Mamma asks me to add that Bessie’s hostel is to have a dance on Friday night and Ellis added with giggles that Bessie had asked Willie Payne. What wd. the mother say? … Stornoway 12th Jan. [1919]

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 12th January [1919]

Mr Gibson recounts the sad aftermath of the Iolaire disaster. He also has cheerier, romantic news relating to a forthcoming wedding and to an invitation to a dance. 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:

Jean dear,

Sunday evening and Mamma and I have just got in from church.  Dr. Drummond, the Moderator of the U. F. Church is making a special visit to Lewis on account of the “Iolaire” disaster and preached at a joint gathering of the three churches in ours.  The church was quite full.  Ellis was with us and we walked out a bit of the road with her after service.

It has been a very busy week in school, getting the belated exam. results returned and the strings caught up generally. I can’t remember that there were any happenings in the earlier part of the week to recount. 

Several of the boys have been in.  On Friday evening, Zadok, Callum Zk., and Kenny Kiltie were in to tea.  Later in the evening Mamma and I went down as far as the Manse where I left Mamma while I went on to Holm Farm to arrange with Mr. Smith about carting up my potatoes.  I am to be down at the Manse to-morrow morning at 8 o’clock to meet the lorry!  Saturday forenoon, two hours of chores down the town.  In the evening when Mamma was at the Hut Aleck Thomson came in and he and I had a ceilidh and I forgot the passage of time.  It was nearing eleven when he and I arrived down at the Hut to find them clearing up; they had had a great swarm of hungry crew boys.  Then we saw Miss Nicolson and Miss MacColl home and brought Aleck back to the house for supper.  I think it must have been near one o’clock when Aleck started for home.  He and Jane go south to-night; the wedding is to be on Tuesday.

We did not go to church in forenoon.  For dinner we had duck which Chrissie Garynahine had brought in during the week, all ready dressed & stuffed.  We were sorry you were not here for a share.

Mamma thought your telegram was too superlative to be meant, but I never thought of anyone indulging in irony at the rate of ¾d a word.  I chanced to meet Mrs. Graham the next day and assured her that we had had a telegram from you and that you had had a good crossing.

Did you get the essay in in good time?  What about the Bentham and Mill one?

I expect to send on some money this week for you to put in your bank book.

With our best love, Papa.

P.S. Mamma asks me to add that Bessie’s hostel is to have a dance on Friday night and Ellis added with giggles that Bessie had asked Willie Payne.  What wd. the mother say?

You left the book of Georgian Verse; I’ll send it. Shall I send Sidgwick’s “History of Ethics” also?

Ref: 1992.50.64iii/L21

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

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