Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’January 28, 1916: “. . . all told we brought in five seals.”

-from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“It is remarkable how ill-tempered people get in going out to bring in the seals, quite regardless of the fact that their lives may, and their comfort certainly does, depend on having a good supply of meat and blubber. If the way is long or the surface rough or the snow deep, there is so much grumbling and cursing that one is really almost sick of troubling to find the seals at all, were it not for the absolute urgency of our meat supply.

“Living from hand to mouth is all very well, but one likes to see a bit put by for a rainy day and if it doesn’t come, well then a precaution taken is better than a precaution neglected. To neglect the capture of seals now, during the few months when they are still to be had, would merely be tempting providence.

“Today at any rate we have little to complain of: all told we brought in five seals.”

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