March 11, 2012

Monday, 11 March 1912


"Titus Oates is very near the end, one feels," Scott wrote. "What we or he will do, God only knows. We 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 anyone of us may know how to do so. Wilson had no choice between doing so and our ransacking the medicine case. We have 30 opium tabloids apiece and he is left with a tube of morphine. So far the tragical side of our story." [1]

"The sky completely overcast when we started this morning. We could see nothing, lost the tracks, and doubtless have been swaying a good deal since -- 3.1 miles for the forenoon -- terribly heavy dragging -- expected it. Know that 6 miles is about the limit of our endurance now, if we get no help from wind or surfaces. We have 7 days' food and should be about 55 miles from One Ton Camp to-night, 6 × 7 = 42, leaving us 13 miles short of our distance, even if things get no worse."


The Daily Chronicle published a letter from Nansen defending Amundsen. "[He] had set his course, as he had determined, and without looking back.... It was foggy day after day, week after week -- the charitable fog of mediocrities in which all that is high and great is shrouded, when all at once ... a new message came. Men stop, look up, and there, high above them shines a deed, a man.... It is unique as a deed, as a voyage of discovery, and in results; and told so simply, as if it were of an Easter pleasure trip on the mountains. And yet what does it not convey of a sage, well-laid plan, and splendid execution of determined courage, endurance and manly power!" [2]


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 11 March, 1912, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.
[2] Daily Chronicle, 11 March, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.547-548.

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