Sunday, September 30, 2007

what dreams I have had of his future

It is the New Ninja Bomber's seventh birthday today. When I got a card through the door saying that the Royal Mail had tried and failed to deliver a parcel earlier this week, I assumed that it was most probably a present for him, so I didn't pick it up until yesterday morning. In fact it turned out to be a present for me; Roland Huntford's dual biography of Scott and Amunden gifted by Maturin most likley in light of this post on the British explorer's last letter. (Thanks Rob by the way.)

The coincidence naturally led me (on Ben's birthday and as the world's most sentimental person) back to the last words Scott scribbled in the icy wilderness to his wife about his son, and how - remarkably - that boy grew up to be the famous Sir Peter Markham Scott CH, CBE, DSC, FRS, FZS, a distinguished ornithologist, conservationist, painter and sportsman.

I have written letters on odd pages of this book — will you manage to get them sent? You see I am anxious for you and the boy's future — make the boy interested in natural history if you can, it is better than games — they encourage it at some schools — I know you will keep him out in the open air — try and make him believe in a God, it is comforting.
Oh my dear my dear what dreams I have had of his future .....

I'm ready for another blub up, but looking quickly at the book, I seem to detect a revisionist slant. I'm really not looking forward to finding feet of clay on a national hero, but what must be must be.

Far-called our navies melt away-
On dune and headland sinks the fire-
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
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