April 14, 2011

Friday, 14 April 1911


After weeks on the Barrier, and with their faces black with smoke from the Discovery hut's blubber stove, the men walked off the sea-ice and into the hut at Cape Evans.

"I shall never forget the breakfast that Clissold prepared for us," Teddy Evans remembered with feeling, "hot rolls, heaps of butter, milk, sugar, jam, a fine plate of tomato soup, and fried seal cooked superbly. The meal over, we shaved, bathed, and put on clean clothes, smoked cigarettes, and took a day's holiday." [1]

The party back at Hut Point were very anxious about those who had gone ahead, and upon seeing the prearranged signal gun from Cape Evans that evening, "all went wild with excitement," wrote Cherry in his diary, "knowing that all was well. Meares ran in and soaked some awning with paraffin, and we lifted it as an answering flare and threw it into the air again and again, until it was burning in little bits all over the snow. The relief was great." [2]

Scott himself wrote, "It was not until I found all safe at the Home Station that I realised how anxious I had been concerning it. In a normal season no thought of its having been in danger would have occurred to me, but since the loss of the ponies and the breaking of the 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; gloomy thoughts of the havoc that might have been wrought by such an event would arise in spite of the sound reasons which had originally led me to choose the site of the hut as a safe one." [3]

"Anton considers the death of Hackenschmidt to have been an act of 'cussedness' -- the result of a determination to do no work for the Expedition!!"


[1] E.R.G.R. Evans, South with Scott, p.107, quoted by David Crane in Scott of the Antarctic (New York : Knopf, c2005), p.436.
[2] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.5.
[3] R.F. Scott, diary, "Impressions on returning to the Hut, April 13, 1911", quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.

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