May 1912: Saturday nights in the cave at Inexpressible Island

–from Raymond Priestley’s account “Antarctic Adventure”–

“Saturday night also was devoted to song.  After dinner we drank to ‘Sweerthearts and Wives’ in our apology for cocoa, and then we sang the old favourites which will be recognized by sailors and gtravellers all the world over.  Such songs as ‘Rolling Home,’ ‘Lowlands,’ ‘Thora,’ ‘The Buffalo Battery,’ ‘Mandalay,’ and many another will remind us of these Saturday night concerts to our dying day, and when we hear them again our thoughts will swing back across time and space to the drifts where lie the remains of our cave home.

“Indeed, so pleasant do those evenings appear to me now, and so softening is the influence of time on the memory, that already as I look back on them from my comfortable chair in my rooms in Cambridge it is with more than a slight tinge of regret that I realize that they are gone never to return.”

“On the afternoon of the 5th of April three more Weddells were sighted, and we killed and butchered these.  The next day or two were occupied by all hands putting this meat and the skins, with the blubber attached, into a safe position at the shoreward edge of the icefoot, while a considerable portion of the meat I put aside ready for the spring sledging journey [to return to the safety of the hut at Cape Evans].”


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