Did we mention that Mr. Roderick Macrae’s mother died last week? He was allowed home for the funeral and was in seeing us last night before going south again. He is now in Yorkshire and is liking the training quite well. He is specialising as a range-finder. Edward Mackenzie also has been home for a few days and is now entering on his cadet training. He was in to see us… Stornoway, 21st June. 1917

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 21 June 1917

Mr Gibson brings news of a local bereavement which sees the son, who was away at war, coming home to attend the funeral. He has also had a visit from another man who is home on leave this week. Mr Gibson’s final bit of news for Jean refers to a Viking relic that he has in his possession, and which appears to be unique to Scotland. 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 will have two of those Zoo. exams. over when this reaches you. We hope you got on well, and followed the usual method of “full answers and clear diagrams”. Practical on Monday! I feel in my bones (a correct place!) that you won’t get the frog, as other specimens may be more easily got, but am prepared to learn that I am wrong.

We had a Dr. Rennie, Mr. Lang, and Mr. Patrick in to tea on Monday night. You said Mamma was to give the Dr. a good tea when he was here, and I think she did. They all faithfully tested the barley scones. Mr. P is just as deliberate in his method of questioning as last year. It is really difficult to refrain from completing his sentences for him. The Dr. was as nice as usual; he gave a very complete examn. both in zoo. and botany. Mr. Lang we liked very well. Poor Max, as the only representative of the males, was much in demand. He had an hour’s “oral” from Mr. Lang all to himself.

Did we mention that Mr. Roderick Macrae’s mother died last week? He was allowed home for the funeral and was in seeing us last night before going south again. He is now in Yorkshire and is liking the training quite well. He is specialising as a range-finder. Edward Mackenzie also has been home for a few days and is now entering on his cadet training. He was in to see us. I am pleased to hear that Jean has done so well. She has worked hard, and to effect, to get on the Merit List in three classes. We hope Clara will get through in her French.

Mamma was up to tea this afternoon to tea at Miss Angus’s. Mrs. (Firth) Maciver and Miss Gayford were also there.

I think Mamma told you already that we think you shd. remain for the graduation and the installation. Will write you later about the going south and the other holiday arrangements. I expect we’ll be able to cross the Minch about the middle of July Mamma and I together, and I’ll turn off to Oban to meet the McKim while Mamma goes south. McK. and I will then meander south as roads and weather permit. Details later.

You remember the circular ornament among my Viking relics. It was said by Mr. Curle to be unique in this country. This morning I had a letter from the Curator of the Museum at Bergen to say that they possess the only other existing specimen of this type of ornament and sending me a photo of it. Wasn’t that kind? It’s tracery is not the same pattern as ours, but the centre is entire and consists of a dark glass with incised ornament.

Our love, Papa.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L57

Transcribed by Ceitidh Chalmers, Museum Visitor Assistant

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