To-night I had my usual drill, and visited the police office to get a pass as I am “going out” to a meeting of the County Committee at Dingwall… I did my best, with Superintendent Alexander’s help, to determine the nature of my hair (what is of it) the colour of my eyes, and whether I have any special peculiarities… I suggested the beard, but I observe he has put down “nil” – and it is long just now!…Stornoway, 14 Dec. 1916

Mr Gibson’s news this week includes a description of the school Literary evening, a number of deaths which had occurred in Stornoway, and an account of conditions in Salonika, as reported by a minister who had gone to serve there. The next in our selection of letters from the Gibson Collection, held by Museum nan Eilean. If you have any comments please contact us: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Jean dear,

Another Thursday night and here we are – two cats on their board, making the most of the warmth, and Mamma just finished ironing, and myself writing to She-an. It has been a quiet week. On Monday evening we went round to see Mrs. C. J. Maciver – we had not called since the news of Norrie’s death came. Mrs. Maciver was just putting the bairns to bed and your old friend “Logarithma” came in to say good night to us.

Mr Maciver, who had been out, arrived before we came away. They were enquiring after your welfare.

On Wednesday evening was the meeting of “the Literary”. “Some Ancient Poems” was the subject & Aleck Graham was in the chair. Mary Maclennan read Akenaten’s [sic] Hymn (abt. 1400 B.C.) & I gave the explanatory statement.

Mary Burns read a little paper on the Sixth “Aeneid”, and Catherine Craig and Catherine Murray ones on Chaucer.  As those present were unwilling to make remarks Aleck suggested that some of the Sixth should add an extempore account of “The Lay of Beowulf”. This three of them did. The papers and the speaking were quite well done. Next week we are to have a Musical Evening.

Mamma had invited Mr. C.J. Maciver to come round bringing with him, after the prayer meeting, the little minister who is acting as locum for Mr. Mills.

They came and we had a nice little ceilidh, which went on till near twelve. Mr. Jenkins is quite a nice little man who has known a number of our old Nicolsonians when at Abd. [Aberdeen] Univ’y.

To-day Mr. Roderick Macrae came back to school as his military call had been postponed.  There have been a number of deaths during the past week.  Old Mr. Crawford was one, and to-day Mr. Macfarlane, who sat in the pew with us in church was buried.  He had died very suddenly of a shock.  Mr. Munro, Mossend, has lost one of his boys – Angus, a tall one who was in Maud’s class.  He has been ailing since summer – consumption. It is a sad blow for his father, coming so soon after the mother’s death.  He was buried yesterday.  Mr. Macrae and I went to the funeral, also the boys of the Sixth.

To-night I had my usual drill, and visited the police office to get a pass as I am “going out” to a meeting of the County Committee at Dingwall to-morrow.  I did my best, with Superintendent Alexander’s help, to determine the nature of my hair (what is of it) the colour of my eyes, and whether I have any special peculiarities. As to the last, I suggested the beard, but I observe he has put down “nil” – and it is long just now!

I met Mrs. Menzies when I was down the street and she told me she had had word from Mr. Menzies that he had arrived at Salonika, which he reported as full of smells, dirt, and rags.  He has not yet been assigned to his unit.

Mamma says I am to wind this up as I have to change my clothes for the steamer.  I sh’d. have said that we were interested to hear of your visit to Cults (I have now written to Mr. T.), and to the Andersons, and that we got the Alma Mater. It is not such a good number as the first one was.

We now think we’ll not be going south, but we’ll be able to let you know definitely in next letter.

Love from both, and the pussocks. Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L16

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

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