Mamma is re-reading “The Little Minister.” Her previous book was Gissing’s “The New Grub Street.” I have been re-reading “Coriolanus” and “Hamlet” and marvelling anew at the greatness of the latter. Have you yet fallen under the fascination of Shakespeare?…Stornoway 13th Feb. 1919

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 13th February 1919

Mr Gibson worries that Jean is spending too much time at the theatre; he has also been remembering former pupils who died in the War. Mrs Gibson has had a varied literary diet, whilst both she and Barrie the cat are still poorly. 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,

We got your letter this morning along with one from Elsie Funnell and one from Malcolm Macaulay, so we had quite a lot of Aberdeen news.  You are getting to be quite a habitué of the professional circle, we notice.  We were not clear whether it was the divines at Prof. Fulton’s or the supper that had impressed you most.  We hope the visit to Prof. Gilroy’s will also be a success.  We are interested to hear about the girls’ club.  These clubs seem efforts in the right direction, to deal with what is a difficult problem.  We are impressed, Mamma and I, with the seriousness of the crew-boy problem as we have touched the skirts of it at the Hut.  Does that, by the way, not strike you as the defect of your C.U. in Aberdeen – that a good deal of effort and time and thought is being put on entertaining yourselves, and not much on others?  Perhaps that is not a sound criticism, as my knowledge of the Union’s activities is not very detailed.  You’ll know.

71 for the essay – quite good; but what of our old friends, S., L., and Co.?  I am sure Prof. Jack’s lectures on Spenser will be good.  I think he’ll be able to appreciate him.  Are you getting any English reading done now?  We were sorry to hear about Miss Muriel not being so well.  She does take a good deal out of a frail body, poor girl.  The psychology reading will be with a view to her Doctorate thesis, I expect.

We were glad to hear that Maud is enjoying her work, and that you were going to have some time with her.  Any word of your seeing Mr. Taylor?  You remember he was inviting you before Christmas.

By-the-way, is there not a bit too much theatre in your recent time-table?  Of course we want you to be the judge of your distribution of time, but theatre-going is a relaxation and loses something of its value if too frequent.

One of your old III.C classmates was in to-night for a while, Donald Angus Maciver.  He has been home on leave from Salonika, the first since about New Year, 1915.  He was interested to hear about where the girl members of the class were and what they were doing.  We were speaking also of the two who were killed – Murdo Macleod and Murdo Mackenzie.  The class had no thought of these possibilities in the old Art Room days.

Norman Macleod (“Minerva”) was in last night.  He is going south to take up his teaching again.  He will travel by Aberdeen to see John.

This has been the Fast Day.  I intended to close only for the Thursday, but as six of the teachers are off ill, I had to take the Friday also, in the hope of having some of them back again by Monday.  Mamma & I had a walk round the target hill, & saw the new huts that are being put up for the workmen – wooden, with oiled silk windows.  We met Mr. & Mrs. Small & walked home with them; their two boys have mumps.

Mamma is re-reading “The Little Minister.”  Her previous book was Gissing’s “The New Grub Street.”  I have been re-reading “Coriolanus” and “Hamlet” and marvelling anew at the greatness of the latter.  Have you yet fallen under the fascination of Shakespeare? 

I mustn’t forget about poor old Barrie.  He is not well yet.  Something seems to have gone wrong with one of his forelegs.  We are afraid it is something paralytic.  The poor old fellow has no appetite.  The patience of the dumb beasts is a pathetic thing.  Mamma’s cold I am sorry to say seems to be slow of clearing away; she is still coughing a good deal.

With our best love.


[Italics written in left margin]

Ref: 1992.50.64iii/L29

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archives Collection Assistant

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