March 10, 2012

Sunday, 10 March 1912


"Things steadily downhill," Scott wrote. "Oates' foot worse. 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. The weather conditions are awful, and our gear gets steadily more icy and difficult to manage. At the same time of course poor Titus is the greatest handicap. He keeps us waiting in the morning until we have partly lost the warming effect of our good breakfast, when the only wise policy is to be up and away at once; again at lunch. Poor chap! it is too pathetic to watch him; one cannot but try to cheer him up." [1]

"Yesterday we marched up the depot, Mt. Hooper. Cold comfort. Shortage on our allowance all round." Having had Meares and the dogs go further than planned in November, and the last-minute decision to take five men to the pole instead of four, had meant that the returning parties passing the depot earlier had been forced to break into rations and redistribute them; Scott seemed now not to remember this, and wrote in his diary, "I don't know that anyone is to blame -- but generosity & thoughtfulness have not been abundant -- The dogs which would have been our salvation have evidently failed. Meares had a bad trip home I suppose. -- It's a miserable jumble."

With no sign of the Polar party at One Ton, Cherry-Garrard and Dimitri turned back for Cape Evans.


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 10 March, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.292. The two asides in the second paragraph quoted here -- "generosity & thoughtfulness have not been abundant" and "It's a miserable jumble" -- were deleted from the published edition of Scott's diary.

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