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W. C. BRÖGGER AND NORDAHL ROLFSEN
WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
LONDON, NEW YORK, AND BOMBAY
All rights reserved
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
When I read and began to translate the following pages early last summer, I could not but feel that the authors were somewhat over bold in assuming as a matter of course a fortunate issue to Fridtiof Nansen's latest enterprise. I could not but wonder, here and there, whether Fate might not already have written an ironic comment on some of their serenely confident forecastings. Events have entirely put to shame my apprehensions. Fridtiof Nansen has done what he set forth to do, and has practically solved the enigma of the polar regions. If it be objected that he has not reached the Pole itself, let me simply refer to his own words before the Royal Geographical Society, cited upon page 282 of this volume. To stand upon the axis of the earth is in itself no very great matter. Nansen or another will do this also in due time. What Nansen has done, in the teeth of scepticism and discouragement harder to face, perhaps, than the Arctic ice-pack and the month-long night, is to lead the way into the very heart of the polar fastnesses, and to show how, with forethought, skill, and resolution, they can be traversed as safely as the Straits of Dover. While other explorers have crept, as it were, towards the Pole, each penetrating, with
incredible toil, a degree or two farther than the last, Nansen has at one stride enormously reduced the unconquered distance, and has demonstrated the justice of his theory as to the right way of attacking the problem. Nor is this the crown of his achievement. As the Duke of Wellington ‘gained a hundred fights, and never lost an English gun, so Nansen has now come forth victorious from two campaigns, each including many a hard-fought fray, and has never lost a Norwegian life. We have only to read the tragic record of Arctic exploration in the past to realise the magnitude of this exploit. It is in no way lessened by the fact that Nansen has profited by the hard-earned experience of his predecessors. On the contrary, it is the chief glory of this expedition that absolute intrepidity went hand in hand with consummate intelligence. The following account, then, of Fridtiof Nansen's character and training cannot but be read with all the more interest, since events have so amply justified his countrymen's confidence in his genius and his ' lucky star.
W. A. London: September 26, 1896.