I heard some time ago that the ex munition girls get 25/- a week for 13 weeks and think of me offering Maggie 30/- a month. I blush for my folly. Perhaps when the 3 m[on]ths are over she may come after all if I let her know. Should I? … Stornoway 9th Feb. 1919

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 9th February 1919

Mrs Gibson tells of an acquaintance having a lucky escape from the Iolaire disaster. She realises that she’s underestimated the cost of domestic wages, whilst Barry the cat is feeling his age. 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

Dear Sheann,

Sunday evening. Papa has gone down at Mr. Murray’s request to speak to the men in the hut and so to help him with their little Sunday evening service.  Mr. Menzies was to have been asked for tonight but as they have a little daughter at the Manse since Friday night Papa thought he should not be asked.  Last night we were at the hut as usual and had a very busy night.  Miss Macoll was off with a cold so there were Miss Nicolson, Miss Bald and I and we just managed and no more.  We took almost £4.

This morning we made an effort and got up so that Papa might get your letter but there was none.  We managed to church however the first morning for some considerable time.

We have seen none of the Clarks today.  Ellis was not in at tea.  Mr. Clark is south just now for an Edinburgh meeting but returns on Tuesday.  Their school is still shut for measles.  Mrs Clark thinks Bessie has had the influenza and fears she is working too dreadfully hard so was glad for her father to have the opportunity of seeing her.  He wrote Papa recently asking if Billy couldn’t be sent in for his L.C. [Leaving Certificate?] this year.  Papa discussed it with the various teachers who all agreed it was out of the question.

I was speaking to “Minerva” one day recently.  He is returning to his school this week. Of 9 teachers from Kilmarnock Academy in service all are now free.  So far not one of the Nicolson ones is available.  Seems a bit hard!  They think of offering Colin’s place to John Macrae but we hear that he doesn’t intend to continue in Sy.  Probably he could make a better thing of it in England and so leave Lilly near her friends.   Mr. Peddie is coming back on the 16th and writes the Board for more salary as he is now married and has £140 only.  They replied that they couldn’t consider his salary apart from the others and that they were being considered.  £140 is not worth so much as £70 pre-war and think of that in which to set up a home.  However no question of setting up a home will arise as no houses can be found.  The Sheriff has now removed his family from Sy. and stored his furniture.  Mrs. Gerrie is in the Morisons’ old house and the Sheriff lodges with Mrs. Aeneas. 

I haven’t seen Maud’s mother since that day in Mrs. Cameron’s.

The Hon. Hulme Lever I hear has written a little book of holiday verse illustrated with thumb-nail sketches and among the pieces is one to Bella Maggie the provost’s daughter telling of all her good works and showing her in one of the little pictures handing a cup of tea to a soldier.  Evidently young Lever is not of the “Captains of Industry” type.  Papa says that nature protects herself by reverting to the normal.

Poor Barry is in very frail health these days, and looks shaken and old.  We of course do every thing we can think of for his comfort and nourishing but the life force is low.  Poor lil small!

Papa has been trying to get Angus Smith off.  He has been trained as a camp kitchen cook.  Think of that after all he has gone through.  Although he is a student instead of demobilising him when he wrote they were sending him from France to Italy!  His father wrote that Mac Smith had leave at the New Year and had he meant to spend it at home he would have been on board The “Iolaire.”  Fortunately he went to Peterhead to his Aunt instead.

We don’t seem to know much about you just now.  What we do know leaves us thinking of you in a muddle of operas, essays, theatre, C.U. meetings and poor Galt being hustled before Aberdeen Literary in the most unseemly way.  Perhaps it might be well at this point of the session “to shire your head” and take fresh bearings.  What!!!

I heard some time ago that the ex munition girls get 25/- a week for 13 weeks and think of me offering Maggie 30/- a month.  I blush for my folly.  Perhaps when the 3 m[on]ths are over she may come after all if I let her know.  Should I?

Papa will soon be back now to post this.  Love from us both to Sheann.

Your loving Ma

Ref: 1992.50.64iii/L28

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archives Collection Assistant

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