I had letters this week from Wm. B. Macdonald, who is with a battery in France and has had one or two narrow escapes, from J. W. Matheson, in Salonika, and from Alick Thomson, in the training camp at Gailes. He is enjoying the change from the trench-mud. Did I mention that Simon Mackenzie, who has been on a minesweeper off the west coast of Ireland, is now home, discharged on account of his health?… Stornoway, 15th Feb. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 15 Feb 1917

In his letter this week, Mr Gibson is full of praise for the Dramatic Evening at the Literary meeting, he reports on a large, local funeral, and gives Jean the latest news from two local boys serving in France and Salonika, and a third local boy training at a camp in Gailes. 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

Jean Dear,

This is the Fast Day.  The weather has been particularly fine all day – hard frost where the sun did not shine, but lovely sunny weather with a touch of the Spring in it.

Mamma and I, after the morning’s chores and an early and light lunch (cocoa), went off for a two hours’ walk, down by Sandwick beach and Stoneyfield and home through Sandwick.  It was fine.  School is closed again to-morrow, so we hope there may be another fine day.  Mamma went to church in the evening.  I stayed at home and read.

I don’t think there has been much to note in the school – just a flurry (too common now) to keep things going.  Miss Matheson has been down with influenza and we are so short-handed already that it is difficult to manage.

Mr. Wm. John Mackenzie’s funeral was on Wednesday afternoon, and there were a great many people there, at least 250 I wd say.  He was very well known in the Island and had been a generous giver.

Our meeting of the Literary this week was a Dramatic Evening, and Mr. Pryde presided.  We met in the Art Room and members had been allowed to ask adult friends.  There was a turn-out of about 180 altogether, as many as we had room for.  Among others, present I noticed Mrs. J. P. Anderson, Mrs. Kitson, Mrs. Ewen, Mrs. Macleod (Abd.), Mr. Burns (Fidigary), and Mr. W. J. Clarke.  The curtain-raiser was a Gaelic sketch, in which a crofter expects a visitor to negotiate for the purchase of his mare, and another comes to ask for his daughter.  He mixes them up to the amusement of the audience.

Then followed scenes from “Crauford”, very well done, and the girls made up beautifully.  It was done by the girls of the Sixth with Roddie Fraser and Max Murray.  The only defect was that some of them did not speak out sufficiently for the size of the room but they acted their parts well.  Miss Angus had made a good job of them.  It was quite enjoyable and Mamma liked it well.  Mr. Pryde made quite a good Chairman, and Callum “Zadok” looked after the curtain.

I had letters this week from Wm. B. Macdonald, who is with a battery in France and has had one or two narrow escapes, from J. W. Matheson, in Salonika, and from Alick Thomson, in the training camp at Gailes.  He is enjoying the change from the trench-mud.  Did I mention that Simon Mackenzie, who has been on a minesweeper off the west coast of Ireland, is now home, discharged on account of his health?

We noted your marks – the Unseen was fine, and the Rom. Hist. will doubtless pave the way for a rise next time.  Much “potting” and the grinding thereof, is the only way.  We are noticing that in another month the Degree exams will be upon you.  How the time runs in. Best love from both.  Remember us to Maud.  Papa  How is Livy getting on?

[Italics written in margin]

Ref: 1992.50.64i_L31

Transcribed by Dawn Macdonald, Archive collections assistant

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