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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, September 14th 1911

Another interregnum. I have been exceedingly busy finishing up the Southern plans, getting instruction in photographing, and preparing for our jaunt to the west. I held forth on the ‘Southern Plans’ yesterday; everyone was enthusiastic, and the feeling is general that our arrangements are calculated to make the best of our resources. Although people have given a good deal of thought to various branches of the subject, there was not a suggestion offered for improvement. The scheme seems to have earned full confidence: it remains to play the game out.
The last lectures of the season have been given. On Monday Nelson gave us an interesting little resume of biological questions, tracing the evolutionary development of forms from the simplest single-cell animals.

To-night Wright tackled ‘The Constitution of Matter’ with the latest ideas from the Cavendish Laboratory: it was a tough subject, yet one carries away ideas of the trend of the work of the great physicists, of the ends they achieve and the means they employ. Wright is inclined to explain matter as velocity; Simpson claims to be with J.J. Thomson in stressing the fact that gravity is not explained.
These lectures have been a real amusement and one would be sorry enough that they should end, were it not for so good a reason.

I am determined to make some better show of our photographic work on the Southern trip than has yet been accomplished – with Ponting as a teacher it should be easy. He is prepared to take any pains to ensure good results, not only with his own work but with that of others – showing indeed what a very good chap he is.

To-day I have been trying a colour screen – it is an extraordinary addition to one’s powers.

To-morrow Bowers, Simpson, Petty Officer Evans, and I are off to the west. I want to have another look at the Ferrar Glacier, to measure the stakes put out by Wright last year, to bring my sledging impressions up to date (one loses details of technique very easily), and finally to see what we can do with our cameras. I haven’t decided how long we shall stay away or precisely where we shall go; such vague arrangements have an attractive side.

We have had a fine week, but the temperature remains low in the twenties, and to-day has dropped to -35º. I shouldn’t wonder if we get a cold snap.

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