First on the Antarctic Continent, Being an Account of the British Antarctic Expedition 1898-1900

Borchgrevink comes across as a sanctimonious sycophant, at least at the beginning, full of himself and his role in “the world’s history.” For contrast from an antagonist, see Louis Charles Bernacchi who detested Borchgrevink. Pretty clear that this is one of those self-serving travel accounts which conceals the depths of animosity that developed within his staff.

p. 35: The cabins were full of instruments and books.

p. 91, describes their winter base in South Victoria Land, a hut with small enclosures for some privacy: It was by special recommendation from the doctor that I made this arrangement and found that it answered well. In these small enclosures we had some books, our diaries, and several of us our writing materials. I myself did a good deal of writing in my bunk during sleepless nights in the dark time, and so did the rest of the members. To work at the table [in the main room near window] with nine hungry minds, starved by the monotony of the Antarctic night, glaring at you through nine pairs of eyes at once indescribably vacant and intense, was impossible.

p. 125, base entertainment included oral readings.

p. 150: One night in Camp Ridley we had a fire in the camp. I awoke through a suffocating smoke, and found that one of the members [Colbeck] had his bunk on fire. He had kept a candle burning while reading, and had fallen asleep in his bunk, leaving it alight. It gave us rather a start….

p. 153-4: The most trying time within the Antarctic Circle was the dark period. The strongest man must needs feel the effect of it more or less. The sameness of those cold, dark nights attacks the minds of men like a sneaking evil spirit. We found that reading, playing chess, and cards, were very valuable pastimes during this period, when work did not require the full concentration of our minds….

p. 192, after Hanson’s death: I read a short funeral service; then we lowered him down, covered him over, and departed.

p. 250-51, Captain Jensen of the Southern Cross returns with mail for the expedition members: Quickly the mailbag was opened and emptied and the members looked out for quiet corners where they, undisturbed, could satisfy their hunger for news from relatives at home, and from the great world which had been shut off from us for more than a year. Gradually we heard all the news—both private and public. Never did we realize more than then what a big part the daily newspaper plays in our life. We heard for the first time about the war in the Transvaal; about wonderful discoveries in telegraphy, and found how many alternations of conditions one year might cause.