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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

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

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 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

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

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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 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

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.

Letter from Giacomo Casanova to Carlo Casanova

Transcript

Dux 2 xbre 1791

Signor Nipote Carlo

Ho fatto subito jeri pagare all’onorato mercante Sala otto talari che gli dovevo, e ch’egli medesimo politamente mi disse l’anno passato che glieli pagherei al mio ritorno a Dresda, offrendomi ancora altra cioccolata se volevo, onde al vostro solito avete mentito.

Voi mi avete scritto una lettera da pazzo scapestrato impertinente, insolente, e mal onesta, che mai creditore scrisse a debitore, che mai nipote scrisse a Zio. Qual mai fu l’effetto, che la vostra vuota, ed ignorante testa pretese di ritrarre dalle ingiurie che mi dite in quella lettera?, voi che mi avete detto cento volte che non siete sensibile che alle parole, che le bastonate istesse in confronto delle parole vi sembrano carezze, voi che domandandomi à Venezia il mio divin perdono dopo il vostro latrocinio mi diceste un giorno di bastonarvi più tosto, ma di non mai rimproverarvelo. Ed io né vi rimproverai, né vi bastonai, né vi feci mettere in una fortezza, come vostro padre mi scrisse che dovevo fare, ma vi perdonai, e non vi rimprovero adesso la vostra infamia che per la cagione che la temerità con cui mi scriveste mi dimostra che ve la siete dimenticata. Ditemi, se eravate ubbriaco, quando mi avete scritto quella lettera, e vi accorderò il divin perdono che domandereste fino alla morte, che otterreste sempre, senza profittarne mai. Volete che vi rimandi la vostra impertinente lettera, che mi ha fatto tanto ridere? Ve la rimanderò: rispondetemi. Spero che rileggendola avrete quella vergogna che, impudente, non avete avuto a scrivermela.

Alla mia partenza da Dresda in Agosto dell’anno scorso vi dovevo (se non sbaglio) quaranta talari. Appena arrivato qui in Dux ve ne mandai venti. Dunque restano venti, e se fossero di più non negherò il mio debito tanto più che dite, cosa della quale non mi ricordo, che vi ho fatto una cambiale. Sappiate che un uomo onesto possessore di una cambiale non ha il dritto di dire ingiurie al debitore: il solo dritto che ha è quello di fargliela presentare nelle regole, e di procedere secondo le tranquille regole della giustizia, se non la paga. Fate dunque così ancor voi. Feci l’anno passato a Dresda due cambiali al mercante da panni, le mandò qui alla scadenza, e ventiquattr’ore dopo le pagai. Voi dunque, che volete far il mestiere di mercante, imparate a farlo con le leggi civili dell’onestà. Non sarà mai vero, povero nipote mio, che il denaro che io posso dovervi, abbia ad esser cagione che scappiate un altra volta da Dresda. Prima di arrivare a quest’eccesso gettatevi un’altra volta à piedi di vostro padre, domandategli il divin perdono, ed astenetevi dal dargli maggior afflizione, preparandovi però a ricevere con animo compunto la paterna correzione in parole, e vergognatevi alla fine di dire che preferite le bastonate, linguaggio di Galeotto, che sembra d’eroe alla vostra testa matta.

Andate dunque domani dal Signor Sala, portategli la cambiale che qualifica il mio debito, pregatelo di mandarla a Toeplitz al suo corrispondente, ed io quando l’avrò veduta la ritirerò pagandola, e così non avrete più ragione alcuna di dirmi ingiurie.

Non crediate che per questa vostra stramberia io sia in colera con voi—No. Spero che ne siate già pentito, e voglio finire la mia lettera, dandovi un buon consiglio. Eccolo.

Cambiate di condotta avanti che vostro padre paghi alla natura il grande inevitabil debito, o prevedetevi miserabile fino alla morte. Cominciate intanto a disporvi di palesargli tutti gl’imbrogli in cui vi siete immerso, e che mi son noti. Dio vi benedica.

Sono sempre con verità
Vostro affettuosissimo Zio
Giacomo

[Direction:] A Monsieur | Monsieur Charles Casanova | Au troisieme étage de l’hôtel de Saxe | à Dresde

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Translation

Dux [Duchcov], 2 December 1791

Mr Nephew Carlo,

Yesterday I had the eight thalers paid at once that I owed to the respected merchant Sala. Last year he himself told me politely that I could pay him when I returned to Dresden, and he offered me more chocolate if I wanted it. So as usual you’ve lied.

You’ve written me the letter of a reckless madman, impertinent, insolent, and dishonest, such as no creditor ever wrote to a debtor and no nephew to an uncle. Whatever did your empty and ignorant head expect to accomplish with the insults in that letter? You who have told me a hundred times that you’re sensitive only to words and who said that compared to words a beating would seem like caresses to you; you who begged my ’divine forgiveness’ in Venice after you stole; you who once told me to beat you rather than reproach you. And I didn’t reproach you, or beat you, or have you locked up, as your father wrote to tell me I should, but I forgave you; and I’m not reproaching you now for that disgraceful action, since the audacity in your letter shows that you’ve forgotten all about it. Tell me, were you drunk when you wrote that letter? If so, I will grant the ’divine forgiveness’ you’re asking for right up until death, and you’ll always receive it without my taking advantage of it. Do you want me to return the impertinent letter that made me laugh so hard? I’ll return it; just let me know. When you reread it I hope you’ll feel the shame that you didn’t feel when you were writing it.

When I left Dresden in August of last year, I owed you (if I’m not mistaken) forty thalers. As soon as I arrived here in Dux I sent you twenty. So there’s still twenty, and if it’s more than that I won’t deny whatever you tell me it is; I don’t remember having given you a promissory note. You should know that an honest man who has a promissory note has no right to insult his debtor. The only right he has is to make him pay according to the rules, and if he doesn’t do that, to proceed peacefully in accordance with rules of justice. Then do so. In Dresden last year I gave two promissory notes to the clothing merchant, who sent the clothes when they were ready, and I paid him twenty-four hours later. You therefore, who want to become a merchant, should learn to do likewise, in accordance with civil law. It can never be, my poor nephew, that money I owe you should be the reason you flee from Dresden again. Before you go to that extreme, throw yourself once more at your father’s feet, beg him for his ’divine forgiveness’, and refrain from giving him greater affliction. Be prepared, however, to receive paternal correction with a contrite mind, and lastly, be ashamed to say you would rather be beaten. That’s the language of a galley slave, though it seems heroic to your crazy head.

So go to Mr Sala tomorrow, take him the promissory note that records my debt, and ask him to send it to his correspondent in Toeplitz. When I’ve seen it I will remit payment, and then you won’t have any reason to insult me further.

Do not believe that I’m angry at you for your strange behaviour. No, I hope you’ve already regretted it, and I want to end my letter by giving you some good advice. Here it is:

Alter your conduct before your father pays the great inevitable debt to nature, or I foresee that you will be wretched until your own death. Meanwhile prepare to reveal to him all the imbroglios you’ve gotten into, which are well known to me. God bless you.

I am always truly
Your most affectionate uncle,
Giacomo

[Direction:] To Mr | Mr Charles Casanova | Third Floor, Hôtel de Saxe | Dresden

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