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Scott's Last Expedition

Sunday, May 14th 1911

Grey and dull in the morning.

Exercised the ponies and held the usual service. This morning I gave Wright some notes containing speculations on the amount of ice on the Antarctic continent and on the effects of winter movements in the sea ice. I want to get into his head the larger bearing of the problems which our physical investigations involve. He needs two years here to fully realise these things, and with all his intelligence and energy will produce little unless he has that extended experience.

The sky cleared at noon, and this afternoon I walked over the North Bay to the ice cliffs – such a very beautiful afternoon and evening – the scene bathed in moonlight, so bright and pure as to be almost golden, a very wonderful scene. At such times the Bay seems strangely homely, especially when the eye rests on our camp with the hut and lighted windows.
I am very much impressed with the extraordinary and general cordiality of the relations which exist amongst our people. I do not suppose that a statement of the real truth, namely, that there is no friction at all, will be credited – it is so generally thought that the many rubs of such a life as this are quietly and purposely sunk in oblivion. With me there is no need to draw a veil; there is nothing to cover. There are no strained relations in this hut, and nothing more emphatically evident than the universally amicable spirit which is shown on all occasions.

Such a state of affairs would be delightfully surprising under any conditions, but it is much more so when one remembers the diverse assortment of our company.

This theme is worthy of expansion. To-night Oates, captain in a smart cavalry regiment, has been ‘scrapping’ over chairs and tables with Debenham, a young Australian student.

It is a triumph to have collected such men.

The temperature has been down to -23º, the lowest yet recorded here – doubtless we shall soon get lower, for I find an extraordinary difference between this season as far as it has gone and those of 1902-3.

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