THE SPITZBERGEN EXPEDITION, DAY THREE

Sunday 8 July 1934
The Norwegian who had complained of the cheap fish was drunk before breakfast. He sat in the smoking-room singing folk songs and calling “Cuckoo. Cuckoo.” At first it was funny. He tried to walk along the top of the seats and broke an electric bulb with his head. It exploded with a great noise. After that he was aggrieved because the steward spoke roughly to him. He kept saying that he had paid as much for his ticket as anyone else, that we were given beer and cigarettes because we were English. “It is not correct. It is not correct,” he kept saying. He took up with another drunk and they danced together. The second drunk had a sweetheart waiting for him, he said, and showed us a bottle of “parfoom” he had bought for her. Then he tried to pick a quarrel on the grounds that we were “college men”. After luncheon both drunks were sleepy. At Bergen, at 6 o’clock, they looked torpid, but they kept up their joke about “cuckoo”. There was a man in a kilt, and a couple in green leather shorts.

There was half an hour of fjord before we reached port. At first Bergen seemed ugly, red gables dotted among green hills and square Thames-side warehouses. Sandy’s laissez-passer was effective and we got our baggage straight to the Tromso ship without customs; an inferior ship to the Venus in every way, with surly officers and a badly equipped, four-berth cabin. We did a lot of carrying ourselves. When everything was fixed we went ashore. The waterfront is built with charming eighteenth-century timber houses with semi-classical gables. We looked for a gay restaurant but found nothing except a large empty hotel, with an orchestra, called the Rosencrantz. Good dinner and bad Chianti. Afterwards looked for a café without success. Hugh went to sleep on shore. In our ship they turned out the lights at 12 but it was only twilight. At 10.30 it had been broad day.

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