Tuesday, October 26, 2010

23 October, 1911

I'm in a writing mood today. I wrote to Kathleen. Here's what I said.

I don't know what to think of Amundsen's chances. If he gets to the Pole, it must be before we do, as he is bound to travel fast with dogs and pretty certain to start early. On this account I decided at a very early date to act exactly as I should have done had he not existed. Any attempt to race must have wrecked my plan, besides which it doesn't appear the sort of thing one is out for.

It is the work that counts, not the applause that follows.

I told her what I thought of some of our chaps. Bill, of course, is the finest character I ever met. He's clearly the most popular member of our party.

Bowers is all and more than I ever expected of him, a positive treasure, absolutely trustworthy and prodigiously energetic. He is the hardest man among us, and that is saying a good deal. Nothing seems to hurt his tough little body and certainly no hardship daunts his spirit. He has indefatigable zeal, is unselfish, and has inexhaustible good humor. He is highly intelligent and has an exceptional memory for details. He is in truth an indispensable assistant to me in every work detail concerning the management and organization of our sledging work and a delightful companion on the march.

Wright is a great success, has taken to sledging like a duck to water.

The Soldier is very popular with all.

Cherry goes out of his way to help others.

Evans, on the other hand, shows an extraordinary lack of initiative outside his own work.

Edgar Evans has proved a useful member of our party, looking after our sledges and equipment with a fertility of resource which is astonishing.

Crean is happy to do anything and go anywhere. He and Evans are best of friends. Lashley is his old self in every respect, working to the limit, quiet, abstemious, determined.

The study of individual character is a pleasant pastime in such a mixed community of thoroughly nice people, and the study of relationships and interactions is fascinating -- men of the most diverse upbringing and experience are really pals with one another, and the subjects which would be delicate ground of discussion between acquaintances are just those which are most freely used in jest.

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