A Naturalist at the Poles: The Life, Work & Voyages of Dr. W. S. Bruce the Polar Explorer.

Rudmose Brown, as he is often called, participated in only one Antarctic expedition, the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition organized by William Spires Bruce. But his influence in polar studies was extensive through his academic career, his high status in the geographical community, and his exceptional writing ability of which this book is a prime example.

p.2, reference to the library of the Challenger office where Bruce worked with John Murray in editing the scientific results of the Challenger Expedition.

p. 35, on the first Antarctic trip of Murdoch and Bruce on Balaena: The change from the weary monotony of shore life to the sea-going life was marvelously rapid and complete. It was as if a great stage-curtain had been rolled up before us, and all that we had heard or read of the ways of the sea since we read Marryat and Robinson Crusoe was acted on the deck before us; each man took up his part as if he had played it from the days of the Flying Dutchman onward.

p. 55: We both studied enthusiastically the sea and meteorology from opposite points, he [Bruce] the causes, and the painter [Murdoch] the effects. Bruce had with him writings by Arthur Thomson, Patrick Geddes, H. R. Mill and several works of old voyages.

p. 61: [Bruce and Brown] met in a London temperance hotel: and Bruce said, ‘have a drink,’ and Brown said, ‘I will’: and so history is made.

p. 62: Bruce joined the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition in Franz Josef Land where the leader shot, I believe, ninety polar bears to his own rifle. No other member of the party, scientist or cabin-boy, was allowed to shoot one! But they were obliged to clean the rifles and skin the bears.

p. 104-5, preparing the Scotia for the Antarctic involved many gifts in kind, including books, games, scientific instruments and even ship’s fittings: In books we were well off. Various publishers were extremely generous and rose splendidly to the appeal to give us something to ‘relieve the monotony of the long Antarctic night,’ a phrase which Wilton was proud to have coined. Narrative and scientific results of practically all Antarctic and many Arctic and oceanographical expeditions were on board. The one gift of the Government, except the loan of certain Admiralty instruments, was a set of the reports of the expedition of H.M.S. Challenger.

p. 148, Brown quotes Bruce’s Scotia log: Besides a good record of solid work, it is my wish that each should be able to see in after life that not only did he personally help the work of the expedition, but that the work helped and educated him. I would like them to regard the ship as their university, as their alma mater in the highest possible sense, where they will be able to study the phenomena of Nature, without bias, from Nature itself: and learn that they, as well as their fellows have many shortcomings. I am here as leader rather than commander in order to guide the work of others, so that the aggregate may be of the greatest possible value to science and the world.

p. 292, Bruce’s bequest: The gear and fittings were sold, but the valuable library of polar books was presented to the University of Edinburgh, ‘for the use of students,’ the collections to the Royal Scottish Museum and the maps and charts to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. [Bruce died on October 28, 1921.]