Item 3 - Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

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EDDN/A/2/3

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Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

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  • 11 Sept. 1912 (Creation)

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2 folded sheets

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

My very dear Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

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

—————

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

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} A slip for ‘good’.

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