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and it makes such dull work that no one is likely to read it,' and would gladly make it over to a friendly hand to make sure that, in his own phrase, the ' hooks and eyes to many a random sentence' were in their right places. But others knew good work when they saw it, and time after time a letter went forth from Waterloo Place with advice and criticism and warm appreciation to banish such despondency and cheer him in his task, first at Forest Row, then at Brancaster, where he could write in quiet all day, with one round of golf in the afternoon. “I feel no qualms about the book if it goes on telling its plain story in this clear and simple fashion. I can almost hear you speaking as I read’; or ' I have just been reading your sledging chapters with delight and indeed emotion.' On June 21 the last chapter was announced as being on its way: 'Our best congratulations on your work finished and your harbour in sight. You have indeed made a good journey.' Next day it came :
One word to wish you joy of your emancipation from the pen. Yesterday was for you " The glorious twenty-first of June.'
The record indeed grew into a goodly tale of anxious preparation, cheerful endurance, and resolute battling with hardship, of perils outfaced and valuable knowledge won. Mr. J. M. Barrie, after reading the 'Voyage of the Discovery,' exclaimed that the account of rescuing the ship free of the ice was the most thrilling story of adventure he had ever read. Others may give the palm to Scott's modest account of how he and Evans—the herculean seaman who this time also, but with impaired stamina, followed him even to his death, it seems only yesterday—fell into a crevasse while the third man was just able to keep the sledge jammed across the opening, and how they were saved by an astounding feat of agility and strength on his own part; and then, when Evans had been at last hauled out, ‘for a minute or two we could only look at one another; then Evans said, “Well, I'm blowed !" it was the first sign of astonishment he had shown.'
And Dr. Wilson, so different in outward build, so like his comrade and leader in his keenly attempered will--and that will the servant of a calm judgment on which his commander no less than his comrades constantly relied :—the lines of his intellectual face, finely chiselled by thought and early touch of illness, were softened by the artistic sensibility so often allied with scientific attainment, and his mobile mouth and keen blue eyes easily lit up with gleams of humour. Tall and thin, tough rather than robust, he would scarcely have been expected physically to stand the fierce strain of polar exploration. His lungs had been threatened, but the pure sterile air of the icy regions made him entirely sound, albeit on the first expedition he was often racked with rheumatism. Nevertheless he was ready and eager to go the second time.
Both men maintained their unofficial friendship with their publisher, and used to be with him both in London and in Scotland. In the intermediate years, while Scott was building up a distinguished career on active service and at the Admiralty, Wilson once more came officially into touch with this house through his contributions, scientific and artistic, to the classic Report on the Grouse Disease, a completed copy of which he never saw. The highly finished colour-plates of the variations of grouse plumage are from his drawings. Indeed, pencil or brush was constantly in his hand, whether sketching Polar scenes with the thermometer below zero, or recording a complete series of sunrises on board the Terra Nova, or utilising the idle lunch hour of a shooting party to jot down the aspect of the moor on the nearest piece of sandwich paper, to be worked up later at home and given to his delighted host.
But the best words in which to tell of Wilson and the great part, unknown to the world, which he played in the expedition, are those of Scott himself. The first passage is from a roughlypencilled note he sent here from the Great Barrier when laying down the preliminary depots before the final journey; the other is from his last letter, written before the start, already quoted from. It was written on October 26, 1911: it was read in London on May 11, 1912, six weeks after he had laid down his life.
Nothing could be better than the spirit and ability of the people with me. Wilson outdoes himself and is just perfection as sledge traveller and companion.-Safety Camp, Great Barrier, February 1, 1911.'
Of your particular friends my pen can only give a very inadequate account-it cannot find words to praise them sufficiently. Wilson has been all that you expected of him, and I know that is saying a great deal. I find myself wondering at his energy, his tact or his unselfishness---such qualities have made him beloved by all, and in return he wields the power of an oracle—he is consulted in everything, from the larger issues to ridiculously small details of daily life and work. I hold him mainly responsible for the extraordinarily amicable relations which have existed amongst us -it is really a fact that there have been no quarrels or other social
troubles since the expedition started. To sum up, he has proved himself a greater treasure than even I expected to find him.'
Scott escaped once from the very jaws of the ice. It was not given him to escape a second time. The powers of destiny seemed to have entered into a slow conspiracy against him. There seemed to be a touch of superhuman irony in the fate that let him struggle undaunted to his goal, yet step by step undermined his well-laid plans, to lay him low at the last, helpless but serene, almost within hand's-reach of the reserve that meant reviving strength and lifelong glory. The individual life is crushed; but the same inexorable fate that crushed it fills the lives of all his countrymen, of all the civilised world, with his imperishable spirit. About his memory will play a wider and a greater splendour than the farswept lights of the Aurora that, through the long night of the ages, hovers over the cairn whereunder, like a hero of old, he lies with his gallant comrades. Simple and true is their epitaph : To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
We who have known him and his fast friend lament their loss. It spells the high tragedy of human skill and forethought crushed by the irresistible onset of cosmic forces. Yet, poorer though we be for the separation, who would not be proud of having known and loved these men, of whom, measuring well what we have lost, we still may faithfully say:
Enough if something from their hand have power
In their life, in their death, they were indeed they knew.'
By E. F. BENSON.
An hour later Frank Armstrong was sitting opposite Craddock eating lunch with the steadfast and businesslike air of a man who was not only hungry now, but knew from long experience that it was prudent to eat whenever edibles could be had for nothing. Some minutes before Craddock had suggested a slice of cold meat to give solidity to the very light repast that was so suitable to the heat of the day, and since then Armstrong had been consuming ham and large pieces of bread without pause or speech. But nobody was less greedy than he : only, for years of his life he had been among the habitually hungry. In appearance he was rugged, shabby, and potentially fierce : a great shock of black hair crowned a forehead that projected like a pent-house over deep-set angry eyes, and it might be guessed that he was a person both easy and awkward to quarrel with, for his expression was suspicious and resentful, as of some wild beast, accustomed to ill-usage, but whom ill-usage had altogether failed in taming. But though this ugliness of expression was certainly the predominant characteristic of that strong distrustful face, a less casual observer might easily form the conclusion that there were better things below, a certain eagerness, a certain patience, a certain sensibility.
He looked up at Craddock after a while, with a queer crooked smile on his large mouth, not without charm.
'I will now cease being a pig,' he said. “But when one is really hungry one can't think about anything else. It is no more hoggish, really, than the longing for sleep if you haven't slept for nights, or for water when one is thirsty. I had no breakfast this morning. Now what have you got to talk to me about ?'
Craddock was a strong believer in the emollient effects of food, and had determined to talk no business till his client was at ease in a chair with tobacco and quiescent influences.
“Ah, no breakfast !” he said. “I myself find that I work best before I eat.'
1 Copyright, 1913, by E. F. Benson, in the United States of America.
Frank Armstrong laughed.
'I don't,' he said. “I work best after a large meal. No; I did not have breakfast, because it would have been highly inconvenient to pay for it. There are such people, you know. I have often been one of them.'
Arthur Craddock found this peremptory young savage slightly alarming. For himself he demanded that social intercourse should be conducted in a sort of atmosphere of politeness, of manners. Just as in landscape-painting you had to have atmosphere, else the effect was of cast iron, so in dealings with your fellow men. There should be no such things as edges, particularly raw ones. He thought he had seldom seen anybody so unatmospheric.
My dear fellow,' he said; ‘do you mean that you have been actually in want of money to pay for food ? Why did you not tell me? You knew what an interest I took in you and your work.'
Frank looked at him quite unatmospherically.
? * You wanted my work, if you thought it good : if not, I was no more to you than all the rest of the brutes who go without bieakfast. Now about the play. At least, I don't suppose you asked me to lunch in order to talk about breakfast. I quite expect you to tell me it's twaddle-indeed, I know it is. But does it by any chance seem to you remunerative twaddle ?'
Craddock really suffered in this want of atmosphere. He gasped, mentally speaking, like an unaccustomed aeronaut in rarefied air.
Ah, I can't agree with you that it is twaddle,' he said. "The plot no doubt is slender, but the dialogue is excellent, and you show considerable precision and fineness of line in the characterdrawing.'
But what characters!' said the candid author. The curate, the housemaid, the church warden. Lord, what people, without a shred of life or force in them! But it answered your description of what theatre-goers liked. I wrote it last year, in a reaction after the “ Lane without a Turning.”
Ah, was that it ?' said Craddock. “It puzzled me to know how a boy like you-you are a boy, my dear fellow-could possibly
write anything so bitter and hopeless as that, and something so quietly genial as “ Easter Eggs."
* Easily enough. I myself wrote the one : it was me, and as I found out, nobody liked it. “ Eister Ezz3 ” is merely my observation of a quantity of blameless chattering people. I lived in