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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}

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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.

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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 Joseph Phillips to Alfred Lawrence

Eight Bells Inn, Bletchley, Bucks.—Asks the usual prices of concrete and labour, since he has found that, contrary to Mr Henderson’s instructions, it will be necessary to lay foundations for the columns.

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Transcript

Eight Bells Inn.— | Bletchley | Bucks.
14th Feby 1851

Dear Lawrence,

I shld feel obliged if you would let me know per return how much per Yd (? Cake) {1} I ought to pay for Concrete, supposing you assume a price for Gravel Say 3/6 pr. Yd, which I beleive I shld have to pay for it here also how [much] {2} pr Yd. digging holes Say 6 ft deep by 3 ft—in heavy Clay Soil.—I have a lot to do & must do it as cheap as possible.—You see Mr Henderson’s {3} instructions were to put no foundations at all if I could help it.—The Soil I find wet Clay,—& people here tell me it is absolutely necessary to have a good Foundation & that they have had gt trouble themselves from Turntables &c Sinking, & of Course shld anything of the Sort happen to my Wk I shld be in a fix,—so I think of putting a bed of Concrete 3.0 x 1.6 under ea column 24 ft apart, & abt 1.6 x 1. 6 under the wooden ones 8 ft apart, & trusting the rest to providence.—Do you think this enough, or too much?—or wld you advise 2 Courses of Bk’s in Cement at top.—The base of Columns is abt 12’ dim—Mind you this is strictly private I ask you because you have more Knowledge of that sort of work than I can pretend to.—Offer what suggestions you like.—I have lots to tell you, but must defer it until a day or two

In haste

Yrs Sincerely
Joseph Phillips

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{1} ‘? Cake’ interlined. Brackets supplied.

{2} Omitted by mistake.

{3} John Henderson, a partner in the firm of Fox, Henderson, & Co.

Letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Echo’ Office, 19 St Bride Street, Fleet Street, E.C.—Expresses his love and admiration for her, and acknowledges her need to go (to Egypt) and gather wisdom.

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Transcript

‘The Echo’ Office, 19 St Bride Street, Fleet Street, E.C.
Aug 8 1906 {1}

Darling

I have been longing for the time to come when I should be free to be able to write to you—not tht† I have any news to tell you but simply because I want to write to you so much & tell you how I love you.

You see Girlie you are so much more than all the other things in my life[—]you are the great rest, you are the great solvent in which all the other things of life become fluid. You are the great Ocean into which I flow, you you darling—ah I seem to understand sometimes the full measure of the divine law of the world that permeates all our being, and by that law I need you absolutely not merely to construct or achieve but simply to be.

Beloved it is difficult to tell my soul-thought in words & yet I know you will understand.

Beloved you said yesterday that you had once a store of wisdom & you had shared it with me, & now you needed to go & gather a further store lest haply you should be left behind: beloved I know that the thought which lay behind your words was true because your heart is so great & strong & beautiful, & yet the words are only true in part to me for though you have shared with me your store of wisdom, you are ever in front of me. And the very travail of your being, for which I reverence you, is the outward & visible sign of that union of you dear woman life with the Earth, with Nature, & with th† Holy Spirit which places you forever as my umbilical cord to keep me living.

Sweetheart the words upon paper will not reveal to you: but behind them is the loving heart of your laddie & the living fingers who know the tenderness & the delight of your being.

And I am just yours dependent on you for being

Woman

Man-Baby

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A couple of words are unconventionally abbreviated.

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

† Sic.

Letter from Sir Robert Knox to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Treasury Chambers.—Encloses particulars of recommendations to be considered by the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee. Recommendations for appointment as knight bachelor exceed the number of places available. Confirms arrangements for a meeting.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace, W.C.—Reflects on their renewed understanding of one another.

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Transcript

20 Somerset Terrace. | W.C.
13. 5. 01

Dear Mr Lawrence.

It is a matter of deep thankfulness & of gladness to me, that the mists have been swept away: that we can see each other again. I feel that every bit of misunderstanding is gone completely.

I can only wish now that the sense of an infinite security in God’s purpose in your life which came to you at the darkest hour may remain with you & abide with you now & for ever. Some sort of benediction has fallen on us both.

You hit a good many right nails on the head yesterday, you dear stupid old thing! One was your conclusion that I am a queer woman. That shows an amount of insight I shouldn’t have given you credit for—it was quite subtle! And another was your assertion that in a funny sort of way you understand me better than any of them: how you came to find that out, beats me quite. (Perhaps now that I admit it, you wont “quite agree”!—(you dont mind me teasing you a bit, do you?).)

Now there is just one word that I want to say—one word about yourself, & your mental habit of analysis & introspection which has (as you say) become a kind of tyranny: (I am not thinking of the personal bearing but simply of your health & balance.) Try your principle of non-resistance on your self. Dont struggle with this habit, you will only get entangled, you will only find that you are at war in yourself.
Give it rope: let it work itself out if it will, & exhaust its own power. Detach yourself, if you can. I can imagine a possibility of just simply breaking the connection between your self & the mental habit, so that the wheel can go round & round & the crank or whatever it is, be still, or if that isn’t possible, go with it, as you go down a hill on a bicycle coasting, knowing that you will eventually come to the bottom & that there will come the time for the other thing.

But dont have the waste of war, and dont resist any part of yourself.

And if you were to try what a little inspection would do sometimes just to balance the other thing: perhaps you wouldn’t be such a blind old bat as you are sometimes—you might even notice for instance next time you see her that Mrs Gwyther is a pretty woman!

Yours sincerely.
Emmeline Pethick

Letter from Viscount Mills to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London, S.W.1.—As he explained during the debate (in the Lords), his statement about the increase of British investments in India did not cover the use by India of her sterling balances, but was intended rather as an example of the increase in assistance provided to less-developed countries by means of Government loans.

(Letter-head of the Paymaster General.)

Note-card from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace, Duke’s Road, Euston Road, W.C.—Discusses the printing of a manifesto.

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Transcript

20 Somerset Terrace, Duke’s Road, Euston Road, W.C.
15. 5. 01

It is impossible to do much to Manifesto today—If necessary to print tomorrow keep to what you have got—but if not, I will try & send in something tomorrow: Will write anyhow if possible tomorrow—Wishing you a good time at Oxford & continued success

E.P.

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There are some pencil notes on the back, possibly for speeches by Lawrence.

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