One of two women on Finn Ronne’s 1947-48 Weddell Sea expedition, the other being Edith Ronne, his wife. A rather unflattering portrayal of Ronne as well as Ronne’s wife, the other woman.
p. 149-50: Returning to a bunkhouse they had used on a previous expedition, the party found that “Technical books, papers, and notebooks were scattered about the bunk. Opening BIOLOGY NOTES, H.D., I found a series of sketches accompanied by data on determining the sex of seals. Then I saw Harry’s diary [her husband], its leather as worn and stained as an old shirt. Here, I thought is a chance to learn about my husband’s past. Opening the diary at random, I read, ‘Cold as hell. Dogs sick.’ I turned to another entry. ‘Cold as hell. Dogs great.’
p. 151: Discovery, Admiral Byrd’s account of his second Antarctic expedition, lay on the table. Harry had left it open at page 194. The chapter heading was ‘The Lunatic Fringe.’ Also had an open Bible there.
p. 155: Those who liked to read late kept awake those who did not.
p. 167, compares sledges to covered wagons, survival units with necessities as well as books, pipes, and personal belongings.
p. 179-80, Shakespeare on the ice. Passage from Comedy of Errors perfectly captures their situation as other ships came to rescue them:
At length the sun, gazing upon the earth,
Dispersed those vapours that offended us;
And by the benefit of his wished light,
The seas wax’d calm, and we discovered
Two ships from far making amain to us. …
p. 186: I was put in charge of the library, where I kept a record of the books people read. The most popular book was the encyclopedia, constantly in use to settle arguments. Others were the few battered copies of detective stories. Robertson read one of these a night. When he had gone through them all he read them over again. Aside from Don and Mac, who each had brought his own books, and Dr. Nichols, who reread the polar books, few read much of anything.
During the winter night I had intended to read, keep up my diary, and do extensive knitting in my spare time. But as daily living in the Antarctic is a full-time job, I found little spare time or leisure.
Following the ten- or twelve-hour workday most us were too tired to read. Intellectual activity was an effort. Rather than read I listened to the men’s life histories, their hopes and aspirations. I learned that being a listener, not passing judgment or making comments, was more important than being an accurate librarian.
p. 197: With a compatible few we found pleasure in reading aloud from Ludwig’s biography of Napoleon [see also p. 222] and Northwest Passage [Kenneth Roberts, see also p. 210], inventing question-and-answer games, and always we conversed.
p. 206: Harry wanted to read. I asked him to put out the light. He told me to go ahead and go to sleep, but that he couldn’t sleep and wanted to read….
p. 213, dinner visit to nearby British base noting: The FIDS [Falkland Islands Dependency Survey] had brought an excellent polar library that, in order to take advantages of the experiences of others, they studied diligently. They had also benefited from their own mistakes [in contrast to the Ronne party].