Saga of the “Discovery.

Bernacchi was an Australian/Belgian explorer, another veteran of the heroic age of polar exploration, having participated in Borchgrevink’s Southern Cross expedition, Scott’s Discovery expedition, as well as journeys to Africa and Peru. He was also the biographer of Lawrence Oates, who died on Scott’s last expedition.

p. 47-8: If he could be a stern disciplinarian, Scott was also anxious to give as much personal liberty as possible. Smoking on the mess-deck was allowed at all times, and when during the darkest winter days work was slack, the men had their evenings free and often their afternoons. While ‘Shove ha’penny’ seemed to be their favourite sport, and books like Fights for theFlag and Deeds that won the Empire their favourite reading matter, yet it was chiefly from the mess-deck that the Royal Terror Theatre recruited its performers. We in the wardroom were engaged in weightier matters, preparing debates, for example, on such subjects as ‘Women’s Rights’ and other long-dead problems, which occupied the mind of man at the beginning of the century. On these occasions the less one spoke the more one said. There was even one memorable evening when the rival merits of Browning and Tennyson came up for judgment. Shackleton backed Browning while I, more sentimental then, argued for the moving depths of beauty to be found in the verses of the Poet Laureate. Whether by my masterly exposition or because the wardroom generally shared my preference, Tennyson won—although only by one vote.

p. 56: And unfortunately, although Discovery possessed a library of several thousand books, and among them a number on Arctic exploration, by some oversight those which would have been of most assistance had not been included. We could gain no advantage from the experience of the more recent explorers, Nordenskjöld, Nansen and Peary.