I don’t know whether you heard that they had prizes in Story. in connection with the War Savings Certifs., and among the 16,000 numbers from which they drew one of the successful one is one of your certificates. This will entitle you to one £1 certif., which I shall duly claim one of these days for you… Stornoway, 5th May. 1918.

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 5th May 1918

This week, Mr Gibson updates Jean on their visitors over the past few days and has news regarding a new teacher starting at the Nicolson. There is also an interesting reference to Jean and her War Savings Certificate. This was a scheme created by the UK government in 1916 which launched the organisation of local voluntary savings associations. The initial purpose was to raise money to finance the war effort, but subsequently it was promoted as a means for people to save money for the first time. 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,

Sunday evening. We have had our walk and our porridge for tea. The day was dull, had been raining in the night, but cleared up during our walk and the sun came out beautifully. We have had an extraordinary fortnight of weather: ten consecutive days averaged over 12 hours of bright sunshine per day – how’s that for Lewis?

Proof of the School Mag. at last to hand; that occupied Friday evening. Saturday was chiefly taken up with gardening and other chores, and by evening when we were getting ready to go to the reading-room, we had visitors. First Donald Thomson, Tong, was in to say good-bye. He has been called to Avoch U. F. Church, in the Black Isle. He also has a call to Broadford, but is going to take Avoch. He has got on well, and has made a very good session’s work of his last year – got his B.D. and two scholarships.

Whilst he was in, the second visitor came – Miss Cathie Macdonald, Carloway. She has been in Story. for a few days’ holiday and has enjoyed herself well. She had been meeting all our new teachers one evening and had been enjoying Edinburgh experiences over again with them. By-the-way, we have got another new teacher from Edin., a Miss Bald, in room of Miss Isabella Tolmie who is leaving us. She is going south for a bit to her sister.

By the time our visitors had gone it was too late to go to the reading-room, so we had a read by the fire instead. Mr. Thomson was telling us that Mr. Jenkins has got a church now at Knockando on the Spey. We were very glad to hear it and Speyside should be a nice place for him.

I saw Mr. Clark after church and had a walk round the quays with him. They are well.

We were interested to hear of your nice Tuesday afternoon walk. We are thinking that this seeing of the spring coming in the fields will be something of a new world to you, as being unlike what Lewis shows in the springtime.

Two study circles should give the two of you much to think about and talk about. I do not think your co-students of whom you speak will have much difficulty demolishing Mrs. Besant’s Theosophy.

68% for your essay was quite good. Of the new list the one I would certainly recommend is Ossian. I don’t think anyone else will be likely to take it, and the glamour of romance, the love of wild Nature, the Celtic sentiment, and the rhythm of phrasing that so charmed Europe would make a nice picturesque subject to dwell on. Besides, you do not need to read much of Macpherson to find the characteristics, and that might be a consideration if it is to go in on Tuesday week. I’ll send you a volume of him containing “Fingal”, “Songs of Selma” & some of the others, to-morrow, in case you think of taking that subject. Besides, you’ll be able to lug in your own little verse paraphrase about Sorglan’s daughter at the end thereof as a nice tailpiece. I begin to see it all complete!

I don’t know whether you heard that they had prizes in Story. in connection with the War Savings Certifs., and among the 16,000 numbers from which they drew one of the successful one is one of your certificates. This will entitle you to one £1 certif., which I shall duly claim one of these days for you.

And about your racket,                                                                         
To-morrow we’ll pack it
Lest you should lack it.

Mamma is reading R. L. Stevenson’s Letters and enjoying them greatly.

Here is a quotation for you from Prof. W. P. Ker, page 227 of Vol. X of the Cambridge history of Engl. Liter. He is speaking of Macpherson’s success: – “The great victory was won, not unfairly, by rhythm, imagery and sentiment, historical and local associations helping in various degrees. The author or translator of Ossian won his great success fairly, by unfair means. To call him an imposter is true, but insufficient. – – – – – – – – –
He was original enough, in a peculiar way, to touch and thrill the whole of Europe.”

Barrie is still out in the sun, with his “pobby”. Accept his kind regards.

Love from both.                                                                            

Papa

P.S. Got Bissett’s communication. Thanks for seeing to it.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L51

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

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