Friday, February 10, 2012

William Lord Watts

"Iceland again! Reykjavik again! Here I am upon the same errand as in 1871 and 1874 -- foolhardiness and folly as it is denounced by some at home. I fancy I can see some of my worthy countrymen at ten o'clock in the morning, clad in dressing gown and slippers, breakfast half-finished, and a copy of some journal that has condescended to take notice of my little expedition in his hand. Umph! he says, 5,000 square miles of uninhabited country, a howling Wilderness, nothing but Volcanoes, ice and snow...a man must be a fool to want to go there...why, in the name of everything that is worth shillings, pounds and pence, should anyone be mad enough to do so now?...He sees it costs money, time and labour. He thinks of the hard cash going out...he magnifies the risk a thousandfold and stamps the whole concern as 'utter folly'. Well! Well! let us let our worthy friend shop at home; it is his element. Only it would be as well if he did not go out if his way to anathenmatise an expedition which costs him not a farthing...Our friend's mania may be that he thinks he is specially called upon to spend his energies in raising a superior race of poultry; mine may be to wander amongst unknown or unfrequented corners of the Earth, but so long as I leave his chicken-house unmolested, I think he should leave off sneering at my wild perignations." WL Watts, 'Across the Vatnajokull', 1885.

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