Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, July 14, 1916: “Biscuit is so precious that one cannot afford to lose it. . . .”

—from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“14 July. The temperature dropped to 19deg during the night and it is about as nastily cold and damp as it can be, and as dull. But the cold has, by freezing, dried up the interior of the hut, for during the floor fairly ran with water amongst the pebbles.

“The resulting guano ‘soup’ is most unpleasant, especially if one happens to be so unfortunate as to let drop a portion of a biscuit, which occasionally has occurred. Biscuit is so precious that one cannot afford to lose it, so one picks it up out of the filthy mire, and wipes it and washes it as best one can. This sounds untrue, perhaps, but to us at present it would seem a ridiculous thing to reject a piece of biscuit just because it had fallen into a little dirt. We don’t hesitate for a moment to eat it.”

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