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Scott's Last Expedition

Tuesday, June 6th 1911

The temperature has been as high as +19º to-day; the south wind persisted until the evening with clear sky except for fine effects of torn cloud round about the mountain. To-night the moon has emerged from behind the mountain and sails across the cloudless northern sky; the wind has fallen and the scene is glorious.

It is my birthday, a fact I might easily have forgotten, but my kind people did not. At lunch an immense birthday cake made its appearance and we were photographed assembled about it. Clissold had decorated its sugared top with various devices in chocolate and crystallised fruit, flags and photographs of myself.

After my walk I discovered that great preparations were in progress for a special dinner, and when the hour for that meal arrived we sat down to a sumptuous spread with our sledge banners hung about us. Clissold’s especially excellent seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly, fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate – such was our menu. For drink we had cider cup, a mystery not yet fathomed, some sherry and a liqueur.

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 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. The scraps that reach me from the various groups sometimes piece together in ludicrous fashion. Perhaps these arguments are practically unprofitable, but they give a great deal of pleasure to the participants. It’s delightful to hear the ring of triumph in some voice when the owner imagines he has delivered himself of a well-rounded period or a clinching statement concerning the point under discussion. 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!

Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911
“Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911”

Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911
“Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911”

Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911
“Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911”

Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911
“Capt Scott’s birthday dinner. June 6th 1911”

A “Winter-work” group in the Hut. June 6th 1911
“A “Winter-work” group in the Hut. June 6th 1911”

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