January 7, 1913: Mawson alone

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

“Later in the afternoon he [Xavier Mertz] had several more fits and then, becoming delirious, talked incoherently until midnight. Most of that time his strength returned and he struggled to climb out of his sleeping-bag, keeping me very busy tucking him in again. About midnight he appeared to doze off to sleep and with a feeling of relief I slid down into my own bag, not to sleep, though weary enough, but to get warm again and think matters over. After a couple of hours, having felt no movement, I stretched out my arm and found that my comrade was stiff in death. He had been accepted into “the peace that passeth all understanding.”

“How unutterably sad that he should have perished thus, after the splendid work he had accomplished not only on that particular sledging journey but throughout the expedtiion. No one could have done better.”

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