We are having some dreadful storms here with a fine day between. Yesterday I was out working in the garden for an hour in the afternoon. This morning there was a thin layer of snow and tonight the wind and rain are powerful. Poor Mrs. Maclean, the provost’s wife, was buried today and the people must have been drenched. It was a huge funeral. Poor Mrs. Maclean had a long time of suffering and utter weakness and must be glad to be at rest. She was a nice kind woman and will be much missed I am sure… Stornoway, 21st February. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 21st February 1918

This week was the funeral of the Provost’s wife, and Mrs Gibson reports on a large turnout for her despite the poor weather. Mr Gibson had a visit from one of the local lads who is currently home on leave, and Mrs Gibson is very pleased to have heard from Jean’s Stornoway friend Bessie. 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

Dear Sheann,

The post girl was so late yesterday that the paper was here before her.  I, as usual, thought no letter was coming and at once began to frighten myself.  You see how foolish I am!  Glad to hear about the Dramatic Society and the Saturday evening Socials and all the other interesting things that go to make a little of sack to accompany so much of the dry bread of learning.  Your spotter Zoo. mark was quite a pleasant surprise for you I am sure;  it was for us.  It is to be hoped you won’t have the fishery problems in the parasitology exams before Easter.  If you do you may just do what you can at them and never mind.

We are having some dreadful storms here with a fine day between.  Yesterday I was out working in the garden for an hour in the afternoon.  This morning there was a thin layer of snow and tonight the wind and rain are powerful.  Poor Mrs. Maclean, the provost’s wife, was buried today and the people must have been drenched.  It was a huge funeral.  Poor Mrs. Maclean had a long time of suffering and utter weakness and must be glad to be at rest.  She was a nice kind woman and will be much missed I am sure.

John Mc. D. Smith was in school the other day.  He is home for 7 days leave.  Papa says he is 6ft 1in and just as gay and jolly as ever.  He was asking after you and the other girls.  He hopes to spend part of his next leave in Aberdeen and so will have a chance to see you all.

I had a long letter from Bessie this week enclosing a very nice photo: I suppose you got one also.  She had not much news and did not speak of any thing except her anatomy at which she has been working hard.  She has been learning to dance which is nice and will give her much pleasure.

Mrs. Menzies is better now.  Papa saw her one day last week but I have not seen her since the day I was down long ago.  She had two ministers for the communion last weekend which was not good for her.

Miss Tolmie and Miss Angeline Macallum were in yesterday to invite me to Lilly Morison’s farewell tea tomorrow afternoon (she does not leave till next Thursday) and were asking very kindly for you.  Did we tell you that Isabel is leaving at Easter and thinks of going to London.

Papa is very busy just now.  Today the teachers had their usual meeting to decide in council those who were to be presented for the intermediate.  From now on till the summer holidays it will be exams and inspectors all the time for him.  You must be just very nice to him when you come home to cheer him on the way.

I am now at Vol 2 of Morley’s life of Gladstone, a most fascinating book.  Gladstone was a tremendous worker as well as a very able man so you may be sure he has my respect.  Curiously enough he wasn’t keen on popular education although he was premier when the 1870 bill was passed.  He was a great enthusiast for the Church of England and was more concerned to safeguard the interests of her schools than to develop new “board” schools.

Love to Sheann from both her “parients”

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L32

Transcribed by Barry Shelby, Museum Visitor Assistant

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.