July 1912: The mules at Cape Evans

–from Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account “The Worst Journey in the World”–

“Much credit is due to the mule leaders that they were able to exercise their animals without hurt.  Cape Evans in the dark, strewn with great boulders, with the open sea at your feet, is no easy place to manage a very high-spirited and excitable mule, just out of a warm stable, especially if this is his first outing for several days and the wind is blowing fresh, and you are not sure if your face is frost-bitten, and you are quite sure that your hands are.

“But the exercise was carried out without mishap.  The mules themselves were most anxious to go out, and when Pyaree developed a housemaid’s knee and was kept in, she revenged herself upon her more fortunate companions by biting each one hard as it passed her head on its way to and from the door.  Gulab was the biggest handful, and Williamson managed him with skill; some of them, especially Lal Khan [Tom Crean’s mule], were very playful, running round and round their leaders and stopping to paw the ground; Khan Sahib, on the other hand, was bored, yawning continually:  it was suggested that he was suffering from polar ennui!!  Altogether they reflectred the greatest credit upon Lashly, who groomed them every day and took the greatest care of them.”

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