Speaking of study circles reminds me of Miss Angus… She is leaving she tells me at the end of this school year. She told her com’tee that she cannot continue at £80 per. an. + £5 bonus as it is not enough to be efficient on. They evidently cannot raise any more. She thinks of taking up work as welfare superintendent at a Munitions factory or something of that sort… Stornoway, 28th Jan. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 28 Jan 1917

This week, Mrs Gibson tells Jean about a Nicolson teacher who is to leave at the end of the school year owing to, what she considers to be, her low salary. The big fishing week in Stornoway continues to be a hot topic of discussion, and there is much talk of new clothes and shoes all round. 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 Sheann,

Your letter did not come on Saturday morning and this morning there was no one to go as Papa has been in bed these two days with a feverish cold.  However when lil’ Lizzie had brought the milk I bespoke her good offices and she smilingly agreed.  She came back with quite a number of letters, most of them requests from T.C. [?] girls for testimonials and also yours among the others.  What I didn’t bargain for was her appearing embracing a big parcel from Daniel Neals containing two pairs boots, a pair slippers and a pair rubbers all for Papa.   It looked very un Sabbatarian indeed and it is to be hoped her mother doesn’t object.

We were much interested in your account of your Latin class party.  It sounded “a little bit of all right.”  Papa was tickled at you willy-nilly having to ask Willy Lillie to see you home. The supper discussion when you reached home also struck us as very good.  Glad your dress is nice.  The price was all right.  It is a good thing that you have got into touch with a good dressmaker.  Your study-circle and your moss-picking are interesting new activities. 

Speaking of study circles reminds me of Miss Angus.  She called one afternoon last week and stayed talking for a long time.  She is leaving she tells me at the end of this school year.  She told her com’tee that she cannot continue at £80 per. an. + £5 bonus as it is not enough to be efficient on.  They evidently cannot raise any more.  She thinks of taking up work as welfare superintendent at a Munitions factory or something of that sort.  I think she is right to give up church work; she has not the enthusiasm of the right sort of church worker.  I am not mentioning the matter meantime to any one leaving it to herself to let it be known.  She invited Papa and me to a tea party they were having on Saturday night in Mr. Hunter’s old church.  I went and stayed for an hour and explained Papa’s absence.  When I returned I found a parcel leaning up against the front door containing my new Harris coat from Dannie Maciver’s.  I had to take a grey one after all.

This is a very voluminous garment with Raglan sleeves and a belt.  I wore it to church today and found it such a nice “hap”[?] after going so long with a thin coat and skirt.  It is to cost £2.17.6.

Mrs. Cameron of the manse came in to see me on Friday night and paid me quite a nice long visit.  She was telling me how disgusted she was that the old sewing meeting had come to such an unbusiness-like end and wishing that she had abandoned it long before.  I think she wanted to be friends with all parties.  I was at the meeting last Wednesday but did not stay as I had to go to get my coat fitted.  I handed in your muffler and a pair of socks, and got more wool for another muffler.  Maud’s mother never comes now.  Are they not friendly with the new provost’s people I wonder.  I met Mr. Morison on my way home. He and Mrs. M. had been for a walk and Mrs. M. had just left him to visit Mr. Forbes.  Mr. M. says she is quite well again.  He himself tell Maud was looking active and well and not at all as he did this time last year.

There is big fishing in Sy. at present.  The front is all built up with hills of barrels as you remember it.

Chrissie Garrynahine is not back at school yet.  Did you ever write to her I wonder.  Jessie Smith has not come back either.  I don’t know what is wrong with her.

I was sitting with Ella Mackenzie at Miss Angus’s party last night. Ebenezer is home on leave.  He is going for his officer’s training before going back. 

How is Muriel Mackenzie?  Her mother was telling someone that she had been very ill and that the doctor had forbidden her to study.  I had not known she had been so ill as that.

Hope you got your boots and blouse all right.  I am sorry I have not managed to get your new blouse made yet but live in hope.

I congratulate you on the galoshes but I alas ! have not got the little girl yet.  But be re-assured I am getting on all right and am taking care not to do too much.  You see too you’ll soon be coming home to help, a little girl of a really serviceable age. See?

I have not seen Miss Fraser since she left school.  Dr. Ross from Borve was in one day and advised her to keep to her bed for a month’s rest.  Dina Macleod was telling me that Mr. Radcliffe has made them an offer for their house from April till October.  Mrs. Firth Maciver is staying in Capt. Nicolson’s house.  I hear her poor husband continues very ill.

Isobel Ross is to be married in the Episcopal church on the 30th.   Simon Mackenzie is temporarily in her place at Back.  He has got his discharge from the Naval forces as not physically fit.  He might have gone back to the University but they think a while in Lewis will do him good after his illness.

Papa is feeling better and thinks he will be able for school tomorrow.  I wish this east wind would cease.  It makes the new school so cold: every one is complaining of it.  Last week was exam. week so they found it especially trying.  I think that was what gave Papa his chill.   I gave him his big woolly gloves to put on when reading in bed as he had no fire.  We have had some fun over them.  Now I must brave the east wind to get this posted but in my new coat he has fewer tremors.  You should see me – “just like a house-side” as my mother used to say.

Love from us both to the little Sheann.

Your loving Mother.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L26

Transcribed by Barry Shelby, Museum Visitor Assistant

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