25 September 2002
LAWRENCE EDWARD GRACE OATES (1880-1912)
Autograph letter signed ('LEG Oates') to his mother, S.Y. Terra Nova, Cardiff, 'Friday' [10 June 1910], on lined paper, 2 pages, 8vo, on a bifolium, autograph envelope.
Oates amid the bustle of Terra Nova docked in Cardiff: 'We brought up in Cardiff Roads last night ... The Mayor and his crowd came on board and I never saw such a mob they are Labour socialists we are booked for dinners, smoking concerts, music halls every night and people are running about with invitations'; informing his mother of his plans to stay with Colonel Herbert in Chepstow, complaining that 'we are in a frightful state of ordered confusion and are very handicapped by the visitors, the only gentleman I have seen come aboard yet is a telephone operator', and remarking that 'There are a whole lot of people talking in the Ward room so it is rather difficult to write'.
A letter giving some impression of Oates's unconscious charm and laid-back humour. Terra Nova had left the Thames on 1 June, and after taking part in a naval send-off from the Home Fleet in Portland Harbour called in to Cardiff to take on a final load of coal. Scott stayed behind to raise funds (he joined the ship in Simonstown) and the Terra Nova finally sailed for the South on 15 June.
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