Our theme for the week is the historical event(s) we wish had been filmed. That got me thinking again about a great winter book, "Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure" by Arthur Conan Doyle (University of Chicago Press, 2012 -- yes, 2012).
I loved reading the book, as documented in this earlier post about it. It's the diary kept by the young medical student Arthur Conan Doyle when he served as ship's doctor on the Arctic whaler S.S. Hope from Feb. 28-Aug. 11, 1880. I know it's impossible, but I'd love to find film of the voyage. Even though it wouldn't sing with Doyle's voice, the way even this early written effort does, the film would show the adventure and the hard work -- or the lack of it.
Two of my favorite entries are mysterious, and I would love to know what really happened on:
"Wednesday, April 21st
"Absolutely nothing to do except grumble, so we did that. A most disagreeable day with a nasty cross sea and swell. No seals and nothing but misery. Felt seedy all day. Was knocked out of bed at 1 AM to see a man forwards with palpitations of the heart. That didn't improve my temper."
-- or, even more concisely:
"Monday, July 19
"Blowing a gale all day. Nothing to do and we did it."
But how do you do "nothing" at close quarters aboard ship? And what was life like for the people that young Dr. Doyle (really only a med student) didn't need to see as patients?
It's a puzzle worthy of one of his own stories. I wish a camera could have been on board!
For more fun with words, stop by the Margaret Serious page on Facebook.
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Filed under: This Blogger Life