Hardly the most scintillating of Antarctic narratives, but fascinating for the way in which Bernacchi ignores the presence of Borchgrevink, referring to him only as the commander (almost never by name), never giving him any role in the expedition. See Janet Crawford’s edition above for a more candid account of the expedition. Bernacchi’s emphasis was always on science and much of this account is a description of what he and his colleagues found, indicating other avenues of exploration. There are many literary allusions and quotations, but little indication of what he read aboard ship or while wintering at Cape Adare.
p. 137, on Cape Adare: For recreation we used to play cards and chess a great deal, read many hours, and sleep more. Occasionally a gloom would envelop the mind in as thick a canopy as a London fog, and one yearned towards light and pined for social life and company, even for that of amiable stupidity; but this passed away with the return of the sun….
There was very little to break the monotony or to create excitement. The Poet Laureate of Cape Adare—whose identity we will mercifully not reveal—now and then broke out in funny jargon, which might have made dead poets turn uneasily in their graves, but which we hypocritically applauded.
p. 138: One evening in the middle of June, when nearly all had retired for the night, some busybody accidentally discovered in ‘Whitaker’s Almanac’ that it was somebody’s birthday or marriage day—I have forgotten which—and we were requested to turn out and take part in the hoisting of the flag to celebrate the occasion.
p. 233, while awaiting the return of the ship: Very little work was done. A feeling of impatience and unrest prevailed among the members which is indefinable. Owing to the non-arrival of the ship spirits sank below zero and rarely rose above. Fato profugus indeed! More so than poor old Father Æneas. We were quite helpless, for we had not even a boat….
[After the ship arrived]: It is impossible to conceive the pleasure derived from letters and even newspapers after having been so long cut off from civilization. It was then we heard for the first time of the Great Boer War which had broken out during the previous October.
p. 278, on privations of explorers: It is the want of small luxuries, the loss of domestic society, of music, and the want of something green to look at that constitute some of the small grievances of a polar explorer’s life—but there are privations and hardships which are very real.