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Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

R.M.S: Anselm
Tuesday, March 11 | 1919

My very dear Mother

We are now approaching Lisbon and expect to arrive soon after daylight tomorrow morning. The weather has been pretty good; it was warmest on Sunday, which was a beautiful sunny day, and one could sit out on deck chairs without an overcoat. Yesterday and today, there was more wind and occasional showers. It has not been very rough, but there was sufficient motion to make a good many of the passengers unhappy. Of our party, Crommelin & Cottingham succumbed for a time, but they both seem much better today.

We all arrived at Euston an hour-and a half before the train started; but it took a good while to deal with our bulky luggage. We were charged 30/– excess, but most of that was for the object-glasses which being labelled “glass” were charged at a higher rate. We got to Liverpool at 3∙45 and then difficulties began. The Hotels were full and there were scarcely any porters at the station. At last we found a porter of a baggage agency, and put all except our handbags in his charge to deliver to the Steamer. Then we set off in a taxi to hunt for a Hotel. After 3 or 4 attempts we got in at quite a comfortable commercial hotel. I think we were probably very lucky. It was a pouring wet night, so we did not go out.

The next day we got down to the dock about 10 a.m. Our luggage was promised for 10∙30 a.m.; but did not arrive. Soon after 11 we had to go on board, because the emigration officer was only there for a short time. He just looked at the passports and did not worry about anything else. We were not very anxious about the luggage because we soon found about a dozen other passengers were in the same plight as ourselves having entrusted their luggage to the same firm. Ultimately about 12∙30 it all turned up, and we went down to lunch, much relieved.

The Anselm is a very nice boat, and seems much roomier than I expected. I should think there are at least sixty first-class passengers on board. Our cabin is nicely placed, a good height above the water, and is very quiet. Davidson & Crommelin are next door. It seems curious to have done with rationing entirely—unlimited sugar, and large slices of meat, puddings with pre-war quantity of raisins & currants in them, new white rolls, and so on.

We left at about 2 p.m. and went slowly through a chain of docks to the Mersey. One of the Directors of the Booth Line was on board at the start and saw us for a few minutes. We saw the lights of Holyhead about 9 p.m. and stopped a few minutes to drop the pilot. Since then we have seen no land whatever, and have had only very vague ideas as to our position; there is still a war-regulation which forbids them letting us know where we are & what our course is.

Davidson & Crommelin had to sit at the Captain’s table, so our party was broken up. It is supposed to be a special favour to be asked to sit there; but as they are too far from the Captain to get to know him, it does not seem much good. There is one other passenger whom I knew through correspondence, Mr. Walkey an amateur astronomer. He is going out for the Bible Society to live on a house-boat on the Amazon travelling up and down the various tributaries. He expects to be out there most of his life.

I have had a few games of chess with Crommelin and also with a Frenchman, have read a bit, and passed the time very comfortably. I am quite glad to be having a long steamer trip again.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘1st’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

Letter from Arthur Schuster to A. S. Eddington

Transcript

Victoria Park, Manchester
Novr 9. 1909

Dear Mr Eddington,

May I ask you—in confidence—whether you consider yourself definitely fixed to “Astronomy” or whether you would at all consider a return to Physics as possible.—I am not at liberty to go into details but the question arises whether in case a chair of Theoretical Physics were founded here or elsewhere and suitable conditions were offered you would be prepared to accept the chair.—Also in that case it might help matters if you wd let me know what conditions you would consider acceptable.

You may take it for granted that the duties wd leave you plenty of time for private work and that nothing wd prevent you continuing to prosecute the line of research on which you have entered with such success

I remain
Yours sincerely
Arthur Schuster.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Grand Hôtel des Bergues, Genève
3. Jan 1898.

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

I sent you just one bit of my ideas abt. Stanley as soon as he left us. The rest must follow now.

His presence has been a great pleasure to us. You have got a boy mixed of most kindly elements, as perhaps Shakspeare might say {1}. His rapidly and clearly working mind has not in the least spoiled his character. I don’t know when I have had to do with so modest and gentlemanly a boy. It is a testimony to day schools and home training, (not, I am afraid, my favourite theory.)

His youth has, of course, been just a little against his making friends, but has not been fatal to it. In Clayton, & in Wood & Brown he has nice associates; but he seems more contented alone than most boys are.

His work is all that I expected, & more: & I feel altogether that he is “a precious youth” committed to my charge. I can realise to some extent what Margaret would feel like if she were left alone to bring up our own little Richard.

I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W. Graham

—————

The writing-paper is engraved with illustrations of the hotel, etc. The year is wrong, as Eddington did not enter Owen’s College till October 1898 (see his Notebook).

{1} {1} Graham evidently had in mind Antony’s encomium on Brutus at the end of Julius Caesar: ‘His life was gentle, and the elements | So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up | And say to all the world “This was a man!”’

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 3. 11.a.m.
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother,

We are now on our way between Lisbon and Madeira, and are due at the latter about noon tomorrow; after that the long period away from land begins. I did not hear from you at Lisbon, so fear that the mail must have gone before you posted. I hope you got on all right and are having better weather.

We have had glorious weather the whole way so far. Southampton {2} gave us a parting shower and then the sun came out brightly and has never deserted us since. We had a pretty view of the Needles and Isle of Wight and reached Cherbourg about 6 o’clock where we took on a lot of passengers. We sailed again about 10 o’clock. Before breakfast next morning we were passing Ushant and entered the Bay of Biscay. It was quite smooth, though not exactly glassy; very different from last time I crossed it. The day was bright but not hot. The next morning (Sunday) we were across the Bay[,] and passing C. Finisterre and the end of the Pyrenees the coast looked very pretty with the hills (not very high) well wooded and little villages by the shore. It was now very hot but there has always been a fresh wind. We called at Vigo but did not go ashore; however I visited it well with my opera glasses and took some photographs; the town itself is small, primitive, and not very interesting but the Estuary is fine. We go a little way up the river (I dont know its name) and there are some islands at the mouth which make it very pretty. We took on a tremendous crowd of Spanish emigrants here. They are packed close but seem very happy and lively.

I was up early on Monday morning for the sail up the Tagus to Lisbon. The misty morning light made it very delightful. We went ashore after breakfast (Davidson and J. Atkinson {3} did not land) and stayed until 4 o’clock. You hardly realise Lisbon is a capital city; it seems more a sort of market town. It was very interesting looking round[;] we spent most of the time (which passed very quickly) doing the markets and so on. We went round the Cathedral however, which has a fine high dome and saw many interesting things including the mummy of a saint. We lunched off fruit[—]grapes, apricots and figs[,] which were very nice and wonderfully cheap (very nice tasted {4} purple grapes at a penny a pound)[.] We sailed back to the ship in a sailing boat. We spent altogether 2685 reis which sounds ruinous but is about 9/6.

The ship did not sail till about midnight. Today is I think a little cooler and the sea is not so smooth; but our boat is not much disturbed by it. It is a lovely blue sea with brilliant sunshine.

I have a deck-chair up on the observation deck so get plenty of sun and air. I dont read much more than I did in Norway. This boat is just like the Avon {5} so I know my way about well and, as I told you, we have the same captain {6}.

We are at the Captain’s table but he is not coming to meals until we leave Madeira[.] The other occupants are Mr, Mrs & Miss Unwin; Mr. is some man of importance in S. Amer. but we dont know what. Atkinson tells me he (Unwin) is a radical speaker (A. being a Conservative orator). The only other occupant, my neighbour, is Lady Macpherson-Grant {7}. I am afraid she is going to be rather a bore. However we get plenty of fun with Atkinson. Atkinson who is 67 is a wonderful old chap, as hard as nails; he has been everywhere almost and seems to know everybody. He is always bubbling over with mischief. He is a barrister but has given up practising, breeds and runs racehorses, used to play cricket for Yorkshire, has invented a number of mechanical contrivances which have had great success and directs or manages a number of companies. He is a very keen educationalist on the Northampton County Council and was telling me about their scholarships “but . .” he said {8} “we have n’t done like Somerset yet, I always hold up Somerset to them; they got a Senior Wrangler”[.] I had to enlighten him, as he [had] no idea I was a Somerset Scholar {9}.

I had a good long talk with the Chief Officer last night who knew something of Christina. It seems to be a nice place and the climate and weather prospects first rate.

Of course, we eat tremendously, the meals being much like those on the Avon. I have my bath at 7∙30 so get a little exercise before breakfast at 9. Lunch is at 12∙30, tea at 4, and dinner at 7. They have rather more of a gymnasium here than on the Avon; one very good arrangement is an apparatus for rowing, it feels exactly like real rowing.

I shall have to send with this my best wishes for many happy returns of the day; 60 this time isn’t it? I shall have to give a joint birthday and Christmas present when I get back.

Please give my love to Uncle A. Aunt F. and Arthur; I hope you are not in trouble with the floods, but have heard no English news, whatever.

With very dear love to Winnie & yourself from your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed. The Arlanza, a sister-ship of the Titanic, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolff for the Southampton–River Plate service. She was launched on 23 November 1911 and came into service in April the following year. She was capable of carrying 400 first-class, 230 second-class, and 760 third-class passengers.

{2} The ship left Southampton on Friday, 30 August.

{3} ‘(Assistant)’ has been added below ‘Davidson’ and ‘(Amateur Astron gone with them)’ above Atkinson, all in the same unidentified hand.

{4} A slip for ‘tasting’.

{5} The R.M.S.P. Avon, of 11,073 tons, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolf in 1907.

{6} Captain Pope.

{7} Either Frances Elizabeth, the widow of Sir George Macpherson-Grant, 3rd Bt, or Mary (d. 1914), the wife of Sir John Macpherson-Grant, 4th Bt.

{8} This word, which is at the end of a line, is followed by superfluous inverted commas.

{9} Eddington won a Somerset County Council Scholarship in 1898. See Douglas, p. 4.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Savoy-Hotel, Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg
5 Aug. 1913 {1}

My very dear Mother

Dyson and I travelled here together by the night train from Bonn, and arrived here about 7∙30 this (Tuesday) morning. The two conferences overlap by one day, so we miss the last day of the Bonn meetings. I have been enjoying the affair immensely, and had no idea it would be such a jolly and lively time. There were about 100 astronomers there, many with wives, etc; and I got to know most of them. Schwarzschild was staying at our hotel & we saw a good deal of him. The meetings were mainly devoted to business (not papers), and as there was very little to do we had not too much work—in fact it was rather an excuse for a picnic; but one learns a lot by seeing and talking to the different people. The weather has been glorious and very hot every day except Saturday (which was overcast but fine). We had two municipal banquets, viz at Bonn & Cologne—both very enjoyable. At Cologne a most splendid band played during the meal one of the best I have heard; and the Gürzenich, where the meal was, is a beautiful old hall with Gothic roof. Whilst at Cologne we had a good look round the Cathedral and saw the treasure chamber with the skulls of the three Magi. On Sunday we left Bonn before 9 a.m. by electric tram, and had a ten mile walk through the woods of the Siebengebirge ending up at the Drachenfels castle, and returned in a launch by the river. About 30 of us went (the rest going a motor trip) practically all the English Astronomers went the walk, only one American, Schwa[r]zschild, Hertzsprung[,] Jules Baillaud and a number of miscellaneous nationalities. Two ladies Miss Hills & Mrs Hertzsprung (late Miss Kapteyn) went with us. As we had all day we did not have to hurry much; the views were very fine. We had a good deal of amusement—including a race. “Schwarzschild & five mad Englishmen” (the latter including Dyson & myself) got photographed at one of those places where they give you them finished in five minutes, posed in a motor-car and with a wooden donkey—it makes an amusing group. One afternoon Sampson Stratton Hubrecht & I went on {2} the river to Strandbad, a bathing place and had a very enjoyable bathe—it was a very hot afternoon. We have also bathed two or three times in a covered place at Bonn. There was a very nicely arranged garden party at the Observatory at Bonn (Küstner’s place) on Friday.

I got to know two Russian astronomers Backlund & Belopolski who are most delightful men—Backlund in particular is very good company[.] He reminds one a bit of Atkinson, but he is quite a first-rate astronomer. He has often been to England but somehow I have always missed him. The meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft here will be larger, less select and probably more serious; I do not think it will be quite so lively, but there are a number of excursions & entertainments planned.12 The Goldener Stern at Bonn was an excellent Hotel[;] this one here is not so good; but they were very slow over serving meals everywhere in Bonn; lunch although, {3} only 3 courses, always took about 2 hours to serve.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley.

The cigars here are excellent & very cheap.

—————

The letter has been docketed ‘Bonn 1913 | Hamburg’.

{1} The first two figures of the year are printed.

{2} This is probably the intended word, though, perhaps as the result of an alteration, what is written resembles ‘top’.

{3} The comma ought to precede the word.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Dalton Hall, Victoria Park, Manchester

2. VII. ’99

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

You will be interested in hearing some details of Stanley’s Preliminary. They are astonishing enough.—I have heard them today from the Chairman of the Board of Studies. In

Mechanics. Full marks
Latin. Top of all
Eng History [ditto]
Mathematics [ditto] & 60 marks above everybody else

leaving Chemistry & Eng. Language as the only subjects in which any one excelled him.

This is a marvellous record; whether he ought to know it I leave to you.

The great thing now is not to overload him; and to keep up his exercise: but I see no danger of going wrong in either respect.

In Physics ii at Easter I find he got 99 per cent. in the College Examination, making 199 out of 200. He has half the prize in Latin, the Prize in Practical Physics as well as theoretical; and the 2nd place in Math iii. A.

He will now, I trust, go in for a good physical athletic holiday. With my hearty congratulations

I remain
Yours sincerely
J. W. Graham

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 6
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

There is an unexpected opportunity of sending a letter today, as we are calling at St Vincent to obtain a supply of fresh water; we could not get it at Madeira. After that it is no good writing until we reach Rio.

Last time I wrote was just after leaving Lisbon, since then we have had very pleasant weather, little wind, calm sea, sky rather overcast but with sunshine filtering through, and not unpleasantly warm, although we entered the tropics last night. We had a day at sea on Tuesday and reached Madeira about 11 the next morning. As we approached we passed a great many islands. Madeira is rather mountainous but a layer of clouds about some 3000 feet above the sea just cut their tops off, and remained all day. We were soon surrounded by lots of small boats selling basket chairs & embroidery—the two main products of Madeira—; also small boys wanting to dive for sixpences, some of them climbed to our highest decks and dived from there.

We had about 4 hours at Madeira and most of us did the regular excursion. Atkinson & Davidson did not come; but I went with the Unwins and Lady Grant. First we rode in chariots (there is no other word for them) drawn by a pair of bullocks[.] The streets are all cobbles and the vehicles are on wooden runners like sleighs; the bullocks gallop along finely. Then we went up the mountain Terreira da Lucca in a funicular railway, not quite to the top but 3300 feet up. The town (Funchal) is built in terraces on a steep slope. The abundance of vines laden with grapes was very remarkable, they grow on low pergolas. There were sugar canes[,] bamboos, palms, and beautiful blue hydrangias growing luxuriantly. Towards the top it was all pine forest. Just below the terminus we ran into cloud so lost the view; but as we had a fine view of the bay nearly all the way up, it did not so much matter. We had lunch at the top, and then came the exciting part—we tobogganed down the whole 3300 feet. There is a steep zigzag cobbled path down from the summit passing through the town; we go in a sort of basket toboggan holding 3 passengers, with with† two men running on each side with ropes to guide the toboggan and hold it back where necessary. They go at a great pace, {2} sometimes getting on and riding behind. It was much more exciting and alarming than I expected. We took about half-an-hour to get down. The sharp corners are particular[ly] exciting at first, because they always get up as much speed as possible to go round them (I suppose because swinging round checks the toboggan). After that came another bullock drive through the town to the launch, and so back to the steamer.

Now we have got to the main part of the journey, and shall be a week or more without any chance of landing. They are arranging some sports and I have entered for some of them. Atkinson is in for the tug of war and should be a tower of strength (and weight) for the “married” v “single”.

Captain Pope has been down to dinner twice, and is very pleasant and chatty. We are generally in the dining room half an hour longer than any-one else.

Tomorrow there is to be a celebration of the Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil. A Brazilian committee are arranging it.

I have not got much work done yet.

With very dear love,
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘2’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} Comma added in pencil.

† Sic.

Draft of a letter from A. S. Eddington to Arthur Schuster

Transcript

(copy)

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, S.E.
1909 Nov. 15

Dear Dr. Schuster

You will, I am sure, not be surprised that I have delayed a little replying to your important letter. I had not at all thought of such a change, and it was a matter requiring very careful consideration. Whilst the idea of returning to Physics, and perhaps especially to academic work, was in many respects attractive, I have however decided that it is best for me not to leave my present work. I need not trouble you with the reasons that have led me to this difficult decision; rightly or wrongly I have concluded that the suggestion and opportunities that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good research work on my part {1} than any I could hope for elsewhere.

With many thanks
yours sincerely
A. S. Eddington

—————

The letter is headed ‘copy’ but, since it contains a correction, it is probably a draft.

{1} ‘the suggestion …. on my part’ has been altered from ‘the suggestion and opportunities of research work that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good results on my part’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Hotel Bella Vista | Funchal
Saturday, March 15.

My very dear Mother

We arrived here yesterday in most summerlike weather, and today has been just as bright and warm. It is a lovely spot to have to stop at, although of course I am anxious to get on to the journey’s end. I am afraid we shall have to wait longer than was expected; the date of sailing is now supposed to be April 3, but one cannot rely on the boat times at all. The ship is called to Quelimane.

We reached Lisbon on the 12th about breakfast time, and all four went on shore. I cannot say what the time was because we had three times—ship’s time, Greenwich time and Summer Time, each differing about an hour—; it was most confusing; although summer-time is legally in force in Lisbon and, I believe, in Madeira most people stick to the old time.

Oom met us at the Quay and took us up to the Observatory in a motor car. We met the Director {1} (aged 82) a charming old man, who looked as little like a Vice-Admiral as one could imagine. The Observatory is in a fine park, and the almond blossom was full out and looked very bright. We spent about two hours there and then were motored down to the ship by a longer route through Belem. We had no chance of seeing either the steamer company or the planters, because they do not start business in Lisbon until 3 o’clock.

Lisbon seemed full of soldiers. They have disbanded all the police, but the country seems pretty quiet.

We left Lisbon about 5 o’clock and sailed down the Tagus by daylight—about 12 miles to the mouth of the river. Then we were out of sight of land until the morning of Friday (about 40 hours) when the Madeira islands appeared.

We got fine views of Madeira as we had to sail a good way round the main island to reach Funchal which is on the south coast. We all four landed about 11 o’clock (having seen that our baggage was alright) and spent an hour or two strolling round. Then we had a farewell lunch together at a restaurant. We saw Davidson & Crommelin on to the launch for the ship, and then Cottingham and I drove out to this hotel in a bullock sleigh. I expect I have told you, that except for a few motor cars there are no wheeled vehicles. All the carts and cabs are sleighs, drawn by bullocks, which slip quite easily over the cobbled streets. They put down grease in front of the sleigh to make it go easier. The streets, which are often very steep, are very slippery, and I soon found it necessary to buy a walking stick for support.

We are about 10 minutes walk from the centre of the town, and have beautiful views of the harbour and town and mountains from the balcony of this hotel. Especially at night it looks very fine with all the lights (street electric lamps) stretching a long way up the sides of the mountains. It is rather a large town and the houses are very scattered.

The Hotel is kept by English people, and in normal times there are large numbers of English visitors, so that English is spoken at most of the shops. But they have had a bad time during the war—scarcety† of most provisions except that sugar which is very widely grown here has been cheap & plentiful. Sugar cane & banana plantations abound everywhere, and vine pergolas, but the vines are not in leaf yet. The fruit in season now is almost solely bananas and nesperas (the latter is something like an apricot in appearance but tastes more like a cherry). We get some very good fish at meals, but otherwise they are chiefly English dishes.

It is too hot to walk very far, but we went four or five miles this afternoon near the coast. Inland the mountains rise almost at once to a height of 4000 or 5000 feet, so it requires some energy to go far.

The hotel has very nice, but small, gardens, which are bright with flowers. There are fine date palms and cactus’s of various kinds. I am finishing this on Sunday morning and the weather is just as bright and warm as ever. Another boat came in from Lisbon this morning, and there are a good many new arrivals at the hotel. I suppose there would be about 30 people here now, but it is not half full.

I hope you are getting on alright at home. It will be a long while before I get any news of you.

Much love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘2nd’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

{1} Vice-Admiral C. A. Campos Rodrigues, Director of the Observatory at Lisbon since 1890.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 11
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

We are getting near Pernambuco now. The time at sea has passed very rapidly and pleasantly and I shall be very sorry when the voyage is over. The slightly overcast skies which we had about Madeira have given place to continual bright sunshine, but there has been a strong refreshing breeze always. Most of the regular travellers on this route say they have never known it so fresh and cool all the way. The only time I find it really hot is when I come down from the deck at night to the cabin; then for an hour or so it seems very close and I usually read for an hour to get cool again before going to sleep. The dining saloon, decks, & smoking rooms are beautifully cool. Of course I am wearing the thinnest things possible.

We did not land at St Vincent but were surrounded by boats (as at Madeira)[.] These were all occupied by negroes; the little nigger boys were very amusing[;] I tried to photograph them. I saw a shark whilst we were at anchor. We see lots of flying fish, regular shoals of them, skimming from wave to wave. Most of them are very small[,] almost like butterflies. They look very pretty in the sunlight.

I have got to know some of the southern stars now but they are poor compared with the northern ones. The Southern Cross is not visible yet[;] it is the wrong time of the year for it. The Chief Officer took me up on to “Monkey Island” above the Bridge where one gets a good clear view of the sky.

One day is much like another and I hardly keep account of time. We have had Sports, Games, Fancy Dress ball, etc. I went in for several of the Competitions—including spar-boxing (with the pillow), life-belt race, Are you there?, deck quoits, threading the needle (with Lady Grant holding the needle), but did not have much success, except at chess. I got to the Final Round at Chess, and had to play quite a young opponent for the final. We drew one game and he won the replay. They had a specially good dinner to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil, and some speeches (chiefly in Portuguese)[,] also a dance which did not interest me.

Of course I know a good many people by now. One man that we see a great deal of is Major Caroll (an Irishman)[;] he is a very nice fellow. The Captain comes down to dinner generally; although he is said to be the most popular man in the service I dont care much for him. He seems generally grumbly—a pig-headed old man I think; though I have no doubt as a Captain he is very good indeed. Lady Grant also is a tiresome old lady, with an enormous appetite. The Unwins are quite nice people.

We pass a great number of ships chiefly tramp steamers. The Avon passed us quite close a few days ago and I saw it. We had one little excitement yesterday as a tramp steamer required a Doctor (a man having got an iron splinter in his eye) so we stopped whilst he was brought on board and attended to.

We crossed the Equator about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon but there were no traditional observances; everyone (at the time[)] was excited about a tug-of-war Married v Single. Atkinson pulled in it as well as Davidson & I. The “married” were ever so much heavier than we were, and pulled us over easily.

It is curious having no letters or English news of any sort. We have not even had the daily Marconigram since leaving Lisbon—have heard nothing whatever. I hope you are getting on well.

We expected to be in the Doldrums the last three days—a region of calm close air with rain—but instead of that we have had delightful fresh weather[;] it is most unusual just here.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie is having a got {2} time at Lynton[.]

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘3’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} A slip for ‘good’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal
1919 March 27

My very dear Mother

We have been here nearly a fortnight, and though we are anxious to be getting on to Principe, it is very delightful being here and I am not at all tired of Madeira. We have had a variety of weather; but there is always a good deal of hot sunshine every day. At first we had three days of “leste”, a hot dry east wind coming from the Sahara; it blows in gusts—dead calm for a long time then quite suddenly a furious wind for about 10 minutes. It did a good deal of damage to the trees and to the tiles on the roof here. Afterwards we had brilliant weather all day, but not quite so hot. This last week we have had a good deal of rain—chiefly at night but some sharp showers in the day as well—with snow on the tops of the mountains. Now it is comparatively cold; but that is only relatively speaking; because I am still wearing my thinnest shirts & vests and can sit out of doors even at night.

I have been two good long walks on the mountains. The funicular railway is not running regularly but there are occasionally excursions. We went up one day starting at 12 o’clock and reached the top—Terreira de Lucta—(2800 feet) about one o’clock. Cottingham and I took some sandwiches, and walked on at first by road and then on the hillside, making for a special view-point in the centre of the island. He found it too hard work, so I left him for 1½ hours and finished the climb alone. The view-point, Ariero Observatory, is 4800 feet above sea-level, and is a balcony overlooking a magnificent gorge at least 2000 feet deep which winds down to the sea on the other side (north) of the island. After seeing this, I rejoined Cottingham and we walked back to Terreira de Lucta which we reached about 5 o’clock, and then came down into Funchal in a toboggan a run of about 4 miles.

The second expedition was to the Grand Curral a point further round to the west. Cottingham and I started at 9 o’clock, and we got back about 5∙30. The walk was nearly twenty miles; but the weather was cooler so it was easier. Most of the way was along paved roads often very steep. We got many fine views on the way; and in places the gorse was out, and looked very pretty. The Grand Curral (=great cattle-fold) is a small plain almost entirely surrounded by a ring of mountains—like the crater of a volcano. We looked down on it from a saddle 3300 feet above sea-level and more than 2000 feet above the Curral. On all other sides the mountains were much higher. It is extraordinary, how much of the land is cultivated, all the steep sides of the mountains are terraced into tiny fields up to a great altitude. There is an elaborate system of irrigation; the artificial water-courses (called “levadas”) tap all the rivers near their sources, taking away nearly all the water and leaving only stoney† beds.

The main place of resort in Funchal is the Casino. We often go there in the afternoon for tea. The tea (the beverage) is much better than at the hotel; it has been very scarce in Madeira. There is a roulette table which is well-patronised and it is interesting to watch the players.

The beach is very poor, very steep and stony; and is unattractive, because it is used as the general rubbish-heap. But it is interesting to sit on the pier especially when any of the large steamers are in. There has been no mail from England since I came; but we are expecting one today—the Chepstow Castle—. I did not know I should be here so long or I would have asked you to write here.

There are lots of bananas here and I usually get through about a dozen a day. There is not much other fruit. Prices are generally a bit lower than in England but there is not much difference. The meat here—mutton, veal, beef—is extraordinarily good the best I have ever tasted I think. We can get good cigarettes at 10 a penny; but I chiefly smoke a mixture of native tobacco at a penny an ounce with imported tobacco at a shilling an ounce—the native stuff is too dry to use by itself.

We made friends with a gentleman from the telegraph (cable) station, and he got us permission to see round it yesterday. It was very interesting. They have a lot of new improvements since I was at the station in Malta.

There was a British warship here one day, and they had a football match against the Cable station, which we went to see. The weather was more suitable for watching than for playing. They must have found it terribly hard.

We know a number of people in the hotel. Ritson a commercial traveller from Manchester, Ash a queer old gentleman, Mrs. Caswell a merry widow and her daughter, Mr and Mrs Thomas from Swansea and others. Most of them intend to go on to the Canaries next Sunday. The landlord & landlady Mr. & Mrs. Jones are extremely pleasant & good-natured people.

Three ships were torpedoed by submarine in Madeira harbour during the war, and one sees the masts of two of them sticking up out of the water. The town was also bombarded and there are a few traces visible.

I hope all is going well at Cambridge. I shall be glad to hear news of you when I reach Principe.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘3rd’ at the head. Four passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

† Sic.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Meadow Brow, Grasmere.
VIII. ’02

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

My last duty is now one of simple good wishes.

The men up for Physics Hons. were a set much better than in any previous year. Any of the first three would have been top in any other year; & Stanley was well ahead of the others, & obtained over 80 per cent on the whole examination.

He will find a larger sphere and more competition at Cambridge; and I trust we shall hear he is bearing himself well under it.

With best wishes
I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W Graham

Draft of a testimonial by A. S. Eddington for W. M. Smart

Transcript

Observatory, Cambridge
21 May 1936

Dr W. M. Smart’s application for the Chair of Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow has my warmest support. He is a man of established reputation in astronomical circles who would fill the office with distinction; and he has proved himself very successful as a lecturer and teacher. He would be much missed from this Observatory and from the University; but promotion to a professorial chair would be a fitting recognition of his work.

Dr Smart has been Chief Assistant in the Observatory and John Couch Adams Astronomer since 1921. There is only one other Assistant. The policy of the Observatory has been to avoid routine undertakings and to develop new methods. Two main lines of work have been developed during his tenure—an improved method of determining photographic proper motions of stars, and measurement of stellar magnitudes with a photo-electric cell. As regards the former it may, I think, be claimed that the Cambridge results set a new standard of accuracy for large series of proper motions. Photo-electric work is still confined to two or three observatories (Cambridge being the only British one). After a long struggle with pioneer difficulties the work is now proceeding with great success, and astonishing accuracy is obtained. A large share of the credit for these results is due to Dr Smart.

On the theoretical side his earlier work was in celestial mechanics. But in connection with the practical work above-mentioned his more recent interests have {1} been mainly in proper motions and other branches of stellar statistics, to which he is one of the most active contributors. He is a member of the Commission of the International Astronomical Union on Stellar Parallaxes and Proper Motions.

His teaching work covers elementary lectures on astronomy, advanced lectures on celestial mechanics and on stellar motions and a practical class at the observatory. Judging from the response of the students he is a stimulating lecturer. He normally supervises one or two research students.

An important part of his experience is his work as Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society during the last five years. This brings him into touch with astronomers in all parts of the world, so that he is in full contact with all modern developments. It is perhaps not irrelevant to mention that he is Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society Dining Club—an office (of which the duties are by no means confined to the care of money) which is a tribute to his popularity with his colleagues.

To sum up:—He has shown himself able to make the most of the resources of a small observatory; he is well-known and esteemed internationally; he is successful with students; and is well used to administrative activity.

—————

The various cancelled words and passages in this letter have not been recorded, except for the mistaken deletion noted below.

{1} Struck through by mistake.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal, April 6

My very dear Mother

I think that our time here is nearly up. We are to go on by the steamer Portugal which is due here on Wednesday, April 9, and should reach Principe on the 23rd. It calls at two places in the Cape Verde Islands and then goes straight to Principe. We shall not be the only English on board as we know of two others going as far as St Vincent (in Cape Verde Is.). The Quelimane which we had thought at first would be our boat was due here on the 3rd but did not arrive till yesterday; it was going direct to St Thomé, only a hundred miles from Principe, but did not call at Principe.

Since my last letter I have had one other splendid walk on the hills. I went alone as it was too far for Cottingham. I started at 7∙45 and reached Terreira de Lucta (the terminus of the railway) by half past nine; I was walking as there was no train early enough. It was then an easier walk though still uphill over Poiso pass 4550 feet up; then steep downhill to Ribiera Frio. This is one of the famous view-points of the island. The Balçoã (or balcony) there is about 2800 feet above sea-level, and one looks up and down a splendid deep ravine, thickly wooded. It is the same ravine that I saw from Ariero Observatory; but here, being in the middle of it instead of at one end, one gets a much better view and better idea of its size and depth. I reached this place about 12∙15 and stayed there till near 2 o’clock. It was very fortunate I had made an early start, because by the time I left the mist had come up from the sea on the north of the island and completely filled the ravine, so that one could see nothing. When I got there it was quite clear except for a few clouds round two or three of the highest snow-covered peaks. The highest peaks are 6000 feet high. One got good views of the levadas (artificial aqueducts) cut in the sides of the precipitous cliffs, and part of the way the path was by the side of one of these levadas. I climbed back through the mist to Poiso; and then got into the sunshine again, and left the road striking over the hills to Pico da Silva more to the east, getting a good view of the coast at the east end of the island. I reached Funchal about 6∙30, coming down the last 2000 feet by a very steep road like a flight of steps. The walk was about 25 miles altogether.

A good many of the people staying at this hotel left by a boat last Sunday, and it seems more empty now. There are about 8 or 10 permanent residents, and in addition I think there are only three other visitors—Ash (an old gentleman who came with us on the Anselm), Mr Bickmore a new arrival, and Geoffrey Turner a boy of sixteen from Mumbles, who has come out here for six weeks after an illness. Since some of his fellow-passengers left last Sunday, he has come to sit at our table and generally goes about with us.

The weather this last week has been very showery but always with long intervals of bright sunshine. The inhabitants say it is exceptionally bad weather; but I only wish we had “bad weather” of this kind in England. It is, however, unsuitable for long walks and the clouds are fairly low on the mountains; but that does not matter as I have been to the chief points of interest that are at all accessible. Nearly every morning this last week I have spent bathing at the Ajuda a place on the coast rather more than a mile from here which Geoffrey showed us. It is about the only place for a bathe here unless one goes out in a boat. The sea is rather rough and the coast rocky; but here there is a more or less enclosed pool where one can get a good swim without being knocked about on the rocks by the waves. I have got tremendously sunburnt.

We generally go to the Casino for tea, though we have tried once or twice another restaurant. There is always a band there. Roulette is prohibited in Madeira; but the authorities pretend not to know that it goes on. Now and again they make a raid, but they always telephone up to say they are coming. One afternoon, I was wanting to come away and found the main doors, which lead out through the dancing saloon, fastened, and we had to come out by a back way; the reason was that the Chief of the Police had come up for the dancing, and he was supposed not to know what was going on the other side of the door.

I have scarcely ever been out after dinner, but last night I went with Geoffrey to a picture-palace. The chief film was the funeral of King Edward VII! It was rather curious seeing it after so many years. After about ¾ hour of pictures, there was a short play of which we naturally could understand nothing. Then some recitations (chiefly serious) and some songs (chiefly comic). One of the comic songs was very amusing though one could not understand the words. It was a very crowded house, and very interesting to watch the audience.

I had a talk this morning with the English Doctor an old gentleman who has gone in for science a good deal. He is brother-in-law to the late Lord Kelvin, and told me a lot of stories about him. Kelvin met his wife at Madeira—a Miss Blandy—the Blandys are the agents of most of the shipping companies here, and they saw after storing our instruments, here.

I expect my next letter will be from Cape Verde Islands. I shall be glad to be progressing again; but I have enjoyed the whole of my stay here immensely—it has been a splendid holiday

With very dear love from
your loving son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘4th’ at the head. Three passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 15
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

It is now the last day on the steamer, and we are to reach Rio at about 7 o’clock tonight; I do not think we shall land until tomorrow morning.

We did not go on shore either at Pernambuco or Bahia as they are neither of them very healthy places. At Pernambuco there is no real harbour and we anchor someway out at at† sea but Bahia is a magnificent bay. The land is very low all the way between them; and the coast (which we keep in sight) is monotonous, only there is a curious white sand all the way along which makes it look like chalk cliffs.

The most interesting thing is seeing the whales, which are quite numerous. You see them spouting frequently and sometimes catch a glimpse of the whale itself. We left Bahia on Friday, and yesterday (Saturday) the rain came down in torrents; it was the first time we had had anything more than the slightest showers. In the evening the rain stopped, and the wind got up, and we really pitched quite a lot it was quite pleasant for a change. Today is a perfect day again, clear, and with brilliant sunshine. It is quite cool again and I am wearing my usual English clothes.

I know all the Officers now pretty well; the Chief Officer is a very nice man and a great favourite with the passengers.

I had a letter from Rio at Pernambuco which was very satisfactory; Lee {2} has visited all possible sites. I rather think we shall go to Alfenas further inland than Christina but do not know yet. The Brazilian government is going to do us well. I have met several passengers who know the country well. They say we are sure to have fine weather, and the country is a regular health resort, where the inhabitants all live to be centenarians.

Some of the passengers bought little marmoset monkeys at Bahia; they are sweet little things that you could put in your pocket but I was not tempted to go in for one.
I will not add more as there is a fine bit of coast outside that I want to see and then I must get my packing done.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘4’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} ‘the Interpreter’ has been interlined above a caret, in an unidentified hand. The person referred to is T. N. Lee, an Englishman deputed by the Brazilian Government to as-sist the expedition. See The Observatory, xxxv (1912), 410.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Hotel dos Estrangeiros, Rio de Janeiro
Thursday | 1912 Sept 19

My very dear Mother

We are still here at Rio de Janeiro; it is a most beautiful place, the weather is fine and pleasant, but progress is very unsatisfactory. The great characteristic of Brazil is “amanhã” (“tomorrow”) and the delays and muddles of the people who are supposed to be helping us are most vexatious.

The Arlanza arrived in Rio soon after dusk on Sunday. In some ways it was a pity to miss the sail up Rio harbour in daylight but the lights were very beautiful. It is a wonderful harbour winding about, with numbers of islands and mountains everywhere. The Sugar-loaf (about 1200 ft) is an extraordinary steep cone. It has far surpassed my expectations.

We remained on board till the next morning, as I had a Marconigram to say that we should be met the next day. At 8 o’clock Dr Moritze† (the director of Rio observatory {1} [)] and Lee (the Englishman deputed to help us) came on board; {2} after arranging about the instruments, they took us off in a government launch. We were photographed by the newspapers on landing, and then whisked off in a motor-car to this Hotel. It is the swagger hotel though not up to much according to English standards. The Government is entertaining us here—very happily for us—money here has roughly 1/5 the value it has in England. I had to pay 2/8d for a cake of soap. Washing a dress-shirt costs 2/9d, an ordinary shirt 1/–. Carriage of our trunks up to the hotel (for three of us) cost 16/–; the tram-fare for say 1½ miles is 5d; a small bottle of ginger beer is 2/–; apples about ¼ each. The only things admitted into Brazil free of duty are human beings and they have to pay a duty of 2£ to get out again.

The currency here seems very funny[.] I am carrying about in my pocket now over 800,000 reis so am nearly a millionaire. 1000 reis = 1/4½ but its purchasing power is about 3d according to our standards. I am told that the salary of an engine-driver on a railway is (in English money) £900 a year.

We called on Sir William Haggard the British Minister {3} on Monday morning and in the afternoon went with him to be presented to the Minister for Foreign Affairs {4}. Sir William is quite a pleasant man, and we are to go lunch with him today.

They are very eager to entertain us well; but have not taken the least trouble to help us with our baggage. Instead of bringing it off in a special lighter as they undertook to do, they let it get all mixed with the other baggage and go to the custom-house[.] I have spent hours hunting round after it, and Lee is no use or help at all. It was all unloaded yesterday and I watched the process; but they only sent with me a man, who could talk no French or English, so it was very difficult doing anything. Now they tell me a case is missing (though I am sure it was all there yesterday) and I have to go—again with a man who talks nothing but Portuguese—to hunt it up. This has meant another day’s delay. {5}

I have decided to go to Passo Quatro; it is quite a good place and not so far away as Christina or Alfenas. Moritze† is to be there too; he is very pleasant[,] talks English (the worst English I ever heard) and is really doing his best for us I think. The chief objection to Passo Quatro is that all the ministers, ambassadors, reporters and tag rag and bobtail will be going there; but I think we shall not really be disturbed by them. I should have gone to Alfenas, if I could have depended on Lee, but the difficulties are too great when one has no real assistance. {5}

We have been made honorary members of the Club Central here, which is very convenient, as we are a good way from the main city at this Hotel.

The trees and gardens about here are very interesting and the palm-tree avenues in particular are beautiful. I do not think there is any chance of our sailing from here until Oct. 23 and I am looking forward to having a week’s sightseeing and so on before leaving.

We have got English news now up to Sept. 2.

Please keep these letters as I have no other record of events.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

Later (evening)

I had just finished this when the Portuguese gentleman came to go with me to the Customs-house but I was very glad to see with him Perrine of the Argentine expedition, who landed yesterday, and whom I have met in England. He was a great help to us. We motored to the Customs-house and there I found my baggage was all there—nothing missing—so the lost case was a false alarm, and saw it loaded on trucks to be taken to the Station—so we are really getting on.

There was just time to get to Sir William Haggard’s in time for lunch. The other guests were the American Ambassador {6}, Birch the Secretary of the British Legation, Lee, Worthington and another man. These with Lady Haggard & her daughter and our three selves made eleven. It was a very pleasant party; the Haggards & the American Ambassador are very genial and nice. The inevitable newspaper photographer turned up and we had to submit.

After leaving them we went on to the Botanical Gardens, and spent an hour or two there; they are just lovely. Very few flowers, but the trees are wonderful—magnificent avenues of palms, and tropical bushes of all sorts. We shall certainly visit them again.

We may get away tomorrow evening; but I expect it is more likely to be Saturday. There is a break of guage† on the railway at Cruxeiro and the baggage has to be changed over on to another waggon there.

Your loving son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘5’ at the head in pencil.

{1} Henrique Morize was Director of the Brazilian National Observatory at Rio de Janeiro from 1908 to 1930.

{2} A vertical line has been drawn in pencil in the margin, probably to mark the phrase ‘and Lee … came on board’.

{3} Sir William Haggard, brother of the novelist Rider Haggard, was British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Brazil from 1906 to 1914.

{4} Lauro Müller, who was Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1912 to 1917.

{5} A vertical line has been drawn in pencil in the margin by this paragraph.

{6} Edwin V. Morgan, US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Brazil from 1912 to 1933.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

“The Portugal”
Sunday, April 13

My very dear Mother

We expect to reach St. Vincent about 4 o’clock this afternoon, so I shall be able to post a letter there.

There is not much to say about my last two or three days at Funchal. They passed very quickly, bathing and so on, and I was very sorry to leave. Mr. & Mrs. Jones the proprietors of the Hotel were very nice people; we saw a good deal of them, and found the hotel very comfortable.

On Monday I went round to the various offices getting my passport in order. First the British Consul had to visé it and charged 2/–. Then there was a complicated business with the Civil Governor, and a visit to the Treasury to buy the necessary revenue-stamps costing 14/2 altogether. Finally I had to see the chief-of-police, who for a wonder, did not charge any thing.

I should have found it rather difficult, but at the Civil Governor’s a man who could speak English volunteered assistance and took me to all the different places. He looked a very unkempt, seedy individual and I quite thought he was after earning a tip; but on the way he introduced me to the Governor of Principe {1} (who was in Madeira on leave) and later on asked me a lot of questions about Cambridge saying that his son was in the University of Coimbra, so I had to revise my idea. It turned out that he was Editor of the local paper; and, though I gave him some information about the expedition which duly appeared the next day, he was merely helping me out of politeness. Cottingham waited to see how I got on, and got his passport in order the next day.

The Portugal arrived punctually about 1 o’clock on Wednesday and we had to spend a good part of the afternoon seeing our baggage taken from the custom-house to the lighter and afterwards checking it on the ship. We had tea at the hotel, and went down to the pier about 5∙30. The waiter, Antonio, had taken our luggage on board before.

This is quite a decent ship about the same size as the Anselm. The cabin, which we share is large and airy. The food is good, but it is difficult to get used to the foreign meal times. We have coffee and biscuits in the cabin about 7 o’clock, déjeuner at 11, tea at 3∙30, dinner at 6, and tea again at 9∙30. The déjeuner and dinner are good meals to which I do justice, but the tea is very poor. They give us some splendid tender beefsteaks pretty often.

The weather has been good, a strong fresh wind (the trade-wind) behind us, with blue sky and warm moonlight nights. The ship goes along with a gentle easy roll. There are seven English on board (including ourselves) but three of them are men going to the cable station who leave at St Vincent. Of the others one is a man going to manage a Portuguese sugar-refinery, and the other a lady-missionary. The missionary is having a rare time with several young men dancing attendance on her and appears to be enjoying herself thoroughly. The rest of the passengers (about 20 in the first class) are Portuguese.

I have had a game of chess with the Doctor which was a very long one, lasting 2½ hours; but I think he was not very pleased at being beaten, at any rate he has not given me an opportunity of another game. I played a good many games with Geoffrey at Madeira who was keen on chess and fairly good. Cottingham does not play.

There are some actors on board and they gave two short plays last night. I went to see them but, of course, could not make out much of what was going on.

I am looking forward to some letters at Principe; I expect there will be one travelling by this ship. I hope you are all well

Much love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘5th’ at the head. Three passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

{1} João Gregório Duarte Ferreira.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Passa Quatro | Minas Geraes
1912 Sept 26

My very dear Mother

I was very glad to have your letter of Sept 5, which reached me here yesterday afternoon. It was a long time to be without news of you. We spent Friday & Saturday last week pretty quietly in Rio; our baggage (instruments) at last departed on Friday midnight. We left at 9∙30 p.m. on the São Paulo express for Cruxeiro with Lee and Worthington; it was a very comfortable train and we reached Cruxeiro at 2∙30 a.m. Our plan was to sleep in the waiting room and superintend the transfer of the instruments to the narrow-guage† line as soon as it was light; but on arrival we found the instruments had only got a little way and would not reach Cruxeiro until the next day. The waiting room was rather crowded, so I slept very comfortably on my trunk on the platform. We caused much amusement to the porters.

We breakfasted off black coffee, bread and bananas; and Davidson & I had a good walk. It was rather cold cloudy weather, but the country was very wild & beautiful. We left Cruxeiro by a goods train (on to which however they put a saloon car for our benefit). It took nearly 3 hours to do the 20 miles to Passa Quatro, but there was a steep climb all the way. We wound up a very remarkably engineered track and it was a most enjoyable journey with splendid mountains all round.

At Passa Quatro we have a clean and comfortable inn kept by M. Rénier who is in charge of the government meteorological station here. He and his family take meals with us. The other occupants of the inn are de Souza and his wife who is (until Morize arrives) in charge of the Brazilian party’s arrangements; and Stephanik†, and his assistant, who form an official French expedition sent by the Bureau des Longitudes. They are all very nice people; but we very much dislike Lee and Worthington (especially the latter) and it is hard work to avoid a regular rumpus.

Our eclipse camps are about a mile away at a Fazenda near the railway. This site seems a very good one though it is rather surrounded by hills. Since the first day we have had splendid weather—clear blue skies with hot sun but cold in the shade and freezing at night. There are no mosquitoes snakes bugs or cockroaches so far. The Brazilian butterflies are very fine; but they are not very numerous as it is too early for them. I have seen some very large ones.

We have a special engine on which we go to and fro to the Fazenda. It takes us down at 8 am, brings us back to déjeuner at 11; takes us down again at 1 and brings us back at 6. The meals are quite good but rather French in style—all sorts of little meat courses. We have various weird vegetables and concoctions—no black beans as yet. One speciality here is fruit-cheeses, which we have at lunch every day.

We started the building of the piers for the instruments on Monday and they were ready for use today. Our baggage turned up on Monday night and was dumped by the side of the railway opposite the Fazenda. It took us practically all Tuesday afternoon to convey it (in bullock carts drawn by 6 oxen) to the actual field of operations; and it was pretty heavy work loading the carts and unloading them.

These last two days we have been hard at it, erecting huts and getting out a few instruments. I daresay it will be a week before we can slacken off our efforts. We have one boy engaged to assist us but he is not very much use.

The Argentine & Chilean expeditions were going to Christina about 50 miles further on. The former (Perrine & his 3 assistants) came to dinner with us at our hotel in Rio on the Thursday evening and we had a very jolly time I hope to have time to visit their camp at Christina before the eclipse.

I find my helmet very useful but have not worn my drill suit. It is really wonderfully cool weather and one could hardly imagine we are in the tropics. The country here is lovely.

With very dear love to both
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie had a good trip.

—————

Numbered ‘6’ at the head in pencil.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

The “Portugal”
Easter Sunday | April 20.

My very dear Mother

We are now in the Gulf of Guinea about 700 miles from Principe and I expect that we shall be there fairly early on Wednesday morning. The whole journey is about 4700 miles—1000 miles to Lisbon, 530 to Madeira, 1040 on to St Vincent and 2100 to Principe.

We reached St Vincent about 5 p.m on April 13, but did not go ashore that evening. We went on shore about 8.am the next day and came back in time for breakfast at 11. Three hours was quite long enough as there is nothing to see. There is scarcely a tree or a blade of grass on the island—all parched brown soil, and the town is very small. We filled up some time by going to the cable-station—the second largest in the world—They have very comfortable quarters there. We left St Vincent in the afternoon, and reached Praīa the capital of the Cape Verde Islands, situated on the island of S. Thiago the next morning. We only stayed there four hours, and did not go ashore. It looked very uninteresting and the island was almost as barren as S. Vincent.

Since reaching S. Vincent the weather has been damp, and rather misty though there is always hot sunshine. The temperature in the shade is 84 now, and it is generally over 80; the dampness makes it seem rather oppressive and it gets very close in the cabin—especially between 5 and 7∙a.m. when the porthole is closed whilst they wash the decks. Curiously enough I have been sleeping extremely well on this ship—I slept rather badly on the Anselm and at Madeira, but from the first night on board I have had extraordinarily good nights for me, and they still continue in spite of the oppressive heat.

Three of the English passengers left at S. Vincent, going to the cable station. One of them was a very nice fellow but we saw very little of him till the last day as he was a bad sailor. The other two were rather queer fish. There are now three English passengers besides ourselves—the sugar-refiner, the missionary and another Englishman who joined at St. Vincent. I thought at one time the sugar-refiner & the missionary were going to make a match of it, but I dont think there is anything in it now. There is one Portuguese Officer (in the army—not ship’s officer) who speaks English well and we see a lot of him. The Purser speaks a little English and is very pleasant.

The Portuguese were having some round games and tricks one evening which were quite amusing to watch. They were having the old trick of saying “botas sem sapotas”—“boots without shoes”, which was very funny as scarcely any knew it and they were all trying it at once. On Good Friday they had very good sports in which we joined—cock-fighting, egg and spoon races, threading the needle, and for the ladies a potatoe† race. Last night there was some function in the saloon; I have only the vaguest idea, what the speeches were about or what was the occasion, but I suddenly found that I had got to make a speech on behalf of the English passengers, which was translated sentence by sentence into Portuguese by the Portuguese Officer.

They give us ices now at tea time—or rather sorbets like we used to have on the Avon—but at that time it is the tea that is most appreciated. The food is not very attractive to our English tastes.

I do not know anything of what has been happening in the world generally since I left England. I have seen a Times for March 31, but that is the only newspaper I have seen except for the local Madeira paper which contained no general news. I have spent a bit of time learning Portuguese. I can read it pretty easily now, but I have scarcely begun to understand people speaking; it is very difficult to catch the sounds.

I expect the garden will have begun to look pretty now, and the May term will soon be beginning. I hope all goes well.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘6th’ at the head. Four passages have been marked off in pencil, and in one case emended, by a later hand.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Roça Sundy | Principe
Tuesday April 29.

My very dear Mother

Just a month to the eclipse; and today we have all our belongings at the site selected, and have started the work of erection.

We got our first sight of Principe at 9 o’clock in the morning of April 23, and it looked very charming. We had seen no land since leaving Cape Verde Islands; although we went within forty miles or so of Africa, it was always too misty to see the coast. We did not pass any ships. Occasionally we saw schools of porpoises playing about, and plenty of flying-fish, but no whales or sharks.

The island is thickly wooded down to the water’s edge, and looked very green after St. Vincent and S. Thiago. We dropped anchor about 11 o’clock in the bay of S. Antonio, and immediately after breakfast, a launch came out bringing our hosts who were expecting us. We had sent a wireless message to say we were on the Portugal, and the people out here had heard from Lisbon about the expedition.

I must first explain who are the principal people we have to do with on this island.

Mr. Carneiro is our host. He is rather a young man, and owns the largest private plantation. He has only been out here two years, but his family have had the plantation a long while. In Lisbon he was a well-known bull-fighter. (The Portuguese bull-fight is not like the Spanish, the horses and bulls are not killed.[)]

Mr Gragera is the manager for the Sociedade de Agricultura Colonial. He lives some way out of S. Antonio, and offered us sites on his plantation; but we found Mr Carneiro’s more favourable.

The Governor a very delightful man. He likes to try to speak rudimentary English, and to teach us Portuguese. He always collars my Portuguese dictionary when he sees me, and hunts up things to say.

The Judge

The Harbour-Master

The Curador, who is responsible for the imported labour—quite a young man.

The Treasurer

A clerk of Mr Carneiro’s, who lives in his house at S. Antonio and can speak a little English sometimes.

Mr Atalia, Mr Carneiro’s manager at Roça Sundy, the house where we are staying for the eclipse.

Mr Lewis | Mr Wright {1} Two negro’s from Sierra Leone who are the sole staff of the cable-station here. They are British, and interpret for us. But, of course they are only with us now and then. Mr Lewis came to meet us on the ship, but since then he has not been well, and we have seen more of Mr. Wright.

You see I do not mention any ladies—there do not seem to be any. The first night, there was a lady at dinner at Mr Carneiro’s, who spoke English very well, but she went to S. Thomé the same evening by the “Portugal”. We have not met any ladies since.

We were met on board by the Governor, Mr. Carneiro and Mr. Gragera, and we soon found that we were in clover. Everyone has been very kind, and they are not only anxious to give us a good time, but give us every help we need for our work. There are very good facilities here for everything we need, and our progress so far has been easy. You will know before getting this letter whether we have been successful; but I am afraid the weather prospects are not at all good from what we hear, and we shall be lucky if we get a clear sky.

We stayed until Monday morning (28th) at Mr Carneiro’s house in S. Antonio. It is a very nice new house not quite finished yet. We spent Thursday quietly. On Friday we started at 8∙a.m. to see two sites on the property of the Sociedade Agricultura Colonial. We went in a car drawn by two mules running on the lines of the light railway. We went first to Mr Gragera’s house Roça Esperança. It was too hemmed in by mountains to be a suitable site. We had breakfast there and afterwards went on to Roça S. Joaquin on the west coast of the island. This would have been a satisfactory site for us, if we had not afterwards found a better one. We arrived back about three o’clock.

On Saturday, we again started at 8 o’clock this time mounted on mules to visit Mr Carneiro’s chief plantation Roça Sundy. It was rather more than an hour’s ride (chiefly at a walking pace). The house is near the north-west corner of the island, away from the mountains, and on a plateau overlooking a bay about 500 feet below. We had noticed this house as we approached the island on the steamer. There was little difficulty in deciding that this was the most favourable spot; and there happened to be an enclosed piece of ground close to the house which just suited us. We look straight on to it from our bedroom window. It is sheltered on the east by a building and is open towards the sea on the west and north—just right for the eclipse. We arranged to have a small pier built for the coelostat to stand on, and to have our belongings brought over on Monday.

On Sunday they took us for a picnic at Ponto Mina, a point in the harbour of S. Antonio. We went by motor-launch. Mr Carneiro, the Treasurer, Curador, harbour-master and Mr Wright went with us. We landed and climbed up a little way to get a view, then had pic-nic breakfast, and afterwards went on in the launch all round the harbour. We saw a great shark close to the boat.

At four o’clock that afternoon we both played tennis with the Curador and the Judge. We had three very good sets and enjoyed the games very much. The court was on asphalte. There is no one else who plays tennis on the island now, so I think the other two were very glad to have the game—the Judge especially seemed to enjoy himself. I expect we shall get some more games when we return to the city. (We always call it the city—but S. Antonio is only a tiny village.)

The evenings at S. Antonio were very pleasant, sitting on the balcony in cool white clothes, with the sea just in front of us. Usually two or three of our friends here came round after dinner. Mr Carneiro has a splendid pianola and gramophone with any quantity of records—grand opera, etc. so we have had a lot of music. Punctually at nine o’clock the party breaks up and everyone goes to bed. Here in the country we keep earlier hours and bed-time is half-past eight!

Of course it is pretty hot here and moist, but I do not find the climate at all trying. We have rain for a short time almost every day, often very heavy, and I have found the macintosh very useful. There are not many mosquitoes, but we always sleep under curtains; and I take 3 grains of quinine every morning—the usual practice. The plantations are very beautiful, cocoa trees, bananas and bread-fruit trees growing together with a few coffee trees in places. The views of the mountains and the sea, with yellow sandy beaches are very fine. There are a great variety of butterflies, some of them very large and brightly-coloured.

The nicest fruit here is the pine-apple which grows wild; they have a very good flavour. The bananas are scarcely so good as in Madeira (except the red ones are very good); they grow to a great size, larger than our largest cucumbers, but the biggest are only good for roasting. We also have paw-paws and custard-apples, but I do not care so much for them. The meals are according to the usual foreign fashion, but they always have a meat or egg dish at petit déjeuner, so it is more like an English breakfast. We have afternoon tea—I think specially for our benefit as the Portuguese do not generally take it.

We came out here to Roça Sundy on Monday afternoon, riding on mules part of the way and then meeting a carriage which drove us the rest of the way. Our baggage turned up about five o’clock.

I have been writing this at odd moments and it has now got to Thursday. We have had a pretty busy time. We spent Tuesday & Wednesday erecting the two huts, and this morning we have begun setting up the apparatus. It rained very heavily last night—very conveniently for testing the waterproofness of the huts; they stood the deluge splendidly.

It is very comfortable here and we have all the assistance and facilities we need. About 600 native labourers are at work on the plantation and they have carpenters and mechanics at work so it is easy to get any small things required. We get on well with Mr. Atalia; I think it is pretty lonely for him out here and he is glad to have company. He speaks French to about the same extent that I do and we hold quite long conversations in the evenings. He was a cavalry officer and fought for the monarchy in 1910; after the republic was formed, he found it best to leave Portugal and lived in Spain & France until he came here four years ago. He is going to take us to hunt monkeys when we have time; there are large numbers in the plantation; they eat the cocoa, but they are very timid. Mr Carneiro has a most amusing little monkey at his house in the city, and it is very funny to see the monkey the cat and a tiny puppy all playing together.

I expect we shall be here about a week, getting on as far as we can without unpacking the mirror. We shall then return to the city until May 14. After that we shall be here continuously until we finish (after the eclipse). By May 14 the rain ought to be at an end. I do not want to unpack the mirror too soon because it will gradually tarnish.

I received your letter dated March 14 on arrival at Principe; there was also a letter from Newall (forwarded from Greenwich). That is all that has reached here yet. We expect the next mail about May 7. I was very glad to have news of you, but it seems very ancient news.

Mr Atalia has just showed us a tiny monkey brought in by one of the men. They shot its mother and it was clinging on to her; it would be about two months old. It is very tame and very mischievous.

I hope all is going well at home. The garden ought to be looking very pretty now. I hope to be back before the strawberries are over, we do not get any thing to equal them here

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

[finished Friday May 2] {2}

—————

Numbered ‘7th’ at the head. One passage has been marked in pencil, and in one case emended, by a later hand.

{1} These two names are braced together, one above the other.

{2} The square brackets are in the MS.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Passa Quatro
1912 Oct 7

My very dear Mother

We are getting near to the eclipse time now and our preparations are practically complete today. Nothing much remains but rehearsals & practices before the eclipse takes place. We have got two volunteers {1}, who are just the kind we wanted, young fellows whom we met and got to know on board the Arlanza. One of them Aguirre has been three years in England learning engineering and he is a great help; the other Andrews is of an English family but was born in Brazil and speaks rather broken English. The Brazilian government pays all their (and our) expenses here. They arrived here last Thursday {2}.

We are a very large party here now as there are four expeditions with their volunteer assistants and so on. We all have déjeuner together at the station and dinner at the hotel. Some of the later arrivals sleep out in other houses.

We are having a very pleasant time here though there is plenty of work to do. We (ie the Greenwich party) make tea at the camp every afternoon on a wood fire; and we have a great deal of fun. Yesterday (Sunday) we took a half-holiday (for the first time) and had a beautiful walk. We did not get very far as there was so much to stop and see. Aguirre was a good guide and able to tell us what the plants were. The bamboos growing in clumps are very graceful. The banana trees (in flower now) look very ragged and ugly. The castor oil plants and wild pineapples (not edible) are very abundant. The ants are very interesting here; the white ants’ nests being often taller than a man. We are not much troubled with insects and have seen no mosquitoes. We had coffee in the afternoon at a little wayside shop; it was quite an amusing experience.

Last night there was a cinematograph performance and nearly 20 of us went to it (the Brazilian government paying for us!!) The performance was not very interesting, but the village audience was decidedly so.

You would be amused to see us all riding down to the Fazenda (eclipse camp) on an engine. There were about 20 of us today clinging on in various places—the cow-catcher is the best seat.

I do not expect to reach England until Nov 9 and have given up thoughts of the earlier boat. I was very glad to have your letter of Sept 11.

The rooms at the hotel are very bare of furniture. I am writing this at the camp as there is practically no opportunity at the hotel. Dinner occupies most of the evening lasting from 7 to 9. It is a terribly complicated affair of about 12 courses, chiefly meats of various kinds.

We have had a few wet days last week but yesterday and today have been beautiful days.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Numbered ‘7’ at the head in pencil.

{1} Olyntho Couto de Aguirre and Leslie Andrews. See the Report in MNRAS, lxxiii, 386.

{2} 3rd.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Winifred Eddington

Transcript

Roça Sundy | Principe
May 5.

My dear Winifred

We are pretty well advanced in our work of erection and are taking a holiday today so I may as well start a letter to you. It seems ages since I started off in a rush in the taxi from the Observatory, and as I have only got Mother’s letter of March 14 as yet I do not know what has been happening to you for a long while—indeed I do not know what has been happening in the world in general—whether peace has been signed or any important events have occurred. I hope Punch is well and getting some walks, wish him many happy returns of his birthday from me; I expect you will not get this much before that event.

It was awfully nice having nearly four weeks in Madeira. I do not think the delay made much difference to us; if we could have gone on at once and reached here a month earlier we could have got some check photographs, though it would have been a rush getting the instruments ready in time. Failing that, there was not much object in arriving here earlier; and as things here have been managed very expeditiously, we are now making time for a week.

Cottingham & I get along very well, and I find him a very useful companion and good company. He is just 50, so, of course, is not fond of very much exercise, and generally preferred pottering round in Madeira and talking to the people; so I sometimes went off alone. For our last ten days I was very glad to find a more active companion in Geoffrey Turner, a very jolly boy keen on butterflies, on swimming and on chess, so we had several common interests.

I expect Mother sends on my letters to some of our relatives, so I did not mention in them, that I played roulette, of course not seriously, but enough to get a good idea of it and experience the ups and downs of fortune. I lost, like almost everyone else does, chiefly at the beginning, and then had pretty even fortune. I was about a £1 down, when I stopped; but I could not grudge it them, as it lasted for a number of afternoons’ play, to say nothing of the fact that I used the grounds of the Casino and had a very good & cheap tea there most afternoons during my stay.

It was a good thing to have some time at Madeira, because one got accustomed to hot weather. Out here the thermometer keeps steady at about 80° day and night; but one scarcely realises it is so hot. The evenings feel quite cool and refreshing. We have to wear sun-helmets out of doors almost always.

The ‘Portugal’ was a fairly good boat; but there were no games or facilities for exercise like on most boats, and (what surprised me very much) no deck-chairs for hire. Apparently they expected people to bring their own chairs. The time seemed to pass rather slowly, and even I was glad when we came to the end of the voyage. Of course the English and Portuguese did not mix very much; but we played games with them sometimes, and I think were quite popular on that account because the English usually keep aloof. We had “rings on the string” and “musical chairs” one afternoon.

The Portuguese here are a very superior type to those we have met before—in particular, they do not spit about all the time, and suck toothpicks at meals. Mr Carneiro is I believe very wealthy; he was going to Lisbon early this month, but postponed going especially in order to entertain us. No one speaks more than a few words of English except the two negroes Lewis & Wright, and in S. Antonio conversation is fragmentary because our friends there do not know French either. But here Mr Atalia and I plunge recklessly into very bad French, and can talk freely. Cottingham does not speak any French.

I wonder if you are still rationed. It seemed funny on the boat at starting to see full sugar-basins, unlimited butter, and to eat in a day about as much meat as would have been a week’s ration. We have had no scarcity of anything since we started. I have, however, scarcely tasted ham or bacon (eggs have been plentiful). The milk was not good on the Portugal, and I have got into the habit of taking tea without milk, which is the usual Portuguese custom & is probably better in hot climates. I cannot get any swimming here, because of the sharks.

There are several dogs about here, one of them rather a nice terrier; but for the most part they are not up to much. Nipper the dog at the hotel attached himself to me very much and followed me almost everywhere, although I did not encourage him at all, as he was neither beautiful nor free from fleas. He used to like to come and spend hours hunting lizards whilst we bathed.

It gets dark here about 6 o’clock, and as one does not sit much inside the house, one does not want to stay up long. I am usually quite ready for bed by half-past eight!

Please give my kind regards to Mr Green. I hope he is getting on alright. I think I shall be back home not much later than the middle of July.

With much love from
your affectionate brother
Stanley

[Added at the head:] [I send {1} a letter to mother a few days ago which will probably arrive by same mail. This letter assumes you have read hers.] {2}

—————

Three passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

{1} A slip for ‘sent’.

{2} The square brackets are in the MS.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Passa Quatro
1912 Oct 13

My very dear Mother

I almost forgot how far I carried our adventures in my last letter, but I think it was somewhere about Monday last {1}. We had a number of rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday & on Wednesday morning and had got able to do everything quite smoothly. Besides Aguirre and Andrews we had another gentleman M. Seux {2} who lives in the neighbourhood, who was to count seconds for us during totality. Monday was a glorious day, Tuesday good, Wednesday started overcast, and at noon rain began. We regarded this as a very hopeful sign; as hitherto the rainstorms have been short and have cleared the air beautifully. On Thursday morning we were up soon after five-o’clock and went down in heavy rain to load the photographic plate carriers. At eight o’clock we were beginning to get hopeless, but of course went on with the preparations up to the last moment.

About 7∙30 the special train arrived from Rio bringing the President (Marshal Hermes) the Foreign Minister (Dr Lauro Müller) and their wives, the American Ambassador and about thirty other gentlemen. They were received with bands, rockets and crackers—crackers is the regular Brazilian way of demonstrating. Most of the people came and looked round the camp but it was too wet for the President. The American Ambassador sheltered in our shed where our cases are; we like him very much. The rain became heavier as totality drew near; it was not until 5 minutes before totality that the darkness increased noticeably, then it came on very rapidly. It was extremely dark for the time of totality—one could just see one’s watch with difficulty As soon as it was over it grew lighter very quickly.

The owner of the Fazenda, where we were, gave a banquet to the President and his party after the eclipse. Dr Morize, M. Stephanik (leader of the French expedn) and I were invited. M. Stephanik was not able to go. I was next to Morize during the meal, three places away from the President. Fortunately the Secretary to the American embassy was opposite me, so I had someone to talk English to. There were one or two speeches afterwards; but they did not concern us and I had only a very vague notion of what they were about, as they were in Portuguese. After the banquet we were photographed in a group outside the Fazenda in pouring rain—this was the beginning of heaps of newspaper photographs. I have been in eleven different groups. (One photographer caught the Greenwich Expedition at tea (at the camp) I have seen the negative it is very good and amusing.)

The rain continued without stopping all Thursday and until Friday about 4 o’clock. The passage through mud & pools of the Presidential party to the train was very amusing. In the evening we had a feast at this hotel; there were about forty present—our numbers had gradually increased night by night. I had to make a short speech in reply to a toast, and of course thank Dr Morize & compliment him.

On Friday we had lunch at the Fazenda with Sr Hess—the whole of the expeditions with their volunteers. It was very pleasant there, as there were several gentleman friends of his who could speak English well. About 4 o’clock Aguirre[,] Andrews, Davidson, one of Hess’s friends & I went up a hill (in Hess’s property). Quite unexpectedly it cleared up beautifully when we reached the top, and we had a glorious view of sun & clouds on the distant mountains.

Yesterday Saturday we spent the whole day packing and got on well (It had been too wet to do anything before). The sun was very hot in the afternoon. Towards evening there was a most extraordinary sight—the ants began flying. We have two large white ants nests in our field, and these were swarming with the small ants driving away the winged ones. These winged ants were flying off—about 50 a minute to found fresh colonies They are large creatures like dragon-flies. Besides these hundreds of winged garden ants about the size of tiger-moths were flying over the camp; dozens pitched on our canvas huts, and I expect we packed up a great many of them. Just as we were ready to go home a thunderstorm came on. It was a regular tropical deluge and we were kept about 2 hours waiting at the shed The fireflies were very brilliant in spite of the rain and the lightning (though distant) was very vivid. It was really like fairy land (or the last scene in Peter Pan) and quite enjoyable waiting there. We managed to slither home through mud & lakes about 8 o’clock.

We are a small family now. I think we shall not hurry back to Rio but see a little of this neighbourhood. Lee & Worthington are gone, which is a great relief to everybody. We may go to Rio on Wednesday. We sail on Wednesday week—it was impossible to get the baggage down to Rio in time for the earlier boat. {4}

We have a good deal of fun here in spite of everyone being dejected at the result of so much labour. Stephanik & De Souza (Morize’s assistant) are very nice fellows, and Aguirre has been a tremendous help to us, and is a splendid companion here. Atkinson (though he has had an attack of gout) keeps us very lively and is a great favourite everywhere.

The photographs {5} are some of Davidson’s

With very dear love, ever
your affectionate son
Stanley.

The posts here are very irregular I got Winnie’s letter on Tuesday morning and yours on Thursday just after the eclipse. If you see an article in the Times it will be mine—but as the eclipse was a failure they may not print it.

—————

Numbered ‘8’ at the head in pencil.

{1} 7th.

{2} Pierre Seux. See the Report in MNRAS, lxxiii, 386.

{3} Marshal Hermes Rodrigues da Fonseca, President of Brazil from 1910–14.

{4} The last two sentences have been marked with a vertical line in pencil in the margin.

{5} These photographs presumably accompanied the letter, but are no longer with it.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

R.M.S.P. Danube {1},
Oct 23.

My very dear Mother

We are now on board the Danube and left for home at noon today, so I shall have to bring this letter with me; but so much has happened in the last week, that I must begin to write it down.

We were all terribly disappointed over the eclipse and were a rather depressed company for some days afterwards. Our numbers quickly melted away from Passa Quatro and by Monday, Morize, Stephanik, Worthington and Lee and most of the volunteers had gone. Atkinson who had been suffering from gout at times left for Rio on Sunday (at that time we expected to follow him in a day or two). {2} Lee & Worthington were detested by everyone and their departure was a great relief. Lee, I think, had taken this up as a sort of lever to advertise himself and get in with important people; he had somehow got round the British Consul who recommended him to us. We had rather a bad time from him at first, but had the satisfaction of seeing him completely checkmated. Further as soon as Aguirre came, we were independent of Lee; and could do without him.

The party that remained at Passa Quatro for the next week Oct 14–20 consisted of De Souza and his young wife, & Da Costa of the Brazilian Observatory, Kraliçek (Stephanik’s assistant), two ladies relatives of the innkeeper M. Rénier & several children (at these small places we are quite in the innkeepers family—however Rénier was a superior sort of man), besides our two volunteers Aguirre and Andrews, Davidson and myself. We were a rather young party, all under 30 except Da Costa and Davidson; M. Rénier was knocked up after his labours and was in bed most of the week. We had a very jolly time though of course the mixture of languages was troublesome.

The rain continued with very few fair intervals and practically no sunshine until Wednesday, and our packing was very slow owing to that. On Wednesday we were finished at last, and that afternoon which happily turned out fine, nearly all the packages (Brazilian, French, & ours) were removed in oxcarts & mulecarts to the side of the railway and put on the train late at night. We had nothing further to do with them; yesterday I heard that they had got as far as Cruzeiro—a distance of 20 miles! We have left them to be sent on by a later boat—I daresay they will reach Rio in a few weeks. Stephanik sailed today in a French boat, leaving his baggage to follow.

On Thursday (Oct 17) we were relieved of our cares and able to do what we pleased, and the next three glorious days we had a splendid time. The reason of our staying was really that De Souza was going to take us a trip further up-country to Cambuqueira; but it was always ‘amanha’ (tomorrow). Tuesday was the first day fixed for it then it became Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat and on Saturday it was finally given up. We liked De Souza very much; but he is typically Brazilian, and has got the ‘amanha’ as badly as all of them. As we enjoyed being at P. Quatro, it did not matter very much this continual putting of[f].

These three days we explored the neighbo[u]rhood in all directions. We never got very far as there was so much to see in the forests, and the sun was very hot indeed. Aguirre (although he has been in England for the last seven years) knew all the things of interest, and could tell us what all the plants birds & insects were. We saw beautiful butterflies[,] some of them very large—the hot weather brought them out—& a great variety of beetles. The ants were sometimes troublesome; they are all over the place, but they are particularly interesting. The leaf-cutting ants make regular highways about 4-inches broad, and you see a regular procession—along one side, the ants going out to forage, and on the other side those that are returning each carrying a leaf a great many times larger than itself. It looks like a procession of moving leaves. The ferns were very fine and in great variety; I am bringing home a few roots we collected in hopes they will travel alright. Most of the trees are full of orchids and parasitic plants and have great masses of creeper, etc hanging from them.

Twice we were able to bathe; but the rivers are not very good for it, being generally shallow. In the afternoons we got coffee at wayside vendas; generally the whole village looked on. They always wanted to give it us gratis. We occasionally could get good oranges; but it is not the right time of the year for much fruit, and as a matter of fact most of the fruit in Rio comes from England.

On Friday we decided on a horse-back expedition. Generally it was just our party of four that went out together, but this time Kraliçek came with us. Horses were ordered for 6∙30 a.m.; by this time I was used to Brazilian ways, and accordingly I got up at 8. There was then no sign of horses, but it was ascertained that they were being caught and might be expected about noon. Accordingly Aguirre Davidson & I had a good walk & arrived back very late for déjeuner at 1∙30. Ultimately the horses turned up at 3 o’clock & the cavalcade started. As three of us had not been on horseback before, very tame horses had been insisted on. Mine, which was 17 years old was very tame; and as it had a prejudice against going the right road, Aguirre (who is a good horseman) took it in exchange, and for the rest of the way I had a nice willing little horse, which gave me no trouble. We set off for the virgin forest about 8 miles distant up a mountain track. It was a lovely ride, with grand scenery. I think we had gone about 6 miles, when Aguirre’s horse (the very tame one) fell, and was evidently good for nothing more. It was a long time before we could make it get up; and then it could only be walked home. Aguirre managed to hire a mule, and we came slowly home by the moonlight & firefly-light; at a walking pace on account of the led horse. In spite of the accident it was a very pleasant ride indeed and though we did not actually reach virgin forest, we had some beautiful glades to pass through with fine mountain views.

On another occasion we passed a fazenda, where they made tobacco. The proprietor saw we were interested and showed us all about, gave us samples (which we afterwards found were worth at least 10/–). He even invited us to breakfast, but we did not accept. The tobacco is made in long ropes coiled on sticks; we often see the mules loaded with it going along the country-lanes. These mule trains are quite a pretty sight.

One night a fire-fly had got into my room, and woke me by flashing about. I had to get up & chase it before I could get to sleep. Davidson had a similar experience when he was changing plates at night, and had darkened the room. We have not seen any snakes; but have several times found large cast-off skins of snakes. I saw a large lizard (iguana) one day.

We left Passa Quatro on Sunday at eleven o’clock Kraliçek, Aguirre, Davidson & I. Andrews stayed on another two days. Da† Souza wanted us to stay till Monday as he was coming down ‘amanha’, but we were wise; he had not turned up when we left Rio this morning. We had quite a fine send-off—such leave-takings at the station[.] Old Rénier had recovered and gave us each the Brazilian embrace at parting; it consists of a hug with three pats on the back—I must demonstrate it sometime to you; it is quite the regular thing here.

It was a very hot day and the scenery was beautiful. The short run to Cruzeiro we had seen (under less favourable conditions) before; but the 5-hour journey from there to Rio was new, as we had passed it at night before. But the dust was terrible and the journey was most exhausting. By drinking black coffee at practically all the stopping places, and eating bananas in between whiles, we managed to survive. Like everybody else we lost our luggage at Cruzeiro; however it turned up at the hotel the next morning so no harm was done. We passed along the banks of the river Parahyba most of the way, and it was interesting seeing the rice & sugar cane growing. Banana trees are very abundant everywhere and look very untidy—they are the one piece of ugliness in this country—; the mangoes, palms (cocoanut and date), jacas and orange trees and better than all the bamboo clumps, are fine trees.
We found Atkinson at the Hotel Estrangeiros; he had had rather a bad time with gout, but was getting better. The next morning (Monday), we spent taking our passages in the Danube, & called at the Consulate, where I got your last letter—it seemed funny to find it was a reply to my letter describing Madeira {3}—that seems years ago. Davidson was not very well, so Aguirre and I went out alone in the afternoon. We went by the funicular to the top of the Corcovado (2200 feet) It is a beautiful ride up through forests, and at the top there was a magnificent view of Rio Harbour. Fortunately it was one of the clearest days we have had. At last I got a clear understanding of the geography of Rio, with its numerous Bays, and Nichteroy† on the opposite side. After coming down we walked up a zigzag path to Sylvestre, and then returned to the hotel by tram by a different route, which runs along an old Jesuit aqueduct.

In the evening Davidson and I went to dinner at Mrs Andrews’s—the mother of our younger volunteer.

Tuesday morning we started (Aguirre, Davidson & I) at 6 a m for the Botanical gardens; it was pleasantly cool then. We did not get back until 11∙30, so spent about 4 hours wandering round the gardens & taking some photographs. Mr & Mrs Willis (the former is Director of the gardens {4}) had been helping Worthington at Passa 4, so we paid them a short visit. With our visits to the gardens and the Brazilian forests I seem to have seen almost all the useful plants one has heard of. There are not very many flowers in the gardens; it is chiefly trees and shrubs. I carried away a souvenir in the shape of a dozen mosquitoe† bites over my face hands and legs. This is the only place in Rio, where there are any mosquitoes.

An Englishman Ihlot, whom we met at Passa 4 on the eclipse-day, was waiting for us at the hotel and after déjeuner carried us off in a motor to Quinta da Boa Vista—a park where there is the former Emperor’s palace, now a museum. The museum was not yet open (being in course of arrangement); but Aguirre had some influence there, and we were shown round and saw many Brazilian curiosities. We then returned to pay visits to the Foreign Minister & Observatory (to take leave and say polite things!). Ihlot met us again at the Observatory and we went down to the ferry for Nichteroy†. On the way we passed through the market, where our two guides plied us with all the weird outlandish fruits they could find. It was most interesting; the sapoti was a very nice fruit, looks on the outside just like a potato; the condessa a sort of pomegranete† (I think) was not so nice. It was perhaps fortunate that not many fruits are in season now, or I dont think we should have survived—as it is I have a mango and cocoa bean still to sample, which I put in my pocket. We finished up with a tumbler of caldo de canna—the fresh juice from crushed sugar cane. It was very nice.

We went on the steam-ferry to Nichteroy† about 4 miles across, and then by tram along the shore there. Here we had a lovely view of Rio from the other side, with the fine peaks of Sugar-loaf, Corcovado and Gavea, standing up finely against the sunset. This is really the best viewpoint in the harbour.

After dinner we just paid a short visit to Aguirre’s brother-in-law (with whom he was staying), who is now learning English and could speak a little. On returning we had a rather boring visit from Tigré†[,] another friend of ours—a poet and literary man[,] very excitable—and at last got to bed about midnight.

We had to start at 10 o’clock this morning for the boat so there was no time for anything except packing up, etc. The Observatory people motored us down to the quay and Dr Morize was there to see us off. It was a somewhat misty day for our last look at Rio harbour, but it was a fine sail out of it all the same.

Rio is said to be the finest city in the world, and that is probably true. Besides the advantage of its splendid situation, it is well laid out with fine parks and avenues and sea-front. It is now very healthy with the lowest death-rate of any city in the tropics—ten years ago it was a hotbed of yellow fever and malaria, but that has been entirely got rid of by exterminating the mosquitoes, which carry the diseases. Living here is I think even more expensive than I first thought; the average cost of things is about 4 times what it is in England (so the inhabitants say) but many things are much more expensive. Strawberry jam is a great delicacy, rare and expensive; you could offer your friends a spoonful like a sweet. Marmalade is 4/– a pound; ham 15/– a pound. A straw hat costs 16/–. Delivery of personal luggage for 3 of us from station to hotel (about 2 miles) cost £1. Most of these prices are what Rio people tell me they pay and are not those extorted from the stranger. (A gentleman on the Danube tells me he paid 5/4 for a half-pound of marmalade) The Brazilian government has treated us royally; we have had no hotel bills to pay or railway travelling expenses. It has been quite difficult to get rid of any of the filthy paper which serves for money in this country. All the same the little odds and ends and tips mount up, and I find I have managed to spend about £20 here. The government entertained all the volunteers in the same way as us.

Nov 2

We are just about to pass out of the tropics today and the weather is already much cooler, but we have had it much hotter so far than on the outward voyage. The Danube is rather an old boat but is quite a favourite as it is a fast boat and very steady. It is not much more than a third the size of the Arlanza. Very few people are travelling from Brazil at this time of the year so we are nearly empty I think there are only 20 first class passengers. I have a good sized cabin to myself, and am very glad to have plenty of room as the nights are very close and stifling. There is one passenger Meares a civil engineer who came out with us on the Arlanza; we see a good deal of him, also the Doctor and Captain. There are only two ladies on board—one American & one French. Nearly all the passengers are English—a great change from the Arlanza on which only 15 per cent were English.

We have been very comfortable and very lazy The weather has been beautifully fine (except the first two days, when it was overcast), and there has been a fresh breeze all the time; it is only in the cabins and saloon that it gets extremely hot. We did not go ashore at either Bahea or Pernambuco; at the former we did not ar[r]ive until 9 p.m., and we left at 6 a.m.; at the latter (where landing is more difficult) there was hardly time to go ashore. Yesterday we had the morning at St Vincent coaling, and I spent an hour or two on shore There is not very much to see except the negro population, who are very amusing. The fruit market was rather a pretty sight. At St. Vincent they only get rain once in three or four years; but they had had some just recently and the island was looking quite green. All their water and fruit are brought from a fertile island São Antonio 15 miles away; St Vincent simply exists, because it has such a splendid harbour.

Soon after leaving Pernambuco we passed an island Fernando Naronha† {5} where there is a Brazilian penal settlement and Marconi station. It has a most curious steep pinnacle of rock several hundred feet high. We passed very close to it, the Captain purposely altering the course a little to let us have a good view of it.

We have not seen any whales or sharks this voyage; but the flying fish have been very abundant. We also see a few porpoises from time to time. There is a good deal of phosphorescence in the water at nights; but it is not so striking as I have sometimes seen it.

Nov 7

We did not call at Madeira this time but went straight from St Vincent to Lisbon, about 5 days sail. We passed quite close to Palma the most westerly of the Canary Isles, and could make it out quite well although it was about 11 p.m and a very dark night. At Lisbon we were on shore from 10 a m to 2∙30 p.m., so had time for a good look round. We spent most of the time at Belem (½ hour ride by tram) where there is a magnificent monastery of St. Jeronymos. It is now used as an orphan-school. The cloisters are the finest part of it; but there are a great many interesting things to see there, including the tomb of Vasco da Gama. The church was built about 1520.

We had lunch in Lisbon, and reached the ship again with only a few minutes to spare. Our American Howell was very excited about the Presidential election, as he is a supporter of Woodrow Wilson. Howell is an international chess player, having played for America against England four or five times. He played a game blindfold against me last night and won.

Early this morning we called at Leixōes (for Oporto), but were only there for about an hour. Now we are sailing along quite close to the Portuguese coast, which looks very pretty. About a dozen more passengers have come on at Lisbon and Leixōes, so we are not so empty now.

The weather still continues fine and the sea smooth. At Lisbon we had a perfect day, cold in the shade, but with hot sunshine. Today for the first time, it is too cold to sit or stand about on deck, but it is clear and sunny.

We have now to call at Vigo and Cherbourg, and are due to reach Southampton on Saturday about noon, where I shall post this. I dont know yet when I shall get down to Weston but hope to come down about Thursday or Friday next week. Your last letters were dated Sept. 25 so I a[m] looking forward to hearing more recent new[s] of you {6}.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley.

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Marked ‘9’. ‘Nichteroy’ should be spelt ‘Nictheroy’.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} There is a vertical line in pencil in the margin by the rest of this paragraph.

{3} EDDN A2/2.

{4} Willis was Director of the Botanic Garden at Rio de Janeiro from 1912 to 1915.

{5} Fernando de Noronha, about 220 miles from the Brazilian coast.

{6} The paper is damaged, and parts of two words are missing.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

S.S. “Zaire”
1919 June 21

My very dear Mother

I will write a little to tell you about the rest of my experiences in Principe; but it is doubtful if you will receive this before I arrive. I have only had two letters from you—the second written about March 28 reached me about May 11. Since then there have been no mails from Europe, and in fact we expect to pass tomorrow (at S. Vincent) the outward boat which will be taking the next batch of letters to Principe.

We stayed just a week at Sundy on our first visit, then returned to S. Antonio for a week, and finally returned to Sundy on May 13 and stayed there until our steamer sailed on June 12. Nothing much happened during the week at S. Antonio except that most afternoons we played tennis, generally with the Curador and Judge.

We were ready to take the first photographs about May 16, and as the nights were generally clear we had no difficulty in getting the check photographs. These had to be taken between 12∙30 and 1 a.m; we took them on three different nights. The developing also had to be done at night and, owing to the special difficulties due to the high temperature of the water (78°), was a slow business. So we were often up pretty late during this period. In the day time I had a good deal of work measuring these check photographs.

The last heavy rain fell about May 9 and shortly afterwards the Gravana or cool season began. There was practically no rain, but a good deal of cloud in the day-time, and the conditions seemed rather less favourable for the eclipse than during the rainy season. However there were a number of beautifully clear days, and usually at least part of the day was clear. The two days before the eclipse were about the most unfavourable we had.

On the morning of the eclipse Mr Carneiro, the Curador, Judge, Mr Wright and three Doctors came over. Just as they arrived a tremendous rain-storm came on, the heaviest we have seen. It was most unusual at that time of the year; but it was favourable for the eclipse as it helped to clear the sky. The rain stopped about no[o]n (the eclipse was at 2∙15). There were a few gleams of sunshine after the rain, but it soon clouded over again. About 1∙30 when the partial phase was well advanced, we began to get glimpses of the sun, at 1∙55 we could see the crescent (through cloud) almost continuously, and there were large patches of clear sky appearing. We had to carry out our programme of photographs in faith. I did not see the eclipse, being too busy changing plates, except for one glance to make sure it had begun, and another half-way through to see how much cloud there was. We took 16 photographs (of which 4 are not yet developed). They are all good pictures of the sun, showing a very remarkable prominence; but the cloud has interfered very much with the star-images. The first 10 photographs show practically no stars. The last 6 show a few images which I hope will give us what we need; but it is very disappointing. Everything shows that our arrangements were quite satisfactory, and with a little clearer weather we should have got splendid results. Ten minutes after the eclipse the sky was beautifully clear, but it soon clouded again.

We developed the photographs 2 each night for 6 nights after the eclipse, and I spent the whole day measuring. The cloudy weather upset my plans and I had to treat the measures in a different way from what I had intended; consequently I have not been able to make any preliminary announcements of the result. But the one good plate that I measured gave a result agreeing with Einstein and I think I have got a little confirmation from a second plate.

We had a number of excursions to different places on the island chiefly on Sundays. We had a monkey-hunting expedition, but did not see any except in the distance. We were singularly unfortunate in not seeing monkeys because there are enormous crowds of them about and numbers of men are employed simply in scaring them away from the cocoa. Another interesting expedition was to Lola, a dependency of Sundy where there was a specially fine crop of cocoa. It was a very fine sight to see the large golden pods in such numbers—almost as though the forest had been hung with Chinese lanterns.

Another day we went to Lapa in the estate of the Sociedade Agricultura Colonial and had lunch on the beach off fish which we watched being caught. Lapa is a very beautiful spot at the foot of a fine sugar-loaf mountain. All the beaches are very pretty—a strip of golden sand between the cocoanut palms and the blue sea. I had a good bathe at Lapa—the only time in Principe,—a black man went with me to see that I did not go too near the sharks.

Another time we went to near Bombom to see the ruins of the palace of Marie Corelli (that was not quite her name, but it was something very near it). She was a famous slave dealer about ninety years ago. Her palace on the beach is all in ruins but it must have been a huge place. Her church is there also—quite a fine ruin.

We liked Mr Atalia immensely. He was very lively and amusing and extremely good to us in every way. After dinner we used to sit out in front of the house and there was generally a succession of natives came up to interview him on all sorts of matters. They evidently have great respect and confidence in him.

We had to return by this boat the “Zaire” (although it was rather earlier than I liked) because there will not be another boat leaving Principe until about August 1. There has been a dispute between the company and the government about passage rates, and no boats have left Lisbon for a long while. This boat is tremendously crowded and we should not have got a passage on it; but for the help of the Governor who managed to get places commandeered for us.

I got a bit of fever two days before starting (otherwise I have had splendid health all the time) and was feeling rather bad when I got on board but the sea-air has soon set me right again. It left me a bit weak for the first three or four days—in fact I fainted one night—but it has quite gone now.

Mr. Carneiro is on the ship—returning to Portugal for three months. There are also 4 English missionaries from Angola. They knew about us from Mrs Williams the missionary we met on the Portugal. One of them Mrs Stober is a friend (a Williamson of Cockermouth) related to John Hall. Her husband (who is not a Friend) is a very nice fellow; he was the founder of the mission.

It has been a little rougher this voyage than when we came out; but nothing to speak of. Of course, a lot of passengers have been ill; it is very bad for them being so crowded on the boat. There are lots of children and in some cabins there are as many as seven people. There are three in our cabin—a Portuguese and Cottingham & myself.

We reached Praia last night after 8¼ days from Principe. This is a slow boat and I do not expect we shall reach Lisbon until June 30.

We were very delighted to receive a telegram from Dyson saying that the Brazil party had been successful; we often wondered how they were getting on.

I suppose I shall be back about July 10. I shall look forward to the strawberries, which are better than anything they have in the tropics.

With very dear love to both
Your affectionate son
Stanley

Lisbon, July 2. I expect we shall reach Liverpool about July 15 by R.M.S.P. Line. Ships very crowded and scarce.

—————

The postscript was written in pencil. Two passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.