Better off than the King

“A cheery little fellow, who had a strange outlook on life and wonderful views of his own for reforming various social evils.” — Alexander Macklin, on Alfred Cheetham

Cheetham and Crean

Cheetham and Crean

“Some days we used to set off in the lovely long sunsets and return by moonlight. On these occasions he used to remain very silent and pensive, occasionally breaking to remark:

“I say Doctor, don’t you think we are better off than the King?”

“I don’t know, Cheetham.”

“Well, I’m happy, Doctor, and you’re happy, and here we are sitting on a sledge driving smoothly home and looking at the wonders of the World; it goes into your soul, like don’t it, Doctor? — the King with all his might and with all his power couldn’t come here and enjoy what I’m enjoying, for one thing he wouldn’t be allowed to…”

Macklin and dogs

Macklin and dogs

“Again long silences and then a snatch of song:

“Justice in England that fine and happy land
Justice in England I cannot understand.
Justice for the rich and poor it tells a different tale,
For the rich man always seems to get the balance of the scale.”

“Sometimes I took out Green… it was a great treat for him after the galley, and he was like a schoolboy, and thoroughly enjoyed being tumbled into snowdrifts — but then it did not happen often to him!”

— Dr. Alexander Mackin


About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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