February 12, 2013

Wednesday, 12 February 1913


The Terra Nova put in at Lyttelton, to find flags at half-mast.

"Yes, Scott is dead, the adventure is at an end," wrote Gran, "and the future lies ahead." [1]

Amundsen was on a lecture tour in Madison, Wisconsin when he heard the news. "In a spirit of absolute dejection," wrote the New York Times, "travel-stained and woebegone, [the] discoverer of the south pole paced his apartment at the Blackstone Hotel this afternoon, and with an intensity of emotion, which he unsuccessfully endeavored to conceal, paid tribute to Capt. Scott and his brave associates who perished with him in the Antarctic.

"'Horrible, horrible!' exclaimed Capt. Amundsen, as he walked back and forth .... 'I cannot read that last message of Scott's without emotion. I never met him, personally, but I know he was a brave man. That is the way he died, like a brave man.'

"'And to think,' added the Captain in a hushed tone, 'that while those brave men were dying out there in the waste of ice, I was lecturing in warmth and comfort in Australia.'"

Asked about his Arctic ambitions, he replied, guarded as ever, "'I do not seek the pole. I may not even reach it. I do not care whether I do. These stories that I am actually to seek the pole are untrue. I am going up into that vicinity only on a scientific expedition, chiefly to study air and ocean currents. If I am close to the pole and conditions are favorable I will go there, not otherwise.'" [2]


[1] Tryggve Gran, diary, 12 February, 1913, quoted in The Norwegian With Scott : Tryggve Gran's Antarctic Diary 1910-1913 ([Greenwich] : National Maritime Museum, 1984), p.237.
[2] New York Times, 11 February, 1913.

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