I had a postcard from Mr. Donald Maclean, who is now an artillery man in the south of Eng-land. He was to be put on for a course of signalling, but first they gave him a test in dictation. First Class Hons. in English was not sufficient! Oh, sapient military authorities! He is stand-ing the life all right, he says… Stornoway, 6th June. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 6 June 1917

This week, Mr Gibson has news regarding a local man who is now an artillery man in the South of England, and he proudly passes on the latest from a former Nicolson student who is studying in Aberdeen. Mr Gibson has also been practising his photography this week, and is keen to show Jean the final results. 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,

You seem to have been having a great time in the way of social amenities. We were much interested to hear of all the doings at Sir George’s and Dr. Rennie’s. I am glad you met Mr. Clark; as far as I have learned he is quite a nice man. He was present at the meeting when I read my paper to the Secondary Educn. Assocn. at Aberdeen.

By-the-way, you did not think of going to hear Lord Haldane when he was addressing the Aberdeen teachers. From the short account of his speech in the papers he seems to have excellent educational views.

What came of your visit to the Dawsons? We thought it was to be at the end of last week, but perhaps it is still to come. Such ongoings! I saw Maud’s mother two days ago, and she said Maud wd be home in three weeks. So her session will be finished before yours.

For the Zoo, well done, She-ann! Even if your “spotter” [exam.], as you think, will bring you down a bit, it is fine to have been first and to know how it feels. I am sure the girls wd be glad that you had beaten the two boys. What kind of things did you get “to spot”? Any of your old marine friends among them?

I had a letter from Callum Macleod. He seems to be doing very well in his anatomy, as Prof. Reid had advised four of the 1st year men (including Callum) to enter for the Struthers Medal Competition against the 2nd year men. I am glad to know that the good tradition of “the Nicolson” is being kept up in Aberdeen. How many more exams do you get – is it one or two – in addition to the Degree examn.?

Find out before the end of the session what subjects are prescribed this year for the Nicol and MacGillivray Prizes in Zoology. I wd like to hear what they are. I suppose a notice will be posted or invitation made.

Dr. Rennie and Mr. Lang are due here on the 18th and 19th of this month. Mr. Patrick is to be here at the same time. A Miss Goodall is to inspect (?) the “Physical Education” the week before. Dr. J.L. Robertson is here just now. He took German from Maggie Bella and Cathaday. I think they have done quite well. By-the-way, Alfred Robertson is getting some French decoration – the Croix de Guerre, they think.

Max Murray was to have gone up for the Bursary Comp. this year. But he has been in rather poor health for some time back and has been off school for the past six weeks or so, so it did not seem advisable to bother with the examn. in the circumstances.

I had a postcard from Mr. Donald Maclean, who is now an artillery man in the south of England. He was to be put on for a course of signalling, but first they gave him a test in dictation. First Class Hons. in English was not sufficient! Oh, sapient military authorities! He is standing the life all right, he says.

Now, good night; this will get finished to-morrow.

Thursday. It is now to-morrow. Mamma is ironing, Barrie sleeping in the chair by the fire, and I am upstairs in the study.

Mrs. Funnell was down in the afternoon paying Mamma a visit; she was saying Elsie had had a letter from you.

Dr. Robertson and Mr. D.J. Macleod were in school this morning. Dr. R. went away, but D.J. remained to examine the Sixth in Music, and in the afternoon he took the French of the Third. To-morrow he is to take the Teaching of the outgoing J.S.s [Junior Students?] and Lower English.

I am enclosing some prints of photos. I took last Saturday. They are not very successful. I think something went wrong with the developing. I’ll try again when I can get time. Meanwhile you’ll be interested to see these and to show them to Maud. Barrie was a very bad “sitter”. Just when I was ready, he wd  suddenly be seized with a desire to finish his toilet.

We haven’t got any further yet with the holiday arrangements. Mamma is trying to “hen” but I am not going to let her. We’ll need time, however, to talk it over. By-the-way, Mamma is still in want of those gloves you were to have sent her many weeks ago; even then they were much needed.

With our best love, and remember us to Maud.

Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L53

Transcribed by Hazel Tocock, Museum Visitor Assistant

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