Item 5 - Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

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EDDN/A/4/5

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Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

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  • 13 Apr. 1919 (Creation)

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1 folded sheet

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“The Portugal”
Sunday, April 13

My very dear Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

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

{1} João Gregório Duarte Ferreira.

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