This afternoon Angus Macphail has been in to see us. He was asking for you all. He is still busy “coelum servans”. They send up little balloons and measure the direction and strength of the wind at different heights. This is done hourly and the results are passed on to the airmen. He thinks he may soon be sent out to Italy… Stornoway, 26th May. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 26th May 1918

Mr Gibson has been out sailing in his little boat the “Naughty Lass” this week and is keen to share the details with Jean. The Gibson’s have also had a visit from a local lad currently home on leave and he has been describing his meteorological duties to them. 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,

We hope your play came off successfully – Friday and yesterday, you said it was to be.  You did not tell us where, nor for what object.  You said you felt a donkey when you got on the ass’s head.  Well, wasn’t that the essence of the piece if you were to act it well?  Now that you have it over your family wants you to resume your letters at the old time – one on Sunday to reach us on Tuesday and another to reach us on Saturday morning.  Other times do not divide the week well.  We were amused at Miss Jenny and Prof. J. at cross purposes about the play.  So he doesn’t approve of the amount of time put on it!  I can understand.  “On the other hand” he should have an indulgent outlook towards the drama, especially when you spend your energies on Shakespeare.

The Miss Angus Reunion – good; give me a par. on it for next year’s Magazine.  Miss Angus will be pleased.  Like you, I rather regret that so many girls – and especially Christina – are coming back at once to Lewis.  It is all right to come ultimately but one needs some widening first.  It isn’t only a question of salary; it involves their being able to do their best in the long run for their Lewis pupils.

On Friday evening Callum (surnamed “Zadok”), John Smith (Fourth Class) and myself took the “Naughty Lass” out for her trial trip.  Mamma thought she wd not come until next trip in case she leaks badly.  Instead she was perfectly dry, and we had over three hours of delightful weather, went outside Arnish to Toblearibhah (spelling not guaranteed) had a stroll over the heather to the loch, and home, with everything growing gauze-like and mystic.  Story sometimes manages to look very artistic.  On Saturday I hoped to take Mamma out but it was evening and too late before the weather looked settled, so we did not go.

Had our usual visit to the reading-room.  This afternoon Angus Macphail has been in to see us.  He was asking for you all.  He is still busy “coelum servans”.  They send up little balloons and measure the direction and strength of the wind at different heights.  This is done hourly and the results are passed on to the airmen.  He thinks he may soon be sent out to Italy.

We were glad to hear that Miss Taylor had again remembered Maud and you.  Were you free in time to go?

Now, a full account in your next of the play!

We were greatly pleased to know that the Anderson baby was so much improved & we hope he’ll soon have his strength back again.  It must have been a very trying time for them.

Best love from both.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L56

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archive collections assistant

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