Begins with 1925 cruise to Antarctica aboard Discovery, Scott’s old ship, commanded by Stenhouse. First brought gifts to Tristan da Cunha, including many writing implements, essentially useless to that population, and “a large quantity of Bibles, in which, however, the Tristans displayed very little interest, for the reason…that during the course of the years so many Bibles had been sent to the island that there was now an average of seven copies per inhabitant” (p. 20).
His second trip was aboard the William Scoresby (to study whale behavior) and recounts adventures in the Bay of Biscay (man lost overboard, the Cape Verde Islands (imprisonment), Rio (white slavery), south of South Georgia (tangling with an iceberg), and various places in Antarctica.
p. 136—Re Norwegian whalers at Grytviken in South Georgia: Their amusements here in South Georgia were simple—in such a remote corner of the world it would have been difficult for them to be anything else. They played poker, at which we Englishmen used to join them sometimes, and various Norwegian card games that we did not understand. There was a good deal of reading, of old magazines and newspapers, and of various books, chiefly fiction, which they had brought with them.
Pease also speaks of knitting, music, film showings and especially Charlie Chaplin. Pease was also present for the unveiling of the Shackleton tombstone on South Georgia (p. 138).
p. 141-42: Thus we could proclaim our respective philosophies, Mr. Dilwyn John and I, and then, as like as not, he would break off and ask; ‘Well, what’s it matter anyway?’ and quote a line of Browning which seemed very wonderful to us just then:
While a chaffinch sings on the orchard bow
In England now, in England now….
We had a great love for Browning, he and I. During that Antarctic expedition I must have read his ‘Collected Poems’ a dozen times at least.
p. 156, South Georgia still: The troubles and stresses of the far-off civilized world touched us not at all; they seemed to have little to do with us. Practically our only contact with the greater world was by means of the big Norwegian vessels which came every two months to take away the oil; they brought us our mails and newspapers, and the day of their coming was an event. But we read the newspapers much as we might have watched a play or a film; the news was interesting, but scarcely touched our own lives at any point. Rather than giving us information they provided a relaxation.
[Remainder of the book is primarily about the Arctic.]