January 7, 1913: Mertz and Mawson on the trail–from bad to worse

–from Douglas Mawson’s account “The Home of the Blizzard”

“The morning of January 7th opened with better weather, for there was little wind and no snow falling; even the sun appeared gleaming through the clouds.

“In view of the seriousness of the position it had been agreed overnight that at all costs we would go on in the morning, slege-sailing with Mertz in his bag strapped on the sledge. It was threrefore a doubly sad blow that morning to find that my companion was again touched with dysentery and so weak as to be quite helpless. After tucking him into the bag again, I slid into my own in order to kill time and keep warm, for the cold had a new sting about it in those days of want.

“At 10 a.m. hearing a rustle from my companion’s bag I rose to find him in a fit. Shortly afterwards he became normal and exchanged a few words, but did not appear to realize that anything out of the way had happened.

“The information htat this incident conveyed fell upon me like a thunderbolt, for it was certain that my companion was in a very serious state with little hope of any alleviation, for he was already unable to assimilate the meagre foods available. . . . It would require a miracle to bring him round to a fit travelling condition, but I prayed that it might be granted.

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