A Tin Of Button Polish

Who but an Englishman, the legendary Sir John Franklin, could have managed to die of starvation and scurvy along with all 129 of his men in a region of the Canadian Arctic whose game had supported an Eskimo colony for centuries? When the corpses of some of Franklin’s officers and crew were later discovered, miles from their ships, the men were found to have left behind their guns but to have lugged such essentials as monogrammed silver cutlery, a backgammon board, a cigar case, a clothes brush, a tin of button polish, and a copy of The Vicar Of Wakefield. These men may have been incompetent bunglers, but, by God, they were gentlemen.

From Ex Libris : Confessions Of A Common Reader by Anne FadimanĀ (1998)

One thought on “A Tin Of Button Polish

  1. Lead poisoning can make you a bit loopy. That at least was the conclusion made by some boffins in a TV-document about the expedition.

    Tinned food was not of the best quality in those days. Probably as healthy as the tin of button polish.

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