I was speaking the other day to Mrs Macgregor’s daughter who has the shop near Mr Murdo Macrae’s. I asked her about her nurse sister in Salonika. She said she was well and liked it fine. She had written to her mother when she first arrived that she wouldn’t be home-sick as “Salonika is just like Bragar” … Stornoway 17th Dec. 1916

This week’s letter includes reference to  a new newspaper being started in Stornoway and Mrs Gibson wonders, in the course of her 8-page letter, if there will be enough news. She also advises Jean how to prepare for winter travel as she looks forward to the family being reunited for Christmas. 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,

I had not realized that Christmas was so near.  It is still two weeks till Papa closes and I somehow thought that was when you also would be free.  But it is Friday first you leave Aberdeen.  I am very glad.  We have quite settled now that we are not going south.  Indeed Papa only came back from Dingwall last night near midnight.  It would be very soon for him to cross the Minch again.  So you will make your arrangements for coming home.  I do hope Maud is coming with you.

Today it is snowing here but I hope there will be nothing of that sort at the week-end.  At any rate you must clothe yourself more than enough.  Papa said the trains were not warmed at all and not even the usual foot-warmers.  So you may expect it to be very cold.  Try two pairs of stockings and be sure you have some food with you as in a winter journey one has to be prepared for anything.

You will break your journey at Inverness I suppose.  Papa says the Queensgate is the best hotel.  And before I forget I would like you either to bring or to send me some cakes from Kennoway’s as I have no time for baking this year and will need some.  I think if you spent 10/- it would do very well and buy any kind you like.  I hope you are not short of money.

Papa met Mrs Morison the other evening.  She said she had been twice at the door on Wednesday and again on Thursday and found me out.  On Wednesday I was at the sewing meeting as Mrs Provost Maclean had been to look me up and on Thursday I was out for errands.  I must try to go up this week.  She told Papa that Maud was very eager to get home.  I was over on Friday when Papa was away, seeing Miss Annie Macleod.  She has been very ill lately.

Papa did not go to Inverness although Dr Robertson invited him to stay with him but came back the same night with Mr Macdonald, Carloway to Kyle and stayed there.  They had a glorious forenoon and a grand walk, lunch and even afternoon tea before the steamer train came it was so late.  Crossing in the steamer were Miss Vicky Mair and Marie Maclean, also Ian Mackenzie whom Papa did not know he is so changed.  Vicky was getting home early as Elsie leaves here on New Year’s Day.  Marie has left Forfar as she didn’t like it.  Ian is on leave and is going next to France.

Miss Fraser was out of school two days very unwell but is back again.  A deputation from the S.B. [School Board] waited on her to get her to re-consider her resignation but she of course couldn’t as she is not well enough for the work.  We are all very sorry she has to leave and the school will be very strange and bare without her.  Perhaps you could find time to write her a note and you must go to see her when you come home.  We at any rate have much cause to be grateful to Miss Fraser.

I met Mrs Firth Maciver the other afternoon.  She had just returned from the Isle of Wight where she had had as she herself put it “eleven good weeks”.  She was looking years younger.  Unfortunately she found on her unexpected arrival that her husband had been in bed sick for three weeks and was no better.  The doctor would not go down often enough and she was up making arrangements about a house.  Mrs Rose had written offering hers as she is going away with her sister now that poor Mr Crawford is gone.   I haven’t heard if it was settled. 

I was speaking the other day to Mrs Macgregor’s daughter who has the shop near Mr Murdo Macrae’s.  I asked her about her nurse sister in Salonika.  She said she was well and liked it fine.  She had written to her mother when she first arrived that she wouldn’t be home-sick as “Salonika is just like Bragar” (where they used to live) Looking out from the hospital she had seen a woman going to the well just like the pictures one has seen of Rebecca.

Mr Grant and his brothers are starting a new paper in Sy. in opposition to the “H.N.” [Highland News]. I don’t know if the Lewis will be able to supply a local Delicia.  We shall have to wait and see.

We haven’t seen Mr Clark since he came home from Glasgow, to hear about Bessie.  I hoped he would come in today but he has not done so.  Papa and I have not been out we were so late getting to bed but we are going tonight to hear Mr Jenkins whom I think you will like. 

Now She-ann you will hear all the things we haven’t written when you come home and that won’t be long now. Papa and I will be very happy to have you with us again for a little.  Love from both.

Your loving Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L17

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

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