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A Rare Squabble on Elephant Island

From Orde-Lees journal, August 6, 1916


"It seems almost incredible but is none the less a fact that two of the men got quite talkative after their methylated spirit "dope" last night. After everyone else had got their "heads down" these two warriors went on arguing about the position of a certain "pub" in Hull for fully an hour until Wild, unable to endure it any longer, roared out, "For God's sake, shut your bleating row, you two precious dears" and incidentally woke up a good many self-respecting sleepers. The two contestants who had occupied themselves in saying, "I tell yer it is" and "Well, I know it ain't" alternately about 470 times, both uttered their parrot cries simultaneously and shut up like oysters."


If you've taken a look at the Endurance diaries, you may have noticed there is no cursing at all - even when they had to abandon ship, even on the miserable boat journey to Elephant Island. As meteorologist Leonard Hussey said, "The one thing [Shackleton] demanded from us was cheerfulness." Do you think this management of anger and attitude made a difference in the team's well-being? Do you think Shackleton's insistence on maintaining a positive attitude was a factor in the group's survival? How might you apply this to your own life?




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