Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

                                                                                    24 Sept. 1905.

 

My dear Fred Holloway,

 

I was very glad when my medical Daughter, Paula, succeeded in finding your letter of Sep 13/04 this morning.

 

I hope that your dear old friend, Mrs Holloway, Godson Ralph, and the rest of your circle are all as well as your years and labours will permit.

 

My wife has had a threatening internal trouble – but thanks to a very successful operation & the aid of an excellent New Zealand nurse we hope to see her restored to health & strength within another ten days or so.

 

I am pulling round once more (in my 69th year) much to my own surprise.  I had been shaky since June 1901, off & on with occasional fairish rallies that enabled me to enjoy life at the observatory or in the company of my children.

 

Last Autumn Agnes’s nerves gave way in a very distressing fashion.  Kind German friends found her a nice country home for many months.  Thus it came that outdoor exercise together with a cheery girl of her own age, very little music and lots of quiet gentle occupation have quite set her up again.  She ?? plays the piano without special effort and any week may see her old Amati violin drawn from its case once more.  I shall be delighted when that day comes.

 

From Theodore we have good news.  He is Acting District Judge at Peshaur(?) in Kohat. 36 degrees in NW India.  His “powers” extend to 7 years imprisonment although he is still in his 27th year.  He gets on exceedingly well with the natives & already, after 4 years service has a very thorough knowledge of two of their native languages – Urdu – the official language of courts, police & of Northern India, and Pashtu, the great connecting link between India and Persia.  It is spoken by many tribes in the mountains as well as right through Baluchistan and Afghanistan.

 

By working very hard, mostly fully 12 hours each day at trials, appeals etc. he secures about one fourth of his time for excursions into the hills to heights of 7000 to nearly 9000 feet.  To these trips, each of which occupies from six to ten days when it comes off he attributes his most excellent general health.  About his bungalow he has a good deal of a flower garden – but all grown in flower pots.  Hence he can readily remove the best when he chances to be transferred to a fresh district – which does not often happen.  He rides & drives very well and latterly has improved greatly in shooting small toothsome game – snipe, black partridge etc. which is always welcome for invalids(?) or at dinner.

 

Mrs Diechmann, my oldest daughter (born at Gorton in 1860,) is happy with her husband & one daughter of about twelve years not very far from Mayence in Germany.  Her full brother – now 39 years has a Carpenter’s business at Revelstoke on the C.P.R (Canadian Pacific Railway) where he has a nice garden a couple (or 3) neat little houses, a pretty little observatory (just for (peering?) in a quiet way at sun, moon, planets and stars.)

 

Barkworth, husband of Fanny, my eldest by 2nd marriage, has just returned to Baltimore where he holds a professorship of the (?) at the Peabody Institute.  He is there about 6 months each winter and is very much liked.  My daughter has a nice house for herself, three children & a daily governess about a mile from us.

 

1.55 p.m. Fanny & the three children boy 10 ½ and twin boy & girl of 9 ½ have just come up to Sunday dinner.  The eldest boy is to go to our best boarding school for young boys tomorrow.  He is rather well on for his years and ought to pass into a big school in 3 or 4 years.

 

This year a helpful retired (?) and I tinkered up the old lathe.  By scraping the woodwork using stain and varnish we have made it very smart.  During the past 40 years it seems to me that steel, mild steel, wrought iron & files have greatly improved in quality.

 

All who knew you here ask after you & send kind regards.

 

I have been bothered by dropsy, but Dr Paula and one of her esteemed preceptors are patching me up wonderfully with the help of Digitalis & Squills.  There is a perceptible improvement from day to day.

 

With kindest remembrances and warmest excellent ones of old times,

 

Your affectionate friend,

 

Ralph Copeland

 

P.S

My first wife’s youngest son, born 1866 July 11, Gottingen, sends a bright cheery letter about his little shop at Revelstoke.  In the winter he will devote two afternoons each week to trapping the Canadian Master, which comes next to the Siberian Sable in value. R.C.