Literature and mathematics were Ross’s primary pleasure and solace throughout his life: indeed, he regretted later in life that he had wasted so much time on medicine at the expense of literature and mathematics.
Ross first started to write poetry while he was a pupil at Springhill School and continued to do so throughout his life. His first play was written while he was a medical student and his first novel while working as a ship’s surgeon. All his novels and short stories and many of his plays were written in the 1880s and 1890s when he was serving with the Indian Medical Service. Poetry was the only literary form that he practised continually.