Friday, January 15, 2010

15 January, 1911

I'm so incensed and uncomfortably cold I can barely write.

This was our first day of rest since we landed; I held Divine Service on the beach after the officers and men arrived from the ship. It was quite impressive in the open air. Most of the chaps are taking this opportunity to write their letters home.

I told Campbell about replacing his two ponies and he took it like a gentleman. We explored the route to Cape Royds and to my surprise found it far less crevassed than expected; I went on quite a way before turning back to leave Campbell, Gran and Nelson roped together on ski.

After lunch Meares and I commenced on our journey out to Hut Point over the sea ice. We took nine dogs, a little provision, a cooker and our sleeping bags. The dogs were brisk and soon we were at Glacier Tongue. We saw Shackleton's Nimrod depot and found there a good deal of compressed fodder and boxes of maize, but no grain crusher as expected. We skirted some very large cracks, and at every one were plenty of seal.

Once we arrived at my beloved hut -- where we had spent such good times during the Discovery expedition ten years ago -- to my great chagrin we found it filled with snow!!!!

Shackleton reported that he'd had to break into a window because the door was stuck. They all stayed there -- members of the Nimrod crew had written their names upon the boards!!! But they actually went away and left the window open; as a result, nearly the whole of the interior of the hut is filled with hard icy snow, and it is impossible to find shelter inside.

Meares and I were able to clamber over the snow to some extent and examine the neat pile of cases in the middle, but they will take much digging out.

We got some asbestos sheeting from the magnetic hut and made the best shelter we could to boil our cocoa.

There is something too depressing in finding the old hut in such a desolate condition. I was so looking forward to seeing all the old landmarks intact. To have to camp outside like this amid confused debris and to feel that all the old comfort and cheer had departed is dreadfully heartrending.

I am terribly depressed.

It is difficult to conceive the absolutely selfish frame of mind that can perpetrate a deed like this. It seems a fundamental expression of civilised human sentiment that men who come to such places as this should leave what comfort they can to welcome those who follow, and finding that such a simple duty has been barbarously neglected by our immediate predecessors disgusts me horribly.

The bastard.

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