I know that I was the interloper


“Well I know that I was the interloper: if a man who loves a woman much, so much that it seems his whole life hangs on her way with him, can be called an interloper. Child I suppose it is mans way to want a woman altogether to himself: I said it in the old days “Love me only a little, just a little” and now it seems as I grow older I am saying “Love me altogether and only me” And I know you told me all in the beginning: and I have nothing to offer you: I am poor: I am not clever, it is as wicked of me to want you to keep caring for me when my name is ‘Nemo’ as it is to make or do other wrongs… when like today you spoke about him: something catches at my heart and I feel lost, out in the cold… why did I not know you first? Why did you not tremble to my touch first of all the men in this world. Of all tales of love and sorrow I feel ours stand out for there was no hope in the beginning and there is none now…”

— Ernest Shackleton, letter to Emily Dorman, c. 1897-8

Posted in Images, Shackleton

A Tale of the Sea

A Tale of the Sea

I slept and dreamt of the ocean:
Of tarry sailors joys:
Of the tales which they loved to fashion
Of days when they were boys:
And I laughed aloud in my sleep:
“In those days they said they were men:
Is there one who has a record
Of worth: for a poets pen?”

Then I saw a great long line
Of ghostly ships come from the North;
Come churning the seas to foam
Splashing their bows with froth.
Dipping now into the hollows:
Now on the top they rise;
Pointing their booms to the oceans bed
And anon to the wind swept skies.

— Ernest Shackleton, composed aboard the tramp steamer Monmouthshire, en route from China to Europe (1894/5)

Posted in Shackleton

Impressions (2)

“Shackleton was contented with his own company — at the same time he never stood aloof in any way, but was eager to talk — to argue as sailors do … he had a quiet drawl in his ordinary speech but however slow his words his eyes were bright and his glances quick — When he was on a subject that … appealed to his imagination, his voice changed to a deep vibrant tone, his features worked, his eyes shone, and his whole body seemed to have received an increase of vitality… Shackleton on these occasions … was not the same man who perhaps ten minutes earlier was spouting lines from Keats or Browning — this was another Shackleton with his broad shoulders hunched, his square jaw set — his eyes cold and piercing; at such a time he might have been likened to a bull at bay.

“But withal, he was very human, very sensitive. He quickly responded to his sympathetic nature and was slow to pass judgment on his fellows.”

— J. A. Hussey, Union Castle Line

Posted in Other Voices

Impressions (1)

“Well Shacky, what do you think of this old tub? You’ll be skipper of her one day.” “You see, old man,” he said “as long as I remain with this company, I’ll never be more than a skipper. But I think I can do something better. In fact, really, I would like to make a name for myself (he paused for a moment or two) and her.” He was looking pensively over the sea at the moment, and I noticed his face light up at the mention of “her.”

“To see him once made an impression on one’s mind, and my first impression was: That this man is made for something better than a captain of a small trading vessel.

“At that time a marked ‘standoffishness’ existed between officers and engineers but Shackleton soon broke down the barrier which showed he was a man among men.”

— Third Engineer James Dunmore, Flintshire (Welsh Line), 1898; as reported in The United Methodist, 1922

Posted in Other Voices

Scrubbing the decks

James Wordie, Alfred Cheetam, Alexander Macklin

Posted in Images



“[Worsley] was fundamentally light-hearted, given to bursts of excitement and unpredictable enthusiasms…. He felt it was his duty to play the part of commander, but he was woefully out of place in the role. His tendency to indulge his moods became obvious one Sunday morning, when a church service was being held. After some appropriately reverent prayers, the idea struck him to sing a few hymns — and he broke up the proceedings by clapping his hands and demanding impetuously, ‘Where’s the ruddy band?'”
— Alfred Lansing, Endurance

Posted in Images, Other Voices

Æneas Mackintosh and the Ross Sea Party

Ross Sea party members: Back row from left: Joyce, Hayward, Cope, Spencer-Smith. Centre: Mackintosh third from left, Stenhouse fourth from left.

Ross Sea party members: Back row from left: Joyce, Hayward, Cope, Spencer-Smith. Centre: Mackintosh third from left, Stenhouse fourth from left. Photo by Frank Hurley. (Wikipedia)

“Æneas Lionel Acton Mackintosh was born on 1 July 1879 in Tirhut, India. He was educated at Bedford Modern School and in 1894, joined the Merchant Navy.

“Mackintosh was granted leave to join the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907 – 1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton), as navigator and second officer of Nimrod on her initial voyage to Lyttelton, New Zealand, and later as a member of the shore staff. While unloading stores at McMurdo Sound, he lost his right eye in an accident and returned in Nimrod to New Zealand for medical treatment before rejoining the shore party in January 1908.

“After the expedition, Mackintosh was despatched by Shackleton as a member of an unsuccessful gold-mining expedition to the Carpathians and spent three months on the Cocos Islands in the South Pacific in search of Spanish treasure.

“In 1914, he resigned his post as assistant secretary to the Imperial Merchant Service Guild in Liverpool to join the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party], 1914 – 1917 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton). Mackintosh was appointed Captain of Aurora and leader of the Ross Sea party, with the task of laying a chain of depots across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the Beardmore Glacier, providing supplies for Shackleton’s trans-polar party.” [source: Scott Polar Research Institute]


More about Mackintosh: ibiography.info.

Posted in Images, Other Voices