My Dear Mrs. Wilson,
If this letter reaches you Bill and I will have gone out together. We are very near it now and I should like you to know how splendid he was at the end—everlastingly cheerful and ready to sacrifice himself for others, never a word of blame to me for leading him into this mess. He is not suffering, luckily, at least only minor discomforts.
His eyes have a comfortable blue look of hope and his mind is peaceful with the satisfaction of his faith in regarding himself as part of the great scheme of the Almighty. I can do no more to comfort you than to tell you that he died as he lived, a brave, true man—the best of comrades and staunchest of friends.
My heart goes out to you in pity,
Oates wanted him to visit his mother if we returned and to give her his things, but he's had to write to her instead.
Here it is:
This is a sad ending to our undertaking. Your son died a very noble death, God knows. I have never seen or heard of such courage as he showed from first to last with his feet both badly frostbitten—never a word of complaint or of the pain. He was a great example. Dear Mrs. Oates, he asked me at the end, to see you and give you this diary of his—You, he told me, are the only woman he has ever loved.