Transcript of 3rd letter from Ralph Copeland to Fred Holloway

 

R. Observatory, Blackford Hill,

Edinburgh

21 June 1896

 

Dear Fred Holloway,

 

We were all glad to hear that you had a pleasant journey home and found all your family in good health.  More than once it has happened that when I returned from one of my long expeditions I found a gap that never could be filled again.

 

Since you left we have been very busy with our eclipse apparatus – in fact about as busy as we were at Gorton thirty three years ago, and that is saying a good deal.  Two days ago we finished the self acting camera for the long tube, and were not a little delighted to find our 18 inch plate holder running smoothly along at the calculated speed of 1.90 inch per minute.

 

On Tuesday morning I hope we can begin erecting the big tube in the open air, ready for a trial on the sun. – I need not say how much I missed your company and help in designing these mechanical matters.

 

We are to sail from Newcastle on July 18th, & it will take us all our time to be ready by that date.

 

It was very kind of you to send the full particulars about the emery wheels & diamond tools, and when I get the place a little settled I will ask you to look out a few things for one.

 

I am also much obliged for the trouble you took in finding my old friend William Gardener – I will try to write to him from Norway.  Mr Ramsay has been so busy with his eclipse plates that I am afraid he has overlooked the portraits but perhaps he can find a spare hour to print copies of such negatives as he secured.

 

My eldest daughter and her little girl (nearly three years old) arrived safely from Germany two days after you left us.  The change of air seems to agree with them ??.

 

I need not say that Agnes continues to work away at her violin.  Just now she has a big piece in hand. Beriot 109 – that promises to be very attractive.

 

One arm of the fork in Theodore’s large machine broke clean through the other day, but fortunately without letting him down.  The steel was exceedingly thin – so thin that the only  wonder is how it managed to stand as long as it did.  I think he does the hill at a more reasonable pace since this last breakdown.

 

I am trying to pick up the address of my old Woolwich friend in…