From Lars Magnus to Hilda, August 22 1901

Ericsson, Lars Magnus (portrait, 1910s)

Mother Hilda and Lalle 

My Dear Ones!

During our isolated existence without contact with the rest of the world are our thoughts free and most often with you and we send them via the moon as often as we see him, a greeting to you. The journey on the Atlantic has been easy, though our dear Anna was under the weather the first days. 

Yesterday the weather turned calm and clear so we all felt right fit and satisfied to be able to take both schnapps and a glass wine at dinner for the first time. 

We have passed the cold storm belt and already yesterday we reached the New Foundland Bank where a few fishing boats passed in sight and though no land is as yet in sight, it is still a comforting feeling to know that land is not so far off. Yesterday as today we have seen a steamer or two and there is not much needed fur us to look for each object within sight with keen anticipation.

We have seen porpoises every day and flying fish in high leaps over the water. Of late we have even seen whales, today no fewer than 5 or 6 in a group. 

The boat we are travelling on is named St. Paul and is a solid, American built monster. We would have liked to have Lalle along so he could see such great stuff. While you can not see the engine, you can hear more of him than you might wish as he does the heavy work. Each piston stroke develop such pressure that though the decks are made of great iron beams, they move so much that at first you can be seasick from no more than that. But then you must understand that the engine develops 22,000 horsepower

Still even with this enormous machine, the boat can not do more than 20 knots per hour. This last day, a calm one, we have travelled 500 knots, which is the highest we have attained the whole journey. In kilometres, this is around 928 in one day. Since we last saw land, we have travelled a distance of around 4,266 km at noon today and have some 1,484 km left to New York.

Anna and I live 3 levels down, sharing a very spacious cabin with a window that lets us see the ocean, though when the seas are high and the boat careens heavily, the window can come deep under the water and when we then look out into the blue-green depths we  imagine ourselves that we can see some hungry Shark avidly  grinning at us. 

The food is good and there is a lot of it. At 8 in the morning we have breakfast and Lalle can well believe that we, as all wise persons, do not pass the porridge by. At 11 a hot broth is served in mugs. Lunch is served at 1 pm and offers many different dishes. Tea comes at 5 and at 6:30 the first trumpet signal is heard for dinner. Everyone heads off to clean up and dress according to taste and means and then everyone enters the elegant dining hall in style as the dinner trumpet sounds at 7 and move to their assigned seat. The hall seats around 250 persons.

August 23

Yet another new day with good health and good spirits. The weather is glorious, but as I feared, it is beginning to be a bit too warm.

Tonight we will arrive in New York and will probably be allowed to debark already early on. /insertion/ in the morning of August 24. Then there will likely be very little peace and quiet as it sounds as if our company wish to begin the journey to Buffalo tomorrow evening.

Anna is writing Gustaf in Göteborg, as we assume that when this reaches you Gustaf will already have left home. Still tell him that it is my wish and hope that he gets true delight and satisfaction in his work. I hold the same prayerful wish for you, dear Lalle, now that a new school year begins for you as well. Do not forget your milk, but grow healthy and strong!

Finally the heartiest greetings to all and also many kisses to Lalle and his Mother.

From your most affectionate L.M. & Anna

Author: Lars Magnus Ericsson, original manuscript.

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