Tuesday, February 16, 2010

15 February, 1911

Camp 14

The surface is wretched today. Bowers's pony refused to work at intervals, though Weary Willie is much recovered form his trauma.

I like to call Oates The Soldier because he represents the Army among us Navy men.

He and I have had some serious words about our intentions for them. He thinks we ought to work them to death -- take them as far as they will go to get us to the 80th parallel, then shoot them and depot the meat for food. As far as he's concerned, they are just about done and sees no use in trying to save them.

I feel that we ought to save as many ponies as possible for use next year, so ought to treat them carefully. I cannot abide cruelty to animals, and simply flogging them out is just that. If this means we shan't make our goal to depot one ton of supplies at at 80 degrees south, then so be it. We will simply have to plan for that.

The Soldier feels this is a grave mistake and says I'll regret it. He comes very close to insubordination, no doubt a feature of his being a gentleman in civilian life and having bought his way aboard the expedition, as if that gave him rights. Well, he's got another think coming. I'm in charge here, and I'll have it my way or not at all.

Still he does seem to take a gloomy view of everything, but that's just his character. He does pay every attention to the weaker ponies despite his lack of optimism.

The more I see of the matter the more certain I am that using the ponies next year is the key to our success. One thing is certain. A good snow shoe would be worth its weight in gold on this surface, and if we can get something really practical we ought to greatly increase our distances next year.

I tell you what, though. Five men to a tent isn't half as bad as I thought it would be. Something to consider.

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