February 23, 2011

Thursday, 23 February 1911


In the morning, "Scott jumped out of his bag," Cherry wrote in his diary, "& said, 'By Jove, what a chance we have missed -- we might have taken Amundsen & sent him back in the ship.' Bill [Wilson] very strong against any such idea -- [I] in sympathy -- at present Scott in right, Amundsen in wrong -- Scott argued there was no law down here & we know A. is acting against the wishes of his king." [1]

Cherry wrote years later, "Such a mood could not and did not bear a moment's reflection; but it was natural enough. We had just paid the first instalment of the heart-breaking labour of making a path to the Pole; and we felt, however unreasonably, that we had earned the first right of way. Our sense of co-operation and solidarity had been wrought up to an extraordinary pitch; and we had so completely forgotten the spirit of competition that its sudden intrusion jarred frightfully. I do not defend our burst of rage -- for such it was -- I simply record it as an integral human part of my narrative." [2]


Conditions on the second depot-laying journey were different from a week earlier.

"Prestrud," Johansen wrote, "who goes loose and unhindered in front on ski was impatient and bad tempered because he could not get into the tent and begin cooking. 'They began cooking in the other tent long ago,' he said. I had to inform him that not all dogs are equally good, and some have to be behind. There is nothing to be done about it. It is the heaviest job to come behind with the less good dogs. And when I finally arrive -- he creeps into the tent and begins cooking, but I've got to finish feeding my dogs, and arranging sledges, harnesses etc. and take in [sleeping] bags and clothes. When everything is in order, Amundsen and Hassel come in, and we creep together and eat our pemmican -- It is silent in the tent. We have not exchanged a word since our quarrel." [3]


[1] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, diary, 24 February, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.368.
[2] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.5.
[3] Hjalmar Johansen, diary, 24 February, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.351.

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