October 29, 2012

Tuesday, 29 October 1912


Mules ready to start, 29th October 1912, photographed probably by Debenham. [1]

The search party started out from Cape Evans, twelve men with dogs and the seven Indian Army Himalayan mules. They kept as close to the old route as possible.

They had discussed during the winter the courses available to them: to go south in search of Scott and the Polar party, or west to relieve Campbell and the Northern Party. It was thought that the ice would not be strong enough to reach Campbell, who might, they thought, have already been picked up by the Terra Nova anyway.


[1] Scott Polar Research Institute.

October 8, 2012

Tuesday, 8 October 1912


Kathleen Scott with her son Peter. [1]

Still waiting at home for news, Kathleen Scott, perhaps somewhat defensively, perhaps not, kept writing boundlessly optimistic letters to her husband in the Antarctic.

"174 Buckingham Palace Road
October 8 1912

"To think that you will get this in quite a reasonably few months! Last night I had a party! To show your films at the tiny theatre of the Gaumont Co, very elect indeed!!! It houses 24 people & I'll tell you who they were, & will you please say I'm a good wife!

"There was Lord Curzon & Prince Louis of Battenberg & his princess & his son, & Sir Francis and Lady Bridgeman & Sir George & Lady Egerton & Mrs McKenna (an excitement in the House of Commons prevented Mr McKenna & Winston Churchill coming, the latter sent a nice telegram) and Sir Henry Clissold & Gertrude Bell & Leonard Darwin & Mr Longstaff & Willy and Ettie & the Baroness Erlenger & Sir Henry Galway & Admiral Parry Cust and Mr Newell and Peter!!

"Don't you think that was a nice party, & everybody was so thrilled. They are the most wonderful thing I ever saw, the ones in the tent are so splendid. Sir George Egerton was so excited he could scarcely contain himself, & Prince Louis hopped about & asked questions. I got Ponting to come & introduced him to everyone & made a great fuss of him & was ever so elated.

"It really was lovely, & Peter was so adorable & sensible. He said 'The motor sledge' -- can't imagine how he knew. It is the first time in his life he has been up after 6.30 & he was out till 11.30 & this morning looks fitter than ever, apparently he is like his mother & thrives on dissipation!

"I'm going to have another little show on Sat. afternoon, the Gaumont people love it & I think it does good. They are so wonderful.

"Lambie dear, there's another thing I want to impress upon you -- I don't know whether you have just heard the Amundsen news or whether you learnt it at the Pole (neither bear thinking of) but I want to tell you with six months knowledge of it upon one that it matters very very little -- so far less than one thought at first -- indeed in some respects it has done good for it has laid great stress on the differences of the two ventures & the greater scientific importance of yours is percolating in to the public mind in a manner it never would have done had not contrast been shown -- upon my word I don't think it has made a scrap of difference. I couldn't have believed it would matter so little.

"Of course everybody says he didn't play the game, but I can make myself see another point of view -- If a man is doing anything that only one man can do -- be the first man to invent anything, first man to find gold, first man to perform some long thought of operation etc etc galore. Anything wherein the main shout is in being first he does not perhaps apprise all the people working along the same lines as his progress and intents, and yet no one thinks his gains ill gotten -- It is only a point of view.

"Oh my darling how I love you and long to talk with you and know that you are content. You're not going to let the little Amundsen pinprick (upon my word it's no more) worry you, are you? It looked huge when it first met the eye and has now dwindled into nothing.

"You are loved and respected in England in a way that makes me very happy. To see your little face in the Cinematograph last night, almost like a stranger after all these years, and your dear toes when you took off your socks then to feel that in a few short months --!

"Don't ever be sad, my darling, life is ever so glorious. I'm so happy everybody is so nice to me for your sake I like to know and our little home's so nice and my work prospers and I'm so well and Peter so magnificent & you're coming home to us." [2]


[1] Source unknown.
[2] "Kathleen Scott's last letter to her husband", Telegraph.co.uk, 15 January, 2007.