I hear Mr. Stevens is back in Scotland from the Antarctic. Some one told me there was a notice about his return in the “Glasgow Herald”. I have written him, so I’ll be able to give his news when I hear… Stornoway, 17th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 17 May 1917

Mr Gibson’s letter this week brings us a very interesting historical connection to Stornoway. Mr Gibson mentions writing a letter to a ‘Mr Stevens’ who has returned to Scotland from the Antarctic. He is indeed referring to Kilamarnock born Alexander Stevens, the Chief Scientist and Biologist on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party] lead by Sir Shackleton between 1914 and 1917. Before taking on this highly distinguished role, Mr Stevens taught Science at the Nicolson Institute in 1907 during Mr Gibson’s time as rector. After leaving the Nicolson to pursue his scientific career, the two men remained in touch by letter. 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,

Excuse the pencil.  Have just got home from a route march with the boys. Lovely evening. Second day of good weather.

Miss Littlejohn has been and has gone; likewise Mr. Angus L. Macdonald. To-morrow the local ministers take the Bible examn.  Miss Harper goes to-night.  The girls made her a presentation at 4 o’clock.  The teachers had their farewell tea yesterday after school.  We are advertising for a successor.  We enjoyed very much Maud’s account of the Economy Exhibition.

Now, second time of asking – (1) how many Mags do you want + (2) send on your P.O. book, otherwise you will find yourself run out of funds one of these days when you least expect it.

I find I know nothing about the Zoo class except that you enjoy it.  I don’t know how the Prof. is treating it, how fast he moves, what is the relation of the lectures to the Practical, or any other of the many things I want to know.  Now, there’s a chance for you.

Your Social Study Circle interested us.  Tell us more about it as it progresses.  Hope the swimming lessons will be a success.  We want to hear how you got on, and, in especial, how many strokes you can now swim.  Did Mamma mention that Mrs. Aeneas had come back?   We have not seen her or Agnes yet, but we met Mrs. Macleod this evening after school; she is as before!  Col. Macleod is on duty again; he was only 5 days in hospital this time.

I had a letter this morning from Aleck Macaulay, Breasclet, who had been wounded.  He is nearly better.  A piece of shell split and dented his steel cap, but this saved his skull from serious injury.  He expects to be home on leave this week.

One of Miss Mair’s brothers, Hugh, has been killed in France.  It will be a great blow to her.

I hear Mr. Stevens is back in Scotland from the Antarctic.  Some one told me there was a notice about his return in the “Glasgow Herald”.  I have written him, so I’ll be able to give his news when I hear.

I am to ask you about the bicycle, I mean your bicycle.  Mr. Rudland was anxious to buy it, seeing it is out of order.  We would not of course sell it, but we wd. give it away if it is not to be used again. On the other hand, we might get it done up for the summer.  Which is it to be?  Is it worth doing up?

Mr. Jenkins is going away to-night for a run to the Mainland.  He is to preach on Sunday in Carnoustie.  It is, we hear, a very desirable charge, so we are hoping he may get it.  He is very well liked by the folk here.

Now, I think I have brought you up to date or nearly so.

Our best love.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L47

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

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