Saturday, November 28, 2009

28 November, 1910

What a day! Up at the crack of dawn for the train down to Port Chalmers. Thankfully, Kathleen and I had an entire carriage to ourselves for a bit of privacy, though I fear Wilson may have been a bit put out to be excluded. Taff Evans rode down too, as we came to an agreement as to his continuing on with the expedition. He came to see me hat in hand and very sorry, promising not to let the side down again etc. What could I do? I gave him a good telling off, but in my heart of hearts I was much relieved for I was depending on him for his strength on the sledging journeys. I expected Teddy Evans would take this badly, and he did. But then again, I am the Captain and he is not: it's just that simple.

Have written to Nansen:

"We may have made a mistake in having such an extensive organization but I am most anxious to get really good scientific results and for that one ought to have a number of experts--as to the travelling we might have improved matters by having more dogs and fewer ponies--it is difficult to say--the animals we have are splendid and all in good condition."

That should placate him somewhat as he was very critical of my decision to use the ponies, and insisted on just using dogs. Well, I shall prove him wrong on this count. Oates keeps smiling at me for some reason, and it's got to be something to do with the ponies, because he is not taken to smiling much--but for the life of me I can't figure out what it might be.

As soon as we got off the train we were met with hysterics from the Evanses--Kathleen really has it out for Hilda and she might be right there--apparently there has been much talk of insurrection and the like in my absence, fueled, it seems, by female nerves, and Teddy announced he was ready to chuck it all in. I smoothed him down.

I write this while resting up at the hotel. Tonight we have a dance to attend for which Kathleen is bathing in preparation. I can hear her singing and splashing. Her hair takes such a long time to dry, and she is anxious for it to do so before the event. She does take these things very seriously, and at some level I feel needs to compete with Hilda E., who for all her neuroses and youth is really very pretty.

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