The Worst Journey in the World

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Book: The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
nasty,
Wilson sat down on the top of a rock and ate a biscuit in the coolest
possible manner. It was an example to avoid all panicking, for he did
not want the biscuit.
    "He remarked afterwards to me, apropos to Hooper, that it was a curious
thing that a number of men, knowing that there was nothing they could do,
could quietly watch a man fighting for his life, and he did not think
that any but the British temperament could do so. I also found out later
that he and I had both had a touch of cramp while waiting for our turn to
swim out through the surf."
    The following is Bowers' letter:
    "
Sunday, 31st July.
    "The past week has been so crowded with incident, really, that I
    don't know where to start. Getting to land made me long for the
    mails from you, which are such a feature of getting to port.
    However, the strange uninhabited island which we visited will
    have to make up for my disappointment till we get to Capetown—or
    rather Simon's Town. Campbell and I sighted S. Trinidad from the
    fore yardarm on 25th, and on 26th, at first thing in the morning,
    we crept up to an anchorage in a sea of glass. The S.E. Trades,
    making a considerable sea, were beating on the eastern sides,
    while the western was like a mill-pond. The great rocks and hills
    to over 2000 feet towered above us as we went in very close in
    order to get our anchor down, as the water is very deep to quite
    a short distance from the shore. West Bay was our selection, and
    so clear was the water that we could see the anchor at the bottom
    in 15 fathoms. A number of sharks and other fish appeared at once
    and several birds. Evans wanted to explore, so Oates, Rennick,
    Atkinson and myself went away with him—pulling the boat. We
    examined the various landings and found them all rocky and
    dangerous. There was a slight surf although the sea looked like a
    mill-pond. We finally decided on a previously unused place, which
    was a little inlet among the rocks.
    "There was nothing but rock, but there was a little nook where we
    decided to try and land. We returned to breakfast and found that
    Wilson and Cherry-Garrard had shot several Frigate and other
    birds from the ship, the little Norwegian boat—called a
    Pram—being used to pick them up. By way of explanation I may say
    that Wilson is a specialist in birds and is making a collection
    for the British Museum.
    "We all landed as soon as possible. Wilson and Garrard with their
    guns for birds: Oates with the dogs, and Atkinson with a small
    rifle: Lillie after plants and geological specimens: Nelson and
    Simpson along the shore after sea beasts, etc.: and last but not
    least came the entomological party, under yours truly, with
    Wright and, later, Evans, as assistants. Pennell joined up with
    Wilson, so altogether we were ready to 'do' the island. I have
    taken over the collection of insects for the expedition, as the
    other scientists all have so much to do that they were only too
    glad to shove the small beasts on me. Atkinson is a specialist in
    parasites: it is called 'Helminthology.' I never heard that name
    before. He turns out the interior of every beast that is killed,
    and being also a surgeon, I suppose the subject must be
    interesting. White terns abounded on the island. They were
    ghost-like and so tame that they would sit on one's hat. They
    laid their eggs on pinnacles of rock without a vestige of nest,
    and singly. They looked just like stones. I suppose this was a
    protection from the land-crabs, about which you will have heard.
    The land-crabs of Trinidad are a byword and they certainly
    deserve the name, as they abound from sea-level to the top of the
    island. The higher up the bigger they were. The surface of the
    hills and valleys was covered with loose boulders, and the whole
    island being of volcanic origin, coarse grass is everywhere, and
    at about 1500 feet is an area of tree ferns and subtropical
    vegetation, extending up to nearly the highest parts. The
    withered trees of a former

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