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"Old Cautious"

Shackleton loved to refer to himself as "Old Cautious." No one else ever called him that but in this journal entry we catch a glimpse of his mindset - always protective of his crew.

Orde-Lees' Journal - 4 December, 1915

Temperature +25 & above.

Very warm in forenoon though hazy. Gusty S.E. wind at 4 p.m.

Peace of mind has come to me at last and my exhortations have not passed unheeded after all. For all these weeks almost ever since we left the ship I have hinted and instigated ---- to suggest to the powers that be that we (heavily scratched out) ought to gather all the serviceable polar clothing that has been lying half buried in the snow at the "dump" camp. Be it propter hoc or post I care not a button nor seek to claim the credit, but suddenly the order was passed this morning that four dog sledges were to go down to the "dump" camp & retrieve anything useful. This in spite too of Sir Ernest having reiterated only two days ago that he was not going to risk having any one cross open leads to go down there to fetch things and that we had already got more than we required here & ought to be thankful that we had what we had. I am afraid that he regards me as rather a suspicious character where crossing open water is concerned (heavily scratched out) anyhow on the subterfuge that I keenly desired to fetch an important book from the dump camp, he reluctantly permitted me to go, as passenger on Marston's sledge.

Someone had substituted a wretched old blood stained sledge for Marston's regular one & not noticing it until too late I sat down on two nails with the result that the subsequent jolting over the very rough pressure ridges practically tore the seat out of my trousers and very extensive repairs will now be necessary. An ice axe that I was sitting on also ran clean through the thigh of my trousers grazing my skin fortunately without injuring me at all, but was a very near shave of a severe puncture in my knee cap.

Anyhow, the net result of our journey was 18 good blankets, 2 Jaeger sleeping bags, 21 Jaeger sweaters, 6 Norwegian jackets & 1 overcoat.

Maybe we shall never require this stuff as we have already as much as we can take with us in the boats; if so it can be left here, but if we do want it we shall want it pretty badly & should blame ourselves for having neglected to recover it when it was so easily available.

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