There’s more to life than our hot sun and dusty road here in Africa. I’ve always dreamed of going to the Antarctic and today, I’ll be taking a walk in the Antarctica finally!
In this walk, we’ll be reading a letter, a very fascinating one written by Captain Robert Scott. We are no longer in Africa or USA or wherever you are reading from. We are in Antarctica. Our precious Antarctica, not the one that is being affected by global warming but we are also back in time, we are in year 1922.
Everywhere around us is white, not just white, but white with snow. The timeless land. The temperature is way below -70 °C. You can feel the dry cold air and your nose is cold. You shiver in your double padded coat and see a man, not just any man but Captain Robert Scott huddled like an over-used pillow. He gives hands you a scrap of paper with shaky, gnarly frostbitten finger and remains still but we did not notice on time.
Paper in hand and wondering what he meant, you turn back to look at him only to realize that he has finally succumbed to mother earth. You then take a closer look at the paper and realize its not what you think it is but a letter to his wife and it reads thus;
To my widow. Dearest darling. It is not easy to write because of the cold – 70 degrees below zero and nothing but the shelter of our tent… We are in a very tight corner and I have doubts of pulling through. In our short lunch hours, I take advantage of a very small measure of warmth to write letters preparatory to a possible end. If anything happens to me, I should like you to know how much you have meant to me. I must write a little letter for the boy if time can be found to be read when he grows up. Dearest that you know I Cherish no sentimental rubbish about remarriage. When the right man comes to help you in life, you ought to be your happy self again. Make the boy interested in natural history if you can. It is better than games. Try to make him believe in a God; it is comforting.
Oh my dear, my dear, what dreams I had of his future and yet, oh my girl, I know you will face it stoically – your portrait and the boy’s will be found in my breast. What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. What tales you would have for the boy, but, oh, what a price to pay. To forfeit the sight of your dear, dear face. “I think the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves but to fight it to the last for that depot but in the fighting there is a painless end so don’t worry.
Note: Captain Robert Scott was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led expeditions to the Antarctic regions. In March 1912, Scott was on his way back from the South Pole in sub-zero, conditions. The three surviving members of his party were in their tent suffering from frostbite and malnutrition. The following words below are just a few excerpts from his last letter to his wife Kathleen before his death from the elements.
Interesting Fact: The letter (read above) was found along with the three explorer’s bodies several months after their deaths and just 11 miles from their supply camp. Scott’s wife Kathleen remarried politician Edward Hilton Young in 1922 and became Baroness Kennet when he was ennobled in 1935. His son, then 3, went on to graduate from Trinity College, Cambridge and have a distinguished career in ornithology.
You can read the remaining 9 fascinating letters from ListVerse. For me, this was my favorite. Which is yours?