Friday letter; So here’s to you Mrs Matheson

Today’s little bit of history is a letter sent to Lady Matheson from a Mr Hutchison of Soval Lodge 150 years ago almost to the day.  The letter can be a little tricky to read in places, so a transcription follows each page.  Square brackets contain information added by the transcriber (David), where a word is unintelligible this is noted as _____ and line breaks are indicated by a forward slash:

[p.s. written upside down]

I forgot to ask / will the sheriff & / sheriffina be in / the way if I ask them? / Don’t _____ to say / no, if you would see these not. The party is / yours, so you must not be [forced?]




Aug 18/[18]62

My dear Lady Matheson

When our party comes / off, it will be for your regal / consideration whether we shall / go to Trialavel [?] explore its / beauties fishing lunching in the boats / or the islands, and return to / Soval for a grand collations / or picnic &c on the islands / The latter would no doubt / be the better fun of the two / but question- bathing weather / and midges and nice walking / note the question – would it / be wiser than returning / to dry shoes and stockings / here. Another day we / must meet at North

Halls and explore the lochs / and Blas Ferry(?) islands on / that side. All this I / leave to your superior / reason, as my village / schoolmaster said to me / one day when I inquired if a / little boy should not be / punished for pocketing / cake at a school feast. / As you pass Morsgail / on Tuesday, you might / leave your judgement at / Siensten(?) if you don’t see

me there. The event should / come off as soon as needs be / after your return from / the forest.

Your collation will be / of the most regal order / Mutton top and bottom / salmon to quarters – Entrees of soup / Trout frites and a la poivre (?) d’avoine. Venison steaks / if we get a stag in the / mean time. Sauteée / á la Squeak de Bubble / of your own Round of beef. Radminton [?] de /

Whiskey à la Soval. Thé / (hot) a dissention.

I was provoked, for my own / sake a little, for your own, much, that I could not / discuss this with you today. / I had intended doing so last / night, but you seemed / wrapt up in that gorgouse [sic] / Matron or Spinster, I don’t / _______ which Arrabela. / And then we got on your / picture, and then I became / oblivious as to all else.

There are the best hope all / accounts from mrs Hutchison / and a vision of a [lunatic?]

Hoping you are better

Believe me

Faith ___ always(?)

NMG Hutchison


Hutchison was the tenant at Soval Lodge outside Lewis, the islands at this point been owned by the Matheson’s.  Morsgail is another lodge on the Uig side of of Lewis. We can’t currently identify the islands he talks about in this letter, can anyone help identify them?

The letter seems quite flirty at times and we particularly like the “squeak de Bubble” – presumably bubble and squeak!

This letter was kindly gifted to us by Mr Macdonald from Inverness, who we must thank again, it is a fantastic letter!

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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One Response to Friday letter; So here’s to you Mrs Matheson

  1. I’d point out that its not the most accurate of transcriptions and anyone who spots mistakes or can add context please do let us know at !