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Papers of Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington
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Chapter I: The Uncertainty of the Reference Frame

§ 1. The uncertainty of the origin.
§ 2. The physical origin.
§ 3. The Bernoulli fluctuation.
§ 4. The standard of length.
§ 5. Range of nuclear forces and the recession of the galaxies.
§ 6. Spherical space.
§ 7. Uranoids.
§ 8. The extraneous standard.
§ 9. Scale-free physics.
§ 10. Pseudo-discrete states.
§ 11. Stabilisation.

Chapter II: Multiplicity Factors

§ 12. Complementary fields.
§ 13. The rigid-field convention.
§ 14. Separation of field and particle energy.
§ 15. Application of scale-free systems.
§ 16. The ‘top particle’.
§ 17. Standard carriers.
§ 18. Mass-ratio of the proton and electron.
§ 19. Rigid coordinates.
§ 20. The fine-structure constant.
§ 21. The inversion of energy.
§ 22. Mutual and self energy.
§ 23. Comparison particles.

Chapter III: Interchange

§ 24. The phase dimension.
§ 25. Interchange of suffixes.
§ 26. The two-particle transformation.
§ 27. Hydrocules.
§ 28. Separation of electrical energy.
§ 29. Current masses of the proton and electron.
§ 30. Molarly controlled charge.
§ 31. Secondary anchors.
§ 32. Calculated values of the microscopic constants.
§ 33. The Coulomb energy.

Chapter IV: Gravitation and Exclusion

§ 34. Unsteady states.
§ 35. Under-observation.
§ 36. Structural and predictive theory.
§ 37. Physical and geometrical distribution functions.
§ 38. The weight function.
§ 39. The genesis of proper mass.
§ 40. Absolute determination of m0.
§ 41. Exclusion.
§ 42. The negative energy levels.
§ 43. Determination of m0 by exclusion theory.
§ 44. Super-dense matter.
§ 45. The degeneracy pressure.

Chapter IX: Simple Applications

§ 93. The metastable states of hydrogen.
§ 94. Neutrium and deuterium.
§ 95. Mass of the neutron.
§ 96. Double intracules.
§ 97. Comparison with field theory.
§ 98. Mass of the deuterium atom.
§ 99. Mass of the helium atom.
§ 100. The separation constant of isobaric doublets.
§ 101. Isotopic spin.
§ 102. Radii of nuclei.
§ 103. The nuclear planoid.
§ 104. Mass of the mesotron.

Chapter V: The Planoid

§ 46. Uranoid and planoid.
§ 47. Interchange of extracules.
§ 48. The special planoid.
§ 49. The energy of two protons.
§ 50. Non-Coulombian energy.
§ 51. The constant of gravitation.
§ 52. Molar and nuclear constants.

Chapter VI: The Complete Momentum Vector

§ 53. The symbolic frame.
§ 54. Miscellaneous properties of E-symbols.
§ 55. Equivalence and chirality.
§ 56. Rotations.
§ 57. Five-dimensional theory.
§ 58. Ineffective relativity transformations.
§ 59. Strain vectors.
§ 60. Real and imaginary E-symbols.
§ 61. Reality conditions.
§ 62. Distinction between space and time.
§ 63. Neutral space-time.
§ 64. Congruent spaces.
§ 65. Determinants and eigenvalues.

Chapter VII: Wave Vectors

§ 66. Idempotency.
§ 67. Standard form of idempotent vectors.
§ 68. Spectral sets.
§ 69. Catalogue of symbolic coefficients.
§ 70. The wave identities.
§ 71. Matrix representation of E-numbers.
§ 72. Factorisation of E-numbers.
§ 73. Wave tensors of the second rank.
§ 74. Wave tensors of the fourth rank.
§ 75. Phase space.
§ 76. Relative space.
§ 77. Vectors in micro space.
§ 78. The quantum-classical analogy.

Chapter VIII: Double Frames

§ 79. The EF-frame.
§ 80. Chirality of a double frame.
§ 81. The interchange operator.
§ 82. Duals.
§ 83. The CD-frame.
§ 84. Double-wave vectors.
§ 85. The 136-dimensional phase space.
§ 86. Uranoid and aether.
§ 87. The Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 88. The de Sitter universe.
§ 89. The tensor identities.
§ 90. The contracted Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 91. States and interstates.
§ 92. The recalcitrant terms.

Chapter X: The Wave Equation

§ 105. Field momentum.
§ 106. The gradient operator.
§ 107. Isostatic compensation.
§ 108. Wave equation of the hydrogen intracule.
§ 109. Solution of the wave equation.
§ 110. The interchange momentum.
§ 111. The two-frame transformation.
§ 112. Electromagnetic potentials.

Chapter XI: The Molar Electromagnetic Field

§ 113. Gauge transformations (molar theory).
§ 114. Action invariants.
§ 115. Gauge transformations (microscopic theory).
§ 116. Indices of wave tensors.
§ 117. Magnetic moments.
§ 118. Magnetic moment of the hydrogen atom.
§ 119. Magnetic moment of the neutron.

(There is no § 120.)

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



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’.

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


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


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


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.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington


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


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


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

[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


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

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


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


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.

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