Begins with 1925 cruise to Antarctica aboard Discovery, Scott’s old ship, commanded by Stenhouse. First it 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, concerning 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. [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 any way?’ 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.
After various adventures in Africa Pease turned his attention to the Arctic, motivated by a desire to learn more of Franklin’s fate and particularly his records: the objects of this coming expedition were to endeavour to locate the log-books or relics of the ill-fated Franklin expedition, based on what he thought new information from natives about Hall’s interactions with them. For Pease this was a solo affair, accompanied only by dogs. Later attempts from Churchill included Derek Graham, and an Eskimo called Kubloo.
Op. p. 240, a picture of author reading at an Arctic base camp (Fort Churchill, 1934).
On one foray into the Arctic Bush he discovered a grave with a Cree inscription saying “White Man Buried Here 1852” which Pease says is the date that Franklin’s “ill-fated expedition met its fate.”
p. 275, during a third trip: I proved to myself that I was right in my surmise as to exactly where the relics of Sir John Franklin would be found, and…that other guesses as to the location of the final resting-place have been wrong. I am positive that Sir John Franklin’s “May the bulldog grit of the British Empire never die, and may the log-books of the Franklin Expedition be brought back to England by a British explorer!”