This afternoon Angus Macphail has been in to see us. He was asking for you all. He is still busy “coelum servans”. They send up little balloons and measure the direction and strength of the wind at different heights. This is done hourly and the results are passed on to the airmen. He thinks he may soon be sent out to Italy… Stornoway, 26th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 26th May 1918

Mr Gibson has been out sailing in his little boat the “Naughty Lass” this week and is keen to share the details with Jean. The Gibson’s have also had a visit from a local lad currently home on leave and he has been describing his meteorological duties to them. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

We hope your play came off successfully – Friday and yesterday, you said it was to be.  You did not tell us where, nor for what object.  You said you felt a donkey when you got on the ass’s head.  Well, wasn’t that the essence of the piece if you were to act it well?  Now that you have it over your family wants you to resume your letters at the old time – one on Sunday to reach us on Tuesday and another to reach us on Saturday morning.  Other times do not divide the week well.  We were amused at Miss Jenny and Prof. J. at cross purposes about the play.  So he doesn’t approve of the amount of time put on it!  I can understand.  “On the other hand” he should have an indulgent outlook towards the drama, especially when you spend your energies on Shakespeare.

The Miss Angus Reunion – good; give me a par. on it for next year’s Magazine.  Miss Angus will be pleased.  Like you, I rather regret that so many girls – and especially Christina – are coming back at once to Lewis.  It is all right to come ultimately but one needs some widening first.  It isn’t only a question of salary; it involves their being able to do their best in the long run for their Lewis pupils.

On Friday evening Callum (surnamed “Zadok”), John Smith (Fourth Class) and myself took the “Naughty Lass” out for her trial trip.  Mamma thought she wd not come until next trip in case she leaks badly.  Instead she was perfectly dry, and we had over three hours of delightful weather, went outside Arnish to Toblearibhah (spelling not guaranteed) had a stroll over the heather to the loch, and home, with everything growing gauze-like and mystic.  Story sometimes manages to look very artistic.  On Saturday I hoped to take Mamma out but it was evening and too late before the weather looked settled, so we did not go.

Had our usual visit to the reading-room.  This afternoon Angus Macphail has been in to see us.  He was asking for you all.  He is still busy “coelum servans”.  They send up little balloons and measure the direction and strength of the wind at different heights.  This is done hourly and the results are passed on to the airmen.  He thinks he may soon be sent out to Italy.

We were glad to hear that Miss Taylor had again remembered Maud and you.  Were you free in time to go?

Now, a full account in your next of the play!

We were greatly pleased to know that the Anderson baby was so much improved & we hope he’ll soon have his strength back again.  It must have been a very trying time for them.

Best love from both.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L56

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archive collections assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on This afternoon Angus Macphail has been in to see us. He was asking for you all. He is still busy “coelum servans”. They send up little balloons and measure the direction and strength of the wind at different heights. This is done hourly and the results are passed on to the airmen. He thinks he may soon be sent out to Italy… Stornoway, 26th May. 1918

Today Rudland and some of the school-boys brought the “Naughty Lass” up to the back garden, opposite the kitchen window. Papa proposes getting her painted and ready for sea. We want to try the fishing and in any case it will be nice to be able to get afloat now and again. In the evenings I am too tired to go walking and this would be better. So you will get a chance of developing your muscle when you come home. Also Maud – tell her… Stornoway, 16th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 16th May 1918

In her letter to Jean this week, Mrs Gibson talks of the “Naughty Lass”, a boat that the Gibson’s are aiming to re-paint and take out fishing, and another teacher has left the Nicolson this week too, amidst a flurry of confusion it would seem! The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Jean,

Your letter came on Wednesday and we were interested to hear of your doings. Hope you will get a frock to your liking even if it seems dear; everything is dear now-a-days and growing dearer. It was a good idea to take Mrs. Milne’s advice.

We were very glad indeed to hear that the dear Anderson baby was recovering. I thought the drop in the temperature probably meant that the crisis was past after which it would be just the question whether he had strength enough to rally. I hope he is gaining a little now every day.

Today Rudland and some of the school-boys brought the “Naughty Lass” up to the back garden, opposite the kitchen window. Papa proposes getting her painted and ready for sea. We want to try the fishing and in any case it will be nice to be able to get afloat now and again. In the evenings I am too tired to go walking and this would be better. So you will get a chance of developing your muscle when you come home. Also Maud – tell her.

Did I tell you that Annie Macleod spent an afternoon with me last week and I gave her tea in the kitchen? I lent her Stevenson’s letters in the hope that she might find them interesting.  Dina came over last night for the other vol. and reported Annie very keen. I was glad as they are really very good and reveal a most delightful and a very brave man. You must read them sometime.

Mr. Tait has gone. He got quite a number of presents from the classes. The evening he was going he came in after nine to say goodbye and how sorry he was to go and so on. I had not much patience. The funny sequal [sic] however came later. He had meant to call at Mrs. Payne’s to hand in the key and pay the rent but he was so rushed at the end that he had no time. However Roddie Smith was down at the steamer to intercept him and demand the money. Think of it! Sy. is busy commenting on Tait in far other than complimentary terms, and saying, to Mr. C. J. Maciver’s great annoyance “See what the teachers are like!” Poor Tait is very much afraid he may be called up again.

Mrs. Menzies has a cow now and I get a pint of milk from her daily which is a very great help to the cuisine. Jack Ross brings it for me when he goes for their own. “Lil Lizzie” still goes to Goathill, getting back very near the stroke of nine.

Listen! Annie Rudland has now 27/6 a week, a uniform and a pair of boots as she has been put on the strength – W.R.E.N.s. I suppose. Mary Morison is back in Sy. – had to. Love from us all including the li’l Small on the board.

Your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L54

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Today Rudland and some of the school-boys brought the “Naughty Lass” up to the back garden, opposite the kitchen window. Papa proposes getting her painted and ready for sea. We want to try the fishing and in any case it will be nice to be able to get afloat now and again. In the evenings I am too tired to go walking and this would be better. So you will get a chance of developing your muscle when you come home. Also Maud – tell her… Stornoway, 16th May. 1918

Did I tell you last week that Neil Macdonald (Fifth of 1914) the lad from Balallan who got the Mil. Cross about a year ago, was rumoured as having been killed. I am sorry to say it is officially confirmed. This morning also news came that Ian Macdonald, the younger of the C. E.’s sons, has been killed. People whose sons are out are having a time of great anxiety… Stornoway, 12th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 12th May 1918

Spring is well under way in Stornoway this week, and Mr Gibson has much in the way of local news for Jean, particularly regarding his vegetable growing successes. Sadly, he also has some bad news concerning more local lads who have lost their lives during the war effort recently. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

I have been looking out of the study window between showers and watching the sparrows having baths in the little playground pools, and fighting between while con amore.  Why are sparrows such pugnacious little villains, I wonder. But oh, they are so spry and full of life just now and of the movement of the spring. They are rascals, but one can’t help liking them.

The rain has been a great refreshment. The ground was dry and the seeds were needing moisture. Things are now growing at a great rate. Our rhubarb is of an unbelievable height and thickness. We are bestowing parcels on all who want to use it. It seems a pity that its phomenal [sic] growth should coincide with a sugar famine.

Most of Thursday evening I spent at school. The choir were practising their songs for the concert, the dramatic troupe were rehearsing their sketches, and the boys, the janitor and I were seeing to the platform and other chores.

Murdo Nicolson, Lemreway, (Fifth of 1914) came in, and we got the girls to sing over again for the Mountain Battery their Gaelic chorus. Murdo is to take back word thereof to Macedonia.

The week has been a very busy one. I was taking the Medal exams., there was a good deal of arrangement in connection with the Concert, and next week is our Class Exam week.   The Fifth & Sixth girls sold the tickets, which went off like hot cakes. Out of 300 tickets only a dozen remained to be sold at the door.  Many people who had depended on getting in by paying at the door could not be admitted and were greatly disappointed.  The evening was wet but there was a full turnout and I think as an entertainment it was quite successful, while as a money raising device it was entirely satisfactory.    Saturday forenoon had to be spent in seeing things back into their places. I enclose a copy of the programme.  An item that fairly fascinated folk was Mr Ewen’s sword swinging display; it was quite wonderful.

Saturday was showery, but the sun came out in the afternoon and Mr. Ewen and I went down to the Manse for some of our seed potatoes that were left over, also to see how the seeds we had planted were coming on. We found our carrots were well under weigh (sic) , but the potatoes were not yet showing. Later we came home with the potatoes slung in a sack and carried on the walking-stick between us – quite picturesque I assure you!

In the evening I went to the reading-room but Mamma remained at home sewing. I met Margaret Maciver, who has recently been south for a month’s holiday. She was telling me Kenneth is to be home for a short leave, and was to arrive last night. Duncan also is to be home in a week or so.    Did I tell you last week that Neil Macdonald (Fifth of 1914) the lad from Balallan who got the Mil. Cross about a year ago, was rumoured as having been killed. I am sorry to say it is officially confirmed. This morning also news came that Ian Macdonald, the younger of the C. E.’s sons, has been killed. People whose sons are out are having a time of great anxiety.

We were sorry to hear about the little Anderson lad being so ill. I see from your letter that he is somewhat better. I hope he’ll have enough strength for the improvement to continue now the temperature has begun to go down. Poor little fellow!

I see from your letter that you are continuing to appreciate the Aberdeen spring-time. The trees do strike one when one comes from Lewis. I am glad to hear you are taking the chance of the Gifford lectures. You are having “fine confused feeding” just now, like the man with the sheep’s head.

When does the “Mid. N’s Dr.m “ [Midsummer’s Night’s Dream] come off? No use getting “down” about it. You must roar like a lion – not like a sucking dove, and there you are. If there is one thing clear about Bottom, it is his entire self-possession.

About the Summer Meeting at Glasshaugh, Mamma and I have  talked it over, and are quite willing if you wd.like it. We see from the Calendar that the Science Term finishes on June 28 and Graduation is expected to be about July 10. I suppose it wd. be between these two dates sometime that the gathering wd. be. You’ll give us more particulars when you know them.

I hope the Macpherson is coming on all right. I don’t think you need read much for it, & the Macpherson controversy can be left severely alone. What you know about the Celtic atmosphere and land, with a study of a few pages of the “Songs of Selma” or “Fingal” should supply all you need. I enclose you own version of the piece from “Selma” if you want to work it in as a tailpiece.   Mamma and Barrie have now come upstairs to join me. I have just asked the latter if he sends his love to you, but he continued to snooze with his nose on his hind arm. Mamma has had a good deal of rheumatism this last week, but is getting rather better now.

Best love from both.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L53

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Did I tell you last week that Neil Macdonald (Fifth of 1914) the lad from Balallan who got the Mil. Cross about a year ago, was rumoured as having been killed. I am sorry to say it is officially confirmed. This morning also news came that Ian Macdonald, the younger of the C. E.’s sons, has been killed. People whose sons are out are having a time of great anxiety… Stornoway, 12th May. 1918

W. J. Clarke came in and we then got away and went in to Miss Fraser’s. We had heard that she had been at our door one day when you were at home… Since then she has been seriously ill with a very bad heart attack, and Dr. Mackenzie in attendance… She is now up and about again but does not seem as far as we could judge to be much better than when she went to the country. Poor Miss Fraser! it is very sad to see her so unlike herself. Write her a nice letter one of these days when you are at leisure, and be watching the shops to see if there is any little thing you could send her… Stornoway, 9th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 9th May 1918

Mrs Gibson writes to Jean this week with news regarding the ill-health of a local lady, the current state of rationing in the Gibson household and the promotion of a local lad to Major. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

You must have written essays with this pen. It is pock-marked with bites. People with wahly [sic] teeth never do that.

Dear Sheann,

9 o’clock and I have just finished the ironing. Papa is still at school. He rushed in for half an hour for tea and went back as they are busy over a school concert tomorrow night. He has far too much to do these days and what is to be done when Mr.Tait goes away I don’t know.

Your letter today made us quite sad with its news of the poor little baby’s illness. It is one of the saddest sights in life to see a little helpless child suffer and we can only hope that the worst is now past and recovery before him. His parents have our deep sympathy. Keep us posted about him.

On Sunday night the ex-provost was in and Papa went down the street with him to post your letter. He was telling us that Jack has been promoted Major. Isn’t that good?

We were out last night calling on poor Katie Morison. None of us mentioned the sad reason of our visit and we all talked as if nothing was wrong, Katie also. But she looks like a broken lily, unutterably sad and sweet. W. J. Clarke came in and we then got away and went in to Miss Fraser’s. We had heard that she had been at our door one day when you were at home – could it have been that day that we didn’t open to, as we supposed, Mrs. Baldry?

Since then she has been seriously ill with a very bad heart attack, and Dr.Mackenzie in attendance. It seems she had several attacks while at Borve but this last was worse. She is now up and about again but does not seem as far as we could judge to be much better than when she went to the country. Poor Miss Fraser! it is very sad to see her so unlike herself. Write her a nice letter one of these days when you are at leisure, and be watching the shops to see if there is any little thing you could send her. Not an invalid thing of course – perhaps some little thing to wear.

I have started making your blue and white gingham. I haven’t much time but meantime send me the correct length of skirt and any directions you think necessary.

We are carefully rationed now too. For some days indeed we could get no tea and had to have cocoa at tea time. Papa couldn’t take coffee again after having it for breakfast. We laughed at the vision of your table with all the little plates of Maggie.

Hope your cold is better. You were wise to treat it in the early stage. Take some emulsion while the east wind lasts – nothing like it for keeping one fit in the spring.

Will send your jacket when we can contrive some packing for it. Now for the other letters! No sign of Papa yet!

Love to Sheann from her Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L52

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on W. J. Clarke came in and we then got away and went in to Miss Fraser’s. We had heard that she had been at our door one day when you were at home… Since then she has been seriously ill with a very bad heart attack, and Dr. Mackenzie in attendance… She is now up and about again but does not seem as far as we could judge to be much better than when she went to the country. Poor Miss Fraser! it is very sad to see her so unlike herself. Write her a nice letter one of these days when you are at leisure, and be watching the shops to see if there is any little thing you could send her… Stornoway, 9th May. 1918

I don’t know whether you heard that they had prizes in Story. in connection with the War Savings Certifs., and among the 16,000 numbers from which they drew one of the successful one is one of your certificates. This will entitle you to one £1 certif., which I shall duly claim one of these days for you… Stornoway, 5th May. 1918.

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 5th May 1918

This week, Mr Gibson updates Jean on their visitors over the past few days and has news regarding a new teacher starting at the Nicolson. There is also an interesting reference to Jean and her War Savings Certificate. This was a scheme created by the UK government in 1916 which launched the organisation of local voluntary savings associations. The initial purpose was to raise money to finance the war effort, but subsequently it was promoted as a means for people to save money for the first time. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

Sunday evening. We have had our walk and our porridge for tea. The day was dull, had been raining in the night, but cleared up during our walk and the sun came out beautifully. We have had an extraordinary fortnight of weather: ten consecutive days averaged over 12 hours of bright sunshine per day – how’s that for Lewis?

Proof of the School Mag. at last to hand; that occupied Friday evening. Saturday was chiefly taken up with gardening and other chores, and by evening when we were getting ready to go to the reading-room, we had visitors. First Donald Thomson, Tong, was in to say good-bye. He has been called to Avoch U. F. Church, in the Black Isle. He also has a call to Broadford, but is going to take Avoch. He has got on well, and has made a very good session’s work of his last year – got his B.D. and two scholarships.

Whilst he was in, the second visitor came – Miss Cathie Macdonald, Carloway. She has been in Story. for a few days’ holiday and has enjoyed herself well. She had been meeting all our new teachers one evening and had been enjoying Edinburgh experiences over again with them. By-the-way, we have got another new teacher from Edin., a Miss Bald, in room of Miss Isabella Tolmie who is leaving us. She is going south for a bit to her sister.

By the time our visitors had gone it was too late to go to the reading-room, so we had a read by the fire instead. Mr. Thomson was telling us that Mr. Jenkins has got a church now at Knockando on the Spey. We were very glad to hear it and Speyside should be a nice place for him.

I saw Mr. Clark after church and had a walk round the quays with him. They are well.

We were interested to hear of your nice Tuesday afternoon walk. We are thinking that this seeing of the spring coming in the fields will be something of a new world to you, as being unlike what Lewis shows in the springtime.

Two study circles should give the two of you much to think about and talk about. I do not think your co-students of whom you speak will have much difficulty demolishing Mrs. Besant’s Theosophy.

68% for your essay was quite good. Of the new list the one I would certainly recommend is Ossian. I don’t think anyone else will be likely to take it, and the glamour of romance, the love of wild Nature, the Celtic sentiment, and the rhythm of phrasing that so charmed Europe would make a nice picturesque subject to dwell on. Besides, you do not need to read much of Macpherson to find the characteristics, and that might be a consideration if it is to go in on Tuesday week. I’ll send you a volume of him containing “Fingal”, “Songs of Selma” & some of the others, to-morrow, in case you think of taking that subject. Besides, you’ll be able to lug in your own little verse paraphrase about Sorglan’s daughter at the end thereof as a nice tailpiece. I begin to see it all complete!

I don’t know whether you heard that they had prizes in Story. in connection with the War Savings Certifs., and among the 16,000 numbers from which they drew one of the successful one is one of your certificates. This will entitle you to one £1 certif., which I shall duly claim one of these days for you.

And about your racket,                                                                         
To-morrow we’ll pack it
Lest you should lack it.

Mamma is reading R. L. Stevenson’s Letters and enjoying them greatly.

Here is a quotation for you from Prof. W. P. Ker, page 227 of Vol. X of the Cambridge history of Engl. Liter. He is speaking of Macpherson’s success: – “The great victory was won, not unfairly, by rhythm, imagery and sentiment, historical and local associations helping in various degrees. The author or translator of Ossian won his great success fairly, by unfair means. To call him an imposter is true, but insufficient. – – – – – – – – –
He was original enough, in a peculiar way, to touch and thrill the whole of Europe.”

Barrie is still out in the sun, with his “pobby”. Accept his kind regards.

Love from both.                                                                            

Papa

P.S. Got Bissett’s communication. Thanks for seeing to it.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L51

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I don’t know whether you heard that they had prizes in Story. in connection with the War Savings Certifs., and among the 16,000 numbers from which they drew one of the successful one is one of your certificates. This will entitle you to one £1 certif., which I shall duly claim one of these days for you… Stornoway, 5th May. 1918.

Mr. Maciver, Tong, came in the other evening to tell us that Frank was in hospital at Tonbridge Wells – gassed. They had heard twice from the hospital about him but that day they had had a short note from himself. Mr. Maciver’s mother was buried on Tuesday. Her heart had been very bad for a long time… Stornoway, 2nd May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 2nd May 1918

This week’s news from Mrs Gibson to Jean includes some of the activities her and Mr Gibson have undertaken, as well as various encounters with friends and acquaintances throughout the week. She also has some updates from a few local lads away at war. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear ‘lil Sheann,

We were glad to get your letter and to hear all about your walks and talks.  I envied you seeing the anemones.  You must be on the outlook for the blue hyacinths towards the end of this month.  I always carry in my memory a picture of a wood just past the old castle on the way to Inverkip where I once saw all the ground under the trees blue, blue with them.  If the good weather holds I hope you may see many beautiful places this summer to tell us about. 

Papa has now finished most of his planting.  There was a half-holiday yesterday and he and Mr. Ewen went down after dinner.  I went down later and sat in the garden while they worked.  Mrs. Menzies had been out for an errand but when she returned she and I went to a seat in front of the house to talk and knit.  She insisted on Papa and me staying to tea.  We came away in time to let them go to the prayer meeting.  We came home via lower Sandwick and back by the beach.  Today I was ironing after dinner when Mrs. Menzies arrived on her cycle.  She stayed on and had tea with us in the kitchen.  She has now got a cow and came in to let me know that she could let us have some milk daily.  Isn’t that nice?  I like Mrs. M. very much, as I know you do also.  May all good attend her!

Mrs. Aeneas was over visiting me the other evening and having a long talk.  She is looking old and tired and is a bit apprehensive about her new post.  I was encouraging her and saying I was sure it would turn out well.

Mr. Maciver, Tong, came in the other evening to tell us that Frank was in hospital at Tonbridge Wells – gassed.  They had heard twice from the hospital about him but that day they had had a short note from himself. Mr. Maciver’s mother was buried on Tuesday.  Her heart had been very bad for a long time.

I suppose Papa told you about Mr. J.P. Anderson being wounded.  He expects to be in France again before long.  Ex Provost Anderson was in on Sunday night and reported Charlie and Jack still safe and well.   Mrs. A. is now in her new house at Portobella and Jamie digging in his kail yaird. Oh! I hope it may do him good poor boy! 

Mr. Anderson (of the bees) was at tea with us on Sunday and sat talking till he and the ex pro. left together.  He was telling us that the Macdonell’s leave Sy. for good and all this month so that Cathie will probably not be back again.

Hope your costume and hat will be nice.  There is more money if you require it so see you get what you need for the summer.

Papa has just come in shorn – I hardly knew him! but the voice is the same.

Love from the de-camoflaged one and from your Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L50

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mr. Maciver, Tong, came in the other evening to tell us that Frank was in hospital at Tonbridge Wells – gassed. They had heard twice from the hospital about him but that day they had had a short note from himself. Mr. Maciver’s mother was buried on Tuesday. Her heart had been very bad for a long time… Stornoway, 2nd May. 1918

Mamma has already told you the sad news of John Munro’s death. Lachlan Macleod of the 1914 class had been reported missing and was believed killed, but word has come that he is a prisoner of war. Terrible fighting is still going on, and folk who have boys in it are very anxious. Roddie Fraser has already been in the front line. Mr. Jas. P. Anderson is wounded and in hospital at Stockport. It is in the leg, not bad, he says & he expects to be soon sent out again… Stornoway, 28th April. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 28th April 1918

In his letter to Jean this week, Mr Gibson has further sad news regarding the local lads away at war, including news that one lad has been taken captive as a prisoner of war. He also, interestingly, explains his potato growing experiments to Jean, and delivers a short verse to her regarding her letter writing. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

Behold us starting forth for church at 11 o’clock, Mamma in her new frock, not before worn but already of a fashion a year old, and Papa in his grey suit and long beard!  The weather continues choice – for a week it has been ideal. 

Got your letter yesterday on which the family versifier offered the following :

“There was a lass called Jean

Who wrote a letter lean

And sent it to her parients (?) across the sea;

On Saturday it came,

And was it not a shame

So little news should hide beneath a penny fee?”

Suggestions by Mamma to fill up future letters – we have heard nothing of the inmates, of Gladys, of the new room-mate; I have not even had the receipt of the bank-book acknowledged, spite of all my endeavours to establish the priority of things financial in all “proply” conducted correspondence.

Much relief that the Nat. Phil. is not to be fastened on to you; it wd. have been a bother.  Your Zoo sounds very interesting, and it did surprise us to hear you anticipating that a shore excursion wd. be “boring” under any kind of conductor – Mr. Flattely or another!

I am glad to know that you are getting some practical work in the Embryology.  Mamma was glad to hear again about the garden and its possibilities of fresh air.

Yesterday (Saturday) Mr. Ewen and I had quite a day among the potatoes.  With the help of three boys (who shd. have been a dozen if zeal had not fallen off sadly) we got all the experimental portion of our allotment planted.  It is to answer the follg. questions:-

  1. Does wide or narrow drilling give most produce for same area?
  2. Wide or narrow sets ditto?
  3. Deep or shallow cultivation?
  4. Deep, medium or shallow planting?
  5. Small whole pots. or cut big ones?
  6. Sprayed or unsprayed plots?

A good part of the rest of the allotment is still to plant.  If the good weather still holds we must try to have a rally in force to-morrow evening.  On our own patch in Mr. M’s garden we still have some planting to do.

Mr. John Anderson is now here and has been busy among the bees.  He expects to go away to-night.  He is to be up this afternoon to give us the Abd. News.

We were interested to hear about your and Maud’s visit to Mrs. Lumsden.  You must have been proud of yourselves to be able to give Stornoway news that was new to them.

— Mamma has already told you the sad news of John Munro’s death.   Lachlan Macleod of the 1914 class had been reported missing and was believed killed, but word has come that he is a prisoner of war.  Terrible fighting is still going on, and folk who have boys in it are very anxious.  Roddie Fraser has already been in the front line.  Mr. Jas. P. Anderson is wounded and in hospital at Stockport.  It is in the leg, not bad, he says & he expects to be soon sent out again.

Donald Thomson is to preach in our church to-night.  He was licensed by the Presbytery about a week ago.

We were glad to hear that Miss Muriel was gradually getting better.  A stay out at Cults shd. help.  When does Miss Templeton go away?  Jean I see is as usual busy.  Mamma delighted to hear of your domestic industry art the C.U. rooms.

Best love Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L49

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mamma has already told you the sad news of John Munro’s death. Lachlan Macleod of the 1914 class had been reported missing and was believed killed, but word has come that he is a prisoner of war. Terrible fighting is still going on, and folk who have boys in it are very anxious. Roddie Fraser has already been in the front line. Mr. Jas. P. Anderson is wounded and in hospital at Stockport. It is in the leg, not bad, he says & he expects to be soon sent out again… Stornoway, 28th April. 1918

You will be very sorry I know to hear that John Munro was killed on the 16th. April. Papa and I both feel it very much as John had endeared himself to us both. He was here last January I think. Angus Smith, John’s (Mc.D’s) brother was in school today. He was wounded in the great battle… He managed to destroy his gun by throwing it into a shell-hole and a bomb after it. Then he had to fight his way out. He still has shrapnel in his back… Stornoway, 25th April. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 25th April 1918

Dear Sheann,

Your letter came this morning and we were interested to hear of all your doings.  We too hope you wont need to take the Nat. Phil. Class. That would be a pity!

John Macdonald from Salonika has just been in to say good-bye.  His leave is over and he goes tonight.  You will be very sorry I know to hear that John Munro was killed on the 16th. April.  Papa and I both feel it very much as John had endeared himself to us both.  He was here last January I think. Angus Smith, John’s (Mc.D’s) brother was in school today.  He was wounded in the great battle.  He was a Lewis Gunner and was only one left of the gun crew.  He managed to destroy his gun by throwing it into a shell-hole and a bomb after it.  Then he had to fight his way out.  He still has shrapnel in his back.  Everyone at all able to travel was sent home on leave to make room in the hospitals.

Papa is down at his croft every night.  He really has worked like a Trojan and I only hope he may not be the worse of it.

I have been washing blankets taking advantage of the very fine weather.  It is almost like summer.

Mr. Anderson is away round the Loop today to visit his outliers.  It will be a beautiful run on such a day.

I have washed and ironed your jumper and hope to send it off in the beginning of the week.  Weather like this makes me think of getting your blue & white check done.

Barrie is sitting outside the parlour window at 9 p.m. wondering why I don’t rise and let him in.  I am keeping him out these days for his health.  He was sleeping in your bed (flower-bed I mean of course) all afternoon.  Lulu is at last “a prisoner pent.” I found out how he did it and now he cant!

Give our love to Maud.  We are glad she is all right again.  Agnes Mackenzie has just passed in a pink sports coat. With that spot of local colour I will close.

Love from us both to Sheann,

Your loving Ma

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L48

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on You will be very sorry I know to hear that John Munro was killed on the 16th. April. Papa and I both feel it very much as John had endeared himself to us both. He was here last January I think. Angus Smith, John’s (Mc.D’s) brother was in school today. He was wounded in the great battle… He managed to destroy his gun by throwing it into a shell-hole and a bomb after it. Then he had to fight his way out. He still has shrapnel in his back… Stornoway, 25th April. 1918

There has been word of some more of the boys – Angus Bain is reported as severely wounded, Alex. Graham has been wounded in the head a second time, Malcolm Macleod, Steinish, has been killed and also Aleck Nicolson, the boy who used to be with us from Skye… Stornoway, 21st April. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 21st April 1918

Mr Gibson has troubling news this week regarding some of the local lads away at war. He also reports on his potato patch at the manse garden and the allotment, and he also shares what appears to be his own poem in what he suggests is the style of Robert Browning. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

Sunday evening – beautiful weather, bright and sunny, with blue sky all day, but with a cold touch of east in the wind.  Mamma and I were at church in the forenoon.  Mr. Clark, Bessie and Ellis were in for a short time – Bessie to say good-bye as she goes off to-night.

After dinner Mamma and I walked to Tusisa(?) and sat for quite a while in the sun beyond the wall that crosses Knoc-nan-nan.  Then home and now we have had tea.  Mamma is beginning to read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Letters.

On Friday evening I was down again digging. I am getting on better now, beginning to pick up the knack of the thing.

On Saturday forenoon Mr. Ewen & I finished the digging of the piece we have in the manse garden & we shd. be able to get our potatoes in this week.  But the allotment is still, most of it, to do.

I don’t think there is much new as regards school.  Mrs. Weiss has been off all week.  She caught a bad chill driving up at the week end and has not got over it yet.  Miss Margt. Mackenzie also was off on Mon. & Tue.  Dr. Murray had part of two days at medical inspection of the juniors.  Mr. & Mrs. Morrison, Back, were in seeing us for a bit on Friday evening.  Mr. Angus L. Macdonald is coming to take maths. on Monday week.  I have given a number of the country boys a week off to help with the crofts.  I think that about exhausts the school news.

I saw Roderick Macleod’s (“Hen”) father yesterday.  He had just had a wire from Roddie to say that he had got his discharge and was going straight on to Aberdeen to resume his medical classes.  I expect Willie B. and he will “dig” together.

There has been word of some more of the boys – Angus Bain is reported as severely wounded, Alex. Graham has been wounded in the head a second time, Malcolm Macleod, Steinish, has been killed and also Aleck Nicolson, the boy who used to be with us from Skye.  I saw Aleck Thomson’s father yesterday; he had heard from Aleck during the week.  Jane goes south to-night I think; also Willie Payne and one or two others.

We were glad to hear that you had had so pleasant an evening at the Davidsons’.  You wd. enjoy the music I am sure.  We were pleased to know that Maud is looking well again; our remembrances to her, please.

Your Zoology programme looks very attractive indeed. I wd. like to hear Thomson’s lectures on the great steps of Evolution – such, I suppose as the start to go endwise on the part of the worms, or the initiative shown by the first primordial anthropoid who got up in his hind legs.

Who was the worm erratic

That first went end-on?

Who the anthropoid so static

So firm of tendon?

Browning or Gibson? Which?

The embryology should prove interesting though you will feel the loss of the 20 mins.  But that can’t be helped, as it wd. not do to miss any part of your English class.  I don’t know what kind of lecturer Tocher is; it will take a good man to present his subject fascinatingly.  We were interested to hear that Prof. Jack remembered you.

With our best love.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L47

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on There has been word of some more of the boys – Angus Bain is reported as severely wounded, Alex. Graham has been wounded in the head a second time, Malcolm Macleod, Steinish, has been killed and also Aleck Nicolson, the boy who used to be with us from Skye… Stornoway, 21st April. 1918

I have been busy in the evenings digging and have not found time to send off your P.O. book until to-night. Mamma has been busy with housework, including ironing, etc. My patch of glebe is getting on well; also Mr. Ewen’s; the school allottment [sic] not so well… Stornoway, 19th April. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 19th April 1918

In his short letter to Jean this week, Mr Gibson remarks on the school allotment and his ‘patch’ at the glebe, as well as an interesting mention of how much Lewis raised for the War Week Loan. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

I have been busy in the evenings digging and have not found time to send off your P.O. book until to-night.  Mamma has been busy with housework, including ironing, etc.

My patch of glebe is getting on well; also Mr. Ewen’s; the school allottment [sic] not so well.

We were glad to get your telegram & your letter, and to see that you had reached Aberdeen comfortably and were settling down again to the routine.

Remember us to Maud.

Love from both. Papa

P.S.  Lewis raised over £100,000 for the War Week Loan.  How’s that!

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L46

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I have been busy in the evenings digging and have not found time to send off your P.O. book until to-night. Mamma has been busy with housework, including ironing, etc. My patch of glebe is getting on well; also Mr. Ewen’s; the school allottment [sic] not so well… Stornoway, 19th April. 1918