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"A Pessimist"

Orde-Lees' Journal - 7 December, 1915

In Antarctic camplife the world is so small that there is not much that goes on that does not come round to one in time & so it is that I learn that Sir Ernest referred to me as a pessimist - goodnaturedly enough albeit.


I doubt not that this is due to some good friend having artlessly misinterpreted my remarks the other day about the benefit of preparing for the possibility of wintering on the floe into my having expressed the opinion that I thought it likely that we should actually do so.


This gross misinterpretation, as the papers put it, leaves me not the least indignant for was it not ever so. At the same time in view of any future reference to this matter I here place on record (December 7, 1915) that it is my opinion that we should forthwith secure & cache all seals we possibility can so that in the remote possibility of our having to spend all or part of the winter on this floe we shall have ample food for ourselves & dogs. If, as is highly probable, we are able to get to land during the summer so much the better.


It is clearly our duty to neglect no opportunity to be prepared and first and then to seize every opportunity of making the land. Our position is a serious one but not in the very least a desperate one at present.


I have & always have had, the utmost confidence in Sir Ernest's leadership and splendid judgement & the above is merely an expression of opinion not a criticism.


The wind seems to be shifting after having blown constantly from the south for a fortnight and carrying us more than half a degree north with it.


Our average rate of drift is yet too slow to take us all the way to Paulet Island on the floe before the end of April.


I took the bearings of the bergs by prismatic compass on a quarter mile base & found the pointed berg to be only 2 1/2 miles away.



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