W. J. Clarke came in and we then got away and went in to Miss Fraser’s. We had heard that she had been at our door one day when you were at home… Since then she has been seriously ill with a very bad heart attack, and Dr. Mackenzie in attendance… She is now up and about again but does not seem as far as we could judge to be much better than when she went to the country. Poor Miss Fraser! it is very sad to see her so unlike herself. Write her a nice letter one of these days when you are at leisure, and be watching the shops to see if there is any little thing you could send her… Stornoway, 9th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson 9th May 1918

Mrs Gibson writes to Jean this week with news regarding the ill-health of a local lady, the current state of rationing in the Gibson household and the promotion of a local lad to Major. 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

You must have written essays with this pen. It is pock-marked with bites. People with wahly [sic] teeth never do that.

Dear Sheann,

9 o’clock and I have just finished the ironing. Papa is still at school. He rushed in for half an hour for tea and went back as they are busy over a school concert tomorrow night. He has far too much to do these days and what is to be done when Mr.Tait goes away I don’t know.

Your letter today made us quite sad with its news of the poor little baby’s illness. It is one of the saddest sights in life to see a little helpless child suffer and we can only hope that the worst is now past and recovery before him. His parents have our deep sympathy. Keep us posted about him.

On Sunday night the ex-provost was in and Papa went down the street with him to post your letter. He was telling us that Jack has been promoted Major. Isn’t that good?

We were out last night calling on poor Katie Morison. None of us mentioned the sad reason of our visit and we all talked as if nothing was wrong, Katie also. But she looks like a broken lily, unutterably sad and sweet. W. J. Clarke came in and we then got away and went in to Miss Fraser’s. We had heard that she had been at our door one day when you were at home – could it have been that day that we didn’t open to, as we supposed, Mrs. Baldry?

Since then she has been seriously ill with a very bad heart attack, and Dr.Mackenzie in attendance. It seems she had several attacks while at Borve but this last was worse. She is now up and about again but does not seem as far as we could judge to be much better than when she went to the country. Poor Miss Fraser! it is very sad to see her so unlike herself. Write her a nice letter one of these days when you are at leisure, and be watching the shops to see if there is any little thing you could send her. Not an invalid thing of course – perhaps some little thing to wear.

I have started making your blue and white gingham. I haven’t much time but meantime send me the correct length of skirt and any directions you think necessary.

We are carefully rationed now too. For some days indeed we could get no tea and had to have cocoa at tea time. Papa couldn’t take coffee again after having it for breakfast. We laughed at the vision of your table with all the little plates of Maggie.

Hope your cold is better. You were wise to treat it in the early stage. Take some emulsion while the east wind lasts – nothing like it for keeping one fit in the spring.

Will send your jacket when we can contrive some packing for it. Now for the other letters! No sign of Papa yet!

Love to Sheann from her Ma.

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L52

Transcribed by M. Smith, Museum Visitor Assistant

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