Mamma is just now busy in the kitchen baking oatcakes, so that we may keep within the Controller’s demand that no person shall eat more than a loaf and a half per week. We have been taking note this week and find that we are well within the limit. Some white fish are being landed these days, so the “kitchen” problem has not been so acute as it sometimes is… Stornoway, 26th April. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 26 April 1917

Mr Gibson has unfortunate news for Jean this week – their cat, Lil’l Lissy, has sadly died. He also reports on the funerals of two local folk, and gives Jean the latest news on the school teacher situation. 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,

We were glad to hear of your doings and amused to know that you and Maud had been holding high carnival in Kennaway’s by way of celebrating the closure in cake-making.  Mamma is just now busy in the kitchen baking oatcakes, so that we may keep within the Controller’s demand that no person shall eat more than a loaf and a half per week.  We have been taking note this week and find that we are well within the limit.  Some white fish are being landed these days, so the “kitchen” problem has not been so acute as it sometimes is.

I have been at two funerals this week. One was Sergt. Maciver’s (Miss Firth’s husband), the other was of old Miss Nicolson, of the telephone exchange, not the invalid one but the other sister.

In school, I think we mentioned that Mr. Roderick Macrae has now gone.  This leaves us six teachers short.  Miss Isabel Mackenzie is going to give us half-time help, and I am hoping also to get some part of the day from Mrs. Menzies.  Mamma and Maud’s mother and Mrs. Small were down at the manse one afternoon and found Mrs. Menzies and Miss Dean very busy in the garden.

You will be sorry to hear that we have lost poor Lil’l Lissy.  He was not well last Saturday and took very ill on Sunday.  We think with some kind of inflammation.  He was evidently very bad and it was very distressing not to be able to do anything for him.  He died on Sunday evening.  The poor fellow was so nice too, that even in the middle of his suffering when we went into the cellar and spoke to him he tried to purr.  Doesn’t it seem a strange thing that a poor, wild, shy creature like Lissy should set so much store by human sympathy?  We are missing him about the fireside.

The weather this week has been better, and though there has been little warmth yet, the buds are opening fast, and a lot of nice birds are coming about the place.  There is no indication yet that the blackbirds are going to build with us again.

We had a letter from Mr. Taylor – I think Mamma told you about it – and one since from Dr. McKim.  He was sending remembrances and was glad to hear that you were getting your degree subjects worked off.

I want a lot of picturesque details about your Zoo class.  Are you managing to keep up with his lectures in your reading of the text-book?  Do you see anything of Dr. Rennie?

Our best love.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L42

Transcribed by Dawn Macdonald, Archive collections assistant

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