Maggie and Mrs. Murray the school cleaner have been busy all the week putting in peats… and they are not nearly finished yet. Maggie is staying on till Saturday next to see it all finished. Then she is talking of going to munitions in Glasgow. Stornoway, 29th Oct. 1916

Letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. This week – the price of bread in Stornoway reaches 1 shilling a loaf! Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk.

Dear Jean,

Another quiet Sunday.

At church as usual in the fore-noon. Mr. Mills leaves on Tuesday night to take up work as a chaplain to the forces. He is going to Norwich first but I suppose that later he will be sent to France. Mrs. Mills is going away with him and is not returning but shutting up the house. A Mr. Jenkinson M.A. is to take up Mr. Mills work till March when a young man who finishes then will take it over. Mr. Menzies has gone too and meantime his manse is shut up but Mrs. M. is returning soon with a cousin for company.

After church Papa and I were talking to the Misses Fraser and then we went for our usual walk around the Hill. Met Mr. and Mrs. Morison and heard that Maud had been 1st in her test recently, at which tell Maud we were both much pleased. I am wondering when Maud is going to write to me. The rest of the day has been wet so we were fortunate to get our walk when we did.

Maggie and Mrs. Murray the school cleaner have been busy all the week putting in peats. There is now a big stack at the back and they are not nearly finished yet. Maggie is staying on till Saturday next to see it all finished. Then she is talking of going to munitions in Glasgow. Last night she and I were busy putting away the contents of two boxes of groceries. They weren’t interesting boxes either, soap, sugar, salt, pipe clay etc. but all very useful. The prices are astonishingly high. Bread in Stornoway is to be 1/-. This week, 6d a loaf!

The teachers have been applying to the S.B. [School Board] for an increase in salary to cover the rise in prices and make it possible to live. They have a reply refusing and giving “a reasoned statement” but no sympathy. What will the teachers do next? We shall see.

I asked Papa if there was any news to tell you and he said “Oh. Yes, tell her I got my hair cut.” That was on Friday night. However when dressing yesterday he discovered a long lock which the boy had left on the top. I cut if off and then Papa offered it to me to send to you. See what you miss. Yesterday we had what was for us a long walk as far as Melbost. We were studying how the peat stacks were built to see if our own was all right. When we came back and had dinner we went out to trim the trees for the winter with a saw and axe. Dr Mackenzie passed on horseback and stopped to say how nicely you and Jean had got on on your journey.

It was nice of Mr. Taylor to think of you for that teaching work but we agree that you were better not to take it up. What we are anxious for is for you to get the most out of your university classes – as these opportunities do not recur.

Am I right in supposing that it is the tooth we thought would need to be extracted which Mr. Cromar proposes to crown. If so that is good. We hope it will be successful and not hurt much.

Glad to hear that the coats are in prospect. Be sure you see to your feet Jean. Don’t let yourself run short of shoes. The pair you went off in will be about done now. Have you brought yourself a pair of house slippers? Buy yourself some rubbers too.

We were much pleased that you had met Miss Taylor and that she remembered you. It is a privilege for any young girl to know such a very refined delightful old lady. Some time I want you to take Maud to see her. Ask her if you may and please give her Papa’s and my kind remembrances. People are most awfully kind to you. We were sorry to hear that Mrs Rennie had been ill. Give her also and Dr. Rennie our regards.

Is it correct about your Maths prof going on war work? We hope not. It would be such a pity, especially as the assistant isn’t good.

Thanks very much for writing us such nice long letters. We appreciate them very much and find every thing you tell us very interesting. I am sorry I haven’t more of interest to write in reply but I see very few people and indeed nothing much is on here.

Papa joins me in sending his love.

Your loving Mother

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archive collections assistant

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