Letter from Charles S. Peirce to his mother Sarah Mills
(London, 02/04.05.1875)

Spanish translation & annotations
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London 1875 May 2


My dearest Mother,

I have to thank you for the only letter I have received since I landed & a very sweet one it was. I have a mammoth letter on the stocks which I shall send in a few days. Thank father very much for his letters of introduction. Ask Aunt Lizzie to get for me Dr. White's recipe for my hair as I have lost it & send it to me. I expected great things in




letter writing way of her but so far there has not come one. The British Museum I have not yet had time to do much in & now it is closed for a week. I will take a day at least to look up the Peirce's there. But I don't see how I am to find out who bore that coat of arms. The Clarges Street house I see is no longer kept by the same person who had it when we were here & is now quite a place for Americans. I like Hummel's as a place for shirts very well. But the expenses here are enormous. Prices are fully 1/3 more than when I was here before.

My dear Mother: Charley's "Great Eastern" letter –as I christened it- was sent off some time ago- & I send you these slips that I find in his portfolio to show that he has thought of you often –but he lives in such a whirl that he has not finished any of them –I intended to mail them all before -but was taken ill with influenze & couldn't –I have just sent off a long letter to Rose & told her to let you see it




it is only the second I have written since landing— except mere notes. Please tell dear Helen that I left her package properly addressed & prepaid with the hotel keeper in Liverpool to be sent by express or parcel-carrier to Mr. Wright & hope it got there safe –I was very glad to hear from you both yesterday –I will soon write at lenght –we leave for Hamburg May 25 (it is now May 20)- owing to being ill so much I am now dreadfully hurried & can write no more today. With best love to all –as ever affectionately




1875 May 4

I don't remember what day it was that I went out to the Kew observatory. I did go and arranged to swing my pendulums there but as they are not quite ready for me just now I shall probably not swing in England till next spring but shall go on to Germany in a few weeks. On Sunday last Zina & I went out to Greenwich to dine. We had nine different dishes of fish. A little too much. First boiled sole and boiled salmon both without sauce. Then croquettes of shrimps and






fried bloaters. Then cusk à la crême and eels with brown sauce. Then curry of turbot and a red fish like salmon only small with a sauce of Chow chow and then white bait.

Yesterday I called on the Envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States near the court of St. James and since you have never seen a hippopotamus I don't know that I could give a better description of one than to say that it looks like General Schenk but if anybody had seen a hippopotamus but wanted to know how




Schenk looked I could give no better description than to say that he looks like the hippopotamus. But if one has had the privilege of knowing both august characters then the pleasure to be derived from their comparison is very great. The General was pleasant and talked about Bache and said his daughter knew father. He remarked that life in London was a pasteboard existence which was not bad. I also saw the chairman of the Kew committee & detest him. Such red tape! He professes the most perfect willing-



ness to have me swing my pendulums at Kew but as a mere matter of form wishes me to request the American minister to request the British Foreign office to request the Royal Society to request the Kew Committee to request the Director of the Kew observatory to afford me the facilities I desire. If they think they know how not to do it, they will find I know how to do it. Today I went to the Royal Society rooms and looked over the portraits etc. there which are exceedingly interesting and I received an invitation to attend the meetings of the Society. I



afterward went to see Clifford and had a very interesting talk with him about logic etc. & am going to dine there Sunday. This evening I got a note from Herbert Spencer saying he had arranged to have me made free of the Athenaeum Club which is altogether the first club in London. So I feel as if today made up for yesterday.


I will now give some slight account of what we have been doing in London. We are very comfortably situated at Mrs. Walter's. We have the dining room as the front room on the ground floor is always called, and the "two pair back" with a dressing room. We take our meals with the family which I had rather not do




Museum which is only one square from the house. I have been made a member of two clubs –The Athenaeum & The Saville. The Athenaeum is without dispute the first club in London. It is a palatial looking building but looks bare inside and there are too many oil cloths & mattings & too few curtains or at least that is the impression it makes somehow. At the same


time it is extremely comfortable & there is a large library and all the new books. Most of the members are grey headed gentlemen most of them write all the afternoon & the rest read. There is a small smoking room in the basement and one billiard table with pockets. There are no regular whist tables but there is very often a game going on at a little round table in a retired drawing room. The Saville club is eminently social and a table d’hote is set at 7 o’clock. It is a pretty place and very small. I dined there last evening & stayed till about 10 talking to


Lockyer. We have been 4 times to the theatre. Twice to see American actors Southern who is now Leesee of the Haymarket and J. S. Clarke in Wellington de Boots & Toodles. We also went to see "Tom Cobb" by the author of the Bab Ballads which is very good & well acted at the St. James's theatre & we also went to see Round the World in 80 days wretched. We went yesterday to a Philharmonic concert & enjoyed it much. We have done very little sight seeing as Zina's health has not been good enough. We have been to dinner at the Spottiswood's –a superb house. Today I go to Clifford's to dine. I have also dined with Sylvester. I have been to Cambridge and have seen Maxwell who took me all over his new laboratory which is grand. I saw Palmer there and I swapped acquaintance with a Mr.


Gordon who gave me a dinner there. Both there and at Spottiswoods all the glass was Venetian which is certainly most beautiful. At Spottiswood's most of the plates etc. were Majolica. I have been invited to attend the meetings of the Royal Society and of the Mathematical Society. Several people have spoken to me about my Logic of Relatives and wanted copies of it so that I have requested Zina to write to Rose to send some one.


Transcription by Max Fisch (Peirce Edition Project), revised by Sara Barrena
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores transcripciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 1 de junio 2012
Última actualización: 6 de agosto 2013
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