The Provost after the appointments had been made said he would withdraw as he really felt it was hardly a suitable thing for him to have anything to do with what was so clearly women’s work. Miss Ella Mackenzie was appointed Secy. with Mrs Cameron (British Linen). Stornoway, 26th Nov. 1916

This week, Mrs Gibson’s news mainly concerns the Stornoway Ladies’ Sewing Meetings. These get under way again thanks to new Provost Murdo MacLean resolving matters. 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,

We got your delightfully long and chatty letter yesterday and Papa had plenty of time to read it at breakfast by the kitchen fire. I, of course, had read it before that but heard it all over again and then we discussed the various items together and got the real good of it. Many thanks!

To begin with Papa says I am to compliment you on your 78%. That was good. I hope that you have now got your new tooth and that it didn’t hurt too much having it fixed. We laughed a good deal at the name of the Young Palmist “Willie Lillie”. It would have been a real help if he had also told you in what direction your ability lay. That is how it always is; these soothsayers always fail in definiteness.

We are interested to hear of additions to your number in the residence. That will be interesting. You hadn’t before mentioned the girl who dines with you. It makes one think of that very nice Hugenot [sic] who used to come to Mademoiselle Foucart’s. You remember the day he broke out with “Ah; mais non, mais non, mais non”.

I haven’t given the fur hat to the poor, but cannot just put my hand on it. Doubtless I will find it soon. Get a cluster of berries for it as we meant to long ago.

I went to the meeting convened by Provost and Mrs Maclean for last Wednesday. There was a good attendance, among them Mrs John Mackenzie supported by Miss Wares and Mrs. Dr. Tolmie. The Provost made a long speech and finished up by saying he understood the boards were clear and it was now for the ladies present to appoint office-bearers and a com[mit]tee. He suggested a president two vice presidents and two joint secretaries and treasurers. Mrs Maclean was unanimously elected president. Then Mrs Menzies one vice president. I was proposed for the other and there was so much applause that the Provost turned to me and said it was evidently the unanimous wish of the meeting I should be the other. I thanked them but declined saying I would not again take office. The Provost insisted that I should reconsider it in view of the wishes of the meeting but I rejoined that I must abide by my decision. So I must do what I can manage in the way of work as a private member. The Provost after the appointments had been made said he would withdraw as he really felt it was hardly a suitable thing for him to have anything to do with what was so clearly women’s work. Miss Ella Mackenzie was appointed Secy. with Mrs Cameron (British Linen) [BL Bank]. Wasn’t that funny! Ella has still the money.

I was at a B.W.T.A. [British Women’s Temperance Association] meeting on Thursday when Mrs Menzies was appointed Secy. I sat beside Mrs. Dr. Murray. There were not many there as it was a pouring afternoon. Mrs. M. is taking her class in the Inf[an]t Sch. again and Miss Smith and Miss Macfarquhar The Band of Hope.

The new minister is a very delicate looking young man but we quite like his preaching. His sermons are short and simple and he reads beautifully I think.

You will see further development of the [teachers’] salaries question in this weeks H. N. [Highland News]. There is also a horrid letter. I imagine fro[m] internal evidence that it must have been written by Major Bain. A long letter about the country teachers is written by Burns we guess.

The weather today is very cold with great hail showers borne on a north wind. We did not get our usual walk but hurried indoors. I wore your old sports coat under my jacket to church as well as my furs so you see I was prepared.

Wasn’t it very nice of Mr. Gauld to write and renew his invitation to you to call? Get Maud to go with you. You must also take Maud out to call on Mr. Taylor. Don’t be too long of going there again as he is such a very old friend.

The two li’l fellows are out just now – put out in fact – but they are well and full of purrs. I see a great deal of them since I am so much in the kitchen.

Love from us both to She-ann Your Loving Mother.

P.S My love to Maud and say I am hoping for another letter soon.

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

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