Page:The Worst Journey in the World volume 1.djvu/74

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Introduction

lxiii

come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint. . . ."

It is, it must be, of the first importance that a system, I will not say perfected, but developed, to a pitch of high excellence at such a cost should be handed down as completely as possible to those who are to follow. I want to so tell this story that the leader of some future Antarctic expedition, perhaps more than one, will be able to take it up and say: "I have here the material from which I can order the articles and quantities which will be wanted for so many men for such and such a time; I have also a record of how this material was used by Scott, of the plans of his journeys and how his plans worked out, and of the improvements which his parties were able to make on the spot or suggest for the future. I don't agree with such and such, but this is a foundation and will save me many months of work in preparation, and give me useful knowledge for the actual work of my expedition." If this book can guide the future explorer by the light of the past, it will not have been written in vain.

But this was not my main object in writing this book. When I undertook in 1913 to write, for the Antarctic Committee, an Official Narrative on condition that I was given a free hand, what I wanted to do above all things was to show what work was done; who did it; to whom the credit of the work was due; who took the responsibility; who did the hard sledging; and who pulled us through that last and most ghastly year when two parties were adrift, and God only knew what was best to be done; when, had things gone on much longer, men would undoubtedly have gone mad. There is no record of these things, though perhaps the world thinks there is. Generally as a mere follower, without much responsibility, and often scared out of my wits, I was in the thick of it all, and I know.

Unfortunately I could not reconcile a sincere personal confession with the decorous obliquity of an Official Narrative; and I found that I had put the Antarctic Committee in a difficulty from which I could rescue them only by