We are like men awakened from a long sleep

“Soon we were tumbling into the boat, and the Chilean sailors, laughing up at us, seemed as pleased at our rescue as we were. Twice more the boat returned, and within an hour of our first having sighted the boat we were heading northwards to the outer world from which we had had no news since October 1914, over twenty-two months before. We are like men awakened from a long sleep. We are trying to acquire suddenly the perspective which the rest of the world has acquired gradually through two years of war. There are many events which have happened of which we shall never know.”

“Our first meal, owing to our weakness and the atrophied state of our stomachs, proved disastrous to a good many. They soon recovered though. Our beds were just shakedowns on cushions and settees, though the officer on watch very generously gave up his bunk to two of us. I think we got very little sleep that night. It was just heavenly to lie and listen to the throb of the engines, instead of to the crack of the breaking floe, the beat of the surf on the ice-strewn shore, or the howling of the blizzard.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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2 Responses to We are like men awakened from a long sleep

  1. Ry Yelcho says:

    I always enjoy your postings. Just curious, who gets credit for this quote?

    • It’s quoted without attribution (as any number of the crew’s diary entries are) by Shackleton in “South,” but it sounds like either Hurley or Lees to me. Could not find the exact further reference; I’m sure it’s out there.

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