollection of the occasion is that having found the entrancing
man I was unable to leave him. In vain he escorted me through the
streets of London to my home, for when he had said good-night I then
escorted him to his, and so it went on I know not for how long through
the small hours. Our talk was largely a comparison of the life of
action (which he pooh-poohed) with the loathsome life of those who
sit at home (which I scorned); but I also remember that he assured
me he was of Scots extraction. As the subject never seems to have
been resumed between us, I afterwards wondered whether I had drawn
this from him with a promise that, if his reply was satisfactory, I
would let him go to bed. However, the family traditions (they are
nothing more) do bring him from across the border. According to
them his great-great-grandfather was the Scott of Brownhead whose
estates were sequestered after the '45. His dwelling was razed
to the ground and he fled with his wife, to whom after some grim
privations a son was born in a fisherman's hut on September 14,
1745. This son eventually settled in Devon, where he prospered,
[Page 2]
for it was in the beautiful house of Oatlands that he died. He
had four sons, all in the Royal Navy, of whom the eldest had as
youngest child John Edward Scott, father of the Captain Scott who
was born at Oatlands on June 6, 1868. About the same date, or perhaps
a little earlier, it was decided that the boy should go into the
Navy like so many of his for-bears.

I have been asked to write a few pages about those early days of
Scott at Oatlands, so that the boys who read this book may have
some slight acquaintance with the boy who became Captain Scott;
and they may be relieved to learn (as it holds out some chance
for themselves) that the man who did so many heroic things does
not make his first appearance as a hero. He enters history aged
six, blue-eyed, long-haired, inexpressibly slight and in velveteen,
being held out at arm's length by a servant and dripping horribly,
like a half-drowned kitten. This is the earliest recollection of
him of a sister, who was too young to join in a children's party
on that fatal day. But Con, as he was always called, had intimated
to her that from a window she would be able to see him taking a
noble lead in the festivities in the garden, and she looked; and
that is what she saw. He had been showing his guests how superbly
he could jump the leat, and had fallen into it.

Leat is a Devonshire term for a running stream, and a branch of
the leat ran through the Oatlands garden while there was another
branch, more venturesome, at the bottom of the fields. These were
the waters first ploughed by Scott, and he invented many ways of
being in them accidentally, it being forbidden
[Page 3]
to enter them of intent. Thus he taught his sisters and brother
a new version of the oldest probably of all pastimes, the game of
'Touch.' You had to touch 'across the leat,' and, with a little
good fortune, one of you went in. Once you were wet, it did not
so much matter though you got wetter.

An easy way of getting to the leat at the foot of the fields was
to walk there, but by the time he was eight Scott scorned the easy
ways. He invented parents who sternly forbade all approach to this
dangerous waterway; he turned them into enemies of his country and
of himself (he was now an admiral), and led parties of gallant tars
to the stream by ways hitherto unthought of. At foot of the avenue
was an oak tree which hung over the road, and thus by dropping from
this tree you got into open country. The tree was (at this time)
of an enormous size, with sufficient room to conceal a navy, and
the navy consisted mainly of the sisters and the young brother.
All had to be ready at any moment to leap from the tree and join
issue with the enemy on the leat. In the fields there was also a
mighty ocean, called by dull grown-ups 'the pond,' and here Scott's
battleship lay moored. It seems for some time to have been an English
vessel, but by and by he was impelled, as all boys are, to blow
something up, and he could think of nothing more splendid for his
purpose than the battleship. Thus did it become promptly a ship
of the enemy doing serious damage to the trade of those parts,
and the valiant Con took to walking about with lips pursed, brows
frowning as he cogitated how to remove the
[Page 4]
Terror of Devon. You may picture the sisters and brother trotting
by his side and looking anxiously into his set face. At last he
decided to blow the accursed thing up with gunpowder. His crew
cheered, and then waited to be sent to the local shop for a pennyworth
of gunpowder. But Con made his own gunpowder, none of the faithful
were ever told how, and on a great day the train was laid. Con applied
the match and ordered all to stand back. A deafening explosion was
expected, but a mere puff of flame was all that came; the Terror
of Devon, which to the unimaginative was only a painted plank,
still rode the waters. With many boys this would be the end of
the story, but not with Con. He again retired to the making of
gunpowder, and did not desist from his endeavors until he had blown
that plank sky-high.

His first knife is a great event in the life of a boy: it is probably
the first memory of many of them, and they are nearly always given
it on condition that they keep it shut. So it was with Con, and a
few minutes after he had sworn that he would not open it he was
begging for permission to use it on a tempting sapling. 'Very well,'
his father said grimly, 'but remember, if you hurt yourself, don't
expect any sympathy from me.' The knife was opened, and to cut
himself rather badly proved as easy as falling into the leat. The
father, however, had not noticed, and the boy put his bleeding
hand into his pocket and walked on unconcernedly. He was really
considerably damaged; and this is a good story of a child of seven
who all his life suffered extreme nausea from
[Page 5]
the sight of blood; even in the _Discovery_ days, to get accustomed
to 'seeing red,' he had to force himself to watch Dr. Wilson skinning
his specimens.

When he was about eight Con passed out of the hands of a governess,
and became a school-boy, first at a day school in Stoke Damerel
and later at Stubbington House, Fareham. He rode grandly between
Oatlands and Stoke Damerel on his pony, Beppo, which bucked in
vain when he was on it, but had an ingratiating way of depositing
other riders on the road. From what one knows of him later this
is a characteristic story. One day he dismounted to look over a
gate at a view which impressed him (not very boyish this), and when
he recovered from a brown study there was no Beppo to be seen. He
walked the seven miles home, but what was characteristic was that
he called at police-stations on the way to give practical details
of his loss and a description of the pony. Few children would have
thought of this, but Scott was naturally a strange mixture of the
dreamy and the practical, and never more practical than immediately
after he had been dreamy. He forgot place and time altogether when
thus abstracted. I remember the first time he dined with me, when
a number of well-known men had come to meet him, he arrived some
two hours late. He had dressed to come out, then fallen into one
of his reveries, forgotten all about the engagement, dined by himself
and gone early to bed. Just as he was falling asleep he remembered
where he should be, arose hastily and joined us as speedily as
possible. It was equally characteristic of him to say
[Page 6]
of the other guests that it was pleasant to a sailor to meet so
many interesting people. When I said that to them the sailor was
by far the most interesting person in the room he shouted with
mirth. It always amused Scott to find that anyone thought him a
person of importance.

[Illustration: ROBERT F. SCOTT AT THE AGE OF 13 AS A NAVAL CADET.]

I suppose everyone takes for granted that in his childhood, as later
when he made his great marches, Scott was muscular and strongly
built. This was so far from being the case that there were many
anxious consultations over him, and the local doctor said he could
not become a sailor as he could never hope to obtain the necessary
number of inches round the chest. He was delicate and inclined to
be pigeon-breasted. Judging from the portrait of him here printed,
in his first uniform as a naval cadet, all this had gone by the
time he was thirteen, but unfortunately there are no letters of
this period extant and thus little can be said of his years on
the _Britannia_ where 'you never felt hot in your bunk because you
could always twist, and sleep with your feet out at port hole.'
He became a cadet captain, a post none can reach who is not thought
well of by the other boys as well as by their instructors, but none
of them foresaw that he was likely to become anybody in particular.
He was still 'Old Mooney,' as his father had dubbed him, owing to
his dreamy mind; it was an effort to him to work hard, he cast a
wistful eye on 'slackers,' he was not a good loser, he was untidy
to the point of slovenliness, and he had a fierce temper. All this
I think has been proved to me up to the
[Page 7]
hilt, and as I am very sure that the boy of fifteen or so cannot
be very different from the man he grows into it leaves me puzzled.
The Scott I knew, or thought I knew, was physically as hard as
nails and flung himself into work or play with a vehemence I cannot
remember ever to have seen equaled. I have fished with him, played
cricket and football with him, and other games, those of his own
invention being of a particularly arduous kind, for they always
had a moment when the other players were privileged to fling a hard
ball at your undefended head. 'Slackness,' was the last quality
you would think of when you saw him bearing down on you with that
ball, and it was the last he asked of you if you were bearing down
on him. He was equally strenuous of work; indeed I have no clearer
recollection of him than his way of running from play to work or work
to play, so that there should be the least possible time between.
It is the 'time between' that is the 'slacker's' kingdom, and Scott
lived less in it than anyone I can recall. Again, I found him the
best of losers, with a shout of delight for every good stroke by
an opponent: what is called an ideal sportsman. He was very neat
and correct in his dress, quite a model for the youth who come
after him, but that we take as a matter of course; it is 'good
form' in the Navy. His temper I should have said was bullet-proof.
I have never seen him begin to lose it for a second of time, and
I have seen him in circumstances where the loss of it would have
been excusable.

However, 'the boy makes the man,' and Scott was
[Page 8]
none of those things I saw in him but something better. The faults
of his youth must have lived on in him as in all of us, but he
got to know they were there and he took an iron grip of them and
never let go his hold. It was this self-control more than anything
else that made the man of him of whom we have all become so proud.
I get many proofs of this in correspondence dealing with his manhood
days which are not strictly within the sphere of this introductory
note. The horror of slackness was turned into a very passion for
keeping himself 'fit.' Thus we find him at one time taking charge
of a dog, a 'Big Dane,' so that he could race it all the way between
work and home, a distance of three miles. Even when he was getting
the _Discovery_ ready and doing daily the work of several men, he
might have been seen running through the streets of London from
Savile Row or the Admiralty to his home, not because there was
no time for other method of progression, but because he must be
fit, fit, fit. No more 'Old Mooney' for him; he kept an eye for
ever on that gentleman, and became doggedly the most practical of
men. And practical in the cheeriest of ways. In 1894 a disastrous
change came over the fortunes of the family, the father's money
being lost and then Scott was practical indeed. A letter he wrote I
at this time to his mother, tenderly taking everything and everybody
on his shoulders, must be one of the best letters ever written by
a son, and I hope it may be some day published. His mother was the
great person of his early life, more to him even than his brother
[Page 9]
or his father, whom circumstances had deprived of the glory of
following the sailor's profession and whose ambitions were all
bound up in this son, determined that Con should do the big things
he had not done himself. For the rest of his life Con became the
head of the family, devoting his time and his means to them, not
in an it-must-be-done manner, but with joy and even gaiety. He
never seems to have shown a gayer front than when the troubles
fell, and at a farm to which they retired for a time he became
famous as a provider of concerts. Not only must there be no 'Old
Mooney' in him, but it must be driven out of everyone. His concerts,
in which he took a leading part, became celebrated in the district,
deputations called to beg for another, and once in these words, 'Wull
'ee gie we a concert over our way when the comic young gentleman
be here along?'

Some servants having had to go at this period, Scott conceived
the idea that he must even help domestically in the house, and
took his own bedroom under his charge with results that were
satisfactory to the casual eye, though not to the eyes of his sisters.
It was about this time that he slew the demon of untidiness so
far as his own dress was concerned and doggedly became a model
for still younger officers. Not that his dress was fine. While
there were others to help he would not spend his small means on
himself, and he would arrive home in frayed garments that he had
grown out of and in very tarnished lace. But neat as a pin. In
the days when he returned from
[Page 10]
his first voyage in the Antarctic and all England was talking of him,
one of his most novel adventures was at last to go to a first-class
tailor and be provided with a first-class suit. He was as elated by
the possession of this as a child. When going about the country
lecturing in those days he traveled third class, though he was
sometimes met at the station by mayors and corporations and red
carpets.

The hot tempers of his youth must still have lain hidden, but by
now the control was complete. Even in the naval cadet days of which
unfortunately there is so little to tell, his old friends who remember
the tempers remember also the sunny smile that dissipated them. When
I knew him the sunny smile was there frequently, and was indeed
his greatest personal adornment, but the tempers never reached
the surface. He had become master of his fate and captain of his
soul.

In 1886 Scott became a middy on the _Boadicea_, and later on various
ships, one of them the _Rover_, of which Admiral Fisher was at
that time commander. The Admiral has a recollection of a little
black pig having been found under his bunk one night. He cannot
swear that Scott was the leading culprit, but Scott was certainly
one of several who had to finish the night on deck as a punishment.
In 1888 Scott passed his examinations for sub-lieutenant, with
four first-class honours and one second, and so left his boyhood
behind. I cannot refrain however from adding as a conclusion to
these notes a letter from Sir Courtauld
[Page 11]
Thomson that gives a very attractive glimpse of him in this same
year:

'In the late winter a quarter of a century ago I had to find my
way from San Francisco to Alaska. The railway was snowed up and
the only transport available at the moment was an ill-found tramp
steamer. My fellow passengers were mostly Californians hurrying off
to a new mining camp and, with the crew, looked a very unpleasant lot
of ruffians. Three singularly unprepossessing Frisco toughs joined
me in my cabin, which was none too large for a single person. I was
then told that yet another had somehow to be wedged in. While I
was wondering if he could be a more ill-favored or dirtier specimen
of humanity than the others the last comer suddenly appeared--the
jolliest and breeziest English naval Second Lieutenant. It was Con
Scott. I had never seen him before, but we at once became friends
and remained so till the end. He was going up to join his ship
which, I think, was the _Amphion_, at Esquimault, B. C.

'As soon as we got outside the Golden Gates we ran into a full
gale which lasted all the way to Victoria, B. C. The ship was so
overcrowded that a large number of women and children were allowed
to sleep on the floor of the only saloon there was on condition
that they got up early, so that the rest of the passengers could
come in for breakfast and the other meals.

'I need scarcely say that owing to the heavy weather hardly a woman
was able to get up, and the
[Page 12]
saloon was soon in an indescribable condition. Practically no attempt
was made to serve meals and the few so-called stewards were themselves
mostly out of action from drink or sea-sickness.

'Nearly all the male passengers who were able to be about spent
their time drinking and quarrelling. The deck cargo and some of
our top hamper were washed away and the cabins got their share
of the waves that were washing the deck.

'Then it was I first knew that Con Scott was no ordinary human
being. Though at that time still only a boy he practically took
command of the passengers and was at once accepted by them as their
Boss during the rest of the trip. With a small body of volunteers
he led an attack on the saloon--dressed the mothers, washed the
children, fed the babies, swabbed down the floors and nursed the
sick, and performed every imaginable service for all hands. On
deck he settled the quarrels and established order either by his
personality, or, if necessary, by his fists. Practically by day
and night he worked for the common good, never sparing himself,
and with his infectious smile gradually made us all feel the whole
thing was jolly good fun.

'I daresay there are still some of the passengers like myself who,
after a quarter of a century, have imprinted on their minds the
vision of this fair-haired English sailor boy with the laughing
blue eyes who at that early age knew how to sacrifice himself for
the welfare and happiness of others.'




[Page 13]
THE VOYAGE OF THE 'DISCOVERY'

[Illustration: THE 'DISCOVERY'. Reproduced from a drawing by Dr.
E. A. Wilson.]




[Page 15]
CHAPTER I

THE _DISCOVERY_

  Do ye, by star-eyed Science led, explore
  Each lonely ocean, each untrodden shore.

In June, 1899, Robert Falcon Scott was spending his short leave in
London, and happened to meet Sir Clements Markham in the Buckingham
Palace Road. On that afternoon he heard for the first time of a
prospective Antarctic expedition, and on the following day he called
upon Sir Clements and volunteered to command it. Of this eventful
visit Sir Clements wrote: 'On June 5, 1899, there was a remarkable
coincidence. Scott was then torpedo lieutenant of the _Majestic_. I
was just sitting down to write to my old friend Captain Egerton[1]
about him, when he was announced. He came to volunteer to command
the expedition. I believed him to be the best man for so great a
trust, either in the navy or out of it. Captain Egerton's reply
and Scott's testimonials and certificates most fully confirmed
a foregone conclusion.'

[Footnote 1: Now Admiral Sir George Egerton, K.C.B.]

The tale, however, of the friendship between Sir
[Page 16]
Clements and Scott began in 1887, when the former was the guest of
his cousin, the Commodore of the Training Squadron, and made the
acquaintance of every midshipman in the four ships that comprised
it. During the years that followed, it is enough to say that Scott
more than justified the hopes of those who had marked him down
as a midshipman of exceptional promise. Through those years Sir
Clements had been both friendly and observant, until by a happy
stroke of fortune the time came when he was as anxious for this
Antarctic expedition to be led by Scott as Scott was to lead it. So
when, on June 30, 1900, Scott was promoted to the rank of Commander,
and shortly afterwards was free to undertake the work that was
waiting for him, one great anxiety was removed from the shoulders
of the man who had not only proposed the expedition, but had also
resolved that nothing should prevent it from going.

Great difficulties and troubles had, however, to be encountered
before the _Discovery_ could start upon her voyage. First and foremost
was the question of money, but owing to indefatigable efforts the
financial horizon grew clearer in the early months of 1899. Later
on in the same year Mr. Balfour expressed his sympathy with the
objects of the undertaking, and it was entirely due to him that
the Government eventually agreed to contribute L45,000, provided
that a similar sum could be raised by private subscriptions.

In March, 1900, the keel of the new vessel, that the
[Page 17]
special Ship Committee had decided to build for the expedition,
was laid in the yard of the Dundee Shipbuilding Company. A definite
beginning, at any rate, had been made; but very soon after Scott had
taken up his duties he found that unless he could obtain some control
over the various committees and subcommittees of the expedition, the
only day to fix for the sailing of the ship was Doomsday. A visit
to Norway, where he received many practical suggestions from Dr.
Nansen, was followed by a journey to Berlin, and there he discovered
that the German expedition, which was to sail from Europe at the same
time as his own, was already in an advanced state of preparation.
Considerably alarmed, he hurried back to England and found, as
he had expected, that all the arrangements, which were in full
swing in Germany, were almost at a standstill in England. The
construction of the ship was the only work that was progressing,
and even in this there were many interruptions from the want of
some one to give immediate decisions on points of detail.

A remedy for this state of chaos had to be discovered, and on November
4, 1900, the Joint Committee of the Royal Society and the Royal
Geographical Society passed a resolution, which left Scott practically
with a free hand to push on the work in every department, under a
given estimate of expenditure in each. To safeguard the interests
of the two Societies the resolution provided that this expenditure
should be supervised by a Finance Committee,
[Page 18]
and to this Committee unqualified gratitude was due. Difficulties
were still to crop up, and as there were many scientific interests
to be served, differences of opinion on points of detail naturally
arose, but as far as the Finance Committee was concerned, it is mere
justice to record that no sooner was it formed than its members
began to work ungrudgingly to promote the success of the undertaking.

In the meantime Scott's first task was to collect, as far as possible,
the various members of the expedition. Before he had left the _Majestic_
he had written, 'I cannot gather what is the intention as regards
the crew; is it hoped to be able to embody them from the R.N.? I
sincerely trust so.' In fact he had set his heart on obtaining a
naval crew, partly because he thought that their sense of discipline
would be invaluable, but also because he doubted his ability to
deal with any other class of men.

The Admiralty, however, was reluctant to grant a concession that
Scott considered so necessary, and this reluctance arose not from
any coldness towards the enterprise, but from questions of principle
and precedent. At first the Admiralty assistance in this respect
was limited to two officers, Scott himself and Royds, then the
limit was extended to include Skelton the engineer, a carpenter and
a boatswain, and thus at least a small naval nucleus was obtained.
But it was not until the spring of 1901 that the Admiralty, thanks to
Sir Anthony Hoskins and Sir Archibald Douglas, gave in altogether,
and as the selection of
[Page 19]
the most fitting volunteers had not yet been made, the chosen men
did not join until the expedition was almost on the point of sailing.

For many reasons Scott was obliged to make his own headquarters
in London, and the room that had been placed at his disposal in
Burlington House soon became a museum of curiosities. Sledges,
ski, fur clothing and boots were crowded into every corner, while
tables and shelves were littered with correspondence and samples
of tinned foods. And in the midst of this medley he worked steadily
on, sometimes elated by the hope that all was going well, sometimes
depressed by the thought that the expedition could not possibly
be ready to start at the required date.

During these busy months of preparation he had the satisfaction
of knowing that the first lieutenant, the chief engineer and the
carpenter were in Dundee, and able to look into the numerous small
difficulties that arose in connection with the building of the
ship. Other important posts in the expedition had also been filled
up, and expeditionary work was being carried on in many places.
Some men were working on their especial subjects in the British
Museum, others were preparing themselves at the Physical Laboratory
at Kew, and others, again, were traveling in various directions
both at home and abroad. Of all these affairs the central office
was obliged to take notice, and so for its occupants idle moments
were few and very far between. Nansen said once that the hardest work
[Page 20]
of a Polar voyage came in its preparation, and during the years
1900-1, Scott found ample cause to agree with him. But in spite
of conflicting interests, which at times threatened to wreck the
well-being of the expedition, work, having been properly organized,
went steadily forward; until on March 21, 1901, the new vessel was
launched at Dundee and named the '_Discovery_' by Lady Markham.

In the choice of a name it was generally agreed that the best plan
was to revive some time-honoured title, and that few names were more
distinguished than 'Discovery.' She was the sixth of that name,
and inherited a long record of honourable and fortunate service.

The _Discovery_ had been nothing more than a skeleton when it was
decided that she should be loaded with her freight in London;
consequently, after she had undergone her trials, she was brought
round from Dundee, and on June 3, 1901, was berthed in the East
India Docks. There, during the following weeks, all the stores
were gathered together, and there the vessel, which was destined
to be the home of the expedition for more than three years, was
laden.

Speaking at the Geographical Congress at Berlin in 1899, Nansen
strongly recommended a vessel of the _Fram_ type with fuller lines
for South Polar work, but the special Ship Committee, appointed to
consider the question of a vessel for this expedition, had very
sound reasons for not following his advice. Nansen's
[Page 21]
celebrated _Fram_ was built for the specific object of remaining
safely in the North Polar pack, in spite of the terrible pressures
which were to be expected in such a vast extent of ice. This object
was achieved in the simplest manner by inclining the sides of the
vessel until her shape resembled a saucer, and lateral pressure
merely tended to raise her above the surface. Simple as this design
was, it fulfilled so well the requirements of the situation that its
conception was without doubt a stroke of genius. What, however, has
been generally forgotten is that the safety of the _Fram_ was secured
at the expense of her sea-worthiness and powers of ice-penetration.

Since the _Fram_ was built there have been two distinct types of
Polar vessels, the one founded on the idea of passive security in
the ice, the other the old English whaler type designed to sail
the high seas and push her way through the looser ice-packs. And
a brief consideration of southern conditions will show which of
these types is more serviceable for Antarctic exploration, because
it is obvious that the exploring ship must first of all be prepared
to navigate the most stormy seas in the world, and then be ready
to force her way through the ice-floes to the mysteries beyond.

By the general consent of those who witnessed her performances, the
old _Discovery_ (the fifth of her name) of 1875 was the best ship
that had ever been employed on Arctic service, and the Ship Committee
eventually decided that the new vessel should be built on more
[Page 22]
or less the same lines. The new _Discovery_ had the honour to be
the first vessel ever built for scientific exploration, and the
decision to adopt well-tried English lines for her was more than
justified by her excellent qualities.

The greatest strength lay in her bows, and when ice-floes had to
be rammed the knowledge that the keel at the fore-end of the ship
gradually grew thicker, until it rose in the enormous mass of solid
wood which constituted the stem, was most comforting. No single
tree could provide the wood for such a stem, but the several trees
used were cunningly scarfed to provide the equivalent of a solid
block. In further preparation for the battle with ice-floes, the
stem itself and the bow for three or four feet on either side were
protected with numerous steel plates, so that when the ship returned
to civilization not a scratch remained to show the hard knocks
received by the bow.

The shape of the stem was also a very important consideration. In
the outline drawing of the _Discovery_ will be seen how largely
the stem overhangs, and this was carried to a greater extent than
in any former Polar vessel. The object with which this was fitted
was often fulfilled during the voyage. Many a time on charging
a large ice-floe the stem of the ship glided upwards until the
bows were raised two or three feet, then the weight of the ship
acting downwards would crack the floe beneath, the bow would drop,
and gradually the ship would forge ahead to tussle against the
[Page 23]
next obstruction. Nothing but a wooden structure has the elasticity
and strength to thrust its way without injury through the thick
Polar ice.

In Dundee the building of the _Discovery_ aroused the keenest interest,
and the peculiar shape of her overhanging stern, an entirely new
feature in this class of vessel, gave rise to the strongest criticism.
All sorts of misfortunes were predicted, but events proved that
this overhanging rounded form of stem was infinitely superior for
ice-work to the old form of stem, because it gave better protection
to the rudder, rudder post and screw, and was more satisfactory
in heavy seas.

[Illustration: PROFILE DRAWING OF 'DISCOVERY'.]

[Illustration: OUTLINE DRAWINGS OF 'DISCOVERY' AND 'FRAM'.]

Both in the building and in the subsequent work of the _Discovery_
the deck-house, marked on the drawing 'Magnetic Observatory,' was
an important place. For the best of reasons it was important that
the magnetic observations taken on the expedition should be as
accurate as possible, and it will be readily understood that magnetic
observations cannot be taken in a place closely surrounded by iron.
The ardor of the magnetic experts on the Ship Committee had led
them at first to ask that there should be neither iron nor steel
in the vessel, but after it had been pointed out that this could
scarcely be, a compromise was arrived at and it was agreed that
no magnetic materials should be employed within thirty feet of
the observatory. This decision caused immense trouble and expense,
but in the end it was justified, for the magnetic observations
taken on board throughout the voyage
[Page 25]
required very little correction. And if the demands of the magnetic
experts were a little exacting, some amusement was also derived from
them. At one time those who lived within the circle were threatened
with the necessity of shaving with brass razors; and when the ship was
on her way home from New Zealand a parrot fell into dire disgrace,
not because it was too talkative, but because it had been hanging
on the mess-deck during a whole set of observations, and the wires
of its cage were made of iron.

The _Discovery_ was, in Scott's opinion, the finest vessel ever
built for exploring purposes, and he was as enthusiastic about
his officers and men as he was about the ship herself.

The senior of the ten officers who messed with Scott in the small
wardroom of the _Discovery_ was Lieutenant A. B. Armitage, R.N.R.
He brought with him not only an excellent practical seamanship
training in sailing ships, but also valuable Polar experience;
for the P. and O. Company, in which he held a position, had in
1894 granted him leave of absence to join the Jackson-Harmsworth
Expedition to Franz-Josef Land.

Reginald Koettlitz, the senior doctor, had also seen Arctic service
in the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition. As his medical duties were
expected to be light, he combined them with those of official botanist.

The task of Thomas V. Hodgson, biologist, was to collect by hook
or crook all the strange beasts
[Page 26]
that inhabit the Polar seas, and no greater enthusiast for his work
could have been chosen.

Charles W. R. Royds was the first lieutenant, and had all to do
with the work of the men and the internal economy of the ship in
the way that is customary with a first lieutenant of a man-of-war.
Throughout the voyage he acted as meteorologist, and in face of
great difficulties he secured the most valuable records.

Michael Barne, the second naval lieutenant, had served with Scott in
the Majestic. 'I had thought him,' Scott wrote after the expedition
had returned, 'as he proved to be, especially fitted for a voyage
where there were many elements of dangers and difficulty.'

The original idea in appointing two doctors to the _Discovery_ was
that one of them should be available for a detached landing-party.
This idea was practically abandoned, but the expedition had reason
to be thankful that it ever existed, for the second doctor appointed
was Edward A. Wilson. In view of the glorious friendship which arose
between them, and which in the end was destined to make history, it
is of inestimable value to be able to quote what is believed to
be Scott's first written opinion of Wilson. In a letter headed
'At sea, Sept. 27,' he said: 'I now come to the man who will do
great things some day--Wilson. He has quite the keenest intellect
on board and a marvelous capacity for work. You know his artistic
talent, but would be surprised at
[Page 27]
the speed at which he paints, and the indefatigable manner in which
he is always at it. He has fallen at once into ship-life, helps
with any job that may be in hand... in fact is an excellent fellow
all round.

Wilson, in addition to his medical duties, was also vertebrate
zoologist and artist to the expedition. In the first capacity he
dealt scientifically with the birds and seals, and in the second
he produced a very large number of excellent pictures and sketches
of the wild scenes among which he was living.

One of Scott's earliest acts on behalf of the expedition was to
apply for the services of Reginald W. Skelton as chief engineer.
At the time Skelton was senior engineer of the Majestic, and his
appointment to the _Discovery_ was most fortunate in every way. From
first to last there was no serious difficulty with the machinery
or with anything connected with it.

The geologist, Hartley T. Ferrar, only joined the expedition a
short time before the _Discovery_ sailed, and the physicist, Louis
Bernacchi, did not join until the ship reached New Zealand.

In addition there were two officers who did not serve throughout
the whole term. Owing to ill-health Ernest H. Shackleton was obliged
to return from the Antarctic in 1903, and his place was taken by
George F. A. Mulock, who was a sub-lieutenant in the Navy when
he joined.

Apart from Koettlitz, who was forty, and Hodgson,
[Page 28]
who was thirty-seven, the average age of the remaining members
of the wardroom mess was just over twenty-four years, and at that
time Scott had little doubt as to the value of youth for Polar
service. Very naturally, however, this opinion was less pronounced
as the years went by, and on August 6, 1911, he wrote during his
last expedition: 'We (Wilson and I) both conclude that it is the
younger people who have the worst time... Wilson (39) says he never
felt cold less than he does now; I suppose that between 30 and
40 is the best all-round age. Bower is a wonder of course. He is
29. When past the forties it is encouraging to remember that Peary
was 52!'

The fact that these officers lived in complete harmony for three
years was proof enough that they were well and wisely chosen, and
Scott was equally happy in his selection of warrant officers, petty
officers and men, who brought with them the sense of naval discipline
that is very necessary for such conditions as exist in Polar service.
The _Discovery_, it must be remembered, was not in Government
employment, and so had no more stringent regulations to enforce
discipline than those contained in the Merchant Shipping Act. But
everyone on board lived exactly as though the ship was under the
Naval Discipline Act; and as the men must have known that this
state of affairs was a fiction, they deserved as much credit as
the officers, if not more, for continuing rigorously to observe
it.

[Page 29]
Something remains to be said about the _Discovery's_ prospective
course, and of the instructions given to Captain Scott.

For purposes of reference Sir Clements Markham had suggested that
the Antarctic area should be divided into four quadrants, to be
named respectively the Victoria, the Ross, the Weddell, and the
Enderby, and when he also proposed that the Ross quadrant should
be the one chosen for this expedition, his proposal was received
with such unanimous approval that long before the _Discovery_ was
built her prospective course had been finally decided. In fact
every branch of science saw a greater chance of success in the
Ross quadrant than in any other region. Concerning instructions
on such a voyage as the _Discovery's_ it may be thought that, when
once the direction is settled, the fewer there are the better.
Provided, however, that they leave the greatest possible freedom
to the commander, they may be very useful in giving him a general
view of the situation, and in stating the order in which the various
objects are held. If scientific interests clash, it is clearly to
the commander's advantage to know in what light these interests
are regarded by those responsible for the enterprise. Of such a
nature were the instructions Scott received before sailing for
the South.

During the time of preparation many busy men gave most valuable
assistance to the expedition; but even with all this kindly aid it is
doubtful if the _Discovery_ would ever have started had it not been
[Page 30]
that among these helpers was one who, from the first, had given
his whole and undivided attention to the work in hand. After all
is said and done Sir Clements Markham conceived the idea of this
Antarctic Expedition, and it was his masterful personality which
swept aside all obstacles and obstructions.




[Page 31]
CHAPTER II

SOUTHWARD HO!

  They saw the cables loosened, they saw the gangways cleared,
  They heard the women weeping, they heard the men who cheered.
  Far off-far off the tumult faded and died away.
  And all alone the sea wind came singing up the Bay.
  --NEWBOLT.

On July 31, 1901, the _Discovery_ left the London Docks, and slowly
wended her way down the Thames; and at Cowes, on August 5, she
was honoured by a visit from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
This visit must be ever memorable for the interest their Majesties
showed in the minutest details of equipment; but at the same time
it was natural for the members of the expedition to be obsessed
by the fear that they might start with a flourish of trumpets and
return with failure. The grim possibilities of the voyage were
also not to be forgotten--a voyage to the Antarctic, the very map
of which had remained practically unaltered from 1843-93.

With no previous Polar experience to help him, Scott was following
on the track of great Polar explorers, notably of James Cook and
James Ross, of whom it has been well said that the one defined the
Antarctic region and the other discovered it. Can it be wondered
therefore that his great anxieties were
[Page 32]
to be off and doing, to justify the existence of the expedition at
the earliest possible moment, and to obey the instructions which
had been given him?

Before the _Discovery_ had crossed the Bay of Biscay it was evident
that she did not possess a turn of speed under any conditions,
and that there must be none but absolutely necessary delays on
the voyage, if she was to arrive in the Antarctic in time to take
full advantage of the southern summer of 1901-2 for the first
exploration in the ice. This proved a serious drawback, as it had
been confidently expected that there would be ample time to make
trial of various devices for sounding and dredging in the deep
sea, while still in a temperate climate. The fact that no trials
could be made on the outward voyage was severely felt when the
Antarctic was reached.

On October 2 the _Discovery_ arrived within 150 miles of the Cape,
and on the 5th was moored off the naval station at Simon's Bay.
The main object of staying at the Cape was to obtain comparisons
with the magnetic instruments, but Scott wrote: 'It is much to
be deplored that no permanent Magnetic Station now exists at the
Cape. The fact increased the number and difficulty of our own
observations, and it was quite impossible to spare the time for such
repetitions and verifications as, under the circumstances, could
alone have placed them beyond dispute.' Armitage and Barne, however,
worked like Trojans in taking observations, and received so much
valuable assistance 'that they were able to accomplish a maximum
[Page 33]
amount of work in the limited time at their disposal.' In every
way, indeed, the kindliest sympathy was shown at the Cape.

The magnetic work was completed on October 12, and two days later
the _Discovery_ once more put out to sea; and as time went on those
on board became more and more satisfied with her seaworthy qualities.
Towards the end of October there was a succession of heavy following
gales, but she rose like a cork to the mountainous seas that followed
in her wake, and, considering her size, she was wonderfully free
of water on the upper deck. With a heavy following sea, however,
she was, owing to her buoyancy, extremely lively, and rolls of
more than 40 were often recorded. The peculiar shape of the stern,
to which reference has been made, was now well tested. It gave
additional buoyancy to the after-end, causing the ship to rise
more quickly to the seas, but the same lifting effect was also
directed to throwing the ship off her course, and consequently
she was difficult to steer. The helmsmen gradually became more
expert, but on one occasion when Scott and some other officers were
on the bridge the ship swerved round, and was immediately swept by
a monstrous sea which made a clean breach over her. Instinctively
those on the bridge clutched the rails, and for several moments
they were completely submerged while the spray dashed as high as
the upper topsails.

On November 12 the _Discovery_ was in lat. 51 S., long. 131 E.,
and had arrived in such an extremely
[Page 34]
interesting magnetic area that they steered to the south to explore
it. This new course took them far out of the track of ships and
towards the regions of ice, and they had scarcely arrived in those
lonely waters when Scott was aroused from sleep by a loud knocking
and a voice shouting, 'Ship's afire, sir.' Without waiting to give
any details of this alarming news the informant fled, and when
Scott appeared hastily on the scenes he found that the deck was
very dark and obstructed by numerous half-clad people, all of whom
were as ignorant as he was. Making his way forward he discovered
that the fire had been under the forecastle, and had been easily
extinguished when the hose was brought to bear on it. In these
days steel ships and electric light tend to lessen the fear of
fire, but in a wooden vessel the possible consequences are too
serious not to make the danger very real and alarming. Henceforth
the risk of fire was constantly in Scott's thoughts, but this was
the first and last occasion on which an alarm was raised in the
_Discovery_.

On November 15 the 60th parallel was passed, and during the following
morning small pieces of sea-ice, worn into fantastic shape by the
action of the waves, appeared and were greeted with much excitement
and enthusiasm. As the afternoon advanced signs of a heavier pack
were seen ahead, and soon the loose floes were all about the ship,
and she was pushing her way amongst them and receiving her baptism
of ice.

[Page 35]
This was Scott's first experience of pack-ice, and he has recorded
how deeply he was impressed by the novelty of his surroundings.
'The wind had died away; what light remained was reflected in a
ghostly glimmer from the white surface of the pack; now and again
a white snow petrel flitted through the gloom, the grinding of the
floes against the ship's side was mingled with the more subdued
hush of their rise and fall on the long swell, and for the first
time we felt something of the solemnity of these great Southern
solitudes.'

The _Discovery_ was now within 200 miles of Adelie Land, and with
steam could easily have pushed on towards it. But delays had already
been excessive, and they could not be added to if New Zealand was
to be reached betimes. Reluctantly the ship's head was again turned
towards the North, and soon passed into looser ice.

One great feature of the tempestuous seas of these southern oceans
is the quantity and variety of their bird life. Not only are these
roaming, tireless birds to be seen in the distance, but in the
majority of cases they are attracted by a ship and for hours gather
close about her. The greater number are of the petrel tribe, and
vary in size from the greater albatrosses, with their huge spread
of wing and unwavering flight, to the small Wilson stormy petrel,
which flits under the foaming crests of the waves. For centuries
these birds have been the friends of sailors, and as Wilson was
able to distinguish and
[Page 36]
name the various visitors to the _Discovery_, the interest of the
voyage was very greatly increased.

'At 11 A.M. on the 22nd,' Scott wrote in his official report of
the Proceedings of the expedition, 'we sighted Macquarie Island,
exactly at the time and in the direction expected, a satisfactory
fact after so long an absence from land. As the island promised so
much of interest to our naturalists I thought a delay of the few
hours necessary for landing would be amply justified.... A landing
was effected without much difficulty, and two penguin rookeries which
had been observed from the ship were explored with much interest.
One proved to be inhabited by the beautifully marked King penguin,
while the other contained a smaller gold-crested broad-billed
species.... At 8 P.M. the party returned to the ship, and shortly
after we weighed anchor and proceeded. Including those collected
in the ice, we had no fewer than 50 birds of various sorts to be
skinned, and during the next few days several officers and men
were busily engaged in this work under the superintendence of Dr.
Wilson. The opportunity was taken of serving out the flesh of the
penguins for food. I had anticipated considerable prejudice on
the part of the men to this form of diet which it will so often
be essential to enforce, and was agreeably surprised to find that
they were by no means averse to it. Many pronounced it excellent,
and all seemed to appreciate the necessity of cultivating a taste
for it. I found no prejudice more difficult to conquer than my
own.'

[Page 37]
Perhaps the most excited member of the party over this visit to
Macquarie Island was Scott's Aberdeen terrier 'Scamp,' who was most
comically divided between a desire to run away from the penguins,
and a feeling that in such strange company it behooved him to be very
courageous. This, however, was Scamp's first and last experience
of penguins, for it was felt that he would be unable to live in
the Antarctic, and so a comfortable home was found for him in New
Zealand.

Late on November 29 the _Discovery_ arrived off Lyttelton Heads,
and on the following day she was berthed alongside a jetty in the
harbor. For both the private and the public kindness which was
shown to the expedition in New Zealand, no expressions of gratitude
can be too warm. On every possible occasion, and in every possible
way, efficient and kindly assistance was given, and this was all
the more valuable because a lot of work had to be done before the
ship could sail from Lyttelton. The rigging had to be thoroughly
overhauled and refitted; the magneticians had to undertake the
comparison of their delicate instruments, and as this was the last
occasion on which it could be done special attention was necessary;
and a large quantity of stores had to be shipped, because some of
those in the _Discovery_ had been damaged by the leaky state of
the ship. This leak had never been dangerous, but all the same
it had entailed many weary hours of pumping, and had caused much
waste of time and of provisions. Among the many skilled
[Page 38]
workmen, whose united labour had produced the solid structure of
the _Discovery_'s hull, had been one who had shirked his task, and
although the ship was docked and most determined and persistent
efforts were made to find the leak, it succeeded in avoiding detection.

As the month of December advanced the scene on the ship was a very
busy one, but at last the day for sailing from Lyttelton arrived,
though not for the final departure from civilization, because a
short visit was to be paid to Port Chalmers in the south to complete
the stock of coal. On Saturday, December 21, the ship lay alongside
the wharf ready for sea and very deeply laden. 'One could reflect
that it would have been impossible to have got more into her, and
that all we had got seemed necessary for the voyage, for the rest
we could only trust that Providence would vouch-safe to us fine
weather and an easy passage to the south.'

New Zealand, to the last, was bent on showing its enthusiasm for the
expedition. Two men-of-war steamed slowly out ahead of the _Discovery_,
while no fewer than five steamers, crowded with passengers, and
with bands playing and whistles hooting, also accompanied her,
until the open sea was reached and the _Discovery_ slowly steamed
out between the war-ships that seemed to stand as sentinels to
the bay. And then, before the cheers of thousands of friends were
hardly out of the ears of those on board, a tragedy happened. Among
the ship's company who had crowded into the rigging to wave their
farewells was one young seaman, named Charles Bonner, who,
[Page 39]
more venturesome than the rest, had climbed above the crow's-nest
to the top of the main-mast. There, seated on the truck, he had
remained cheering, until in a moment of madness he raised himself
into a standing position, and almost directly afterwards he fell
and was instantaneously killed. On the Monday the ship arrived
at Port Chalmers, and Bonner was buried with naval honours.

By noon on the following day the _Discovery_ was clear of the harbor
bar, and was soon bowling along under steam and sail towards the
south. The last view of civilization, the last sight of fields and
flowers had come and gone on Christmas Eve, 1901, and Christmas
Day found the ship in the open expanse of the Southern Ocean, though
after such a recent parting from so many kind friends no one felt
inclined for the customary festivities.

In good sea trim the _Discovery_ had little to fear from the worst
gales, but at this time she was so heavily laden that had she
encountered heavy seas the consequences must have been very unpleasant.
Inevitably much of her large deck cargo must have been lost; the
masses of wood on the superstructure would have been in great danger,
while all the sheep and possibly many of the dogs would have been
drowned. Fine weather, however, continued, and on January 3 Scott
and his companions crossed the Antarctic Circle, little thinking
how long a time would elapse before they would recross it. At length
they had entered the Antarctic regions; before them lay
[Page 40]
the scene of their work, and all the trials of preparation, and
the anxiety of delays, were forgotten in the fact that they had
reached their goal in time to make use of the best part of the
short open season in these icebound regions.

Soon the pack was on all sides of them, but as yet so loose that
there were many large pools of open water. And then for several
days the ship had really to fight her way, and Scott gave high
praise to the way she behaved: 'The "Discovery" is a perfect gem
in the pack. Her size and weight behind such a stem seem to give
quite the best combination possible for such a purpose. We have
certainly tried her thoroughly, for the pack which we have come
through couldn't have been looked at by Ross even with a gale of
wind behind him.'

Necessarily progress became slow, but life abounds in the pack, and
the birds that came to visit the ship were a source of perpetual
interest. The pleasantest and most constant of these visitors was
the small snow petrel, with its dainty snow-white plumage relieved
only by black beak and feet, and black, beady eye. These little
birds abound in the pack-ice, but the blue-grey southern fulmar
and the Antarctic petrel were also to be seen, and that unwholesome
scavenger, the giant petrel, frequently lumbered by; while the skua
gull, most pugnacious of bullies, occasionally flapped past, on
his way to make some less formidable bird disgorge his hard-earned
dinner.

The squeak of the penguin was constantly heard, at
[Page 41]
first afar and often long before the birds were seen. Curiosity
drew them to the ship, and as she forced her way onward these little
visitors would again and again leap into the water, and journey
from floe to floe in their eagerness to discover what this strange
apparition could be. Some of the sailors became very expert in
imitating their calls, and could not only attract them from a long
distance, but would visibly add to their astonishment when they
approached. These were busy days for the penguins.

In all parts of the pack seals are plentiful and spend long hours
asleep on the floes. The commonest kind is the crab-eater or white
seal, but the Ross seal is not rare, and there and there is found
the sea-leopard, ranging wide and preying on the penguins and even
on the young of its less powerful brethren. It is curious to observe
that both seals and penguins regard themselves as safe when out of
the water. In the sea they are running risks all the time, and in
that element Nature has made them swift to prey or to avoid being
preyed upon. But once on ice or land they have known no enemy,
and cannot therefore conceive one. The seal merely raises its head
when anyone approaches, and then with but little fear; whereas it
is often difficult to drive the penguin into the water, for he
is firmly convinced that the sea is the sole source of danger.
Several seals were killed for food, and from the first seal-meat
was found palatable, if not altogether the form of diet to recommend
to an epicure. The great drawback to the seal is that there is no
fat except blubber,
[Page 42]
and blubber has a very strong taste and most penetrating smell.
At this time blubber was an abomination to everyone both in taste
and smell, and if the smallest scrap happened to have been cooked
with the meat, dinner was a wasted meal. Later on, however, this
smell lost most of its terrors, while seal-steaks and seal-liver
and kidneys were treated almost as luxuries.

On the morning of January 8 a strong water sky could be seen, and
soon afterwards the officer of the watch hailed from aloft the glad
tidings of an open sea to the south. Presently the ship entered
a belt where the ice lay in comparatively small pieces, and after
pushing her way through this for over a mile, she reached the hard
line where the ice abruptly ended, and to the south nothing but
a clear sky could be seen. At 10.30 P.M. on the same evening the
joy of being again in the open sea was intensified by a shout of
'Land in sight,' and all who were not on deck quickly gathered
there to take their first look at the Antarctic Continent. The
sun, near the southern horizon, still shone in a cloudless sky, and
far away to the south-west the blue outline of the high mountain
peaks of Victoria Land could be seen. The course was now directed for
Robertson Bay, and after some difficulty, owing to the reappearance
of loose streams of pack-ice, the ship was eventually steered into
the open water within the bay.

Robertson Bay is formed by the long peninsula of Cape Adare, within
which, standing but slightly above the level of the sea, is a curious
triangular
[Page 43]
spit, probably the morainic remains of the vaster ice conditions
of former ages. It was on this spit that the expedition sent forth
by Sir George Newnes and commanded by Borchgrevink spent their
winter in 1896, the first party to winter on the shores of the
Antarctic Continent. Here Scott decided to land for a short time,
and very soon Armitage, Bernacchi and Barne were at work among
the thousands of penguins that abounded, while the naturalists
wandered further afield in search of specimens. In the center of
Cape Adare beach the hut used by the members of Borchgrevink's
party was still found to be standing in very good condition, though
at the best of times deserted dwellings are far from cheerful to
contemplate. Bernacchi had been a member of this small party of
eight, and on the spot he recalled the past, and told of the unhappy
death of Hanson--one of his comrades.

Later on Bernacchi and some others landed again to visit Hanson's
grave, and to see that all was well with it. They took a tin cylinder
containing the latest report of the voyage with them, and were told
to place it in some conspicuous part of the hut. In the following
year this cylinder was found by the _Morning_,[1] and so the first
information was given that the _Discovery_ had succeeded in reaching
these southern regions.

[Footnote 1: The relief ship.]

On January 10, when the weather was still calm and bright, the ship
again stood out to sea, and was steered close around Cape Adare
in the hope of finding
[Page 44]
a clear channel near at hand. Very soon, however, the tidal stream
began to make from the south, and the whole aspect of the streams
of heavy pack-ice rapidly changed. Almost immediately the pack was
about the ship, and she was being rapidly borne along with it.
Across the entrance to the bay was a chain of grounded icebergs,
and it was in this direction that she was being carried. For the
first time they faced the dangers of the pack, and realized its
mighty powers. Little or nothing could be done, for the floes around
them were heavier than anything they had yet encountered. Twist and
turn as they would no appreciable advance could be made, and in
front of one colossal floe the ship was brought to a standstill for
nearly half an hour. But they still battled on; Armitage remained
aloft, working the ship with admirable patience; the engine-room, as
usual, answered nobly to the call for more steam, and the _Discovery_
exerted all her powers in the struggle; but, in spite of these
efforts, progress was so slow that it looked almost certain that
she would be carried down among the bergs. 'It was one of those
hours,' Scott says, 'which impress themselves for ever on the memory.
Above us the sun shone in a cloudless sky, its rays were reflected
from a myriad points of tire glistening pack; behind us lay the
lofty snow-clad mountains, the brown sun-kissed cliffs of the Cape,
and the placid glassy waters of the bay; the air about us was almost
breathlessly still; crisp, clear and sun-lit, it seemed an atmosphere
in which all Nature should rejoice;
[Page 45]
the silence was broken only by the deep panting of our engines
and the slow, measured hush of the grinding floes; yet, beneath
all, ran this mighty, relentless tide, bearing us on to possible
destruction. It seemed desperately unreal that danger could exist
in the midst of so fair a scene, and as one paced to and fro on
the few feet of throbbing plank that constituted our bridge, it was
difficult to persuade oneself that we were so completely impotent.'

With the exception of Scott himself only those who were actually
on watch were on deck during this precarious time, for the hour was
early, and the majority were asleep in their bunks below, happily
oblivious of the possible dangers before them. And the fact that
they were not aroused is a proof that a fuss was rarely made in
the _Discovery_, if it could by any conceivable means be avoided.

At last, however, release came from this grave danger, and it came
so gradually that it was difficult to say when it happened. Little
by little the tidal stream slackened, the close-locked floes fell
slightly apart, and under her full head of steam the ship began
to forge ahead towards the open sea and safety. 'For me,' Scott
adds, 'the lesson had been a sharp and, I have no doubt, a salutary
one; we were here to fight the elements with their icy weapons,
and once and for all this taught me not to undervalue the enemy.'
During the forenoon the ship was within seven or eight miles of
the high bold coast-line to the south of Cape Adare, but later
she had to be turned outwards
[Page 46]
so that the heavy stream of pack-ice drifting along the land could
be avoided. By the morning of the 11th she was well clear of the
land, but the various peaks and headlands which Sir James Ross
had named could be distinctly seen, and gave everyone plenty to
talk and think about. Progress, however, was slow, owing to a brisk
S. E. wind and the fact that only one boiler was being used.

Of all economies practiced on board the most important was that
of coal, but Scott was not at all sure that this decision to use
only one boiler was really economical. Certainly coal was saved but
time was also wasted, and against an adverse wind the _Discovery_
could only make fifty-five miles on the 11th, and on the 12th she
scarcely made any headway at all, for the wind had increased and
a heavy swell was coming up from the south.

To gain shelter Scott decided to turn in towards the high cliffs
of Coulman Island, the land of which looked illusively near as
they approached it. So strong was this deception that the engines
were eased when the ship was still nearly two miles away from the
cliffs. Later on, in their winter quarters and during their sledge
journeys, they got to know how easy it was to be deluded as regards
distance, and what very false appearances distant objects could
assume. This matter is of interest, because it shows that Polar
explorers must be exceedingly cautious in believing the evidence of
their own eyes, and it also explains the errors which the _Discovery_
expedition found to
[Page 47]
have been made by former explorers, and which they knew must have
been made in all good faith.

During the night of the 13th the ship lay under the shelter of
Coulman Island, but by the morning the wind had increased to such
a furious gale, and the squalls swept down over the cliffs with
such terrific violence, that in spite of every effort to keep her
in her station she began to lose ground. In the afternoon the wind
force was ninety miles an hour, and as they continued to lose ground
they got into a more choppy sea, which sent the spray over them
in showers, to freeze as it fell.

Again the situation was far from pleasant; to avoid one berg they
were forced to go about, and in doing so they ran foul of another. As
they came down on it the bowsprit just swept clear of its pinnacled
sides, and they took the shock broad on their bows. It sent the
ship reeling round, but luckily on the right tack to avoid further
complications. The following night was dismal enough; again and
again small bergs appeared through the blinding spray and drift, and
only with great difficulty could the unmanageable ship be brought
to clear them. Even gales, however, must have an end, and towards
morning the wind moderated, and once more they were able to steam
up close to the island. And there, between two tongues of ice off
Cape Wadworth, they landed on the steep rocks and erected a staff
bearing a tin cylinder with a further record of the voyage. By
the time this had been done the wind had fallen completely, and in
[Page 48]
the evening the ship entered a long inlet between Cape Jones and
the barrier-ice, and later turned out, of this into a smaller inlet
in the barrier-ice itself. She was now in a very well-sheltered
spot, and night, as often happened in the Antarctic regions, was
turned into day so that several seals could be killed. 'It, seemed
a terrible desecration,' Scott says, 'to come to this quiet spot
only to murder its innocent inhabitants, and stain the white snow
with blood.' But there was the best of all excuses, namely necessity,
for this massacre, because there was no guarantee that seals would
be found near the spot in which the ship wintered, and undoubtedly
the wisest plan was to make sure of necessary food.

While the seal carcasses and some ice for the boilers were being
obtained, Scott turned in to get some rest before putting out to
sea again, and on returning to the deck at 7.30 he was told that
the work was completed, but that some five hours before Wilson,
Ferrar, Cross and Weller had got adrift of a floe, and that no one
had thought of picking them up. Although the sun had been shining
brightly all night, the temperature had been down to 18 deg., and afar
off Scott could see four disconsolate figures tramping about, and
trying to keep themselves warm on a detached floe not more than
fifteen yards across.

When at length the wanderers scrambled over the side it was very
evident that they had a grievance, and not until they had been warmed
by hot cocoa could they talk with ease of their experiences. They
[Page 49]
had been obliged to keep constantly on the move, and when they
thought of smoking to relieve the monotony they found that they
had pipes and tobacco, but no matches. While, however, they were
dismally bemoaning this unfortunate state of affairs Wilson, who
did not smoke, came to the rescue and succeeded in producing fire
with a small pocket magnifying glass--a performance which testified
not only to Wilson's resource, but also to the power of the sun
in these latitudes.

On the 17th the ship had to stand out farther and farther from
the land to clear the pack, and when on the 18th she arrived in
the entrance to Wood Bay it was also found to be heavily packed. A
way to the N. and N.W. the sharp peaks of Monteagle and Murchison,
among bewildering clusters of lesser summits, could be seen; across
the bay rose the magnificent bare cliff of Cape Sibbald, while
to the S.W. the eye lingered pleasantly upon the uniform outline
of Mount Melbourne. This fine mountain rears an almost perfect
volcanic cone to a height of 9,000 feet, and with no competing
height to take from its grandeur, it constitutes the most magnificent
landmark on the coast. Cape Washington, a bold, sharp headland,
projects from the foot of the mountain on its eastern side, and
finding such heavy pack in Wood Bay, Scott decided to turn to the
south to pass around this cape.

From this point the voyage promised to be increasingly interesting,
since the coast to the south of Cape Washington was practically
unknown. Pack-ice was
[Page 50]
still a formidable obstacle, but on the 20th the _Discovery_ pushed
her way into an inlet where she met ice which had been formed inside
and but recently broken up. The ice was perfectly smooth, and as
it showed absolutely no sign of pressure there was no doubting
that this inlet would make a secure wintering harbor. Already a
latitude had been reached in which it was most desirable to find
safe winter quarters for the ship. In England many people had thought
that Wood Bay would be the most southerly spot where security was
likely to be found, but Scott had seen enough of the coast-line to
the south of that place to realize the impossibility of traveling
along it in sledges, and to convince him that if any advance to
the south was to be made, a harbor in some higher latitude must
be found.

This inlet was afterwards named Granite Harbor, and so snug and
secure a spot was it to winter in that Scott expressed his thankfulness
that he did not yield to its allurements. 'Surrounded as we should
have been by steep and lofty hills, we could have obtained only the
most local records of climatic conditions, and our meteorological
observations would have been comparatively valueless; but the greatest
drawback would have been that we should be completely cut off from
traveling over the sea-ice beyond the mouth of our harbor.... It
is when one remembers how naturally a decision to return to this
place might have been made, that one sees how easily the results
of the expedition might have been missed.'

[Page 51]
It was, however, consoling at the time to know that, in default
of a better place, a safe spot had been found for wintering, so
with Granite Harbor in reserve the ship again took up her battle
with the ice; and on the 21st she was in the middle of McMurdo
Sound, and creeping very slowly through the pack-ice, which appeared
from the crow's-nest to extend indefinitely ahead. They were now
within a few miles of the spot where they ultimately took up their
winter quarters, but nearly three weeks were to pass before they
returned there. 'At 8 P.M. on the 21st,' Scott says, 'we thought
we knew as much of this region as our heavy expenditure of coal
in the pack-ice would justify us in finding out, and as before
us lay the great unsolved problem of the barrier and of what lay
beyond it, we turned our course with the cry of Eastward ho!'




[Page 52]
CHAPTER III

IN SEARCH OF WINTER QUARTERS

  Beholde I see the haven near at hand
  To which I mean my wearie course to bend;
  Vere the main sheet and bear up to the land
  To which afore is fairly to be ken'd.
  --SPENSER, Faerie Queene.

In their journey from Cape Washington to the south something had
already been done to justify the dispatch of the expedition. A
coast-line which hitherto had been seen only at a great distance,
and reported so indefinitely that doubts were left with regard to
its continuity, had been resolved into a concrete chain of mountains;
and the positions and forms of individual heights, with the curious
ice formations and the general line of the coast, had been observed.
In short the map of the Antarctic had already received valuable
additions, and whatever was to happen in the future that, at any
rate, was all to the good.

At 8 P.M. on the 22nd the ship arrived off the bare land to the
westward of Cape Crozier, where it was proposed to erect a post
and leave a cylinder containing an account of their doings, so
that the chain of records might be completed. After a landing had
[Page 53]
been made with some difficulty, a spot was chosen in the center
of the penguin rookery on a small cliff overlooking the sea, and
here the post was set up and anchored with numerous boulders. In
spite of every effort to mark the place, at a few hundred yards it
was almost impossible to distinguish it; but although this small
post on the side of a vast mountain looked a hopeless clue, it
eventually brought the _Morning_ into McMurdo Sound.

While Bernacchi and Barne set up their magnetic instruments and
began the chilly task of taking observations, the others set off
in twos and threes to climb the hillside. Scott, Royds and Wilson
scrambled on until at last they reached the summit of the highest
of the adjacent volcanic cones, and were rewarded by a first view
of the Great Ice Barrier.[1]

[Footnote 1: The immense sheet of ice, over 400 miles wide and of
still greater length.]

'Perhaps,' Scott says, 'of all the problems which lay before us in
the south we were most keenly interested in solving the mysteries
of this great ice-mass.... For sixty years it had been discussed
and rediscussed, and many a theory had been built on the slender
foundation of fact which alone the meager information concerning it
could afford. Now for the first time this extraordinary ice-formation
was seen from above.... It was an impressive sight and the very
vastness of what lay at our feet seemed to add to our sense of
its mystery.'

Early on the 23rd they started to steam along the
[Page 54]
ice-face of the barrier; and in order that nothing should be missed
it was arranged that the ship should continue to skirt close to the
ice-cliff, that the officers of the watch should repeatedly observe
and record its height, and that three times in the twenty-four
hours the ship should be stopped and a sounding taken. In this
manner a comparatively accurate survey of the northern limit of
the barrier was made.

On steaming along the barrier it was found that although they were
far more eager to gain new information than to prove that old
information was incorrect, a very strong case soon began to arise
against the Parry Mountains, which Ross had described as 'probably
higher than we have yet seen'; and later on it was known with absolute
certainty that these mountains did not exist. This error on the part
of such a trustworthy and cautious observer, Scott ascribes to
the fact that Ross, having exaggerated the height of the barrier,
was led to suppose that anything seen over it at a distance must
be of great altitude. 'But,' he adds, 'whatever the cause, the
facts show again how deceptive appearances may be and how easily
errors may arise. In fact, as I have said before, one cannot always
afford to trust the evidence of one's own eyes.' Though the ship
was steaming along this ice-wall for several days, the passage was
not in the least monotonous, because new variations were continually
showing themselves, and all of them had to be carefully observed and
recorded. This work continued for several days until, on January
29, they arrived at a particularly interesting place, to
[Page 55]
the southward and eastward of the extreme position reached by Ross
in 1842. From that position he had reported a strong appearance
of land to the southeast, and consequently all eyes were directed
over the icy cliffs in that direction. But although the afternoon
was bright and clear, nothing from below or from aloft could be
seen, and the only conclusion to be made was that the report was
based on yet another optical illusion.

But in spite of the disappointment at being unable to report that
Ross's 'appearance of land' rested on solid foundations, there was
on the afternoon of the 29th an indescribable sense of impending
change. 'We all felt that the plot was thickening, and we could not
fail to be inspirited by the fact that we had not so far encountered
the heavy pack-ice which Ross reported in this region, and that
consequently we were now sailing in an open sea into an unknown
world.'

The course lay well to the northward of east, and the change came at
8 P.M. when suddenly the ice-cliff turned to the east, and becoming
more and more irregular continued in that direction for about five
miles, when again it turned sharply to the north. Into the deep bay
thus formed they ran, and as the ice was approached they saw at
once that it was unlike anything yet seen. The ice-foot descended
to various heights of ten or twenty feet above the water, and behind
it the snow surface rose in long undulating slopes to rounded ridges,
the heights of which could only be guessed. Whatever doubt remained
in their minds that this was snow-covered land, a sounding of 100
fathoms quickly removed it.

[Page 56]
But what a land! On the swelling mounds of snow above them there
was not one break, not a feature to give definition to the hazy
outline. No scene could have been more perfectly devised to produce
optical illusions. And then, while there was so much to observe,
a thick fog descended, and blotted out all hope of seeing what
lay beyond the ice-foot. During the afternoon of January 30 the
fog was less dense, but still no sign of bare land could be seen,
and it was not until the bell had sounded for the evening meal that
two or three little black patches, which at first were mistaken
for detached cloud, appeared. 'We gazed idly enough at them till
someone remarked that he did not believe they were clouds; then all
glasses were leveled; assertions and contradictions were numerous,
until the small black patches gradually assumed more and more definite
shape, and all agreed that at last we were looking at real live
rock, the actual substance of our newly discovered land.... It is
curious to reflect now on the steps which led us to the discovery
of King Edward's Land, and the chain of evidence which came to us
before the actual land itself was seen: at first there had been
the shallow soundings, and the sight of gently rising snow-slopes,
of which, in the nature of things, one is obliged to retain a doubt;
then the steeper broken slopes of snow, giving a contrast to convey
a surer evidence to the eye; and, finally the indubitable land
itself, but even then surrounded with such mystery as to leave us
far from complete satisfaction with our discovery.'

[Page 57]
The temptation to push farther and farther to the east was almost
irresistible, but with the young ice forming rapidly around them,
Scott, on February 1, decided to return, and on their way back
along the barrier they experienced much lower temperatures than
on the outward journey. During the return journey they landed on
the barrier, and on February 4 preparations for a balloon ascent
were made. 'The honour,' Scott says, 'of being the first aeronaut to
make an ascent in the Antarctic Regions, perhaps somewhat selfishly,
I chose for myself, and I may further confess that in so doing
I was contemplating the first ascent I had made in any region,
and as I swayed about in what appeared a very inadequate basket
and gazed down on the rapidly diminishing figures below, I felt
some doubt as to whether I had been wise in my choice.'

If, however, this ascent was not altogether enjoyed by the aeronaut,
it, at any rate, gave him considerable information about the barrier
surface towards the south; and, to his surprise, he discovered
that instead of the continuous level plain that he had expected,
it continued in a series of long undulations running approximately
east and west, or parallel to the barrier surface. Later on, however,
when the sledge-party taken out by Armitage returned, they reported
that these undulations were not gradual as had been supposed from
the balloon, but that the crest of each wave was flattened into a
long plateau, from which the descent into the succeeding valley
was comparatively sharp. On the evening of the 4th they put out
[Page 58]
to sea again, and on the 8th they were once more in McMurdo Sound,
with high hopes that they would soon find a sheltered nook in which
the _Discovery_ could winter safely, and from which the sledge-parties
could set forth upon the task of exploring the vast new world around
them.

Without any delay they set out to examine their immediate surroundings,
and found a little bay which promised so well for the winter that
Scott's determination to remain in this region was at once strengthened.
The situation, however, was surrounded with difficulties, for although
the ice had broken far afield it refused to move out of the small
bay on which they had looked with such eager eyes; consequently
they were forced to cling to the outskirts of the bay with their
ice-anchors, in depths that were too great to allow the large anchors
to be dropped to the bottom. The weather also was troublesome,
for after the ship had lain quietly during several hours a sudden
squall would fling her back on her securing ropes, and, uprooting
the ice-anchors, would ultimately send her adrift.

In spite, however, of the difficulty of keeping the ship in position,
steady progress was made with the work on shore, and this consisted
mainly in erecting the various huts which had been brought in pieces.
The original intention had been that the _Discovery_ should not
winter in the Antarctic, but should land a small party and turn
northward before the season closed, and for this party a large hut
had been carried south. But even when it had been decided to keep the
[Page 59]
ship as a home, it was obvious that a shelter on shore must be
made before exploring parties could be safely sent away; since
until the ship was frozen in a heavy gale might have driven her off
her station for several days, if not altogether. In seeking winter
quarters so early in February, Scott had been firmly convinced that
the season was closing in. 'With no experience to guide us, our
opinion could only be based on the very severe and unseasonable
conditions which we had met with to the east. But now to our
astonishment we could see no sign of a speedy freezing of the bay;
the summer seemed to have taken a new lease, and for several weeks
the fast sea-ice continued to break silently and to pass quietly
away to the north in large floes.'

In addition to the erection of the main hut, two small huts which
had been brought for the magnetic instruments had to be put together.
The parts of these were, of course, numbered, but the wood was
so badly warped that Dailey, the carpenter, had to use a lot of
persuasion before the joints would fit.

On February 14 Scott wrote in his diary: 'We have landed all the
dogs, and their kennels are ranged over the hillside below the
huts.... It is surprising what a number of things have to be done,
and what an unconscionable time it takes to do them. The hut-building
is slow work, and much of our time has been taken in securing the
ship.... Names have been given to the various landmarks in our
vicinity. The end of our peninsula is to be called "Cape Armitage,"
after our excellent navigator. The sharp hill above it
[Page 60]
is to be "Observation Hill."... Next comes the "Gap," through which
we can cross the peninsula at a comparatively low level. North
of the "Gap" are "Crater Heights," and the higher volcanic peak
beyond is to be "Crater Hill"; it is 1,050 feet in height. Our
protecting promontory is to be "Hut Point," with "Arrival Bay" on
the north and "Winter Quarter Bay" on the south; above "Arrival
Bay" are the "Arrival Heights," which continue with breaks for
about three miles to a long snow-slope, beyond which rises the most
conspicuous landmark on our peninsula, a high, precipitous-sided
rock with a flat top, which has been dubbed "Castle Rock"; it is
1,350 feet in height.

'In spite of the persistent wind, away up the bay it is possible
to get some shelter, and here we take our ski exercise.... Skelton
is by far the best of the officers, though possibly some of the
men run him close.'

On the 19th the first small reconnoitering sledge party went out,
and on their return three days later they were so excited by their
experiences that some time passed before they could answer the
questions put to them. Although the temperature had not been severe
they had nearly got into serious trouble by continuing their march
in a snowstorm, and when they did stop to camp they were so exhausted
that frost-bites were innumerable. The tent had been difficult to
get up, and all sorts of trouble with the novel cooking apparatus
had followed. 'It is strange now,' Scott wrote three years later,
'to look back on
[Page 61]
these first essays at sledding, and to see how terribly hampered
we were by want of experience.'

By February 26 the main hut was practically finished, and as a
quantity of provisions and oil, with fifteen tons of coal, had been
landed, the ship could be left without anxiety, and arrangements for
the trip, which Scott hoped to lead himself, were pushed forward.
The object of this journey was to try and reach the record at Cape
Crozier over the barrier, and to leave a fresh communication there
with details of the winter quarters. On the following day, however,
Scott damaged his right knee while skiing, and had to give up all
idea of going to Cape Crozier. 'I already foresaw how much there
was to be learnt if we were to do good sledding work in the spring,
and to miss such an opportunity of gaining experience was terribly
trying; however, there was nothing to be done but to nurse my wounded
limb and to determine that never again would I be so rash as to
run hard snow-slopes on ski.'

By March 4 the preparation of the sledge party was completed. The
party consisted of four officers, Royds, Koettlitz, Skelton and
Barne, and eight men, and was divided into two teams, each pulling
a single sledge and each assisted by four dogs. But again the want
of experience was badly felt, and in every respect the lack of system
was apparent. Though each requirement might have been remembered, all
were packed in a confused mass, and, to use a sailor's expression,
'everything was on top and nothing handy.'
[Page 62]
Once more Scott comments upon this lack of experience: 'On looking
back I am only astonished that we bought that experience so cheaply,
for clearly there were the elements of catastrophe as well as of
discomfort in the disorganized condition in which our first sledge
parties left the ship.'

The days following the departure of the sledge party were exceptionally
fine, but on Tuesday, March 11, those on board the ship woke to
find the wind blowing from the east; and in the afternoon the wind
increased, and the air was filled with thick driving snow. This
Tuesday was destined to be one of the blackest days spent by the
expedition in the Antarctic, but no suspicion that anything untoward
had happened to the sledge party arose until, at 8.30 P.M., there
was a report that four men were walking towards the ship. Then the
sense of trouble was immediate, and the first disjointed sentences
of the newcomers were enough to prove that disasters had occurred.
The men, as they emerged from their thick clothing, were seen to
be Wild, Weller, Heald and Plumley, but until Scott had called
Wild, who was the most composed of the party, aside, he could not
get any idea of what had actually happened, and even Wild was too
exhausted, and excited to give anything but a meager account.

Scott, however, did manage to discover that a party of nine, In
charge of Barne, had been sent back, and early in the day had reached
the crest of the hills somewhere by Castle Rock. In addition, Wild
told him, to the four who had returned, the party had
[Page 63]
consisted of Barne, Quartley, Evans, Hare and Vince. They had thought
that they were quite close to the ship, and when the blizzard began
they had left their tents and walked towards her supposed position.
Then they found themselves on a steep slope and tried to keep close
together, but it was impossible to see anything. Suddenly Hare
had disappeared, and a few minutes after Evans went. Barne and
Quartley had left them to try to find out what had become of Evans,
and neither of them had come back, though they waited. Afterwards
they had gone on, and had suddenly found themselves at the edge
of a precipice with the sea below; Vince had shot past over the
edge. Wild feared all the others must be lost; he was sure Vince had
gone. Could he guide a search party to the scene of the accident?
He thought he could--at any rate he would like to try.

The information was little enough but it was something on which
to act, and though the first disastrous news had not been brought
until 8.30 P.M. the relieving party had left the ship before 9
P.M. Owing to his knee Scott could not accompany the party, and
Armitage took charge of it.

Subsequently the actual story of the original sledge party was
known, and the steps that led to the disaster could be traced.
On their outward journey they had soon come to very soft snow,
and after three days of excessive labour Royds had decided that
the only chance of making progress was to use snow-shoes; but
unfortunately there were only three pairs of ski
[Page 64]
with the party, and Royds resolved to push on to Cape Crozier with
Koettlitz and Skelton, and to send the remainder back in charge
of Barne.

The separation took place on the 9th, and on the 11th the returning
party, having found an easier route than on their way out, were
abreast of Castle Rock. Scarcely, however, had they gained the
top of the ridge about half a mile south-west of Castle Rock, when
a blizzard came on and the tents were hastily pitched.

'We afterwards weathered many a gale,' Scott says, 'in our staunch
little tents, whilst their canvas sides flapped thunderously hour
after hour.... But to this party the experience was new; they expected
each gust that swept down on them would bear the tents bodily away,
and meanwhile the chill air crept through their leather boots and
ill-considered clothing, and continually some frost-bitten limb
had to be nursed back to life.'

At ordinary times hot tea or cocoa would have revived their spirits,
but now the cooking apparatus was out of order, and taking everything
into consideration it was small wonder that they resolved to make
for the ship, which they believed to be only a mile or so distant.

'Before leaving,' Barne wrote in his report, 'I impressed on the
men, as strongly as I could, the importance of keeping together, as
it was impossible to distinguish any object at a greater distance
than ten yards on account of the drifting snow.' But after they
had struggled a very short distance, Hare, who
[Page 65]
had been at the rear of the party, was reported to be missing,
and soon afterwards Evans 'stepped back on a patch of bare smooth
ice, fell, and shot out of sight immediately.'

Then Barne, having cautioned his men to remain where they were,
sat down and deliberately started to slide in Evans's track. In
a moment the slope grew steeper, and he was going at such a pace
that all power to check himself had gone. In the mad rush he had
time to wonder vaguely what would come next, and then his flight was
arrested, and he stood up to find Evans within a few feet of him.
They had scarcely exchanged greetings when the figure of Quartley
came hurtling down upon them from the gloom, for he had started on
the same track, and had been swept down in the same breathless
and alarming manner. To return by the way they had come down was
impossible, and so they decided to descend, but within four paces
of the spot at which they had been brought to rest, they found
that the slope ended suddenly in a steep precipice, beyond which
nothing but clouds of snow could be seen. For some time after this
they sat huddled together, forlornly hoping that the blinding drift
would cease, but at last they felt that whatever happened they
must keep on the move, and groping their way to the right they
realized that the sea was at their feet, and that they had been
saved from it by a patch of snow almost on the cornice of the cliff.
Presently a short break in the storm enabled them to see Castle
Rock above their heads, and slowly making their way
[Page 66]
up the incline, they sought the shelter of a huge boulder; and there,
crouched together, they remained for several hours.

Meanwhile the party had remained in obedience to orders at the
head of the slope, and had shouted again and again in the lulls
of the whirling storm. But after waiting for a long time they felt
that something was amiss, and that it was hopeless to remain where
they were. 'As usual on such occasions,' Scott says, 'the leading
spirit came to the fore, and the five who now remained submitted
themselves to the guidance of Wild, and followed him in single file
as he again struck out in the direction in which they supposed the
ship to lie.' In this manner they descended for about 500 yards,
until Wild suddenly saw the precipice beneath his feet, and far
below, through the wreathing snow, the sea. He sprang back with
a cry of warning, but in an instant Vince had flashed past and
disappeared.

Then, horror-stricken and dazed, they vaguely realized that at all
costs they must ascend the slope down which they had just come. All
of them spoke afterwards of that ascent with horror, and wondered
how it had ever been made. They could only hold themselves by the
soles of their boots, and to slip to their knees meant inevitably
to slide backwards towards the certain fate below. Literally their
lives depended on each foothold. Wild alone had a few light nails
in his boots, and to his great credit he used this advantage to
give a helping hand in turn to each
[Page 67]
of his companions. When, after desperate exertions, they did reach
the top of the slope their troubles were not finished, for they
were still ignorant of the position of the ship. Wild, however,
again took the lead, and it was largely due to him that the party
eventually saw the ship looming through the whirl of snow. 'It
is little wonder that after such an experience they should have
been, as I have mentioned, both excited and tired.'

The hours following the departure of Armitage and his search party
on this fatal night were unforgettable. Scott, hatefully conscious
of his inability to help on account of his injured leg, admits
that he could not think of any further means to render assistance,
but he says, 'as was always my experience in the _Discovery_, my
companions were never wanting in resource.' Soon the shrill screams
of the siren were echoing among the hills, and in ten minutes after
the suggestion had been made, a whaler was swinging alongside ready
to search the cliffs on the chance of finding Vince.

But for Scott and those who had to wait inactively on board there
was nothing to do but stand and peer through the driving snow, and
fully three hours passed before there was a hail from without,
and Ferrar appeared leading three of the lost--Barne, Evans and
Quartley. An hour later the main search party returned, having
done all that men could do in such weather. A more complete search
was impossible, but it had to be admitted that the chance of seeing
[Page 68]
Hare or Vince again was very small. Sadly it had to be realized
that two men were almost certainly lost, but there was also no
disguising the fact that a far greater tragedy might have happened.
Indeed, it seemed miraculous that any of the party were alive to
tell the tale, and had not Barne, Evans and Quartley heard the
faint shrieks of the siren, and in response to its welcome sound
made one more effort to save themselves, the sledge party would
in all probability not have found them. All three of them were
badly frost-bitten, and one of Barne's hands was in such a serious
condition that for many days it was thought that his fingers would
have to be amputated.

The end of this story, however, is not yet told, for on March 13
Scott wrote in his diary: 'A very extraordinary thing has happened.
At 10 A.M. a figure was seen descending the hillside. At first we
thought it must be some one who had been for an early walk; but
it was very soon seen that the figure was walking weakly, and,
immediately after, the men who were working in the hut were seen
streaming out towards it. In a minute or two we recognized the figure
as that of young Hare, and in less than five he was on board.... We
soon discovered that though exhausted, weak, and hungry, he was in
full possession of his faculties and quite free from frost-bites.
He went placidly off to sleep whilst objecting to the inadequacy
of a milk diet.'

Later on Hare, who like Vince had been wearing fur boots, explained
that he had left his companions
[Page 69]
to return to the sledges and get some leather boots, and had imagined
that the others understood what he intended to do. Soon after he had
started back he was wandering backwards and forwards, and knew that
he was walking aimlessly to and fro. The last thing he remembered
was making for a patch of rock where he hoped to find shelter, and
there he must have lain in the snow for thirty-six hours, though
he required a lot of persuasion before he could be convinced of
this. When he awoke he found himself covered with snow, but on
raising himself he recognized Crater Hill and other landmarks,
and realized exactly where the ship lay. Then he started towards
her, but until his intense stiffness wore off he was obliged to
travel upon his hands and knees.

But though Hare was safe, Vince was undoubtedly gone. 'Finally
and sadly we had to resign ourselves to the loss of our shipmate,
and the thought was grievous to all.... Life was a bright thing
to him, and it is something to think that death must have come
quickly in the grip of that icy sea.'

This fatal mishap naturally caused increased anxiety about the
three men who had gone on, and anxiety was not diminished when,
on the 19th, Skelton was seen coming down, the hill alone. The
others, however, were close behind him, and all three of them were
soon safely on board.

On the 15th Royds had been compelled to abandon the attempt to
reach the record at Cape Crozier, but he did not turn back until
it was evident that a better
[Page 70]
equipped party with more favorable weather would easily get to
it. On comparing notes with his party, Scott recognized what a
difference there might be in the weather conditions of places within
easy reach of the ship, and not only in temperature but also in
the force and direction of the wind. It had not occurred to anyone
that within such a short distance of the ship any large difference
of temperature was probable, and as the summer was barely over,
Royds, Koettlitz and Skelton had only taken a light wolf-skin fur
suit for night-wear. This, however, had proved totally inadequate
when the thermometer fell to -42 deg., and on the night of the 16th
uncontrollable paroxysms of shivering had prevented them from getting
any sleep. The value of proper clothing and the wisdom of being
prepared for the unexpected rigors of such a fickle climate, were
two of the lessons learnt from the experiences of the Cape Crozier
party.

As the days of March went by Scott began really to wonder whether
the sea ever intended to freeze over satisfactorily, and at such an
advanced date there were many drawbacks in this unexpected state of
affairs. Until the ship was frozen in, the security of their position
was very doubtful; economy of coal had long since necessitated the
extinction of fires in the boilers, and if a heavy gale drove the
ship from her shelter, steam could only be raised with difficulty
and after the lapse of many hours. There was, too, the possibility
that the ship, if once driven off, would not be able to return,
and so it was obviously unsafe
[Page 71]
to send a large party away from her, because if she went adrift
most of them would be needed.

Another annoying circumstance was that until they had a solid sheet
of ice around them they could neither set up the meteorological
screen, nor, in short, carry out any of the routine scientific
work which was such an important object of the expedition.

At this time Scott was eager to make one more sledding effort before
the winter set in. The ostensible reason was to layout a depot
of provisions to the south in preparation for the spring, but 'a
more serious purpose was to give himself and those who had not been
away already a practical insight into the difficulties of sledge
traveling. But as this party would have to include the majority of
those on board, he was forced to wait until the ship was firmly
fixed, and it may be said that the _Discovery_ was as reluctant to
freeze-in as she was difficult to get out when once the process
had been completed.

On March 28, however, Scott was able to write in his diary: 'The
sea is at last frozen over, and if this weather lasts the ice should
become firm enough to withstand future gales. We have completed
the packing of our sledges, though I cannot say I am pleased with
their appearance; the packing is not neat enough, and we haven't
got anything like a system.'

Three days later a party of twelve, divided into two teams, each
with a string of sledges and nine dogs, made a start. Their loads
were arranged on the theory
[Page 72]
of 200 lbs. to each man, and 100 lbs. to each dog, but they very
quickly discovered that the dogs were not going to have anything
to do with such a theory as this. The best of them would only pull
about 50 lbs., and some of the others had practically to be pulled.

Later on Scott learned that it was a bad plan to combine men and
dogs on a sledge, because the dogs have their own pace and manner
of pulling, and neither of these is adapted to the unequal movement
caused by the swing of marching men. And on this occasion another
reason for the inefficiency of the dogs was that they were losing
their coats, and had but little protection against the bitterly
cold wind. 'As a matter of fact, our poor dogs suffered a great
deal from their poorly clothed condition during the next week or
two, and we could do little to help them; but Nature seemed to
realize the mistake, and came quickly to the rescue: the new coats
grew surprisingly fast, and before the winter had really settled
down on us all the animals were again enveloped in their normally
thick woolly covering.

The refusal of the dogs to work on this trip meant that the men
had to do far more than their share, and from the first they had
no chance of carrying out their intentions. Each hour, however,
was an invaluable experience, and when a return was made to the
ship Scott was left with much food for thought. 'In one way or
another each journey had been a failure; we had little or nothing
to show for our labours. The errors were patent; food, clothing,
everything was
[Page 73]
wrong, the whole system was bad. It was clear that there would
have to be a thorough reorganization before the spring, and it
was well to think that before us lay a long winter in which this
might be effected.'

But in a sense even these failures were successful, for everyone
resolved to profit by the mistakes that had been made and the experience
that had been gained, and the successful sledge journeys subsequently
made in the spring were largely due to the failures of the autumn.




[Page 74]
CHAPTER IV

THE POLAR WINTER

  The cold ice slept below,
  Above the cold sky shone,
    And all around
    With a chilling sound
  From caves of ice and fields of snow
  The breath of night like death did flow
            Beneath the sinking moon.--SHELLEY.

The sun was due to depart before the end of April, and so no time
could be wasted if the outside work, which had been delayed by
the tardy formation of the ice-sheet, was to be completed before
the daylight vanished.

One of the most urgent operations was to get up the meteorological
screen, which had been made under the superintendence of Royds.
The whole of this rather elaborate erection was, placed about 100
yards astern of the ship, and consequently in a direction which,
with the prevalent south-easterly winds, would be to windward of
her. To obtain a complete record of meteorological observations
was one of the most important scientific objects of the expedition,
and it was decided that the instruments should be read and recorded
every two hours. Consequently in calm or storm
[Page 75]
some member of the community had to be on the alert, and every
other hour to make the rounds of the various instruments. On a
fine night this was no great hardship, but in stormy weather the
task was not coveted by anyone. On such occasions it was necessary
to be prepared to resist the wind and snowdrift, and the round
itself was often full of exasperating annoyances. In fact the trials
and tribulations of the meteorological observers were numerous,
and it was arranged that throughout the winter each officer should
take it in turn to make the night observations from 10 P.M. to 6
A.M. Wilson nobly offered always to take the 8 A.M. observation,
but the lion's share of the work fell on Royds himself, since besides
taking his share of the night work he also, throughout the first
winter and a great part of the second, took all the observations
between 10 A.M. and 10 P.M.

The magnetic huts and all that appertained to them were Bernacchi's
special business, and many times daily he was to be seen journeying
to and fro in attendance upon his precious charge. The general
reader may well ask why so much trouble should be taken to ascertain
small differences in the earth's magnetism, and he can scarcely be
answered in a few words. Broadly speaking, however, the earth is
a magnet, and its magnetism is constantly changing. But why it is
a magnet, or indeed what magnetism may be, is unknown, and obviously
the most hopeful way of finding an explanation of a phenomenon is
to study it. For many reasons the _Discovery_'s winter station in the
[Page 76]
Antarctic was an especially suitable place in which to record the
phenomenon of magnetism.

Besides establishing the routine of scientific work many preparations
had to be made for the comfort and well-being of the ship during
the winter, and long before the sun had disappeared the little
company had settled down to a regular round of daily life.

Later in the year Scott wrote in his diary: 'The day's routine for
the officers gives four clear hours before tea and three after;
during these hours all without exception are busily employed except
for the hour or more devoted to exercise.... It would be difficult
to say who is the most diligent, but perhaps the palm would be
given to Wilson, who is always at work; every rough sketch made
since we started is reproduced in an enlarged and detailed form,
until we now possess a splendid pictorial representation of the
whole coastline of Victoria Land.... At home many no doubt will
remember the horrible depression of spirit that has sometimes been
pictured as a pendant to the long polar night. We cannot even claim
to be martyrs in this respect; with plenty of work the days pass
placidly and cheerfully.'

Nearly seven months before Scott wrote in this cheerful spirit of
the winter, he had expressed himself warmly about those who were
to spend it with him. 'I have,' he said in a letter dispatched
from Port Chalmers on the voyage out, 'the greatest admiration for
the officers and men, and feel that their allegiance to me is a
thing assured. Our little society in the
[Page 77]
wardroom is governed by a spirit of good fellowship and patience
which is all that the heart of man could desire; I am everlastingly
glad to be one of the company and not forced to mess apart.... The
absence of friction and the fine comradeship displayed throughout
is beyond even my best expectation.'

This spirit of good-fellowship and give-and-take was a remarkable
feature of life during the time spent in the _Discovery_, and the
only man Scott had a word to say against was the cook. 'We shipped
him at the last moment in New Zealand, when our trained cook became
too big for his boots, and the exchange was greatly for the worse;
I am afraid he is a thorough knave, but what is even worse, he
is dirty--an unforgivable crime in a cook.'

Under such circumstances it is obvious that tempers might have
been overstrained, and apart from the sins of the cook the weather
was unexpectedly troublesome. Almost without exception the North
Polar winter has been recorded as a period of quiescence, but in
the Antarctic the wind blew with monotonous persistency, and calm
days were very few and far between. Nevertheless Scott had little
reason to change his original opinion about his companions, all of
whom were prepared to put up with some unavoidable discomforts,
and to make the best of a long job.

During the winter a very regular weekly routine was kept up, each
day having its special food and its special tasks. The week's work
ended on Friday, and Saturday was devoted to 'clean ship,' the
officers doing
[Page 78]
their share of the scrubbing. In the forenoon the living-spaces
were thoroughly cleaned, holes and corners were searched, and while
the tub and scrubber held sway the deck became a 'snipe marsh.'
At this time the holds also were cleared up, the bilges pumped
out, the upper deck was 'squared up,' and a fresh layer of clean
snow was sprinkled over that which had been soiled by the traffic
of the week. Then a free afternoon for all hands followed, and
after dinner in the wardroom the toast was the time-honoured one
of 'Sweethearts and Wives.'

On Sunday a different garment was put on, not necessarily a newer or
a cleaner one, the essential point being that it should be different
from that which had been worn during the week. By 9.30 the decks
had been cleared up, the tables and shelves tidied, and the first
lieutenant reported 'All ready for rounds.' A humble imitation of
the usual man-of-war walk-round Sunday inspection followed, and
Scott had the greatest faith in this system of routine, not only
because it had a most excellent effect on the general discipline and
cleanliness of the ship, but also because it gave an opportunity
to raise and discuss each new arrangement that was made to increase
the comfort of all on board.

After this inspection of both ship and men, the mess-deck was prepared
for church; harmonium, reading-desk and chairs were all placed
according to routine, and the bell was tolled. Scott read the service,
Koettlitz the lessons, and Royds played the harmonium.

[Page 79]
Service over, all stood off for the day and looked forward to the
feast of mutton which was limited to Sunday. 'By using it thus
sparingly the handsome gift of the New Zealand farmers should last
us till the early spring. But it is little use to think of the
sad day when it will fail; for the present I must confess that
we always take an extra walk to make quite sure of our appetites
on Sunday.'

On June 23 the festival of mid-winter was celebrated, and the mess-deck
was decorated with designs in coloured papers and festooned with
chains and ropes of the same materials. Among the messes there was
a great contest to have the best decorations, and some astonishing
results were achieved with little more than brightly coloured papers,
a pair of scissors and a pot of paste. On each table stood a grotesque
figure or fanciful erection of ice, which was cunningly lighted up
by candles from within and sent out shafts of sparkling light.
'If,' Scott wrote in his diary, 'the light-hearted scenes of to-day
can end the first period of our captivity, what room for doubt
is there that we shall triumphantly weather the whole term with
the same general happiness and contentment?'

During the winter months the _South Polar Times_, edited by Shackleton,
appeared regularly, and was read with interest and amusement by
everyone. At first it had been decided that each number should
contain, besides the editorial, a summary of the events and
meteorological conditions of the past month, some scientifically
instructive articles dealing with the work
[Page 80]
and surroundings, and others written in a lighter vein; but, as the
scheme developed, it was found that such features as caricatures
and acrostics could be added. One of the pleasantest points in
connection with the _Times_ was that the men contributed as well as
the officers; in fact some of the best, and quite the most amusing,
articles were written by the occupants of the mess-deck. But beyond
all else the journal owed its excellence to Wilson, who produced
drawings that deserved--and ultimately obtained--a far wider
appreciation than could be given to them in the Antarctic. So great
was the desire to contribute to the first number of the _S. P. T._
that the editor's box was crammed with manuscripts by the time
the date for sending in contributions had arrived. From these there
was no difficulty in making a selection, but as there was also some
danger of hurting the feelings of those whose contributions had
been rejected, a supplementary journal named _The Blizzard_ was
produced. This publication, however, had but a brief career, for
in spite of some good caricatures and a very humorous frontispiece
by Barne, it was so inferior to the _S. P. T._ that even its
contributors realized that their mission in life did not lie in
the paths of literary composition. _The Blizzard_, in short, served
its purpose, and then ceased to exist.

In considering the arrangements to make the ship comfortable during
the dark months, the question of artificial light was as difficult as
it was important. Paraffin had from the first been suggested as the most
[Page 81]
suitable illuminant, its main disadvantage being that it is not
a desirable oil to carry in quantities in a ship. 'Our luckiest
find,' Scott says, 'was perhaps the right sort of lamp in which to
burn this oil. Fortunately an old Arctic explorer, Captain Egerton,
presented me with a patent lamp in which the draught is produced
by a fan worked by clockwork mechanism, and no chimney is needed.
One can imagine the great mortality there would be in chimneys
if we were obliged to employ them, so that when, on trial, this
lamp was found to give an excellent light, others of the same sort
were purchased, and we now use them exclusively in all parts of
the ship with extremely satisfactory results.'

There was, however, a still brighter illuminant within their reach
in the shape of acetylene, but not until it became certain that
they would have to spend a second winter in the Antarctic, did
their thoughts fly to the calcium carbide which had been provided
for the hut, and which they had not previously thought of using.
'In this manner the darkness of our second winter was relieved by
a light of such brilliancy that all could pursue their occupations
by the single burner placed in each compartment. I lay great stress
on this, because I am confident that this is in every way the best
illuminant that can be taken for a Polar winter, and no future
expedition should fail to supply themselves with it.'

As has already been said, the meteorological observations had to
be read and recorded every two hours, and on July 21 Scott gave
in his diary a full and
[Page 82]
graphic account of the way he occupied himself during his 'night
on.' 'Each of us has his own way of passing the long, silent hours.
My own custom is to devote some of it to laundry-work, and I must
confess I make a very poor fist of it. However, with a bath full
of hot water, I commence pretty regularly after the ten o'clock
observation, and labour away until my back aches. There is little
difficulty with the handkerchiefs, socks and such-like articles,
but when it comes to thick woolen vests and pajamas, I feel ready
to own my incapacity; one always seems to be soaping and rubbing
at the same place, and one is forced to wonder at the area of stuff
which it takes to cover a comparatively small body. My work is
never finished by midnight, but I generally pretend that it is,
and after taking the observations for that hour, return to wring
everything out. I am astonished to find that even this is no light
task; as one wrings out one end the water seems to fly to the other;
then I hang some heavy garment on a hook and wring until I can wring
no more; but even so, after it has been hung for a few minutes
on the wardroom clothes-line, it will begin to drip merrily on
the floor, and I have to tackle it afresh. I shall always have
a high respect for laundry-work in future, but I do not think it
can often have to cope with such thick garments as we wear.

'Washing over, one can devote oneself to pleasanter occupations.
The night-watchman is always allowed a box of sardines, which are
scarce enough to be a great luxury, and is provided with tea or
cocoa and a spirit-lamp.
[Page 83]
Everyone has his own ideas as to how sardines should be prepared...
and I scarcely like to record that there is a small company of
_gourmets_, who actually wake one another up in order that the
night-watchman may present his fellow epicures with a small finger
of buttered toast, on which are poised two sardines "done to a
turn." The awakened sleeper devours the dainty morsel, grunts his
satisfaction, and goes placidly off into dreamland again.

'I find that after my labours at the wash-tub and the pleasing supper
that follows, I can safely stretch myself out in a chair without
fear of being overcome by sleep, and so, with the ever-soothing pipe
and one's latest demand on the library book-shelves, one settles
down in great peace and contentment whilst keeping an eye on the
flying hours, ready to sally forth into the outer darkness at the
appointed time.

'The pleasure or pain of that periodic journey is of course entirely
dependent on the weather. On a fine night it may be quite a pleasure,
but when, as is more common, the wind is sweeping past the ship,
the observer is often subjected to exasperating difficulties, and
to conditions when his conscience must be at variance with his
inclination.

'Sometimes the lantern will go out at the screen, and he is forced
to return on board to light it; sometimes it will refuse to shine on
the thin threads of mercury of the thermometer until it is obvious
that his proximity has affected the reading, and he is forced to
stand off until it has again fallen to the air temperature....
[Page 84]
These and many other difficulties in taking observations which may
be in themselves valueless are met in the right spirit. I think
we all appreciate that they are part of a greater whole whose value
must stand or fall by attention to detail.'

At the end of July a most unpleasant fact had to be faced in a
mishap to the boats. Early in the winter they had been hoisted
out to give more room for the awning, and had been placed in a
line about a hundred yards from the ice-foot on the sea-ice. The
earliest gale drifted them up nearly gunwale high, and thus for
the next two months they remained in sight. But then another gale
brought more snow, and was so especially generous with it in the
neighborhood of the boats, that they were afterwards found to be
buried three or four feet beneath the surface. With no feelings
of anxiety, but rather to provide occupation, Scott ordered the
snow on the top of them to be removed, and not until the first
boat had been reached was the true state of affairs revealed. She
was found lying in a mass of slushy ice with which she was nearly
filled, and though for a moment there was a wild hope that she
could be pulled up, this soon vanished; for the air temperature
promptly converted the slush into hardened ice, and so she was
stuck fast.

Nothing more could be done at that time to recover the boats, because
as fast as the sodden ice could be dug out, more sea-water would
have come in and frozen. But to try and prevent bad going to worse
before the summer brought hope with it, parties were
[Page 85]
engaged day after day in digging away at the snow covering, and in
the course of months many tons must have been removed. The danger
was that fresh gales bringing more snow might have sunk the boats
so far below the surface that they could never be recovered, and
after each gale the diggers were naturally despondent, as to all
appearances they had to begin all over again. The prospect, however,
of having to leave the Antarctic without a single boat in the ship,
and also the feeling that so much labour must tell in the end, spurred
on the diggers to renewed vigour, but it was not until December
that the boats were finally liberated.

Early in August another gale with blinding drift was responsible
for an experience to Bernacchi and Skelton that once again emphasized
the bewildering effect of a blizzard. They were in the smaller
compartment of the main hut completing a set of pendulum observations,
while Royds was in the larger compartment--the hut was used for
many and various purposes--rehearsing his nigger minstrel troupe.
Either because nigger minstrelsy and scientific work did not go
hand in hand, or because their work was finished, Bernacchi and
Skelton, soon after the rehearsal began, left the hut to return
to the ship. Fully an hour and a half afterwards Royds and his
troupe, numbering more than a dozen, started back, and found that
the gale had increased and that the whirling snow prevented them
from seeing anything. Being, however, in such numbers, they were
able to join hands and sweep along until they caught the guide-rope
leading to the gangway;
[Page 86]
and then as they traveled along it they heard feeble shouts, and
again extending their line suddenly fell upon Bernacchi and Skelton,
who, having entirely lost their bearings, had been reduced to shouting
on the chance of being heard and rescued.

The hut was scarcely 200 yards from the ship, and the latter was not
only a comparatively big object but was surrounded by guide-ropes and
other means of direction, which if encountered would have informed
the wanderers of their position. Additionally Bernacchi and Skelton
could be trusted to take the most practical course in any difficulty,
and so it seems the more incredible that they could actually have
been lost for two hours. Both of them were severely frostbitten
about the face and legs, but bitter as their experience was it
served as yet another warning to those who were to go sledding
in the spring that no risks could be taken in such a capricious
climate. Had not Royds been rehearsing his troupe on this occasion
the results to Bernacchi and Skelton must have been more disastrous
than they were; consequently the idea of using the large hut as
a place of entertainment was fortunate in more ways than one.

During the first week of May a concert had been given in the hut,
but this was more or less in the nature of an experiment; for Royds,
who took infinite pains over these entertainments, had arranged
a long program with the object of bringing to light any possible
talent. The result of this was that even the uncritical had to
confess that most of the performers would have
[Page 87]
been less out of place among the audience. So much dramatic ability,
however, was shown that Barne was entrusted with the work of producing
a play, which, after many rehearsals conducted with due secrecy,
was produced on June 25.

This play was entitled 'The Ticket of Leave,' 'a screaming comedy
in one act,' and was produced with unqualified success. 'I for
one,' Scott says, 'have to acknowledge that I have rarely been so
gorgeously entertained.'

Later on Royds began to organize his nigger minstrel troupe, and
when the doors of the Royal Terror Theatre opened at 7.30 on August
6, the temperature outside them was -40 deg., while inside it was well
below zero. Under these conditions it is small wonder that the
audience was glad when the curtain went up.

'There is no doubt,' Scott says in reference to this performance,
'that sailors dearly love to make up; on this occasion they had
taken an infinity of trouble to prepare themselves.... "Bones" and
"Skins" had even gone so far as to provide themselves with movable
top-knots which could be worked at effective moments by pulling a
string below.... To-night the choruses and plantation-songs led
by Royds were really well sung, and they repay him for the very
great pains he has taken in the rehearsals.'

So with entertainments to beguile the time, and with blizzards
to endure, and with preparations to make for sledding, the days
passed by until on August 21 the sun was once more due to return.
But on that
[Page 88]
day a few hours of calm in the morning were succeeded by whirling
snow-squalls from the south, and each lull was followed by a wild
burst of wind. Scott was glad enough to have everyone on board in
such weather, and at noon when he had hoped to be far over the
hills only vast sheets of gleaming snow could be seen. The following
day, however, was an ideal one for the first view of the long-absent
sun, and Scott went to the top of Crater Hill to watch and welcome.
'Over all the magnificent view the sunlight spreads with gorgeous
effect after its long absence; a soft pink envelops the western
ranges, a brilliant red gold covers the northern sky; to the north
also each crystal of snow sparkles with reflected light. The sky
shows every gradation of light and shade; little flakes of golden
sunlit cloud float against the pale blue heaven, and seem to hover
in the middle heights, whilst far above them a feathery white cirrus
shades to grey on its unlit sides.'

But when the men were told that the sun could be seen from Hut Point,
to Scott's astonishment they displayed little or no enthusiasm.
Everyone seemed glad to think that it had been punctual in keeping its
appointment, but after all they had seen the sun a good many times
before, and in the next few months they would in all probability
see it a good many times again, and there was no sense in getting
excited about it. Some of them did set off at a run for the point,
while others, since it seemed the right thing to do, followed at
a walk, but a good
[Page 89]
number remained on board and had their dinner. On August 25 the
Feast of the Sun was duly celebrated, and the days that followed
were fuller than ever with preparations for the spring journeys. The
only sewing-machine clattered away all day long, and the whole company
plied their needles as if they were being sweated by iron-handed
taskmasters. The long winter was at an end, and everyone, in the
best of spirits, was looking forward eagerly to the spring sledge
journeys, and making garments in which to bid defiance to the wind
and the weather. As regards the actual sledge equipment which was
taken to the south, Scott had depended on the experience of others,
and especially on that of Armitage, but owing to a variety of reasons
the difficulty of providing an efficient sledding outfit had been
immense.

In England twenty-five years had passed since any important sledding
expedition had been accomplished, and during that time not a single
sledge, and very few portions of a sledge equipment, had been made
in the country. The popular accounts of former expeditions were
not written to supply the minute details required, and no memory
could be expected to retain these details after such a lapse of
time. In fact the art of sledge-making was lost in England, but
fortunately the genius of Nansen had transferred it to Norway.
In the autumn of 1900 Scott had visited Christiania, and there
received much advice and assistance from Nansen himself. It was
not, however, until Armitage agreed to serve as second in
[Page 90]
command of the expedition that Scott had anyone on whom he could
rely to provide the sledding outfit.

In making these preparations for long journeys in the south, there
was no previous experience to go upon except that which had been
gained in the north; indeed it was necessary to assume that southern
conditions would be more or less similar to those of the north,
and in so far as they proved different the sledding outfit ran the
risk of failure. Experience taught Scott that in many respects the
sledding conditions of the south were different from those of the
north, and so it is only fair to consider the sledge journeys taken
by the _Discovery_ expedition as pioneer efforts. These differences
are both climatic and geographical. For instance, the conditions
in the south are more severe than those in the north, both in the
lowness of the temperatures and in the distressing frequency of
blizzards and strong winds. And the geographical difference between
the work of the northern and the southern sledge-traveler is as
great as the climatic, if not greater, for the main part of northern
traveling has been and will be done on sea-ice, while the larger
part of southern traveling has been and will be done over land
surfaces, or what in this respect are their equivalents.

[Illustration: LOOKING UP THE GATEWAY FROM PONY DEPOT. _Photo by
Capt. R. F. Scott._]

So impressed was Scott by the impossibility of dragging a sledge
over the surfaces of the Great Barrier to the South at the rate
maintained by the old English travelers on the northern sea-ice,
that he began seriously to think that the British race of explorers
[Page 91]
must have deteriorated rapidly and completely in stamina. But later
on, in carrying out exploration to the west, he had to travel over
the sea-ice of the strait, and then he discovered that--given the
surface there was nothing wrong with the pace at which his sledge
parties could travel. Probably, however, the distances recorded by
the northern travelers will never be exceeded in the south, for
the Antarctic explorer has to meet severer climatic conditions,
and while pulling his sledge over heavier surfaces he is not likely
to meet with fewer obstacles in his path. To make marching records
is not, of course, the main purpose of sledge-travelers, but all the
same, where conditions are equal, speed and the distance traveled
are a direct test of the efficiency of sledding preparations, and
of the spirit of those who undertake this arduous service.

The main differences between the sledges used by the _Discovery_
expedition and those used by other explorers were a decrease in
breadth and an increase in runner surface. Measured across from
the center of one runner to the center of the other Scott's sledges
were all, with one exception, 1 foot 5 inches. The runners themselves
were 3-3/4 inches across, so that the sledge track from side to
side measured about 1 foot 8-3/4 inches. The lengths varied from
12 feet to 7 feet, but the 11-foot sledges proved to be by far the
most convenient--a length of 12 feet seeming to pass just beyond
the limit of handiness.

Taking then 11 feet as about the best length for this type of sledge,
it will be seen that it differed
[Page 92]
considerably from the old Arctic type, which was 10 feet long and
3 feet broad. The weight of such all 11-foot sledge was anything
between 40 and 47 lbs., and this was none too light when the full
strength of the structure was required. Generally speaking, the
full load that could be put upon them was about 600 lbs. The most
important part of the sledge is the runner, in which the grain must
be perfectly straight and even, or it will splinter very easily;
but it surprised Scott to find what a lot of wear a good wood runner
would stand, provided that it was only taken over snow. 'Some of
our 9-foot sledges must,' he says, 'have traveled 1,000 miles,
and there was still plenty of wear left in the runners.'

In point of numbers the _Discovery_'s crew was far behind the old
Northern expeditions; and it was this fact that made Scott decide,
in arranging a sledge equipment where men and not dogs would do most
of the haulage, to divide his parties into the smallest workable
units. The old Northern plan had allowed for parties of at least
eight, who, having a common tent and cooking arrangements, could
not be subdivided. Scott's plan was not necessarily to limit the
number of men in his parties, but to divide them into units of
three, which should be self-contained, so that whenever it was
advisable a unit could be detached from the main party. Under such
a system it is obvious that each unit must have its own tent,
sleeping-bag, cooker, and so on; and therein lay a disadvantage,
as economy of material and weight can
[Page 93]
be better carried out with a large unit than with a small one.

The weights of a party naturally divide themselves under two headings:
the permanent, which will not diminish throughout the trip, and
the consumable, including food, oil, &c. The following is a list
of the permanent weights carried on Scott's journey to the west,
and it will give some idea of the variety of articles, exclusive
of provisions. The party numbered six.

                                                      lbs.
  2 Sledges with fittings complete                    130
    Trace                                               5
  2 Cookers, pannikins and spoons                      30
  2 Primus lamps, filled                               10
  2 Tents complete                                     60
  2 Spades                                              9
  2 Sleeping-bags with night-gear                     100
    Sleeping jackets, crampons, spare finnesko[1]      50
    Medical bag                                         6
  3 Ice-axes                                            8
    Bamboos and marks                                  11.5
    Instruments and camera                             50
    Alpine rope                                         9
    Repair and tool bags, sounding-line, tape,
      sledge brakes                                    15
    Ski boots for party                                15
    Ski for party                                      60

    Total                                             568.5

[Footnote 1: Reindeer-fur boots.]

[Page 94]
Roughly speaking, a man can drag from 200 to 240 lbs., but his load
was rarely above 200 lbs. This for six men gave a total carrying
capacity of 1,200 lbs. and hence about 630 lbs. could be devoted
to provisions.

Again, speaking very roughly, this amount is about six weeks' food
for a party of six, but as such a short period is often not long
enough to satisfy sledge-travelers, they are compelled to organize
means by which their journey can be prolonged. This can be done
in two ways; they may either go out earlier in the season and lay
a depot at a considerable distance towards their goal, or they
may arrange to receive assistance from a supporting party, which
accompanies them for a certain distance on the road and helps their
advance party to drag a heavier load than they can accomplish alone.

Both of these plans were adopted by Scott on the more important
journeys, and his parties were able to be absent from the ship
for long periods and to travel long distances.




[Page 95]
CHAPTER V

THE START OF THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY

  Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
  To its full height...

                                ...Shew us here
  That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not.
  For there is none so mean or base
  That have not noble lustre in your eyes.
  I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
  Straining upon the start.
  --SHAKESPEARE.

During the later months of the dark season all thoughts had been
turned to the prospects of the spring journeys, and many times the
advantages and disadvantages of dogs for sledding were discussed.
This question of the sacrifice of animal life was one on which
Scott felt strongly from the time he became an explorer to the end
of his life. Argue with himself as he might, the idea was always
repugnant to his nature.

'To say,' he wrote after his first expedition, that dogs do not
greatly increase the radius of action is absurd; to pretend that
they can be worked to this end without pain, suffering, and death, is
equally futile. The question is whether the latter can be justified
by the gain, and I think that logically it may be;
[Page 96]
but the introduction of such sordid necessity must and does rob
sledge-traveling of much of its glory. In my mind no journey ever
made with dogs can approach the height of that fine conception
which is realized when a party of men go forth to face hardships,
dangers, and difficulties with their own unaided efforts, and by
days and weeks of hard physical labour succeed in solving some
problem of the great unknown. Surely in this case the conquest is
more nobly and splendidly won.'

When the spring campaign opened in 1902 the original team of dogs
had been sadly diminished. Of the nineteen that remained for the
southern journey, all but one--and he was killed at an earlier
period--left their bones on the great southern plains. This briefly
is the history of the dogs, but the circumstances under which they
met their deaths will be mentioned later on.

[Illustration: SLEDDING.]

Before Scott started on the southern journey he decided to make a
short trip to the north with the dogs and a party of six officers
and men, his main purposes being to test the various forms of harness,
and to find out whether the dogs pulled best in large or small
teams. During part of this journey, which only lasted from September
2 to 5, the four sledges were taken independently with four dogs
harnessed to each, and it was discovered that if the first team
got away all right, the others were often keen to play the game
of 'follow my leader.' Sometimes, indeed, there was a positive
spirit of rivalry, and on one occasion two
[Page 97]
competing teams got closer and closer to each other, with the natural
result that when they were near enough to see what was happening,
they decided that the easiest way to settle the matter was by a
free fight. So they turned inwards with one accord and met with
a mighty shock. In a moment there was a writhing mass of fur and
teeth, and an almost hopeless confusion of dog traces. But even
in this short trip some experience had been gained; for results
showed how unwise it was to divide the dogs into small parties,
and also there was no mistaking which were the strong and which
the weak dogs, and, what was of more importance, which the willing
and which the lazy ones.

On September 10, Royds and Koettlitz started off to the south-west
with Evans, Quartley, Lashly and Wild. And of this party Scott
wrote: 'They looked very workmanlike, and one could see at a glance
the vast improvement that has been made since last year. The sledges
were uniformly packed.... One shudders now to think of the slovenly
manner in which we conducted things last autumn; at any rate here
is a first result of the care and attention of the winter.'

Armitage and Ferrar with four men left for the west on the following
day, but owing to the necessity of making fresh harness for the
dogs and to an exasperating blizzard, Scott was not able to start
on his southern reconnaissance journey until September 17.

On the morning of that day he and his two companions,
[Page 98]
Barne and Shackleton, with thirteen dogs divided into two teams,
left the ship in bright sunshine; but by 1.15 P.M., when they camped
for lunch, the wind was blowing from the east and the thermometer
was down to -43 deg..

The sledges carried a fortnight's food for all concerned, together
with a quantity of stores to form a depot, the whole giving a load
of about 90 lbs. per dog; but this journey was destined to be only
a short and bitter experience.

The reason was that on the night of the 17th the travelers were
so exhausted that they did not heap enough snow on the skirting
of the tent, and when Scott woke up on the following morning he
found himself in the open. 'At first, as I lifted the flap of my
sleeping-bag, I could not think what had happened. I gazed forth
on a white sheet of drifting snow, with no sign of the tent or my
companions. For a moment I wondered what in the world it could
mean, but the lashing of the snow in my face very quickly awoke
me to full consciousness, and I sat up to find that in some
extraordinary way I had rolled out of the tent.'

At the time a violent gale was raging, and through the blinding
snow Scott could only just see the tent, though it was flapping
across the foot of his bag; but when he had wriggled back to the
tent the snow was whirling as freely inside as without, and the
tent itself was straining so madly at what remained of its securing,
that something had to be done at once to prevent it from blowing
away altogether.
[Page 99]
So with freezing fingers they gripped the skirting and gradually
pulled it inwards, and half sitting upon it, half grasping it,
they tried to hold it against the wild blasts of the storm, while
they discussed the situation. Discussion, however, was useless. An
attempt to secure the tent properly in such weather was impossible,
while they felt that if once they loosed their grip, the tent would
hasten to leave them at once and for ever. Every now and then they
were forced to get a fresh hold, and lever themselves once more over
the skirt. And as they remained hour after hour grimly hanging on
and warning each other of frostbitten features, their sleeping-bags
became fuller and fuller of snow, until they were lying in masses
of chilly slush. Not until 6 P.M. had they by ceaseless exertions
so far become masters of the situation, that there was no further
need for the tent to be held with anything except the weight of
their sleeping-bags. Then an inspection of hands showed a number
of frostbites, but Barne, whose fingers had not recovered from
the previous year, had suffered the most. 'To have hung on to the
tent through all those hours must have been positive agony to him,
yet he never uttered a word of complaint.'

By 10 P.M. the worst of the storm had passed, and after a few hours'
sleep and a hot meal, they soon decided that to push on after this
most miserable experience was very unwise, since by returning to
the ship they would only lose one day's march and everything could
be dried for a fresh start.

[Page 100]
Apart from 'Brownie,' who spent his time inside the tent, the rest
of the dogs never uttered a sound during the storm, and were found
quite happily sleeping in their nests of snow. On the journey back
the thermometer recorded -53 deg., and the effect of such a temperature
upon wet clothing may be imagined. 'I shall remember the condition
of my trousers for a long while; they might have been cut out of
sheet iron. It was some time before I could walk with any sort of
ease, and even when we reached the ship I was conscious of carrying
an armor plate behind me.... It will certainly be a very long time
before I go to sleep again in a tent which is not properly secured.'

On September 24 Scott was ready to start again, but Barne's fingers
had suffered so severely that his place was taken by the boatswain,
Feather, who had taken a keen interest in every detail of sledding.
Owing to the dogs refusing to do what was expected of them, and
to gales, slow progress was made, but the wind had dropped by the
morning of September 29, and Scott was so anxious to push on that
he took no notice of a fresh bank of cloud coming up from the south,
with more wind and drift. Taking the lead himself, he gave orders
to the two teams to follow rigidly in his wake, whatever turns and
twists he might make. Notwithstanding the bad light he could see
the bridged crevasses, where they ran across the bare ice surface,
by slight differences in shade, and though he could not see them
where they dived into the valleys, he found that the bridges were
strong enough to bear. In
[Page 101]
his desire to use the snowy patches as far as possible, the course
he took was very irregular, and the dogs invariably tried to cut
corners. In this manner they proceeded for some time, until Scott
suddenly heard a shout, and looking back saw to his horror that
Feather had vanished. The dog team and sledges were there all right,
but their leader was lost to sight. Hurrying back he found that
the trace had disappeared down a formidable crevasse, but to his
great relief Feather was at the end of the trace, and was soon
hauled up. One strand of Feather's harness was cut clean through
where it fell across the ice-edge, and although, being a man of
few words, he was more inclined to swear at 'Nigger' for trying to
cut a corner than to marvel at his own escape, there is no doubt
that he had a very close call.

After this accident the dog teams were joined, and reluctant to
give up they advanced again; but very soon the last of the four
sledges disappeared, and was found hanging vertically up and down
in an ugly-looking chasm. To the credit of the packing not a single
thing had come off, in spite of the jerk with which it had fallen.
It was, however, too heavy to haul up as it was, but, after some
consultation, the indefatigable Feather proposed that he should
be let down and undertake the very cold job of unpacking it. So
he was slung with one end of the Alpine rope, while the other was
used for hauling up the various packages; and at last the load
was got up, and the lightened sledge soon followed.

After this incident they thought it prudent to treat these numerous
crevasses with more respect, and on
[Page 102]
proceeding they roped themselves together; but although no more
mishaps occurred, Scott afterwards was more inclined to attribute
this to good luck than to good judgment. 'Looking back on this day,
I cannot but think our procedure was extremely rash. I have not
the least doubt now that this region was a very dangerous one, and
the fact that we essayed to cross it in this light-hearted fashion
can only be ascribed to our ignorance. With us, I am afraid, there
were not a few occasions when one might have applied the proverb
that "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."'

The depot, leaving six weeks' provision for three men and 150 lbs.
of dog-food, was made on the morning of October 1, and besides
marking it with a large black flag, Scott was also careful to take
angles with a prismatic compass to all the points he could see.
Then they started home, and the dogs knowing at once what was meant
no longer required any driving. On the homeward march the travelers
went for all they were worth, and in spite of perpetual fog covered
eighty-five statute miles in less than three days.

On returning to the ship Scott admits that he found it a most delightful
place. The sense of having done what he wanted to do had something
to do with this feeling of satisfaction, but it was the actual
physical comfort after days of privation that chiefly affected him.
The joy of possessing the sledding appetite was sheer delight, and
for many days after the travelers returned from their sledding-trips,
they retained a hunger which it seemed impossible to satisfy.

[Page 103]
In short Scott, on the night of his return, was very pleased with
himself and the world in general, but before he went to bed all
his sense of comfort and peace had gone. For he had discovered
what Armitage, wishing to give him some hours of unmixed enjoyment,
had not meant to mention until the following morning, and this
was that there had been an outbreak of scurvy--the disease that
has played a particularly important, and often a tragic, part in
the adventures of Polar travelers, and the seriousness of which
everyone who has read the history of Polar explorations cannot
fail to realize.

This outbreak had occurred during Armitage's journey, and when
he, after much anxiety, had got his men back to the ship, Wilson's
medical examination proved that Ferrar, Heald and Cross were all
attacked, while the remainder of the party were not above suspicion.

Very soon, however, symptoms of the disease began to abate, but
the danger lurking around them was continually in Scott's thoughts,
and he was determined not to give the dreaded enemy another chance
to break out.

Everything possible was done to make the ship and everything in
her sweet and clean, and after a large seal-killing party, sent
out at Wilson's suggestion, had returned, the order was given that
no tinned meat of any description should be issued. By October 20
this grave disease had to all intents and purposes passed away,
but although evidence showed that it was
[Page 104]
caused by tinned meats which were to all appearances of the best
quality, and by apparently fresh mutton taken in small quantities,
there was no positive proof that these were the causes of the trouble.

This attack of scurvy came as a great surprise to everyone, for
when the long winter was over and all of them were in good health
and high spirits, they had naturally congratulated themselves on
the effectiveness of their precautions. The awakening from this
pleasant frame of mind was rude, and though the disease vanished
with astonishing rapidity, it was--quite apart from the benefit lost
to medical science--very annoying not to be able to say definitely
from what the evil had sprung.

But although the seriousness of this outbreak was not underrated,
and every precaution was taken to prevent its recurrence, preparations
for the various journeys were pushed on with no less vigour and
enthusiasm. The game to play was that there was nothing really to
be alarmed about, and everyone played it with the greatest success.

Scott's journey to the south had indicated that the main party
would have to travel directly over the snow-plain at a long distance
from, and perhaps out of sight of, land; and as in all probability
no further depots could be established, it was desirable that this
party should be supported as far as possible on their route. To
meet these requirements it was decided that Barne, with a party
of twelve men, should accompany the dog-team, until the weights
were reduced to an amount
[Page 105]
which the dogs could drag without assistance. Then Barne was to
return to the ship, and after a short rest start again with six
men, to follow the coast-line west of the Bluff. As soon as this
was in train, Armitage was to have at his disposal all the men and
material left in the ship for his attack on the western region.

On Friday, October 24, Royds, who had left the ship three weeks
before with Skelton, Lashly, Evans, Quartley and Wild, returned
with the good news that he had been able to communicate with the
'Record' post at Cape Crozier. If a relief ship was going to be
sent out, Scott now had the satisfaction of knowing that she had
a good prospect of being guided to the winter quarters of the
expedition. It was also a great source of satisfaction to find
that although Royds and his party had left almost immediately after
the outbreak of scurvy, they had all returned safe and with no
symptom of the disease.

From the 13th to the 18th this party had been kept in their tents
by a most persistent blizzard, and before the blizzard ceased they
were practically buried in the heart of a snowdrift; in fact one
tent had literally to be dug out before its occupants could be
got into the open, while the sledges and everything left outside
were completely buried. As the snow gradually accumulated round
the tents it became heavier and heavier on every fold of canvas,
and reduced the interior space to such an extent that those inside
were obliged to lie with their knees bent double. Royds, whose
reports were invariably very brief and to
[Page 106]
the point, dismissed the tale of these five days in half a page,
but no great effort of imagination is needed to grasp the horrible
discomforts everyone must have endured. And yet when this party
recounted their adventures on board the ship, the hardships were
scarcely mentioned, and all that the men seemed to remember were
the amusing incidents that had happened.

On this journey a colony of Emperor penguins was discovered, and
among them were several which were nursing chicks. 'I will only
testify,' Scott says, 'to the joy which greeted this discovery
on board the ship. We had felt that this penguin was the truest
type of our region. All other birds fled north when the severity
of winter descended upon us: the Emperor alone was prepared to
face the extremest rigors of our climate; and we gathered no small
satisfaction from being the first to throw light on the habits
of a creature, which so far surpasses in hardihood all others of
the feathered tribe.'

Before the end of October everything was prepared for the southern
journey; every eventuality seemed to be provided for, and as it
was expected that the dogs would travel faster than the men Barne
and his party started off on October 30, while the dog team left a
few days later. 'The supporting party started this morning, amidst
a scene of much enthusiasm; all hands had a day off, and employed
it in helping to drag the sledges for several miles... Barne's
banner floated on the first, the next bore a Union Jack, and
[Page 107]
another carried a flag with a large device stating "_No dogs needs
apply_"; the reference was obvious. It was an inspiriting sight to
see nearly the whole of our small company step out on the march
with ringing cheers, and to think that all work of this kind promised
to be done as heartily.'

And then the day that Scott had been so eagerly looking forward
to arrived, and at ten o'clock on the morning of November 2, he,
Shackleton and Wilson, amidst the wild cheers of their comrades,
started on the southern journey. 'Every soul was gathered on the
floe to bid us farewell, and many were prepared to accompany us
for the first few miles.' The dogs, as if knowing that a great
effort was expected of them, had never been in such form, and in
spite of the heavy load and the fact that at first two men had
to sit on the sledges to check them, it was as much as the rest
of the party could do to keep up. By noon the volunteers had all
tailed off, and the three travelers were alone with the dogs, and
still breathlessly trying to keep pace with them. Soon afterwards
they caught sight of a dark spot ahead and later on made this out
to be the supporting party, who, when they were overtaken on the
same evening, reported that they had been kept in their tents by
bad weather. Having relieved them of some of their loads, Scott
camped, while they pushed on to get the advantage of a night march.

During the next few days the two parties constantly passed and re-passed
each other, since it was
[Page 108]
impossible for Scott to push on ahead of Barne's party, and the
latter's progress was very slow, as they could get no hold with
their fur boots, and they found their ski leather boots dreadfully
cold for their feet. To add to the slowness of the journey the
weather was very unfavorable, and the greater parts of the 8th
and 9th were entirely wasted by a blizzard. On the 10th Depot A,
that had previously been laid, was reached and Scott wrote: 'Already
it seems to me that the dogs feel the monotony of a long march over
the snow more than we do; they seem easily to get dispirited, and
that it is not due to fatigue is shown when they catch a glimpse
of anything novel.... To-day, for instance, they required some
driving until they caught sight of the depot flag, when they gave
tongue loudly and dashed off as though they barely felt the load
behind them.'

The names of the dogs were:

  Nigger          Birdie          Wolf
  Jim             Nell            Vic
  Spud            Blanco          Bismarck
  Snatcher        Grannie         Kid
  Fitzclarence    Lewis           Boss
  Stripes         Gus             Brownie
                  Joe

Each of them had his peculiar characteristics, and what the Southern
party did not already know concerning their individualities, they
had ample opportunities of finding out in the course of the next
few weeks.

[Page 109]
Nigger was the leader of the team; a place he chose naturally for
himself, and if he was put into any other position he behaved so
unpleasantly to his neighbors, and so generally upset things, that
he was quickly shifted. A more perfect sledge-dog could scarcely
be imagined. He seemed to know the meaning of every move, and in
camp would be still as a graven image until he saw the snow being
shoveled from the skirting of the tent, when he would spring up
and pace to and fro at his picket, and give a low throaty bark
of welcome if anyone approached him. A few minutes later, when
the leading man came to uproot his picket, he would watch every
movement, and a slow wagging of the tail quite obviously showed
his approval: then, as the word came to start, he would push
affectionately against the leader, as much as to say, 'Now come
along!' and brace his powerful chest to the harness. At the evening
halt after a long day he would drop straight in his tracks and
remain perfectly still, with his magnificent black head resting
on his paws. Other dogs might clamor for food, but Nigger knew
perfectly well that the tent had first to be put up. Afterwards,
however, when the dog-food was approached his deep bell-like note
could always be distinguished amid the howling chorus, and if
disturbance was to be avoided it was well to attend to him first
of all.

Of the other dogs Lewis was noisily affectionate and hopelessly
clumsy; Jim could pull splendidly when he chose, but he was up
to all the tricks of the trade and was extraordinarily cunning at
pretending to pull;
[Page 110]
Spud was generally considered to be daft; Birdie evidently had been
treated badly in his youth and remained distrustful and suspicious
to the end; Kid was the most indefatigable worker in the team;
Wolf's character possessed no redeeming point of any kind, while
Brownie though a little too genteel for very hard work was charming
as a pet, and it may also be said of him that he never lost an
opportunity of using his pleasant appearance and delightful ways
to lighten his afflictions. The load for this dog team after Depot
A had been passed was 1,850 lbs., which, considering that some of
the dogs were of little use, was heavy. But it must not be forgotten
that the men also expected to pull, and that each night the weight
would be reduced by thirty or forty pounds. By the 13th the travelers
were nearly up to the 79th parallel, and therefore farther south
than anyone had yet been. 'The announcement of the fact caused
great jubilation, and I am extremely glad that there are no fewer
than fifteen of us to enjoy this privilege of having broken the
record.' A photograph of the record-breakers was taken, and then
half of the supporting party started to return, and the other half
stepped out once more on a due south line, with the dogs following.

By the 15th, however, when the rest of the supporting party turned
back, Scott had begun to be anxious about the dogs. 'The day's
work has cast a shadow on our high aspirations, and already it is
evident that if we are to achieve much it will be only by extreme
toil, for the dogs have not pulled well to-day....
[Page 111]
We have decided that if things have not improved in the morning
we will take on half a load at a time; after a few days of this
sort of thing the loads will be sufficiently lightened for us to
continue in the old way again.'

On the following day an attempt to start with the heavy loads promptly
and completely failed, and the only thing to do was to divide the
load into two portions and take half on at a time. This meant, of
course, that each mile had to be traveled three times, but there
was no alternative to this tedious form of advance. Even, however,
with the half-loads the dogs seemed to have lost all their spirit,
and at the end of the march on the 18th they were practically 'done.'
Only five geographical miles[1] were gained on that day, but to
do it they had to cover fifteen.

[Footnote 1: 7 geographical miles = a little more than 8 statute
miles.]

On the night of the 19th matters had gone from bad to worse, and
it had to be acknowledged that the fish diet the dogs were eating
permanently disagreed with them. Originally Scott had intended
to take ordinary dog-biscuits for the animals, but in an unlucky
moment he was persuaded by an expert in dog-driving to take fish.
The fish taken was the Norwegian stock-fish, such as is split,
dried and exported from that country in great quantities for human
food. But one important point was overlooked, namely the probability
of the fish being affected on passing through the tropics. The
lesson, Scott said, was obvious, that in future travelers in the
south should safeguard their
[Page 112]
dogs as carefully as they do their men, for in this case it was
the dogs that called the halts; and so the party had to spend hours
in their tent which might have been devoted to marching.

Day after day relay work continued, the only relief from the monotony
of their toil being that land was sighted on the 21st, and as the
prospects of reaching a high latitude were steadily disappearing,
it was decided to alter their course to S. S. W. and edge towards
it. Then the surface over which they were traveling showed signs
of improvement, but the travelers themselves were beginning to
suffer from blistered noses and cracked lips, and their eyes were
also troubling them. Appetites, however, were increasing by leaps
and bounds. 'The only thing to be looked to on our long marches
is the prospect of the next meal.'

On November 24 a new routine was started which made a little variation
in the dull toil of relay work. After pushing on the first half-load
one of the three stopped with it, and got up the tent and prepared
the meal while the other two brought up the second half-load. And
then on the following day came one of those rewards which was all the
sweeter because it had been gained by ceaseless and very monotonous
toil.

'Before starting to-day I took a meridian altitude,' Scott wrote,
'and to my delight found the latitude to be 80 deg. 1'. All our charts of
the Antarctic region show a plain white circle beyond the eightieth
parallel... It has always been our ambition to get inside that white
[Page 113]
space, and now we are there the space can no longer be a blank;
this compensates for a lot of trouble.'

A blizzard followed upon this success, but the dogs were so exhausted
that a day's rest had been thought of even if the weather had not
compelled it. Wilson, to his great discomfort, was always able to
foretell these storms, for when they were coming on he invariably
suffered from rheumatism; so, however reluctant, he could not help
being a very effective barometer.

After the storm had passed an attempt was made on the morning of
the 27th to start with the full load, but it took next to no time
to discover that the dogs had not benefited by their rest, and
there was nothing to do except to go on with the old routine of
relay work. As the days passed with no signs of improvement in
the dogs, it became more and more necessary to reach the land in
hopes of making a depot; so the course was laid to the westward
of S. W., which brought the high black headland, for which they
were making, on their port bow. 'I imagine it to be about fifty
miles off, but hope it is not so much; nine hours' work to-day
has only given us a bare four miles.'

Then for some days the only change in the toil of relay work and
the sickening task of driving tired dogs on and on was that they
marched by night, and rested by day. The breakfast hour was between
4 and 5 P.M., the start at 6 P.M., and they came to camp somewhere
between three and four in the morning. Thus they rested while the
sun was at its greatest
[Page 114]
height; but although there were certainly advantages in this, Scott
could not get rid of a curious feeling that something was amiss
with such a topsy-turvy method of procedure.

By December 3 they were close enough to the land to make out some
of its details. On their right was a magnificent range of mountains,
which by rough calculations Scott made out to be at least fifty miles
away. By far the nearest point of land was an isolated snow-cape,
an immense, and almost dome-shaped, snow-covered mass. At first
no rock at all could be seen on it, but as they got nearer a few
patches began to appear. For one of these patches they decided
to make so that they might establish a depot, but at the rate at
which they were traveling there was little hope of reaching it
for several days.

By this time the appetites of the party were so ravenous that when
the pemmican bag was slung alongside a tin of paraffin, and both
smelt and tasted of oil, they did not really mind. But what saddened
them more than this taste of paraffin was the discovery, on December
5, that their oil was going too fast. A gallon was to have lasted
twelve days, but on investigation it was found on an average to
have lasted only ten, which meant that in the future each gallon
would have to last a fortnight. 'This is a distinct blow, as we
shall have to sacrifice our hot luncheon meal and to economize
greatly at both the others. We started the new routine to-night,
and for lunch ate some frozen seal-meat and our allowance of sugar
and biscuit.'

[Page 115]
It was perhaps fortunate that their discovery about the oil was
not delayed any longer, but nevertheless it came at a time when
the outlook was dreary and dispiriting enough without additional
discomforts. On the 6th Spud gnawed through his trace, and when
Scott went outside before breakfast, one glance at the dog's
balloon-like appearance was enough to show how he had spent his
hours of freedom. He had, in fact, eaten quite a week's allowance
of the precious seal-meat, and though rather somnolent after his
gorge, he did not seem to be suffering any particular discomfort
from the enormous increase of his waist. On the next day there was
a blizzard, duly predicted by Wilson's twinges of rheumatism, and
on the 8th Scott reluctantly records that the dogs were steadily going
downhill. 'The lightening of the load is more than counter-balanced
by the weakening of the animals, and I can see no time in which
we can hope to get the sledges along without pulling ourselves.'

By the 10th they were within ten or twelve miles of the coast,
but so exhausted that they felt no certainty of reaching it; and
even supposing they did get there and make a depot, they doubted
very much if they would be in any condition to go on. One dog,
Snatcher, was already dead, and some of the others had only been got
to move with the second load by the ignominious device of carrying
food in front of them. To see the dogs suffering was agony to those
who had to drive and coax them on, and though Scott refers often
in these days to the hunger that was nipping him,
[Page 116]
no one can read his diary without seeing how infinitely more he
was concerned over the suffering of the dogs than about his own
troubles. 'It is terrible,' he says, 'to see them.'

At last, on December 14, they arrived, when they were almost spent,
at a place where dog-food could be left. In their march they had
only managed to do two miles after the most strenuous exertions,
for the snow became softer as they approached the land, and the
sledge-runners sank from three to four inches. On any particularly
soft patch they could do little more than mark time, and even to
advance a yard was an achievement.

No wonder that Scott, after they had left three weeks' provisions
and a quantity of dog-food in Depot B and had resumed their march,
sounded a note of thankfulness: 'As I write I scarcely know how
to describe the blessed relief it is to be free from our relay
work. For one-and-thirty awful days we have been at it, and whilst
I doubt if our human endurance could have stood it much more, I
am quite sure the dogs could not. It seems now like a nightmare,
which grew more terrible towards its end.' The sense of relief
was, however, not destined to last, for on December 21 the dogs
were in such a hopeless condition that they might at any moment
have completely collapsed. This was a fact that had to be faced,
and the question whether under such circumstances it was wise to
push on had to be asked and answered. The unanimous answer was
that the risk
[Page 117]
of going on should be taken, but on that same night Wilson, in view
of future plans, reported to Scott that his medical examinations
revealed that Shackleton had decidedly angry-looking gums, and that
for some time they had been slowly but surely getting worse. It
was decided not to tell Shackleton of these symptoms of scurvy,
and as the bacon they were using seemed likely to be the cause of
them, it was discarded and an increased allowance of seal given
in its place. This was a loss in weight which was serious, for
already they were reduced almost to starvation rations of about
a pound and a half a day.

Supper was the best meal, for then they had a _hoosh_ which ran
from between three-quarters to a whole pannikin apiece, but even
this they could not afford to make thick. While it was being heated
in the central cooker, cocoa was made in the outer, but the lamp
was turned out directly the _hoosh_ boiled, and by that time the
chill was barely off the contents of the outer cooker. Of course
the cocoa was not properly dissolved, but they were long past
criticizing the quality of their food. All they wanted was something
to 'fill up,' but needless to say they never got it. Half an hour
after supper was over they were as hungry as ever.

When they had started from the ship, there had been a vague idea
that they could go as they pleased with the food, but experience
showed that this would not do, and that there must be a rigid system
of shares. Consequently they used to take it in turn to divide
[Page 118]
things into three equal portions, and as the man who made the division
felt called upon to take the smallest share, the game of 'shut-eye'
was invented to stop all arguments and remonstrances. The shares
were divided as equally as possible by someone, then one of the
other two turned his head away and the divider pointed to a portion
and said, 'Whose is this?' He of the averted head named the owner,
and thus this simple but useful game was played.

Wilson's examination of Shackleton on December 24 was not encouraging,
but they had reached a much harder surface and under those conditions
Scott and Wilson agreed that it was not yet time to say 'Turn.'
Besides, Christmas Day was in front of them, and for a week they
had all agreed that it would be a crime to go to bed hungry on that
night. In fact they meant it to be a wonderful day, and everything
conspired to make it so.

The sun shone gloriously from a clear sky, and not a breath of
wind disturbed the calmness of the morning, but entrancing as the
scene was they did not stay to contemplate it, because for once
they were going to have a really substantial breakfast, and this
was an irresistible counter-attraction.

And afterwards, when they felt more internally comfortable than
they had for weeks, the surface continued to be so much better
that the sledges could be pulled without any help from the dogs.
On that day they had the satisfaction of covering nearly eleven
miles, the longest march they had made for a long
[Page 119]
time. So when camp was pitched they were thoroughly pleased with
the day, and ready to finish it off with a supper to be remembered.
A double 'whack' of everything was poured into the cooking-pot,
and in the _hoosh_ that followed a spoon would stand without any
support, and the cocoa was also brought to boiling-point.

'I am writing,' Scott says, 'over my second pipe. The sun is still
circling our small tent in a cloudless sky, the air is warm and
quiet. All is pleasant without, and within we have a sense of comfort
we have not known for many a day; we shall sleep well tonight--no
dreams, no tightening of the belt.

'We have been chattering away gaily, and not once has the conversation
turned to food. We have been wondering what Christmas is like in
England... and how our friends picture us. They will guess that
we are away on our sledge journey, and will perhaps think of us
on plains of snow; but few, I think, will imagine the truth, that
for us this has been the reddest of all red-letter days.'




[Page 120]
CHAPTER VI

THE RETURN

        How many weary steps
  Of many weary miles you have o'ergone,
  Are numbered to the travel of one mile.
    SHAKESPEARE.

Some days passed before the pleasing effects of Christmas Day wore
off, for it had been a delightful break in an otherwise uninterrupted
spell of semi-starvation, and the memories lingered long after
hunger had again gripped the three travelers. By this time they
knew that they had cut themselves too short in the matter of food,
but the only possible alteration that could now be made in their
arrangements was to curtail their journey, and rather than do that
they were ready cheerfully to face the distress of having an enormous
appetite, and very little with which to appease it.

Thinking over the homeward marches after he had returned to the
ship, Scott expresses his emphatic opinion that the increasing
weariness showed that they were expending their energies at a greater
rate than they could renew them, and that the additional
[Page 121]
weight, caused by carrying a proper allowance of food, would have
been amply repaid by the preservation of their full strength and
vigour.

Apart, however, from the actual pangs of hunger, there was another
disadvantage from this lack of food, for try as they would it was
impossible not to think and talk incessantly of eating. Before
they went to sleep it was almost certain that one of them would
give a detailed description of what he considered an ideal feast,
while on the march they found themselves counting how many footsteps
went to the minute, and how many, therefore, had to be paced before
another meal.

But if, during these days of hunger, thoughts of what they could
eat if only the chance was given to them kept constantly cropping
up, there were also very real compensations for both their mental
and physical weariness. Day by day, as they journeyed on, they knew
that they were penetrating farther and farther into the unknown.
Each footstep was a gain, and made the result of their labours more
assured. And as they studied the slowly revolving sledge-meter
or looked for the calculated results of their observations, it
is not surprising that above all the desires for food was an
irresistible eagerness to go on and on, and to extend the line
which they were now drawing on the white space of the Antarctic
chart.

Day by day, too, the magnificent panorama of the Western land was
passing before their eyes. 'Rarely a march passed without the disclosure
of some new
[Page 122]
feature, something on which the eye of man had never rested; we
should have been poor souls indeed had we not been elated at the
privilege of being the first to gaze on these splendid scenes.'

From the point of view of further exploration their position on
December 26 was not very hopeful. On their right lay a high undulating
snow-cap and the steep irregular coast-line, to the south lay a cape
beyond which they could not hope to pass, and to all appearances
these conditions were likely to remain to the end of their journey.
But on that night they had christened a distant and lofty peak
'Mount Longstaff,' in honour of the man whose generosity had alone
made the expedition possible, and although they thought that this
was the most southerly land to which they would be able to give a
name, they were in no mood to turn back because the outlook was
unpromising. Arguing on the principle that it was impossible to tell
what may turn up, they all decided to push on; and their decision was
wise, for had they returned at that point one of the most important
features of the whole coast-line would have been missed.

On the 26th and 27th Wilson had a very bad attack of snow-blindness,
which caused him the most intense agony. Some days before Scott had
remarked in his diary upon Wilson's extraordinary industry: 'When
it is fine and clear, at the end of our fatiguing days he will
spend two or three hours seated in the door of the tent sketching
each detail of the splendid mountainous coast-scene to the west.
His sketches
[Page 123]
are most astonishingly accurate; I have tested his proportions by
actual angular measurements and found them correct.... But these
long hours in the glare are very bad for the eyes; we have all
suffered a good deal from snow-blindness of late, though we generally
march with goggles, but Wilson gets the worst bouts, and I fear
it is mainly due to his sketching.'

The attack, however, after Christmas was very much worse than anything
that had gone before, and all day long during the 27th Wilson was
pulling alongside the sledges with his eyes completely covered.
To march blindfold with an empty stomach must touch the bottom
of miserable monotony, but Wilson had not the smallest intention
of giving in. With Scott walking opposite to him and telling him
of the changes that were happening around them he plodded steadily
on, and during the afternoon of the 27th it happened that a most
glorious mountainous scene gradually revealed itself. With some
excitement Scott noticed that new mountain ridges were appearing
as high as anything they had seen to the north, and his excitement
increased when these ridges grew higher and higher. Then, instead
of a downward turn in the distant outline came a steep upward line,
and as they pressed on apace to see what would happen next, Scott
did his best to keep Wilson posted up in the latest details. The
end came in a gloriously sharp double peak crowned with a few flecks
of cirrus cloud, and all they could think of in camp that night
was this splendid twin-peaked mountain, which even in such
[Page 124]
a lofty country looked like a giant among pigmies. 'At last we
have found something which is fitting to bear the name of him whom
we must always the most delight to honour, and "Mount Markham"
it shall be called in memory of the father of the expedition.'

Wilson, in spite of his recent experiences, did not mean to miss
this, and however much his eyes had to suffer the scene had to
be sketched. Fortunately a glorious evening provided a perfect
view of their surroundings, for very soon they knew that the limit
of their journey would be reached, and that they would have but
few more opportunities to increase their stock of information.

After a day that had brought with it both fine weather and most
interesting discoveries, they settled down in their sleeping-bags,
full of hope that the morrow would be equally kind. But instead
of the proposed advance the whole day had to be spent in the tent
while a strong southerly blizzard raged without, and when they
got up on the following morning they found themselves enveloped
in a thick fog.

Reluctantly the decision was made that this camp must be their
last, and consequently their southerly limit had been reached.
Observations gave it as between 82.16 S. and 82.17 S., and though
this record may have compared poorly with what Scott had hoped for
when leaving the ship, it was far more favorable than he anticipated
when the dogs had begun to fail. 'Whilst,' he says, 'one cannot help
a deep sense of disappointment in reflecting on the "might have been"
[Page 125]
had our team remained in good health, one cannot but remember that
even as it is we have made a greater advance towards a pole of
the earth than has ever yet been achieved by a sledge party.'

With less than a fortnight's provision to take them back to Depot
B, they turned their faces homewards on the last day of the year,
and it was significant of the terrible condition of the surviving
dogs that the turn did not cause the smallest excitement. Many
of them were already dead, killed to keep the others alive, but
those which remained seemed to guess how poor a chance they had
of getting back to the ship. Again and again Scott refers to the
suffering of the dogs on the homeward march, and how intensely he
felt for them is proved beyond all manner of doubt. 'January 3.
This afternoon, shortly after starting, "Gus" fell, quite played
out, and just before our halt, to our greater grief, "Kid" caved
in. One could almost weep over this last case; he has pulled like
a Trojan throughout, and his stout little heart bore him up till
his legs failed beneath him.' Only seven of the team now remained,
and of them Jim seemed to be the strongest, but Nigger, though
weak, was still capable of surprising efforts. But at the end of
a week on the return journey, all of the remaining dogs were asked
to do nothing except walk by the sledges.

For several hours on January 7 the men pulled steadily and covered
ten good miles. But the distance they succeeded in traveling was as
nothing compared with the relief they felt at no longer having to drive
[Page 126]
a worn-out team. In the future no more cheering and dragging in
front would be needed, no more tangled traces would have to be
put straight, and above all there would be no more whip. So far
steady though rather slow progress had been made, but January 8
brought an unpleasant surprise. Try as they would the sledge could
scarcely be made to move, and after three hours of the hardest
work only a mile and a quarter had been gained. Sadly they were
compelled to admit that the surface had so completely changed that
the only thing to do was to remain in camp until it improved. But
whether it would improve was an anxious matter, for they had less
than a week's provisions and were at least fifty miles from Depot B.

The next day, however, saw an improvement in the surface, and a
fairly good march was done. By this time only four dogs were left,
Nigger, Jim, Birdie and Lewis, and poor Nigger was so lost out
of harness that he sometimes got close to the traces and marched
along as if he was still doing his share of the pulling. But this
more or less ordinary day was followed on the 10th by a march in
a blizzard that exhausted Scott and Wilson, and had even a more
serious effect upon Shackleton. With the wind behind them they
had gained many miles, but the march had tired them out, because
instead of the steady pulling to which they were accustomed they
had been compelled sometimes to run, and sometimes to pull forwards,
backwards, sideways, and always with their senses keenly alert
and their muscles strung up for instant action.

[Page 127]
On that night Scott in no very cheerful frame of mind wrote: 'We
cannot now be far from our depot, but then we do not exactly know
where we are; there is not many days' food left, and if this thick
weather continues we shall probably not be able to find it.' And
after two more days of bad surface and thick weather he wrote again:
'There is no doubt we are approaching a very critical time. The
depot is a very small spot on a very big ocean of snow; with luck
one might see it at a mile and a half or two miles, and fortune
may direct our course within this radius of it; but, on the other
hand, it is impossible not to contemplate the ease with which such
a small spot can be missed.... The annoying thing is that one good
clear sight of the land would solve all our difficulties.'

At noon on January 13 the outlook was more hopeless than ever.
Three hours' incessant labour had gained only three-quarters of a
mile, and consequently they had to halt though their food-bag was a
mere trifle to lift, and they could have finished all that remained
in it at one sitting and still have been hungry. But later on Scott
caught a glimpse of the sun in the tent, and tumbled hastily out of
his sleeping-bag in the hope of obtaining a meridional altitude;
and after getting the very best result he could under the very
difficult conditions prevailing, he casually lowered the telescope
and swept it round the horizon. Suddenly a speck seemed to flash
by, and a vehement hope as suddenly arose. Then he brought the
telescope slowly back, and there it was again, and accompanied this
[Page 128]
time by two smaller specks on either side of it. Without a shadow
of doubt it was the depot which meant the means of life to them.
'I sprang up and shouted, "Boys, there's the depot." We are not
a demonstrative party, but I think we excused ourselves for the
wild cheer that greeted this announcement.'

In five minutes everything was packed on the sledges, but though
the work was as heavy as before the workers were in a very different
mood to tackle it. To reach those distant specks as quickly as
possible was their one desire and all minor troubles were forgotten
as they marched, for before them was the knowledge that they were
going to have the fat _hoosh_ which would once more give them an
internal sense of comfort. In two hours they were at the depot,
and there they found everything as they had left it.

On that same morning they had stripped off the German silver from
the runners of one of their sledges, and now fortified by the fat
_hoosh_ of their dreams they completed the comparison between the
two sledges, which respectively had metal and wood runners. Having
equalized the weights as much as possible they towed the sledges
round singly, and found that two of them could scarcely move the
metalled sledge as fast as one could drag the other.

Of course they decided to strip the second sledge, and with only
about 130 miles to cover to their next depot, a full three weeks'
provisions, and the prospect of better traveling on wood runners,
they went to bed
[Page 129]
feeling that a heavy load of anxiety had been lifted. The chief
cause of worry left was the question of health, and the result
of a thorough medical examination on the morning of the 14th did
nothing to remove this. Shackleton was found to be very far indeed
from well, but although Scott and Wilson both showed symptoms of
scurvy they still felt that, as far as they were concerned, there
was no danger of a breakdown.

On that day they made a fairly good march, but at the end of it
Wilson had to warn Scott that Shackleton's condition was really
alarming. Commenting on this Scott wrote: 'It's a bad case, but
we must make the best of it and trust to its not getting worse;
now that human life is at stake, all other objects must be
sacrificed.... It went to my heart to give the order, but it had
to be done, and the dogs are to be killed in the morning.

'One of the difficulties we foresee with Shackleton, with his restless,
energetic spirit, is to keep him idle in camp, so to-night I have
talked seriously to him. He is not to do any camping work, but
to allow everything to be done for him.... Every effort must be
devoted to keeping him on his legs, and we must trust to luck to
bring him through.'

With the morning of the 15th came the last scene in the tragic
story of the dogs, and poor Nigger and Jim, the only survivors
of that team of nineteen, were taken a short distance from the
camp and killed. 'I think we could all have wept.... Through our
most troublous time we always looked forward to getting
[Page 130]
some of our animals home. At first it was to have been nine, then
seven, then five, and at the last we thought that surely we should
be able to bring back these two.'

During the part of the return journey which was now beginning,
they had promised themselves an easier time, but instead of that it
resolved itself into days of grim struggle to save a sick companion.
The weather also added to their troubles, because it was so overcast
that steering was extremely difficult. For nearly ten consecutive
days this gloomy weather continued to harass them, but on the 20th
it cleared as they were on their march, and on the following day
with a brisk southerly breeze and their sail set they traveled
along at a fine rate. The state of Shackleton's health was still
a source of acutest anxiety, but each march brought safety nearer
and nearer, and on the 23rd Scott was able to write in a much more
hopeful spirit. Next day a glimpse of the Bluff to the north was
seen, but this encouraging sight was accompanied by a new form
of surface which made the pulling very wearisome. An inch or so
beneath the soft snow surface was a thin crust, almost, but not
quite, sufficient to bear their weight. The work of breaking such
a surface as this would, Scott says, have finished Shackleton in
no time, but luckily he was able to go on ski and avoid the jars.
'In spite of our present disbelief in ski, one is bound to confess
that if we get back safely Shackleton will owe much to the pair
he is now using.'

[Illustration: MOUNT EREBUS.]

[Page 131]
But in spite of bad surfaces and increasingly heavy work, Scott and
Wilson were determined to leave as little as possible to chance,
and to get their invalid along as quickly as his condition would
allow. Directly breakfast was over Shackleton started off and got
well ahead, while Scott and Wilson packed up camp; and after lunch
the same procedure was adopted. By this means he was able to take
things easily, and though eager to do his share of the work he
was wise enough to see that every precaution taken was absolutely
necessary.

Encouragements in this stern struggle were few and far between,
but when the smoke of Erebus was seen on the 25th, it cheered them
to think that they had seen something that was actually beyond the
ship. Probably it was more than a hundred miles away, but they
had become so accustomed to seeing things at a distance that they
were not in the least astonished by this.

January 26, too, had its consolations, for while plodding on as usual
the travelers suddenly saw a white line ahead, and soon afterwards
discovered that it was a sledge track. There was no doubt that
the track was Barne's on his way back from his survey work to the
west, but it was wonderful what that track told them. They could
see that there had been six men with two sledges, and that all of
the former had been going strong and well on ski. From the state
of the track this party had evidently passed about four days before
on the homeward route, and from
[Page 132]
the zig-zagging of the course it was agreed that the weather must
have been thick at the time. Every imprint in the soft snow added
some small fact, and the whole made an excellent detective study.
But the main point was that they knew for certain that Barne and
his party were safe, and this after their own experiences was a
great relief.

Another day and a half of labour brought them to the depot, and
the land of plenty. 'Directly,' Scott wrote on the 28th, 'our tent
was up we started our search among the snow-heaps with childish
glee. One after another our treasures were brought forth: oil enough
for the most lavish expenditure, biscuit that might have lasted
us for a month, and, finally, a large brown provision-bag which
we knew would contain more than food alone. We have just opened
this provision-bag and feasted our eyes on the contents. There
are two tins of sardines, a large tin of marmalade, soup squares,
pea soup, and many other delights that already make our mouths
water. For each one of us there is some special trifle which the
forethought of our kind people has provided, mine being an extra
packet of tobacco; and last, but not least, there are a whole heap
of folded letters and notes--_billets-doux_ indeed. I wonder if
a mail was ever more acceptable.'

The news, too, was good; Royds, after desperate labour, had succeeded
in rescuing the boats; Blissett had discovered an Emperor penguin's
egg, and his messmates expected him to be knighted. But the meal
itself, though 'pure joy' at first, was not an
[Page 133]
unqualified success, for after being accustomed to starvation or
semi-starvation rations, they were in no condition either to resist
or to digest any unstinted meal, and both Scott and Wilson suffered
acutely.

On the next morning they awoke to find a heavy blizzard, and the first
thought of pushing on at all hazards was abandoned when Shackleton
was found to be extremely ill. Everything now depended upon the
weather, for should the blizzard continue Scott doubted if Shackleton
would even be well enough to be carried on the sledge. 'It is a
great disappointment; last night we thought ourselves out of the
wood with all our troubles behind us, and to-night matters seem
worse than ever. Luckily Wilson and I are pretty fit, and we have
lots of food.' By great luck the weather cleared on the morning
of the 30th, and as Shackleton after a very bad night revived a
little it was felt that the only chance was to go on. 'At last
he was got away, and we watched him almost tottering along with
frequent painful halts. Re-sorting our provisions, in half an hour
we had packed our camp, set our sail, and started with the sledges.
It was not long before we caught our invalid, who was so exhausted
that we thought it wiser he should sit on the sledges, where for
the remainder of the forenoon, with the help of our sail, we carried
him.'

In Wilson's opinion Shackleton's relapse was mainly due to the blizzard,
but fortune favored them during the last stages of the struggle
homewards, and the glorious weather had a wonderful effect upon the
[Page 134]
sick man. By the night of February 2 they were within ten or twelve
miles of their goal, and saw a prospect of a successful end to their
troubles. During the afternoon they had passed round the corner
of White Island, and as they did so the old familiar outline of the
friendly peninsula suddenly opened up before them. On every side
were suggestions of home, and their joy at seeing the well-known
landmarks was increased by the fact that they were as nearly 'spent
as three persons can well be.'

Shackleton, it is true, had lately shown an improvement, but his
companions placed but little confidence in that, for they knew
how near he had been, and still was, to a total collapse. And both
Scott and Wilson knew also that their scurvy had again been advancing
rapidly, but they scarcely dared to admit either to themselves or
each other how 'done' they were. For many a day Wilson had suffered
from lameness, and each morning had vainly tried to disguise his
limp, but from his set face Scott knew well enough how much he
suffered before the first stiffness wore off. 'As for myself, for
some time I have hurried through the task of changing my foot-gear
in an attempt to forget that my ankles are considerably swollen.
One and all we want rest and peace, and, all being well, tomorrow,
thank Heaven, we shall get them.'

These are the final words written in Scott's sledge-diary during this
remarkable journey, for on the next morning they packed up their camp
for the last time and set their faces towards Observation Hill.
[Page 135]
Brilliant weather still continued, and after plodding on for some
hours two specks appeared, which at first were thought to be penguins,
but presently were seen to be men hurrying towards them. Early in the
morning they had been reported by watchers on the hills, and Skelton
and Bernacchi had hastened out to meet them.

Then the tent was put up, and while cocoa was made they listened to
a ceaseless stream of news, for not only had all the other travelers
returned safe and sound with many a tale to tell, but the relief
ship, the _Morning_, had also arrived and brought a whole year's
news.

So during their last lunch and during the easy march that followed,
they, gradually heard of the events in the civilized world from
December, 1901, to December, 1902, and these kept their thoughts
busy until they rounded the cape and once more saw their beloved
ship.

Though still held fast in her icy prison the _Discovery_ looked
trim and neat, and to mark the especial nature of the occasion
a brave display of bunting floated gently in the breeze, while
as they approached, the side and the rigging were thronged with
their cheering comrades.

With every want forestalled, and every trouble lifted from their
shoulders by companions vying with one another to attend to them,
no welcome could have been more delightful, and yet at the time
it appeared unreal to their dull senses. 'It seemed too good to
be true that all our anxieties had so completely ended,
[Page 136]
and that rest for brain and limb was ours at last.' For ninety-three
days they had plodded over a vast snow-field and slept beneath the
fluttering canvas of a tent; during that time they had covered 960
statute miles; and if the great results hoped for in the beginning
had not been completely achieved, they knew at any rate that they
had striven and endured to the limit of their powers.




[Page 137]
CHAPTER VII

A SECOND WINTER

  As cold waters to a thirsty soul,
  So is good news from a far country.
    PROVERBS.

In a very short time Scott discovered that the sledding resources
of the ship had been used to their fullest extent during his absence,
and that parties had been going and coming and ever adding to the
collection of knowledge.

On November 2 Royds had gone again to Cape Crozier to see how the
Emperor penguins were faring, and in the meantime such rapid progress
had been made in the preparations for the western party that November
9, being King Edward's birthday, was proclaimed a general holiday
and given up to the eagerly anticipated athletic sports.

Of all the events perhaps the keenest interest was shown in the
toboggan race, for which the men entered in pairs. Each couple
had to provide their own toboggan, subject to the rule that no
sledge, or part of a sledge, and no ski should be used. The start
was high up the hillside, and as the time for it approached the
[Page 138]
queerest lot of toboggans gradually collected. The greater number
were roughly made from old boxes and cask staves, but something of
a sensation was caused when the canny Scottish carpenter's mate
arrived with a far more pretentious article, though built from the
same material. In secret he had devoted himself to making what
was really a very passable sledge, and when he and his companion
secured themselves to this dark horse, the result of the race was
considered a foregone conclusion. But soon after the start it was
seen that this couple had laboured in vain; for although they shot
ahead at first, their speed was so great that they could not control
their machine. In a moment they were rolling head-over-heels in
clouds of snow, and while the hare was thus amusing itself a tortoise
slid past and won the race.

By the end of November everything was ready for the western journey,
and a formidable party set out on the 29th to cross McMurdo Sound and
attack the mainland. In Armitage's own party were Skelton and ten
men, while the supports consisted of Koettlitz, Ferrar, Dellbridge
and six men. Excellent pioneer work was done by Armitage and his party
during their seven weeks' journey. Without a doubt a practicable
road to the interior was discovered and traversed, and the barrier
of mountains that had seemed so formidable an obstruction from the
ship was conquered. It was equally certain that the party could
claim to be the first to set foot on the interior of Victoria Land
but they had been forced to turn back at an extremely
[Page 139]
interesting point, and in consequence were unable to supply very
definite information with regard to the ice-cap. They had, however,
fulfilled their main object, and in doing so had disclosed problems
that caused the deepest interest to be focussed upon the direction
in which they had traveled.

Perhaps the most promising circumstance of all was that among the
rock specimens brought back were fragments of quartz-grits. These,
with other observations, showed the strong probability of the existence
of sedimentary deposits which might be reached and examined, and
which alone could serve to reveal the geological history of this
great southern continent. At all hazards Scott determined that
the geologist of the expedition must be given a chance to explore
this most interesting region.

The extensive preparations for the western journey had practically
stripped the ship of sledge equipment, and those who went out on
shorter journeys were obliged to make the best of the little that
remained. This did not, however, balk their energies, and by resorting
to all kinds of shifts and devices they made many useful expeditions.

While these efforts at exploration were being carried out the ship
was left in the charge of Royds, who employed everyone on board
in the most important task of freeing the boats. Drastic measures
had to be taken before they could be released from their beds of
ice, and with sawing and blasting going on in the unseen depths,
it was not possible
[Page 140]
that the task could be accomplished without doing considerable
damage. When at length all of them had been brought to the surface
their condition was exceedingly dilapidated; indeed only two of
them were in a condition to float; but although it was evident
that the carpenter would be busy for many weeks before they would
be seaworthy, their reappearance was a tremendous relief.

Long before his departure to the south, Scott had given instructions
that the _Discovery_ should be prepared for sea by the end of January.
Consequently, after the boats had been freed, there was still plenty
of employment for everybody, since 'preparations for sea' under
such circumstances meant a most prodigious amount of labour. Tons
and tons of snow had to be dug out from the deck with pick-axes
and shoveled over the side; aloft, sails and ropes had to be looked
to, the running-gear to be re-rove, and everything got ready for
handling the ship under sail; many things that had been displaced
or landed near the shore-station had to be brought on board and
secured in position; thirty tons of ice had to be fetched, melted,
and run into the boilers; below, steam-pipes had to be rejointed,
glands re-packed, engines turned by hand, and steam raised to see
that all was in working order.

Not doubting that the ice would soon break up and release the ship,
this work was carried on so vigorously that when the southern travelers
returned all was ready for them to put to sea again.

[Page 141]
But eleven days before Scott and his companions struggled back to
safety the great event of the season had happened in the arrival
of the _Morning_. How the funds were raised by means of which this
ship was sent is a tale in itself; briefly, however, it was due to
the untiring zeal and singleness of purpose shown by Sir Clements
Markham that the _Morning_, commanded by Lieutenant William Colbeck,
R.N.R., was able to leave the London Docks on July 9, 1902.

Long before the _Discovery_ had left New Zealand the idea of a
relief ship had been discussed, and although Scott saw great
difficulties in the way, he also felt quite confident that if the
thing was to be done Sir Clements was the man to do it. Obviously
then it was desirable to leave as much information as possible
on the track, and the relief ship was to try and pick up clues
at the places where Scott had said that he would attempt to leave
them. These places were Cape Adare, Possession Islands, Coulman
Island, Wood Bay, Franklin Island and Cape Crozier.

On January 8 a landing was effected at Cape Adare, and there Colbeck
heard of the _Discovery's_ safe arrival in the south. The Possession
Islands were drawn blank, because Scott had not been able to land
there, and south of this the whole coast was so thickly packed that
the _Morning_ could not approach either Coulman Island or Wood
Bay.

Franklin Island was visited on January 14, but
[Page 142]
without result; and owing to the quantities of pack ice it was not
until four days later that a landing was made at Cape Crozier. Colbeck
himself joined the landing party, and after spending several hours
in fruitless search, he was just giving up the hunt and beginning
despondently to wonder what he had better do next, when suddenly a
small post was seen on the horizon. A rush was made for it, and
in a few minutes Colbeck knew that he had only to steer into the
mysterious depths of McMurdo Sound to find the _Discovery_, and
practically to accomplish the work he had set out to do.

On board the _Discovery_ the idea had steadily grown that a relief
ship would come. For no very clear reason the men had begun to
look upon it as a certainty, and during the latter part of January
it was not uncommon for wild rumors to be spread that smoke had
been seen to the north. Such reports, therefore, were generally
received without much excitement, but when a messenger ran down
the hill on the night of the 23rd to say that there was actually a
ship in sight the enthusiasm was intense. Only the most imperturbable
of those on board could sleep much during that night, and early
on the 24th a large party set out over the floe. The _Morning_
was lying some ten miles north of the _Discovery_, but it was far
easier to see her than to reach her. At last, however, the party,
after various little adventures, stood safely on deck and received
the warmest of welcomes.

During the last week of January the weather was
[Page 143]
in its most glorious mood, and with some of the treacherous thin
ice breaking away the _Morning_ was able to get a mile nearer.
Parties constantly passed to and fro between the two ships, and
everyone--with unshaken confidence that the _Discovery_ would soon
be free--gave themselves up to the delight of fresh companionship,
and the joy of good news from the home country. To this scene of
festivity and cheeriness Scott, Wilson and Shackleton returned on
February 3, and though the last to open their letters they had
the satisfaction of knowing that the _Morning_ had brought nothing
but good news.

By a curious coincidence Colbeck chose the night of the Southern
party's return to make his first visit to the _Discovery_, and soon
after Scott had come out of his delicious bath and was reveling in
the delight of clean clothes, he had the pleasure of welcoming him
on board. 'In those last weary marches over the barrier,' Scott says,
'I had little expected that the first feast in our home quarters
would be taken with strange faces gathered round our festive table,
but so it was, and I can well remember the look of astonishment
that dawned on those faces when we gradually displayed our power
of absorbing food.'

But however difficult the appetites of the party were to appease,
for a fortnight after they had reached the ship their condition
was very wretched. Shackleton at once went to bed, and although
he soon tried to be out and about again, the least exertion caused
a return of his breathlessness, and he still suffered from
[Page 144]
the violent fits of coughing that had troubled him so much on the
journey. With Wilson, who at one time had shown the least signs
of scurvy, the disease had increased so rapidly at the end that
on his return he wisely decided to go to bed, where he remained
quietly for ten days. 'Wilson,' Scott wrote on February 16, 'is a
very fine fellow, his pluck and go were everything on our southern
journey; one felt he wouldn't give in till he dropped.' And this
collapse when he got back to the ship was in itself a proof of the
determination which must have upheld him during the last marches.

Scott, though the least affected of the three, was also by no means
fit and well. Both his legs were swollen and his gums were very
uncomfortable, but in addition to these troubles he was attacked
by an overwhelming feeling of both physical and mental weariness.
'Many days passed,' he says, 'before I could rouse myself from this
slothful humour, and it was many weeks before I had returned to
a normally vigorous condition. It was probably this exceptionally
relaxed state of health that made me so slow to realize that the
ice conditions were very different from what they had been in the
previous season.... The prospect of the ice about us remaining fast
throughout the season never once entered my head.' His diary, however,
for the month shows how he gradually awakened to the true state of
affairs, and on February 13 he decided to begin the transport of
stores from the _Morning_ to the _Discovery_, so that the former
ship 'should run no risk of being detained.' And on the 18th when
[Page 145]
he paid his first visit to the _Morning_ and found the journey
'an awful grind,' he had begun to wonder whether the floe was ever
going to break up.

[Illustration: LUNAR CORONA.]

A week later he was clearly alive to the situation. 'The _Morning_
must go in less than a week, and it seems now impossible that we
shall be free by that time, though I still hope the break-up may
come after she has departed.' Some time previously he had decided
that if they had to remain the ship's company should be reduced,
and on the 24th he had a talk with the men and told them that he
wished nobody to stop on board who was not willing. On the following
day a list was sent round for the names of those who wanted to go,
and the result was curiously satisfactory--for Scott had determined
that eight men should go, and not only were there eight names on
the list, but they were also precisely those which Scott would
have put there had he made the selection. Shackleton also had to
be told that he must go, as in his state of health Scott did not
think that any further hardships ought to be risked; but in his
place Scott requisitioned Mulock who by an extraordinary chance
is just the very man we wanted. We have now an immense amount of
details for charts... and Mulock is excellent at this work and as
keen as possible. It is rather amusing, as he is the only person
who is obviously longing for the ice to stop in, though of course
he doesn't say so. The other sporting characters are still giving
ten to one that it will go out, but I am bound to confess that
I am not sanguine.'

[Page 146]
The letter from which the last extract is taken was begun on February
16, and before the end of the month all hope of the _Discovery_
being able to leave with the _Morning_ had been abandoned. On March
2 nearly the whole of the _Discovery's_ company were entertained
on board the _Morning_, and on the following day the relief ship
slowly backed away from the ice-edge, and in a few minutes she was
turning to the north, with every rope and spar outlined against
the black northern sky. Cheer after cheer was raised as she gathered
way, and long after she had passed out of earshot the little band
stood gazing at her receding hull, and wondering when they too
would be able to take the northern track.

In the _Morning_ went a letter from Scott which shows that although
in a sense disappointed by the prospect of having to remain for
another winter, both he and his companions were not by any means
dismayed. 'It is poor luck,' he wrote, 'as I was dead keen on getting
a look round C. North before making for home. However we all take
it philosophically, and are perfectly happy and contented on board,
and shall have lots to do in winter, spring and summer. We will
have a jolly good try to free the ship next year, though I fear
manual labour doesn't go far with such terribly heavy ice as we
have here; but this year we were of course unprepared, and when
we realized the situation it was too late to begin anything like
extensive operations. I can rely on every single man that remains
in the ship and I gave them all the option of leaving...
[Page 147]
the ship's company is now practically naval-officers and men--it
is rather queer when one looks back to the original gift of two
officers.'

Referring to the Southern journey he says, 'We cut our food and
fuel too fine.... I never knew before what it was to be hungry;
at times we were famished and had to tighten our belts nightly
before going to sleep. The others dreamt of food snatched away at
the last moment, but this didn't bother me so much.'

But characteristically the greater part of this long letter refers
not to his own doings, but to the admirable qualities of those who
were with him. Wilson, Royds, Skelton, Hodgson, Barne and Bernacchi
are all referred to in terms of the warmest praise, and for the
manner in which Colbeck managed the relief expedition the greatest
admiration is expressed. But in some way or other Scott discovered
good points in all the officers he mentioned, and if they were
not satisfactory in every way his object seemed to be rather to
excuse than to blame them. He was, however, unaffectedly glad to
see the last of the cook, for the latter had shown himself far
more capable at talking than at cooking, and had related so many
of his wonderful adventures that one of the sailors reckoned that
the sum total of these thrilling experiences must have extended
over a period of five hundred and ninety years--which, as the sailor
said, was a fair age even for a cook.

By March 14 even the most optimistic of the company were compelled
to admit the certainty of a second winter, and orders were given
to prepare the
[Page 148]
ship for it. Compared with the previous year the weather had been
a great deal worse, for there had been more wind and much lower
temperatures, and under such conditions it was hopeless to go on
expecting the ice to break up. But it was not to be wondered at
that they found themselves wondering what their imprisonment meant.
Was it the present summer or the last that was the exception? For
them this was the gravest question, since on the answer to it their
chance of getting away next year, or at all, depended.

While, however, the situation as regards the future was not altogether
without anxiety, they sturdily determined to make the best of the
present. To ward off any chance of scurvy, it was determined to
keep rigidly to a fresh-meat routine throughout the winter, and
consequently a great number of seals and skuas had to be killed.
At first the skua had been regarded as unfit for human food, but
Skelton on a sledding trip had caught one in a noose and promptly
put it into the pot. And the result was so satisfactory that the
skua at once began to figure prominently on the menu. They had,
however, to deplore the absence of penguins from their winter diet,
because none had been seen near the ship for a long time.

On Wednesday, April 24, the sun departed, but Scott remarks upon
this rather dismal fact with the greatest cheerfulness: 'It would be
agreeable to know what is going to happen next year, but otherwise
we have no wants. Our routine goes like clock-work;
[Page 149]
we eat, sleep, work and play at regular hours, and are never in
lack of employment. Hockey, I fear, must soon cease for lack of
light, but it has been a great diversion, although not unattended
with risks, for yesterday I captured a black eye from a ball furiously
driven by Royds.'

Of the months that followed little need be said, except that Scott's
anticipations were fully realized. In fact the winter passed by
without a hitch, and their second mid-winter day found them even
more cheerful than their first. Hodgson continued to work away
with his fish-traps, tow-nets and dredging; Mulock, who had been
trained as a surveyor and had great natural abilities for the work,
was most useful, first in collecting and re-marking all the
observations, and later on in constructing temporary charts; while
Barne generally vanished after breakfast and spent many a day at
his distant sounding holes.

Throughout the season the routine of scientific observations was
carried out in the same manner as in the previous year, while many
new details were added; and so engaged was everyone in serviceable
work that when the second long Polar night ended, Scott was able to
write: 'I do not think there is a soul on board the _Discovery_ who
would say that it has been a hardship.... All thoughts are turned
towards the work that lies before us, and it would be difficult to
be blind to the possible extent of its usefulness. Each day has
brought it more home to us how little we know and how much there
is to be learned, and we
[Page 150]
realize fully that this second year's work may more than double
the value of our observations. Life in these regions has lost any
terror it ever possessed for us, for we know that, come what may,
we can live, and live well, for any reasonable number of years
to come.'




[Page 151]
CHAPTER VIII

THE WESTERN JOURNEY

  Path of advance! but it leads
  A long steep journey through sunk
  Gorges, o'er mountains in snow.--M. ARNOLD.

During the second winter much time and attention had to be given
to the sledge equipment, for there was scarcely an article in it
that did not need to be thoroughly overhauled and refitted. But in
spite of all their efforts, the outfit for the coming season was
bound to be a tattered and makeshift affair. Skins of an inferior
quality had to be used for sleeping-bags; the tents were blackened
with use, threadbare in texture, and patched in many places; the
cooking apparatus was considerably the worse for wear; the wind
clothes were almost worn out, while for all the small bags, which
were required for provisions, they were obliged to fall back on any
sheets and tablecloths that could be found. This state of things,
however, was very far from daunting their spirits, and long before
the winter was over the plan of campaign for the next season had
been drawn up.

In making the program Scott knew that extended
[Page 152]
journeys could only be made by properly supported parties, and it
was easy to see that his small company would not be able to make
more than two supported journeys, though it might be just possible
to make a third more or less lengthy journey without support. The
next thing to decide was in what direction these parties should
go, and in this connection the greatest interest undoubtedly lay
in the west. To explore the Ferrar Glacier from a geological point
of view and find out the nature of the interior ice-cap must, Scott
determined, be attempted at all costs, and this journey to the
west he decided to lead himself.

In the south it was evident that without dogs no party could hope
to get beyond the point already reached. But Scott's journey had
been made a long way from land, and consequently had left many
problems unsolved, chief among which were the extraordinary straits
that had appeared to run through the mountain ranges without rising
in level. It was therefore with the main object of exploring one
of them that the second supported party, under the leadership of
Barne and Mulock, was to set out.

The credit in arranging the direction in which the unsupported
party should go belongs to Bernacchi, who was the first to ask
Scott what proof they had that the barrier surface continued on
a level to the eastward; and when Scott began to consider this
question, he discovered that there was no definite proof, and decided
that the only way to get it was to go and see.

[Illustration: PINNACLED ICE AT MOUTH OF FERRAR GLACIER. _Photo
by F. Debenham._]

[Illustration: PRESSURE RIDGES NORTH SIDE OF DISCOVERY BLUFF. _Photo
by F. Debenham._]

[Page 153]
Besides the longer journeys, the program included a number of shorter
ones for specific purposes, and the most important of these were
the periodic visits to the Emperor penguin rookery, as it was hoped
that Wilson would be able to observe these birds from the beginning
of their breeding season.

Finally, one important factor was to dominate all the sledding
arrangements, for although the _Discovery_ was mainly at the mercy
of natural causes, Scott made up his mind that everything man could
do to free her from the ice should be done. As soon as they could
hope to make any impression upon the great ice-sheet around them,
the whole force of the company was to set to work at the task of
extrication, and so all sledding journeys were to start in time
to assure their return to the ship by the middle of December.

On September 9 Scott got away with his own party of Skelton, Dailey,
Evans, Lashly and Handsley, their object being to find a new road to
the Ferrar Glacier, and on it to place a depot ready for a greater
effort over the ice-cap. The Ferrar Glacier descends gradually
to the inlet, which had been named New Harbor, but Armitage had
reported most adversely on this inlet as a route for sledges, and
in conducting his own party had led it across the high foot-hills.
As yet Scott had not been to this region, but in the nature of
things he could not help thinking that some practical route must
exist up the New Harbour inlet, and that if it could be found the
journey to the west would be much easier. And the result of this
little journey
[Page 154]
was really important, for whereas Armitage, at the foot of the
Ferrar Glacier, had seen the disturbance on the south side, and
had concluded that it must extend right across, Scott's party
fortunately pushed over this disturbance and found much easier
conditions beyond it.

The fact thus discovered, and which was amply supported by further
observations, was that invariably in the Antarctic regions where
glaciers run more or less east and west, the south side will be
found to be much broken up and decayed, while the north side will
be comparatively smooth and even. The reason of this, of course,
is simple enough, for the sun achieves its highest altitude in the
north, and consequently its warmest and most direct rays fall on
the south side of a valley. Here, therefore, the greater part of
the summer melting takes place, and a wild chaos of ice disturbance
is caused.

Scott's party, by taking a different route, laid a depot at a spot
which Armitage had taken three weeks to reach, and was back again
at the ship in less than a fortnight.

'We were,' Scott says, 'inclined to be exceedingly self-satisfied;
we had accomplished our object with unexpected ease, we had done
a record march, and we had endured record temperatures--at least,
we thought so, and thought also how pleasant it would be to tell
these things in front of a nice bright fire. As we approached the
ship, however, Hodgson came out to greet us, and his first question
was, "What temperatures
[Page 155]
have you had?" We replied by complacently quoting our array of
_minus_ fifties, but he quickly cut us short by remarking that we
were not in it.'

In fact during those few days there had been a very cold snap throughout
the region. Barne's party on the barrier, where they had been laying
a depot, had the coldest time, and after their thermometer had
fallen lower and lower its spirit-column broke at -67.7 deg.. Royds
and his party also had to endure -62 deg., but in other respects they
were in luck. For on arriving at Cape Crozier they found that the
Emperor penguins had already hatched out their young, and Wilson
was delighted to get the opportunity of studying the chicks at
such a tender age. Commenting upon this and another journey to
Cape Crozier, Wilson wrote: 'The Emperor penguin stands nearly
four feet high, and weighs upward of eighty to ninety pounds....
I think the chickens hate their parents, and when one watches the
proceedings in a rookery it strikes one as not surprising. In the
first place there is about one chick to ten or twelve adults, and
each adult has an overpowering desire to "sit" on something. Both
males and females want to nurse, and the result is that when a
chicken finds himself alone there is a rush on the part of a dozen
unemployed to seize him. Naturally he runs away, and dodges here
and there till a six-stone Emperor falls on him, and then begins
a regular football scrimmage, in which each tries to hustle the
other off, and the end is too often disastrous to the chick....
I think it is not
[Page 156]
an exaggeration to say that of the 77 per cent. that die no less
than half are killed by kindness.'

From Cape Crozier Cross resolved to try to bring two chickens back
to the ship, and by giving up his sleeping jacket to keep them
warm and tending them with the utmost care, he succeeded in his
attempt. But eventually they died from unnatural feeding, and Wilson
says: 'Had we even succeeded in bringing them to the age when they
put on their feathers, I fear that the journey home through the
tropics would have proved too much for them, as we had no means
of making a cool place for them on the ship.'

September 21 brought with it a grievous disappointment, as on that
day the nautical almanac announced that nine-tenths of the sun would
be obscured. For this event Bernacchi had made the most careful
preparations, and everyone was placed under his orders during the
day. Telescopes and the spectroscopic camera were trained in the
right direction, magnetic instruments were set to run at quick
speed, and observers were told off to watch everything on which the
absence of sun could possibly have the smallest effect. Everything,
in short, was ready except the sun itself which obstinately refused
to come out. 'There may,' Scott says, 'have been an eclipse of
the sun on September 21, 1903, as the almanac said, but we should
none of us have liked to swear to the fact.'

The next three weeks or so were spent in preparations for the long
journeys, and on October 12 Scott
[Page 157]
left the ship with a party of twelve, and four 11-foot sledges. First
came his own party, which included Skelton, Feather, Evans, Lashly
and Handsley; secondly there was a small party for the geologist,
Ferrar, who was accompanied by Kennar and Weller; and thirdly there
were the supports, consisting of Dailey, Williamson and Plumley.

Scott guessed rightly that in many respects this was going to be the
hardest task he had yet undertaken, but he knew also that experience
would be a thing to be reckoned upon, and that it would take a
good deal to stop the determined men whom he had chosen. At the
start their loads were a little over 200 lbs. per man, but most
of the party were by this time in thoroughly good condition, and
by hard marching they covered the forty-five miles to New Harbour
and reached the snow-cape early on the 14th.

This snow-cape in future was to be known as Butter Point, for here
on their return journey they could hope to obtain fresh seal-meat,
and in preparation for this great event a tin of butter was carried
and left at the point for each party.

At first all went well with the travelers, and it was not until
the evening of the 17th, when they were camped amid indescribably
beautiful scenery, that the first cloud of trouble arose. Then
Dailey the carpenter reported that the German silver had split
under the runners of two sledges, and this was a most serious blow;
for although the wood runners were capable of running on snow without
protection, on
[Page 158]
hard, sharp ice, especially if the sledge was heavily laden, they
would be knocked to pieces in a very short time. It was, therefore,
absolutely necessary to protect the runners on this journey, but
unfortunately the German silver protection had already stood a
season's work, and had worn thin without giving any outward sign.

From start to finish of the Ferrar Glacier about ninety miles of
hard ice were to be expected, and the problem that immediately
arose was how to get the sledges over this without damage.

By lunch-time on the 18th they had achieved a height of over 6,000
feet, and by that time the sledges were in such a parlous state
that Scott had all of them unpacked and the runners turned up for
inspection. Horrid revelations followed; one sledge remained sound,
and Scott promptly decided that there was one course and only one to
take, and that was to return to the ship as fast as they could. Had
two sledges been available the advance party might have struggled on,
but with one they could do nothing; so they left the sound sledge
with everything else except the half-week's provisions necessary
to take them back, and on the following days they 'came as near
flying as is possible with a sledge party.' On the morning of the
19th they had eighty-seven miles to cover, and by 8.30 P.M. on
the 21st they had reached the ship.

During this march Scott had determined to test his own party to
the utmost, but seeing no necessity
[Page 159]
for the supports to be dragged into this effort he told them to
take their own time. The supporting party, however, did not mean
to be left behind if they could help it, and later on the night
of the 21st they also reached the ship. In the hard struggle of
the last hours some of the members of the supporting party, though
determined not to give in, had been comically astounded by the
pace which was set, and Kennar, presumably referring to Scott,
kept on repeating, 'If he can do it, I don't see why I can't: my
legs are as long as his.

Five days after their flying return they were off again, and although
the material for repairing sledges was very scanty, one sound 11-foot
sledge had been made and also a 7-foot one for Ferrar's glacier
work. Trouble, however, almost at once began with the runners,
and on the 29th Ferrar's sledge gave out and caused a long delay.
But in spite of being held up by wind for two days, they reached
their depot on November 1, and thought at first that everything
was safe. On examination, however, they discovered that a violent
gale had forced open the lid of the instrument box, and that several
things were missing, among which Scott found to his dismay was
the 'Hints to Travelers.'

'The gravity of this blow,' he wrote in his diary on November 1,
'can scarcely be exaggerated; but whilst I realized the blow I
felt that nothing would induce me to return to the ship a second
time; I thought it fair, however, to put the case to the others,
[Page 160]
and I am, as I expected, fortified by their willing consent to take
the risks of pushing on.'

In traveling to the west, Scott expected to be--as indeed he was--out
of sight of landmarks for some weeks. In such a case as this the
sledge-traveler is in precisely the same position as a ship or a
boat at sea: he can only obtain a knowledge of his whereabouts
by observation of the sun or stars, and with the help of these
observations he finds his latitude and longitude, but to do this a
certain amount of data is required. 'Hints to Travelers' supplies
these necessary data, and it was on this book that Scott had been
relying to help him to work out his sights and fix accurately the
position of his party. Unless he went back to the ship to make
good his loss, he was obliged to take the risk of marching into
the unknown without knowing exactly where he was or how he was to
get back. 'If,' he says, 'the loss of our "Hints to Travelers" did
not lead us into serious trouble it caused me many a bad half-hour.'

Having, however, decided to push on, they wasted no time about
it, and although the sledge-runners continued to need constant
attention they arrived at the base of the upper glacier reach on
the 2nd, and on the following day gained a height of 7,000 feet.

So far nothing exceptionally eventful had occurred, but November
4 was destined to begin a time that Scott described afterwards as
'the most miserable week I have ever spent.' In the morning of
the 4th there was bright sunshine with a cold, increasing wind,
[Page 161]
but later on the sun disappeared and the weather became very
threatening. Still, however, they battled on and were half-way
up the bare, icy slope they were climbing, when the air became
thick with driving snow and the full force of the gale burst upon
them. Pushing on at almost a run they succeeded in reaching the
top, and hurriedly started to search for a patch of snow on which
to camp, but nothing could be found except bare, blue ice. By this
time the position was becoming serious, all of them were frost-bitten
in the face, and although the runners of the sledges were split
again so badly that they could barely pull them over the surface,
they did not dare to leave the sledges in the thick drift.

At last a white patch was seen and a rush was made for it, but the
snow discovered was so ancient and wind-swept that it was almost
as hard as the ice itself. Nevertheless they knew it was this or
nothing, and Scott seized a shovel for his own tent-party, and
dug for all he was worth without making the least impression. At
this moment Feather, the boatswain, luckily came to help him, and
being more expert with the shovel managed to chip out a few small
blocks. Then they tried to get up a tent, but again and again it
and the poles were blown flat, and at least an hour passed before
the tents were erected. 'Nothing,' Scott wrote, 'but experience
saved us from disaster to-day, for I feel pretty confident that
we could not have stood another hour in the open.'

Little, however, did they expect when shelter
[Page 162]
was gained that a week would pass before they could resume their
march. From November 4-11 the gale raged unceasingly, and meanwhile
not a vision of the outer world came to them, for they were enveloped
continuously in a thick fog of driving snow.

In Scott's tent there was one book, Darwin's 'Cruise of the _Beagle_,'
and first one and then another would read this aloud, until frozen
fingers prevented the pages from being turned over. Only one piece
of work were they able to perform, and this on the first day when,
thinking the storm would soon blow over, they hauled the sledges
beneath one of the tents and stripped the German silver ready for
the onward march.

By the fifth day of their imprisonment sleep began to desert them,
and Scott, realizing that the long inactivity was telling on the
health of the party, determined that whatever the conditions might
be he would try to start on the following morning.

This attempt, however, resulted in complete failure. In ten minutes
both of Scott's hands were 'gone,' Skelton had three toes and the
heel of one foot badly frost-bitten, and Feather lost all feeling
in both feet. 'Things are looking serious,' Scott wrote after this
unsuccessful effort to be up and doing, 'I fear the long spell of
bad weather is telling on us. The cheerfulness of the party is
slowly waning; I heard the usual song from Lashly this morning,
but it was very short-lived and dolorous.... Something must be
done to-morrow, but what it will be, to-morrow only can show.'

Fortunately the next morning brought a lull in the
[Page 163]
storm, and though the air was still as thick as a hedge it was
possible at last to break away from 'Desolation Camp.' Then Scott's
party separated from Ferrar's, the former making for the ice-fall
and eventually and miraculously reaching the top without accident.
On starting they could not see half-a-dozen yards ahead, and at
once went as nearly as possible into an enormous chasm; and when
they began to ascend they crossed numerous crevasses without waiting
to see if the bridges would bear. 'I really believe that we were
in a state when we none of us really cared much what happened;
our sole thought was to get away from that miserable spot.'

But during the succeeding days fortune was with them, and by the
night of the 13th the fight was won and the summit reached. With
five weeks' provisions in hand, and the prospect of covering many
miles before a return to the glacier would be necessary, they were,
as they camped at the elevation of 8,900 feet, a very different
party from the one which had struggled out of 'Desolation Camp'
on the morning of the 11th.

But they had scarcely gained the summit of the icecap and started the
journey to the west before troubles again began to gather round them.
The long stay in 'Desolation Camp' had covered their sleeping-bags
and night-jackets with ice, and with falling temperatures this ice
had so little chance to evaporate that camping arrangements were
acutely uncomfortable; and as each night the thermometer fell a
little lower,
[Page 164]
the chance of relief from this state of things could scarcely be
said to exist. The wind, too, was a constant worry, for though it
was not very strong, when combined with the low temperature and
rarefied air its effect was blighting.

'I do not think,' Scott wrote, 'that it would be possible to conceive
a more cheerless prospect than that which faced us at this time,
when on this lofty, desolate plateau we turned our backs upon the
last mountain peak that could remind us of habitable lands. Yet
before us lay the unknown. What fascination lies in that word!
Could anyone wonder that we determined to push on, be the outlook
ever so comfortless?'

So they plodded forward with all their strength, but in spite of
every effort their progress gradually became slower. By the 17th
the sledges had been divided, Scott, Feather, and Evans leading
with one, while Skelton, Handsley, and Lashly followed with the
other. But Scott found very soon that the second sledge had great
difficulty in keeping up, and that although he himself felt thoroughly
strong and well, some of his companions were beginning to fail. As
was natural with such men not one of them would own that he was
exhausted, and in consequence it was only by paying the keenest
attention that he could detect those who from sheer incapacity
were relaxing their strain on the traces. And his position was not
pleasant even when he knew, for to tell any of these brave people
that they must turn back was a most unenviable
[Page 165]
task. Thus it came about that all six of them marched on, though
Scott was sure that better progress would have been made had the
party been divided.

Something like a climax was reached on the 20th, when Handsley
more or less broke down. Not for a moment, however, did he mean
to give up, and when he was relieved of some part of his work he
begged Scott not again to make an example of him. In Handsley's
opinion his breakdown was a disgrace, and no arguments would make
him change it. Small wonder then that Scott wrote in his diary:
'What children these men are, and yet what splendid children! The
boatswain has been suffering agonies from his back; he has been
pulling just behind me, and in some sympathy that comes through the
traces I have got to know all about him, yet he has never uttered a
word of complaint, and when he knows my eye is on him he straightens
up and pretends he is just as fit as ever. What is one to do with
such people?'

What Scott did was to try for another day to go on as before, but
on November 22 he had to tell Skelton, Feather, and Handsley that
they must turn back, and though 'they could not disguise their
disappointment, they all seemed to understand that it had to be.'

From the date on which Scott reluctantly came to this decision,
three weeks of the hardest physical toil followed for him and his
companions, Evans and Lashly. Nevertheless Scott looked back upon
this strenuous time with unmixed satisfaction, and paid a
[Page 166]
high tribute of praise to his companions for their part in the
successful work that was done.

'With these two men behind me,' he says, 'our sledge seemed to be
a living thing, and the days of slow progress were numbered....
Troubles and discomforts were many, and we could only guess at
the progress we made, but we knew that by sticking to our task
we should have our reward when our observations came to be worked
out on board the ship.'

Regularly each night the temperature fell to -40 deg. or below, while
during the marching hours it rarely rose much above -25 deg., and with
this low temperature there was a constant wind. In fact the wind was
the plague of their lives and cut them to pieces. So cracked were
their faces that laughing hurt horribly, and the first half-hour
of the morning march, before they were warmed up to the work, was
dreadful, as then all their sore places got frost-bitten. In short the
last week of their outward march was a searching test of endurance,
but they had resolved to march on until November 30, and in spite
of the miserable conditions there was no turning back before the
month had ended.

Scott, however, was most undisguisedly glad when November 30 had
come and gone. 'We have finished our last outward march, thank
heaven! Nothing has kept us going during the past week but the
determination to carry out our original intention of going on to
the end of the month, and so here we have pitched our last camp.'




[Page 167]
CHAPTER IX

THE RETURN FROM THE WEST

  Ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
  Bound its broad zone of stillness.--SHELLEY.

'We are all,' Scott wrote in his diary, 'very proud of our march
out. I don't know where we are, but I know we must be a long way to
the west from my rough noon observation of the compass variation.'
But not for anything in the world did he want again to see the
interior of Victoria Land. Writing two years after this great march
he says: 'For me the long month which we spent on the Victoria Land
summit remains as some vivid but evil dream. I have a memory of
continuous strain on mind and body, lightened only by the unfailing
courage and cheerfulness of my companions.'

From first to last the month of November had been a struggle to
penetrate into this barren, deserted, wind-swept, piercingly cold,
and fearfully monotonous region, and although on turning homewards
the travelers were relieved by having the wind at their backs, the
time of trial was by no means over. Only by utilizing all their
powers of marching could they hope
[Page 168]
to retreat in safety from their position, and December opened with
such overcast weather that valuable time had to be spent in the
tent. During the next few days, however, good marches were made,
until on December 9 everything changed abruptly for the worse.

On the afternoon of the 9th the surface became so abominably bad,
that by pulling desperately they could not get the sledge along
at more than a mile an hour. Oil was growing short, and in view
of the future Scott had to propose that marching hours should be
increased by one hour, that they should use half allowance of oil,
and that if they did not sight landmarks within a couple of days
their rations should be reduced. 'When I came to the cold lunch
and fried breakfast poor Evans' face fell; he evidently doesn't
much believe in the virtue of food, unless it is in the form of
a _hoosh_ and has some chance of sticking to one's ribs.'

Land was sighted on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, but the weather was
as overcast as ever, and Scott was still in dreadful uncertainty
of their whereabouts, because he was unable to recognize a single
point. Ten hours' pulling per day was beginning to tell upon them,
and although apart from the increasing pangs of hunger there was
no sign of sickness, Scott remarks, on the 12th, that they were
becoming 'gaunt shadows.'

During the morning of the 13th Evans' nose, which had been more
or less frost-bitten for some weeks, had an especially bad attack.
His attitude
[Page 169]
to this unruly member was one of comic forbearance, as though,
while it scarcely belonged to him, he was more or less responsible
for it and so had to make excuses. On this occasion when told that
it had 'gone,' he remarked in a resigned tone, 'My poor old nose
again; well, there, it's chronic!' By the time it had been brought
round a storm was blowing, and though they continued to march,
the drift was so thick that at any moment they might have walked
over the edge of a precipice--a fitting prelude to what, by general
consent, was admitted to be the most adventurous day in their lives.

Prospects, when they started to march on the next morning, were at
first a little brighter, but soon a bitterly cold wind was blowing and
high ice hummocks began to appear ahead of them. In this predicament
Scott realized that it was both rash to go forward, as the air was
becoming thick with snow-drift, and equally rash to stop, for if they
had to spend another long spell in a blizzard camp, starvation would
soon be staring them in the face. So he asked Evans and Lashly if
they were ready to take the risk of going on, and promptly discovered
that they were. Then they marched straight for the ice disturbance,
and as the surface became smoother and the slope steeper their
sledge began to overrun them. At this point Scott put Evans and
Lashly behind to hold the sledge back, while he continued in front
to guide its course, and what happened afterwards is described
most graphically in the diary of the 15th.

[Page 170]
'Suddenly Lashly slipped, and in an instant he was sliding downward
on his back; directly the strain came on Evans, he too was thrown
off his feet. It all happened in a moment, and before I had time
to look the sledge and the two men hurtled past me; I braced myself
to stop them, but might as well have attempted to hold an express
train. With the first jerk I was whipped off my legs, and we all
three lay sprawling on our backs and flying downward with an
ever-increasing velocity. For some reason the first thought that
flashed into my mind was that someone would break a limb if he
attempted to stop our mad career, and I shouted something to this
effect, but might as well have saved my breath. Then there came
a sort of vague wonder as to what would happen next, and in the
midst of that I was conscious that we had ceased to slide smoothly
and were now bounding over a rougher incline, sometimes leaving
it for several yards at a time; my thought flew to broken limbs
again, for I felt we could not stand much of such bumping.

'At length we gave a huge leap into the air, and yet we traveled
with such velocity that I had not time to think before we came
down with tremendous force on a gradual incline of rough, hard,
wind-swept snow. Its irregularities brought us to rest in a moment
or two, and I staggered to my feet in a dazed fashion, wondering
what had happened.

'Then to my joy I saw the others also struggling to their legs, and
in another moment I could thank heaven that no limbs were broken.
But we had by
[Page 171]
no means escaped scathless; our legs now show one black bruise from
knee to thigh, and Lashly was unfortunate enough to land once on
his back, which is bruised and very painful.... I, as the lightest,
escaped the easiest, yet before the two men crawled painfully to
their feet their first question was to ask if I had been hurt.

'As soon as I could pull myself together I looked round, and now to
my astonishment I saw that we were well on towards the entrance of our
own glacier; ahead and on either side of us appeared well-remembered
landmarks, whilst behind, in the rough broken ice-wall over which we
had fallen, I now recognized at once the most elevated ice cascade
of our valley....

'I cannot but think that this sudden revelation of our position
was very wonderful. Half an hour before we had been lost; I could
not have told whether we were making for our own glacier or any
other, or whether we were ten or fifty miles from our depot; it
was more than a month since we had seen any known landmark. Now
in this extraordinary manner the curtain had been raised... and
down the valley we could see the high cliffs of the Depot Nunatak
where peace and plenty awaited us.'

The sledge had not capsized until they all rolled over at the end,
but the jolting had scattered their belongings and broken open the
biscuit box, with the result that they had no provisions left,
except the few scraps they could pick up and the meager contents
of their food bag. As quickly as stiffening limbs would
[Page 172]
allow they collected their scattered articles, repacked the sledge
and marched on towards the depot. Before them lay a long plateau, at
the edge of which Scott knew that they would find a second cascade,
and beneath it the region of Desolation Camp and a more gradual
icy surface down to the depot.

Fortune favored them in descending the second cascade, and quite
unsuspicious of any further danger they joined up their harness to
their usual positions in front of the sledge. This brought Scott
in the middle and a little in advance, with Lashly on his right
and Evans on his left. Presently the sledge began to skid, and
Scott told Lashly to pull wide to steady it. Scarcely had this
order been obeyed when Scott and Evans stepped on nothing and
disappeared, while Lashly miraculously saved himself from following
and sprang back with his whole weight on the trace. The sledge
flashed by him and jumped the crevasse down which Scott and Evans
had gone, one side of the sledge being cracked by the jerk but
the other side mercifully holding. 'Personally,' Scott says, 'I
remember absolutely nothing until I found myself dangling at the
end of my trace with blue walls on either side and a very horrid
looking gulf below; large ice-crystals dislodged by our movements
continued to shower down on our heads. As a first step I took off
my goggles; I then discovered that Evans was hanging just above
me. I asked him if he was all right, and received a reassuring
reply in his calm, matter-of-fact tones.'

[Page 173]
Then Scott began to grope about on every side with his cramponed
feet, but not until his struggles set him swinging did his leg
suddenly strike a projection. At a glance he saw that by raising
himself he could get a foothold on this, and after a short struggle
he stood upon a thin shaft of ice, which was wedged providentially
between the walls of the chasm, and could look about him. To the
right or left, above or below, there was not the vestige of another
such support, nothing, in fact, but the smooth walls of ice. The
projection seemed to have got there by a miracle, but miracle or
not the thing to do was to help Evans, and when the latter had
slipped his harness well up beneath his arms Scott found that he
could pilot his feet to the bridge.

'All this had occupied some time, and it was only now that I realized
what had happened above us, for there, some twelve feet over our
heads, was the outline of the broken sledge. I saw at once what a
frail support remained, and shouted to Lashly to ask what he could
do, and then I knew the value of such a level-headed companion;
for whilst he held on grimly to the sledge and us with one hand,
his other was busily employed in withdrawing our ski. At length
he succeeded in sliding two of these beneath the broken sledge,
and so making our support more secure.'

But clever as this device was it still left them without Lashly's
active assistance, because directly he relaxed his hold the sledge
began to slip. The only
[Page 174]
possible course, therefore, was for Scott and Evans to climb out
unaided, and, after a word with Evans Scott decided to try first;
though he confessed afterwards that he never expected to reach
the top. Not for a longtime had he swarmed a rope, and to do so
in thick clothing, heavy crampons, and with frost-bitten fingers
seemed to him impossible. Of the struggle that followed he remembered
little except that he got a rest when he could plant his foot in
the belt of his own harness, and again when his feet held on the
rings of the belt. 'Then came a mighty effort, till I reached the
stirrup formed by the rope span of the sledge, and then, mustering
all the strength that remained, I reached the sledge itself and
flung myself on to the snow beyond. Lashly said, "Thank God!" and
it was perhaps then that I realized that his position had been
the worst of all.'

But having arrived at the top he was completely out of action for
several minutes, for his hands were white to the wrists, and not
until their circulation came back could he get to work. With two on
top and only one below the position, however, was very different,
and presently Evans, badly frost-bitten, was landed on the surface.
For a minute or two they could only stand and look at one another.
Then Evans said, 'Well, I'm blowed,' which was the first sign of
surprise he had shown.

By six o'clock on that same evening they reached their depot, and
passed from abject discomfort to rest and peace. Bruised, sore
and tired as they were,
[Page 175]
Lashly sang merrily as he stirred the pot, while Scott and Evans
sat on the sledge, shifted their foot-gear, spread out their clothes
to dry, and talked cheerily about the happenings of the day.

From this time onward their camp-life was wholly, pleasant, except
to Lashly who had an attack of snow-blindness. Apart from that they
were in the best of condition for the hard marching in front of
them, and when on the night of the 20th they reached their second
depot and could look out towards the sea, they did not care how far
round they might have to walk if only that stubborn sheet of ice
had broken away. But it was too evident that their homeward track
might be as straight as they chose, as only in the far distance was
open water to be seen, and with sorrow they realized that there
must still be many miles of ice between it and the _Discovery_.

Late on Christmas Eve they were once more on board the ship after
an absence of fifty-nine days, during which they had traveled 725
miles. Taking the eighty-one days of absence which had constituted
the whole sledding season, Scott, Evans and Lashly had covered 1,098
miles, and, not including minor undulations, had climbed heights
which totaled to 19,000 feet. On getting back to the _Discovery_
Scott found only Koettlitz, Handsley and Quartley on board, because
all the rest of the company had gone to the north to saw through the
ice; and during the few days of rest that he allowed himself before
going to the sawing-camp, he was able to read the reports of the
[Page 176]
officers who had led the other journeys, and to see what excellent
work had been done during his absence.

Ferrar's survey and Skelton's photographic work had added materially
to the value of the western journey; the party led by Barne and
Mulock to the south had met with ill-fortune from the start, but
throughout the journey Mulock used the theodolite indefatigably,
with the results that this stretch of coast-line was more accurately
plotted than any other part of Victoria Land, and that the positions
and height of over two hundred mountain peaks were fixed. Barne
also obtained a very good indication of the movement of the Great
Barrier ice-sheet. During Royds' journey, on which the party went
on very short food allowance, Bernacchi took a most interesting
series of magnetic observations. And although to Bernacchi himself
belongs the greatest credit, some reflected glory, at any rate, fell
upon his companions, because they had to stay shivering outside
the tent while he was at work inside it.

Wilson had not only been busy with the penguins at Cape Crozier, but
had also made a complete examination of the enormous and interesting
pressure ridges which form the junction of the Great Barrier ice-mass
with the land, and subsequently had spent much time in studying the
windless area to the south of Ross Island. Also, with Armitage and
Heald, he had made an excellent little journey, on which Armitage
obtained some very good photographs,
[Page 177]
sufficient in themselves to prove the receding glacial conditions
of the whole continent.

In short during Scott's absence his companions had been working
strenuously to increase the supply of information; so when the
second sledding-season ended, they could with reason congratulate
themselves that the main part of their work was done.




[Page 178]
CHAPTER X

RELEASE

                      And Thor
  Set his shoulder hard against the stern
  To push the ship through...
  ...and the water gurgled in
  And the ship floated on the waves and rock'd.
    M. ARNOLD.

After a few days on board Scott became restless to see what was
going on in the sawing-camp, and on the morning of the 31st he
started off with Evans, Lashly and Handsley to march the ten and
a half miles to the north. When the instructions for this attempt
to free the _Discovery_ were drawn up, there had been, of course,
no telling how broad the ice-sheet would be when operations began,
and Scott had been obliged to assume that it would be nearly the
same as in the previous year, when the open water had extended to
the Dellbridge Islets about eleven miles from the ship. There he
directed that the camp should be made, and Armitage, on whom in
Scott's absence the command had devolved, made all preparations
in accordance with the instructions he had received.

At the outset, however, a difficulty awaited him,
[Page 179]
as in the middle of December the open water, instead of being up
to the islets, ended at least ten miles farther to the north. Under
the circumstances he considered it dangerous to take the camp out to
the ice-edge, and so the sawing work had been begun in the middle
of the ice-sheet instead of at its edge.

Thirty people were in the camp when Scott arrived, and though at
first the work had been painful both to arms and backs they were
all in splendid condition and spirits. Fortunately this was a land
of plenty, penguins and seals abounded, and everyone agreed that,
apart from the labour, they were having a most enjoyable time,
though no one imagined that the work would be useful.

In two days Scott was as convinced as anyone that the work must be
in vain, and ordered the sawing to stop. 'I have been much struck,'
he wrote, 'by the way in which everyone has cheerfully carried on
this hopeless work until the order came to halt. There could have
been no officer or man among them who did not see from the first
how utterly useless it was, and yet there has been no faltering
or complaint, simply because all have felt that, as the sailor
expresses it, "Them's the orders."'

With twenty miles of ice between the _Discovery_ and freedom, the
possibility of yet another winter had to be considered, so although
most of the company returned to the ship, Lashly, Evans, Handsley
and Clarke were left behind to make sure of an adequate stock of
penguins. And then Scott being unable
[Page 180]
to do any good by remaining in the ship started off to the north
with Wilson, the former being anxious to watch the ice-edge and see
what chance there was of a break-up, while Wilson wanted to study
the life of that region. This journey was to be 'a real picnic,' with
no hard marching and plenty to eat; and, pursuing their leisurely
way, on January 4 they were within half a mile of the open water
when Wilson suddenly said, 'There they are.' Then Scott looked
round, and on the rocks of Cape Royds saw a red smudge dotted with
thousands of little black and white figures. Without doubt they
had stumbled upon a penguin rookery, but interesting as it was to
have made the discovery, it was at the same time exasperating to
think of the feast of eggs they had missed in the last two years.
During the rest of the day they watched the penguins and the skua
gulls which were nesting around them; and before supper they took
soap and towels down to a rill of thaw-water that ran within a few
yards of their tent, and washed in the warm sunlight. 'Then,' Scott
says, 'we had a dish of fried penguin's liver with seal kidneys;
eaten straight out of the frying-pan, this was simply delicious.
I have come to the conclusion that life in the Antarctic Regions
can be very pleasant.'

Still in the proper picnic spirit they dawdled over their breakfast
on the following day, and were lazily discussing plans when Scott,
looking through the open door of the tent to the clear sea beyond,
suddenly caught sight of a ship. In a moment haste and bustle reigned
supreme, and while they were searching for
[Page 181]
boots and other things necessary for the march, Wilson said, 'Why,
there's another,' and without any doubt two vessels were framed
in the doorway. It had at once been taken for granted that the
first ship was the _Morning_, but what in the name of fortune was
the meaning of the other neither Scott nor Wilson could imagine.
The easiest and quickest way to find out was to go straight on
board, for the ships were making for the ice-edge some five miles
to the westward, but if they had followed this simple plan their
companions on the _Discovery_ would have known nothing about it,
and would have been compelled to wait for their mails. So they
started southward to find the penguin hunters, and then to send
them to establish communications with the ship. For a long time
no sight of the men could be seen, but after traveling about six
miles Scott and Wilson saw the tent, though without any signs of
life about it; indeed they were within a hundred yards before in
answer to their shouts four very satisfied figures emerged, still
munching the remains of a meal. 'Of course,' Scott says, 'I thought
they had not seen the ships, but they had, only, as they explained,
they didn't see there was any cause for them to do anything in the
matter. I said, "But, good heavens, you want your mails, don't
you?" "Oh, yes, sir," they replied, "but we thought that would be
all right." In other words, they as good as said that life was so
extremely easy and pleasant that there was no possible object in
worrying over such a trifle as the arrival of a relief expedition.'
When, however, they
[Page 182]
had got their orders they were off at once, and Scott and Wilson
went back to the ships and soon found out from Colbeck why the
_Terra Nova_ had accompanied the _Morning_, and how strangely the
aspect of affairs had altered. Writing in his diary on that night
Scott says, 'I can only record that in spite of the good home news,
and in spite of the pleasure of seeing old friends again, I was
happier last night than I am to-night.'

Briefly the reasons for the sending of the two ships instead of
one were these. Scott's report taken by the _Morning_ had left
the strong impression that the relief ship must again be sent to
the south in 1903. The 'Morning' fund, however, was inadequate to
meet the requirements of another year, and there was not time enough
to appeal to the public and to explain the full necessities of the
case. In these circumstances there was nothing for the Societies
to do but to appeal to the Government, and eventually the latter
agreed to undertake the whole conduct of the relief expedition,
provided that the _Morning_, as she stood, was delivered over to
them. The Government naturally placed the management of affairs in
the hands of the Admiralty, and once having taken the responsibility
it was felt that two ships must be sent, in order that there should
be no risk of the pledge being unfulfilled.

The _Terra Nova_, one of the finest of the whaling ships, was bought,
and a whaling crew, under the command of Captain Harry MacKay,
was engaged to navigate her. Towards the end of November 1903 she
layoff Hobart Town in Tasmania, and in
[Page 183]
December she was joined by the _Morning_, Captain Colbeck being
directed to take charge of this joint venture until both ships
could come under Scott's command.

Thus it happened that, much to every one's surprise, two ships
arrived off the edge of the fast ice on January 4, 1904. It was
not, however, the arrival of the _Terra Nova_, whose captain from
the first was anxious to help in every way, but quite another matter
that made Scott so sad--and naturally sad--at this time.

In England the majority of those competent to judge the situation
had formed the opinion that the _Discovery_ was stuck fast in the
ice for all time. Whether the Admiralty held this opinion or not
is of no consequence, because in any case it was their duty to see
that the expense of another relief expedition should be avoided.
Consequently there was no other course open to them except to tell
Scott to abandon the _Discovery_, if she could not be freed in
time to accompany the relief ships to the north. But necessary
as this order was, it placed Scott and his companions in a very
cruel position. Under the most ordinary conditions a sailor would
go through much rather than abandon his ship, but the ties which
bound Scott and his company to the _Discovery_ were very far beyond
the ordinary; indeed they involved a depth of sentiment not in the
least surprising when their associations with her are remembered.

In spite of their long detention in the ice, the thought of leaving
her had never entered their heads.
[Page 184]
Some time she would be free again, and even if they had to spend
a third winter in her they had determined to go through with it,
and make themselves as comfortable as possible.

It was from this passably contented frame of mind that they were
rudely awakened. Now they were obliged to face the fact that unless
a twenty-mile plain of ice broke up within six weeks, they must bid
a long farewell to their beloved ship and return to their homes
as castaways. So with the arrival of the relief ships there fell
the first and last cloud of gloom which was ever allowed on board
the _Discovery_. And as day followed day with no improvement in
the ice conditions, the gloom deepened until anyone might easily
have imagined that an Antarctic expedition was a most dismal affair.

On January 10 Scott wrote: 'Reached the ship this morning, and
this afternoon assembled all hands on the mess-deck, where I told
them exactly how matters stood. There was a stony silence. I have
not heard a laugh in the ship since I returned.'

For some time a flagstaff had been erected on Tent Islet, ten miles
to the north, and a system of signals had been arranged to notify
any changes in the ice, but day after day the only signal was 'No
change in the ice conditions.'

On the 15th to relieve the weariness of waiting for something that
did not happen, Scott arranged that their collections and instruments
should be transported to the relief ships. Whatever the future held
[Page 185]
in store he saw no reason why this should not be done, and to have
anything at all to do during this trying time was a blessing; though
he had by no means given up hope that the Discovery would be freed.

After a long spell at Cape Royds camp, Wilson returned to the ship
on the night of the 21st with news that was all the more welcome at
such an anxious time. Strolling over the beach one day to inspect
what he thought was a prodigiously large seal he saw that it was
quite different from any of the ordinary seals, and went back to
the camp for his gun. Two of the _Morning_ officers were in camp
with him, and all three of them proceeded to stalk this strange
new beast. Their great fear was that they might only succeed in
wounding it and that it might escape into the sea; so in spite
of the temperature of the water they waded round it before they
attacked. These tactics were successful, but their quarry when
dispatched was far too heavy for them to move, or for Wilson to
examine where it lay. On the following day, however, Colbeck came
over in the _Morning_, and with the aid of boats and ropes the
carcass was landed on his decks. Then Wilson came to the conclusion
that the animal was a sea-elephant commonly found at Macquarie
Island, but never before seen within the Antarctic circle.

No change in the ice occurred until the 18th when some large pieces
broke away, and by the 23rd Scott reckoned that the relief ships were
four or five miles nearer than they had been a fortnight before. But,
[Page 186]
if the conditions were to be as they had been two years before,
thirteen or fourteen miles of ice must go out in fifteen days,
a far more rapid rate than it had been going during the previous
fortnight. On the 28th, however, the first sign of real promise
occurred, for the whole ice-sheet began to sway very slightly under
the action of a long swell, its edge against the land rising and
falling as much as 18 inches. 'We are all very restless, constantly
dashing up the hill to the lookout station or wandering from place
to place to observe the effects of the swell. But it is long since
we enjoyed such a cheerful experience as we get on watching the
loose pieces of ice jostling one another at Hut Point.'

Days of hope and anxiety followed, until the 14th of February arrived
and brought the best of news with it. During the day nothing unusual
happened, and it was not until Scott was at dinner that the excitement
began. Then he heard a shout on deck, and a voice sang out down
the hatchway, 'The ships are coming, sir!'

'There was no more dinner, and in a moment we were racing for Hut
Point, where a glorious sight met our view. The ice was breaking
up right across the strait, and with a rapidity which we had not
thought possible. No sooner was one great floe borne away. Than
a dark streak cut its way into the solid sheet that remained and
carved out another, to feed the broad stream of pack which was
hurrying away to the north-west.

'I have never witnessed a more impressive sight;
[Page 187]
the sun was low behind us, the surface of the ice-sheet in front
was intensely white, and in contrast the distant sea and its forking
leads looked almost black. The wind had fallen to a calm, and not a
sound disturbed the stillness about us. Yet, in the midst of this
peaceful silence, was an awful unseen agency rending that great
ice-sheet as though it had been none but the thinnest paper.'

But fast as the ice was breaking, it was not fast enough for the
relief ships. Evidently there was a race between them to be the
first to pass beyond the flagstaff round which the small company
of spectators had clustered; although the little _Morning_, with
her bluff bows and weak engines, could scarcely expect to hold
her own against such a powerful competitor. By half-past ten those
on shore could see the splintering of the ice as the ships crashed
into the floes, and the shouts of the men as with wild excitement
they cheered each fresh success, could be distinctly heard.

Scarcely half a mile of ice remained and the contest became keener
and keener. On came the _Terra Nova_, but in spite of all her mighty
efforts the persistent little _Morning_, dodging right and left
and seizing every chance opening, kept doggedly at her side, and
still seemed to have a chance of winning the race.

Meanwhile the spectators, in their nondescript tattered garments,
stood breathlessly watching this wonderful scene.

'For long intervals we remained almost spell-bound, and then a burst
of frenzied cheering broke out. It
[Page 188]
seemed to us almost too good to be real. By eleven o'clock all
the thick ice had vanished, and there remained only the thin area
of decayed floe which has lately made the approach to the ships
so dangerous; a few minutes later the _Terra Nova_ forged ahead
and came crashing into the open, to be followed almost immediately
by her stout little companion, and soon both ships were firmly
anchored to all that remains of the _Discovery's_ prison, the wedge
that still holds in our small bay....

'And so to-night the ships of our small fleet are lying almost
side by side; a rope from the _Terra Nova_ is actually secured
to the _Discovery_. Who could have thought it possible? Certainly
not we who have lived through the trying scenes of the last month.'

The small wedge of sea-ice that still remained in the bay was cracked
in many places, and would doubtless have departed of its own accord
in a few days; but Scott, naturally impatient to get away, decided
to hasten matters by explosions. Consequently at 1 A.M. on February
16 there was an explosion which shook the whole bay, and rudely
disturbed not only the ice but also the slumbers of those who were
not members of the explosion party.

A few hours later another explosive charge was borne out, and when
all was ready Scott pressed the firing key. 'There was a thunderous
report which shook the ship throughout, and then all was calm again.
For a brief moment one might have imagined that nothing had happened,
but then one saw that each
[Page 189]
crack was slowly widening; presently there came the gurgle of water
as it was sucked into our opening ice-bed, and in another minute
there was a creaking aft and our stern rose with a jump as the
keel was freed from the ice which had held it down. Then, as the
great mass of ice on our port hand slowly glided out to sea, our
good ship swung gently round and lay peacefully riding to her anchors
with the blue water lapping against her sides.... Thus it was that
the _Discovery_ came to her own again--the right to ride the high
seas.'

On that day it would have been impossible to find a prouder or
happier ship's company, but with all their feelings of elation
they did not imagine that everything would run smoothly after such
a long period of disuse, and they knew also that much hard work lay
in front of them if they were to carry out the remainder of their
program. If the _Discovery_ was free before the navigable season
closed Scott had resolved to spend the remaining time in exploring
the region to the westward of Cape North, but now after two years'
imprisonment coal was lacking for such a scheme. Directly the relief
ships had arrived he had asked them for as great a quantity as
possible, but although the replies had at first been satisfactory,
a long month's fight with wind and ice had sadly reduced the amount
they could afford to give. The only thing to do was to get without
any delay what could be spared, and on the afternoon of the 16th
the _Terra Nova_ came alongside to hand over her supply. 'The
afternoon,' Scott says, 'was beautifully calm and
[Page 190]
bright, and the weather seemed to smile peacefully on the termination
of our long and successful struggle with the ice.... We little
guessed what lay before us.'

On the 15th a large wooden cross, bearing a simply carved inscription
to the memory of poor Vince, was erected on the summit of Hut Point,
and on the following day the small company landed together and
stood bareheaded round this memorial, while Scott read some short
prayers.

The water was oily calm and the sky threatening as they pulled
back to the ship after paying this last tribute of homage to their
shipmate, but weather of this kind had been too common to attract
attention. On that night Captain MacKay was dining in the _Discovery_
for the first time, and a great effort had been made to show him how
good an Antarctic feast could be. In the middle of dinner, however,
word came down to Scott that the wind had sprung up, and although
he expected nothing serious he went up to see what was happening.
Then he saw they were in for a stiff blow, and reluctantly had to
inform his guests of the fact. One glance at the sky satisfied
MacKay, who was over the rail like a shot, and in a few minutes
the _Terra Nova_ was steaming for the open and lost in the drift.'

[Illustration: THE 'TERRA NOVA' LEAVING THE ANTARCTIC. _Photo by
F. Debenham._]

Very soon both wind and sea had risen, but although Scott did not
altogether like the look of things and determined to get up steam as
soon as possible, he did not want to hurry those in the engine-room
after such a long period of disuse. But early in the morning
[Page 191]
of the 17th the situation became really dangerous, and the _Discovery_
began to jerk at her cables in the most alarming manner.

'I knew,' he wrote on the night of that eventful day, 'that in
spite of our heavy anchor the holding ground was poor, and I watched
anxiously to see if the ship dragged.

'It came at last, just as Skelton sent a promise of steam in half
an hour. The sea was again breaking heavily on the ice-foot astern
and I walked up and down wondering which was coming first, the
steam or this wave-beaten cliff. It was not a pleasant situation,
as the distance grew shorter every minute, until the spray of the
breaking waves fell on our poop, and this was soon followed by
a tremendous blow as our stern struck the ice. We rebounded and
struck again, and our head was just beginning to falloff and the
ship to get broadside on (heaven knows what would have happened
then) when steam was announced.'

Then the ship just held her own and only just; the engines alone
would not send her to windward in the teeth of the gale. Once around
Hut Point, Scott knew that they would be safe with open sea before
them; and the end of the Point was only a quarter of a mile out,
though off the end there was a shallow patch which had to be cleared
before safety could be reached. So finding that no headway was
being made he began to edge out towards the Point, and all seemed
well until, nearly opposite to the Point itself, he saw to his
alarm that a strong current was sweeping past.

[Page 192]
'Nothing remained but to make a dash for it, and I swung the helm
over and steered for the open. But the moment our bows entered the
fast-running stream we were swung round like a top, and the instant
after we crashed head foremost onto the shoal and stopped dead with
our masts shivering. We were in the worst possible position, dead
to windward of the bank with wind, sea, and current all tending to
set us faster ashore.

'We took the shore thus at about 11 A.M., and the hours that followed
were truly the most dreadful I have ever spent. Each moment the
ship came down with a sickening thud which shook her from stem
to stern, and each thud seemed to show more plainly that, strong
as was her build, she could not long survive such awful blows.'

Hour after hour passed while the ship quivered and trembled and
crashed again and again into her rocky bed. Nothing more could be
done for her until the gale abated, but seeing the impossibility
of doing anything at the time, Scott recognized that the next best
thing was to be prepared to act promptly when the weather moderated.
Then he discovered once more how absolutely he could rely on the
support and intelligence of his companions. Skelton already had
made a list of weights by the removal of which the ship could be
lightened, and when the boatswain was summoned to discuss the manner
in which the anchors could be laid out he also had his scheme cut
and dried.

The first sign of a lull came at 7 P.M., and soon after
[Page 193]
they assembled to the dreariest dinner ever remembered in the
_Discovery_. But when they were half-way through this silent meal
Mulock, the officer of the watch, suddenly burst in and said, 'The
ship's working astern, sir.'

In record time Scott reached the bridge, and found that both wind
and sea had dropped in the most extraordinary manner. But what
surprised him even more was that the current, which had been running
strongly to the north, had turned and was running with equal speed
to the south. Each time that the ship lifted on a wave she worked
two or three inches astern, and though she was still grinding heavily
she no longer struck the bottom with such terrific force. Scarcely,
however, had these facts been observed when Skelton rushed up to
say that the inlets were free again.

'Every soul was on deck and in a moment they were massed together
and running from side to side in measured time. The telegraphs
were put full speed astern; soon the engines began to revolve, and
the water foamed and frothed along the side. For a minute or two
the ship seemed to hesitate, but then there came a steady grating
under the bottom, which gradually traveled forward, and ceased as
the ship, rolling heavily, slid gently into deep water.... Rarely,
if ever, can a ship have appeared in such an uncomfortable plight as
ours to find herself free and safe within the space of an hour....
To be in ten feet of water in a ship that draws fourteen feet cannot
be a pleasant position--nor can there be a doubt
[Page 194]
that the shocks which the _Discovery_ sustained would have very
seriously damaged a less stoutly built vessel.'

None too soon were they clear of the shoal, for in a very short
time the wind was again blowing from the south; but as, on the
18th, the wind though still blowing strong had gone round to the
southeast and brought smoother water in the Sound, it was decided
to make for the inlets of the glacier tongue to the north, and
complete the coaling operations.

On occasions when haste was necessary there was, by mutual consent,
no distinction between officers and men. And Scott mentions 'as a
sight for the gods' the scene of biologists, vertebrate zoologists,
lieutenants, and A.B.'s with grimed faces and chafed hands working
with all their might on the coaling whips.

The _Morning_ handed over twenty-five tons of coal, and this was all
the more a generous gift since it reduced Colbeck to the narrowest
margin, and compelled him to return directly homeward without joining
in any attempt at further exploration. 'His practical common sense
told him he could be of little use to us, and with his usual loyalty
he never hesitated to act for the best, at whatever sacrifice to
his own hopes and wishes.'

Before they left the glacier in McMurdo Sound it was arranged that
the three ships should journey up the coast together and then separate,
the _Morning_ proceeding to the north, while the _Discovery_ and
the _Terra Nova_ turned west. The companies of both relief
[Page 195]
ships, however, expressed a strong desire to be with the _Discovery_
when she entered her first civilized port; so Scott fixed upon
Port Ross, in the Auckland Islands, as a spot at which they might
meet before the final return to New Zealand.

February 20 saw the _Discovery_ speeding along a stretch of coast
that had been quite unknown until she had two years previously
made her way south along it, and at that time she had been obliged
to keep a long distance out on account of the pack-ice. But now
gaps which had been missed could be filled in; and even more than
this was done, for Mulock remained on deck night and day taking
innumerable angles to peaks and headlands, while Wilson, equally
indefatigable, transferred this long panorama of mountain scenery
to his sketch-book.

Two days later the pumps refused to act, and the whole of the
engine-room staff were on duty for twenty-four hours on end; and on
the 24th the carpenter called attention to the rudder. On inspection
Scott saw that the solid oak rudder-head was completely shattered,
and was held together by little more than its weight; as the tiller
was moved right or left the rudder followed it, but with a lag of
many degrees, so that the connection between the two was evidently
insecure. In such a condition it was obvious that they could not
hope to weather a gale without losing all control over the ship, and
that no time was to be lost in shipping their spare rudder in place
of the damaged one. So Scott determined to seek shelter in Robertson
[Page 196]
Bay, and by night the damaged rudder had been hoisted on deck and
the spare one prepared for lowering into its place. Since the
_Discovery_ had left winter quarters an almost incredible amount
of work had been done to bring her into sea trim. Difficulty after
difficulty had arisen, but the energy of the company had never
slackened, and by February 25 Scott was able to say that everything
was once more in order, though he was a little doubtful about the
steering power of their spare rudder.

At this time it was all the more important that the ship should
give no further trouble, because according to their program they
were about to penetrate a new region, and expected to find quite
enough to do without considering internal difficulties. With high
hopes that steam power would enable them to pass beyond the point
reached by Sir James Ross in his sailing ships they turned to the
west, and at first all went well with them. Pack-ice, however, was
destined to be an insuperable obstacle to their advance, and on
the 26th they decided to turn to the north-east and try to find a
way around this formidable barrier. 'It is grievously disappointing
to find the pack so far to the east; Ross carried the open water
almost to Cape North.' And again on March 1, Scott sounds a note
of lamentation: 'There can be no doubt that since leaving Victoria
Land we have been skirting a continuous mass of pack, which must
cover the whole sea south of the Balleny Islands. That it should
have lain so far to the eastward this year is very annoying;
[Page 197]
however, if we can push on upon this course we ought to strike the
islands.'

Early in the morning of the following day land was reported, and
by noon they were abreast of it; but what this island, and others
that were dimly to be seen to the north, could be, puzzled them
considerably, and not until some time later was the problem solved.
In 1839 Balleny discovered a group of islands in this region, and
three years later Ross saw land which he imagined was to the southward
of Balleny's discoveries, and believing it to be divided into three
distinct masses named it the Russell Islands. Consequently Scott
arrived expecting to see two groups of islands, and was naturally
perplexed when only one group was to be seen. After, however, studying
the accounts of these islands and comparing them with what he could
actually see, he recognized that they had just passed Balleny's
Sturge Island, which Balleny had seen from the north, and so could
have had no idea of its length in a north-and-south line. Later
Ross must have seen this same island, and, as Scott saw to be quite
possible, from a great distance must have thought that it was divided
into three, and hence made the mistake of naming it as a separate
group. Fortunately Mulock was able to obtain sufficient bearings
to fix accurately the position of each island.

Now that the knotty question as to the geography of the Balleny
Islands was settled, they went on to look for the land that Wilkes
claimed to have discovered in 1840, but not a glimpse nor a vestige
of it could they
[Page 198]
see; and, on March 4, they had to conclude that Wilkes Land was
once and for all definitely disposed of. With this negative, but
nevertheless important, result, the exploring work ended, and although
a lack of coal had prevented their cherished plan of rounding Cape
North, they had at least the satisfaction of clearing up some
geographical misconceptions in a more northerly latitude.

From the 6th to the 14th continuous gales brought conditions of
greater physical discomfort than had ever been experienced on board
the _Discovery_, for she was in very light trim and tossed about
the mountainous seas like a cork. It was, therefore, the greatest
relief to furl their sails off the entrance of Ross Harbour on
the 15th, and to steam into the calm waters of the Bay.

Neither the _Terra Nova_ nor the _Morning_ had yet arrived, and
the days of waiting were spent in making their ship as smart as
possible before the eyes of the multitude gazed upon her. Thus,
in a few days, the _Discovery_ looked as though she had spent her
adventurous years in some peaceful harbor.

On March 19 the _Terra Nova_ hove in sight, and was followed on
the next day by the _Morning_. Both ships had experienced the most
terrible weather, and everyone on board the little _Morning_ declared
that she had only been saved from disaster by the consummate seamanship
of Captain Colbeck.

A few days later the small fleet again set sail, and after a most
favorable voyage was at daybreak on April 1
[Page 199]
off the Heads of Lyttelton Harbor; and before noon they were safely
berthed alongside the jetty, from which they had sailed with such
hearty wishes more than two years before.

'New Zealand,' Scott said, 'welcomed us as its own, and showered
on us a wealth of hospitality and kindness which assuredly we can
never forget, however difficult we may have found it to express
our thanks. In these delightful conditions, with everything that
could make for perfect rest and comfort, we abode for two full
months before we set out on our last long voyage.'

June 8, however, found them at sea again, and a month or so later they
anchored in Port Stanley (Falkland Islands), where they replenished
their stock of coal and took the last series of magnetic observations
in connection with their Southern Survey. And from the Falkland
Islands, Scott wrote a letter which is yet another testimony of
the admiration he felt for his companions. 'The praise,' he wrote,
'for whatever success we have had is really due to the ship's company
as a whole rather than to individuals. That is not very clear,
perhaps; what I mean is that the combination of individual effort
for the common good has achieved our results, and the absence of
any spirit of self-seeking. The motto throughout has been "share
and share alike," and its most practical form lies, perhaps, in the
fact that throughout our three years there has been no distinction
between the food served to officers and men.

[Page 200]
'Under these circumstances I naturally feel that I can claim no
greater share of achievement than those who have stood by me so
loyally, and so I regard myself merely as the lucky figure-head.

'But it is good news to hear that the Admiralty are sympathetic,
for I feel that no effort should be spared to gain their recognition
of the splendid qualities displayed by officers and men.'

Early on the morning of September 9 the homeland was sighted, and
for those who gazed longingly over the bulwarks and waited to welcome
and be welcomed, there was only one cloud to dim the joy of their
return. For with the happiness came also the sad thought that the
end had come to those ties, which had held together the small band
of the _Discovery_ in the closest companionship and most unswerving
loyalty.




[Page 201]
THE LAST EXPEDITION



[Page 203]
PREFACE TO 'SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION'

By Sir CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM, K.C.B.

Fourteen years ago Robert Falcon Scott was a rising naval officer,
able, accomplished, popular, highly thought of by his superiors,
and devoted to his noble profession. It was a serious responsibility
to induce him to take up the work of an explorer; yet no man living
could be found who was so well fitted to command a great Antarctic
Expedition. The undertaking was new and unprecedented. The object
was to explore the unknown Antarctic Continent by land. Captain Scott
entered upon the enterprise with enthusiasm tempered by prudence
and sound sense. All had to be learnt by a thorough study of the
history of Arctic traveling, combined with experience of different
conditions in the Antarctic Regions. Scott was the initiator and
founder of Antarctic sledge-traveling.

His discoveries were of great importance. The survey and soundings
along the Barrier cliffs, the discovery of King Edward Land, the
discovery of Ross Island and the other volcanic islets, the examination
of the Barrier surface, the discovery of the Victoria Mountains--a
range of great height and many hundreds
[Page 204]
of miles in length, which had only before been seen from a distance
out at sea--and above all the discovery of the great ice cap on
which the South Pole is situated, by one of the most remarkable
Polar journeys on record. His small but excellent scientific staff
worked hard and with trained intelligence, their results being
recorded in twelve large quarto volumes.

The great discoverer had no intention of losing touch with his
beloved profession though resolved to complete his Antarctic work.
The exigencies of the naval service called him to the command of
battleships and to confidential work of the Admiralty; so that
five years elapsed before he could resume his Antarctic labours.

The object of Captain Scott's second expedition was mainly scientific,
to complete and extend his former work in all branches of science. It
was his ambition that in his ship there should be the most completely
equipped expedition for scientific purposes connected with the Polar
regions, both as regards men and material, that ever left these
shores. In this he succeeded. He had on board a fuller complement
of geologists, one of them especially trained for the study, of
physiography, biologists, physicists, and surveyors than ever before
composed the staff of a Polar expedition. Thus Captain Scott's
objects were strictly scientific, including the completion and
extension of his former discoveries. The results will be explained
in the second volume of this work. They will be found to be extensive
and important. Never before, in the
[Page 205]
Polar regions, have meteorological, magnetic and tidal observations
been taken, in one locality, during five years. It was also part
of Captain Scott's plan to reach the South Pole by a long and most
arduous journey, but here again his intention was, if possible,
to achieve scientific results on the way, especially hoping to
discover fossils which would throw light on the former history of
the great range of mountains which he had made known to science.

The principal aim of this great man--for he rightly has his niche
among the Polar _Dii Majores_--was the advancement of knowledge.
From all aspects Scott was among the most remarkable men of our
time, and the vast number of readers of his journal will be deeply
impressed with the beauty of his character. The chief traits which
shone forth through his life were conspicuous in the hour of death.
There are few events in history to be compared, for grandeur and
pathos, with the last closing scene in that silent wilderness of
snow. The great leader, with the bodies of his dearest friends
beside him, wrote and wrote until the pencil dropped from his dying
grasp. There was no thought of himself, only the earnest desire
to give comfort and consolation to others in their sorrow. His
very last lines were written lest he who induced him to enter upon
Antarctic work should now feel regret for what he had done.

'If I cannot write to Sir Clements, tell him I thought much of him,
and never regretted his putting me in command of the _Discovery_.'

[Page 206]
The following appointments were held in the Royal Navy by Captain
Scott between 1905 and 1910:

  January to July, 1906            Admiralty (Assistant Director
                                   of Naval Intelligence.)
  Aug. 21, 1906, to Jan. 1, 1907   _Victorious_ (Flag Captain to
                                   Rear-Admiral Egerton, Rear-Admiral
                                   in the Atlantic Fleet).
  Jan. 2, 1907, to Aug. 24, 1907   _Albermarle_ (Flag Captain to
                                   Rear-Admiral Egerton, Rear-Admiral
                                   in the Atlantic Fleet).
  Aug. 25, 1907, to Jan. 24, 1908  Not actively employed afloat
                                   between these dates.
  Jan. 25, 1908, to May 29, 1908   _Essex_ (Captain).
  May 30, 1908, to March 23, 1909  _Bulwark_ (Flag Captain to
                                   Rear-Admiral Colville, Rear-Admiral
                                   the Nore Division, Home Fleet).

Then Naval Assistant to Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty. Appointed
to H.M.S. _President_ for British Antarctic Expedition June 1,
1910.

[Page 207]
On September 2, 1908, at Hampton Court Palace, Captain Scott was
married to Kathleen, daughter of the late Canon Lloyd Bruce. Peter
Markham Scott was born on September 14, 1909.

On September 13, 1909, Captain Scott published his plans for the
British Antarctic Expedition of the following year, and his appeal
resulted in L10,000 being collected as a nucleus fund. Then the
Government made a grant of L20,000, and grants followed from the
Governments of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Nine days after the plans were published arrangements were made
to purchase the steamship _Terra Nova_, the largest and strongest
of the old Scottish whalers. The original date chosen for sailing
was August 1, 1910, but owing to the united efforts of those engaged
upon the fitting out and stowing of the ship, she was able to leave
Cardiff on June 15. Business, however, prevented Captain Scott from
leaving England until a later date, and in consequence he sailed
in the _Saxon_ to South Africa, and there awaited the arrival of
the _Terra Nova_.


[Page 208]
BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1910

SHORE PARTIES

_Officers_

    Name                     Rank, &c.
  Robert Falcon Scott      _Captain, C.V.O., R.N._
  Edward R. G. R. Evans    _Lieutenant, R.N._
  Victor L. A. Campbell    _Lieutenant, R.N. (Emergency List)_
  Henry R. Bowers          _Lieutenant, R.I.M._
  Lawrence E. G. Oates     _Captain 6th Inniskilling Dragoons._
  G. Murray Levick         _Surgeon, R.N._
  Edward L. Atkinson       _Surgeon, R.N., Parasitologist._

_Scientific Staff_

  Edward Adrian Wilson     _B.A., M.B. (Cantab), Chief of the
                           Scientific Staff, and Zoologist._
  George C. Simpson        _D.Sc., Meteorologist._
  T. Griffith Taylor       _B.A., B.Sc., B.E., Geologist._
  Edward W. Nelson         _Biologist._
  Frank Debenham           _B.A., B.Sc., Geologist._
  Charles S. Wright        _B.A., Physicist._
  Raymond E. Priestley     _Geologist._
  Herbert G. Ponting       _F.R.G.S, Camera Artist._
  Cecil H. Meares          _In Charge of Dogs._
  Bernard C. Day           _Motor Engineer._
  Apsley Cherry-Garrard    _B.A., Asst. Zoologist._
  Tryggve Gran             _Sub-Lieutenant, Norwegian N.R.,
                           B.A., Ski Expert._

[Page 209]
_Men_

  W. Lashly                _Chief Stoker, R.N._
  W. W. Archer             _Chief Steward, late R.N._
  Thomas Clissold          _Cook, late R.N._
  Edgar Evans              _Petty Officer, R.N._
  Robert Forde             _Petty Officer, R.N._
  Thomas Crean             _Petty Officer, R.N._
  Thomas S. Williamson     _Petty Officer, R.N._
  Patrick Keohane          _Petty Officer, R.N._
  George P. Abbott         _Petty Officer, R.N._
  Frank V. Browning        _Petty Officer, 2nd class, R.N._
  Harry Dickason           _Able Seaman, R.N._
  F. J. Hooper             _Steward, late R.N._
  Anton Omelchenko         _Groom._
  Demetri Gerof            _Dog Driver._

SHIP'S PARTY

_Officers, &c._

  Harry L. L. Pennell      _Lieutenant, R.N._
  Henry E. de P. Rennick   _Lieutenant, R.N._
  Wilfred M. Bruce         _Lieutenant, R.N.R._
  Francis R. H. Drake      _Asst. Paymaster, R.N. (Retired),
                           Secretary and Meteorologist in Ship._
  Denis G. Lillie          _M.A., Biologist in Ship._

  James R. Dennistoun      _In Charge of Mules in Ship._
  Alfred B. Cheetham       _R.N.R., Boatswain._
  William Williams         _Chief Engine-room Artificer, R.N.,
                           2nd Engineer._
  William A. Horton        _Eng. Rm. Art. 3rd Class, R.N. 2nd Engineer._
  Francis E. C. Davies     _Leading Shipwright, R.N._
  Frederick Parsons        _Petty Officer, R.N._
[Page 210]
  William L. Heald         _Late P.O., R.N._
  Arthur S. Bailey         _Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N._
  Albert Balson            _Leading Seaman, R.N._
  Joseph Leese             _Able Seaman, R.N._
  John Hugh Mather         _Petty Officer, R.N.V.R._
  Robert Oliphant          _Able Seaman._
  Thomas F. McLeod         _Able Seaman._
  Mortimer McCarthy        _Able Seaman._
  William Knowles          _Able Seaman._
  Charles Williams         _Able Seaman._
  James Skelton            _Able Seaman._
  William McDonald         _Able Seaman._
  James Paton              _Able Seaman._
  Robert Brissenden        _Leading Stoker, R.N._
  Edward A. McKenzie       _Leading Stoker, R.N._
  William Burton           _Leading Stoker, R.N._
  Bernard J. Stone         _Leading Stoker, R.N._
  Angus McDonald           _Fireman._
  Thomas McGillon          _Fireman._
  Charles Lammas           _Fireman._
  W. H. Neale              _Steward._




[Page 211]
CHAPTER I

THROUGH STORMY SEAS

  The ice was here, the ice was there,
  The ice was all around:
  It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
  Like noises in a swound.--COLERIDGE.

No sooner was it known that Scott intended to lead another Antarctic
expedition than he was besieged by men anxious to go with him. The
selection of a small company from some eight thousand volunteers
was both a difficult and a delicate task, but the fact that the
applications were so numerous was at once a convincing proof of
the interest shown in the expedition, and a decisive answer to
the dismal cry that the spirit of romance and adventure no longer
exists in the British race.

On June 15, 1910, the _Terra Nova_ left Cardiff upon her great
mission, and after a successful voyage arrived, on October 28, at
Lyttelton. There an enormous amount of work had to be done before
she could be ready to leave civilization, but as usual the kindness
received in New Zealand was 'beyond words.'

A month of strenuous labour followed, and then, on
[Page 212]
November 26, they said farewell to Lyttelton, and after calling
at Port Chalmers set out on Tuesday, the 29th, upon the last stage
of their voyage. Two days later they encountered a stiff wind from
the N. W. and a confused sea.

'The ship a queer and not altogether cheerful sight under the
circumstances.

'Below one knows all space is packed as tight as human skill can
devise--and on deck! Under the forecastle fifteen ponies close side
by side, seven one side, eight the other, heads together and groom
between--swaying, swaying continually to the plunging, irregular
motion.'

Outside the forecastle and to leeward of the fore hatch were four
more ponies, and on either side of the main hatch were two very
large packing-cases containing motor sledges, each 16 X 5 X 4.
A third sledge stood across the break of the poop in the space
hitherto occupied by the after winch, and all these cases were
so heavily lashed with heavy chain and rope lashings that they
were thought to be quite secure. The petrol for the sledges was
contained in tins and drums protected in stout wooden packing-cases,
which were ranged across the deck immediately in front of the poop
and abreast the motor sledges.

Round and about these packing-cases, stretching from the galley
forward to the wheel aft, coal bags containing the deck cargo of
coal were stacked; and upon the coal sacks, and upon and between
the motor sledges, and upon the ice-house were the thirty-three
dogs. Perforce they had to be chained up, and although
[Page 213]
they were given as much protection as possible, their position
was far from pleasant. 'The group formed,' in Scott's opinion,
'a picture of wretched dejection: such a life is truly hard for
these poor creatures.'

The wind freshened with great rapidity on Thursday evening, and
very soon the ship was plunging heavily and taking much water over
the lee rail. Cases of all descriptions began to break loose on
the upper deck, the principal trouble being caused by the loose
coal bags, which were lifted bodily by the seas and swung against
the lashed cases. These bags acted like battering rams, no lashings
could possibly have withstood them, and so the only remedy was to
set to work and heave coal sacks overboard and re-lash the cases.
During this difficult and dangerous task seas continually broke
over the men, and at such times they had to cling for dear life to
some fixture to prevent themselves from being washed overboard. No
sooner was some appearance of order restored than another unusually
heavy wave tore away the lashings, and the work had to be done
allover again.

As the night wore on the sea and wind continued to rise, and the
ship to plunge more and more. 'We shortened sail to main topsail
and staysail, stopped engines and hove to, but to little purpose.'

From Oates and Atkinson, who worked through the entire night, reports
came that it was impossible to keep the ponies on their legs. But
worse news was to follow, for in the early morning news came from
the engine-room that the pumps had choked, and that the water had
risen over the gratings.

[Page 214]
From that moment, about 4 A.M., the engine-room became the center
of interest, but in spite of every effort the water still gained.
Lashly and Williams, up to their necks in rushing water, stuck
gamely to the work of clearing suctions, and for a time, with donkey
engine and bilge pump sucking, it looked as if the water might be
got under. But the hope was short-lived; five minutes of pumping
invariably led to the same result--a general choking of the pumps.

The ship was very deeply-laden and was in considerable danger of
becoming waterlogged, in which condition anything might have happened.
The hand pump produced nothing more than a dribble and its suction
could not be reached, for as the water crept higher it got in contact
with the boiler and eventually became so hot that no one could work
at the suctions. A great struggle to conquer these misfortunes
followed, but Williams had at last to confess that he was beaten
and must draw fires.

'What was to be done? Things for the moment appeared very black.
The sea seemed higher than ever; it came over lee rail and poop,
a rush of green water; the ship wallowed in it; a great piece of
the bulwark carried clean away. The bilge pump is dependent on
the main engine. To use the pump it was necessary to go ahead.
It was at such times that the heaviest seas swept in over the lee
rail; over and over again the rail, from the forerigging to the
main, was covered by a solid sheet of curling water which swept
aft and high on the poop. On one
[Page 215]
occasion I was waist deep when standing on the rail of the poop.'

All that could be done for the time being was to organize the afterguard
to work buckets, and to keep the men steadily going on the choked
hand-pumps, which practically amounted to an attempt to bale out
the ship! For a day and a night the string of buckets was passed
up a line from the engine-room; and while this arduous work was
going on the officers and men sang chanteys, and never for a moment
lost their good spirits.

In the meantime an effort was made to get at the suction of the
pumps; and by 10 P.M. on Friday evening a hole in the engine-room
bulkhead had been completed. Then E. R. Evans, wriggling over the
coal, found his way to the pump shaft and down it, and cleared
the suction of the coal balls (a mixture of coal and oil) which
were choking it. Soon afterwards a good stream of water came from
the pump, and it was evident that the main difficulty had been
overcome. Slowly the water began to decrease in the engine-room,
and by 4 A.M. on Saturday morning the bucket-parties were able
to stop their labours.

The losses caused by this gale were serious enough, but they might
easily have been worse. Besides the damage to the bulwarks of the
ship, two ponies, one dog, ten tons of coal, sixty-five gallons
of petrol, and a case of biologists' spirit were lost. Another
dog was washed away with such force that his chain broke and he
disappeared, but the next wave miraculously
[Page 216]
washed him back on board. In a few hours everyone was hopeful again,
but anxiety on account of the ponies remained. With the ship pitching
heavily to a south-westerly swell, at least two of these long-suffering
animals looked sadly in need of a spell of rest, and Scott's earnest
prayer was that there might be no more gales. 'December ought to
be a fine month in the Ross Sea; it always has been, and just now
conditions point to fine weather. Well, we must be prepared for
anything, but I'm anxious, anxious about these animals of ours.'

Meanwhile Bowers and Campbell had worked untiringly to put things
straight on deck, and with the coal removed from the upper deck
and the petrol re-stored, the ship was in much better condition to
fight the gales. 'Another day,' Scott wrote on Tuesday, December
6, 'ought to put us beyond the reach of westerly gales'; but two
days later the ship was once more plunging against a stiff breeze
and moderate sea, and his anxiety about the ponies was greater
than ever. The dogs, however, had recovered wonderfully from the
effects of the great gale, their greatest discomfort being that
they were almost constantly wet.

During Friday, December 9, some very beautiful bergs were passed,
the heights of which varied from sixty to eighty feet. Good progress
was made during this day, but the ice streams thickened as they
advanced, and on either side of them fields of pack began to appear.
Yet, after the rough weather they had
[Page 217]
been having, the calm sea was a blessing even if the ice had arrived
before it was expected. 'One can only imagine the relief and comfort
afforded to the ponies, but the dogs are visibly cheered and the
human element is full of gaiety. The voyage seems full of promise
in spite of the imminence of delay.'

Already Scott was being worried by the pace at which the coal was
going, and he determined if the pack became thick to put out the
fires and wait for the ice to open. Very carefully all the evidence
of former voyages had been examined so that the best meridian to go
south on might be chosen, and the conclusion arrived at was that
the 178 W. was the best. They entered the pack more or less on
this meridian, and were rewarded by meeting worse conditions than
any ship had ever experienced--worse, indeed, than Scott imagined
to be possible on any meridian which they might have chosen. But
as very little was known about the movements of the pack the
difficulties of making a choice may very easily be imagined, and,
in spite of disappointments, Scott's opinion that the 178 W. was
the best meridian did not change. 'The situation of the main bodies
of pack,' he says, 'and the closeness with which the floes are
packed depend almost entirely on the prevailing winds. One cannot
tell what winds have prevailed before one's arrival; therefore one
cannot know much about the situation or density. Within limits the
density is changing from day to day and even from hour to hour; such
changes depend on the wind, but it may not necessarily be a local
[Page 218]
wind, so that at times they seem almost mysterious. One sees the floes
pressing closely against one another at a given time, and an hour
or two afterwards a gap of a foot or more may be seen between each.
When the floes are pressed together it is difficult and sometimes
impossible to force a way through, but when there is release of
pressure the sum of many little gaps allows one to take a zigzag
path.'

During Sunday they lay tight in the pack, and after service at
10 A.M. all hands exercised themselves on ski over the floes and
got some delightful exercise. 'I have never thought of anything
as good as this life. The novelty, interest, colour, animal life,
and good fellowship go to make up an almost ideal picnic just at
present,' one of the company wrote on that same day--an abundant
proof that if delays came they brought their compensations with
them.

With rapid and complete changes of prospect they managed to progress--on
the Monday--with much bumping and occasional stoppages, but on
the following day they were again firmly and tightly wedged in
the pack. To most of them, however, the novelty of the experience
prevented any sense of impatience, though to Scott the strain of
waiting and wondering what he ought to do as regards the question
of coal was bound to be heavy.

This time of waiting was by no means wasted, for Gran gave hours
of instruction in the use of ski, and Meares took out some of the
fattest dogs and exercised them with a sledge. Observations were
also constantly
[Page 219]
taken, while Wilson painted some delightful pictures and Ponting
took a number of beautiful photographs of the pack and bergs. But
as day followed day and hopes of progress were not realized, Scott,
anxious to be free, decided on Monday, December 19, to push west.
'Anything to get out of these terribly heavy floes. Great patience
is the only panacea for our ill case. It is bad luck.'

Over and over again when the end of their troubles seemed to be
reached, they found that the thick pack was once more around them.
And what to do under the circumstances called for most difficult
decisions. If the fires were let out it meant a dead loss of two
tons of coal when the boilers were again heated. But these two
tons only covered a day under banked fires, so that for anything
longer than twenty-four hours it was a saving to put out the fires.
Thus at each stoppage Scott was called upon to decide how long it
was likely to last.

Christmas Day came with the ice still surrounding the ship, but
although the scene was 'altogether too Christmassy,' a most merry
evening was spent. For five hours the officers sat round the table
and sang lustily, each one of them having to contribute two songs
to the entertainment. 'It is rather a surprising circumstance,'
Scott remarks, 'that such an unmusical party should be so keen
on singing.'

Christmas, however, came and went without any immediate prospect
of release, the only bright side of this exasperating delay being
that everyone was
[Page 220]
prepared to exert himself to the utmost, quite regardless of the
results of his labours. But on Wednesday, December 28, the ponies,
despite the unremitting care and attention that Oates gave to them,
were the cause of the gravest anxiety. 'These animals are now the great
consideration, balanced as they are against the coal expenditure.'

By this time, although the ice was still all around them, many of
the floes were quite thin, and even the heavier ice appeared to
be breakable. So, after a consultation with Wilson, Scott decided
to raise steam, and two days later the ship was once more in the
open sea.

From the 9th to the 30th they had been in the pack, and during
this time 370 miles had been covered in a direct line. Sixty-one
tons[1] of coal had been used, an average of six miles to the ton,
and although these were not pleasant figures to contemplate, Scott
considered that under the exceptional conditions they might easily
have been worse. For the ship herself he had nothing but praise to
give. 'No other ship, not even the _Discovery_, would have come
through so well.... As a result I have grown strangely attached
to the _Terra Nova_. As she bumped the floes with mighty shocks,
crushing and grinding her way through some, twisting and turning
to avoid others, she seemed like a living thing fighting a great
fight. If only she had more economical engines she would be suitable
in all respects.'

[Footnote 1: When the _Terra Nova_ left Lyttelton she had 460 tons
of coal on board.]

[Page 221]
Scientifically as much as was possible had been done, but many
of the experts had of necessity been idle in regard to their own
specialties, though none of them were really idle; for those who
had no special work to do were magnificently eager to find any
kind of work that required to be done. 'Everyone strives to help
everyone else, and not a word of complaint or anger has been heard
on board. The inner life of our small community is very pleasant
to think upon, and very wonderful considering the extremely small
space in which we are confined. The attitude of the men is equally
worthy of admiration. In the forecastle as in the wardroom there is
a rush to be first when work is to be done, and the same desire to
sacrifice selfish consideration to the success of the expedition.
It is very good to be able to write in such high praise of one's
companions, and I feel that the possession of such support ought
to ensure success. Fortune would be in a hard mood indeed if it
allowed such a combination of knowledge, experience, ability, and
enthusiasm to achieve nothing.'

Fortune's wheel, however, was not yet prepared to turn in their
favor, for after a very few hours of the open sea a southern blizzard
met them. In the morning watch of December 31, the wind and sea
increased and the outlook was very distressing, but at 6 A.M. ice
was sighted ahead. Under ordinary conditions the safe course would
have been to go about and stand to the east, but on this occasion
[Page 222]
Scott was prepared to run the risk of trouble if he could get the
ponies into smoother water. Soon they passed a stream of ice over
which the sea was breaking heavily, and the danger of being among
loose floes in such a sea was acutely realized. But presently they
came to a more compact body of floes, and running behind this they
were agreeably surprised to find themselves in comparatively smooth
water. There they lay to in a sort of ice bay, and from a dangerous
position had achieved one that was safe as long as their temporary
shelter lasted.

As the day passed their protection, though still saving them from
the heavy swell, gradually diminished, but 1910 did not mean to
depart without giving them an Old Year's gift and surprise. 'At
10 P.M. to-night as the clouds lifted to the west a distant but
splendid view of the great mountains was obtained. All were in
sunshine; Sabine and Whewell were most conspicuous--the latter
from this view is a beautiful sharp peak, as remarkable a landmark
as Sabine itself. Mount Sabine was 110 miles away when we saw it.
I believe we could have seen it at a distance of thirty or forty
miles farther--such is the wonderful clearness of the atmosphere.'

The New Year brought better weather with it, and such good progress
was made that by mid-day on Tuesday, January 3, the ship reached
the Barrier five miles east of Cape Crozier. During the voyage
they had often discussed the idea of making their winter station
at this Cape, and the prospect had
[Page 223]
seemed to become increasingly fascinating the more they talked of it.

But a great disappointment awaited them, for after one of the whale
boats had been lowered and Scott, Wilson, Griffith Taylor, Priestley,
and E. R. Evans had been pulled towards the shore, they discovered
that the swell made it impossible for them to land.

'No good!! Alas! Cape Crozier with all its attractions is denied
us.'

On the top of a floe they could see an old Emperor penguin molting
and a young one shedding its down. This was an age and stage of
development of the Emperor chick of which they were ignorant, but
fortune decreed that this chick should be undisturbed. Of this
incident Wilson wrote in his Journal: 'A landing was out of the
question.... But I assure you it was tantalizing to me, for there,
about 6 feet above us on a small dirty piece of the old bay ice
about ten feet square, one living Emperor penguin chick was standing
disconsolately stranded, and close by stood one faithful old Emperor
parent asleep. This young Emperor was still in the down, a most
interesting fact in the bird's life history at which we had rightly
guessed, but which no one had actually observed before.... This
bird would have been a treasure to me, but we could not risk life
for it, so it had to remain where it was.'

Sadly and reluctantly they had to give up hopes of making their
station at Cape Crozier, and this
[Page 224]
was all the harder to bear because every detail of the shore promised
well for a wintering party. There were comfortable quarters for the
hut, ice for water snow for the animals, good slopes for skiing,
proximity to the Barrier and to the rookeries of two types of penguins,
good ground for biological work, a fairly easy approach to the
Southern Road with no chance of being cut off, and so forth. 'It
is a thousand pities to have to abandon such a spot.'

The _Discovery's_ post-office was still standing as erect as when
it had been planted, and comparisons between what was before their
eyes and old photographs showed that no change at all seemed to
have occurred anywhere--a result that in the case of the Barrier
caused very great surprise.

In the meantime all hands were employed in making a running survey,
the program of which was:

  Bruce continually checking speed with hand log.

  Bowers taking altitudes of objects as they come abeam.
  Nelson noting results.

  Pennell taking verge plate bearings on bow and quarter.
  Cherry-Garrard noting results.

  Evans taking verge plate bearings abeam.
  Atkinson noting results.

  Campbell taking distances abeam with range finder.
  Wright noting results.

  Rennick sounding with Thomson machine.
  Drake noting results.

[Page 225]
'We plotted the Barrier edge from the point at which we met it to
the Crozier cliffs; to the eye it seems scarcely to have changed
since _Discovery_ days, and Wilson thinks it meets the cliff in
the same place.'

Very early on Wednesday morning they rounded Cape Bird and came
in sight of Mount Discovery and the Western Mountains. 'It was
good to see them again, and perhaps after all we are better this
side of the Island. It gives one a homely feeling to see such a
familiar scene.' Scott's great wish now was to find a place for
winter quarters that would not easily be cut off from the Barrier,
and a cape, which in the _Discovery_ days had been called 'the
Skuary,' was chosen. 'It was separated from old _Discovery_ quarters
by two deep bays on either side of the Glacier Tongue, and I thought
that these bays would remain frozen until late in the season, and
that when they froze over again the ice would soon become firm.'

There Scott, Wilson, and E. R. Evans landed, and at a glance saw,
as they expected, that the place was ideal for their wintering
station. A spot for the hut was chosen on a beach facing northwest
and well protected behind by numerous small hills; but the most
favorable circumstance of all in connection with this cape, which
was re-christened Cape Evans, was the strong chance of communication
being established at an early date with Cape Armitage.[1] Not a
moment was wasted, and while Scott was
[Page 226]
on shore Campbell took the first steps towards landing the stores.

[Footnote 1: The extreme south point of the Island, 12 miles further,
on one of whose minor headlands, Hut Point, stood the _Discovery_
hut.]

Fortunately the weather was gloriously calm and fine, and the landing
began under the happiest conditions. Two of the motors were soon
hoisted out, and in spite of all the bad weather and the tons of
sea-water that had washed over them the sledges and all the accessories
appeared to be in perfect condition. Then came the turn of the
ponies, and although it was difficult to make some of them enter
the horse box, Oates rose to the occasion and got most of them in
by persuasion, while the ones which refused to be persuaded were
simply lifted in by the sailors. 'Though all are thin and some
few looked pulled down I was agreeably surprised at the evident
vitality which they still possessed--some were even skittish. I
cannot express the relief when the whole seventeen were safely
picketed on the floe.'

Meares and the dogs were out early on the Wednesday morning, and
ran to and fro during most of the day with light loads. The chief
trouble with the dogs was due to the fatuous conduct of the penguins,
the latter showing a devouring curiosity in the proceedings and
a total disregard for their own safety, with the result that a
number of them were killed in spite of innumerable efforts to teach
the penguins to keep out of reach, they only squawked and ducked
as much as to say, 'What's it got to do with you, you silly ass?
Let us alone.' These incidents naturally demoralized the dogs and
annoyed Meares, who
[Page 227]
while trying to stop one sledge, fell into the middle of the dogs
and was carried along until they reached the penguins of their
desire.

The motor sledges were running by the afternoon, Day managing one
and Nelson the other. 'It is early to call them a success, but
they are certainly extremely promising.' Before night the site
for the hut was leveled, and the erecting party was encamped on
shore in a large tent with a supply of food for eight days. Nearly
all the timber, &c., for the hut and a supply of food for both
ponies and dogs had also been landed.

Despite this most strenuous day's labour, all hands were up again
at 5 A.M. on Thursday.

'Words cannot express the splendid way in which everyone works
and gradually the work gets organized. I was a little late on the
scene this morning, and thereby witnessed a most extraordinary
scene. Some six or seven killer whales, old and young, were skirting
the fast floe edge ahead of the ship; they seemed excited and dived
rapidly, almost touching the floe. As we watched, they suddenly
appeared astern, raising their snouts out of water. I had heard
weird stories of these beasts, but had never associated serious
danger with them. Close to the water's edge lay the wire stern
rope of the ship, and our two Esquimaux dogs were tethered to this.
I did not think of connecting the movements of the whales with
this fact, and seeing them so close I shouted to Ponting, who was
standing abreast of the ship. He seized his camera and ran
[Page 228]
towards the floe edge to get a close picture of the beasts, which
had momentarily disappeared. The next moment the whole floe under
him and the dogs heaved up and split into fragments. One could hear
the "booming" noise as the whales rose under the ice and struck
it with their backs. Whale after whale rose under the ice, setting
it rocking fiercely; luckily Ponting kept his feet and was able
to fly to security; by an extraordinary chance also, the splits
had been made around and between the dogs, so that neither of them
fell into the water. Then it was clear that the whales shared our
astonishment, for one after another their huge hideous heads shot
vertically into the air through the cracks which they had made...
There cannot be a doubt that they looked up to see what had happened
to Ponting and the dogs....

'Of course, we have known well that killer whales continually skirt
the edge of the floes and that they would undoubtedly snap up anyone
who was unfortunate enough to fall into the water; but the facts
that they could display such deliberate cunning, that they were
able to break ice of such thickness (at least 2-1/2 feet), and
that they could act in unison, were a revelation to us. It is clear
that they are endowed with singular intelligence, and in future
we shall treat that intelligence with every respect.'

On Thursday the motor sledges did good work, and hopes that they
might prove to be reliable began to increase. Infinite trouble
had been taken to obtain
[Page 229]
the most suitable material for Polar work, and the three motor
sledge tractors were the outcome of experiments made at Lantaret in
France and at Lillehammer and Fefor in Norway, with sledges built
by the Wolseley Motor Company from suggestions offered principally
by B. T. Hamilton, R. W. Skelton, and Scott himself. With his rooted
objection to cruelty in any shape or form, Scott had an intense, and
almost pathetic, desire that these sledges should be successful;
over and over again he expressed his hopes and fears of them.

With ponies, motor sledges, dogs, and men parties working hard,
the transportation progressed rapidly on the next two days, the
only drawback being that the ice was beginning to get thin in the
cracks and on some of the floes. Under these circumstances the
necessity for wasting no time was evident, and so on the Sunday the
third motor was got out and placed on the ice, and Scott, leaving
Campbell to find the best crossing for the motor, started for the
shore with a single man load.

Soon after the motor had been brought out Campbell ordered that
it should be towed on to the firm ice, because the ice near the
ship was breaking up. And then, as they were trying to rush the
machine over the weak place, Williamson suddenly went through; and
while he was being hauled out the ice under the motor was seen to
give, and slowly the machine went right through and disappeared.
The men made strenuous efforts to keep hold of the rope, but it
cut through the ice towards them with an increasing strain,
[Page 230]
and one after another they were obliged to let go. Half a minute
later nothing remained but a big hole, and one of the two best
motors was lying at the bottom of the sea.

The ice, too, was hourly becoming more dangerous, and it was clear
that those who were on shore were practically cut off from the
ship. So in the evening Scott went to the ice-edge farther to the
north, and found a place where the ship could come and be near
ice heavy enough for sledding. Then he semaphored directions to
Pennell, and on the following morning the ship worked her way along
the ice-edge to the spot that had been chosen.

A good solid road was formed right up to the ship, and again the
work of transportation went on with the greatest energy. In this
Bowers proved 'a perfect treasure,' there was not a single case
he did not know nor a single article on which he could not at once
place his hand, and every case as it came on shore was checked
by him.

On Tuesday night, January 10, after six days in McMurdo Sound,
the landing was almost completed, and early in the afternoon of
Thursday a message was sent from the ship that nothing remained on
board except mutton, books, pictures, and the pianola. 'So at last
we really are a self-contained party ready for all emergencies. We
are LANDED eight days after our arrival--a very good record.'




[Page 231]
CHAPTER II

DEPOT LAYING TO ONE TON CAMP

  And the deed of high endeavour
    Was no more to the favoured few.
  But brain and heart were the measure
    Of what every man might do.
      RENNELL RODD.

While the landing was being carried out, the building party had
worked so rapidly that, if necessity had arisen, the hut could
have been inhabited by the 12th; at the same time another small
party had been engaged in making a cave in the ice which was to
serve as a larder, and this strenuous work continued until the
cave was large enough to hold all the mutton, and a considerable
quantity of seal and penguin. Close to this larder Simpson and
Wright were busy in excavating for the differential magnetic hut.

In every way indeed such good progress had been made that Scott
could begin to think about the depot journey. The arrangements
of this he discussed with Bowers, to whose grasp of the situation
he gives the highest praise. 'He enters into one's idea's at once,
and evidently thoroughly understands the principles of the game.'

Of these arrangements Wilson wrote in his journal:
[Page 232]
'He (Scott) wants me to be a driver with himself, Meares, and Teddie
Evans, and this is what I would have chosen had I had a free choice
of all. The dogs run in two teams and each team wants two men.
It means a lot of running as they are being driven now, but it
is the fastest and most interesting work of all, and we go ahead
of the whole caravan with lighter loads and at a faster rate....
About this time next year may I be there or thereabouts! With so
many young bloods in the heyday of youth and strength beyond my
own I feel there will be a most difficult task in making choice
towards the end and a most keen competition--_and_ a universal
lack of selfishness and self-seeking, with a complete absence of
any jealous feeling in any single one of any of the comparatively
large number who at present stand a chance of being on the last piece
next summer.... I have never been thrown in with a more unselfish
lot of men--each one doing his utmost fair and square in the most
cheery manner possible.'

Sunday, January 15, was observed as a 'day of rest,' and at 10
A.M. the men and officers streamed over from the ship, and Scott
read Divine Service on the beach. Then he had a necessary but
unpalatable task to perform, because some of the ponies had not
fulfilled expectations, and Campbell had to be told that the two
allotted to him must be exchanged for a pair of inferior animals. At
this time the party to be led by Campbell was known as the Eastern
Party, but, owing to the impossibility of landing on King
[Page 233]
Edward's Land, they were eventually taken to the north part of
Victoria Land, and thus came to be known as the Northern Party.
Scott's reluctance to make the alteration in ponies is evident, but
in writing of it he says: 'He (Campbell) took it like the gentleman
he is, thoroughly appreciating the reason.'

On that same afternoon Scott and Meares took a sledge and nine
dogs, some provisions, a cooker and sleeping-bags, and started
to Hut Point; but, on their arrival at the old _Discovery_ hut, a
most unpleasant surprise awaited them, for to their chagrin they
found that some of Shackleton's party, who had used the hut for
shelter, had left it in an uninhabitable state.

'There was something too depressing in finding the old hut in such
a desolate condition.... To camp outside and feel that all the old
comfort and cheer had departed, was dreadfully heartrending. I
went to bed thoroughly depressed. It seems a fundamental expression
of civilized human sentiment that men who come to such places as this
should leave what comfort they can to welcome those who follow, and
finding that such a simple duty had been neglected by our immediate
predecessors oppressed me horribly.'

After a bad night they went up the hills, and there Scott found
much less snow than he had ever seen. The ski run was completely
cut through in two places, the Gap and Observation Hill were almost
bare, on the side of Arrival Heights was a great bare slope, and
on the top of Crater Heights was an immense bare
[Page 234]
tableland. The paint was so fresh and the inscription so legible
on the cross put up to the memory of Vince that it looked as if
it had just been erected, and although the old flagstaff was down
it could with very little trouble have been put up again. Late in
the afternoon of Monday Scott and Meares returned to Cape Evans,
and on the following day the party took up their abode in the hut.

'The word "hut,"' Scott wrote, 'is misleading. Our residence is
really a house of considerable size, in every respect the finest
that has ever been erected in the Polar regions. The walls and
roof have double thickness of boarding and seaweed insulation on
both sides of the frames. The roof with all its coverings weighs
six tons. The outer shell is wonderfully solid therefore and the
result is extraordinary comfort and warmth inside, whilst the total
weight is comparatively small. It amply repays the time and attention
given to its planning.

'On the south side Bowers has built a long annex, to contain spare
clothing and ready provisions, on the north there is a solid stable
to hold our fifteen ponies in the winter. At present these animals
are picketed on long lines laid on a patch of snow close by, above
them, on a patch of black sand and rock, the dogs extend in other
long lines. Behind them again is a most convenient slab of hard
ice in which we have dug two caverns. The first is a larder now
fully stocked with seals, penguins, mutton, and beef. The other
is devoted to science in the shape of differential magnetic
[Page 235]
instruments which will keep a constant photographic record of magnetic
changes. Outside these caverns is another little hut for absolute
magnetic observations, and above them on a small hill, the dominant
miniature peak of the immediate neighborhood, stand the meteorological
instruments and a flagstaff carrying the Union Jack.

'If you can picture our house nestling below this small hill on
a long stretch of black sand, with many tons of provision cases
ranged in neat blocks in front of it and the sea lapping the ice-foot
below, you will have some idea of our immediate vicinity. As for
our wider surroundings it would be difficult to describe their
beauty in sufficiently glowing terms. Cape Evans is one of the
many spurs of Erebus and the one that stands closest under the
mountain, so that always towering above us we have the grand snowy
peak with its smoking summit. North and south of us are deep bays,
beyond which great glaciers come rippling over the lower slopes
to thrust high blue-walled snouts into the sea. The sea is blue
before us, dotted with shining bergs or ice floes, whilst far over
the Sound, yet so bold and magnificent as to appear near, stand
the beautiful Western Mountains with their numerous lofty peaks,
their deep glacial valley and clear-cut scarps, a vision of mountain
scenery that can have few rivals.

'Ponting is the most delighted of men; he declares this is the
most beautiful spot he has ever seen, and spends all day and most
of the night
[Page 236]
in what he calls "gathering it in" with camera and cinematograph.

'I have told you of the surroundings of our house but nothing of
its internal arrangements. They are in keeping with the dignity
of the mansion.

'The officers (16) have two-thirds of the interior, the men (9)
the remaining third; the dividing line is fixed by a wall of cases
containing things which suffer from being frozen.

'In the officers' quarters there is an immense dark room, and next it
on one side a space devoted to the physicist and his instruments, and
on the other a space devoted to charts, chronometers and instruments
generally.

'I have a tiny half cabin of my own, next this Wilson and Evans
have their beds. On the other side is a space set apart for five
beds, which are occupied by Meares, Oates, Atkinson, Garrard and
Bowers. Taylor, Debenham and Gran have another proportional space
opposite. Nelson and Day have a little cabin of their own with a
bench. Lastly Simpson and Wright occupy beds bordering the space
set apart for their instruments and work. In the center is a 12-foot
table with plenty of room for passing behind its chairs....

'To sum up, the arrangements are such that everyone is completely
comfortable and conveniently placed for his work--in fact we could
not be better housed. Of course a good many of us will have a small
enough chance of enjoying the comforts of our home. We shall be
away sledding late this year and off again
[Page 237]
early next season, but even for us it will be pleasant to feel that
such comfort awaits our return.'

So in less than a fortnight after the arrival in McMurdo Sound
they had absolutely settled down, and were anxious to start upon
their depot journey as soon as the ponies had recovered thoroughly
from the effects of the voyage. These autumn journeys, however,
required much thought and preparation, mainly because the prospect
of the parties being cut off from their winter quarters necessitated
a great deal of food being taken both for men and animals. Sledding
gear and wintering boots were served out to the selected travelers,
sledges were prepared by P.O. Evans and Crean, and most of the
stores were tested and found to be most excellent in quality. 'Our
clothing is as good as good. In fact first and last, running through
the whole extent of our outfit, I can say with pride that there
is not a single arrangement which I would have had altered....
Everything looks hopeful for the depot journey if only we can get
our stores and ponies past the Glacier Tongue.'

Thus Scott wrote on the 20th, but the following day brought a serious
suspense with it; for during the afternoon came a report that the
_Terra Nova_ was ashore, and Scott, hastening to the Cape, saw at
once that she was firmly fixed and in a very uncomfortable position.

Visions of the ship being unable to return to New Zealand arose in
his mind 'with sickening pertinacity,' and it was characteristic of
him that at the moment when there was every prospect of a complete
disarrangement of well-laid plans, he found his one
[Page 238]
consolation in determining that, whatever happened, nothing should
interfere with the southern work.

The only possible remedy seemed to be an extensive lightening of
the ship with boats, as the tide had evidently been high when she
struck. Scott, with two or three companions, watched anxiously
from the shore while the men on board shifted cargo aft, but no
ray of hope came until the ship was seen to be turning very slowly,
and then they saw the men running from side to side and knew that
an attempt was being made to roll her off. At first the rolling
produced a more rapid turning movement, and then she seemed again
to hang though only for a short time. Meanwhile the engines had
been going astern and presently a slight movement became apparent,
but those who were watching the ship did not know that she was
getting clear until they heard the cheers on board. Then she gathered
stern way and was clear.

'The relief was enormous. The wind dropped as she came off, and
she is now securely moored off the northern ice-edge, where I hope
the greater number of her people are finding rest. For here and now
I must record the splendid manner in which these men are working.
I find it difficult to express my admiration for the manner in
which the ship is handled and worked under these very trying
circumstances... Pennell has been over to tell me about it to-night;
I think I like him more every day.'

On that same day Meares and Oates went to the Glacier Tongue and
satisfied themselves that the ice
[Page 239]
was good; and with the 25th fixed for the date of departure it was
not too much to hope that the ice would remain for three or four
more days. The ponies for Campbell's party were put on board on
the 22nd, but when Scott got up at 5 A.M. on the following morning
he saw, to his astonishment, that the ice was going out of the bay
in a solid mass. Then everything was rushed on at top speed, and
a wonderful day's work resulted. All the forage, food, sledges
and equipment were got off to the ship at once, the dogs followed;
in short everything to do with the depot party was hurriedly put
on board except the ponies, which were to cross the Cape and try
to get over the Southern Road on the morning of the 24th.

The Southern Road was the one feasible line of communication between
the new station at Cape Evans and the _Discovery_ hut, for the
rugged mountains and crevassed ice-slopes of Ross Island prevented
a passage by land. The Road provided level going below the cliffs
of the ice-foot except where disturbed by the descending glacier;
and there it was necessary to cross the body of the glacier itself.
It consisted of the more enduring ice in the bays and the sea-ice
along the coast, which only stayed fast for the season. Thus it
was most important to get safely over the dangerous part of this
Road before the seasonal going-out of the sea-ice. To wait until
after the ice went out and the ship could sail to Hut Point would
have meant both uncertainty and delay. Scott knew well enough that
the Road might not hold for many more hours,
[Page 240]
and it actually broke up on the very day after the party had passed.

Early on Tuesday, January 24, a boat from the ship fetched Scott
and the Western Party; and at the same time the ponies were led
out of the camp, Wilson and Meares going ahead of them to test the
track. No sooner was Scott on board than he was taken to inspect
Lillie's catch of sea animals. 'It was wonderful, quantities of
sponges, isopods, pentapods, large shrimps, corals, &c. &c.; but
the _piece de resistance_ was the capture of several bucketsful
of cephalodiscus of which only seven pieces had been previously
caught. Lillie is immensely pleased, feeling that it alone repays
the whole enterprise.' In the forenoon the ship skirted the Island,
and with a telescope those on board could watch the string of ponies
steadily progressing over the sea-ice past the Razor Back Islands;
and, as soon as they were seen to be well advanced, the ship steamed
on to the Glacier Tongue, and made fast in the narrow angle made
by the sea-ice with the glacier.

Then, while Campbell investigated a broad crack in the sea ice on
the Southern Road, Scott went to meet the ponies, which, without
much difficulty, were got on to the Tongue, across the glacier,
and then were picketed on the sea-ice close to the ship. But when
Campbell returned with the news that the big crack was 30 feet
across, it was evident that they must get past it on the glacier,
and Scott asked him to peg out a road clear of cracks.

[Page 241]
Soon afterwards Oates reported that the ponies were ready to start
again, and they were led along; Campbell's road, their loads having
already been taken on the floe. At first all went well, but when
the animals got down on the floe level and Oates led across an
old snowed-up crack, the third pony made a jump at the edge and
sank to its stomach in the middle. Gradually it sank deeper and
deeper until only its head and forelegs showed above the slush.
With some trouble ropes were attached to these, and the poor animal,
looking very weak and miserable, was eventually pulled out.

After this experience the other five ponies were led farther round
to the west and were got safely out on the floe; a small feed was
given to them, and then they were started off with their loads.

The dogs in the meantime were causing some excitement for, starting
on hard ice with a light load, they obviously preferred speed to
security. Happily, however, no accident happened, and Scott, writing
from Glacier Tongue on January 24, was able to say: 'All have arrived
safely, and this evening we start our sledges south. I expect we
shall have to make three relays to get all our stores on to the
Barrier some fifteen miles away. The ship is to land a geologising
party on the west side of the Sound, and then to proceed to King
Edward's Land to put the Eastern party on short.'

The geologising party consisted of Griffith Taylor, Debenham, Wright,
and P.O. Evans, and for reasons
[Page 242]
already mentioned the Eastern party were eventually known as the
Northern party.

On the night of the 24th Scott camped six miles from the glacier
and two miles from Hut Point, he and Wilson having driven one team
of dogs, while Meares and E. Evans drove the other. But on the
following day Scott drove his team to the ship, and when the men
had been summoned aft he thanked them for their splendid work.

'They have behaved like bricks and a finer lot of fellows never
sailed in a ship.... It was a little sad to say farewell to all
these good fellows and Campbell and his men. I do most heartily
trust that all will be successful in their ventures, for indeed
their unselfishness and their generous high spirit deserves reward.
God bless them.'

       *       *       *       *       *

How completely Scott's hopes were realized in the case of Campbell's
party is now well known. Nothing more miraculous than the story
of their adventures has ever been told. The party consisted of
Campbell, Levick, Priestley, Abbott, Browning, and Dickason, and
the courage shown by the leader and his companions in facing endless
difficulties and privations has met with the unstinted admiration
that it most thoroughly deserved.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the depot laying journey Scott's party consisted of 12 men
(Wilson, Bowers, Oates, Atkinson, Cherry-Garrard, E. Evans, Gran,
Meares, Forde,
[Page 243]
Keohane, Crean, and himself), 8 ponies and 26 dogs. Of the dogs
he felt at this time more than a little doubtful, but the ponies
were in his opinion bound to be a success. 'They work with such
extraordinary steadiness, stepping out briskly and cheerfully,
following in each other's tracks. The great drawback is the ease
with which they sink in soft snow: they go through in lots of places
where the men scarcely make an impression--they struggle pluckily
when they sink, but it is trying to watch them.'

In three days he hoped that all the loads would be transported to
complete safety, and on Friday, the 27th, only one load remained
to be brought from Hut Point. The strenuous labour of this day
tired out the dogs, but the ponies worked splendidly. On the next
day, however, both Keohane's and Bowers' ponies showed signs of
breaking down, and Oates began to take a gloomy view of the situation.
In compensation for these misfortunes the dogs, as they got into
better condition, began to do excellent work. During Sunday they
ran two loads for over a mile past the stores on the Barrier to
the spot chosen for 'Safety Camp,' the big home depot. 'I don't
think that any part of the Barrier is likely to go, but it's just
as well to be prepared for everything, and our camp must deserve
its distinctive title of "Safety."'

By this time the control of the second dog team had been definitely
handed over to Wilson, and in his journal he gives an admirable
account of his experiences. 'The seals have been giving a lot of
[Page 244]
trouble, that is just to Meares and myself with our dogs....
Occasionally when one pictures oneself quite away from trouble
of that kind, an old seal will pop his head up at a blowhole a
few yards ahead of the team, and they are all on top of him before
one can say "knife"! Then one has to rush in with the whip--and
everyone of the team of eleven jumps over the harness of the dog
next to him, and the harnesses become a muddle that takes much
patience to unravel, not to mention care lest the whole team should
get away with the sledge and its load, and leave one behind....
I never did get left the whole of this depot journey, but I was
often very near it, and several times had only time to seize a
strap or a part of the sledge, and be dragged along helter-skelter
over everything that came in the way, till the team got sick of
galloping and one could struggle to one's feet again. One gets
very wary and wide-awake when one has to manage a team of eleven
dogs and a sledge load by oneself, but it was a most interesting
experience, and I had a delightful leader, "Stareek" by name--Russian
for "Old Man," and he was the most wise old man.... Dog driving
like this in the orthodox manner is a very different thing from
the beastly dog driving we perpetrated in the _Discovery_ days....
I got to love all my team and they got to know me well.... Stareek
is quite a ridiculous "old man" and quite the nicest, quietest,
cleverest old dog I have ever come across. He looks in face as
if he knew all the wickedness of all the world
[Page 245]
and all its cares, and as if he were bored to death by them.'

When Safety Camp was reached there was no need for haste until they
started upon their journey. 'It is only when we start that we must
travel fast.' Work, however, on the Monday was more strenuous than
successful, for the ponies sank very deep and had great difficulty
in bringing up their loads. During the afternoon Scott disclosed
his plan of campaign, which was to go forward with five weeks'
food for men and animals, then to depot a fortnight's supply after
twelve or thirteen days and return to Safety Camp. The loads for
ponies under this arrangement worked out at a little over 600 lbs.,
and for the dog teams at 700 lbs., both apart from sledges. Whether
the ponies could manage these loads depended on the surface, and there
was a great possibility that the dogs would have to be lightened,
but under the circumstances it was the best plan they could hope
to carry out.

On Tuesday when everything was ready for the start the one pair
of snow-shoes was tried on 'Weary Willy' with magical effect. In
places where he had floundered woefully without the shoes he strolled
round as if he was walking on hard ground. Immediately after this
experiment Scott decided that an attempt must be made to get more
snow-shoes, and within half an hour Meares and Wilson had started,
on the chance that the ice had not yet gone out, to the station
twenty miles away. But on the next day they returned with the news
that there was no
[Page 246]
possibility of reaching Cape Evans, and an additional stroke of
bad fortune fell when Atkinson's foot, which had been troublesome
for some time, was examined and found to be so bad that he had
to be left behind with Crean as a companion.

Writing on Wednesday, February 1, from 'Safety Camp, Great Barrier,'
Scott said: 'I told you that we should be cut off from our winter
station, and that I had to get a good weight of stores on to the
Barrier to provide for that contingency. We are safely here with
all requisite stores, though it has taken nearly a week. But we
find the surface very soft and the ponies flounder in it. I sent
a dog team back yesterday to try and get snow-shoes for ponies,
but they found the ice broken south of Cape Evans and returned
this morning. Everyone is doing splendidly and gaining the right
sort of experience for next year. Every mile we advance this year
is a help for next.'

[Illustration: PONY CAMP ON THE BARRIER. _Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott._]

At last the start was made on Thursday, February 2, but when, after
marching five miles, Scott asked for their one pair of snow-shoes,
he found that they had been left behind, and Gran--whose expertness
on ski was most useful--immediately volunteered to go back and get
them. While he was away the party rested, for at Scott's suggestion
they had decided to take to night marching. And so at 12.30 A.M.
they started off once more on a surface that was bad at first but
gradually improved, until just before camping time Bowers, who was
leading, suddenly plunged into soft snow. Several of the others,
following close behind
[Page 247]
him, shared the same fate, and soon three ponies were plunging
and struggling in a drift, and had to be unharnessed and led round
from patch to patch until firmer ground was reached.

Then came another triumph for the snow-shoes, which were put on
Bowers' pony, with the result that after a few minutes he settled
down, was harnessed to his load, and brought in not only that but
also another over places into which he had previously been plunging.
Again Scott expressed his regret that such a great help to their
work had been left behind at the station, and it was all the more
trying for him to see the ponies half engulfed in the snow, and
panting and heaving from the strain, when the remedies for his
state of affairs were so near and yet so impossible to reach.

During the next march ten miles were covered, and the ponies, on
a better surface, easily dragged their loads, but signs of bad
weather began to appear in the morning, and by 4 P.M. on Saturday
a blizzard arrived and held up the party in Corner Camp for three
days. 'No fun to be out of the tent--but there are no shirkers with
us. Oates has been out regularly to feed the ponies; Meares and
Wilson to attend to the dogs; the rest of us as occasion required.'

The ponies looked fairly comfortable during the blizzard, but when
it ceased and another march was made on Tuesday night, the effects
of the storm were too clearly seen. All of them finished the march
listlessly, and two or three were visibly thinner.
[Page 248]
But by far the worst sufferer was Forde's 'Blucher' whose load
was reduced to 200 lbs., and finally Forde pulled this in and led
his pony. Extra food was given in the hope that they would soon
improve again; but at all costs most of them had got to be kept
alive, and Scott began to fear that very possibly the journey would
have to be curtailed.

During the next two marches, however, the ponies seemed to be stronger.
'Surface very good and animals did splendidly,' Scott wrote on
Friday, February 10, and then gave in his diary for the day an
account of their nightly routine. 'We turn out of our sleeping-bags
about 9 P.M. Somewhere about 11.30 I shout to the Soldier[1] "How
are things?" There is a response suggesting readiness, and soon
after figures are busy amongst sledges and ponies. It is chilling
work for the fingers and not too warm for the feet. The rugs come
off the animals, the harness is put on, tents and camp equipment
are loaded on the sledges, nosebags filled for the next halt; one
by one the animals are taken off the picketing rope and yoked to
the sledge. Oates watches his animal warily, reluctant to keep
such a nervous creature standing in the traces. If one is prompt
one feels impatient and fretful whilst watching one's more tardy
fellows. Wilson and Meares hang about ready to help with odds and
ends.

[Footnote 1: Oates.]

'Still we wait: the picketing lines must be gathered up, a few
pony putties need adjustment, a party has been slow striking their
tent. With numbed fingers on
[Page 249]
our horse's bridle and the animal striving to turn its head from
the wind one feels resentful. At last all is ready. One says "All
right, Bowers, go ahead," and Birdie leads his big animal forward,
starting, as he continues, at a steady pace. The horses have got
cold and at the word they are off, the Soldier's and one or two
others with a rush. Finnesko give poor foothold on the slippery
sastrugi,[1] and for a minute or two drivers have some difficulty
in maintaining the pace on their feet. Movement is warming, and
in ten minutes the column has settled itself to steady marching.

[Footnote 1: Irregularities formed by the wind on a snow-plain.]

'The pace is still brisk, the light bad, and at intervals one or
another of us suddenly steps on a slippery patch and falls prone.
These are the only real incidents of the march--for the rest it
passes with a steady tramp and slight variation of formation. The
weaker ponies drop a bit but not far, so that they are soon up in
line again when the first halt is made. We have come to a single
halt in each half march. Last night it was too cold to stop long
and a very few minutes found us on the go again.

'As the end of the half march approaches I get out my whistle.
Then at a shrill blast Bowers wheels slightly to the left, his tent
mates lead still farther out to get the distance for the picket
lines; Oates and I stop behind Bowers and Evans, the two other
sledges of our squad behind the two other of Bowers'. So we are
drawn up in camp formation. The picket
[Page 250]
lines are run across at right angles to the line of advance and
secured to the two sledges at each end. It a few minutes ponies
are on the lines covered, tents up again and cookers going.

'Meanwhile the dog drivers, after a long cold wait at the old camp,
have packed the last sledge and come trotting along our tracks.
They try to time their arrival in the new camp immediately after
our own, and generally succeed well. The mid-march halt runs into
an hour to an hour and a half, and at the end we pack up and tramp
forth again. We generally make our final camp about 8 o'clock, and
within an hour and a half most of us are in our sleeping-bags....
At the long halt we do our best for our animals by building snow
walls and improving their rugs, &c.

A softer surface on the 11th made the work much more difficult,
and even the dogs, who had been pulling consistently well, showed
signs of exhaustion before the march was over. Early on Sunday
morning they were near the 79th parallel, and exact bearings had
to be taken, since this camp, called Bluff Camp, was expected to
play an important part in the future. By this time three of the
ponies, Blossom, James Pigg, and Blucher, were so weak that Scott
decided to send E. Evans, Forde and Keohane back with them.

Progress on the next march was interrupted by a short blizzard, and
Scott, not by any means for the first time, was struck by Bowers'
imperviousness to
[Page 251]
cold. 'Bowers,' he wrote, 'is wonderful. Throughout the night he
has worn no head-gear but a common green felt hat kept on with a
chin-stay and affording no cover whatever for the ears. His face
and ears remain bright red. The rest of us were glad to have thick
Balaclavas and wind helmets. I have never seen anyone so unaffected
by the cold. To-night he remained outside a full hour after the
rest of us had got into the tent. He was simply pottering about
the camp doing small jobs to the sledges, &c. Cherry-Garrard is
remarkable because of his eyes. He can only see through glasses
and has to wrestle with all sorts of inconveniences in consequence.
Yet one could never guess it--for he manages somehow to do more
than his share of the work.'

Another disappointing day followed, on which the surface was so
bad that the ponies frequently sank lower than their hocks, and the
soft patches of snow left by the blizzard lay in sandy heaps and
made great friction for the runners. Still, however, they struggled
on; but Gran with Weary Willy could not go the pace, and when they
were three-quarters of a mile behind the others the dog teams (which
always left the camp after the others) overtook them. Then the dogs
got out of hand and attacked Weary Willy, who put up a sterling
fight but was bitten rather badly before Meares and Gran could
drive off the dogs. Afterwards it was discovered that Weary Willy's
load was much heavier than that of the other ponies, and an attempt
to continue the march had quickly
[Page 252]
to be abandoned owing to his weak condition. As some compensation
for his misfortunes he was given a hot feed, a large snow wall, and
some extra sacking, and on the following day he showed appreciation
of these favors by a marked improvement. Bowers' pony, however,
refused work for the first time, and Oates was more despondent
than ever; 'But,' Scott says, 'I've come to see that this is a
characteristic of him. In spite of it he pays every attention to
the weaker horses.'

No doubt remained on the Thursday that both Weary Willy and Bowers'
pony could stand very little more, and so it was decided to turn
back on the following day. During the last march out the temperature
fell to -21 deg. with a brisk south-west breeze, and frost-bites were
frequent. Bowers with his ears still uncovered suffered severely,
but while Scott and Cherry-Garrard nursed them back he seemed to
feel nothing but surprise and disgust at the mere fact of possessing
such unruly organs. 'It seems as though some of our party will
find spring journeys pretty trying. Oates' nose is always on the
point of being frost-bitten; Meares has a refractory toe which
gives him much trouble--this is the worse prospect for summit work.
I have been wondering how I shall stick the summit again, this cold
spell gives ideas. I think I shall be all right, but one must be
prepared for a pretty good doing.'

The depot was built during the next day, February 17, Lat. 79 deg. 29'
S, and considerably over a ton of stuff was landed.

[Page 253]
Stores left in depot:

   lbs.
   245   7 weeks' full provision bags for 1 unit
    12   2 days' provision bags for 1 unit
     8   8 weeks' tea
    31   6 weeks' extra butter
   176   lbs. biscuit (7 weeks' full biscuit)
    85   8-1/2 gallons oil (12 weeks' oil for 1 unit)
   850   5 sacks of oats
   424   4 bales of fodder
   250   Tank of dog biscuit
   100   2 cases of biscuit
  ----
  2181

         1  skein white line
         1  set breast harness
         2  12 ft. sledges
         2  pair ski, 1 pair ski sticks
         1  _Minimum Thermometer_[1]
         1  tin Rowntree cocoa
         1  tin matches

[Footnote 1: See page 337.]

Sorry as Scott was not to reach 80 deg., he was satisfied that they
had 'a good leg up' for next year, and could at least feed the
ponies thoroughly up to this point. In addition to a flagstaff
and black flag, One Ton Camp was marked with piled biscuit boxes
to act as reflectors, and tea-tins were tied on the top of the
sledges, which were planted upright in the snow. The depot cairn
was more than six feet above the surface, and so the party had
the satisfaction of knowing that it could scarcely fail to show
up for many miles.




[Page 254]
CHAPTER III

PERILS

                ...Yet I argue not
  Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
  Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
  Right onward.
    MILTON.

On the return journey Scott, Wilson, Meares and Cherry-Garrard
went back at top speed with the dog teams, leaving Bowers, Oates
and Gran to follow with the ponies. For three days excellent marches
were made, the dogs pulling splendidly, and anxious as Scott was
to get back to Safety Camp and find out what had happened to the
other parties and the ponies, he was more than satisfied with the
daily records. But on Tuesday, February 21, a check came in their
rapid journey, a check, moreover, which might have been a most
serious disaster.

The light though good when they started about 10 P.M. on Monday
night quickly became so bad that but little of the surface could
be seen, and the dogs began to show signs of fatigue. About an
hour and a half after the start they came upon mistily outlined
[Page 255]
pressure ridges and were running by the sledges when, as the teams
were trotting side by side, the middle dogs of the teams driven by
Scott and Meares began to disappear. 'We turned,' Cherry-Garrard
says, 'and saw their dogs disappearing one after another, like
dogs going down a hole after a rat.'

In a moment the whole team were sinking; two by two they vanished
from sight, each pair struggling for foothold. Osman, the leader,
put forth all his strength and most wonderfully kept a foothold.
The sledge stopped on the brink of the crevasse, and Scott and
Meares jumped aside.

In another moment the situation was realized. They had actually been
traveling along the bridge of a crevasse, the sledge had stopped
on it, while the dogs hung in their harness in the abyss. 'Why the
sledge and ourselves didn't follow the dogs we shall never know.
I think a fraction of a pound of added weight must have taken us
down.' Directly the sledge had been hauled clear of the bridge
and anchored, they peered into the depths of the cracks. The dogs,
suspended in all sorts of fantastic positions, were howling dismally
and almost frantic with terror. Two of them had dropped out of
their harness and, far below, could be seen indistinctly on a
snow-bridge. The rope at either end of the chain had bitten deep
into the snow at the side of the crevasse and with the weight below
could not possibly be moved.

By this time assistance was forthcoming from Wilson and Cherry-Garrard,
the latter hurriedly
[Page 256]
bringing the Alpine rope, the exact position of which on the sledge
he most fortunately knew. The prospect, however, of rescuing the
team was not by any means bright, and for some minutes every attempt
failed. In spite of their determined efforts they could get not
an inch on the main trace of the sledge or on the leading rope,
which with a throttling pressure was binding poor Osman to the
snow.

Then, as their thoughts became clearer, they set to work on a definite
plan of action. The sledge was unloaded, and the tent, cooker, and
sleeping-bags were carried to a safe place; then Scott, seizing
the lashing off Meares' sleeping-bag, passed the tent-poles across
the crevasse, and with Meares managed to get a few inches on the
leading line. This freed Osman, whose harness was immediately cut.
The next step was to secure the leading rope to the main trace and
haul up together. By this means one dog was rescued and unlashed,
but the rope already had cut so far back at the edge that efforts
to get more of it were useless.

[Illustration: SNOWED-UP TENT AFTER THREE DAYS' BLIZZARD. _Photo
by Lieut. T. Gran._]

'We could now unbend the sledge and do that for which we should
have aimed from the first, namely, run the sledge across the gap
and work from it.' So the sledge was put over the crevasse and
pegged down on both sides, Wilson holding on to the anchored trace
while the others worked at the leader end. The leading rope, however,
was so very small that Scott was afraid of its breaking, and Meares
was lowered down to secure the Alpine rope to the leading end of
[Page 257]
the trace; when this had been done the chance of rescuing the dogs
at once began to improve.

Two by two the dogs were hauled up until eleven out of the thirteen
were again in safety. Then Scott began to wonder if the two other
dogs could not be saved, and the Alpine rope was paid down to see
if it was long enough to reach the bridge on which they were coiled.
The rope was 90 feet, and as the amount remaining showed that the
depth of the bridge was about 65 feet, Scott made a bowline and
insisted upon being lowered down. The bridge turned out to be firm,
and he quickly got hold of the dogs and saw them hauled to the
surface. But before he could be brought up terrific howls arose
above, and he had to be left while the rope-tenders hastened to
stop a fight between the dogs of the two teams.

'We then hauled Scott up,' Cherry-Garrard says; 'it was all three
of us could do, my fingers a good deal frost-bitten in the end.
That was all the dogs, Scott has just said that at one time he
never hoped to get back with the thirteen, or even half of them.
When he was down in the crevasse he wanted to go off exploring,
but we dissuaded him.... He kept on saying, "I wonder why this is
running the way it is, you expect to find them at right angles."'

For over two hours the work of rescue had continued, and after it
was finished the party camped and had a meal, and congratulated
themselves on a miraculous escape. Had the sledge gone down Scott
and Meares must have been badly injured, if not killed
[Page 258]
outright, but as things had turned out even the dogs showed wonderful
signs of recovery after their terrible experience.

On the following day Safety Camp was reached, but the dogs were
as thin as rakes and so ravenously hungry that Scott expressed a
very strong opinion that they were underfed. 'One thing is certain,
the dogs will never continue to drag heavy loads with men sitting
on the sledges; we must all learn to run with the teams and the
Russian custom must be dropped.'

At Safety Camp E. Evans, Forde and Keohane were found, but to Scott's
great sorrow two of their ponies had died on the return journey. Forde
had spent hour after hour in nursing poor Blucher, and although the
greatest care had also been given to Blossom, both of them were
left on the Southern Road. The remaining one of the three, James
Pigg, had managed not only to survive but actually to thrive, and,
severe as the loss of the two ponies was, some small consolation
could be gained from the fact that they were the oldest of the
team, and the two which Oates considered to be the least useful.

After a few hours' sleep Scott, Wilson, Meares, Cherry-Garrard and
Evans started off to Hut Point, and on arrival were astonished to
find that, although the hut had been cleared and made habitable, no
one was there. A pencil line on the wall stated that a bag containing
a mail was inside, but no bag was to be found. But presently what
turned out to be the true
[Page 259]
solution of this curious state of affairs was guessed, namely, that
Atkinson and Crean had been on their way from the hut to Safety
Camp as the others had come from the camp to the hut, and later
on Scott saw their sledge track leading round on the sea-ice.

Feeling terribly anxious that some disaster might have happened
to Atkinson and Crean owing to the weakness of the ice round Cape
Armitage, Scott and his party soon started back to Safety Camp,
but it was not until they were within a couple of hundred yards
of their destination that they saw three tents instead of two,
and knew that Atkinson and Crean were safe. No sooner, however,
had Scott received his letters than his feelings of relief were
succeeded by sheer astonishment.

'Every incident of the day pales before the startling contents
of the mail bag which Atkinson gave me--a letter from Campbell
setting out his doings and the finding of _Amundsen_ established
in the Bay of Whales.

'One thing only fixes itself definitely in my mind. The proper, as
well as the wiser, course for us is to proceed exactly as though
this had not happened. To go forward and do our best for the honour
of the country without fear or panic.

'There is no doubt that Amundsen's plan is a very serious menace
to ours. He has a shorter distance to the Pole by 60 miles--I never
thought he could have got so many dogs [116] safely to the ice. His
[Page 260]
plan for running them seems excellent. But above and beyond all he
can start his journey early in the season--an impossible condition
with ponies.'

The ship, to which Scott had said good-by a month before, had, after
landing the Western Geological Party at Butter Point, proceeded along
the Barrier, and on February 5 had come across Amundsen camped in
the Bay of Whales. No landing place, however, for Campbell's party
could be found. 'This,' Campbell says, 'was a great disappointment
to us all, but there was nothing for it but to return to McMurdo
Sound to communicate with the main party, and then try to effect a
landing in the vicinity of Smith's Inlet or as far to the westward
as possible on the north coast of Victoria Land, and if possible
to explore the unknown coast west of Cape North. We therefore made
the best of our way to Cape Evans, and arrived on the evening of
the 8th. Here I decided to land the two ponies, as they would be
very little use to us on the mountainous coast of Victoria Land,
and in view of the Norwegian expedition I felt the Southern Party
would require all the transport available. After landing the ponies
we steamed up to the sea-ice by Glacier Tongue, and from there,
taking Priestley and Abbott, I went with letters to Hut Point,
where the depot party would call on their way back.'

Thus Scott came on Wednesday, February 22, to receive the news which
was bound to occupy his thoughts, however resolutely he refused
to allow it to interfere in any way with his plans.

[Page 261]
Thursday was spent preparing sledges to meet Bowers, Oates and
Gran at Corner Camp, and on the following day Scott, Crean and
Cherry-Garrard with one sledge and tent, E. Evans, Atkinson and
Forde with second sledge and tent, and Keohane leading James Pigg,
started their march. At 3 P.M. on Saturday Scott turned out and saw
a short black line on the horizon towards White Island. Presently
he made certain that it was Bowers and his companions, but they
were traveling fast and failed to see Scott's camp; so when the
latter reached Corner Camp he did not find Bowers, but was glad to
see five pony walls and consequently to know that all the animals
were still alive.

Having depoted six full weeks' provisions, Scott, Cherry-Garrard
and Crean started for home, leaving the others to bring James Pigg
by easier stages. The next day, however, had to be spent in the
tent owing to a howling blizzard, and not until the Tuesday did
Scott reach Safety Camp, where he found that the ponies were without
exception terribly thin, and that Weary Willy was especially in
a pitiable condition.

As no advantage was to be gained by staying at Safety Camp, arrangements
were made immediately for a general shift to Hut Point, and about
four o'clock the two dog teams driven by Wilson and Meares got
safely away. Then the ponies were got ready to start, the plan
being for them to follow in the tracks of the dogs; the route was
over about six miles of sea-ice, which, owing to the spread of
water holes, caused Scott to feel gravely anxious.

[Page 262]
At the very start, however, Weary Willy fell down, and his plight
was so critical that Bowers, Cherry-Garrard and Crean were sent on
with Punch, Cuts, Uncle Bill and Nobby to Hut Point, while Scott,
with Oates and Gran, decided to stay behind and attend to the sick
pony. But despite all the attempts to save him, Weary Willy died
during the Tuesday night. 'It makes a late start _necessary for
next year_,' Scott wrote in his diary on Wednesday, March 1, but
on the following day he had to add to this, 'The events of the
past 48 hours bid fair to wreck the expedition, and the only one
comfort is the miraculous avoidance of loss of life.'

Early on the morning following Weary Willy's death, Scott, Oates
and Gran started out and pulled towards the forage depot, which was
at a point on the Barrier half a mile from the edge, in a S.S.E.
direction from Hut Point. On their approach the sky looked black
and lowering, and mirage effects of huge broken floes loomed out
ahead. At first Scott thought that this was one of the strange
optical illusions common in the Antarctic, but as he drew close
to the depot all doubt was dispelled. The sea was full of broken
pieces of Barrier edge, and at once his thoughts flew to the ponies
and dogs.

They turned to follow the sea-edge, and suddenly discovering a
working crack, dashed over it and hastened on until they were in
line between Safety Camp and Castle Rock. Meanwhile Scott's first
thought was to warn E. Evans' party which was traveling
[Page 263]
back from Corner Camp with James Pigg. 'We set up tent, and Gran
went to the depot with a note as Oates and I disconsolately thought
out the situation. I thought to myself that if either party had
reached safety either on the Barrier or at Hut Point they would
immediately have sent a warning messenger to Safety Camp. By this
time the messenger should have been with us. Some half-hour passed,
and suddenly with a "Thank God!" I made certain that two specks
in the direction of Pram Point were human beings.'

When, however, Scott hastened in their direction he discovered them
to be Wilson and Meares, who were astonished to see him, because
they had left Safety Camp before the breakdown of Weary Willy had
upset the original program. From them Scott heard alarming reports
that the ponies were adrift on the sea-ice.

The startling incidents that had led to this state of affairs began
very soon after Bowers, Crean and Cherry-Garrard had left Safety Camp
with the ponies. 'I caught Bowers up at the edge of the Barrier,'
Cherry-Garrard wrote in his diary, 'the dogs were on ahead and we
saw them turn and make right round Cape Armitage. "Uncle Bill"
got done, and I took up the dog tracks which we followed over the
tide crack and well on towards Cape Armitage.

'The sea-ice was very weak, and we came to fresh crack after fresh
crack, and at last to a big crack with water squelching through
for many feet on both
[Page 264]
sides. We all thought it impossible to proceed and turned back....
The ponies began to get very done, and Bowers decided to get back
over the tide crack, find a snowy place, and camp.

'This had been considered with Scott as a possibility and agreed
to. Of course according to arrangements then Scott would have been
with the ponies.

'We camped about 11 P.M. and made walls for the ponies. Bowers
cooked with a primus of which the top is lost, and it took a long
time. He mistook curry powder for cocoa, and we all felt very bad
for a short time after trying it. Crean swallowed all his. Otherwise
we had a good meal.

'While we were eating a sound as though ice had fallen outside
down the tent made us wonder. At 2 A.M. we turned in, Bowers went
out, and all was quiet. At 4.30 A.M. Bowers was wakened by a grinding
sound, jumped up, and found the situation as follows:--

'The whole sea-ice had broken up into small floes, from ten to
thirty or forty yards across. We were on a small floe, I think
about twenty yards across, two sledges were on the next floe, and
"Cuts" had disappeared down the opening. Bowers shouted to us all
and hauled the two sledges on to our floe in his socks. We packed
anyhow, I don't suppose a camp was ever struck quicker. It seemed
to me impossible to go on with the ponies and I said so, but Bowers
decided to try.

'We decided that to go towards White Island
[Page 265]
looked best, and for five hours traveled in the following way:--we
jumped the ponies over floe to floe as the cracks joined.... We then
man-hauled the sledges after them, then according to the size of the
floe sometimes harnessed the ponies in again, sometimes man-hauled
the sledge to the next crack, waited our chance, sometimes I should
think five or ten minutes, and repeated the process.'

At length they worked their way to heavier floes lying near the
Barrier edge, and at one time thought that it was possible to get
up; but very soon they discovered that there were gaps everywhere
off the high Barrier face. In this dilemma Crean volunteered to try
and reach Scott, and after traveling a great distance and leaping
from floe to floe, he found a thick floe from which with the help of
his ski stick he could climb the Barrier face. 'It was a desperate
venture, but luckily successful.'

And so while Scott, Oates, Wilson, Meares and Gran were discussing
the critical situation, a man, who proved to be Crean, was seen
rapidly making for the depot from the west.

As soon as Scott had considered the latest development of the situation
he sent Gran back to Hut Point with Wilson and Meares, and started
with Oates, Crean, and a sledge for the scene of the mishap. A
halt was made at Safety Camp to get some provisions and oil, and
then, marching carefully round, they approached the ice-edge, and to
their joy caught sight of Bowers and Cherry-Garrard. With the help
[Page 266]
of the Alpine rope both the men were dragged to the surface, and
after camp had been pitched at a safe distance from the edge all
hands started upon salvage work. The ice at this time lay close and
quiet against the Barrier edge, and some ten hours after Bowers and
Cherry-Garrard had been hauled up, the sledges and their contents
were safely on the Barrier. But then, just as the last loads were
saved, the ice began to drift again, and so, for the time, nothing
could be done for the ponies except to leave them well-fed upon
their floes.

'None of our party had had sleep the previous night and all were
dog tired. I decided we must rest, but turned everyone out at 8.30
yesterday morning [after three or four hours]. Before breakfast
we discovered the ponies had drifted away. We had tried to anchor
their floes with the Alpine rope, but the anchors had drawn. It
was a sad moment.'

Presently, however, Bowers, who had taken the binoculars, announced
that he could see the ponies about a mile to the N. W. 'We packed
and went on at once. We found it easy enough to get down to the
poor animals and decided to rush them for a last chance of life. Then
there was an unfortunate mistake: I went along the Barrier edge and
discovered what I thought and what proved to be a practicable way to
land a pony, but the others meanwhile, a little overwrought, tried to
leap Punch across a gap. The poor beast fell in; eventually we had to
kill him--it was awful. I recalled all hands and pointed out my
[Page 267]
road. Bowers and Oates went out on it with a sledge and worked
their way to the remaining ponies, and started back with them on
the same track.... We saved one pony; for a time I thought we should
get both, but Bowers' poor animal slipped at a jump and plunged into
the water: we dragged him out on some brash ice-- killer whales
all about us in an intense state of excitement. The poor animal
couldn't rise, and the only merciful thing was to kill it. These
incidents were too terrible. At 5 P.M. (Thursday, March 2), we
sadly broke our temporary camp and marched back to the one I had
just pitched.... So here we are ready to start our sad journey to
Hut Point. Everything out of joint with the loss of our ponies,
but mercifully with all the party alive and well.'

At the start on the march back the surface was so bad that only
three miles were covered in four hours, and in addition to this
physical strain Scott was also deeply anxious to know that E. Evans
and his party were safe; but while they were camping that night
on Pram Point ridges, Evans' party, all of whom were well, came
in. Then it was decided that Atkinson should go on to Hut Point
in the morning to take news to Wilson, Meares and Gran, who were
looking after the dogs, and having a wretched time in trying to
make two sleeping-bags do the work of three.

On March 2 Wilson wrote in his journal: 'A very bitter wind blowing
and it was a cheerless job waiting for six hours to get a sleep in the
bag.... As the ice had all gone out of the strait we were cut off from
[Page 268]
any return to Cape Evans until the sea should again freeze over,
and this was not likely until the end of April. We rigged up a
small fireplace in the hut and found some wood and made a fire
for an hour or so at each meal, but as there was no coal and not
much wood we felt we must be economical with the fuel, and so also
with matches and everything else, in case Bowers should lose his
sledge loads, which had most of the supplies for the whole party
to last twelve men for two months.... There was literally nothing
in the hut that one could cover oneself with to keep warm, and we
couldn't run to keeping the fire going. It was very cold work. There
were heaps of biscuit cases here which we had left in _Discovery_
days, and with these we built up a small inner hut to live in.'

On Saturday Scott and some of his party reached the hut, and on
Sunday he was able to write: 'Turned in with much relief to have
all hands and the animals safely housed.' Only two ponies, James
Pigg and Nobby, remained out of the eight that had started on the
depot journey, but disastrous as this was to the expedition there was
reason to be thankful that even greater disasters had not happened.




[Page 269]
CHAPTER IV

A HAPPY FAMILY

  By mutual confidence and mutual aid
  Great deeds are done and great discoveries made.
    ANON.

With the certainty of having to stay in the _Discovery_ hut for
some time, the party set to work at once to make it as comfortable
as possible. With packing-cases a large _L_-shaped inner apartment
was made, the intervals being stopped with felt, and an empty kerosene
tin and some firebricks were made into an excellent little stove
which was connected to the old stove-pipe.

As regards food almost an unlimited supply of biscuit was available,
and during a walk to Pram Point on Monday, March 6, Scott and Wilson
found that the sea-ice in Pram Point Bay had not gone out and was
crowded with seals, a happy find that guaranteed the party as much
meat as they wanted. 'We really have everything necessary for our
comfort and only need a little more experience to make the best of
our resources.... It is splendid to see the way in which everyone
is learning the ropes, and the resource which
[Page 270]
is being shown. Wilson as usual leads in the making of useful
suggestions and in generally providing for our wants. He is a tower
of strength in checking the ill-usage of clothes--what I have come
to regard as the greatest danger with Englishmen.'

On Saturday night a blizzard sprang up and gradually increased in
force until it reminded Scott and Wilson of the gale which drove
the _Discovery_ ashore. The blizzard continued until noon on Tuesday,
on which day the Western Geological Party (Griffith Taylor, Wright,
Debenham and P.O. Evans) returned to the hut after a successful
trip.

Two days later another depot party started to Corner Camp, E. Evans,
Wright, Crean and Forde in one team; Bowers, Oates, Cherry-Garrard
and Atkinson in the other. 'It was very sporting of Wright to join
in after only a day's rest. He is evidently a splendid puller.'

During the absence of this party the comforts of the hut were constantly
being increased, but continuous bad weather was both depressing
to the men and very serious for the dogs. Every effort had been
made to make the dogs comfortable, but the changes of wind made
it impossible to give them shelter in all directions. At least
five of them were in a sorry plight, and half a dozen others were
by no means strong, but whether because they were constitutionally
harder or whether better fitted by nature to protect themselves
the other ten or a dozen animals were as fit as they could be.
As it was found to be impossible to keep the dogs comfortable in
the traces, the majority
[Page 271]
of them were allowed to run loose; for although Scott feared that
this freedom would mean that there would be some fights to the
death, he thought it preferable to the risk of losing the animals
by keeping them on the leash. The main difficulty with them was
that when the ice once got thoroughly into the coats their hind
legs became half paralyzed with cold, but by allowing them to run
loose it was hoped that they would be able to free themselves of
this serious trouble. 'Well, well, fortune is not being very kind
to us. This month will have sad memories. Still I suppose things
might be worse; the ponies are well housed and are doing exceedingly
well....'

The depot party returned to the hut on March 23, but though the
sea by this time showed symptoms of _wanting_ to freeze, there was
no real sign that the ice would hold for many a long day. Stock
therefore was taken of their resources, and arrangements were made
for a much longer stay than had been anticipated. A week later the
ice, though not thickening rapidly, held south of Hut Point, but
the stretch from Hut Point to Turtle Back Island still refused to
freeze even in calm weather, and Scott began to think that they might
not be able to get back to Cape Evans before May. Soon afterwards,
however, the sea began to freeze over completely, and on Thursday
evening, April 6, a program, subject to the continuance of good
weather, was arranged for a shift to Cape Evans. 'It feels good,'
Cherry-Garrard wrote, 'to have something doing in the air.' But
the weather prevented them from starting on the appointed day,
[Page 272]
and although Scott was most anxious to get back and see that all was
well at Cape Evans, the comfort achieved in the old hut was so great
that he confessed himself half-sorry to leave it.

Describing their life at Hut Point he says, 'We gather around the
fire seated on packing-cases, with a hunk of bread and butter and
a steaming pannikin of tea, and life is well worth living. After
lunch we are out and about again; there is little to tempt a long
stay indoors, and exercise keeps us all the fitter.

'The failing light and approach of supper drives us home again
with good appetites about 5 or 6 o'clock, and then the cooks rival
one another in preparing succulent dishes of fried seal liver....
Exclamations of satisfaction can be heard every night--or nearly
every night; for two nights ago (April 4) Wilson, who has proved a
genius in the invention of "plats," almost ruined his reputation.
He proposed to fry the seal liver in penguin blubber, suggesting that
the latter could be freed from all rankness.... The "fry" proved
redolent of penguin, a concentrated essence of that peculiar flavour
which faintly lingers in the meat and should not be emphasized.
Three heroes got through their pannikins, but the rest of us decided
to be contented with cocoa and biscuit after tasting the first
mouthful.[1]

[Footnote 1: Wilson, referring to this incident in his Journal,
showed no signs of contrition. 'Fun over a fry I made in my new
penguin lard. It was quite a success and tasted like very bad sardine
oil.']

'After supper we have an hour or so of smoking
[Page 273]
and conversation--a cheering, pleasant hour--in which reminiscences
are exchanged by a company which has very literally had world-wide
experience. There is scarce a country under the sun which one or
another of us has not traveled in, so diverse are our origins and
occupations.

'An hour or so after supper we tail off one by one.... Everyone
can manage eight or nine hours' sleep without a break, and not a
few would have little difficulty in sleeping the clock round, which
goes to show that our exceedingly simple life is an exceedingly
healthy one, though with faces and hands blackened with smoke,
appearances might not lead an outsider to suppose it.'

On Tuesday, April 11, a start could be made for Cape Evans, the
party consisting of Scott, Bowers, P.O. Evans and Taylor in one
tent; E. Evans, Gran, Crean, Debenham and Wright in another; Wilson
being left in charge at Hut Point, with Meares, Forde, Keohane,
Oates, Atkinson and Cherry-Garrard.

In fine weather they marched past Castle Rock, and it soon became
evident that they must go well along the ridge before descending,
and that the difficulty would be to get down over the cliffs. Seven
and a half miles from the start they reached Hutton Rocks, a very
icy and wind-swept spot, and as the wind rose and the light became
bad at the critical moment they camped for a short time. Half an
hour later the weather cleared and a possible descent to the ice
cliffs could be seen, but between Hutton Rock
[Page 274]
and Erebus all the slope was much cracked and crevassed. A clear
track to the edge of the cliffs was chosen, but on arriving there
no low place could be found (the lowest part being 24 feet sheer
drop), and as the wind was increasing and the snow beginning to
drift off the ridge a quick decision had to be made.

Then Scott went to the edge, and having made standing places to
work the Alpine rope, Bowers., E. Evans and Taylor were lowered.
Next the sledges went down fully packed and then the remainder
of the party, Scott being the last to go down. It was a neat and
speedy piece of work, and completed in twenty minutes without serious
frost-bites.

The surface of ice covered with salt crystals made pulling very
heavy to Glacier Tongue, which they reached about 5.30 P.M. A stiff
incline on a hard surface followed, but as the light was failing
and cracks were innumerable, several of the party fell in with
considerable risk of damage. The north side, however, was well
snow-covered, with a good valley leading to a low ice cliff in which
a broken piece provided an easy descent. Under the circumstances
Scott decided to push on to Cape Evans, but darkness suddenly fell
upon them, and after very heavy pulling for many hours they were
so totally unable to see anything ahead, that at 10 P.M. they were
compelled to pitch their camp under little Razor Back Island. During
the night the wind began to rise, and in the morning a roaring
blizzard was blowing, and obviously the ice on which they had pitched
[Page 275]
their camp was none too safe. For hours they waited vainly for a lull,
until at 3 P.M. Scott and Bowers went round the Island, with the result
that they resolved to shift their camp to a little platform under
the weather side. This operation lasted for two very cold hours,
but splendid shelter was gained, the cliffs rising almost sheer
from the tents. 'Only now and again a whirling wind current eddied
down on the tents, which were well secured, but the noise of the
wind sweeping over the rocky ridge above our heads was deafening;
we could scarcely hear ourselves speak.' Provisions for only one
more meal were left, but sleep all the same was easier to get than
on the previous night, because they knew that they were no longer
in danger of being swept out to sea.

The wind moderated during the night, and early in the morning the
party in a desperately cold and stiff breeze and with frozen clothes
were again under weigh. The distance, however, was only two miles,
and after some very hard pulling they arrived off the point and
found that the sea-ice continued around it. 'It was a very great
relief to see the hut on rounding it and to hear that all was well.'

In choosing the site of the hut Scott had thought of the possibility
of northerly winds bringing a swell, but had argued, first, that no
heavy northerly swell had ever been recorded in the Sound; secondly,
that a strong northerly wind was bound to bring pack which would
damp the swell; thirdly, that the locality was well protected by
the Barne Glacier; and, lastly,
[Page 276]
that the beach itself showed no signs of having been swept by the
sea. When, however, the hut had been erected and he found that its
foundation was only eleven feet above the level of the sea-ice,
he could not rid himself entirely of misgivings.

As events turned out the hut was safe and sound enough, but not
until Scott reached it, on April 13, did he realize how anxious
he had been. 'In a normal season no thoughts of its having been
in danger would have occurred to me, but since the loss of the
ponies and the breaking of Glacier Tongue, I could not rid myself
of the fear that misfortune was in the air and that some abnormal
swell had swept the beach.' So when he and his party turned the
small headland and saw that the hut was intact, a real fear was
mercifully removed. Very soon afterwards the travelers were seen
by two men at work near the stables, and then the nine occupants
(Simpson, Day, Nelson, Ponting, Lashly, Clissold, Hooper, Anton
and Demetri) came rapidly to meet and welcome them. In a minute
the most important events of the quiet station life were told, the
worst news being that one pony, named Hacken-schmidt, and one dog
had died. For the rest the hut arrangements had worked admirably,
and the scientific routine of observations was in full swing.

After their primitive life at the _Discovery_ hut the interior
space of the home at Cape Evans seemed palatial, and the comfort
luxurious. 'It was very good to eat in civilized fashion, to enjoy
the first bath for three months, and have contact with clean, dry
[Page 277]
clothing. Such fleeting hours of comfort (for custom soon banished
their delight) are the treasured remembrance of every Polar traveler.'
Not for many hours or even minutes, however, was Scott in the hut
before he was taken round to see in detail the transformation that
had taken place in his absence, and in which a very proper pride
was taken by those who had created it.

First of all a visit was paid to Simpson's Corner, where numerous
shelves laden with a profusion of self-recording instruments, electric
batteries and switchboards were to be seen, and the tickings of many
clocks, the gentle whir of a motor and occasionally the trembling note
of an electric bell could be heard. 'It took me days and even months
to realize fully the aims of our meteorologist and the scientific
accuracy with which he was achieving them.'

From Simpson's Corner Scott was taken on his tour of inspection
into Ponting's dark room, and found that the art of photography had
never been so well housed within the Polar regions and rarely without
them. 'Such a palatial chamber for the development of negatives and
prints can only be justified by the quality of the work produced in
it, and is only justified in our case by such an artist as Ponting.'

From the dark room he went on to the biologists' cubicle, shared,
to their mutual satisfaction, by Day and Nelson. There the prevailing
note was neatness, and to Day's mechanical skill everyone paid
tribute. The heating, lighting and ventilating arrangements
[Page 278]
of the hut had been left entirely in his charge, and had been carried
out with admirable success. The cook's corner was visited next,
and Scott was very surprised to see the mechanical ingenuity shown
by Clissold. 'Later,' he says, 'when I found that Clissold was
called in to consult on the ailments of Simpson's motor, and that
he was capable of constructing a dog sledge out of packing-cases,
I was less surprised, because I knew by this time that he had had
considerable training in mechanical work before he turned his attention
to pots and pans.'

The tour ended with an inspection of the shelters for the animals,
and when Scott saw the stables he could not help regretting that
some of the stalls would have to remain empty, though he appreciated
fully the fact that there was ample and safe harborage for the
ten remaining ponies. With Lashly's help, Anton had completed the
furnishing of the stables in a way that was both neat and effective.

Only five or six dogs had been left in Demetri's charge, and it
was at once evident that every care had been taken of them; not
only had shelters been made, but a small 'lean to' had also been
built to serve as a hospital for any sick animal. The impressions,
in short, that Scott received on his return to Cape Evans were
almost wholly pleasant, and in happy contrast with the fears that
had assailed him on the homeward route.

Not for long, however, did he, Bowers and Crean stay to enjoy the
comforts of Cape Evans, as on
[Page 279]
Monday, April 17, they were off again to Hut Point with two 10-foot
sledges, a week's provisions of sledding food, and butter, oatmeal,
&c., for the hut. Scott, Lashly, Day and Demetri took the first
sledge; Bowers, Nelson, Crean and Hooper the second; and after a
rather adventurous journey, in which 'Lashly was splendid at camp
work as of old,' they reached Hut Point at 1 P.M. on the following
day, and found everyone well and in good spirits. The party left at
the hut were, however, very short of seal-meat, a cause of anxiety,
because until the sea froze over there was no possibility of getting
the ponies back to Cape Evans. But three seals were reported on
the Wednesday and promptly killed, and so Scott, satisfied that
this stock was enough for twelve days, resolved to go back as soon
as the weather would allow him.

Leaving Meares in charge of the station with Demetri to help with
the dogs, Lashly and Keohane to look after the ponies, and Nelson,
Day and Forde to get some idea of the life and experience, the
homeward party started on Friday morning. On this journey Scott,
Wilson, Atkinson and Crean pulled one sledge, and Bowers, Oates,
Cherry-Garrard and Hooper the other. Scott's party were the leaders,
and their sledge dragged so fearfully that the men with the second
sledge had a very easy time in keeping up. Then Crean declared
that although the loads were equal there was a great difference
in the sledges. 'Bowers,' Scott says, 'politely assented when I
voiced this sentiment, but I am sure he and his party thought it the
[Page 280]
plea of tired men. However, there was nothing like proof, and he
readily assented to change sledges. The difference was really
extraordinary; we felt the new sledge a featherweight compared with
the old, and set up a great pace for the home quarters regardless
of how much we perspired.'

All of them arrived at Cape Evans with their garments soaked through,
and as they took off their wind clothes showers of ice fell upon
the floor. The accumulation was almost beyond belief and showed
the whole trouble of sledding in cold weather. Clissold, however,
was at hand with 'just the right meal,' an enormous dish of rice
and figs, and cocoa in a bucket. The sledding season was at an
end, and Scott admitted that in spite of all the losses they had
sustained it was good to be home again, while Wilson, Oates, Atkinson
and Cherry-Garrard, who had not seen the hut since it had been
fitted out, were astonished at its comfort.

On Sunday, April 23, two days after the return from Hut Point,
the sun made it's last appearance and the winter work was begun.
Ponies for exercise were allotted to Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, Hooper,
Clissold, P.O. Evans and Crean, besides Oates and Anton, but in
making this allotment Scott was obliged to add a warning that those
who exercised the ponies would not necessarily lead them in the
spring.

Wilson at once began busily to paint, and Atkinson was equally busy
unpacking and setting up his sterilizers and incubators. Wright
began to wrestle with the electrical instruments; Oates started to
make bigger stalls in the stables; Cherry-Garrard employed himself
[Page 281]
in building a stone house for taxidermy and with a view to getting
hints for a shelter at Cape Crozier during the winter, while Taylor
and Debenham took advantage of the last of the light to examine
the topography of the peninsula. E. Evans surveyed the Cape and
its neighborhood, and Simpson and Bowers, in addition to their
other work, spent hours over balloon experiments. In fact everyone
was overflowing with energy.

On Friday, April 28, Scott, eager to get the party safely back
from Hut Point, hoped that the sea had at last frozen over for
good, but a gale on the following day played havoc with the ice;
and although the strait rapidly froze again, the possibility of
every gale clearing the sea was too great to be pleasant. Obviously,
however, it was useless to worry over a state of affairs that could
not be helped, and the arrangements for passing the winter steadily
progressed.

At Scott's request Cherry-Garrard undertook the editorship of the
_South Polar Times_ and the following notice was issued:

  The first number of the _South Polar Times_ will be published
  on Midwinter Day.

  All are asked to send in contributions, signed anonymously,
  and to place these contributions in this box as soon as possible.
  No contributions for this number will be accepted after May 31.

  A selection of these will be made for publication. It is not
  intended that the paper shall be too scientific.

[Page 282]
  Contributions may take the form of prose, poetry or drawing.
  Contributors whose writings will lend themselves to illustration
  are asked to consult with the Editor as soon as possible.

                                     The Editor,
                                            _S. P. T._

The editor, warned by Scott that the work was not easy and required
a lot of tact, at once placed great hopes in the assistance he
would receive from Wilson, and how abundantly these hopes were
fulfilled has been widely recognized not only by students of Polar
literature, but also by those who admire art merely for art's sake.

On the evening of Tuesday, May 2, Wilson opened the series of winter
lectures with a paper on 'Antarctic Flying Birds,' and in turn
Simpson, Taylor, Ponting, Debenham and others lectured on their
special subjects. But still the _Discovery_ hut party did not appear,
although the strait (by May 9) had been frozen over for nearly a
week; and repeatedly Scott expressed a wish that they would return.
In the meantime there was work and to spare for everyone, and as
the days went by Scott was also given ample opportunities to get
a thorough knowledge of his companions.

'I do not think,' he wrote, 'there can be any life quite so
demonstrative of character as that which we had on these expeditions.
One sees a remarkable reassortment of values. Under ordinary conditions
it is so easy to carry a point with a little bounce; self-assertion
is a mask which covers many a weakness....
[Page 283]
Here the outward show is nothing, it is the inward purpose that
counts. So the "gods" dwindle and the humble supplant them. Pretence
is useless.

'One sees Wilson busy with pencil and colour box, rapidly and steadily
adding to his portfolio of charming sketches and at intervals filling
the gaps in his zoological work of _Discovery_ times; withal ready
and willing to give advice and assistance to others at all times;
his sound judgment appreciated and therefore a constant referee.

'Simpson, master of his craft... doing the work of two observers
at least... So the current meteorological and magnetic observations
are taken as never before on Polar expeditions.'

'Wright, good-hearted, strong, keen, striving to saturate his mind
with the ice problems of this wonderful region...'

And then after referring in terms of praise to the industry of E.
Evans, the versatile intellect of Taylor, and the thoroughness and
conscientiousness of Debenham, Scott goes on to praise unreservedly
the man to whom the whole expedition owed an immense debt of gratitude.

'To Bowers' practical genius is owed much of the smooth working
of our station. He has a natural method in line with which all
arrangements fall, so that expenditure is easily and exactly adjusted
to supply, and I have the inestimable advantage of knowing the
length of time which each of our possessions will last us and the
assurance that there can be no waste.
[Page 284]
Active mind and active body were never more happily blended. It
is a restless activity admitting no idle moments and ever budding
into new forms.

'So we see the balloon ascending under his guidance and anon he
is away over the floe tracking the silk thread which held it. Such
a task completed, he is away to exercise his pony, and later out
again with the dogs, the last typically self-suggested, because for
the moment there is no one else to care for these animals.... He
is for the open air, seemingly incapable of realizing any discomfort
from it, and yet his hours within doors spent with equal profit.
For he is intent on tracking the problems of sledding food and
clothes to their innermost bearings and is becoming an authority
on past records. This will be no small help to me and one which
others never could have given.

'Adjacent to the physicists' corner of the hut Atkinson is quietly
pursuing the subject of parasites. Already he is in a new world.
The laying out of the fish trap was his action and the catches are
his field of labour.... His bench with its array of microscopes,
etc., is next the dark room in which Ponting spends the greater
part of his life. I would describe him as sustained by artistic
enthusiasm....

'Cherry-Garrard is another of the open-air, self-effacing, quiet
workers; his whole heart is in the life, with profound eagerness
to help everyone. One has caught glimpses of him in tight places;
sound all through and pretty hard also....

'Oates' whole heart is in the ponies. He is really
[Page 285]
devoted to their care, and I believe will produce them in the best
possible form for the sledding season. Opening out the stores,
installing a blubber stove, etc., has kept him busy, whilst his
satellite, Anton, is ever at work in the stables--an excellent
little man.

'P.O. Evans and Crean are repairing sleeping-bags, covering felt
boots, and generally working on sledding kit. In fact there is
no one idle, and no one who has the least prospect of idleness.

On May 8 as one of the series of lectures Scott gave an outline
of his plans for next season, and hinted that in his opinion the
problem of reaching the Pole could best be solved by relying on
the ponies and man haulage. With this opinion there was general
agreement, for as regards glacier and summit work everyone seemed
to distrust the dogs. At the end of the lecture he asked that the
problem should be thought over and freely discussed, and that any
suggestions should be brought to his notice. 'It's going to be a
tough job; that is better realized the more one dives into it.'

At last, on May 13, Atkinson brought news that the dogs were returning,
and soon afterwards Meares and his team arrived, and reported that
the ponies were not far behind. For more than three weeks the weather
at Hut Point had been exceptionally calm and fine, and with joy
Scott saw that all of the dogs were looking remarkably well, and
that the two ponies also seemed to have improved. 'It is a great
comfort to have the men and dogs back, and a greater to
[Page 286]
contemplate all the ten ponies comfortably stabled for the winter.
Everything seems to depend on these animals.'

With their various occupations, lectures in the evening, and games
of football--when it was not unusual for the goal-keepers to get their
toes frost-bitten--in the afternoons, the winter passed steadily on
its way; the only stroke of misfortune being that one of the dogs
died suddenly and that a post-mortem did not reveal any sufficient
cause of death. This was the third animal that had died without
apparent reason at winter-quarters, and Scott became more than
ever convinced that to place any confidence in the dog teams would
be a mistake.

On Monday, May 22, Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Atkinson, P.O. Evans
and Clissold went off to Cape Royds with a go-cart which consisted
of a framework of steel tubing supported on four bicycle wheels--
and sleeping-bags, a cooker and a small quantity of provisions.
The night was spent in Shackleton's hut, where a good quantity
of provisions was found; but the most useful articles that the
party discovered were five hymn-books, for hitherto the Sunday
services had not been fully choral because seven hymn-books were
all that could be mustered.

[Illustration: "BIRDIE" BOWERS READING THE THERMOMETER ON THE RAMP,
JUNE 6TH, 1911.]

June 6 was Scott's birthday, a fact which his small company did
not forget. At lunch an immense birthday cake appeared, the top
of which had been decorated by Clissold with various devices in
chocolate and crystallized fruit, a flag and photographs of Scott.
[Page 287]
A special dinner followed, and to this sumptuous meal they sat down
with their sledge banners hung around them. 'After this luxurious
meal everyone was very festive and amiably argumentative. As I write
there is a group in the dark room discussing political progress
with large discussions, another at one corner of the dinner table
airing its views on the origin of matter and the probability of its
ultimate discovery, and yet another debating military problems....
Perhaps these arguments are practically unprofitable, but they
give a great deal of pleasure to the participants.... They are
boys, all of them, but such excellent good-natured ones; there
has been no sign of sharpness or anger, no jarring note, in all
these wordy contests; all end with a laugh. Nelson has offered
Taylor a pair of socks to teach him some geology! This lulls me
to sleep!'

On Monday evening, June 12, E. Evans gave a lecture on surveying,
and Scott took the opportunity to note a few points to which he
wanted especial attention to be directed. The essential points
were:

1. Every officer who takes part in the Southern journey ought to
   have in his memory the approximate variation of the compass
   at various stages of the journey and to know how to apply it
   to obtain a true course from the compass....

2. He ought to know what the true course is to reach one depot
   from another.

3. He should be able to take an observation with the theodolite.

[Page 288]
4. He should be able to work out a meridian altitude observation.

5. He could advantageously add to his knowledge the ability to
   work out a longitude observation or an ex-meridian altitude.

6. He should know how to read the sledgemeter.

7. He should note and remember the error of the watch he carries
   and the rate which is ascertained for it from time to time.

8. He should assist the surveyor by noting the coincidences of
   objects, the opening out of valleys, the observation of new
   peaks, &c.

That these hints upon Polar surveying did not fall upon deaf ears
is proved by a letter Scott wrote home some four months later. In
it he says '"Cherry" has just come to me with a very anxious face
to say that I must not count on his navigating powers. For the
moment I didn't know what he was driving at, but then I remembered
that some months ago I said that it would be a good thing for all
the officers going South to have some knowledge of navigation so
that in emergency they would know how to steer a sledge home. It
appears that "Cherry" thereupon commenced a serious and arduous
course of abstruse navigational problems which he found exceedingly
tough and now despaired mastering. Of course there is not one chance
in a hundred that he will ever have to consider navigation on our
journey and in that one chance the problem must be of the simplest
nature, but it makes it much easier for me to have men who
[Page 289]
take the details of one's work so seriously and who strive so simply
and honestly to make it successful.'

In Wilson's diary there is also this significant entry: 'Working
at latitude sights--mathematics which I hate--till bedtime. It
will be wiser to know a little navigation on the Southern sledge
journey.'

Some time before Scott's suggestions stimulated his companions
to master subjects which they found rather difficult and irksome,
a regular daily routine had begun. About 7 A.M. Clissold began to
prepare breakfast, and half an hour later Hooper started to sweep
the floor and lay the table. Between 8 and 8.30 the men were out and
about doing odd jobs, Anton going off to feed the ponies, Demetri
to see to the dogs. Repeatedly Hooper burst upon the slumberers
with announcements of the time, and presently Wilson and Bowers
met in a state of nature beside a washing basin filled with snow
and proceeded to rub glistening limbs with this chilly substance.
A little later others with less hardiness could be seen making the
most of a meager allowance of water. A few laggards invariably
ran the nine o'clock rule very close, and a little pressure had
to be applied so that they should not delay the day's work.

By 9.20 breakfast was finished, and in ten minutes the table was
cleared. Then for four hours the men were steadily employed on a
program of preparation for sledding. About 1.30 a cheerful half-hour
was spent over the mid-day meal, and afterwards, if the
[Page 290]
weather permitted, the ponies were exercised, and those who were
not employed in this way generally exercised themselves in some way
or other. After this the officers went steadily on with their special
work until 6.30, when dinner was served and finished within the
hour. Then came reading, writing, games, and usually the gramophone,
but three nights of the week were given up to lectures. At 11 P.M.
the acetylene lights were put out, and those who wished to stay up
had to depend on candle-light. The majority of candles, however,
were extinguished by midnight, and the night watchman alone remained
awake to keep his vigil by the light of an oil lamp.

Extra bathing took place either on Saturday afternoon or Sunday
morning; chins were shaven, and possibly clean clothes put on.
'Such signs, with the regular service on Sunday, mark the passage
of the weeks. It is not a very active life, perhaps, but certainly
not an idle one. Few of us sleep more than eight hours of the
twenty-four.'

On June 19, Day gave a lecture on his motor sledge and was very
hopeful of success, but Scott again expressed his doubts and fears.
'I fear he is rather more sanguine in temperament than his sledge
is reliable in action. I wish I could have more confidence in his
preparations, as he is certainly a delightful companion.' Three
days later Midwinter was celebrated with great festivities, and
after lunch the Editor handed over the first number of the _S.
P. T._ to Scott. Everyone at once gathered at the top of
[Page 291]
the table; 'It was like a lot of schoolgirls round a teacher' is
the editor's description of the scene, and Scott read aloud most
of the contents. An article called 'Valhalla,' written by Taylor,
some verses called 'The Sleeping Bag,' and Wilson's illustrations
to 'Antarctic Archives' were the popular favorites; indeed the
editor attributed the success of the paper mainly to Wilson, though
Day's delightful cover of carved venesta wood and sealskin was also
'a great help.' As all the contributions were anonymous great fun
was provided by attempts to guess the various authors, and some
of the denials made by the contributors were perhaps more modest
than strictly truthful.

These festive proceedings, however, were almost solemn when compared
with the celebrations of the evening. In preparation for dinner the
'Union Jacks' and sledge flags were hung about the large table,
and at seven o'clock everyone sat down to a really good dinner.

Scott spoke first, and drew attention to the nature of the celebration
as a half-way mark not only in the winter but in the plans of the
expedition. Fearing in his heart of hearts that some of the company
did not realize how rapidly the weeks were passing, and that in
consequence work which ought to have been in full swing had barely
been begun, he went on to say that it was time they knew how they
stood in every respect, and especially thanked the officer in charge
of the stores and those who looked after the
[Page 292]
animals, for knowing the exact position as regards provision and
transport. Then he said that in respect to the future chance must
play a great part, but that experience showed him that no more
fitting men could have been chosen to support him on the journey
to the South than those who were to start in that direction in
the following spring. Finally he thanked all of his companions
for having put their shoulders to the wheel and given him so much
confidence.

Thereupon they drank to the Success of the Expedition, and afterwards
everyone was called to speak in turn.

'Needless to say, all were entirely modest and brief; unexpectedly,
all had exceedingly kind things to say of me--in fact I was obliged to
request the omissions of compliments at an early stage. Nevertheless
it was gratifying to have a really genuine recognition of my attitude
towards the scientific workers of the expedition, and I felt very
warmly towards all these kind, good fellows for expressing it. If
good will and fellowship count towards success, very surely shall
we deserve to succeed. It was matter for comment, much applauded,
that there had not been a single disagreement between any two members
of our party from the beginning. By the end of dinner a very cheerful
spirit prevailed.'

The table having been cleared and upended and the chairs arranged
in rows, Ponting displayed a series of slides from his own local
negatives, and then, after the healths of Campbell's party and of
[Page 293]
those on board the _Terra Nova_ had been drunk, a set of lancers was
formed. In the midst of this scene of revelry Bowers suddenly appeared,
followed by satellites bearing an enormous Christmas tree, the branches
of which bore flaming candles, gaudy crackers, and little presents
for everyone; the distribution of which caused infinite amusement.
Thus the high festival of Midwinter was celebrated in the most
convivial way, but that it was so reminiscent of a Christmas spent
in England was partly, at any rate, due to those kind people who
had anticipated the celebration by providing presents and other
tokens of their interest in the expedition.

'Few,' Scott says, 'could take great exception to so rare an outburst
in a long run of quiet days. After all we celebrated the birth
of a season, which for weal or woe must be numbered amongst the
greatest in our lives.'




[Page 294]
CHAPTER V

WINTER

                            Come what may
  Time and the hour runs through the darkest day.
    SHAKESPEARE.

During the latter part of June the Cape Crozier Party were busy
in making preparations for their departure. The object of their
journey to the Emperor penguin rookery in the cold and darkness of an
Antarctic winter was to secure eggs at such a stage as could furnish
a series of early embryos, by means of which alone the particular
points of interest in the development of the bird could be worked
out. As the Emperor is peculiar in nesting at the coldest season
of the year, this journey entailed the risk of sledge traveling in
mid-winter, and the travelers had also to traverse about a hundred
miles of the Barrier surface, and to cross a chaos of crevasses
which had previously taken a party as much as two hours to cross
by daylight.

[Illustration: PITCHING THE DOUBLE TENT ON THE SUMMIT. (P.O. Evans;
Dr. Wilson.) _Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers._]

Such was the enterprise for which Wilson, Bowers and Cherry-Garrard
were with the help of others making preparations, and apart from the
[Page 295]
extraordinarily adventurous side of this journey, it was most
interesting because the travelers were to make several experiments.
Each man was to go on a different food scale, eiderdown sleeping-bags
were to be carried inside the reindeer ones, and a new kind of
crampon and a double tent were to be tried. 'I came across a hint
as to the value of a double tent in Sverdrup's book, "New Land,"'
Scott wrote on June 20, 'and P.O. Evans has made a lining for one
of the tents, it is secured on the inner side of the poles and
provides an air space inside the tent. I think it is going to be
a great success.'

By the 26th preparations for the party to start from Cape Evans
were completed, their heavy load when they set out on the following
morning being distributed on two 9-foot sledges, 'This winter travel
is a new and bold venture, but the right men have gone to attempt
it. All good luck go with them!'

While the winter travelers were pursuing their strenuous way work
went steadily on at Cape Evans, with no exciting nor alarming incident
until July 4. On the morning of that day the wind blew furiously,
but it moderated a little in the afternoon when Atkinson and Gran,
without Scott's knowledge, decided to start over the floe for the
North and South Bay thermometers respectively. This happened at
5.30 P.M., and Gran had returned by 6.45, but not until later did
Scott hear that he had only gone two or three hundred yards from
the land, and that it had taken him nearly an hour to find his
way back.

[Page 296]
Atkinson's continued absence passed unnoticed until dinner was
nearly finished, but Scott did not feel seriously alarmed until
the wind sprang up again and still the wanderer did not return. At
9.30, P.O. Evans, Crean and Keohane, who had been out looking for
him, returned without any news, and the possibility of a serious
accident had to be faced. Organized search parties were at once
dispatched, Scott and Clissold alone remaining in the hut. And as
the minutes slipped slowly by Scott's fears naturally increased,
as Atkinson had started for a point not much more than a mile off
and had been away more than five hours. From that fact only one
conclusion could be drawn, and there was but small comfort to be
got from the knowledge that every spot which was likely to be the
scene of an accident would be thoroughly searched.

Thus 11 o'clock came, then 11.30 with its six hours of absence;
and the strain of waiting became almost unbearable. But a quarter
of an hour later Scott heard voices from the Cape, and presently,
to his extreme relief, Meares and Debenham appeared with Atkinson,
who was badly frost-bitten in the hand, and, as was to be expected
after such an adventure, very confused.

At 2 A.M. Scott wrote in his diary, 'The search parties have returned
and all is well again, but we must have no more of these very
unnecessary escapades. Yet it is impossible not to realize that this
bit of experience has done more than all the talking I could have
[Page 297]
ever accomplished to bring home to our people the dangers of a
blizzard.'

On investigation it was obvious that Atkinson had been in great
danger. First of all he had hit Inaccessible Island, and not until
he arrived in its lee did he discover that his hand was frost-bitten.
Having waited there for some time he groped his way to the western
end, and then wandering away in a swirl of drift to clear some
irregularities at the ice-foot, he completely lost the island when he
could only have been a few yards from it. In this predicament he clung
to the old idea of walking up wind, and it must be considered wholly
providential that on this course he next struck Tent Island. Round
this island he walked under the impression that it was Inaccessible
Island, and at last dug himself a shelter on its lee side. When
the moon appeared he judged its bearing well, and as he traveled
homeward was vastly surprised to see the real Inaccessible Island
appear on his left. 'There can be no doubt that in a blizzard a man
has not only to safeguard the circulation in his limbs, but must
struggle with a sluggishness of brain and an absence of reasoning
power which is far more likely to undo him.'

About mid-day on Friday, July 7, the worst gale that Scott had
ever known in Antarctic regions began, and went on for a week. The
force of the wind, although exceptional, had been equaled earlier
in the year, but the extraordinary feature of this gale was the
long continuance of a very cold temperature. On
[Page 298]
Friday night the thermometer registered -39 deg., and throughout Saturday
and the greater part of Sunday it did not rise above -35 deg.. It was
Scott's turn for duty on Saturday night, and whenever he had to
go out of doors the impossibility of enduring such conditions for
any length of time was impressed forcibly upon him. The fine snow
beat in behind his wind guard, the gusts took away his breath,
and ten paces against the wind were enough to cause real danger
of a frost-bitten face. To clear the anemometer vane he had to go
to the other end of the hut and climb a ladder; and twice while
engaged in this task he had literally to lean against the wind
with head bent and face averted, and so stagger crab-like on his
course.

By Tuesday the temperature had risen to +5 deg. or +7 deg., but the gale
still continued and the air was thick with snow. The knowledge,
however, that the dogs were comfortable was a great consolation to
Scott, and he also found both amusement and pleasure in observing
the customs of the people in charge of the stores. The policy of
every storekeeper was to have something up his sleeve for a rainy
day, and an excellent policy Scott thought it. 'Tools, metal material,
leather, straps, and dozens of items are administered with the same
spirit of jealous guardianship by Day, Lashly, Oates and Meares,
while our main storekeeper Bowers even affects to bemoan imaginary
shortages. Such parsimony is the best guarantee that we are prepared
to face any serious call.'

For an hour on Wednesday afternoon the wind
[Page 299]
moderated, and the ponies were able to get a short walk over the
floe, but this was only a temporary lull, for the gale was soon
blowing as furiously as ever. And the following night brought not
only a continuance of the bad weather but also bad news. At mid-day
one of the best ponies, Bones, suddenly went off his feed, and in
spite of Oates' and Anton's most careful attention he soon became
critically ill. Oates gave him an opium pill and later on a second,
and sacks were heated and placed on the suffering animal, but hour
after hour passed without any improvement. As the evening wore on
Scott again and again visited the stable, only to hear the same
tale from Oates and Crean,[1] who never left their patient. 'Towards
midnight,' Scott says, 'I felt very downcast. It is so certain that
we cannot afford to lose a single pony--the margin of safety has
already been overstepped, we are reduced to face the circumstance
that we must keep all the animals alive or greatly risk failure.'

[Footnote 1: Bones was the pony which had been allotted to Crean.]

Shortly after midnight, however, there were signs of an improvement,
and two or three hours afterwards the pony was out of danger and
proceeded to make a rapid and complete recovery. So far, since the
return to Cape Evans, the ponies had given practically no cause for
anxiety, and in consequence Scott's hopes that all would continue
to be well with them had steadily grown; but this shock shattered
his sense of security, and although various alterations were made
in the arrangements of the stables and extra
[Page 300]
precautions were taken as regards food, he was never again without
alarms for the safety of the precious ponies.

Another raging blizzard swept over Cape Evans on July 22 and 23,
but the spirit of good comradeship still survived in spite of the
atrocious weather and the rather monotonous life. 'There is no
longer room for doubt that we shall come to our work with a unity
of purpose and a disposition for mutual support which have never
been equaled in these paths of activity. Such a spirit should tide
us over all minor difficulties.'

By the end of the month Scott was beginning to wonder why the Crozier
Party did not return, but on Tuesday, August 1, they came back
looking terribly weather-worn and 'after enduring for five weeks
the hardest conditions on record.' Their faces were scarred and
wrinkled, their eyes dull, and their hands whitened and creased
with the constant exposure to damp and cold. Quite obviously the
main part of their afflictions arose from sheer lack of sleep,
and after a night's rest they were very different people both in
mind and body.

Writing on August 2, Scott says, 'Wilson is very thin, but this
morning very much his keen, wiry self--Bowers is quite himself
to-day. Cherry-Garrard is slightly puffy in the face and still
looks worn. It is evident that he has suffered most severely--but
Wilson tells me that his spirit never wavered for a moment. Bowers
has come through best, all things
[Page 301]
considered, and I believe that he is the hardest traveler that ever
undertook a Polar journey, as well as one of the most undaunted;
more by hint than direct statement I gather his value to the party,
his untiring energy and the astonishing physique which enables him
to continue to work under conditions which are absolutely paralyzing
to others. Never was such a sturdy, active, undefeatable little
man.'

Gradually Scott gathered an account of this wonderful journey from
the three travelers who had made it. For more than a week the
thermometer fell below -60 deg., and on one night the minimum showed
-71 deg., and on the next -77 deg.. Although in this fearful cold the air
was comparatively still, occasional little puffs of wind eddied
across the snow plain with blighting effect. 'No civilized being
has ever encountered such conditions before with only a tent of
thin canvas to rely on for shelter.' Records show that Amundsen when
journeying to the N. magnetic pole met temperatures of a similar
degree, but he was with Esquimaux who built him an igloo shelter
nightly, he had also a good measure of daylight, and finally he
turned homeward and regained his ship after five days' absence,
while this party went outward and were absent for five weeks.

Nearly a fortnight was spent in crossing the coldest region, and
then rounding C. Mackay they entered the wind-swept area. Blizzard
followed blizzard, but in a light that was little better than complete
darkness they staggered on. Sometimes they found
[Page 302]
themselves high on the slopes of Terror on the left of the track,
sometimes diving on the right amid crevasses and confused ice
disturbance. Having reached the foothills near Cape Crozier they
ascended 800 feet, packed their belongings over a moraine ridge,
and began to build a hut. Three days were spent in building the
stone walls and completing the roof with the canvas brought for
the purpose, and then at last they could attend to the main object
of their journey.

The scant twilight at mid-day was so short that a start had to be
made in the dark, and consequently they ran the risk of missing
their way in returning without light. At their first attempt they
failed to reach the penguin rookery, but undismayed they started
again on the following day, and wound their way through frightful
ice disturbances under the high basalt cliffs. In places the rock
overhung, and at one spot they had to creep through a small channel
hollowed in the ice. At last the sea-ice was reached, but by that
time the light was so far spent that everything had to be rushed.
Instead of the 2,000 or 3,000 nesting birds that had been seen at
this rookery in _Discovery_ days, they could only count about a
hundred. As a reason for this a suggestion was made that possibly
the date was too early, and that if the birds had not permanently
deserted the rookery only the first arrivals had been seen.

With no delay they killed and skinned three penguins to get blubber
for their stove, and with six eggs, only three of which were saved,
made a hasty dash
[Page 303]
for their camp, which by good luck they regained.

On that same night a blizzard began, and from moment to moment
increased in fury. Very soon they found that the place where they
had, with the hope of shelter, built their hut, was unfortunately
chosen, for the wind instead of striking them directly was deflected
on to them in furious, whirling gusts. Heavy blocks of snow and
rock placed on the roof were hurled away and the canvas ballooned
up, its disappearance being merely a question of time.

Close to the hut they had erected their tent and had left several
valuable articles inside it; the tent had been well spread and
amply secured with snow and boulders, but one terrific gust tore
it up and whirred it away. Inside the hut they waited for the roof
to vanish, and wondered, while they vainly tried to make it secure,
what they could do if it went. After fourteen hours it disappeared,
as they were trying to pin down one corner. Thereupon the smother of
snow swept over them, and all they could do was to dive immediately
for their sleeping-bags. Once Bowers put out his head and said,
'We're all right,' in as ordinary tones as he could manage, whereupon
Wilson and Cherry-Garrard replied, 'Yes, we're all right'; then
all of them were silent for a night and half a day, while the wind
howled and howled, and the snow entered every chink and crevice
of their sleeping-bags.

'This gale,' Scott says, 'was the same (July 23) in which we registered
our maximum wind force, and
[Page 304]
it seems probable that it fell on Cape Crozier even more violently
than on us.'

The wind fell at noon on the following day, and the wretched travelers
then crept from their icy nests, spread the floorcloth over their
heads, and lit their primus. For the first time in forty-eight
hours they tasted food, and having eaten their meal under these
extraordinary conditions they began to talk of plans to build shelters
on the homeward route. Every night, they decided, they must dig a
large pit and cover it as best they could with their floorcloth.

Fortune, however, was now to befriend them, as about half a mile
from the hut Bowers discovered their tent practically uninjured.
But on the following day when they started homeward another blizzard
fell upon them, and kept them prisoners for two more days.

By this time the miserable condition of their effects was beyond
description. The sleeping-bags could not be rolled up, in fact
they were so thoroughly frozen that attempts to bend them actually
broke the skins. All socks, finnesko, and mitts had long been coated
with ice, and when placed in breast-pockets or inside vests at night
they did not even show signs of thawing. Indeed it is scarcely
possible to realize the horrible discomforts of these three forlorn
travelers, as they plodded back across the Barrier in a temperature
constantly below -60 deg..

[Illustration: ADELIE PENGUIN ON NEST. _Photo by C. S. Wright._]

[Illustration: EMPEROR PENGUINS ON SEA-ICE. _Photo by C. S. Wright._]

'Wilson,' Scott wrote, 'is disappointed at seeing so little of the
penguins, but to me and to everyone
[Page 305]
who has remained here the result of this effort is the appeal it
makes to our imagination as one of the most gallant stories of Polar
history. That men should wander forth in the depth of a Polar night
to face the most dismal cold and the fiercest gales in darkness
is something new; that they should have persisted in this effort in
spite of every adversity for five full weeks is heroic. It makes a
tale for our generation which I hope may not be lost in the telling.

'Moreover the material results are by no means despicable. We shall
know now when that extraordinary bird the Emperor penguin lays
its eggs, and under what conditions; but even if our information
remains meager concerning its embryology, our party has shown the
nature of the conditions which exist on the Great Barrier in winter.
Hitherto we have only imagined their severity; now we have proof,
and a positive light is thrown on the local climatology of our
Strait.'

Of the indomitable spirit shown by his companions on this journey
Cherry-Garrard gives wonderful and convincing proof in his diary.
Bowers, with his capacity for sleeping under the most distressing
conditions, was 'absolutely magnificent'; and the story of how
he arranged a line by which he fastened the cap of the tent to
himself, so that if it went away a second time it should not be
unaccompanied, is only one of the many tales of his resource and
determination.

In addition to the eggs that the party had brought back and the
knowledge of the winter conditions on
[Page 306]
the Barrier that they had gained, their journey settled several
points in connection with future sledding work. They had traveled
on a very simple food ration in different and extreme proportions,
for the only provisions they took were pemmican, butter, biscuit
and tea. After a short experience they found that Wilson, who had
arranged for the greatest quantity of fat, had too much of it,
while Cherry-Garrard, who had declared for biscuit, had more than
he could eat. Then a middle course was struck which gave a proportion
agreeable to all of them, and which at the same time suited the
total quantities of their various articles of food. The only change
that was suggested was the addition of cocoa for the evening meal,
because the travelers, thinking that tea robbed them of their slender
chance of sleep, had contented themselves with hot water. 'In this
way,' Scott decided, 'we have arrived at a simple and suitable
ration for the inland plateau.'

Of the sleeping-bags there was little to be said, for although the
eiderdown bag might be useful for a short spring trip, it became
iced up too quickly to be much good on a long journey. Bowers never
used his eiderdown bag,[1] and in some miraculous manner he managed
more than once to turn his reindeer bag. The weights of the
sleeping-bags before and after the journey give some idea of the
ice collected.

[Footnote 1: He insisted upon giving it to Cherry-Garrard. 'It
was,' the latter says, 'wonderfully self-sacrificing of him, more
than I can write. I felt a brute to take it, but I was getting
useless unless I got some sleep, which my big bag would not allow.']

[Page 307]
                                       Starting  Final
                                       Weight    Weight
  Wilson, reindeer and eiderdown.      17 lbs.   40 lbs.
  Bowers, reindeer only.               17  "     33  "
  C.-Garrard, reindeer and eiderdown.  18  "     45  "

The double tent was considered a great success, and the new crampons
were much praised except by Bowers, whose fondness for the older
form was not to be shaken. 'We have discovered,' Scott stated in
summing up the results of the journey, 'a hundred details of clothes,
mitts, and footwear: there seems no solution to the difficulties
which attach to these articles in extreme cold; all Wilson can
say, speaking broadly, is "The gear is excellent, excellent." One
continues to wonder as to the possibilities of fur clothing as made
by the Esquimaux, with a sneaking feeling that it may outclass our
more civilized garb. For us this can only be a matter of speculation,
as it would have been quite impossible to have obtained such articles.
With the exception of this radically different alternative, I feel
sure we are as near perfection as experience can direct. At any
rate we can now hold that our system of clothing has come through
a severer test than any other, fur included.'

With the return of the Cape Crozier Party lectures were resumed,
and apart from one or two gales the weather was so good and the
returning light so stimulating both to man and beast, that the
spirits of the former rose apace while those of the latter became
almost riotous when exercised. On August 10, Scott
[Page 308]
and the new masters were to take charge on September 1, so that
they could exercise their respective animals and get to know them
as well as possible. The new arrangement was:

  Bowers             Victor
  Wilson             Nobby
  Atkinson           Jehu
  Wright             Chinaman
  Cherry-Garrard     Michael
  Evans (P.O.)       Snatcher
  Crean              Bones
  Keohane            Jimmy Pigg
  Oates              Christopher
  Scott and Oates    Snippets.

On the same day Oates gave his second excellent lecture on 'Horse
Management,' and afterwards the problem of snow-shoes was seriously
discussed. Besides the problem of the form of the shoes was also
the question of the means of attachment, and as to both points all
sorts of suggestions were made. At that time Scott's opinion was
that the pony snow-shoes they had, which were made on the grating or
racquet principle, would probably be the best, the only alternative
seeming to be to perfect the principle of the lawn mowing shoe.
'Perhaps,' he adds, 'we shall come to both kinds: the first for the
quiet animals and the last for the more excitable. I am confident
the matter is of first importance.'

[Page 309]
Ten days later Scott had to admit that the ponies were becoming
a handful, and for the time being they would have been quite
unmanageable if they had been given any oats. As it was, Christopher,
Snippets and Victor were suffering from such high spirits that all
three of them bolted on the 21st.

A prolonged gale arrived just as the return of the sun was due,
and for three days everyone was more or less shut up in the hut.
Although the temperature was not especially low anyone who went
outside for even the briefest moment had to dress in wind clothes,
because exposed woolen or cloth materials became so instantaneously
covered with powdery crystals, that when they were brought back
into the warmth they were soon wringing wet. When, however, there
was no drift it was quicker and easier to slip on an overcoat, and
for his own garment of this description Scott admits a sentimental
attachment. 'I must confess,' he says, 'an affection for my veteran
uniform overcoat, inspired by its persistent utility. I find that
it is twenty-three years of age and can testify to its strenuous
existence. It has been spared neither rain, wind, nor salt sea
spray, tropic heat nor Arctic cold; it has outlived many sets of
buttons, from their glittering gilded youth to green old age, and
it supports its four-stripe shoulder straps as gaily as the single
lace ring of the early days which proclaimed it the possession of
a humble sub-lieutenant. Withal it is still a very long way from
the fate of the "one-horse shay."'

[Page 310]
Not until August 26 did the sun appear, and everyone was at once
out and about and in the most cheerful frame of mind. The shouts
and songs of men could be heard for miles, and the outlook on life
of every member of the expedition seemed suddenly to have changed.
For if there is little that is new to be said about the return
of the sun in Polar regions, it must always be a very real and
important event to those who have lived without it for so many
months, and who have almost forgotten the sensation of standing
in brilliant sunshine.




[Page 311]
CHAPTER VI

GOOD-BYE TO CAPE EVANS

  So far as I can venture to offer an opinion on such a matter,
  the purpose of our being in existence, the highest object that
  human beings can set before themselves, is not the pursuit of
  any such chimera as the annihilating of the unknown; but it is
  simply the unwearied endeavour to remove its boundaries a little
  further from our little sphere of action.--HUXLEY.

With the return of the sun preparations for the summer campaign
continued more zealously and industriously than ever, and what
seemed like a real start was made when Meares and Demetri went
off to Hut Point on September 1 with the dog teams. For such an
early departure there was no real reason unless Meares hoped to
train the dogs better when he had got them to himself; but he chose
to start, and Scott, after setting out the work he had to do, left
him to come and go between the two huts as he pleased.

Meanwhile with Bowers' able assistance Scott set to work at sledding
figures, and although he felt as the scheme developed that their
organization would not be found wanting, he was also a little troubled
by the immense amount of detail, and by the fact that every arrangement
had to be more than usually elastic, so that both the complete
success and the utter failure of
[Page 312]
the motors could be taken fully into account. 'I think,' he says,
'that our plan will carry us through without the motors (though in
that case nothing else must fail), and will take full advantage
of such help as the motors may give.'

The spring traveling could not be extensive, because of necessity
the majority of the company had to stay at home and exercise the
ponies, which was not likely to be a light task when the food of
these enterprising animals was increased. E. Evans, Gran and Forde,
however, were to go and re-mark Corner Camp, and then Meares with
his dogs was to carry as much fodder there as possible, while Bowers,
Simpson, P.O. Evans and Scott were to 'stretch their legs' across
the Western Mountains.

[Illustration: DOG PARTY STARTING FROM HUT POINT. _Photo by F.
Debenham._]

[Illustration: DOG LINES. _Photo by F. Debenham._]

During the whole of the week ending on September 10, Scott was
occupied with making detailed plans for the Southern journey, every
figure being checked by Bowers, 'who has been an enormous help.'
And later on, in speaking of the transport department, Scott says,
'In spite of all the care I have taken to make the details of my
plan clear by lucid explanation, I find that Bowers is the only
man on whom I can thoroughly rely to carry out the work without
mistakes.' The result of this week's work and study was that Scott
came to the conclusion that there would be no difficulty in getting
to the Glacier if the motors were successful, and that even if the
motors failed they still ought to get there with any ordinary degree
of good fortune. To work three units of four men from that point
[Page 313]
onward would, he admitted, take a large amount of provisions, but
with the proper division he thought that they ought to attain their
object. 'I have tried,' he said, 'to take every reasonable possibility
of misfortune into consideration;... I fear to be too sanguine,
yet taking everything into consideration I feel that our chances
ought to be good. The animals are in splendid form. Day by day the
ponies get fitter as their exercise increases.... But we cannot
spare any of the ten, and so there must always be anxiety of the
disablement of one or more before their work is done.'

Apart from the great help he would obtain if the motors were successful,
Scott was very eager that they should be of some use so that all the
time, money and thought which had been given to their construction
should not be entirely wasted. But whatever the outcome of these
motors, his belief in the possibility of motor traction for Polar
work remained, though while it was in an untried and evolutionary
state he was too cautious and wise a leader to place any definite
reliance upon it.

If, however, Scott was more than a little doubtful about the motors,
he was absolutely confident about the men who were chosen for the
Southern advance. 'All are now experienced sledge travelers, knit
together with a bond of friendship that has never been equaled under
such circumstances. Thanks to these people, and more especially
to Bowers and Petty Officer Evans, there is not a single detail
[Page 314]
of our equipment which is not arranged with the utmost care and in
accordance with the tests of experience.'

On Saturday, September 9, E. R. Evans, Forde and Gran left for
Corner Camp, and then for a few days Scott was busy finishing up
the Southern plans, getting instruction in photography, and preparing
for his journey to the west. On the Southern trip he had determined
to make a better show of photographic work than had yet been
accomplished, and with Ponting as eager to help others as he was
to produce good work himself an invaluable instructor was at hand.

With the main objects of having another look at the Ferrar Glacier
and of measuring the stakes put out by Wright in the previous year,
of bringing their sledge impressions up to date, and of practicing
with their cameras, Scott and his party started off to the west on
the 15th, without having decided precisely where they were going
or how long they would stay away.

Two and a half days were spent in reaching Butter Point, and then
they proceeded up the Ferrar Glacier and reached the Cathedral
Rocks on the 19th. There they found the stakes placed by Wright
across the glacier, and spent the remainder of that day and the
whole of the next in plotting accurately their position. 'Very
cold wind down glacier increasing. In spite of this Bowers wrestled
with theodolite. He is really wonderful. I have never seen anyone
who could go on so long with bare fingers. My own fingers went
every few moments.'

After plotting out the figures it turned out that the
[Page 315]
movement varied from 24 to 32 feet, an extremely important observation,
and the first made on the movements of the coastal glaciers. Though
a greater movement than Scott expected to find, it was small enough
to show that the idea of comparative stagnation was correct. On the
next day they came down the Glacier, and then went slowly up the
coast, dipping into New Harbor, where they climbed the moraine, took
angles and collected rock specimens. At Cape Bernacchi a quantity of
pure quartz was found, and in it veins of copper ore--an interesting
discovery, for it was the first find of minerals suggestive of the
possibility of working.

On the next day they sighted a long, low ice wall, and at a distance
mistook it for a long glacier tongue stretching seaward from the
land. But as they approached it they saw a dark mark, and it suddenly
dawned upon them that the tongue was detached from the land. Half
recognizing familiar features they turned towards it, and as they
got close they saw that it was very like their old Erebus Glacier
Tongue. Then they sighted a flag upon it, and realized that it
was the piece broken off from the Erebus Tongue. Near the outer
end they camped, and climbing on to it soon found the depot of
fodder left by Campbell, and the line of stakes planted to guide
the ponies in the autumn. So there, firmly anchored, was the piece
broken from the Glacier Tongue in the previous March, a huge tract
about two miles long which had turned through half a circle, so
that the old western end was towards
[Page 316]
the east. 'Considering the many cracks in the ice mass it is most
astonishing that it should have remained intact throughout its
sea voyage. At one time it was suggested that the hut should be
placed on this Tongue. What an adventurous voyage the occupants
would have had! The Tongue which was 5 miles south of Cape Evans
is now 4 deg. miles W.N.W. of it.'

[Illustration: PANORAMA AT CAPE EVANS. (Cliffs of Barne Glacier;
Open Sea; Mount Erebus.) _Photo by F. Debenham._]

[Illustration: BERG IN SOUTH BAY. _Photo by F. Debenham._]

From the Glacier Tongue they still pushed north, and on the 24th,
just before the fog descended upon them, they got a view along
the stretch of coast to the north. So far the journey had been
more pleasant than Scott had anticipated, but two days after they
had turned back a heavy blizzard descended upon them, and although
an attempt was made to continue marching, they were soon compelled
to camp. After being held up completely on the 27th they started
again on the following day in a very frost-biting wind. From time
to time they were obliged to halt so that their frozen features
could be brought round, Simpson suffering more than the rest of
the party; and with drift coming on again they were weather-bound
in their tent during the early part of the afternoon. At 3 P.M.,
however, the drift ceased, and they started off once more in a
wind as biting as ever. Then Scott saw an ominous yellow fuzzy
appearance on the southern ridges of Erebus, and knew that another
snowstorm was approaching; but hoping that this storm would miss
them, he kept on until Inaccessible Island was suddenly blotted out.
Thereupon a rush was made for a camp site, but the blizzard swept
[Page 317]
upon them, and in the driving snow they found it utterly impossible
to set up their inner tent, and could only just manage to set up
the outer one. A few hours later the weather again cleared, and
as they were more or less snowed up, they decided to push for Cape
Evans in spite of the wind. 'We arrived in at 1.15 A.M., pretty
well done. The wind never let up for an instant; the temperature
remained about -16 deg., and the 21 statute miles which we marched
in the day must be remembered amongst the most strenuous in my
memory.... The objects of our little journey were satisfactorily
accomplished, but the greatest source of pleasure to me is to realize
that I have such men as Bowers and P.O. Evans for the Southern
journey. I do not think that harder men or better sledge travelers
ever took the trail. Bowers is a little wonder. I realize all that
he must have done for the C. Crozier Party in their far severer
experience.'

Late as the hour was when the travelers appeared at Cape Evans,
everyone was soon up and telling Scott what had happened during
his absence. E. Evans, Gran and Forde had reached Corner Camp and
found that it showed up well, and consequently all anxiety as to
the chance of finding One Ton Camp was removed. Forde, however,
had got his hand so badly frost-bitten that he was bound to be
incapacitated for some time, and this meant that the arrangements
that had already been made for a geological party to go to the
west would in all probability have to be altered.

[Page 318]
All of the ponies were reported to be very well, but Scott's joy
at this news vanished on October 3 when Atkinson reported that
Jehu was still too weak to pull a load. Oates also was having great
trouble with Christopher, who did not appreciate being harnessed
and generally bolted at the mere sight of a sledge. 'He is going,'
Scott, in referring to this most intractable pony, wrote, 'to be a
trial, but he is a good strong pony and should do yeoman service.
Day is increasingly hopeful about the motors. He is an ingenious
person and has been turning up new rollers out of a baulk of oak
supplied by Meares, and with Simpson's small motor as a lathe.
The motors may save the situation.'

On the 5th Scott made a thorough inspection of Jehu and became
convinced that he was useless. Chinaman and James Pigg were also
no towers of strength. 'But the other seven are in fine form and
must bear the brunt of the work somehow. If we suffer more loss
we shall depend on the motor, and then!... well, one must face
the bad as well as the good.'

During the following day, after Christopher had given his usual
exhibition at the start, Wilson, Oates, Cherry-Garrard and Crean
went over to Hut Point with their ponies; and late on the same
afternoon the Hut Point telephone bell suddenly rang. The line
had been laid by Meares some time before, but hitherto there had
been no communication. Now, however, Scott heard a voice and found
himself able to hold long
[Page 319]
conversations with Meares and Oates. 'Not a very wonderful fact,
perhaps, but it seems wonderful in this primitive land to be talking
to one's fellow beings 15 miles away. Oates told me that the ponies
had arrived in fine order, Christopher a little done, but carrying
the heaviest load. If we can keep the telephone going it will be
a great boon, especially to Meares later in the season.'

After service on Sunday morning Scott, continuing his course of
photography under the excellent instruction of Ponting, went out
to the Pressure Ridge, and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Worries,
however, were in store, for later in the afternoon, by which time
Scott had returned to the hut, a telephone message from Nelson's
igloo brought the news that Clissold had fallen from a berg and hurt
his back. In three minutes Bowers had organized a sledge party, and
fortunately Atkinson was on the spot and able to join it. Scott himself
at once hurried over the land, and found Ponting very distressed
and Clissold practically insensible.

It appeared that Clissold had been acting as Ponting's 'model,'
and that they had been climbing about the berg to get pictures.
Ponting had lent his crampons and ice-axe to Clissold, but the
latter nevertheless missed his footing after one of the 'poses,'
and after sliding over a rounded surface of ice for some twelve
feet, had dropped six feet on to a sharp angle in the wall of the
berg. Unquestionably Clissold was badly hurt, and although neither
Wilson nor Atkinson
[Page 320]
thought that anything very serious had happened, there was no doubt
that the accident would prevent him from taking the place allotted
to him in the motor sledge party. Thus there were two men on the
sick list, and after all the trouble that had been taken to get
things ready for the summer journeys Scott naturally felt that
these misfortunes were more than a little deplorable. On the other
hand, all was going well with the ponies, though Christopher's
dislike to sledges seemed rather to increase than to lessen. When
once he was in the sledge he had always behaved himself until October
13, when he gave a really great exhibition of perversity. On this
occasion a dog frightened him, and having twisted the rope from
Oates' hands he bolted for all he was worth. When, however, he
had obtained his freedom, he set about most systematically to get
rid of his load. At first he gave sudden twists and thus dislodged
two bales of hay, but when he caught sight of some other sledges
a better idea at once struck him, and he dashed straight at them
with the evident intention of getting free of his load at one fell
swoop. Two or three times he ran for Bowers and then he turned
his attention to Keohane, his plan being to charge from a short
distance with teeth bared and heels flying. By this time his antics
had brought a small group to the scene, and presently Oates, Bowers,
Nelson and Atkinson managed to clamber on to the sledge. Undaunted,
however, by this human burden, he tried to treat it as he had the
bales of hay, and he did manage to
[Page 321]
dispose of Atkinson with violence; but the others dug their heels into
the snow and succeeded at last in tiring him out. 'I am exceedingly
glad,' Scott says, 'there are not other ponies like him. These capers
promise trouble, but I think a little soft snow on the Barrier may
effectually cure them.'

On Tuesday, October 17, the motors were to be taken on to the floe,
but the attempt was not successful, the axle casing (aluminum)
splitting soon after the trial had begun. Once again Scott expressed
his conviction that the motors would be of little assistance, though
at the same time retaining his opinion that with more experience
they might have been of the greatest service. 'The trouble is that
if they fail, no one will ever believe this.'

The days at Cape Evans were now rapidly drawing to a close. Plans
and preparations occupied the attention of everyone, and Scott's
time was almost wholly occupied in preparing details and in writing.
'Words,' he said in a letter dated October, 1912, 'must always
fail me when I talk of Bill Wilson. I believe he really is the
finest character I ever met--the closer one gets to him the more
there is to admire. Every quality is so solid and dependable; cannot
you imagine how that counts down here? Whatever the matter, one
knows Bill will be sound, shrewdly practical, intensely loyal,
and quite unselfish. Add to this a wider knowledge of persons and
things than is at first guessable, a quiet vein of humour and really
consummate tact, and you have some idea of his values. I think
[Page 322]
he is the most popular member of the party, and that is saying much.

'Bowers is all and more than I ever expected of him. He is a positive
treasure, absolutely trustworthy, and prodigiously energetic. He
is about the hardest man amongst us, and that is saying a good
deal--nothing seems to hurt his tough little body, and certainly
no hardship daunts his spirit. I shall have a hundred little tales
to tell you of his indefatigable zeal, his unselfishness, and his
inextinguishable good humor. He surprises always, for his intelligence
is of quite a high order and his memory for details most exceptional.
You can imagine him, as he is, an indispensable assistant to me in
every detail concerning the management and organization of our
sledding work and a delightful companion on the march.

'One of the greatest successes is Wright. He is very hard working,
very thorough, and absolutely ready for anything. Like Bowers he
has taken to sledding like a duck to water, and although he hasn't
had such severe testing, I believe he would stand it pretty nearly
as well. Nothing ever seems to worry him, and I can't imagine he
ever complained of anything in his life.

'The Soldier is very popular with all--a delightfully humorous
cheery old pessimist--striving with the ponies night and day and
bringing woeful accounts of their small ailments into the hut.

'Atkinson will go far, I think; he has a positive passion for helping
others. It is extraordinary what pains he will take to do a kind
thing unobtrusively.

[Page 323]
'Cherry-Garrard is clean grit right through; one has caught glimpses
of him in tight places.

'Day has the sweetest temper and all sorts of other nice
characteristics. Moreover he has a very remarkable mechanical ability,
and I believe is about as good a man as could have been selected
for his job.

'I don't think I will give such long descriptions of the others,
though most of them deserve equally high praise. Taken all round,
they are a perfectly excellent lot.

'The men are equally fine. P.O. Evans looks after our sledges and
sledge equipment with a care of management and a fertility of resource
which is truly astonishing. On "trek" he is just as sound and hard as
ever, and has an inexhaustible store of anecdote. Crean is perfectly
happy, ready to do anything and go anywhere, the harder the work,
the better. Evans and Crean are great friends. Lashly is his old
self in every respect, hard working to the limit, quiet, abstemious
and determined. You see altogether I have a good set of people
with me, and it will go hard if we don't achieve something.

'The study of individual characters is a pleasant pastime in such
a mixed community of thoroughly nice people... men of the most
diverse upbringing and experience are really pals with one another,
and the subjects which would be delicate ground of discussion between
acquaintances are just those which are most freely used for jest....
I have never seen a temper lost in these discussions. So as I sit
[Page 324]
here I am very satisfied with these things. I think that it would have
been difficult to better the organization of the party--every man has
his work and is especially adapted for it; there is no gap and no
overlap. It is all that I desired, and the same might well be said of
the men selected to do the work....

'I don't know what to think of Amundsen's chances. If he gets to
the Pole, it must be before we do, as he is bound to travel fast
with dogs and pretty certain to start early. On this account I
decided at a very early date to act exactly as I should have done
had he not existed. Any attempt to race must have wrecked my plan,
besides which it doesn't appear the sort of thing one is out for.

'Possibly you will have heard something before this reaches you.
Oh! and there are all sorts of possibilities. In any case you can
rely on my not doing or saying anything foolish--only I'm afraid
you must be prepared for the chance of finding our venture much
belittled.

'After all, it is the work that counts, not the applause that follows.'

The transport of emergency stores to Hut Point was delayed by the
weather until October 22, but on that day the most important
stores--which were for the returning depots and to provision the
_Discovery_ hut in case the _Terra Nova_ did not arrive--were taken
by Wilson, Bowers and P.O. Evans and their ponies to Glacier Tongue.
Accidents, however, were still to happen, for while Bowers was
holding the ponies so
[Page 325]
that Wilson and Evans could unload them, Victor got the hook, which
fastened the harness to the trace of another pony, into his nose.
At that moment a lot of drift swept upon them, and immediately
all three of the ponies stampeded, Snatcher making for home and
Nobby for the Western Mountains, while Victor, with Bowers still
hanging on to him, just bolted here, there and everywhere. Wilson
and P.O. Evans at once started after their ponies, and the former
by means of a biscuit as a bait managed to catch Nobby west of Tent
Island, but Snatcher arrived, with a single trace and dangling
sledge, by himself at Cape Evans. Half an hour after Wilson had
returned Bowers brought in Victor, who had a gash in his nose, and
was very much distressed. 'I don't know,' Scott says, 'how Bowers
managed to hang on to the frightened animal; I don't believe anyone
else would have done so.... Two lessons arise. First, however quiet
the animals appear they must not be left by their drivers--no chance
must be taken; secondly, the hooks on the hames of the harness
must be altered in shape. I suppose such incidents as this were
to be expected, one cannot have ponies very fresh and vigorous
and expect them to behave like lambs, but I shall be glad when we
are off and can know more definitely what resources we can count
on.'

In addition to this mishap, a football match had been got up two
days before, in which Debenham hurt his knee. Thus the Western
Party was again delayed, the only compensation for this accident
[Page 326]
being that Forde's hand would have a better chance of recovery while
Debenham's knee was given time to improve.

On the following day the motors seemed to be ready for the start,
but various little defects again cropped up, and not until the next
morning did they get away. At first there were frequent stops,
but on the whole satisfactory progress was made, and as even a
small measure of success would, in Scott's opinion, be enough to
show their ability to revolutionize Polar transport, and so help
to prevent the cruelty that is a necessary condition of animal
transport, he was intensely anxious about the result of this trial
trip. As this subject was one which was of the most supreme interest
to Scott, it is well to quote the opinion of an expert upon these motor
sledges. 'It has been said that Captain Scott's sledges failed, and
without further consideration the design has been totally condemned,
but this is quite unfair to the design; and it must be admitted
by everyone who has had anything to do with the sledges, and has
any sort of knowledge of mechanical principles, that it was _the
engine_ that failed, not the transmission gear at all. The engine
used was a four-cylinder air-cooled one, and most unexpectedly in
the cold climate of the Antarctic it over-heated and broke various
parts, beyond possibility of repair under the severe conditions.
The reason of the breakdown therefore applies to any and every
form of motor sledge, and should a satisfactory engine be available
for one form of sledge, it is equally
[Page 327]
available for another. It therefore shows a lack of fair judgment
to condemn the Scott sledge for a breakdown, which would have applied
equally to every form of motor transport which could have been
designed.'

Unquestionably the motor sledges did enough to make this unique
experiment infinitely worth trying, and on Friday, October 27, Scott
declared that the machines had already vindicated themselves. Even
the seamen, who had been very doubtful about them, were profoundly
impressed, and P.O. Evans admitted that, 'if them things can go on
like that, I reckon you wouldn't want nothing else.'

As the days passed by, it was obvious that the Western Party--which
consisted of Taylor, Debenham, Gran and Forde--would have to leave
after the Southern Party. 'It is trying that they should be wasting
the season in this way. All things considered, I shall be glad
to get away and put our fortune to the test,' Scott wrote on the
28th. And two days later he added: 'Meares and Ponting are just
off to Hut Point. Atkinson and Keohane will probably leave in an
hour or so as arranged, and if the weather holds, we shall all
get off to-morrow. So here end the entries in this diary with the
first chapter of our History. The future is in the lap of the gods;
I can think of nothing left undone to deserve success.'




[Page 328]
CHAPTER VII

THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY BEGINS

                 Free men freely work.
  Whoever fears God, fears to sit at ease.
    E. B. BROWNING.

'As we are just off on our Southern journey, with a good chance of
missing the ship on our return,' Scott wrote before leaving Cape
Evans on November 1, 'I send a word of greeting. We are going away
with high hopes of success and for the moment everything smiles, but
where risks must be taken the result must be dependent on chance
to some extent.

'I am lucky in having with me the right men for the work; we have
lived most happily together through the long winter, and now all
are fit, ready, and eager to go forward, and, apart from the result,
the work itself is extraordinarily fascinating.'

The march to Hut Point was begun in detachments, Scott leading
Snippets and soon finding himself where he wished to be, at the
tail of the team. After all Jehu had refuted predictions by being
allowed to start, although so little confidence was still
[Page 329]
placed in him that on the previous day he had been sent at his
own pace to Hut Point. Chinaman was also 'an unknown quantity,'
but the chief trouble on the opening march was caused by the
persistently active Christopher, who kicked and bucked the whole
way.

On this march, which reminded Scott of a regatta or a somewhat
disorganized fleet with ships of very unequal speed, a good knowledge
was obtained of the various paces of the ponies, and the plan of
advance was, after some trouble, arranged. The start was to be
made from Hut Point in three parties--the very slow ponies, the
medium paced, and the fliers. The motors with Day, E. R. Evans,
Lashly and Hooper (who had taken Clissold's place) were already
on the way, and the dogs, with Meares and Demetri, were to follow
the main detachments.

Night marching was decided upon, and after supper good-bye was
said to Hut Point, and Atkinson, Wright and Keohane led off with
Jehu, Chinaman and Jimmy Pigg. Two hours later Scott, Wilson and
Cherry-Garrard left, their ponies marching steadily and well together
on the sea-ice. At Safety Camp they found Atkinson, who reported that
Chinaman and Jehu were already tired. Soon after Scott's party had
camped for lunch, Ponting arrived with Demetri and a small dog team,
and the cinematograph was up in time to catch the flying rearguard,
which came along in fine form with Snatcher, 'a wonderful little
beast,' leading. Christopher had given his customary exhibition when
[Page 330]
harnessed, and although the Barrier surface had sobered him a little
it was not thought advisable for him to stop, and so the party
fled through in the wake of the advance guard, and were christened
'the through train.'

'After lunch,' Scott, writing from Camp 1 on November 3, says, 'we
packed up and marched steadily on as before. I don't like these
midnight lunches, but for man the march that follows is pleasant
when, as today, the wind falls and the sun steadily increases its
heat. The two parties in front of us camped five miles beyond Safety
Camp, and we reached their camp some half or three-quarters of an
hour later. All the ponies are tethered in good order, but most
of them are tired--Chinaman and Jehu _very tired_.... A petrol
tin is near the camp and a note stating that the motors passed
at 9 P.M. 28th, going strong--they have from four to five days'
lead and should surely keep it.'

On the next march they started in what for some time was to be
the settled order--Atkinson's contingent at 8 P.M., Scott's at
10, Oates' an hour and a quarter later. Just after starting they
picked up cheerful notices saying that all was well with both the
motors, and Day wrote, 'Hope to meet in 80 deg. 30' Lat.' But very soon
afterwards a depot of petrol was found; and worse was to follow,
as some four miles out from Camp 1 they came across a tin bearing
the sad announcement, 'Big end Day's motor No. 2 cylinder broken.'
Half a mile beyond was the motor, its tracking sledges, &c.; and
notes from E. Evans and Day to
[Page 331]
tell the tale of the mishap. The only spare big end had been used
for Lashly's machine, and as it would have taken a long time to
strip Day's engine so that it could run on three cylinders, they
had decided to abandon it and push on with the other alone. 'So
the dream of help from the machines is at an end! The track of
the remaining motor goes steadily forward, but now, of course, I
shall expect to see it every hour of the march.'

On the second and third marches the ponies did fairly well on a
bad surface, but as yet they had only light loads to pull; and not
until they were tested was Scott prepared to express much confidence
in them. At Camp 3 he found a troubled note from E. Evans saying
that their maximum speed was about 7 miles a day. 'They have taken
on nine bags of forage, but there are three black dots to the south
which we can only imagine are the deserted motor with its loaded
sledges. The men have gone on as a supporting party, as directed.
It is a disappointment. I had hoped better of the machines once
they got away on the Barrier Surface.'

From this camp they started in the usual order, having arranged
that full loads should be carried if the black dots proved to be
the motors, and very soon they found their fears confirmed. Another
note from E. Evans stated a recurrence of the old trouble. The big
end of No. 1 cylinder had cracked, otherwise the machine was in
good order. 'Evidently,' Scott wrote in reference to this misfortune,
'the engines are not
[Page 332]
fitted for working in this climate, a fact that should be certainly
capable of correction. One thing is proved: the system of propulsion
is altogether satisfactory. The motor party has proceeded as a
man-hauling party as arranged.'

As they came to Camp 4 a blizzard threatened, and snow walls were
at once built for the ponies. The last march, however, was more
than a compensation for bad weather. Jehu and Chinaman with loads
of over 450 lbs. had stepped out well and had finished as fit as
they had started, while the better ponies had made nothing of their
loads, Scott's Snippets having pulled over 700 lbs., sledge included.
'We are all much cheered by this performance. It shows a hardening
up of ponies which have been well trained; even Oates is pleased!'

The blizzard only just gave them time to get everything done in
the camp before it arrived. The ponies, however, in their new rugs
and with sheltering walls as high as themselves could scarcely feel
the wind, and as this protection was a direct result of experience
gained in the previous year, Scott was glad to feel that some good
had been obtained from that disastrous journey. But when the snow
began to fall the ponies as usual suffered, because it was impossible
to devise any means of keeping them comfortable in thick and driving
snow. 'We men are snug and comfortable enough, but it is very evil to
lie here and know that the weather is steadily sapping the strength
of the beasts on which so
[Page 333]
much depends. It requires much philosophy to be cheerful on such
occasions.' In the midst of the drift during the forenoon of the
7th Meares and Demetri with the dogs arrived, and camped about
a quarter of a mile away. In catching the main party up so soon
Scott considered that Meares had played too much for safety, but
at the same time it was encouraging to know that the dogs would
pull the loads assigned to them, and that they could face such
terrific winds.

The threatening weather continued until late on Tuesday night, and
the question of starting was left open for a long time, several
of the party thinking it unwise to march. At last, however, the
decision was made to go, and the advance guard got away soon after
midnight. Then, to Scott's surprise and delight, he discovered that
his fears about the ponies were needless. Both Jehu and Chinaman
took skittish little runs when their rugs were removed, and Chinaman
even betrayed a not altogether irresistible desire to buck. In
fact the only pony that gave any trouble was Christopher, and this
not from any fatigue but from excessive spirit. Most of the ponies
halted now and again to get a mouthful of snow, but Christopher
had still to be sent through with a non-stop run, for his tricks
and devices were as innumerable as ever. Oates had to cling like
grim death to his bridle until the first freshness had worn off,
and this was a long rather than a light task, as even after ten
miles he was prepared to misbehave himself if he got the smallest
chance.

[Page 334]
A few hundred yards from Camp 5 Bowers picked up a bale of forage
and loaded it on his sledge, bringing the weight to nearly 800 lbs.
Victor, however, went on as though nothing had happened, and although
the surface was for the time wonderfully good, and it still remained
a question how the ponies would get on under harder conditions,
Scott admitted that so far the outlook was very encouraging. The
cairns built in the previous year showed up very distinctly and
were being picked up with the greatest ease, and this also was
an additional cause for satisfaction because with pony walls, camp
sites and cairns, the track on the homeward march seemed as if it
must be easy to follow. Writing at Camp 5, Scott says, 'Everyone
is as fit as can be. It was wonderfully warm as we camped this
morning at 11 o'clock; the wind has dropped completely and the
sun shines gloriously. Men and ponies revel in such weather. One
devoutly hopes for a good spell of it as we recede from the windy
Northern region. The dogs came up soon after we had camped, traveling
easily.'

On the next march they remained faithful to their program of advancing
a little over ten geographical miles nightly. But during the last
two miles of this stage all of the ponies were together. 'It looked
like a meet of the hounds, and Jehu ran away!!' was Cherry-Garrard's
account of this scene in his diary. But in Scott's opinion it was
clearly not advantageous to march in one detachment, because the
slow advance-guard ponies were forced out of their pace by joining
[Page 335]
with the others, while the fast rearguard had their speed reduced.
This, however, was a great day for Jehu, whose attempt to bolt,
though scarcely amounting to more than a sprawling canter, was
freely acknowledged to be a creditable performance for a pony who
at the start had been thought incapable of doing a single march.

The weather now began to change rapidly for the worse, and in
consequence the pleasure of marching as rapidly vanished. In arriving
at Camp 7 they had to struggle at first against a strong head wind,
and afterwards in a snowstorm. Wright, who was leading, found it
so impossible to see where he was going that he decided to camp
some two miles short of the usual ten, but the ponies continued
to do well and this was a compensation for the curtailed distance.

A worse surface was in store for them when they started from Camp
7, in fact Scott and Wilson described it as one of the worst they
had ever seen. The snow that had fallen in the day remained soft,
and added to this they had entered upon an area of soft crust between
a few scattered hard sastrugi. In pits between these the snow lay
in sandy heaps, making altogether the most difficult conditions
for the ponies. Nevertheless the stronger ponies continued to pull
excellently, and even the poor old crocks succeeded in covering
9-1/2 miles. 'Such a surface makes one anxious in spite of the
rapidity with which changes take place. I expected these marches
to be a little difficult, but not near so bad as to-day's.... In
spite of the surface, the dogs ran up from the camp before last,
[Page 336]
over 20 miles, in the night. They are working splendidly.'

The surface was still bad and the weather horrid on the following
day, but 5 miles out the advance party came straight and true upon
the last year's Bluff depot. Here Scott found a note, from which
he learned the cheering news that E. Evans and his party must be
the best part of five days ahead. On the other hand, Atkinson had
a very gloomy report to make of Chinaman, who could, he thought,
only last a few more miles. Oates, however, much more optimistic
than usual, considered that Chinaman would last for several days;
and during another horrid march to Camp 10 all the ponies did well,
Jehu especially distinguishing himself.

'We shall be,' Scott wrote from this camp on Monday, November 13, 'in
a better position to know how we stand when we get to One Ton Camp,
now only 17 or 18 miles, but I am anxious about these beasts--very
anxious, they are not the ponies they ought to have been, and if
they pull through well, all the thanks will be due to Oates. I
trust the weather and surface conditions will improve; both are
rank bad at present.' The next stage took them within 7 or 8 miles
of One Ton Camp, and with a slightly improved surface and some
sun the spirits of the party revived. But, although the ponies
were working splendidly, it was painful work for them to struggle
on through the snow, and Christopher's antics when harnessed were
already a thing of the past--a fact which
[Page 337]
would have been totally unregretted had it not been evidence that
his strength was also beginning to diminish.

One Ton Camp was found without any difficulty, and having pushed on
to Camp 12 it was decided to give the animals a day's rest there,
and afterwards to go forward at the rate of 13 geographical miles (15
statute miles) a day. 'Oates thinks the ponies will get through, but
that they have lost condition quicker than he expected. Considering
his usually pessimistic attitude this must be thought a hopeful
view. Personally I am much more hopeful. I think that a good many
of the beasts are actually in better form than when they started,
and that there is no need to be alarmed about the remainder, always
excepting the weak ones which we have always regarded with doubt.
Well, we must wait and see how things go.'

Another note from E. Evans was found at One Ton Camp, stating that
his party had taken on four boxes of biscuits, and would wait for
the main detachment at Lat. 80 deg. 30'. The minimum thermometer left
there in the previous year showed -73 deg., which was rather less than
Scott had expected.

After the day's rest the loads were re-organized, the stronger
ponies taking on about 580 lbs., while the others had rather over
400 lbs. as their burden; and refreshed by their holiday all of
them marched into the next camp without any signs of exhaustion.
By this time frost-bites were frequent, both Oates and P.O. Evans
being victims, while Meares, when told
[Page 338]
that his nose was 'gone,' remarked that he was tired of it and that
it would thaw out by and by!

Hopes and fears concerning the ponies naturally alternated on such
a journey, and the latter predominated when Scott wrote on November
18 from Camp 14. 'The ponies are not pulling well. The surface is,
if anything, a little worse than yesterday, but I should think
about the sort of thing we shall have to expect henceforward....
It's touch and go whether we scrape up to the Glacier; meanwhile
we get along somehow.'

During the next two marches, however, the ponies, in spite of rather
bad surfaces, did wonderfully well, and both Jehu and Chinaman
began to be regarded with real admiration, Jehu being re-christened
'The Barrier Wonder' and Chinaman 'The Thunderbolt.' Again Scott
began to take a hopeful view of getting through, unless the surfaces
became infinitely worse.

While on the way to Camp 17 Scott's detachment found E. Evans and
his party in Lat. 80 deg. 32', and heard that they had been waiting
for six days, which they had spent in building a tremendous cairn.
All of them looked very fit, but they were also very hungry--an
informing fact, as it proved conclusively that a ration which was
ample for the needs of men leading ponies, was nothing like enough
for those who were doing hard pulling work. Thus the provision
that Scott had made for summit work received a full justification,
though even with the rations that were
[Page 339]
to be taken he had no doubt that hunger would attack the party.

After some discussion it was decided to take Evans' motor party
on in advance for three days, and then that Day and Hooper should
return.

Good, steady progress was made on the next two marches, and at
Camp 19 they were within 150 geographical miles of the Glacier.
'But it is still rather touch and go. If one or more ponies were
to go rapidly down hill we might be in queer street.'

Then at Camp 20 came the end of the gallant Jehu. 'We did the usual
march very easily over a fairly good surface, the ponies now quite
steady and regular. Since the junction with the Motor Party the
procedure has been for the man-hauling people to go forward just
ahead of the crocks, the other party following two or three hours
later. To-day we closed less than usual, so the crocks must have
been going very well. However, the fiat had already gone forth,
and this morning (November 24) after the march poor old Jehu was
led back on the track and shot. After our doubts as to his reaching
Hut Point, it is wonderful to think that he has actually got eight
marches beyond our last year limit, and could have gone more. However,
towards the end he was pulling very little, and on the whole it is
merciful to have ended his life. Chinaman seems to improve and
will certainly last a good many days yet. I feel we ought to get
through now. Day and Hooper leave us to-night.'

[Page 340]
Referring to Jehu in his diary Cherry-Garrard re-marked how much
Scott felt 'this kind of thing,' and how cut up Atkinson was at
the loss of his pony.

After Day and Hooper had turned back the party was re-arranged and
started together. The man-haulers, Atkinson, E. Evans and Lashly,
went ahead with their gear on the 10-foot sledge, then came Wright
with Chinaman and Keohane with James Pigg, the rest following close
behind them. But although the two crocks had not been given their
usual start, they stuck to their work so gallantly that at the
finish they were less than a quarter of a mile behind.

At Camp 22, in Lat. 81 deg. 35' the Middle Barrier Depot was made,
and as they did not leave until 3 A.M. they were gradually getting
back to day-marching. The next stage, however, of their journey was
struggled through under the greatest difficulties. At the start
the surface was bad, and the man-haulers in front made such heavy
weather of it that they were repeatedly overtaken. This threw the
ponies out and prolonged the march so much that six hours were
spent in reaching the lunch camp. But bad as the first part of
the march had been, the latter part was even worse. The advance
party started on ski, but had the greatest difficulty in keeping
a course; and presently snow began to fall heavily with a rise of
temperature, and the ski became hopelessly clogged. At this time
the surface was terribly hard for pulling, and the man-haulers also
found it impossible to steer. The march of 13 miles was eventually
completed, but under
[Page 341]
the most harassing circumstances and with very tired animals.

'Our forage supply necessitates that we should plug on the 13
(geographical) miles daily under all conditions, so that we can
only hope for better things. It is several days since we had a
glimpse of land, which makes conditions especially gloomy. A tired
animal makes a tired man, I find, and none of us are very bright
now after the day's march.'

No improvement in the weather was in store for them on the following
day (November 28), for snowstorms swept over them, the driving snow
not only preventing them from seeing anything, but also hitting
them stingingly in their faces. Chinaman was shot on this night,
but in struggling on until he was within go miles of the Glacier
he had done more than was ever expected of him; and with only four
bags of forage left the end of all the ponies was very near at
hand.

During the march to Camp 25, Lat. 82 deg. 21', 'the most unexpected
and trying summer blizzard yet experienced in this region' ceased,
and prospects improved in every respect. While they were marching
the land showed up hazily, and at times looked remarkably close to
them. 'Land shows up almost ahead now,' Scott wrote on the 29th,
'and our pony goal is less than 70 miles away. The ponies are tired,
but I believe all have five days' work left in them, and some a
great deal more.... It follows that the dogs can be employed, rested
and fed well on the homeward track. We could really get through now
[Page 342]
with their help and without much delay, yet every consideration makes
it desirable to save the men from heavy hauling as long as possible.
So I devoutly hope the 70 miles will come in the present order of
things.'

Snippets and Nobby by this time walked by themselves, but both of
them kept a continually cunning eye upon their driver, and if he
stopped they at once followed his example. It was, Scott admitted,
a relief no longer to have to lead his animal, for fond of Snippets
as he was, the vagaries of the animal were annoying when on the
march. Thursday, November 30, brought most pleasant weather with it,
but the surface was so bad that all of the ponies, with the exception
of Nobby, began to show obvious signs of failure. A recurrence of
'sinking crusts' (areas which gave way with a report) was encountered,
and the ponies very often sank nearly to their knees.

At Camp 27 Nobby was the only pony who did not show signs of extreme
exhaustion, but forage was beginning to get so scarce that even Nobby
had nearly reached the end of his life. On this night (December
1) Christopher was shot, and by no possibility could he be much
regretted, for he had given nothing but trouble at the outset,
and as soon as his spirits began to fail his strength had also
disappeared. 'He has been a great disappointment,' Cherry-Garrard
wrote, 'even James Pigg has survived him.'

A depot, called the Southern Barrier Depot, was left at Camp 27,
so that no extra weight was added to the loads of the other ponies.
'Three more marches
[Page 343]
ought to carry us through. With the seven crocks and the dog teams
we _must_ get through, I think. The men alone ought not to have
heavy loads on the surface, which is extremely trying.'

On the morning of the 1st Nobby had been tried in snow-shoes, and
for about four miles had traveled splendidly upon them, but then
the shoes racked and had to be taken off; nevertheless, in Scott's
opinion, there was no doubt that snow-shoes were the thing for
ponies, and that if his ponies had been able to use them from the
beginning their condition would have been very different from what
it was.

From Camp 28, Lat. 83 deg., Scott wrote, 'Started under very bad weather
conditions. The stratus spreading over from the S.E. last night meant
mischief, and all day we marched in falling snow with a horrible
light.... The ponies were sinking deep in a wretched surface. I
suggested to Oates that he should have a roving commission to watch
the animals, but he much preferred to lead one, so I handed over
Snippets very willingly and went on ski myself.' This he found
such easy work, that he had time to take several photographs of
the ponies as they plunged through the snow. But in the afternoon
they found a better surface, and Scott, who was leading, had to
travel at a very steady pace to keep the lead.

When this march had finished they had reached the 83rd parallel,
and were 'practically safe to get through.' But with forage becoming
scarcer and scarcer poor Bictor--to the great sorrow of Bowers,
[Page 344]
who was very fond of him--had to be shot. Six ponies remained,
and as the dogs were doing splendidly, the chances of the party
reaching the Glacier were excellent if only they could see their
way to it. Wild in his diary of Shackleton's journey remarked on
December 15 that it was the first day for a month on which he could
not record splendid weather. With Scott's party, however, a fine
day had been the exception rather than the rule, and the journey
had been one almost perpetual fight against bad weather and bad
surfaces.

The tent parties at this date were made up of (1) Scott, Wilson,
Oates and Keohane; (2) Bowers, P.O. Evans, Cherry-Garrard and Crean;
(3) man-haulers, E. R. Evans, Atkinson, Wright and Lashly. 'We
have all taken to horse meat and are so well fed that hunger isn't
thought of.'

At 2.30 A.M. on Sunday, December 3, Scott, intending to get away
at 5, roused all hands, but their bad luck in the way of weather
once more delayed the start. At first there seemed to be just a
chance that they might be able to march, but while they were having
breakfast a full gale blew up from the south; 'the strongest wind I
have known here in summer.' In a very short time the pony wall was
blown down, the sledges were buried, and huge drifts had collected.
In heavy drift everyone turned out to make up the pony walls, but
the flanking wall was blown down three times before the job was
completed. About mid-day the weather improved and soon afterwards
the clouds broke and the land appeared; and when they got away at
[Page 345]
2 P.M., the sun was shining brightly. But this pleasant state of
affairs was only destined to last for one short hour; after that
snow again began to fall, and marching conditions became supremely
horrible. The wind increased from the S.E., changed to S. W., where
for a time it remained, and then suddenly shifted to W.N.W., and
afterwards to N.N.W., from which direction it continued to blow
with falling and drifting snow. But in spite of these rapid and
absolutely bewildering changes of conditions they managed to get
11-1/2 miles south and to Camp 29 at 7 P.M. The man-haulers, however,
camped after six miles, for they found it impossible to steer a
course. 'We (Scott and Bowers) steered with compass, the drifting
snow across our ski, and occasional glimpses of southeasterly sastrugi
under them, till the sun showed dimly for the last hour or so. The
whole weather conditions seem thoroughly disturbed, and if they
continue so when we are on the Glacier, we shall be very awkwardly
placed. It is really time the luck turned in our favor--we have had
all too little of it. Every mile seems to have been hardly won
under such conditions. The ponies did splendidly and the forage is
lasting a little better than expected... we should have no difficulty
whatever as regards transport if only the weather was kind.' On the
following day the weather was still in a bad mood, for no sooner
had they got on their gear for the start than a thick blizzard
from the S.S.E. arrived. Quickly everyone started to build fresh
walls for the ponies, an uninviting task enough in a regular white
flowing blizzard, but one which added
[Page 346]
greatly to the comfort of the animals, who looked sleepy and bored,
but not at all cold. Just as the walls were finished the man-haulers
came into camp, having been assisted in their course by the tracks
that the other parties had made.

Fortunately the wind moderated in the forenoon and by 2 P.M. they
were off and in six hours had placed 13 more miles to their credit.
During this march the land was quite clearly in view, and several
uncharted glaciers of large dimensions were seen. The mountains
were rounded in outline, very massive, with excrescent peaks, one
or two of the peaks on the foothills standing bare and almost
perpendicular. Ahead of them was the ice-rounded, boulder-strewn
Mount Hope and the gateway to the Glacier. 'We should reach it
easily enough on to-morrow's march if we can compass 12 miles....
We have only lost 5 or 6 miles on these two wretched days, but the
disturbed condition of the weather makes me anxious with regard
to the Glacier, where more than anywhere we shall need fine days.
One has a horrid feeling that this is a real bad season. However,
sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. We are practically
through with the first stage of our journey. Looking from the last
Camp (29) towards the S.S.E., where the farthest land can be seen,
it seemed more than probable that a very high latitude could be
reached on the Barrier, and if Amundsen journeying that way has
a stroke of luck, he may well find his summit journey reduced to
100 miles or so. In any case it is a fascinating direction for
next year's work, if only fresh transport arrives.'

[Page 347]
On this day, December 4, the ponies marched splendidly, crossing
the deep snow in the undulations without any difficulty, and had
food been plentiful enough there was no doubt that they could have
gone on for many more miles. As it was 'gallant little Michael'
had to be sacrificed when the march was over. 'He walked away,'
Cherry-Garrard wrote, 'and rolled on the way down, not having done
so when we got in. He died quite instantaneously. He was just like
a naughty child all the way and pulled all out; he has been a good
friend and has a good record, 83 deg. 22' S. He was a bit done to-day,
the blizzard had knocked him.'

By night the weather looked very uninviting, and they woke to find a
raging, howling blizzard. Previously the winds that had so constantly
bothered them had lacked that very fine powdery snow which is usually
an especial feature of a blizzard, but on this occasion they got
enough and to spare of it. Anyone who went into the open for a
minute or two was covered from head to foot, and as the temperature
was high the snow stuck where it fell. The heads, tails and legs
of the ponies were covered with ice, and they had to stand deep in
snow. The sledges were almost covered, and there were huge drifts
about the tent. It was a scene on which no one wanted to look longer
than he could help, and after they had rebuilt the pony walls they
retreated sadly and soppingly into their bags. Even the small
satisfaction of being able to see from one tent to another was
denied them, and Scott, while asking what on earth such weather
could mean at this
[Page 348]
time of year, stated emphatically that no party could possibly travel
against such a wind.

'Is there,' he asked, 'some widespread atmospheric disturbance
which will be felt everywhere in this region as a bad season, or
are we merely the victims of exceptional local conditions? If the
latter, there is food for thought in picturing our small party
struggling against adversity in one place whilst others go smilingly
forward in sunshine. How great may be the element of luck! No
foresight--no procedure--could have prepared us for this state of
affairs. Had we been ten times as experienced or certain of our
aim we should not have expected such rebuffs.'

[Illustration: LOOKING UP THE GATEWAY FROM PONY DEPOT. (Mt. Hope.)
_Photo by R. F. Scott._]

[Illustration: LOOKING SOUTH FROM LOWER GLACIER DEPOT. (Mt. Hope.)
_Photo by R. F. Scott._]

The snowfall on this day (December 5) was quite the greatest that
Scott remembered, the drifts about the tents being colossal. And
to add to their misery and misfortune the temperature remained
so high that the snow melted if it fell on anything except snow,
with the result that tents, wind clothes, night boots, &c., were
all wet through; while water, dripping from the tent poles and
door, lay on the floor, soaked the sleeping-bags, and made the
situation inconceivably miserable. In the midst of this slough,
however, Keohane had the spirit to make up a rhyme, which is worth
quoting mainly, if not solely, because of the conditions under
which it was produced:

  The snow is all melting and everything's afloat,
  If this goes on much longer we shall have to turn the tent
    upside down and use it as a boat.

The next day Scott described as 'miserable,
[Page 349]
utterly miserable. We have camped in the "Slough of Despond."' When
within twelve miles of the Glacier it was indeed the most cruel
fortune to be held up by such a raging tempest. The temperature
at noon had risen to 33 deg., and everything was more soakingly wet
than ever, if that was possible. The ponies, too, looked utterly
desolate, and the snow climbed higher and higher about the walls,
tents and sledges. At night signs of a break came, but hopes of
marching again were dashed on the following morning, when the storm
continued and the situation became most serious; after this day only
one small feed remained for the ponies, so that they had either
to march or to sacrifice all the animals. That, however, was not
the most serious part, for with the help of the dogs they could
without doubt have got on. But what troubled Scott most intensely
was that they had on this morning (December 7) started on their
summit rations, or, in other words, the food calculated to take
them on from the Glacier depot had been begun.

In the meantime the storm showed no signs of abatement, and its
character was as unpleasant as ever. 'I can find no sign of an
end, and all of us agree that it is utterly impossible to move.
Resignation to this misfortune is the only attitude, but not an easy
one to adopt. It seems undeserved where plans were well laid, and so
nearly crowned with a first success.... The margin for bad weather
was ample according to all experience, and this stormy December--our
finest month--is a thing that the most cautious organizer
[Page 350]
might not have been prepared to encounter.... There cannot be good
cheer in the camp in such weather, but it is ready to break out
again. In the brief spell of hope last night one heard laughter.'

Hour after hour passed with little or no improvement, and as every
hour of inactivity was a real menace to the success of their plans,
no one can wonder that they chafed over this most exasperating
delay. Under ordinary circumstances it would have been melancholy
enough to watch the mottled, wet, green walls of their tents and to
hear the everlasting patter of the falling snow and the ceaseless
rattle of the fluttering canvas, but when the prospect of failure
of their cherished plan was added to the acute discomforts of the
situation, it is scarcely possible to imagine how totally miserable
they must have been both in body and mind. Nevertheless in the
midst of these distressing conditions Scott managed to write, 'But
yet, after all, one can go on striving, endeavoring to find a
stimulation in the difficulties that arise.'

Friday morning, however, did not bring any cause for hope. The
snow was still falling heavily, and they found themselves lying
in pools of water that squelched whenever they moved. Under such
circumstances it was a relief to get outside, shift the tents and dig
out the sledges. All of the tents had been reduced to the smallest
space by the gradual pressure of snow, the old sites being deep
pits with hollowed, icy, wet centers. The re-setting of them at
least made things more comfortable, and as the
[Page 351]
wind dropped about mid-day and a few hours later the sky showed
signs of breaking, hope once more revived; but soon afterwards snow
was falling again, and the position was rapidly becoming absolutely
desperate.

To test the surface the man-haulers tried to pull a load during
the afternoon, and although it proved a tough job they managed
to do it by pulling in ski. On foot the men sank to their knees,
and an attempt to see what Nobby could do under such circumstances
was anything but encouraging.

Writing in the evening Scott said, 'Wilson thinks the ponies finished,
but Oates thinks they will get another march in spite of the surface,
_if it comes to-morrow_. If it should not, we must kill the ponies
to-morrow and get on as best we can with the men on ski and the
dogs. But one wonders what the dogs can do on such a surface. I
much fear they also will prove inadequate. Oh! for fine weather,
if only to the Glacier.'

By 11 P.M. the wind had gone to the north, and the sky at last began
really to break. The temperature also helped matters by falling
to +26 deg., and in consequence the water nuisance began to abate;
and at the prospect of action on the following morning cheerful
sounds were once more heard in the camp. 'The poor ponies look
wistfully for the food of which so very little remains, yet they
are not hungry, as recent savings have resulted from food left
in their nose-bags. They look wonderfully fit, all things
[Page 352]
considered. Everything looks more hopeful to-night, but nothing can
recall four lost days.' During the night Scott turned out two or
three times to find the weather slowly improving, and at 8 o'clock
on December 9 they started upon a most terrible march to Camp 31.

The tremendous snowfall had made the surface intolerably soft, and
the half-fed animals sank deeper and deeper. None of them could
be led for more than a few minutes, but if they were allowed to
follow the poor beasts did fairly well. Soon, however, it began to
seem as if no real headway could be made, and so the man-haulers
were pressed into the service to try and improve matters.

Bowers and Cherry-Garrard went ahead with one 10-foot sledge and
made a track--thus most painfully a mile or so was gained. Then
when it seemed as if the limit had been reached P.O. Evans saved
the situation by putting the last pair of snow-shoes upon Snatcher,
who at once began to go on without much pressure, and was followed
by the other ponies.

No halt was made for lunch, but after three or four laborious miles
they found themselves engulfed in pressures which added to the
difficulties of their march. Still, however, they struggled on,
and by 8 P.M. they were within a mile of the slope ascending to
the gap, which Shackleton called the Gateway. This gateway was
a neck or saddle of drifted snow lying in a gap of the mountain
rampart which flanked the last curve of the Glacier, and Scott
had hoped to be through it at a much earlier date, as indeed he
[Page 353]
would have been had not the prolonged storm delayed him.

By this time the ponies, one and all, were quite exhausted. 'They
came on painfully slowly a few hundred yards at a time.... I was
hauling ahead, a ridiculously light load, and yet finding the pulling
heavy enough. We camped, and the ponies have been shot. Poor beasts!
they have done wonderfully well considering the terrible circumstances
under which they worked.'

On December 8 Wilson wrote in his journal, 'I have kept Nobby all
my biscuits to-night as he has to try to do a march to-morrow,
and then happily he will be shot and all of them, as their food
is quite done.' And on the following day he added: 'Nobby had all
my biscuits last night and this morning, and by the time we camped
I was just ravenously hungry.... Thank God the horses are now all
done with and we begin the heavy work ourselves.'

This Camp 31 received the name of Shambles Camp, and although the
ponies had not, owing to the storm, reached the distance Scott had
expected, yet he, and all who had taken part in that distressing
march, were relieved to know that the sufferings of their plucky
animals had at last come to an end.




[Page 354]
CHAPTER VIII

ON THE BEARDMORE GLACIER

  In thrilling region of thick ribbed ice
  To be imprison'd in the viewless winds
  And blown with restless violence round about.
  --SHAKESPEARE.

On the death of the ponies at Camp 31 the party was reorganized,
and for some days advanced in the following order:

  Sledge 1. Scott, Wilson, Oates and P.O. Evans.
  Sledge 2. E. Evans, Atkinson, Wright and Lashly.
  Sledge 3. Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, Crean and Keohane; with
            Meares and Demetri continuing to drive the dogs.

When leaving this Camp Scott was very doubtful whether the loads
could be pulled over such an appalling surface, and that success
attended their efforts was due mainly to the ski. The start was
delayed by the readjustments that had to be made, but when they
got away at noon, and with a 'one, two, three together' Scott's
party began to pull their sledge, they were most agreeably surprised
to find it running fairly easily
[Page 355]
behind them. The first mile was gained in about half an hour, but
then they began to rise, and soon afterwards with the slope becoming
steeper and the surface getting worse they had to take off their
ski. After this the pulling was extraordinarily exhausting, for
they sank above their finnesko, and in some places nearly up to
their knees.

The runners of the sledges became coated with a thin film of ice
from which it was impossible to free them, and the sledges themselves
sank in soft spots to the cross-bars. At 5 P.M. they reached the
top of the slope, and after tea started on the down grade. On this
they had to pull almost as vigorously as on the upward slope, but
they could just manage to get along on ski.

Evans and his party, however, were unable to keep up the pace set
by the leaders, and when they camped at 9.15 Scott heard some news
that thoroughly alarmed him. 'It appears,' he wrote, 'that Atkinson
says that Wright is getting played out, and Lashly is not so fit as
he was owing to the heavy pulling since the blizzard. I have not
felt satisfied about this party. The finish of the march to-day
showed clearly that something was wrong.... True, the surface was
awful and growing worse every moment. It is a very serious business
if the men are going to crack up. As for myself, I never felt fitter
and my party can easily hold its own. P.O. Evans, of course, is
a tower of strength, but Oates and Wilson are doing splendidly
also.'

Round the spot where Camp 32 had been pitched
[Page 356]
the snow was appallingly deep and soft. 'Every step here one sinks
to the knees, and the uneven surface is obviously insufficient to
support the sledges.' A wind, however, had sprung up, and though
under ordinary circumstances it would have been far from welcome,
on this occasion it was a blessing because it hardened the snow;
and a good surface was all the more necessary because, after half
another march, Meares and Demetri were to return with the dogs, and
in consequence 200 lbs. would have to be added to each sledge-load.

Before starting from Camp 32 they built a depot (the Lower Glacier
depot), made it very conspicuous, and left a good deal of gear
there. Then at the very beginning of their march they got into
big pressure, and must have passed over several crevasses. After
four hours, however, they were clear of the pressure, and then
they said good-bye to Meares and Demetri, who took back a note
from Scott to say that 'Things are not so rosy as they might be,
but we keep our spirits up and say the luck must turn. This is
only to tell you that I find I can keep up with the rest as well
as of old.'

The start after lunch was anxious work, for the question whether
they could pull their loads had to be answered. Scott's party went
away first, and, to their joy, found that they could make fairly
good headway. Every now and again the sledge sank in a soft patch
which brought them up, and then they got sideways to the sledge and
hauled it out. 'We learned,' Scott wrote on December 11, at Camp 33,
[Page 357]
'to treat such occasions with patience.... The great thing is to
keep the sledge moving, and for an hour or more there were dozens
of critical moments when it all but stopped, and not a few when
it brought up altogether. The latter were very trying and tiring.
But suddenly the surface grew more uniform and we more accustomed
to the game, for after a long stop to let the other parties come
up, I started at 6 and ran on till 7, pulling easily without a
halt at the rate of about 2 miles an hour. I was very jubilant;
all difficulties seemed to be vanishing; but unfortunately our
history was not repeated with the other parties. Bowers came up
half an hour after us. They also had done well at the last, and
I'm pretty sure they will get on all right. Keohane is the only
weak spot, and he only, I think, because temporarily blind. But
Evans' party didn't get up till 10. They started quite well, but
got into difficulties, did just the wrong thing by straining again
and again, and so, tiring themselves, went from bad to worse. Their
ski shoes, too, are out of trim.'

During the morning of the 12th they steered for the Commonwealth
Range until they reached about the middle of the glacier and then
the course was altered for the 'Cloudmaker,' and afterwards still
further to the west. In consequence they got a much better view of
the southern side of the main glacier than Shackleton's party had
obtained, and a number of peaks not noticed previously were observed.
On the first stage of this march Scott's party was bogged time after
[Page 358]
time, and do what they could their sledge dragged like a huge lump of
lead. Evans' team had been sent off in advance and kept well ahead
until lunch-time. Then, when Scott admits being 'pretty well cooked,'
the secret of their trouble was disclosed in a thin film with some
hard knots of ice on the runners of the sledge; these impediments
having been removed they went ahead without a hitch, and in a mile
or two resumed their leading position. As they advanced it became
more and more evident that, with the whole of the lower valley
filled with snow from the storm, they would have been bogged had
they been without ski. 'On foot one sinks to the knees, and if
pulling on a sledge to half-way between knee and thigh.'

Scott's hope was that they would get better conditions as they rose,
but on the next march the surface became worse instead of better,
the sledges simply plunging into the soft places and stopping dead.
So slow in fact was the progress they made, that on his sledge Scott
decided at lunch to try the 10-foot runners under the cross-bars,
for the sledge was sinking so deeply that the cross-pieces were
on the surface and acting as brakes. Three hours were spent in
securing the runners, and then Scott's party started and promptly
saw what difficulties the other teams were having.

In spite of the most desperate efforts to get along, Bowers and
his men were so constantly bogged that Scott soon passed them.
But the toil was awful, because the snow with the sun shining and
a high temperature
[Page 359]
had become very wet and sticky, and again and again the sledge got
one runner on harder snow than the other, canted on its side, and
refused to move. At the top of the rise Evans' party was reduced
to relay work, and shortly afterwards Bowers was compelled to adopt
the same plan. 'We,' Scott says, 'got our whole load through till 7
P.M., camping time, but only with repeated halts and labour which
was altogether too strenuous. The other parties certainly cannot
get a full load along on the surface, and I much doubt if we could
continue to do so, but we must try again to-morrow. I suppose we
have advanced a bare four miles to-day and the aspect of things
is very little changed. Our height is now about 1,500 feet.'

On the following morning Evans' party got off first from Camp 35,
and after stiff hauling for an hour or so found the work much easier
than on the previous day. Bowers' contingent followed without getting
along so well, and so Scott, whose party were having no difficulty
with their load, exchanged sledges with them, and a satisfactory
morning's march was followed by still better work in the afternoon,
eleven or twelve miles being gained. 'I think the soft snow trouble
is at an end, and I could wish nothing better than a continuance of
the present surface. Towards the end of the march we were pulling
our load with the greatest ease. It is splendid to be getting along
and to find some adequate return for the work we are putting into
the business.'

At Camp 37, on Friday, December 15, they had
[Page 360]
reached a height of about 2,500 feet, after a march on which the
surface steadily improved and the snow covering over the blue ice
became thinner and thinner. During the afternoon they found that
at last they could start their sledges by giving one good heave,
and so, for the first time, they were at liberty to stop when they
liked without the fear of horrible jerks before they could again
set the sledge going. Patches of ice and hard neve were beginning to
show through in places, and had not the day's work been interrupted
by a snowstorm at 5 P.M. their march would have been a really good
one, but, as it was, eleven more miles had to be put to their credit.
The weather looked, however, very threatening as they turned in
for the night, and Scott expressed a fervent hope that they were
not going to be afflicted by snowstorms as they approached the
worst part of the glacier.

As was to be expected after the storm they found the surface difficult
when the march was resumed, but by sticking to their work for over
ten hours--'the limit of time to be squeezed into one day'--they
covered eleven miles, and altered greatly the aspect of the glacier.
Beginning the march as usual on ski, they had to take them off
in the afternoon because they struck such a peculiarly difficult
surface that the sledges were constantly being brought up. Then
on foot they made better progress, though no advance could be made
without the most strenuous labour. The brittle crust would hold
for a pace or two, and then let them down with a bump, while now
and again a leg went down a crack in the hard ice underneath. So
[Page 361]
far, since arriving among the disturbances, which increased rapidly
towards the end of the march, they had not encountered any very
alarming crevasses, though a large quantity of small ones could
be seen.

At the end of the march to Camp 39, Scott was able to write, 'For
once we can say "Sufficient for the day is the good thereof." Our
luck may be on the turn--I think we deserve it. In spite of the
hard work everyone is very fit and very cheerful, feeling well fed
and eager for more toil. Eyes are much better except poor Wilson's;
he has caught a very bad attack. Remembering his trouble on our
last Southern journey, I fear he is in for a very bad time....
I'm inclined to think that the summit trouble will be mostly due
to the chill falling on sunburned skins. Even now one feels the
cold strike directly one stops. We get fearfully thirsty and chip
up ice on the march, as well as drinking a great deal of water on
halting. Our fuel only just does it, but that is all we want, and
we have a bit in hand for the summit.... We have worn our crampons
all day (December 17) and are delighted with them. P.O. Evans, the
inventor of both crampons and ski shoes, is greatly pleased, and
certainly we owe him much.'

On the 19th, although snow fell on and off during the whole day
and crevasses were frequent, a splendid march of 14 miles was
accomplished. The sledges ran fairly well if only the haulers could
keep their feet, but on the rippled ice which they were crossing
it was impossible to get anything like a firm foothold. Still,
however, they stuck most splendidly to their
[Page 362]
task, and on the following day even a better march was made to Camp
41.

Starting on a good surface they soon came to a number of criss-cross
cracks, into two of which Scott fell and badly bruised his knee
and thigh. Then they reached an admirably smooth ice surface over
which they traveled at an excellent pace. A long hour was spent over
the halt for lunch, during which angles, photographs and sketches
were taken, and continuing to make progress in the second part of
the day's march they finished up with a gain of 17 miles. 'It has
not been a strain except perhaps for me with my wounds received
early in the day. The wind has kept us cool on the march, which
has in consequence been very much pleasanter.... Days like this
put heart in one.'

On Wednesday, December 20, however, the good marches of the previous
two days were put entirely into the shade by one of nearly 23 miles,
during which they rose 800 feet. Pulling the sledges in crampons was
not at all difficult on the hard snow and on hard ice with patches
of snow. At night they camped in Lat. 84 deg. 59' 6", and then Scott had
to perform a task that he most cordially disliked. 'I have just
told off the people to return to-morrow night: Atkinson, Wright,
Cherry-Garrard and Keohane. All are disappointed--poor Wright rather
bitterly, I fear. I dreaded this necessity of choosing--nothing
could be more heartrending. I calculated our program to start from
85 deg. 10' with twelve units of food[1] and
[Page 363]
eight men. We ought to be in this position to-morrow night, less
one day's food. After all our harassing trouble one cannot but
be satisfied with such a prospect.'

[Footnote 1: A unit of food means a week's supplies for four men.]

The next stage of the journey, though accomplished without accident,
was too exciting to be altogether pleasant, for crevasses were
frequent and falls not at all uncommon. And at mid-day, while they
were in the worst of places, a fog rolled up and kept them in their
tents for nearly three hours.

During this enforced delay, Scott wrote a letter which was taken
back by the returning party.

'December 21, 1911, Lat. 85 deg. S. We are struggling on, considering
all things, against odds. The weather is a constant anxiety, otherwise
arrangements are working exactly as planned.

'For your ear also I am exceedingly fit and can go with the best
of them.

'It is a pity the luck doesn't come our way, because every detail
of equipment is right... but all will be well if we can get through
to the Pole.

'I write this sitting in our tent waiting for the fog to clear,
an exasperating position as we are in the worst crevassed region.
Teddy Evans and Atkinson were down to the length of their harness
this morning, and we have all been half-way down. As first man I
get first chance, and it's decidedly exciting not knowing which
step will give way. Still all this is interesting enough if one
could only go on.

'Since writing the above I made a dash for it; got out of the valley
out of the fog and away from
[Page 364]
crevasses. So here we are practically on the summit and up to date
in the provision line. We ought to get through.'

After the fog had cleared off they soon got out of the worst crevasses,
and on to a snow slope that led past Mount Darwin. The pull up
the slope was long and stiff, but by holding on until 7.30 P.M.
they got off a good march and found a satisfactory place for their
depot. Fortunately the weather was both calm and bright, and all
the various sorting arrangements that had to be made before the
returning party left them were carried out under most favorable
conditions. 'For me,' Scott says, 'it is an immense relief to have
the indefatigable little Bowers to see to all detail arrangements of
this sort,' and on the following day he added, 'we said an affecting
farewell to the returning party, who have taken things very well,
dear good fellows as they are.'

Then the reorganized parties (Scott, Wilson, Oates and P.O. Evans;
Bowers, E. R. Evans, Crean and Lashly) started off with their heavy
loads, and any fears they had about their ability to pull them
were soon removed.

'It was a sad job saying good-bye,' Cherry-Garrard wrote in his
diary, 'and I know some eyes were a bit dim. It was thick and snowing
when we started after making the depot, and the last we saw of them
as we swung the sledge north, was a black dot just disappearing
over the next ridge, and a big white pressure wave ahead of them.'

[Page 365]
Then the returning party set off on their homeward march, and arrived
at Cape Evans on January 28, 1912, after being away for three months.

Repairs to the sledgemeter delayed the advancing party for some
time during their first march under the new conditions, but they
managed to cover twelve miles, and, with the loads becoming lighter
every day, Scott hoped to march longer hours and to make the requisite
progress. Steering, however, south-west on the next morning they
soon found themselves among such bad crevasses and pressure, that
they were compelled to haul out to the north, and then to the west.
One comfort was that all the time they were rising. 'It is rather
trying having to march so far to the west, but if we keep rising
we must come to the end of the disturbance some time.' During the
second part of this march great changes of fortune awaited them. At
first they started west up a slope, and on the top another pressure
appeared on the left, but less lofty and more snow-covered than
that which had troubled them in the morning. There was temptation
to try this, but Scott resisted it and turned west up yet another
slope, on the top of which they reached a most extraordinary surface.
Narrow crevasses, that were quite invisible, ran in all directions.
All of these crevasses were covered with a thin crust of hardened
neve which had not a sign of a crack in it. One after another,
and sometimes two at a time, they all fell in; and though they
were getting fairly accustomed to unexpected falls through being
unable to mark the run of
[Page 366]
the surface appearances of cracks, or where such cracks were covered
with soft snow, they had never expected to find a hardened crust
formed over a crack, and such a surface was as puzzling as it was
dangerous and troublesome.

For about ten minutes or so, while they were near these narrow
crevasses, they came on to snow which had a hard crust and loose
crystals below it, and each step was like breaking through a
glass-house. And then, quite suddenly, the hard surface gave place
to regular sastrugi, and their horizon leveled in every direction.
At 6 P.M., when they reached Camp 45 (height about 7,750 feet), 17
miles stood to their credit and Scott was feeling 'very cheerful
about everything.' 'My determination,' he said, 'to keep mounting
irrespective of course is fully justified, and I shall be indeed
surprised if we have any further difficulties with crevasses or
steep slopes. To me for the first time our goal seems really in
sight.'

On the following day (Christmas Eve) they did not find a single
crevasse, but high pressure ridges were still to be seen, and Scott
confessed that he should be glad to lose sight of such disturbances.
Christmas Day, however, brought more trouble from crevasses--'very
hard, smooth neve between high ridges at the edge of crevasses, and
therefore very difficult to get foothold to pull the sledges.' To
remedy matters they got out their ski sticks, but this did not prevent
several of them from going half-down; while Lashly, disappearing
completely, had to be pulled out by
[Page 367]
means of the Alpine rope. 'Lashly says the crevasse was 50 feet deep
and 8 feet across, in form U, showing that the word "unfathomable"
can rarely be applied. Lashly is 44 to-day and as hard as nails.
His fall has not even disturbed his equanimity.'

When, however, they had reached the top of the crevasse ridge a
better surface was found, and their Christmas lunch--at which they
had such luxuries as chocolate and raisins--was all the more enjoyable
because 8 miles or so had already been gained.

In the middle of the afternoon they got a fine view of the land,
but more trouble was caused by crevasses, until towards the end
of their march they got free of them and on to a slight decline
down which they progressed at a swinging pace. Then they camped
and prepared for their great Christmas meal. 'I must,' Scott says,
'write a word of our supper last night. We had four courses. The
first, pemmican, full whack, with slices of horse meat flavored
with onion and curry powder, and thickened with biscuit; then an
arrowroot, cocoa and biscuit hoosh sweetened; then a plum-pudding;
then cocoa with raisins, and finally a dessert of caramels and ginger.
After the feast it was difficult to move. Wilson and I couldn't
finish our share of plum-pudding. We have all slept splendidly and
feel thoroughly warm--such is the effect of full feeding.'

The advance, possibly owing to the 'tightener' on Christmas night,
was a little slow on the following morning, but nevertheless 15
miles were covered
[Page 368]
in the day and the 86th parallel was reached. Crevasses still appeared,
and though they avoided them on this march, they were not so lucky
during the next stage to Camp 49.

In fact Wednesday, December 27, was unfortunate owing to several
reasons. To begin with, Bowers broke the only hypsometer thermometer,
and so they were left with nothing to check their two aneroids.
Then during the first part of the march they got among sastrugi
which jerked the sledges about, and so tired out the second team
that they had great difficulty in keeping up. And, finally, they
found more crevasses and disturbances during the afternoon. For an
hour the work was as painful as it could be, because they tumbled
into the crevasses and got the most painful jerks. 'Steering the
party,' Scott wrote at Camp 49, 'is no light task. One cannot allow
one's thoughts to wander as others do, and when, as this afternoon,
one gets amongst disturbances, I find it very worrying and tiring.
I do trust we shall have no more of them. We have not lost sight of
the sun since we came on the summit; we should get an extraordinary
record of sunshine. It is monotonous work this; the sledgemeter
and theodolite govern the situation.'

During the next morning the second sledge made such 'heavy weather'
that Scott changed places with E. R. Evans. That, however, did not
improve matters much, for Scott soon found that the second team had
[Page 369]
not the same swing as his own team, so he changed Lashly for P.O.
Evans, and then they seemed to get on better. At lunch-time they
discussed the difficulties that the second party was having, and
several reasons for them were put forward. One was that the team
was stale, another that all the trouble was due to bad stepping
and want of swing, and yet another was that the first's party's
sledge pulled much more easily than the second party's.

On the chance that this last suggestion was correct, Scott and
his original team took the second party's sledge in the afternoon,
and soon found that it was a terrible drag to get it along in soft
snow, whereas the second party found no difficulty in pulling the
sledge that had been given to them. 'So the sledge is the cause of
the trouble, and taking it out, I found that all is due to want
of care. The runners ran excellently, but the structure has been
distorted by bad strapping, bad loading, &c. The party are not
done, and I have told them plainly that they must wrestle with the
trouble and get it right for themselves.'

Friday evening found them at Camp 51, and at a height of about
9,000 feet, But they had encountered a very bad surface, on which
the strain of pulling was terrific. The hardest work occurred on
two rises, because the loose snow had been blown over the rises
and had rested on the north-facing slopes, and these heaps were
responsible for the worst of their troubles. However, there was
one satisfactory result of the
[Page 370]
march, for now that the second party had seen to the loading of
their sledge they had ceased to lag.

But the next stage was so exhausting that Scott's fears for the
conditions of the second party again arose. Writing from Camp 52,
on December 30, he says: 'To-morrow I'm going to march half a day,
make a depot and build the 10-foot sledges. The second party is
certainly tiring; it remains to be seen how they will manage with
the smaller sledge and lighter load. The surface is certainly much
worse than it was 50 miles back. (T. -10 deg..) We have caught up
Shackleton's dates. Everything would be cheerful if I could persuade
myself that the second party were quite fit to go forward.'

Camp was pitched after the morning's march on December 31, and
the process of building up the 10-foot sledges was at once begun
by P.O. Evans and Crean. 'It is a very remarkable piece of work.
Certainly P.O. Evans is the most invaluable asset to our party.
To build a sledge under these conditions is a fact for special
record.'

[Illustration: MAN HAULING CAMP, 87TH PARALLEL. _Photo by Lieut.
H. R. Bowers._]

Half a day was lost while the sledges were made, but this they
hoped to make up for by advancing at much greater speed. A depot,
called 'Three Degree Depot,' consisting of a week's provision for
both units, was made at this camp, and on New Year's morning, with
lighter loads, Evans' party led the advance on foot, while Scott's
team followed on ski. With a stick of chocolate to celebrate the New
Year, and with only 170 miles between them and the Pole, prospects
[Page 371]
seemed to be getting brighter on New Year's night, and on the next
evening at Camp 55 Scott decided that E. R. Evans, Lashly and Crean
should go back after one more march.

Writing from Camp 56 he says, 'They are disappointed, but take
it well. Bowers is to come into our tent, and we proceed as a
five-man unit to-morrow. We have 5-1/2 units of food--practically
over a month's allowance for five people--it ought to see us
through....  Very anxious to see how we shall manage tomorrow;
if we can march well with the full load we shall be practically
safe, I take it.'

By the returning party Scott sent back a letter, dated January
3, in which he wrote, 'Lat. 87 deg. 32".' A last note from a hopeful
position. I think it's going to be all right. We have a fine party
going forward and arrangements are all going well.'

On the next morning the returning men followed a little way until
Scott was certain that his team could get along, and then farewells
were said. In referring to this parting with E. Evans, Crean and
Lashly, Scott wrote, 'I was glad to find their sledge is a mere
nothing to them, and thus, no doubt, they will make a quick journey
back,' and under average conditions they should easily have fulfilled
anticipations. But a blizzard held them up for three days before
they reached the head of the glacier, and by the time they reached
the foot of it E. Evans had developed symptoms of scurvy. At One
Ton Camp he was unable to stand without the support of his ski sticks,
[Page 372]
and although, with the help of his companions, he struggled on for
53 more miles in four days, he could go no farther. Rejecting his
suggestion that he should be left alone while they pressed on for
help, Crean and Lashly pulled him on the sledge with a devotion
matching that of their captain years before, when he and Wilson had
brought Shackleton, ill and helpless, safely to the _Discovery_.

After four days of this pulling they reached Corner Camp, and then
there was such a heavy snowfall that the sledge could not travel.
In this crisis Crean set out to tramp alone to Hut Point, 34 miles
away, while Lashly stayed to nurse E. Evans, and most certainly was
the means of keeping him alive until help came. After a remarkable
march of 18 hours Crean reached Hut Point, and as soon as possible
Atkinson and Demetri started off with both dog teams to relieve
Evans and Lashly. Some delay was caused by persistent bad weather,
but on February 22 Evans was got back to the _Discovery_ hut, where
he was unremittingly tended by Atkinson; and subsequently he was
sent by sledge to the _Terra Nova_. So ended the tale of the last
supporting party, though, as a sequel, it is good to record that
in reward for their gallant conduct both Lashly and Crean received
the Albert Medal.




[Page 373]
CHAPTER IX

THE SOUTH POLE

  The Silence was deep with a breath like sleep
    As our sledge runners slid on the snow,
  And the fate-full fall of our fur-clad feet
    Struck mute like a silent blow
  On a questioning 'Hush?' as the settling crust
    Shrank shivering over the floe.
  And the sledge in its track sent a whisper back
    Which was lost in a white fog-bow.

  And this was the thought that the Silence wrought,
    As it scorched and froze us through,
  For the secrets hidden are all forbidden
    Till God means man to know.
  We might be the men God meant should know
    The heart of the Barrier snow,
  In the heat of the sun, and the glow,
    And the glare from the glistening floe,
  As it scorched and froze us through and through
    With the bite of the drifting snow.

(These verses, called 'The Barrier Silence,' were written by Wilson
for the _South Polar Times_. Characteristically, he sent them in
typewritten, lest the editor should recognize his hand and judge
them on personal rather than literary grounds. Many of their readers
confess that they felt in these lines Wilson's own premonition of
the event. The version given is the final form, as it appeared
in the _South Polar Times_.)

The ages of the five men when they continued the journey to the
Pole were: Scott 43, Wilson 39, P.O. Evans 37, Oates 32, Bowers
28.

[Page 374]
After the departure of the last supporting party Scott was naturally
anxious to get off a good day's march, and he was not disappointed.
At first the sledge on which, thanks to P.O. Evans, everything was
most neatly stowed away, went easily. But during the afternoon
they had to do some heavy pulling on a surface covered with loose
sandy snow. Nevertheless they covered some 15 miles before they
camped, and so smoothly did everything seem to be going that Scott
began to wonder what was in store for them. 'One can scarcely believe
that obstacles will not present themselves to make our task more
difficult. Perhaps the surface will be the element to trouble us.'

And on the following day his supposition began to prove correct, for
a light wind from the N.N.W. brought detached cloud and a constant
fall of ice crystals, and in consequence the surface was as bad as
it could be. The sastrugi seemed to increase as they advanced,
and late in the afternoon they encountered a very rough surface
with evidences of hard southerly wind. Luckily the sledge showed no
signs of capsizing, but the strain of trying to keep up a rate of
a little over a mile and a quarter an hour was very great. However,
they were cheered by the thought, when they reached Camp 58 (height
10,320 feet), that they were very close to the 88th parallel, and
a little more than 120 miles from the Pole.

Another dreadful surface was their fate during the next march on
Saturday, January 6. The sastrugi increased in height as they advanced,
and presently
[Page 375]
they found themselves in the midst of a sea of fishhook waves,
well remembered from their Northern experience. And, to add to
their trouble, each sastrugus was covered with a beard of sharp
branching crystals. They took off their ski and pulled on foot,
but both morning and afternoon the work of getting the sledge along
was tremendous. Writing at Camp 59, Latitude 88 deg. 7', Scott said, 'We
think of leaving our ski here, mainly because of risk of breakage.
Over the sastrugi it is all up and down hill, and the covering of
ice crystals prevents the sledge from gliding even on the downgrade.
The sastrugi, I fear, have come to stay, and we must be prepared
for heavy marching, but in two days I hope to lighten loads with
a depot. We are south of Shackleton's last camp, so, I suppose,
have made the most southerly camp.'

During the next day, January 7, they had good cause to think that
the vicissitudes of their work were bewildering. On account of the
sastrugi the ski were left at Camp 59, but they had only marched
a mile from it when the sastrugi disappeared. 'I kept debating
the ski question and at this point stopped, and after discussion
we went back and fetched the ski; it cost us 1-1/2 hours nearly.
Marching again, I found to my horror we could scarcely move the
sledge on ski; the first hour was awful owing to the wretched coating
of loose sandy snow.' Consequently this march was the shortest
they had made on the summit, and there was no doubt that if things
remained for long they were, it would be impossible to keep up the
[Page 376]
strain of such strenuous pulling. Luckily, however, loads were to
be lightened on the following day by a weight of about 100 lbs.,
and there was also hope of a better surface if only the crystal
deposit would either harden up or disappear. Their food, too, was
proving ample. 'What luck to have hit on such an excellent ration.
We really are an excellently found party.' Indeed, apart from the
strain of pulling, Scott's only anxiety on Sunday, January 7, was
that Evans had a nasty cut on his hand.

They woke the next morning to find their first summit blizzard;
but Scott was not in the least perturbed by this delay, because
he thought that the rest would give Evans' hand a better chance
of recovery, and he also felt that a day in their comfortable bags
within their double-walled tent would do none of them any harm. But,
both on account of lost time and food and the slow accumulation
of ice, he did not want more than one day's delay.

'It is quite impossible,' he wrote during this time of waiting,
'to speak too highly of my companions. Each fulfils his office to
the party; Wilson, first as doctor, ever on the lookout to alleviate
the small pains and troubles incidental to the work; now as cook,
quick, careful and dexterous, ever thinking of some fresh expedient
to help the camp life; tough as steel on the traces, never wavering
from start to finish.

'Evans, a giant worker with a really remarkable head-piece. It
is only now I realize how much has been due to him. Our ski shoes
and crampons have been
[Page 377]
absolutely indispensable, and if the original ideas were not his,
the details of manufacture and design and the good workmanship
are his alone. He is responsible for every sledge, every sledge
fitting, tents, sleeping-bags, harness, and when one cannot recall
a single expression of dissatisfaction with anyone of these items,
it shows what an invaluable assistant he has been. Now, besides
superintending the putting up of the tent, he thinks out and arranges
the packing of the sledge; it is extraordinary how neatly and handily
everything is stowed, and how much study has been given to preserving
the suppleness and good running qualities of the machine. On the
Barrier, before the ponies were killed, he was ever roaming round,
correcting faults of stowage.

'Little Bowers remains a marvel--he is thoroughly enjoying himself.
I leave all the provision arrangement in his hands, and at all
times he knows exactly how we stand, or how each returning party
should fare. It has been a complicated business to redistribute
stores at various stages of reorganization, but not one single
mistake has been made. In addition to the stores, he keeps the
most thorough and conscientious meteorological record, and to this
he now adds the duty of observer and photographer. Nothing comes
amiss to him, and no work is too hard. It is a difficulty to get
him into the tent; he seems quite oblivious of the cold, and he
lies coiled in his bag writing and working out sights long after
the others are asleep.

'Of these three it is a matter for thought and
[Page 378]
congratulation that each is specially suited for his own work,
but would not be capable of doing that of the others as well as
it is done. Each is invaluable. Oates had his invaluable period
with the ponies; now he is a foot slogger and goes hard the whole
time, does his share of camp work, and stands the hardships as
well as any of us. I would not like to be without him either. So
our five people are perhaps as happily selected as it is possible
to imagine.'

Not until after lunch on the 9th were they able to break camp,
the light being extremely bad when they marched, but the surface
good. So that they might keep up the average length of their daily
marches Scott wanted to leave a depot, but as the blizzard tended
to drift up their tracks, he was not altogether confident that to
leave stores on such a great plain was a wise proceeding. However,
after a terribly hard march on the following morning, they decided
to leave a depot at the lunch camp, and there they built a cairn
and left one week's food with as many articles of clothing as they
could possibly spare.

Then they went forward with eighteen days' food on a surface that
was 'beyond words,' for it was covered with sandy snow, and, when
the sun shone, even to move the sledge forward at the slowest pace
was distressingly difficult. On that night from Camp 62, Scott
wrote, 'Only 85 miles (geog.) from the Pole, but it's going to be
a stiff pull _both ways_ apparently; still we do make progress,
which is something.... It is very difficult to imagine what is
[Page 379]
happening to the weather.... The clouds don't seem to come from
anywhere, form and disperse without visible reason.... The
meteorological conditions seem to point to an area of variable light
winds, and that plot will thicken as we advance.'

From the very beginning of the march on January 11 the pulling
was heavy, but when the sun came out the surface became as bad
as bad could be. All the time the sledge rasped and creaked, and
the work of moving it onward was agonizing. At lunch-time they
had managed to cover six miles but at fearful cost to themselves,
and although when they camped for the night they were only about
74 miles from the Pole, Scott asked himself whether they could
possibly keep up such a strain for seven more days. 'It takes it out
of us like anything. None of us ever had such hard work before....
Our chance still holds good if we can put the work in, but it's a
terribly trying time.'

For a few minutes during the next afternoon they experienced the
almost forgotten delight of having the sledge following easily. The
experience was very short but it was also very sweet, for Scott had
begun to fear that their powers of pulling were rapidly weakening,
and those few minutes showed him that they only wanted a good surface
to get on as merrily as of old. At night they were within 63 miles
of the Pole, and just longing for a better surface to help them
on their way.

But whatever the condition of the surface, Bowers continued to do
his work with characteristic
[Page 380]
thoroughness and imperturbability; and after this appalling march
he insisted, in spite of Scott's protest, on taking sights after
they had camped--an all the more remarkable display of energy as
he, being the only one of the party who pulled on foot, had spent an
even more strenuous day than the others, who had been 'comparatively
restful on ski.'

Again, on the next march, they had to pull with all their might
to cover some 11 miles. 'It is wearisome work this tugging and
straining to advance a light sledge. Still, we get along. I did
manage to get my thoughts off the work for a time to-day, which is
very restful. We should be in a poor way without our ski, though
Bowers manages to struggle through the soft snow without tiring his
short legs.' Sunday night, January 14, found them at Camp 66 and
less than 40 miles from the Pole. Steering was the great difficulty
on this march, because a light southerly wind with very low drift
often prevented Scott from seeing anything, and Bowers, in Scott's
shadow, gave directions. By this time the feet of the whole party
were beginning, mainly owing to the bad condition of their finnesko,
to suffer from the cold. 'Oates seems to be feeling the cold and
fatigue more than the rest of us, but we are all very fit. It is
a critical time, but we ought to pull through.... Oh! for a few
fine days! So close it seems and only the weather to balk us.'

Another terrible surface awaited them on the morrow, and they were
all 'pretty well done' when
[Page 381]
they camped for lunch. There they decided to leave their last depot,
but although their reduced load was now very light, Scott feared
that the friction would not be greatly reduced. A pleasant surprise,
however, was in store for him, as after lunch the sledge ran very
lightly, and a capital march was made. 'It is wonderful,' he wrote
on that night (January 15), 'to think that two long marches would
land us at the Pole. We left our depot to-day with nine days'
provisions, so that it ought to be a certain thing now, and the only
appalling possibility the sight of the Norwegian flag forestalling
ours. Little Bowers continues his indefatigable efforts to get
good sights, and it is wonderful how he works them up in his
sleeping-bag in our congested tent. Only 27 miles from the Pole.
We _ought_ to do it now.'

The next morning's march took them 7-1/2 miles nearer and their
noon sight showed them in Lat. 89 deg. 42' S.; and feeling that the
following day would see them at the Pole they started off after
lunch in the best of spirits. Then, after advancing for an hour
or so, Bowers' sharp eyes detected what he thought was a cairn,
but although he was uneasy about it he argued that it must be a
sastrugus.

'Half an hour later he detected a black speck ahead. Soon we knew
that this could not be a natural snow feature. We marched on, found
that it was a black flag tied to a sledge bearer; near by the remains
of a camp; sledge tracks and ski tracks going and coming and the
clear trace of dogs' paws--many dogs.
[Page 382]
This told us the whole story. The Norwegians have forestalled us
and are first at the Pole. It is a terrible disappointment, and
I am very sorry for my loyal companions. Many thoughts come and
much discussion have we had. To-morrow we must march on to the
Pole and then hasten home with all the speed we can compass. All
the day-dreams must go; it will be a wearisome return. Certainly
also the Norwegians found an easy way up.'

Very little sleep came to any of the party after the shock of this
discovery, and when they started at 7.30 on the next morning (January
17) head winds with a temperature of -22 deg. added to their depression
of spirit. For some way they followed the Norwegian tracks, and
in about three miles they passed two cairns. Then, as the tracks
became increasingly drifted up and were obviously leading them
too far to the west, they decided to make straight for the Pole
according to their calculations. During the march they covered
about 14 miles, and at night Scott wrote in his journal, 'The Pole.
Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected.'

That announcement tells its own story, and it would be impertinent
to guess at the feelings of those intrepid travelers when they
found themselves forestalled. Nevertheless they had achieved the
purpose they had set themselves, and the fact that they could not
claim the reward of priority makes not one jot of difference in
estimating the honours that belong to them.

[Illustration: THE PARTY AT THE SOUTH POLE. (Capt. Oates; Capt.
Scott; P.O. Evans; Lieut. Bowers; Dr. Wilson.) _Photo by Lieut.
H. R. Bowers._]

[Page 383]
'Well,' Scott continued, 'it is something to have got here, and
the wind may be our friend to-morrow.... Now for the run home and
a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.'

On the following morning after summing up all their observations,
they came to the conclusion that they were one mile beyond the
Pole and three miles to the right of it, in which direction, more
or less, Bowers could see a tent or cairn. A march of two miles
from their camp took them to the tent, in which they found a record
of five Norwegians having been there:

  'Roald Amundsen
   Olav Olavson Bjaaland
   Hilmer Hanssen
   Sverre H. Hassel
   Oscar Wisting.
                      --16 _Dec_. 1911.

'The tent is fine--a small compact affair supported by a single
bamboo. A note from Amundsen, which I keep, asks me to forward
a letter to King Haakon!'

In the tent a medley of articles had been left: three half bags
of reindeer containing a miscellaneous assortment of mitts and
sleeping-socks, very various in description, a sextant, a Norwegian
artificial horizon and a hypsometer without boiling-point thermometers,
a sextant and hypsometer of English make. 'Left a note to say I
had visited the tent with companions. Bowers photographing and
Wilson sketching. Since lunch we have marched 6.2 miles S.S.E.
by compass (i.e. northwards). Sights at lunch gave us 1/2 to 3/4
[Page 384]
of a mile from the Pole, so we call it the Pole Camp. (Temp. Lunch
-21 deg..) We built a cairn, put up our poor slighted Union Jack, and
photographed ourselves--mighty cold work all of it--less than 1/2
a mile south we saw stuck up an old underrunner of a sledge. This
we commandeered as a yard for a floorcloth sail. I imagine it was
intended to mark the exact spot of the Pole as near as the Norwegians
could fix it. (Height 9,500.) A note attached talked of the tent
as being 2 miles from the Pole. Wilson keeps the note. There is
no doubt that our predecessors have made thoroughly sure of their
mark and fully carried out their program. I think the Pole is about
9,500 feet in height; this is remarkable, considering that in Lat.
88 deg. we were about 10,500.

'We carried the Union Jack about 3/4 of a mile north with us and
left it on a piece of stick as near as we could fix it. I fancy
the Norwegians arrived at the Pole on the 15th Dec. and left on
the 17th, ahead of a date quoted by me in London as ideal, viz.
Dec. 22.... Well, we have turned our back now on the goal of our
ambition and must face our 800 miles of solid dragging--and good-bye
to most of the day-dreams!'




[Page 385]
CHAPTER X

ON THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY

  It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll;
  I am the master of my fate,
    I am the Captain of my soul.--HENLEY.

During the afternoon of Thursday, January 18, they left the Pole 7
miles behind them, and early in the march on the following morning
picked up their outward tracks and a Norwegian cairn. These tracks
they followed until they came to the black flag that had been the
first means of telling them of the Norwegians' success. 'We have
picked this flag up, using the staff for our sail, and are now
camped about 1-1/2 miles further back on our tracks. So that is
the last of the Norwegians for the present.'

In spite of a surface that was absolutely spoilt by crystals they
marched 18-1/2 miles on the Friday, and also easily found the cairns
that they had built; but until they reached Three Degree Depot
which was still 150 miles away, anxiety, Scott said, could not be
laid to rest.

On the next day they reached their Southern
[Page 386]
Depot and picked up four days' food. With the wind behind them and
with full sail they went along at a splendid rate in the afternoon,
until they were pulled up by a surface on which drifting snow was
lying in heaps; and then, with the snow clinging to the ski, pulling
became terribly distressing. 'I shall be very glad when Bowers gets
his ski,' Scott wrote at R. 3,[1] 'I'm afraid he must find these
long marches very trying with short legs, but he is an undefeated
little sportsman. I think Oates is feeling the cold and fatigue more
than most of us. It is blowing pretty hard to-night, but with a
good march we have earned one good hoosh and are very comfortable
in the tent. It is everything now to keep up a good marching pace;
I trust we shall be able to do so and catch the ship. Total march,
18-1/2 miles.'

[Footnote 1: A number preceded by R. marks the camps on the return
journey.]

A stiff blizzard with thick snow awaited them on the Sunday morning,
but the weather cleared after mid-day, and they struggled on for
a few very weary hours. At night they had 6 days' food in hand
and 45 miles between them and their next depot, where they had
left 7 days' food to take them on the go miles to the Three Degree
Depot. 'Once there we ought to be safe, but we ought to have a day
or two in hand on arrival and may have difficulty with following
the tracks. However, if we can get a rating sight for our watches
to-morrow we should be independent of the tracks at a pinch.'

January 22 brought an added worry in the fact
[Page 387]
that the ski boots were beginning to show signs of wear, but this
was nothing compared with the anxiety Scott began to feel about
Evans on the following day. 'There is no doubt that Evans is a
good deal run down--his fingers are badly blistered and his nose
is rather seriously congested with frequent frost-bites. He is
very much annoyed with himself, which is not a good sign. I think
Wilson, Bowers and I are as fit as possible under the circumstances.
Oates gets cold feet.... We are only about 13 miles from our "Degree
and half" Depot and should get there tomorrow. The weather seems
to be breaking up. Pray God we have something of a track to follow
to the Three Degree Depot--once we pick that up we ought to be
right.'

Another blizzard attacked them at mid-day on the morrow, and so,
though only seven miles from their depot, they were obliged to
camp, for it was impossible to see the tracks. With the prospect
of bad weather and scant food on the tremendous summit journey
in front of them, and with Oates and Evans suffering badly from
frost-bites, Scott had to admit that the situation was going from
bad to worse. But on the next afternoon, they managed to reach the
Half Degree Depot, and left with 9-1/2 days' provision to carry
them the next 89 miles.

During Friday, January 26, they found their old tracks completely
wiped out, but knowing that there were two cairns at four-mile
intervals they were not anxious until they picked up the first
far on their right, and afterwards Bowers caught a glimpse of the
second which was far on their
[Page 388]
left. 'There is not a sign of our tracks between these cairns,
but the last, marking our night camp of the 6th, No. 59, is in
the belt of hard sastrugi, and I was comforted to see signs of the
track reappearing as we camped. I hope to goodness we can follow
it to-morrow.'

Throughout the early part of the next day's march, however, these
hopes were not realized. Scott and Wilson pulling in front on ski,
the others being on foot, found it very difficult to follow the
track, which constantly disappeared altogether and at the best
could only just be seen.

On the outward journey, owing to the heavy mounds, they had been
compelled to take a very zigzag course, and in consequence the
difficulty of finding signs of it was greatly increased. But by
hook or crook they succeeded in sticking to the old track, and
during the last part of the march they discovered, to their joy
and relief, that it was much easier to follow. Through this march
they were helped on their way by a southerly breeze, and as the
air was at last dry again their tents and equipment began to lose
the icy state caused by the recent blizzards. On the other hand,
they were beginning to feel that more food, especially at lunch,
was becoming more and more necessary, and their sleeping-bags,
although they managed to sleep well enough in them, were slowly
but steadily getting wetter.

On Sunday night, at R. 11, they were only 43 miles
[Page 389]
from their depot with six days food in hand, after doing a good
march of 16 miles. 'If this goes on and the weather holds we shall
get our depot without trouble. I shall indeed be glad to get it
on the sledge. We are getting more hungry, there is no doubt. The
lunch meal is beginning to seem inadequate. We are pretty thin,
especially Evans, but none of us are feeling worked out. I doubt
if we could drag heavy loads, but we can keep going with our light
one. We talk of food a good deal more, and shall be glad to open
out on it.

With the wind helping greatly and with no difficulty in finding
the tracks, two splendid marches followed; but on the Tuesday their
position had its serious as well as its bright side, for Wilson
strained a tendon in his leg. 'It has,' Scott wrote, 'given pain
all day and is swollen to-night. Of course, he is full of pluck
over it, but I don't like the idea of such an accident here. To add
to the trouble Evans has dislodged two finger-nails to-night; his
hands are really bad, and to my surprise he shows signs of losing
heart over it. He hasn't been cheerful since the accident.... We
can get along with bad fingers, but it [will be] a mighty serious
thing if Wilson's leg doesn't improve.'

Before lunch on Wednesday, January 31, they picked up the Three
Degree Depot, and were able slightly to increase their rations,
though not until they reached the pony food depot could they look
for a 'real feed.' After lunch (January 31) the surface, owing
to sandy crystals, was very bad, and with Wilson
[Page 390]
walking by the sledge to rest his leg as much as possible, pulling
was even more toilsome work than usual. During the afternoon they
picked up Bowers' ski, which he had left on December 31. 'The last
thing we have to find on the summit, thank Heaven! Now we have
only to go north and so shall welcome strong winds.'

Pulling on throughout the next day they reached a lunch cairn,
which had been made when they were only a week out from the Upper
Glacier Depot. With eight days' food in hand Scott hoped that they
would easily reach it, for their increased food allowance was having
a good effect upon all of them, and Wilson's leg was better. On
the other hand, Evans was still a cause for considerable anxiety.

All went very well during their march to R. 16 on February 2 until
Scott, trying to keep the track and his feet at the same time on
a very slippery surface, came 'an awful purler' on his shoulder.
'It is horribly sore to-night and another sick person added to our
tent--three out of five injured, and the most troublesome surfaces to
come. We shall be lucky if we get through without serious injury....
The extra food is certainly helping us, but we are getting pretty
hungry.... It is time we were off the summit--Pray God another four
days will see us pretty well clear of it. Our bags are getting
very wet and we ought to have more sleep.'

On leaving their sixteenth camp they were within 80 miles or so of
the Upper Glacier Depot under Mount Darwin, and after exasperating
delays in searching for
[Page 391]
tracks and cairns, they resolved to waste no more time, but to
push due north just as fast as they could. Evans' fingers were
still very bad, and there was little hope that he would be able
for some time to help properly with the work, and on the following
day an accident that entailed the most serious consequences happened.

'Just before lunch,' Scott wrote at R. 18, 'unexpectedly fell into
crevasses, Evans and I together--a second fall for Evans,[1] and I
camped. After lunch saw disturbance ahead.... We went on ski over
hard shiny descending surface. Did very well, especially towards
end of march, covering in all 18.1.... The party is not improving
in condition, especially Evans, who is becoming rather dull and
incapable. Thank the Lord we have good food at each meal, but we
get hungrier in spite of it. Bowers is splendid, full of energy
and bustle all the time.'

[Footnote 1: Wilson afterwards expressed an opinion that Evans injured
his brain by one of these falls.]

On Monday morning a capital advance of over 10 miles was made,
but in the afternoon difficulties again arose to harass them. Huge
pressures and great street crevasses partly open barred their way,
and so they had to steer more and more to the west on a very erratic
course. Camping-time found them still in a very disturbed region,
and although they were within 25 to 30 miles of their depot there
seemed to be no way through the disturbances that continued to
block their path. On turning out to continue their march they went
straight for Mount Darwin, but almost at once
[Page 392]
found themselves among huge open chasms. To avoid these they turned
northwards between two of them, with the result that they got into
chaotic disturbance. Consequently they were compelled to retrace
their steps for a mile or so, and then striking to the west they
got among a confused sea of sastrugi, in the midst of which they
camped for lunch. A little better fortune attended them in the
afternoon, and at their twentieth camp Scott estimated that they
were anything from 10 to 15 miles off the Upper Glacier Depot. 'Food
is low and weather uncertain,' he wrote, 'so that many hours of the
day were anxious; but this evening (February 6), though we are not
so far advanced as I expected, the outlook is much more promising.
Evans is the chief anxiety now; his cuts and wounds suppurate, his
nose looks very bad, and altogether he shows considerable signs
of being played out. Things may mend for him on the Glacier, and
his wounds get some respite under warmer conditions. I am indeed
glad to think we shall so soon have done with plateau conditions.
It took us 27 days to reach the Pole and 21 days back--in all 48
days--nearly 7 weeks in low temperature with almost incessant wind.'

February 7, which was to see the end of their summit journey, opened
with a very tiresome march down slopes and over terraces covered
with hard sastrugi. However, they made fairly good progress during
the day, and between six and seven o'clock their depot was sighted
and soon afterwards they were camped close to it. 'Well,' Scott
wrote at R. 21,
[Page 393]
'we have come through our 7 weeks' ice camp journey and most of
us are fit, but I think another week might have had a very bad
effect on P.O. Evans, who is going steadily downhill.'

On the next morning they started late owing to various re-arrangements
having to be made, and then steered for Mt. Darwin to get specimens.
As Wilson was still unable to use his ski, Bowers went on and got
several specimens of much the same type--a close-grained granite
rock which weathers red; and as soon as Bowers had rejoined the
party they skidded downhill fairly fast, Scott and Bowers (the
leaders) being on ski, Wilson and Oates on foot alongside the sledge,
while Evans was detached.

By lunch-time they were well down towards Mt. Buckley, and decided
to steer for the moraine under the mountain. Having crossed some very
irregular steep slopes with big crevasses, they slid down towards
the rocks, and then they saw that the moraine was so interesting
that, after an advance of some miles had brought escape from the
wind, the decision was made to camp and spend the rest of the day
in geologising.

'It has been extremely interesting. We found ourselves under
perpendicular cliffs of Beacon sandstone, weathering rapidly and
carrying veritable coal seams. From the last Wilson, with his sharp
eyes, has picked several plant impressions, the last a piece of coal
with beautifully traced leaves in layers, also some excellently
preserved impressions of thick stems,
[Page 394]
showing cellular structure. In one place we saw the cast of small
waves in the sand. To-night Bill has got a specimen of limestone
with archeo-cyathus--the trouble is one cannot imagine where the
stone comes from; it is evidently rare, as few specimens occur in
the moraine. There is a good deal of pure white quartz. Altogether
we have had a most interesting afternoon, and the relief of being
out of the wind and in a warmer temperature is inexpressible. I
hope and trust we shall all buck up again now that the conditions
are more favorable.... A lot could be written on the delight of
setting foot on rock after 14 weeks of snow and ice, and nearly
7 out of sight of aught else. It is like going ashore after a sea
voyage.'

On the following morning they kept along the edge of the moraine
to the end of Mt. Buckley, and again stopping to geologise, Wilson
had a great find of vegetable impression in a piece of limestone.
The time spent in collecting these geological specimens from the
Beardmore Glacier, and the labour endured in dragging the additional
35 lbs. to their last camp, were doubtless a heavy price to pay;
but great as the cost was they were more than willing to pay it.
The fossils contained in these specimens, often so inconspicuous
that it is a wonder they were discovered by the collectors, proved
to be the most valuable obtained by the expedition, and promise to
solve completely the questions of the age and past history of this
portion of the Antarctic continent. At night, after a difficult
day among bad ice pressures, Scott almost apologizes for
[Page 395]
being too tired to write any geological notes, and as the sledgemeter
had been unshipped he could not tell the distance they had traversed.
'Very warm on march and we are all pretty tired.... Our food satisfies
now, but we must march to keep on the full ration, and we want rest,
yet we shall pull through all right, D. V. We are by no means worn
out.'

On the night of Friday, February 10, they got some of the sleep
that was so urgently needed, and in consequence there was a great
change for the better in the appearance of everyone. Their progress,
however, was delayed during the next afternoon by driving snow,
which made steering impossible and compelled them to camp. 'We
have two full days' food left,' Scott wrote on the same evening,
'and though our position is uncertain, we are certainly within
two outward marches from the middle glacier depot. However, if the
weather doesn't clear by to-morrow, we must either march blindly
on or reduce food.'

The conditions on Sunday morning were utterly wretched for the
surface was bad and the light horrible, but they marched on until,
with the light getting worse and worse, they suddenly found themselves
in pressure. Then, unfortunately, they decided to steer east, and
after struggling on for several hours found themselves in a regular
trap. Having for a short time in the earlier part of the day got
on to a good surface, they thought that all was going well and
did not reduce their lunch rations. But half an hour after lunch
they suddenly got into a terrible ice mess.

[Page 396]
For three hours they plunged forward on ski, first thinking that
they were too much to the right, and then too much to the left;
meanwhile the disturbance got worse and worse, and there were moments
when Scott nearly despaired of finding a way out of the awful turmoil
in which they found themselves. At length, arguing that there must
be a way out on the left, they plunged in that direction, only
to find that the surface was more icy and crevassed.

'We could not manage our ski and pulled on foot, falling into crevasses
every minute--most luckily no bad accident. At length we saw a
smoother slope towards the land, pushed for it, but knew it was
a woefully long way from us. The turmoil changed in character,
irregular crevassed surface giving way to huge chasms, closely
packed and most difficult to cross. It was very heavy work, but we
had grown desperate. We won through at 10 P.M., and I write after
12 hours on the march. I _think_ we are on or about the right track
now, but we are still a good number of miles from the depot, so
we reduced rations to-night. We had three pemmican meals left and
decided to make them into four. To-morrow's lunch must serve for
two if we do not make big progress. It was a test of our endurance
on the march and our fitness with small supper. We have come through
well.'

On leaving R. 25, early on Monday morning, everything went well
in the forenoon and a good march was made over a fair surface. Two
hours before lunch they were cheered by the sight of their night
[Page 397]
camp of December 18 (the day after they had made their depot), for
this showed them that they were still on the right track. In the
afternoon, refreshed by tea, they started off confidently expecting
to reach their depot, but by a most unfortunate chance they kept too
far to the left and arrived in a maze of crevasses and fissures.
Afterwards their course became very erratic, and finally, at 9
P.M., they landed in the worst place of all.

'After discussion we decided to camp, and here we are, after a
very short supper and one meal only remaining in the food bag; the
depot doubtful in locality. We _must_ get there to-morrow. Meanwhile
we are cheerful with an effort.'

On that night, at Camp R. 26, Scott says that they all slept well
in spite of grave anxieties, his own being increased by his visits
outside the tent, when he saw the sky closing over and snow beginning
to fall. At their ordinary hour for getting up the weather was so
thick that they had to remain in their sleeping-bags; but presently
the weather cleared enough for Scott dimly to see the land of the
Cloudmaker. Then they got up and after breakfasting off some tea
and one biscuit, so that they might leave their scanty remaining
meal for even greater emergencies, they started to march through
an awful turmoil of broken ice. In about an hour, however, they
hit upon an old moraine track where the surface was much smoother,
though the fog that was still hanging over everything added to
their difficulties.
[Page 398]
Presently Evans raised their hopes with a shout of depot ahead, but
it proved to be nothing but a shadow on the ice, and then Wilson
suddenly saw the actual depot flag. 'It was an immense relief, and
we were soon in possession of our 3-1/2 days' food. The relief to
all is inexpressible; needless to say, we camped and had a meal.'

Marching on in the afternoon Scott kept more to the left, and closed
the mountain until they came to the stone moraines, where Wilson
detached himself and made a collection, while the others advanced
with the sledge. Writing that night (Tuesday, February 13) at 'Camp
R. 27, beside Cloudmaker' Scott says, 'We camped late, abreast the
lower end of the mountain, and had nearly our usual satisfying
supper. Yesterday was the worst experience of the trip and gave a
horrid feeling of insecurity. Now we are right, but we must march.
In future food must be worked so that we do not run so short if the
weather fails us. We mustn't get into a hole like this again....
Bowers has had a very bad attack of snow-blindness, and Wilson
another almost as bad. Evans has no power to assist with camping
work.'

A good march followed to Camp R. 28, and with nearly three days'
food they were about 30 miles away from the Lower Glacier Depot.
On the other hand, Scott was becoming most gravely concerned about
the condition of the party, and especially about Evans, who seemed
to be going from bad to worse.
[Page 399]
And on the next evening, after a heavy march he wrote, 'We don't
know our distance from the depot, but imagine about 20 miles. We
are pulling for food and not very strong evidently.... We have
reduced food, also sleep; feeling rather done. Trust 1-1/2 days
or 2 at most will see us at depot.'

Friday's march brought them within 10 or 12 miles of their depot,
and with food enough to last them until the next night; but anxiety
about Evans was growing more and more intense. 'Evans has nearly
broken down in brain, we think. He is absolutely changed from his
normal self-reliant self. This morning and this afternoon he stopped
the march on some trivial excuse.... Memory should hold the events
of a very troublesome march with more troubles ahead. Perhaps all
will be well if we can get to our depot to-morrow fairly early,
but it is anxious work with the sick man.'

On the following morning (Saturday, February 17) Evans looked a
little better after a good sleep, and declared, as he always did,
that he was quite well; but half an hour after he had started in
his place on the traces, he worked his ski shoes adrift and had
to leave the sledge. At the time the surface was awful, the soft
snow, which had recently fallen, clogging the ski and runners at
every step, the sledge groaning, the sky overcast, and the land
hazy. They stopped for about an hour, and then Evans came up again,
but very slowly. Half an hour later he dropped out again on the
same plea, and asked Bowers to lend
[Page 400]
him a piece of string. Scott cautioned him to come on as quickly
as he could, and he gave what seemed to be a cheerful answer. Then
the others were compelled to push on, until abreast the Monument
Rock they halted and, seeing Evans a long way behind, decided to
camp for lunch.

At first there was no alarm, but when they looked out after lunch
and saw him still afar off they were thoroughly frightened, and all
four of them started back on ski. Scott was the first to meet the
poor man, who was on his knees with hands uncovered and frost-bitten
and a wild look in his eyes. When asked what was the matter, he
replied slowly that he didn't know, but thought that he must have
fainted.

They managed to get him on his feet, but after two or three steps
he sank down again and showed every sign of complete collapse.
Then Scott, Wilson and Bowers hastened back for the sledge, while
Oates remained with him.

'When we returned he was practically unconscious, and when we got
him into the tent quite comatose. He died quietly at 12.30 A.M.'




[Page 401]
CHAPTER XI

THE LAST MARCH

  Men like a man who has shown himself a pleasant companion
  through a week's walking tour. They worship the man who,
  over thousands of miles, for hundreds of days, through renewed
  difficulties and efforts, has brought them without friction,
  arrogance or dishonour to the victory proposed, or to the higher
  glory of unshaken defeat.--R. KIPLING.

After this terrible experience the rest of the party marched on
later in the night, and arrived at their depot; there they allowed
themselves five hours' sleep and then marched to Shambles Camp,
which they reached at 3 P.M. on Sunday, February 18. Plenty of
horse meat awaited them, with the prospect of plenty to come if
they could only keep up good marches. 'New life seems to come with
greater food almost immediately, but I am anxious about the Barrier
surfaces.'

A late start was made from Shambles Camp, because much work had
to be done in shifting sledges[1] and fitting up the new one with
a mast, &c., and in packing
[Page 402]
horse meat and personal effects. Soon after noon, however, they
got away, and found the surface every bit as bad as they expected.
Moreover Scott's fears that there would not be much change during
the next few days were most thoroughly justified. On the Monday
afternoon they had to pullover a really terrible surface that resembled
desert sand. And the same conditions awaited them on the following
day, when, after four hours' plodding in the morning, they reached
Desolation Camp. At this camp they had hoped to find more pony meat,
but disappointment awaited them. 'Total mileage for day 7,' Scott
wrote at R. 34, 'the ski tracks pretty plain and easily followed
this afternoon.... Terribly slow progress, but we hope for better
things as we clear the land.... Pray God we get better traveling as
we are not so fit as we were, and the season is advancing apace.'

[Footnote 1: Sledges were left at the chief depots to replace damaged
ones.]

Again, on Wednesday, February 21, the surface was terrible, and
once more Scott expressed a devout hope that as they drew away from
the land the conditions might get better; and that this improvement
should come and come soon was all the more necessary because they
were approaching a critical part of their journey, in which there
were long distances between the cairns. 'If we can tide that over
we get on the regular cairn route, and with luck should stick to
it; but everything depends on the weather. We never won a march
of 8-1/2 miles with greater difficulty, but we can't go on like
this.'

[Page 403]
Very fresh wind from the S.E., with strong surface drift, so completely
wiped out the faint track they were trying to follow during the next
stage of their struggle homewards, that lunch-time came without a
sight of the cairn they had hoped to pass. Later in the day Bowers,
feeling sure that they were too far to the west, steered out, with
the result that another pony camp was passed by unseen. 'There is
little doubt we are in for a rotten critical time going home, and
the lateness of the season may make it really serious.... Looking
at the map to-night there is no doubt we are too far to the east.
With clear weather we ought to be able to correct the mistake, but
will the weather clear? It's a gloomy position, more especially as
one sees the same difficulty recurring even when we have corrected
this error. The wind is dying down to-night and the sky clearing in
the south, which is hopeful. Meanwhile it is satisfactory to note
that such untoward events fail to damp the spirit of the party.'

The hopes of better weather were realized during the following
day, when they started off in sunshine and with very little wind.
Difficulties as to their course remained, but luckily Bowers took
a round of angles, and with the help of the chart they came to
the conclusion that they must be inside rather than outside the
tracks. The data, however, were so meager that none of them were
happy about taking the great responsibility of marching out. Then,
just as they had decided to lunch, Bowers' wonderfully
[Page 404]
sharp eyes detected an old double lunch cairn, and the theodolite
telescope confirmed it. Camp R. 37 found them within 2-1/2 miles
of their depot. 'We cannot see it, but, given fine weather, we
cannot miss it. We are, therefore, extraordinarily relieved....
Things are again looking up, as we are on the regular line of cairns,
with no gaps right home, I hope.' In the forenoon of Saturday,
February 24, the depot was reached, and there they found the store
in order except for a shortage of oil. 'Shall have to be _very_
saving with fuel.'

[Indeed from this time onward the party were increasingly in want
of more oil than they found at the depots. Owing partly to the
severe conditions, but still more to the delays caused by their
sick comrades, they reached the full limit of time allowed for
between the depots. The cold was unexpected, and at the same time
the actual amount of oil found at the depots was less than Scott
anticipated.

The return journey on the summit was made at good speed, for the
party accomplished in 21 days what had taken them 27 days on the
outward journey. But the last part of it, from Three Degree to
Upper Glacier Depot, took nearly eight marches as against ten,
and here can be seen the first slight slackening as P.O. Evans
and Oates began to feel the cold. From the Upper Glacier to the
Lower Glacier Depot there was little gain on the outward journey,
partly owing to the conditions but more to Evans' gradual collapse.
And from that time onward the marches
[Page 405]
of the weary but heroic travelers became shorter and shorter.

As regards the cause of the shortage of oil, the tins at the depots
had been exposed to extreme conditions of heat and cold. The oil
in the warmth of the sun--for the tins were regularly set in an
accessible place on the top of the cairns--tended to become vapour
and to escape through the stoppers without damage to the tins.
This process was much hastened owing to the leather washers about
the stoppers having perished in the great cold.

The tins awaiting the Southern party at the depots had, of course,
been opened, so that the supporting parties on their way back could
take their due amount. But however carefully the tins were re-stoppered,
they were still liable to the unexpected evaporation and leakage,
and hence, without the smallest doubt, arose the shortage which
was such a desperate blow to Scott and his party.]

Apart from the storage of fuel everything was found in order at
the depot, and with ten full days' provisions from the night of the
24th they had less than 70 miles between them and the Mid-Barrier
depot. At lunch-time Scott wrote in a more hopeful tone, 'It is an
immense relief to have picked up this depot, and, for the time,
anxieties are thrust aside,' but at night, after pulling on a dreadful
surface and only gaining four miles, he added, 'It really will
be a bad business if we are to have this plodding all through. I
don't know what to think, but the rapid closing
[Page 406]
of the season is ominous.... It is a race between the season and
hard conditions and our fitness and good food.'

Their prospects, however, became a little brighter during the following
day, when the whole march yielded 11.4 miles, 'The first double
figures of steady dragging for a long time.' But what they wanted
and what would not come was a wind to help them on their way.
Nevertheless, although the assistance they so sorely needed was
still lacking, they gained another 11-1/2 miles on their next march,
and were within 43 miles of their next depot. Writing from 'R. 40.
Temp. -21 deg.' on Monday night, February 26, Scott said, 'Wonderfully
fine weather but cold, very cold. Nothing dries and we get our
feet cold too often. We want more food yet, and especially more
fat. Fuel is woefully short. We can scarcely hope to get a better
surface at this season, but I wish we could have some help from
the wind, though it might shake us up badly if the temp. didn't
rise.'

Tuesday brought them within 31 miles of their depot, but hunger
was attacking them fiercely, and they could talk of little else
except food and of when and where they might possibly meet the
dogs. 'It is a critical position. We may find ourselves in safety
at next depot, but there is a horrid element of doubt.'

On the next day Scott decided to increase the rations, and at R.
42, which they reached after a march of 11-1/2 miles in a blightingly
cold wind, they had a 'splendid pony hoosh.' The temperatures,
[Page 407]
however, which varied at this time between -30 deg. and -42 deg., were
chilling them through and through, and to get their foot-gear on in
the mornings was both a painful and a long task. 'Frightfully cold
starting,' Scott wrote at lunch-time on Thursday, February 29,
'luckily Bowers and Oates in their last new finnesko; keeping my
old ones for the present.... Next camp is our depot and it is exactly
13 miles. It ought not to take more than 1-1/2 days; we pray for
another fine one. The oil will just about spin out in that event,
and we arrive a clear day's food in hand.'

On reaching the Middle Barrier Depot, however, blow followed blow
in such quick succession that hope of pulling through began to
sink in spite of all their cheerfulness and courage. First they
found such a shortage of oil that with the most rigid economy it
could scarcely carry them on to their next depot, 71 miles away.
Then Oates disclosed the fact that his feet, evidently frost-bitten
by the recent low temperatures, were very bad indeed. And lastly
the wind, which at first they had greeted with some joy, brought
dark overcast weather. During the Friday night the temperature
fell to below -40 deg., and on the next morning an hour and a half
was spent before they could get on their foot-gear. 'Then on an
appalling surface they lost both cairns and tracks, and at lunch
Scott had to admit that they were 'in a very queer street since
there is no doubt we cannot do the extra marches and feel the cold
horribly.'

Afterwards they managed to pick up the track
[Page 408]
again, and with a march of nearly 10 miles for the day prospects
brightened a little; but on the next morning they had to labour
upon a surface that was coated with a thin layer of woolly crystals,
which were too firmly fixed to be removed by the wind and caused
impossible friction to the runners of the sledge. 'God help us,'
Scott wrote at mid-day, 'we can't keep up this pulling, that is
certain. Amongst ourselves we are unendingly cheerful, but what
each man feels in his heart I can only guess. Putting on foot-gear
in the morning is getting slower and slower, therefore every day
more dangerous.'

No relief whatever to the critical situation came on Monday, March
4, and there was in fact little left to hope for except a strong
drying wind, which at that time of the year was not likely to come.
At mid-day they were about 42 miles from the next depot and had a
week's food; but in spite of the utmost economy their oil could
only last three or four days, and to pull as they were doing and
be short of food at the same time was an absolute impossibility.
For the time being the temperature had risen to -20 deg., but Scott
was sure that this small improvement was only temporary and feared
that Oates, at any rate, was in no state to weather more severe cold
than they were enduring. And hanging over all the other misfortunes
was the constant fear that if they did get to the next depot they
might find the same shortage of oil. 'I don't know what I should do
if Wilson and Bowers weren't so determinedly cheerful over things.'

[Page 409]
And it must in all truth have been as difficult as it was heroic
to be cheerful, for weary and worn as they were their food needed
such careful husbanding, that their supper on this night (March 4)
consisted of nothing but a cup of cocoa and pemmican solid with
the chill off. 'We pretend to prefer the pemmican this way,' Scott
says, and if any proof was needed of their indomitable resolution
it is contained in that short sentence. The result, however, was
telling rapidly upon all of them, and more especially upon Oates,
whose feet were in a terrible condition when they started to march
on the morning of the 5th. Lunch-time saw them within 27 miles of
their next supply of food and fuel, but by this time poor Oates
was almost done.

'It is pathetic enough because we can do nothing for him; more
hot food might do a little, but only a little, I fear. We none
of us expected these terribly low temperatures, and of the rest
of us Wilson is feeling them most; mainly, I fear, from his
self-sacrificing devotion in doctoring Oates' feet. We cannot help
each other, each has enough to do to take care of himself. We get
cold on the march when the trudging is heavy, and the wind pierces
our worn garments. The others, all of them, are unendingly cheerful
when in the tent. We mean to see the game through with a proper
spirit, but it's tough work to be pulling harder than we ever pulled
in our lives for long hours, and to feel that the progress is so slow.
One can only say "God help us!" and plod on our weary way, cold and
[Page 410]
very miserable, though outwardly cheerful. We talk of all sorts
of subjects in the tent, not much of food now, since we decided
to take the risk of running a full ration. We simply couldn't go
hungry at this time.'

On the morning of the 6th Oates was no longer able to pull, and
the miles gained, when they camped for lunch after desperate work,
were only three and a half, and the total distance for the day
was short of seven miles. For Oates, indeed, the crisis was near
at hand. 'He makes no complaint, but his spirits only come up in
spurts now, and he grows more silent in the tent.... If we were all
fit I should have hopes of getting through, but the poor Soldier
has become a terrible hindrance, though he does his utmost and
suffers much I fear.' And at mid-day on the 7th, Scott added, 'A
little worse I fear. One of Oates' feet _very_ bad this morning;
he is wonderfully brave. We still talk of what we will do together
at home.'

At this time they were 16 miles from their depot, and if they found
the looked-for amount of fuel and food there, and if the surface
helped them, Scott hoped that they might get on to the Mt. Hooper
Depot, 72 miles farther, but not to One Ton Camp. 'We hope against
hope that the dogs have been to Mt. Hooper; then we might pull
through.... We are only kept going by good food. No wind this morning
till a chill northerly air came ahead. Sun bright and cairns showing
up well. I should like to keep the track to the end.'

Another fearful struggle took them by lunch-time
[Page 411]
on the 8th to within 8-1/2 miles of their next goal, but the time
spent over foot-gear in the mornings was getting longer and longer.
'Have to wait in night footgear for nearly an hour before I start
changing, and then am generally first to be ready. Wilson's feet
giving trouble now, but this mainly because he gives so much help
to others.... The great question is, what shall we find at the
depot? If the dogs have visited it we may get along a good distance,
but if there is another short allowance of fuel, God help us indeed.
We are in a very bad way, I fear, in any case.'

On the following day they managed to struggle on to Mount Hooper
Depot. 'Cold comfort. Shortage on our allowance all round. I don't
know that anyone is to blame. The dogs which would have been our
salvation have evidently failed.'

[For the last six days Cherry-Garrard and Demetri had been waiting
with the dogs at One Ton Camp. Scott had dated his probable return to
Hut Point anywhere between mid-March and early April, and calculating
from the speed of the other return parties Atkinson expected him to
reach One Ton Camp between March 3 and 10. There Cherry-Garrard
met four days of blizzard, with the result that when the weather
cleared he had little more than enough dog food to take the teams
home. Under these circumstances only two possible courses were
open to him, either to push south for one more march and back with
imminent risk of missing Scott on the way, or to stay two days
at the Camp where Scott was bound to come,
[Page 412]
if he came at all. Wisely he took the latter course and stayed at
One Ton Camp until the utmost limit of time.]

With the depot reached and no relief to the situation gained, Scott
was forced to admit that things were going 'steadily downhill,' but
for the time being Oates' condition was by far the most absorbing
trouble. 'Oates' foot worse,' he wrote on the 10th. 'He has rare
pluck and must know that he can never get through. He asked Wilson
if he had a chance this morning, and of course Bill had to say he
didn't know. In point of fact he has none. Apart from him, if he
went under now, I doubt whether we could get through. With great
care we might have a dog's chance, but no more.... Poor chap! it
is too pathetic to watch him; one cannot but try to cheer him up.'

On this same day a blizzard met them after they had marched for
half an hour, and Scott seeing that not one of them could face
such weather, pitched camp and stayed there until the following
morning. Then they struggled on again with the sky so overcast
that they could see nothing and consequently lost the tracks. At
the most they gained little more than six miles during the day,
and this they knew was as much as they could hope to do if they
got no help from wind or surfaces. 'We have 7 days' food and should
be about 55 miles from One Ton Camp to-night, 6 X 7 = 42, leaving
us 13 miles short of our distance, even if things get no worse.'

Oates too was, Scott felt, getting very near the end. 'What we or
he will do, God only knows. We
[Page 413]
discussed the matter after breakfast; he is a brave fine fellow
and understands the situation, but he practically asked for advice.
Nothing could be said but to urge him to march as long as he could.
One satisfactory result to the discussion: I practically ordered
Wilson to hand over the means of ending our troubles to us, so
that any of us may know how to do so. Wilson had no choice between
doing so and our ransacking the medicine case.'

Thus Scott wrote on the 11th, and the next days brought more and
more misfortunes with them. A strong northerly wind stopped them
altogether on the 13th, and although on the following morning they
started with a favorable breeze, it soon shifted and blew through
their wind-clothes and their mitts. 'Poor Wilson horribly cold,
could not get off ski for some time. Bowers and I practically made
camp, and when we got into the tent at last we were all deadly
cold.... We _must_ go on, but now the making of every camp must
be more difficult and dangerous. It must be near the end, but a
pretty merciful end.... I shudder to think what it will be like
to-morrow.'

Up to this time, incredible as it seems, Scott had only once spared
himself the agony of writing in his journal, so nothing could be
more pathetic and significant than the fact that at last he was
unable any longer to keep a daily record of this magnificent journey.

'Friday, March 16 or Saturday 17. Lost track of dates, but think
the last correct,' his next entry begins, but then under the most
[Page 414]
unendurable conditions he went on to pay a last and imperishable
tribute to his dead companion.

'Tragedy all along the line. At lunch, the day before yesterday,
poor Titus Oates said he couldn't go on; he proposed we should
leave him in his sleeping-bag. That we could not do, and we induced
him to come on, on the afternoon march. In spite of its awful nature
for him he struggled on and we made a few miles. At night he was
worse and we knew the end had come.

'Should this be found I want these facts recorded. Oates' last
thoughts were of his Mother, but immediately before he took pride
in thinking that his regiment would be pleased with the bold way
in which he met his death. We can testify to his bravery. He has
borne intense suffering for weeks without complaint, and to the
very last was able and willing to discuss outside subjects. He
did not--would not--give up hope till the very end. He was a brave
soul. This was the end. He slept through the night before last,
hoping not to wake; but he woke in the morning--yesterday. It was
blowing a blizzard. He said, "I am just going outside and may be
some time." He went out into the blizzard and we have not seen
him since.

'I take this opportunity of saying that we have stuck to our sick
companions to the last. In case of Edgar Evans, when absolutely
out of food and he lay insensible, the safety of the remainder
seemed to demand his abandonment, but Providence mercifully removed
him at this critical moment. He died
[Page 415]
a natural death, and we did not leave him till two hours after his
death.

'We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we
tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and
an English gentleman. We all hope to meet the end with a similar
spirit, and assuredly the end is not far.

'I can only write at lunch and then only occasionally. The cold is
intense, -40 deg. at mid-day. My companions are unendingly cheerful,
but we are all on the verge of serious frost-bites, and though we
constantly talk of fetching through I don't think anyone of us
believes it in his heart.

'We are cold on the march now, and at all times except meals. Yesterday
we had to lay up for a blizzard and to-day we move dreadfully slowly.
We are at No. 14 pony camp, only two pony marches from One Ton Depot.
We leave here our theodolite, a camera, and Oates' sleeping-bags.
Diaries, etc., and geological specimens carried at Wilson's special
request, will be found with us or on our sledge.'

At mid-day on the next day, March 18, they had struggled to within
21 miles of One Ton Depot, but wind and drift came on and they had
to stop their march. 'No human being could face it, and we are
worn out _nearly_.

'My right foot has gone, nearly all the toes--two days ago I was
the proud possessor of best feet. These are the steps of my downfall.
Like an ass I mixed a spoonful of curry powder with my melted
pemmican--it
[Page 416]
gave me violent indigestion. I lay awake and in pain all night;
woke and felt done on the march; foot went and I didn't know it. A
very small measure of neglect and have a foot which is not pleasant
to contemplate.

'Bowers takes first place in condition, but there is not much to
choose after all. The others are still confident of getting through--or
pretend to be--I don't know! We have the last _half_ fill of oil in
our primus and a very small quantity of spirit--this alone between
us and thirst.'

On that night camp was made with the greatest difficulty, but after
a supper of cold pemmican and biscuit and half a pannikin of cocoa,
they were, contrary to their expectations, warm enough to get some
sleep.

Then came the closing stages of this glorious struggle against
persistent misfortune.

'_March_ 19.--Lunch. To-day we started in the usual dragging manner.
Sledge dreadfully heavy. We are 15-1/2 miles from the depot and
ought to get there in three days. What progress! We have two days'
food but barely a day's fuel. All our feet are getting bad--Wilson's
best, my right foot worst, left all right. There is no chance to
nurse one's feet till we can get hot food into us. Amputation is
the least I can hope for now, but will the trouble spread? That
is the serious question. The weather doesn't give us a chance;
the wind from N. to N. W. and -40 temp. to-day.

[Illustration]

[Page 417]
During the afternoon they drew 4-1/2 miles nearer to the One Ton
Depot, and there they made their last camp. Throughout Tuesday a
severe blizzard held them prisoners, and on the 21st Scott wrote:
'To-day forlorn hope, Wilson and Bowers going to depot for fuel.'

But the blizzard continued without intermission. '22 and 23. Blizzard
bad as ever--Wilson and Bowers unable to start--to-morrow last
chance--no fuel and only one or two of food left--must be near
the end. Have decided it shall be natural--we shall march for the
depot with or without our effects and die in our tracks.'

'_March_ 29.--Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from
W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece, and
bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready
to start for our depot 11 _miles_ away, but outside the door of
the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we
can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the
end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be
far.

'It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

                                   'R. SCOTT.

'Last entry For God's sake look after our people.'

[Page 418]
After Cherry-Garrard and Demetri had returned to Hut Point on March
16 without having seen any signs of the Polar party, Atkinson and
Keohane made one more desperate effort to find them. When, however,
this had been unsuccessful there was nothing more to be done until
the winter was over.

During this long and anxious time the leadership of the party devolved
upon Atkinson, who under the most trying circumstances showed qualities
that are beyond all praise. At the earliest possible moment (October
30) a large party started south. 'On the night of the 11th and
morning of the 12th,' Atkinson says, 'after we had marched 11 miles
due south of One Ton, we found the tent. It was an object partially
snowed up and looking like a cairn. Before it were the ski sticks
and in front of them a bamboo which probably was the mast of the
sledge...

'Inside the tent were the bodies of Captain Scott, Doctor Wilson,
and Lieutenant Bowers. They had pitched their tent well, and it
had withstood all the blizzards of an exceptionally hard winter.'

Wilson and Bowers were found in the attitude of sleep, their
sleeping-bags closed over their heads as they would naturally close
them.

[Illustration: 'THE LAST REST'. The grave of Capt. Scott, Dr. Wilson,
and Lieut. Bowers. _Photo by Lieut. T. Gran._]

Scott died later. He had thrown back the flaps of his sleeping-bag
and opened his coat. The little wallet
[Page 419]
containing the three notebooks was under his shoulders and his arm
flung across Wilson.

Among their belongings were the 35 lbs. of most important geological
specimens which had been collected on the moraines of the Beardmore
Glacier. At Wilson's request they had clung on to these to the
very end, though disaster stared them in the face.

'When everything had been gathered up, we covered them with the
outer tent and read the Burial Service. From this time until well
into the next day we started to build a mighty cairn above them.'

Upon the cairn a rough cross, made from two skis, was placed, and
on either side were up-ended two sledges, fixed firmly in the snow.
Between the eastern sledge and the cairn a bamboo was placed, containing
a metal cylinder, and in this the following record was left:

'November 12, 1912, Lat. 79 degrees, 50 mins. South. This cross
and cairn are erected over the bodies of Captain Scott, C.V.O.,
R.N., Doctor E. A. Wilson, M.B. B.C., Cantab., and Lieutenant H.
R. Bowers, Royal Indian Marine--a slight token to perpetuate their
successful and gallant attempt to reach the Pole. This they did
on January 17, 1912, after the Norwegian Expedition had already
done so. Inclement weather with lack of fuel was the cause of their
death. Also to commemorate their two gallant comrades, Captain L.
E. G. Oates of the Inniskilling Dragoons, who walked to his death
[Page 420]
in a blizzard to save his comrades about eighteen miles south of
this position; also of Seaman Edgar Evans, who died at the foot of
the Beardmore Glacier.

'"The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of
the Lord."'

[Page 421]
With the diaries in the tent were found the following letters:--


_To Mrs. E. A. Wilson_

My DEAR MRS. WILSON,

If this letter reaches you Bill and I will have gone out together.
We are very near it now and I should like you to know how splendid
he was at the end--everlastingly cheerful and ready to sacrifice
himself for others, never a word of blame to me for leading him
into this mess. He is not suffering, luckily, at least only minor
discomforts.

His eyes have a comfortable blue look of hope and his mind is peaceful
with the satisfaction of his faith in regarding himself as part of
the great scheme of the Almighty. I can do no more to comfort you
than to tell you that he died as he lived, a brave, true man--the
best of comrades and staunchest of friends.

My whole heart goes out to you in pity.

  Yours,
    R. SCOTT.


_To Mrs. Bowers_

My DEAR MRS. BOWERS,

I am afraid this will reach you after one of the heaviest blows
of your life.

I write when we are very near the end of our journey, and I am
finishing it in company with two gallant, noble gentlemen. One of
these is your son. He
[Page 422]
had come be one of my closest and soundest friends, and I appreciate
his wonderful upright nature, his ability and energy. As the troubles
have thickened his dauntless spirit ever shone brighter and he has
remained cheerful, hopeful, and indomitable to the end.

The ways of Providence are inscrutable, but there must be some reason
why such a young, vigorous and promising life is taken.

My whole heart goes out in pity for you.

  Yours,
    R. SCOTT.

To the end he has talked of you and his sisters. One sees what a
happy home he must have had and perhaps it is well to look back
on nothing but happiness.

He remains unselfish, self-reliant and splendidly hopeful to the
end, believing in God's mercy to you.


_To Sir J. M. Barrie_

My DEAR BARRIE,

We are pegging out in a very comfortless spot. Hoping this letter
may be found and sent to you, I write a word of farewell.... More
practically I want you to help my widow and my boy--your godson.
We are showing that Englishmen can still die with a bold spirit,
fighting it out to the end. It will be known that we have accomplished
our object in reaching the Pole, and that we have done everything
[Page 423]
possible, even to sacrificing ourselves in order to save sick
companions. I think this makes an example for Englishmen of the
future, and that the country ought to help those who are left behind
to mourn us. I leave my poor girl and your godson, Wilson leaves
a widow, and Edgar Evans also a widow in humble circumstances. Do
what you can to get their claims recognized. Goodbye. I am not
at all afraid of the end, but sad to miss many a humble pleasure
which I had planned for the future on our long marches. I may not
have proved a great explorer, but we have done the greatest march
ever made and come very near to great success. Goodbye, my dear
friend.

  Yours ever,
    R. SCOTT.

We are in a desperate state, feet frozen, etc. No fuel and a long
way from food, but it would do your heart good to be in our tent,
to hear our songs and the cheery conversation as to what we will
do when we get to Hut Point.

_Later_.--We are very near the end, but have not and will not lose
our good cheer. We have four days of storm in our tent and no where's
food or fuel. We did intend to finish ourselves when things proved
like this, but we have decided to die naturally in the track.

As a dying man, my dear friend, be good to my wife and child. Give
the boy a chance in life if the State won't do it. He ought to have
good stuff in him.... I never met a man in my life whom I admired and
[Page 424]
loved more than you, but I never could show you how much your friendship
meant to me, for you had much to give and I nothing.


_To the Right Hon. Sir Edgar Speyer, Bart._

Dated March 16, 1912. Lat. 79.5 deg..

My DEAR SIR EDGAR,

I hope this may reach you. I fear we must go and that it leaves
the Expedition in a bad muddle. But we have been to the Pole and
we shall die like gentlemen. I regret only for the women we leave
behind.

I thank you a thousand times for your help and support and your
generous kindness. If this diary is found it will show how we stuck
by dying companions and fought the thing out well to the end. I
think this will show that the spirit of pluck and the power to
endure has not passed out of our race....

Wilson, the best fellow that ever stepped, has sacrificed himself
again and again to the sick men of the party....

I write to many friends hoping the letters will reach them some
time after we are found next year.

We very nearly came through, and it's a pity to have missed it,
but lately I have felt that we have overshot our mark. No one is
to blame and I hope no attempt will be made to suggest that we
have lacked support.

Goodbye to you and your dear kind wife.

  Yours ever sincerely,
    R. SCOTT.


[Page 425]
_To Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Charles Bridgeman, K.C.V.O., K.C.B._

My DEAR SIR FRANCIS,

I fear we have slipped up; a close shave; I am writing a few letters
which I hope will be delivered some day. I want to thank you for
the friendship you gave me of late years, and to tell you how
extraordinarily pleasant I found it to serve under you. I want to
tell you that I was _not_ too old for this job. It was the younger
men that went under first.... After all we are setting a good example
to our countrymen, if not by getting into a tight place, by facing
it like men when we were there. We could have come through had
we neglected the sick.

Good-bye, and good-bye to dear Lady Bridgeman.

  Yours ever,
    R. SCOTT.

Excuse writing--it is -40 deg.; and has been for nigh a month.


_To Vice-Admiral Sir George le Clerc Egerton, K.C.B._

My DEAR SIR GEORGE,

I fear we have shot our bolt--but we have been to Pole and done
the longest journey on record.

I hope these letters may find their destination some day.

Subsidiary reasons for our failure to return are due to the sickness
of different members of the party, but
[Page 426]
the real thing that has stopped us is the awful weather and unexpected
cold towards the end of the journey.

This traverse of the Barrier has been quite three times as severe
as any experience we had on the summit.

There is no accounting for it, but the result has thrown out my
calculations, and here we are little more than 100 miles from the
base and petering out.

Good-bye. Please see my widow is looked after as far as Admiralty
is concerned.

    R. SCOTT.

My kindest regards to Lady Egerton. I can never forget all your
kindness.


_To Mr. J. J. Kinsey-Christchurch._

March 24th, 1912.

MY DEAR KINSEY,

I'm afraid we are pretty well done--four days of blizzard just
as we were getting to the last dopot. My thoughts have been with
you often. You have been a brick. You will pull the Expedition
through, I'm sure.

My thoughts are for my wife and boy. Will you do what you can for
them if the country won't.

I want the boy to have a good chance in the world, but you know
the circumstances well enough.

If I knew the wife and boy were in safe keeping I should have little
to regret in leaving the world, for I feel that the country need
not be ashamed of us--our
[Page 427]
journey has been the biggest on record, and nothing but the most
exceptional hard luck at the end would have caused us to fail to
return. We have been to the S. pole as we set out. God bless you
and dear Mrs. Kinsey. It is good to remember you and your kindness.

  Your friend,
    R. SCOTT.


Letters to his Mother, his Wife, his Brother-in-law (Sir William
Ellison Macartney), Admiral Sir Lewis Beaumont, and Mr. and Mrs.
Reginald Smith were also found, from which come the following extracts:

The Great God has called me and I feel it will add a fearful blow
to the heavy ones that have fallen on you in life. But take comfort
in that I die at peace with the world and myself--not afraid.

Indeed it has been most singularly unfortunate, for the risks I
have taken never seemed excessive.

...I want to tell you that we have missed getting through by a
narrow margin which was justifiably within the risk of such a
journey.... After all, we have given our lives for our country--we
have actually made the longest journey on record, and we have been
the first Englishmen at the South Pole.

You must understand that it is too cold to write much.

...It's a pity the luck doesn't come our way, because every detail
of equipment is right.

[Page 428]
I shall not have suffered any pain, but leave the world fresh from
harness and full of good health and vigour. This is decided
already--when provisions come to an end we simply stop unless we
are within easy distance of another depot. Therefore you must not
imagine a great tragedy. We are very anxious of course, and have
been for weeks, but our splendid physical condition and our appetites
compensate for all discomfort.

Since writing the above we got to within 11 miles of our depot, with
one hot meal and two days' cold food. We should have got through
but have been held for _four_ days by a frightful storm. I think
the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves,
but to fight to the last for that depot, but in the fighting there
is a painless end. So don't worry. The inevitable must be faced.
You urged me to be leader of this party, and I know you felt it
would be dangerous.

Make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better
than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will
keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence.
Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous
as you know--had always an inclination to be idle.

There is a piece of the Union Jack I put up at the South Pole in
my private kit bag, together with Amundsen's black flag and other
trifles. Send a small
[Page 429]
piece of the Union Jack to the King and a small piece to Queen
Alexandra.

What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. How much better
has it been than lounging in too great comfort at home. What tales
you would have for the boy. But what a price to pay.

Tell Sir Clements I thought much of him and never regretted his
putting me in command of the _Discovery_.

[Page 430]
MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC

The causes of the disaster are not due to faulty organization, but
to misfortune in all risks which had to be undertaken.

1. The loss of pony transport in March 1911 obliged me to start
   later than I had intended, and obliged the limits of stuff
   transported to be narrowed.

2. The weather throughout the outward journey, and especially
   the long gale in 83 deg. S., stopped us.

3. The soft snow in lower reaches of glacier again reduced pace.

We fought these untoward events with a will and conquered, but it
cut into our provision reserve.

Every detail of our food supplies, clothing and depots made on
the interior ice-sheet and over that long stretch of 700 miles
to the Pole and back, worked out to perfection. The advance party
would have returned to the glacier in fine form and with surplus
of food, but for the astonishing failure of the man whom we had
least expected to fail. Edgar Evans was thought the strongest man
of the party.

The Beardmore Glacier is not difficult in fine weather, but on
our return we did not get a single completely fine day; this with
a sick companion enormously increased our anxieties.

As I have said elsewhere we got into frightfully rough ice and Edgar
Evans received a concussion of
[Page 431]
the brain--he died a natural death, but left us a shaken party with
the season unduly advanced.

But all the facts above enumerated were as nothing to the surprise
which awaited us on the Barrier. I maintain that our arrangements
for returning were quite adequate, and that no one in the world would
have expected the temperatures and surfaces which we encountered at
this time of the year. On the summit in lat. 85 deg., 86 deg. we had -20 deg.,
-30 deg.. On the Barrier in lat. 82 deg., 10,000 feet lower, we had -30 deg. in
the day, -47 deg. at night pretty regularly, with continuous head wind
during our day marches. It is clear that these circumstances come on
very suddenly, and our wreck is certainly due to this sudden advent
of severe weather, which does not seem to have any satisfactory
cause. I do not think human beings ever came through such a month
as we have come through, and we should have got through in spite
of the weather but for the sickening of a second companion, Captain
Oates, and a shortage of fuel in our depots for which I cannot
account, and finally, but for the storm which has fallen on us
within 11 miles of the depot at which we hoped to secure our final
supplies. Surely misfortune could scarcely have exceeded this last
blow. We arrived within 11 miles of our old One Ton Camp with fuel
for one last meal and food for two days. For four days we have been
unable to leave the tent--the gale howling about us. We are weak,
writing is difficult, but for my own sake I do not regret this
[Page 432]
journey, which has shewn that Englishmen can endure hardships, help
one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the
past. We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out
against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to
the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last.
But if we have been willing to give our lives to this enterprise,
which is for the honour of our country, I appeal to our countrymen
to see that those who depend on us are properly cared for.

Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood,
endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the
heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must
tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours
will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided
for.

    R. SCOTT.


[Illustration: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13. Track chart
of main southern journey.]




INDEX

Abbott, George P., P.O. 209, 242, 260
Adelie Land 35
Admiralty, the, 8, 18, 182-3, 200, 206
Alaska 11
_Albemarle_, H.M.S., 206
Albert Medal, the, 372
Alexandra, Queen, 31, 429
Alpine Rope, 256-7, 266, 274, 367
_Amphion_, H.M.S., 11
Amundsen, Roald, 259-60, 301, 324, 346, 383, 428
Anton, Groom, 209, 276, 278, 280, 285, 289, 299
Archer, W. W., chief steward, 209
Armitage, Lieut. A. B., 25, 32, 43, 57, 63, 89, 97, 103, 105, 138,
  153-4, 176, 178
Arnold, M., _quoted_, 151, 178
Arrival Bay, 60
  Heights, 60, 234
Athletic sports, 137-8
Atkinson, Edward L., surgeon, R.N., parasitologist, 208, 213, 224,
  236, 243, 259, 261, 267, 270, 273, 279-80, 284, 285-6, 295
  _seq._, 308, 319, 320-1, 327, 329, 330, 336, 340, 344, 354-5,
  362-3, 372, 411, 418-19
Auckland Islands, 195
Australia, Government of, 207

Balaclave helmets, 251
Balfour, Rt. Ron. A. J., 16
Balleny, Capt. John, 197
  Islands, 196-7
Balloons, ascents of, 57, 281
Barne, Lieut. Michael, 26, 32, 43, 53, 61, _seq._, 80, 87,
  98-9, 100, 104, 106, 108, 131-2, 147, 149, 152, 155, 176
  Glacier, 275
Barrie, Sir J. M., letter to, 422-4
Barrier, Great Ice, 53, _seq._, 90, 176, 203, 222, 224-5, 241,
  243, 246, 260 _seq._, 294, 304, 305, 321, 377
Bay of Whales, 259-60
Beaumont, Admiral Sir Lewis, 427
Beppo, pony, 7
Berlin, 17, 20
Bernacchi, Louis C., physicist, 27, 43, 53, 75, 85-6, 135, 147, 152, 176
Birdie, dog, 108-9, 126
Birthday, celebrations of, 286-7
Biscay, Bay of, 32
Bismarck, dog, 108
Bjaaland, Olav Olavson, 383
Blanco, dog, 108
Blissett, A. H., 132
_Blizzard, The_, 80
Blossom, pony, 250
Blucher, pony, 248, 250, 258
Bluff, The, 130
  Camp, 250, 336
Boats, mishap to, 84, 85, 139, 140
Bones, pony, 299, 308
Bonner, Charles, 38-9
Borchgrevink, 43
Boss, dog, 108
Bowers, Lieut. H. R., 28, 208, 216, 224, 230-1, 234-236, 243, 247,
  249, 250-4, 261-7, 270, 273, 275, 278-81, 283-4, 286, 289, 293-5,
  299, 300-8, 311-14, 317, 319, 320, 322, 324-5, 334, 343-5, 352,
  354, 357-8, 359, 364, 368, 371, 373 _seq._
Bowers, Mrs., letter to, 421-2
Bridgeman, Admiral, Sir F. C., letter to, 425
_Britannia, The_, 6
British Museum, the, 19
Brownie, dog, 100, 108-9
Browning, E. B., _quoted_, 328
Browning, Frank V., P.O., 209, 242
Bruce, Canon Lloyd, 207
Bruce, Kathleen, 207
Bruce, Lieut. Wilfred M., 209, 224
Buckingham Palace Road, 15
_Bulwark_, H.M.S., 206
Burlington House, 19
Butter Point, 157, 260, 314

Campbell, Lieut. Victor L. A., 208, 216, 224, 226, 229, 232, 233,
  238, 240-1, 242, 259-60, 292, 315
Cape Adare, 42, 43, 45, 141
  Armitage, 59, 225, 259, 263
  Bernacchi, 315
  Bird, 225
  Crozier, 52, 61, 64, 69, 70, 105, 137, 141-2, 155-6, 176, 222-3, 281
  Crozier Party, 294, 300-7, 317
  Evans, 225, 234-5, 239, 246, 260, 268, 271-3, 280, 300, 316-17, 321,
    328, 365
  Jones, 48
  Mackay, 301
  North, 146, 189, 196, 198, 260
  of Good Hope, 32-3
  Royds, 180, 185, 286
  Sibbald, 49
  Wadworth, 47
  Washington, 49, 52
Cardiff, 207, 211
Castle Rock, 60, 62, 64, 65, 262, 273
Cheetham, Alfred B., boatswain, 209
Cherry-Garrard, Apsley, assistant zoologist, 224, 236, 243, 251-2,
  254-6, 257-8, 261-6, 270-1, 273, 279-81, 284, 288, 294, 300-7, 308,
  318, 323, 329, 334, 340, 342, 344, 347, 352, 354, 362, 364, 411-12,
  418
Chinaman, pony, 308, 318, 329-30, 332-3, 336, 338-9, 340-41
Christiania, 89
Christopher, pony, 308-9, 318-19, 320, 329, 333, 336, 342
Clarke, Charles, ship's cook, 179
Clissold, Thomas, cook, 209, 276, 278, 280, 286, 289, 296, 319, 329
Coal, 46, 189, 194, 216, 218-19, 220
Colbeck, Captain William, 141-2, 143, 147, 182-3, 185, 194, 198
Coleridge, _quoted_, 211
Colville, Rear-Admiral, 206
Commonwealth Range, 357
Cook, Capt. James, 31
Corner Camp, 247, 261, 263, 270, 312, 314, 317, 372
Coulman Islands, 46, 47, 141
Crater Heights, 60, 234
  Hill, 60, 69, 88
Crean, Thomas, P.O., 209, 237, 243, 259, 261, 262-5, 270, 273,
  278-80, 285, 296, 299, 308, 318, 321, 323, 344, 354, 364, 370-2
Cross, Jacob, P.O., 48, 103, 155-6
'Cruise of the _Beagle_,' 162
Cuts, pony, 262, 264

Dailey, F. E., carpenter, 59, 153, 157
Darwin, Charles, 162
Day, Bernard C., motor engineer, 208, 227, 236, 276-7, 279, 290-1,
  299, 318, 321, 323, 329, 330-1, 339, 340
Debenham, Frank, geologist, 208, 236, 242, 270, 273, 281-2, 283,
  296, 325-6, 327
Dellbridge, James H., 2nd engineer, 138
  Islets, 178
Demetri, dog driver, 209, 276, 278-9, 289, 311, 329, 333, 354,
  356, 372, 411, 418
Dennistoun, James R., 209
Depot Nunatak, 171
Desolation Camp, _Discovery_ Expedition, 163, 172
  Last Expedition, 402
Dickason, Harry, A.B., 209, 242
_Discovery_, the fifth, 21
Dog food, 109
Dogs, 59, 71-2, 95-7, 107 _seq._, 212-13, 218, 226, 228, 239,
  241, 243 _seq._, 270, 278, 285-6, 311, 329, 333 _seq._,
  411
Douglas, Sir Archibald, 18
Drake, Francis R. H., assistant paymaster, 209, 224
Dundee, 19, 20, 23
  Shipbuilding Company, 17

East India Docks, 20
Edward VII, King, 31
Egerton, Admiral Sir George, K.C.B., 15, 81, 206, 425-6 (letter to)
Enderby Quadrant, 29
Entertainments, 85, 86, 87
Erebus Tongue, 315
Esquimault. B.C., 11
Esquimaux, 301, 307
Evans, Lieut. E. R. G. R., 208, 215, 223-5, 232, 236, 242-3, 250,
  258, 262, 311, 314, 317, 330-1, 337-40, 344, 354-5, 357-9, 361,
  363, 364, 368, 370-2
Evans, P.O., 63, 65, 67-8, 97, 105, 153, 157, 164, 165 _seq._,
  178-9, 209, 237, 242, 270, 273, 280, 285-6, 296, 308, 311-12,
  317, 323-4, 326-7, 329, 337, 344, 352, 354-5, 364, 369

Falkland Islands, 199
Feather, Thomas A., boatswain, 100-1, 157, 161, 162, 164-5
Fefer, 229
Ferrar, Hartley T., 27, 48, 67, 97, 103, 138, 157, 159, 163, 176
  Glacier, 152-3, 154, 158-9, 314
Finance Committee, 17-18
Fire, alarm of, 32
Fisher, Admiral Sir John, 10
Fitzclarence, dog, 108
Football, 286, 325
Forde, Robert, P.O., 209, 243, 248, 250, 258, 261, 270, 273, 279,
  312, 314, 317, 326-7
_Fram_, the, 20, 21
Franklin Island, 141
Franz-Josef Land, 25

Gap, the, 60, 234
Gateway, the, 352
Geological specimens, 393-4, 398, 419
Gerof, Demetri. _See_ Demetri
Glacier, the Beardmore, 312, 338-9, 341, 345, 346, 349, 352, 354
  _seq._, 392, 394, 419-20
Glacier Depot, 349, 352
  Tongue, 225, 237, 239-41, 260, 274, 315-16, 324, 344
Gran Tryggve, ski expert, 208, 218, 236, 243, 251, 254, 261-2,
  263, 265, 267, 273, 295-6, 312, 314, 317, 327
Granite Harbor, 50, 51
Grannie, dog, 108
Gus, dog, 108, 125

Haakon, King, 383
Hackenschmidt, pony, 276
Half-Degree Depot, 387
Hamilton, B. T., 229
Hampton Court Palace, 207
Handsley. Jesse, A.B., 153, 157, 164-5, 175, 178-9
Hanson, 43
Hanssen, Hilmer, 383
Hare, 63, 65, 68-9
Hassel, Sverre H., 383
Heald, William L., A.B., 62, 103, 176, 210
Henley, W. E., _quoted_, 385
'Hints to Travelers', 159-60
Hobart Town, 182
Hockey, 149
Hodgson, Thomas V., 25, 27, 147, 149, 154
Hooper, F. J., steward, 209, 276, 279, 280, 289, 339-40
Hoskins, Sir Anthony, 18
Hut, the _Discovery_, 59, 85-86, 87, 233, 239, 269 _seq._, 372
  at Cape Evans, 227, 231, 234 _seq._, 275 _seq._
  Point, 60, 88, 186, 190-1, 233, 240, 242-3, 258, 260-3, 265, 267,
    271, 279, 285, 311, 318, 324, 327-9, 372, 411, 418
Hutton Rocks, 273
Huxley, _quoted_, 311

Icebergs, 44 Inaccessible Island, 297, 316

Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition, 25 Jehu, pony, 308, 318, 328-9,
330, 332-6, 338-9, 340 Jim, dog, 108-9, 125-6, 129 Joe, dog, 108

Kennar, Thomas, P.O., 157, 159
Keohane, Patrick, P.O., 209, 243, 250, 258, 261, 273, 279, 296, 308,
  320, 327, 329, 340, 344, 348, 354, 357, 362, 418
Kid, dog, 108-9, 125
King Edward's Island, 56, 203, 233, 242
Kinsey, J. J., letter to, 426-7
Kipling, Rudyard, _quoted_, 401
Koettlitz, Reginald, surgeon and botanist, 25, 27, 61, _seq._,
  78, 97, 138, 175

Lantaret, 229
Lashly, William, leading stoker, 97, 105, 153, 157, 162, 164, 165
  _seq._, 178, 179, 209, 214, 276, 278-9, 299, 323, 331, 340,
  344, 354-5, 364, 366-7, 369, 371-2
Lectures, 282, 287, 290, 307-8
Levick, G. Murray, surgeon, R.N., 208, 242
Lewis, dog, 108-9, 126
Lillehammer, 229
Lillie, Denis G., biologist, 209, 240
London Docks, 31, 141
Lower Glacier Depot, 356, 398, 404
Lyttelton, 37-8, 211-12
  Heads, 37, 199

Macartney, Sir William Ellison, 427
Mackay, Captain Harry, 182, 190
Macquarie Island, 36, 37, 185
Magnetic huts, 75
  Observatory, 23
Magnetism, 75
_Majestic_, H.M.S., 15, 18, 26, 27
Markham, Sir Clements, 15, 16, 29, 30, 141, 203 _seq._ (preface),
  429
Markham, Lady, 20
McMurdo Sound, 51, 58, 138, 142, 194, 230, 237, 260
Meares, Cecil H., in charge of dogs, 208, 218, 226, 232-4, 236,
  239, 240, 242-4, 246-8, 251-2, 254-8, 261, 263, 265, 267, 273,
  279, 285, 299, 311-12, 318-19, 327, 329, 333, 337, 354, 356
Merchant Shipping Act, 28
Meridians, 217
Message to the public, 430-2
Meteorological observations, 74, 75, 83, 84
  screens, 71, 74
Michael, pony, 308, 347
Middle Barrier Depot, 340, 405, 407
Midwinter celebrations, 290-3
Milton, _quoted_, 254
Monument Rock, 400
_Morning_, the, 43, 53, 135, 141-6, 181 _seq._, 194, 198
Motor sledges, 212, 226-30, 290, 312-13, 318, 321, 326-7, 329-30, 332
Mount Buckley, 393-4
  Cloudmaker, 357-98
  Darwin, 364, 390, 391, 393
  Discovery, 225
  Erebus, 131, 235, 274, 316
  Hooper Depot, 410, 411
  Hope, 346
  Longstaff, 122
  Markham, 124
  Melbourne, 49
  Monteagle, 49
  Murchison, 49
  Sabine, 222
  Terror, 302
  Whewell, 222
Mulock, Lieut. George F. A., 27, 145, 149, 152, 176, 193, 195, 197

Nansen, Dr., 17, 19, 20, 89
Naval Discipline Act, 28
Nell, dog, 101, 108-9, 125-6, 129
Nelson, Edward W., biologist, 208, 224, 227, 236, 276-7, 279, 287,
  319-20
Newbolt, Henry, _quoted_, 31
New Harbor, 153, 157, 315
Newnes, Sir George, 43
New Zealand, 23, 37, 38, 199, 211
New Zealand, Government of, 207
Nigger, dog, 101, 108-9, 125-6, 129
Nobby, pony, 262, 268, 308, 325, 342-3, 351, 353
Northern Party, 233, 242-3
Norway, 17, 89
Norwegians, the, 384-5

Oates, Capt. Lawrence, E.G., 208, 213, 220, 226, 236, 239-40, 241,
  243, 248-9, 252, 254, 261-2, 263, 265, 267, 270, 273, 279-80,
  284-5, 299, 308, 318-20, 321, 333, 336-7, 343-4, 351, 354-5, 364,
  373 _seq._
Outlands, 2, 5
Observatory Hill, 60, 134, 234
Oil, shortage of, 404-5, 408, 411, 416
'Old Mooney,' 6, 8, 9
Omelchenko, Anton. _See_ Anton
One Ton Camp, 253, 317, 326-7, 371, 410-11, 412, 415, 417
Osman, dog, 255-6

P. and O. Company, 25
Pack-ice, 35 _seq._, 44, 49, 51, 196, 216-17, 218
Parry Mountains, 54
Peary, Lieutenant, 28
Penguins, 36, 40, 148, 180, 226
  Emperor, 106, 137, 153, 155, 223, 294, 302, 305
  King, 36
Pennell, Lieut. H. L. L., 209, 224, 230, 238
Petrels, 35
  Antarctic, 40
  Giant, 40
  Southern Fulmar, 40
  White Snow, 40
  Wilson stormy, 35
Pigg, James, pony, 250, 258, 261, 263, 268, 308, 318, 329, 340, 342
Plumley, Frank, stoker, 62, 157
Pole, the South, 382 _seq._
  Camp, 384
Ponies, the, 212-15, 220, 226, 239, 241, 243 _seq._, 263-7,
  285-6, 312, 318, 332 _seq._
Ponting, Herbert G., camera artist, 208, 219, 227-8, 236, 276-7,
  282, 284, 292, 314, 319, 327, 329
Port Chalmers, 38, 39, 76, 212
  Ross, 195
  Stanley, 199
Possession Islands, 141
Pram Point, 263, 269
  Bay, 269
  Ridges, 267
_President_, H.M.S., 206
Pressure Ridges, 319
Priestley, Raymond E., geologist, 208, 223, 242, 260
Proverbs, _quoted_, 137
Punch, pony, 262, 266

Quartley, Arthur L., leading stoker, 63, 65, 67-8, 105, 175

Razor Back Islands, 240, 274
Rennick, Lieut. Henry E. de P., 209, 224
Roberston Bay, 42, 195
Rodd, Sir Rennell, _quoted_, 231
Ross, Sir James, 31, 40, 46, 54-5, 196-7
Ross Harbor, 198
  Island, 176, 203, 239
  Quadrant, 29
  Sea, 216
_Rover_, H.M.S., 10
Royal Geographical Society, 17
Royal Society, 17
Royds, Lieut. Charles W. R., 18, 26, 53, 61 _seq._, 74-5, 78,
  85-7, 97, 105, 132, 137, 139, 147, 149, 155, 176
Russell Islands, 197

Safety Camp, 243-4, 245-6, 254, 258-9, 261-2, 263, 265, 329-30
San Francisco, 11
Sawing-camp, 175, 178-9
_Saxon_, S.S., 207
Scamp, dog, 37
Scott, John Edward, 1
Scott, Lady, extracts from letters to, 427, 428, 429, _et passim_
Scott, Mrs., extract from letter to, 427
Scott of Brownhead, 1
Scott, Peter Markham, 207
Scurvy, 103-4, 117, 129, 134, 144, 148, 371
Sea leopard, 41
  elephant, 185
Seals, 41, 48, 269, 279
  crab-eater, 41
  Ross, 41
Shackleton, Sir Ernest H., 27, 79, 98, 107 _seq._, 143, 145,
  233, 344, 352, 357, 370, 372, 375
Shackleton's hut, 286
Shakespeare, _quoted_, 95, 120, 294, 354
Shambles Camp, 353, 401
Shelley, _quoted_, 74, 167
Ship Committee, 17, 20, 23
Simon's Bay, 32, 33
Simpson. George C., Meteorologist, 208, 231, 236, 277, 281-2, 283,
  312, 316
Skelton, Lieut. Reginald W., 18, 27, 60 _seq._, 85-6, 105,
  135, 138, 147-8, 153, 162, 164-5, 176, 191-3, 229
Ski, 19, 60, 61, 130, 173, 246, 340, 354-5, 358, 360, 370, 375,
  386, 388, 390
Ski-shoes, 361
Skua gulls, 40, 148, 180
Skuary, the, 225
Sledge equipment, 89, 151, 312
Sledges, 91, 92, 279, 280, 370
Sleeping-bags, 304, 306, 307, 388
Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Reginald, 427
Smith's Inlet, 260
Snatcher, dog, 108, 115
  pony, 308, 325, 329, 352
Snippets, pony, 308-9, 328, 332, 341, 343
Snow-shoes, for ponies, 245, 247, 308, 352
South Africa, Government of, 207
Southern Barrier Depot, 342
  Road, the, 239-40
South Polar Times, _Discovery_ Expedition, 79-80
  Last Expedition, 281, 290-1, 373
Spenser, _quoted_, 52
Speyer, Sir Edgar, letter to, 424
Spud, dog, 108-9, 115
Stareek, dog, 244-5
Stoke Damerel, 5
Stripes, dog, 108
Stubbington House, Fareham, 5
Sturge Island, 197
Sun, eclipse of, 156
Sverdrup's 'New Land', 295

Taylor, T. Griffith, geologist, 208, 223, 236, 242, 270, 273-4,
  281-2, 283, 287, 291, 327
Telephone, the, 318-19
Tent, double, 295
Tent, Island, 297, 325
  Islet, 184
_Terra Nova_, Discovery Expedition, 182-3, 187 _seq._, 194, 198
  Last Expedition, 207, 211, 220, 237, 292, 324, 372
Thermometer, minimum, 253, 337
Thomson, Sir Courtauld, 11
Three Degree Depot, 370, 385-6, 387, 389, 404
Transport, 312, 345
Turtle Back Island, 271

Uncle Bill, pony, 262-3
Uniform overcoat, 309
Union Jack, the, 235, 291, 384, 428-9
Upper Glacier Depot, 390, 392, 404

Vic, dog, 108
Victor, pony, 308-9, 325, 334, 343
Victoria, B.C., 11
  Land, 42, 76, 138, 167, 176, 196, 203, 233, 260
  Quadrant, 29
_Victorious_, H.M.S., 206
Vince, A. B., 63, 66-9, 190, 234

Weary Willy, pony, 245, 251, 261-3
Weddell Quadrant, 29
Weller, William J., A.B., 48, 62, 157
Western Geological Party (1), 242, 260, 270
  (2) 317, 325, 327
Western Mountains, 312, 325
Whales, killer, 227-8
White Island, 134, 261, 264
Wild, Frank, 62-3, 66, 67, 97, 105, 344
Wilkes, Commodore, 197
Wilkes Land, 198
Williams, William, engineer, 209, 214
Williamson, Thomas S., P.O., 157, 209, 229
Wilson, Dr.  E.  A., chief, the scientific staff (Last Expedition),
  zoologist, 5, 26-8, 35-6, 48-9, 53, 75-6, 80, 103, 107
  _seq._, 143-4, 147, 153, 155-6, 176, 180-1, 185, 195, 208, 219-20,
  223, 225, 231, 236, 240, 242-4, 246-8, 254-6, 258, 261, 263, 265,
  267, 269-70, 272-3, 279-80, 286, 289, 294, 300-7, 308, 318-19,
  320-2, 324-5, 329, 335, 344, 351, 353-5, 361, 364, 372 _seq._
Wilson, Mrs., letter to, 421
Winter Quarter Bay, 60
Wisting, Oscar, 383
Wolf, dog, 108-9
Wolseley Motor Company, 229
Wood Bay, 49, 50, 141
Wright, Charles S., physicist, 208, 224, 231, 236, 242, 270, 280,
  283, 308, 314, 321, 329, 335, 340, 344, 354-5, 362






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