Robert Falcon Scott's Last Letter to his Wife

The text of Robert Falcon Scott's last letter to his wife Kathleen, as transcribed by the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England:

To my widow

Dearest Darling -- we are in a very tight corner and I have doubts of pulling through. In our short lunch hours I take advantage of a very small measure of warmth to write letters preparatory to a possible end -- the first is naturally to you on whom my thoughts mostly dwell waking or sleeping -- if anything happens to me I shall like you to know how much you have meant to me and that pleasant recollections are with me as I depart

I should like you to take what comfort you can from these facts also -- I shall not have suffered any pain but leave the world fresh from harness and full of good health and vigour -- this is dictated already, when provisions come to an end we simply stop where we are within easy distance of another depot. Therefore you must not imagine a great tragedy -- we are very anxious of course and have been for weeks but on splendid physical condition and our appetites compensate for all discomfort. The cold is biting and sometimes angering but here again the hot food which drives it forth is so wonderfully enjoyable that we would scarcely be without it.

We have gone down hill a good deal since I wrote the above. Poor Titus Oates has gone -- he was in a bad state the rest of us keep going and imagine we have a chance to get through but the cold weather doesn't let up at all -- we are now only 20 miles from a depot but we have very little food or fuel

Well dear heart I want you to take the whole thing very sensibly as I am sure you will -- the boy will be your comfort I had looked forward to helping you to bring him up but it is a satisfaction to feel that he is safe with you. I think both he and you ought to be specially looked after by the country for which after all we have given our lives with something of spirit which makes for example -- I am writing letters on this point in the end of this book after this. Will you send them to their various destinations?

I must write a little letter for the boy if time can be found to be read when he grows up -- dearest that you know cherish no sentimental rubbish about remarriage -- when the right man comes to help you in life you ought to be your happy self again I hope I shall be a good memory certainly the end is nothing for you to be ashamed of and I like to think that the boy will have a good start in parentage of which he may be proud.

Dear it is not easy to write because of the cold -- 70 degrees below zero and nothing but the shelter of our tent -- you know I have loved you, you know my thoughts must have constantly dwelt on you and oh dear me you must know that quite the worst aspect of this situation is the thought that I shall not see you again The inevitable must be faced - you urged me to be leader of this party and I know you felt it would be dangerous I've taken my place throughout, haven't I?

God bless you my own darling I shall try and write more later I go on across the back pages

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