A very dreadful accident happened this week – Mr. Mackay, the painter, Lottie’s father, who has been working over at the Castle had a fall off the scaffold he was working on, and was so badly injured that he died the same evening… Mr. George Macleod, Lillian’s father, died this week. He had some kind of a heart attack (I think it was) some weeks ago. They are both to be buried on Monday… Stornoway, 9th June. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 9th June 1918

This week, Mr Gibson delivers the sad news to Jean of two deaths in the local community, as well as news of two upcoming weddings. He also updates Jean on how his vegetables are doing. 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,

Your letter was duly received on Saturday morning.  I see your English examn was to be yesterday, and was to be an essay.  I hope you have got on well.  70 percent. for your essay was quite good, especially as I had the impression that you did not identify yourself sufficiently with your subject – I mean to the extent of making yourself do it con amore.  Your degree exam. shd be all right; on the 17th you say – that will be Monday week.  The session will be over now in less than three weeks.  The Glasshaugh period will fit in very well with your other dates.  Don’t forget about the money question, we don’t want you to be short, and Mamma wants you to see to the frock before you leave Abdn.  You’ll need to take sufficient cash with you to Glasshaugh to meet any needs that may arise there.

So you have been increasing your acquaintance with Miss “Tibbie” Smith.  She is one of the 1917 1st Class Eng. Honours women I see from the Calendar.  She’ll be able to give you information about the Honours course in English.  Find out for me as much as you can about the arrangements.  I’ll be able to supplement that later by enquiry at Miss Muriel once she is home.  We’ll be interested to hear about your experience of Mr. Taylor’s learned ladies.  I am sure you will enjoy meeting them.  Is Miss “Tibbie” one of them?

You mentioned that you had been dipping into Matthew Arnold one afternoon; also that you were “fed up with him” – your phrase.  Now how cd anybody be “fed up” with any author in an afternoon?  Had you there!

We were glad to hear that Maud was able to be up.  Hope she will not catch cold.  She will be feeling rather bad about the exams, but she shd not think about that.

Miss May we had not heard about before, but we looked her up and got her fitted in to the proper galaxy.

The Rest Room work will be quite interesting, I am sure, and you’ll never know when you may entertain a Lewis compatriot.  Prof. Davidson we have always heard of as being a very delightful man.  Your visit to the linen works must have been something of a revelation to you.  It is good you shd know something of these matters that have of necessity been outside the region of experiences that has been open to you.

On Friday after school the schoolgirls had their first hockey match of the season.  Miss Maclean and Miss Mitchell played and Miss Harold was referee.  They had quite a nice game though they have not had much practice yet.  In the evening we had been invited – Mamma and I – to the school parlour by the Fifth who were giving a farewell tea to Callum Zadok.  A very nice tea they had too in spite of the rationing.

On Saturday we were to have taken Ellis, Nancy & Mary out in the boat, but it was too windy, so the event did not come off.  In the afternoon I hoed my cabbage and then we walked down to the Manse and I weeded my carrots.  Potatoes are coming on well, and the weeds even better.  We had a talk with Mr. and Mrs. Menzies.  In the evening we paid our usual visit to the reading-room – heavy rain!  To-day has been showery, and we read all afternoon and Barrie after sunning himself before the study fire has now climbed up on Mamma’s knee.  Mr. Ewen was in seeing us but has now gone.

A very dreadful accident happened this week – Mr. Mackay, the painter, Lottie’s father, who has been working over at the Castle had a fall off the scaffold he was working on, and was so badly injured that he died the same evening.

Mr. George Macleod, Lillian’s father, died this week.  He had some kind of a heart attack (I think it was) some weeks ago.  They are both to be buried on Monday.

Miss Margaret Miller is to be married in July, and Miss Jemina Matheson in August, if Dr. Norman Macphail can get leave then.  So the Staff will be two more teachers short.

I think this brings the local news up to date at this time.

With best love from both,

Papa

P.S. How did you like the School Magazine?

Give our best remembrances to Mr. Taylor

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L60

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archive collections assistant

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