CHAPTER IV. A HAPPY FAMILY

  By mutual confidence and mutual aid 
  Great deeds are done and great discoveries made. 
   - ANON.

With the certainty of having to stay in the Discovery hut for some time, the party set to work at once to make it as comfortable as possible. With packing-cases a large L-shaped inner apartment was made, the intervals being stopped with felt, and an empty kerosene tin and some firebricks were made into an excellent little stove which was connected to the old stove-pipe.

As regards food almost an unlimited supply of biscuit was available, and during a walk to Pram Point on Monday, March 6, Scott and Wilson found that the sea-ice in Pram Point Bay had not gone out and was crowded with seals, a happy find that guaranteed the party as much meat as they wanted. 'We really have everything necessary for our comfort and only need a little more experience to make the best of our resources.... It is splendid to see the way in which everyone is learning the ropes, and the resource which is being shown. Wilson as usual leads in the making of useful suggestions and in generally providing for our wants. He is a tower of strength in checking the ill-usage of clothes - what I have come to regard as the greatest danger with Englishmen.'

On Saturday night a blizzard sprang up and gradually increased in force until it reminded Scott and Wilson of the gale which drove the Discovery ashore. The blizzard continued until noon on Tuesday, on which day the Western Geological Party (Griffith Taylor, Wright, Debenham and P.O. Evans) returned to the hut after a successful trip.

Two days later another depôt party started to Corner Camp, E. Evans, Wright, Crean and Forde in one team; Bowers, Oates, Cherry-Garrard and Atkinson in the other. 'It was very sporting of Wright to join in after only a day's rest. He is evidently a splendid puller.'

During the absence of this party the comforts of the hut were constantly being increased, but continuous bad weather was both depressing to the men and very serious for the dogs. Every effort had been made to make the dogs comfortable, but the changes of wind made it impossible to give them shelter in all directions. At least five of them were in a sorry plight, and half a dozen others were by no means strong, but whether because they were constitutionally harder or whether better fitted by nature to protect themselves the other ten or a dozen animals were as fit as they could be. As it was found to be impossible to keep the dogs comfortable in the traces, the majority of them were allowed to run loose; for although Scott feared that this freedom would mean that there would be some fights to the death, he thought it preferable to the risk of losing the animals by keeping them on the leash. The main difficulty with them was that when the ice once got thoroughly into the coats their hind legs became half paralyzed with cold, but by allowing them to run loose it was hoped that they would be able to free themselves of this serious trouble. 'Well, well, fortune is not being very kind to us. This month will have sad memories. Still I suppose things might be worse; the ponies are well housed and are doing exceedingly well....'

The depôt party returned to the hut on March 23, but though the sea by this time showed symptoms of wanting to freeze, there was no real sign that the ice would hold for many a long day. Stock therefore was taken of their resources, and arrangements were made for a much longer stay than had been anticipated. A week later the ice, though not thickening rapidly, held south of Hut Point, but the stretch from Hut Point to Turtle Back Island still refused to freeze even in calm weather, and Scott began to think that they might not be able to get back to Cape Evans before May. Soon afterwards, however, the sea began to freeze over completely, and on Thursday evening, April 6, a program, subject to the continuance of good weather, was arranged for a shift to Cape Evans. 'It feels good,' Cherry-Garrard wrote, 'to have something doing in the air.' But the weather prevented them from starting on the appointed day, and although Scott was most anxious to get back and see that all was well at Cape Evans, the comfort achieved in the old hut was so great that he confessed himself half-sorry to leave it.

Describing their life at Hut Point he says, 'We gather around the fire seated on packing-cases, with a hunk of bread and butter and a steaming pannikin of tea, and life is well worth living. After lunch we are out and about again; there is little to tempt a long stay indoors, and exercise keeps us all the fitter.

'The failing light and approach of supper drives us home again with good appetites about 5 or 6 o'clock, and then the cooks rival one another in preparing succulent dishes of fried seal liver.... Exclamations of satisfaction can be heard every night - or nearly every night; for two nights ago (April 4) Wilson, who has proved a genius in the invention of "plats," almost ruined his reputation. He proposed to fry the seal liver in penguin blubber, suggesting that the latter could be freed from all rankness.... The "fry" proved redolent of penguin, a concentrated essence of that peculiar flavor which faintly lingers in the meat and should not be emphasized. Three heroes got through their pannikins, but the rest of us decided to be contented with cocoa and biscuit after tasting the first mouthful. [Footnote: Wilson, referring to this incident in his Journal, showed no signs of contrition. 'Fun over a fry I made in my new penguin lard. It was quite a success and tasted like very bad sardine oil.']

'After supper we have an hour or so of smoking and conversation - a cheering, pleasant hour - in which reminiscences are exchanged by a company which has very literally had world-wide experience. There is scarce a country under the sun which one or another of us has not traveled in, so diverse are our origins and occupations.

'An hour or so after supper we tail off one by one.... Everyone can manage eight or nine hours' sleep without a break, and not a few would have little difficulty in sleeping the clock round, which goes to show that our exceedingly simple life is an exceedingly healthy one, though with faces and hands blackened with smoke, appearances might not lead an outsider to suppose it.'

On Tuesday, April 11, a start could be made for Cape Evans, the party consisting of Scott, Bowers, P.O. Evans and Taylor in one tent; E. Evans, Gran, Crean, Debenham and Wright in another; Wilson being left in charge at Hut Point, with Meares, Forde, Keohane, Oates, Atkinson and Cherry-Garrard.

In fine weather they marched past Castle Rock, and it soon became evident that they must go well along the ridge before descending, and that the difficulty would be to get down over the cliffs. Seven and a half miles from the start they reached Hutton Rocks, a very icy and wind-swept spot, and as the wind rose and the light became bad at the critical moment they camped for a short time. Half an hour later the weather cleared and a possible descent to the ice cliffs could be seen, but between Hutton Rock and Erebus all the slope was much cracked and crevassed. A clear track to the edge of the cliffs was chosen, but on arriving there no low place could be found (the lowest part being 24 feet sheer drop), and as the wind was increasing and the snow beginning to drift off the ridge a quick decision had to be made.

Then Scott went to the edge, and having made standing places to work the Alpine rope, Bowers., E. Evans and Taylor were lowered. Next the sledges went down fully packed and then the remainder of the party, Scott being the last to go down. It was a neat and speedy piece of work, and completed in twenty minutes without serious frost-bites.

The surface of ice covered with salt crystals made pulling very heavy to Glacier Tongue, which they reached about 5.30 P.M. A stiff incline on a hard surface followed, but as the light was failing and cracks were innumerable, several of the party fell in with considerable risk of damage. The north side, however, was well snow-covered, with a good valley leading to a low ice cliff in which a broken piece provided an easy descent. Under the circumstances Scott decided to push on to Cape Evans, but darkness suddenly fell upon them, and after very heavy pulling for many hours they were so totally unable to see anything ahead, that at 10 P.M. they were compelled to pitch their camp under little Razor Back Island. During the night the wind began to rise, and in the morning a roaring blizzard was blowing, and obviously the ice on which they had pitched their camp was none too safe. For hours they waited vainly for a lull, until at 3 P.M. Scott and Bowers went round the Island, with the result that they resolved to shift their camp to a little platform under the weather side. This operation lasted for two very cold hours, but splendid shelter was gained, the cliffs rising almost sheer from the tents. 'Only now and again a whirling wind current eddied down on the tents, which were well secured, but the noise of the wind sweeping over the rocky ridge above our heads was deafening; we could scarcely hear ourselves speak.' Provisions for only one more meal were left, but sleep all the same was easier to get than on the previous night, because they knew that they were no longer in danger of being swept out to sea.

The wind moderated during the night, and early in the morning the party in a desperately cold and stiff breeze and with frozen clothes were again under weigh. The distance, however, was only two miles, and after some very hard pulling they arrived off the point and found that the sea-ice continued around it. 'It was a very great relief to see the hut on rounding it and to hear that all was well.'

In choosing the site of the hut Scott had thought of the possibility of northerly winds bringing a swell, but had argued, first, that no heavy northerly swell had ever been recorded in the Sound; secondly, that a strong northerly wind was bound to bring pack which would damp the swell; thirdly, that the locality was well protected by the Barne Glacier; and, lastly, that the beach itself showed no signs of having been swept by the sea. When, however, the hut had been erected and he found that its foundation was only eleven feet above the level of the sea-ice, he could not rid himself entirely of misgivings.

As events turned out the hut was safe and sound enough, but not until Scott reached it, on April 13, did he realize how anxious he had been. 'In a normal season no thoughts of its having been in danger would have occurred to me, but since the loss of the ponies and the breaking of Glacier Tongue, I could not rid myself of the fear that misfortune was in the air and that some abnormal swell had swept the beach.' So when he and his party turned the small headland and saw that the hut was intact, a real fear was mercifully removed. Very soon afterwards the travelers were seen by two men at work near the stables, and then the nine occupants (Simpson, Day, Nelson, Ponting, Lashly, Clissold, Hooper, Anton and Demetri) came rapidly to meet and welcome them. In a minute the most important events of the quiet station life were told, the worst news being that one pony, named Hacken-schmidt, and one dog had died. For the rest the hut arrangements had worked admirably, and the scientific routine of observations was in full swing.

After their primitive life at the Discovery hut the interior space of the home at Cape Evans seemed palatial, and the comfort luxurious. 'It was very good to eat in civilized fashion, to enjoy the first bath for three months, and have contact with clean, dry clothing. Such fleeting hours of comfort (for custom soon banished their delight) are the treasured remembrance of every Polar traveler.' Not for many hours or even minutes, however, was Scott in the hut before he was taken round to see in detail the transformation that had taken place in his absence, and in which a very proper pride was taken by those who had created it.

First of all a visit was paid to Simpson's Corner, where numerous shelves laden with a profusion of self-recording instruments, electric batteries and switchboards were to be seen, and the tickings of many clocks, the gentle whir of a motor and occasionally the trembling note of an electric bell could be heard. 'It took me days and even months to realize fully the aims of our meteorologist and the scientific accuracy with which he was achieving them.'

From Simpson's Corner Scott was taken on his tour of inspection into Ponting's dark room, and found that the art of photography had never been so well housed within the Polar regions and rarely without them. 'Such a palatial chamber for the development of negatives and prints can only be justified by the quality of the work produced in it, and is only justified in our case by such an artist as Ponting.'

From the dark room he went on to the biologists' cubicle, shared, to their mutual satisfaction, by Day and Nelson. There the prevailing note was neatness, and to Day's mechanical skill everyone paid tribute. The heating, lighting and ventilating arrangements of the hut had been left entirely in his charge, and had been carried out with admirable success. The cook's corner was visited next, and Scott was very surprised to see the mechanical ingenuity shown by Clissold. 'Later,' he says, 'when I found that Clissold was called in to consult on the ailments of Simpson's motor, and that he was capable of constructing a dog sledge out of packing-cases, I was less surprised, because I knew by this time that he had had considerable training in mechanical work before he turned his attention to pots and pans.'

The tour ended with an inspection of the shelters for the animals, and when Scott saw the stables he could not help regretting that some of the stalls would have to remain empty, though he appreciated fully the fact that there was ample and safe harborage for the ten remaining ponies. With Lashly's help, Anton had completed the furnishing of the stables in a way that was both neat and effective.

Only five or six dogs had been left in Demetri's charge, and it was at once evident that every care had been taken of them; not only had shelters been made, but a small 'lean to' had also been built to serve as a hospital for any sick animal. The impressions, in short, that Scott received on his return to Cape Evans were almost wholly pleasant, and in happy contrast with the fears that had assailed him on the homeward route.

Not for long, however, did he, Bowers and Crean stay to enjoy the comforts of Cape Evans, as on Monday, April 17, they were off again to Hut Point with two 10-foot sledges, a week's provisions of sledding food, and butter, oatmeal, &c., for the hut. Scott, Lashly, Day and Demetri took the first sledge; Bowers, Nelson, Crean and Hooper the second; and after a rather adventurous journey, in which 'Lashly was splendid at camp work as of old,' they reached Hut Point at 1 P.M. on the following day, and found everyone well and in good spirits. The party left at the hut were, however, very short of seal-meat, a cause of anxiety, because until the sea froze over there was no possibility of getting the ponies back to Cape Evans. But three seals were reported on the Wednesday and promptly killed, and so Scott, satisfied that this stock was enough for twelve days, resolved to go back as soon as the weather would allow him.

Leaving Meares in charge of the station with Demetri to help with the dogs, Lashly and Keohane to look after the ponies, and Nelson, Day and Forde to get some idea of the life and experience, the homeward party started on Friday morning. On this journey Scott, Wilson, Atkinson and Crean pulled one sledge, and Bowers, Oates, Cherry-Garrard and Hooper the other. Scott's party were the leaders, and their sledge dragged so fearfully that the men with the second sledge had a very easy time in keeping up. Then Crean declared that although the loads were equal there was a great difference in the sledges. 'Bowers,' Scott says, 'politely assented when I voiced this sentiment, but I am sure he and his party thought it the plea of tired men. However, there was nothing like proof, and he readily assented to change sledges. The difference was really extraordinary; we felt the new sledge a featherweight compared with the old, and set up a great pace for the home quarters regardless of how much we perspired.'

All of them arrived at Cape Evans with their garments soaked through, and as they took off their wind clothes showers of ice fell upon the floor. The accumulation was almost beyond belief and showed the whole trouble of sledding in cold weather. Clissold, however, was at hand with 'just the right meal,' an enormous dish of rice and figs, and cocoa in a bucket. The sledding season was at an end, and Scott admitted that in spite of all the losses they had sustained it was good to be home again, while Wilson, Oates, Atkinson and Cherry-Garrard, who had not seen the hut since it had been fitted out, were astonished at its comfort.

On Sunday, April 23, two days after the return from Hut Point, the sun made it's last appearance and the winter work was begun. Ponies for exercise were allotted to Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, Hooper, Clissold, P.O. Evans and Crean, besides Oates and Anton, but in making this allotment Scott was obliged to add a warning that those who exercised the ponies would not necessarily lead them in the spring.

Wilson at once began busily to paint, and Atkinson was equally busy unpacking and setting up his sterilizers and incubators. Wright began to wrestle with the electrical instruments; Oates started to make bigger stalls in the stables; Cherry-Garrard employed himself in building a stone house for taxidermy and with a view to getting hints for a shelter at Cape Crozier during the winter, while Taylor and Debenham took advantage of the last of the light to examine the topography of the peninsula. E. Evans surveyed the Cape and its neighborhood, and Simpson and Bowers, in addition to their other work, spent hours over balloon experiments. In fact everyone was overflowing with energy.

On Friday, April 28, Scott, eager to get the party safely back from Hut Point, hoped that the sea had at last frozen over for good, but a gale on the following day played havoc with the ice; and although the strait rapidly froze again, the possibility of every gale clearing the sea was too great to be pleasant. Obviously, however, it was useless to worry over a state of affairs that could not be helped, and the arrangements for passing the winter steadily progressed.

At Scott's request Cherry-Garrard undertook the editorship of the South Polar Times and the following notice was issued:

  The first number of the South Polar Times will be published 
  on Midwinter Day.

  All are asked to send in contributions, signed anonymously, 
  and to place these contributions in this box as soon as possible. 
  No contributions for this number will be accepted after May 31.

  A selection of these will be made for publication. It is not 
  intended that the paper shall be too scientific.

  Contributions may take the form of prose, poetry or drawing. 
  Contributors whose writings will lend themselves to illustration 
  are asked to consult with the Editor as soon as possible.

                     The Editor, 
                     S. P. T.

The editor, warned by Scott that the work was not easy and required a lot of tact, at once placed great hopes in the assistance he would receive from Wilson, and how abundantly these hopes were fulfilled has been widely recognized not only by students of Polar literature, but also by those who admire art merely for art's sake.

On the evening of Tuesday, May 2, Wilson opened the series of winter lectures with a paper on 'Antarctic Flying Birds,' and in turn Simpson, Taylor, Ponting, Debenham and others lectured on their special subjects. But still the Discovery hut party did not appear, although the strait (by May 9) had been frozen over for nearly a week; and repeatedly Scott expressed a wish that they would return. In the meantime there was work and to spare for everyone, and as the days went by Scott was also given ample opportunities to get a thorough knowledge of his companions.

'I do not think,' he wrote, 'there can be any life quite so demonstrative of character as that which we had on these expeditions. One sees a remarkable reassortment of values. Under ordinary conditions it is so easy to carry a point with a little bounce; self-assertion is a mask which covers many a weakness.... Here the outward show is nothing, it is the inward purpose that counts. So the "gods" dwindle and the humble supplant them. Pretence is useless.

'One sees Wilson busy with pencil and color box, rapidly and steadily adding to his portfolio of charming sketches and at intervals filling the gaps in his zoological work of Discovery times; withal ready and willing to give advice and assistance to others at all times; his sound judgment appreciated and therefore a constant referee.

'Simpson, master of his craft... doing the work of two observers at least... So the current meteorological and magnetic observations are taken as never before on Polar expeditions.'

'Wright, good-hearted, strong, keen, striving to saturate his mind with the ice problems of this wonderful region...'

And then after referring in terms of praise to the industry of E. Evans, the versatile intellect of Taylor, and the thoroughness and conscientiousness of Debenham, Scott goes on to praise unreservedly the man to whom the whole expedition owed an immense debt of gratitude.

'To Bowers' practical genius is owed much of the smooth working of our station. He has a natural method in line with which all arrangements fall, so that expenditure is easily and exactly adjusted to supply, and I have the inestimable advantage of knowing the length of time which each of our possessions will last us and the assurance that there can be no waste. Active mind and active body were never more happily blended. It is a restless activity admitting no idle moments and ever budding into new forms.

'So we see the balloon ascending under his guidance and anon he is away over the floe tracking the silk thread which held it. Such a task completed, he is away to exercise his pony, and later out again with the dogs, the last typically self-suggested, because for the moment there is no one else to care for these animals.... He is for the open air, seemingly incapable of realizing any discomfort from it, and yet his hours within doors spent with equal profit. For he is intent on tracking the problems of sledding food and clothes to their innermost bearings and is becoming an authority on past records. This will be no small help to me and one which others never could have given.

'Adjacent to the physicists' corner of the hut Atkinson is quietly pursuing the subject of parasites. Already he is in a new world. The laying out of the fish trap was his action and the catches are his field of labor.... His bench with its array of microscopes, etc., is next the dark room in which Ponting spends the greater part of his life. I would describe him as sustained by artistic enthusiasm....

'Cherry-Garrard is another of the open-air, self-effacing, quiet workers; his whole heart is in the life, with profound eagerness to help everyone. One has caught glimpses of him in tight places; sound all through and pretty hard also....

'Oates' whole heart is in the ponies. He is really devoted to their care, and I believe will produce them in the best possible form for the sledding season. Opening out the stores, installing a blubber stove, etc., has kept him busy, whilst his satellite, Anton, is ever at work in the stables - an excellent little man.

'P.O. Evans and Crean are repairing sleeping-bags, covering felt boots, and generally working on sledding kit. In fact there is no one idle, and no one who has the least prospect of idleness.

On May 8 as one of the series of lectures Scott gave an outline of his plans for next season, and hinted that in his opinion the problem of reaching the Pole could best be solved by relying on the ponies and man haulage. With this opinion there was general agreement, for as regards glacier and summit work everyone seemed to distrust the dogs. At the end of the lecture he asked that the problem should be thought over and freely discussed, and that any suggestions should be brought to his notice. 'It's going to be a tough job; that is better realized the more one dives into it.'

At last, on May 13, Atkinson brought news that the dogs were returning, and soon afterwards Meares and his team arrived, and reported that the ponies were not far behind. For more than three weeks the weather at Hut Point had been exceptionally calm and fine, and with joy Scott saw that all of the dogs were looking remarkably well, and that the two ponies also seemed to have improved. 'It is a great comfort to have the men and dogs back, and a greater to contemplate all the ten ponies comfortably stabled for the winter. Everything seems to depend on these animals.'

With their various occupations, lectures in the evening, and games of football - when it was not unusual for the goal-keepers to get their toes frost-bitten - in the afternoons, the winter passed steadily on its way; the only stroke of misfortune being that one of the dogs died suddenly and that a post-mortem did not reveal any sufficient cause of death. This was the third animal that had died without apparent reason at winter-quarters, and Scott became more than ever convinced that to place any confidence in the dog teams would be a mistake.

On Monday, May 22, Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Atkinson, P.O. Evans and Clissold went off to Cape Royds with a go-cart which consisted of a framework of steel tubing supported on four bicycle wheels - and sleeping-bags, a cooker and a small quantity of provisions. The night was spent in Shackleton's hut, where a good quantity of provisions was found; but the most useful articles that the party discovered were five hymn-books, for hitherto the Sunday services had not been fully choral because seven hymn-books were all that could be mustered.

June 6 was Scott's birthday, a fact which his small company did not forget. At lunch an immense birthday cake appeared, the top of which had been decorated by Clissold with various devices in chocolate and crystallized fruit, a flag and photographs of Scott. A special dinner followed, and to this sumptuous meal they sat down with their sledge banners hung around them. 'After this luxurious meal everyone was very festive and amiably argumentative. As I write there is a group in the dark room discussing political progress with large discussions, another at one corner of the dinner table airing its views on the origin of matter and the probability of its ultimate discovery, and yet another debating military problems.... Perhaps these arguments are practically unprofitable, but they give a great deal of pleasure to the participants.... They are boys, all of them, but such excellent good-natured ones; there has been no sign of sharpness or anger, no jarring note, in all these wordy contests; all end with a laugh. Nelson has offered Taylor a pair of socks to teach him some geology! This lulls me to sleep!'

On Monday evening, June 12, E. Evans gave a lecture on surveying, and Scott took the opportunity to note a few points to which he wanted especial attention to be directed. The essential points were:

1. Every officer who takes part in the Southern journey ought to 
   have in his memory the approximate variation of the compass 
   at various stages of the journey and to know how to apply it 
   to obtain a true course from the compass....

2. He ought to know what the true course is to reach one depôt 
   from another.

3. He should be able to take an observation with the theodolite.

4. He should be able to work out a meridian altitude observation.

5. He could advantageously add to his knowledge the ability to 
   work out a longitude observation or an ex-meridian altitude.

6. He should know how to read the sledgemeter.

7. He should note and remember the error of the watch he carries 
   and the rate which is ascertained for it from time to time.

8. He should assist the surveyor by noting the coincidences of 
   objects, the opening out of valleys, the observation of new 
   peaks, &c.

That these hints upon Polar surveying did not fall upon deaf ears is proved by a letter Scott wrote home some four months later. In it he says '"Cherry" has just come to me with a very anxious face to say that I must not count on his navigating powers. For the moment I didn't know what he was driving at, but then I remembered that some months ago I said that it would be a good thing for all the officers going South to have some knowledge of navigation so that in emergency they would know how to steer a sledge home. It appears that "Cherry" thereupon commenced a serious and arduous course of abstruse navigational problems which he found exceedingly tough and now despaired mastering. Of course there is not one chance in a hundred that he will ever have to consider navigation on our journey and in that one chance the problem must be of the simplest nature, but it makes it much easier for me to have men who take the details of one's work so seriously and who strive so simply and honestly to make it successful.'

In Wilson's diary there is also this significant entry: 'Working at latitude sights - mathematics which I hate - till bedtime. It will be wiser to know a little navigation on the Southern sledge journey.'

Some time before Scott's suggestions stimulated his companions to master subjects which they found rather difficult and irksome, a regular daily routine had begun. About 7 A.M. Clissold began to prepare breakfast, and half an hour later Hooper started to sweep the floor and lay the table. Between 8 and 8.30 the men were out and about doing odd jobs, Anton going off to feed the ponies, Demetri to see to the dogs. Repeatedly Hooper burst upon the slumberers with announcements of the time, and presently Wilson and Bowers met in a state of nature beside a washing basin filled with snow and proceeded to rub glistening limbs with this chilly substance. A little later others with less hardiness could be seen making the most of a meager allowance of water. A few laggards invariably ran the nine o'clock rule very close, and a little pressure had to be applied so that they should not delay the day's work.

By 9.20 breakfast was finished, and in ten minutes the table was cleared. Then for four hours the men were steadily employed on a program of preparation for sledding. About 1.30 a cheerful half-hour was spent over the mid-day meal, and afterwards, if the weather permitted, the ponies were exercised, and those who were not employed in this way generally exercised themselves in some way or other. After this the officers went steadily on with their special work until 6.30, when dinner was served and finished within the hour. Then came reading, writing, games, and usually the gramophone, but three nights of the week were given up to lectures. At 11 P.M. the acetylene lights were put out, and those who wished to stay up had to depend on candle-light. The majority of candles, however, were extinguished by midnight, and the night watchman alone remained awake to keep his vigil by the light of an oil lamp.

Extra bathing took place either on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning; chins were shaven, and possibly clean clothes put on. 'Such signs, with the regular service on Sunday, mark the passage of the weeks. It is not a very active life, perhaps, but certainly not an idle one. Few of us sleep more than eight hours of the twenty-four.'

On June 19, Day gave a lecture on his motor sledge and was very hopeful of success, but Scott again expressed his doubts and fears. 'I fear he is rather more sanguine in temperament than his sledge is reliable in action. I wish I could have more confidence in his preparations, as he is certainly a delightful companion.' Three days later Midwinter was celebrated with great festivities, and after lunch the Editor handed over the first number of the S. P. T. to Scott. Everyone at once gathered at the top of the table; 'It was like a lot of schoolgirls round a teacher' is the editor's description of the scene, and Scott read aloud most of the contents. An article called 'Valhalla,' written by Taylor, some verses called 'The Sleeping Bag,' and Wilson's illustrations to 'Antarctic Archives' were the popular favorites; indeed the editor attributed the success of the paper mainly to Wilson, though Day's delightful cover of carved venesta wood and sealskin was also 'a great help.' As all the contributions were anonymous great fun was provided by attempts to guess the various authors, and some of the denials made by the contributors were perhaps more modest than strictly truthful.

These festive proceedings, however, were almost solemn when compared with the celebrations of the evening. In preparation for dinner the 'Union Jacks' and sledge flags were hung about the large table, and at seven o'clock everyone sat down to a really good dinner.

Scott spoke first, and drew attention to the nature of the celebration as a half-way mark not only in the winter but in the plans of the expedition. Fearing in his heart of hearts that some of the company did not realize how rapidly the weeks were passing, and that in consequence work which ought to have been in full swing had barely been begun, he went on to say that it was time they knew how they stood in every respect, and especially thanked the officer in charge of the stores and those who looked after the animals, for knowing the exact position as regards provision and transport. Then he said that in respect to the future chance must play a great part, but that experience showed him that no more fitting men could have been chosen to support him on the journey to the South than those who were to start in that direction in the following spring. Finally he thanked all of his companions for having put their shoulders to the wheel and given him so much confidence.

Thereupon they drank to the Success of the Expedition, and afterwards everyone was called to speak in turn.

'Needless to say, all were entirely modest and brief; unexpectedly, all had exceedingly kind things to say of me - in fact I was obliged to request the omissions of compliments at an early stage. Nevertheless it was gratifying to have a really genuine recognition of my attitude towards the scientific workers of the expedition, and I felt very warmly towards all these kind, good fellows for expressing it. If good will and fellowship count towards success, very surely shall we deserve to succeed. It was matter for comment, much applauded, that there had not been a single disagreement between any two members of our party from the beginning. By the end of dinner a very cheerful spirit prevailed.'

The table having been cleared and upended and the chairs arranged in rows, Ponting displayed a series of slides from his own local negatives, and then, after the healths of Campbell's party and of those on board the Terra Nova had been drunk, a set of lancers was formed. In the midst of this scene of revelry Bowers suddenly appeared, followed by satellites bearing an enormous Christmas tree, the branches of which bore flaming candles, gaudy crackers, and little presents for everyone; the distribution of which caused infinite amusement. Thus the high festival of Midwinter was celebrated in the most convivial way, but that it was so reminiscent of a Christmas spent in England was partly, at any rate, due to those kind people who had anticipated the celebration by providing presents and other tokens of their interest in the expedition.

'Few,' Scott says, 'could take great exception to so rare an outburst in a long run of quiet days. After all we celebrated the birth of a season, which for weal or woe must be numbered amongst the greatest in our lives.'