Royal Observatory




My Dear Fred Holloway, Daughter Agnes continues:


I was always sorry that I parted with the joiner’s bench your brother Frank made for me.


William Gardener must have been a long way over 70, as he was a good deal older than myself, & I have not yet finished the “three score & ten”.


It is always pleasing that your son-in-law has received such an appreciated promotion; though the gap in your household required some arrangement to make good, but I am glad to hear that your son from London is with you now & that he is making substantial headway in Birmingham.


You are still able to get about much better than myself, for I have to trust more to verbal and written reports even from the Observatory itself.  Queerly I can write more easily than read, but the writing fatigues me speedily.


Under the will of her late generous majesty of happy memory, I am appointed astronomer royal for all the days of my life & it would be very unwise & unjust to the claims(?) of many of those dear to me to think of resigning.  From a large ?? gathering at Oxford I received lately kindest greetings with promises of visits from some of the distinguished foreign members, on their way home.  Dr Halen(?) whom I think you know was my genial representative at Oxford.


We are keeping my wife out of super extra prudence as quiet as possible, so it may be some time before I see her, but I here from her several times a day.


From India we receive & reply to one large letter a week, which always gives us much to talk about.  We are always glad that as a judge his decisions are so respected that hitherto he has been happily free from any aggression to which the authorities are so often subjected.  Indeed many cases of ?? quite of an opposite character might be sighted, although all presents except a few of fruit and cut flowers are strictly prohibited.  Still on the whole it is necessary to gain the goodwill of the violent nations of the extreme north of India as they will some day become the bravest(?) and most patriotic(?) of her sons.  The extreme northern corner has been known now for 3200 years, stray coins of Alexander the Great still occur in the sands of the rivers.


I take the liberty of including a stamped envelope which you may ?? consider as being passed on from a very wealthy correspondent of whom I lost sight long ago.  Kindly only make it an excuse for an early reply.


As for myself I did some lathe and even telescope work until quite lately, but my eyes are failing so rapidly, that this ?? fertile source of amusement and entertain threatens to fail me.


To make this to some ??  good, quite a circle of chiefly younger astronomers as ?? are gradually beginning to visit me which naturally affords me great pleasure.


With kindest regards to your circle ?? ?? Mrs Holloway,


Ever sincerely yours,


Ralph Copeland