Lord Leverhulme comes tonight … The town is being swept up today and the mud carted away … Stornoway 6th Mar. 1919

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 6th March 1919

This week Mrs Gibson relates how Stornoway has been spruced up in readiness for the arrival of Lord Leverhulme. Cases of influenza (the post-war “Spanish flu” pandemic) are rife, and Nicolson Institute pupils are planning peacetime careers in medicine. 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,

We are feeling bad about getting no letter from you this week but hope to have one tomorrow.  With such an amount of sickness everywhere it makes one anxious.  Papa would have told you why I missed writing you last Thursday.  Mr. & Mrs. Fenton, Cross, were coming in on Friday for Saturday’s meeting of the E.I.S. and we had invited them to stay with us so I was doing preliminary cooking and cleaning.  In the evening we had boys home from Salonika and did not get to bed till late.  Friday and Saturday were more than full and on Sunday we had Murdo Kennedy to tea and talk.  The boys are constantly dropping in just now for advice and Papa is writing letters for them to all sorts of people.

Peter John Macleod and his father from Bernera were in one evening Tuesday I think.  The father seems quite a remarkable man and most interesting.  Peter John like so many more is ettling after Medicine and is going to Glasgow.  If other schools are like this one there should be no scarcity of doctors five years hence.

Mrs. (Dr.) Mackenzie was in this evening returning a book of Papa’s which Mr. Crow(?) had left.  He is away to Hull and Mr. Meaden has gone down to live in his house at Newton.  We got all the news about Jean, Muriel, Edward and Miss Templeton.

Mr. Colin John was to have had a presentation tea tomorrow his last day in School but today he is down with ‘flu we fear.

Lord Leverhulme comes tonight and Colin will be much provoked at being laid up when he was to start his new work.  The town is being swept up today and the mud carted away.  We had a fall of snow early in the week but it has now gone and the crocuses are in bloom.

Mrs. Cameron came in for a little the other afternoon.  I haven’t seen Mrs. Morison since that day at the Manse.  Sorry Maud is not coming home.  Why ever not?

Ellis tells me that Bessie is getting a new navy costume made by a tailor and she thinks it is going to be nice.  Poor Ellis has a swollen gland under her chin and a bad cough.  She was absent those snowy days.  Mr. Clark was in seeing us on Monday evening and he reports Mrs. C. as “dowie a wee” [a little melancholy].

The old lady that Mr. and Mrs. Menzies gave house room to has died of pneumonia.  She was over 70 so hadn’t much chance.  Poor body it is good she found such kindness at the last.

I hope poor Annie is better.  I had thought of her as so healthy that she wouldn’t take anything.  I am sure you have been good to her.

Bessie and her brother Willy Clarke have gone to Aberdeen to Marion.  Bessie is to begin her study now.  Marion won’t be home till she is finished in June.

Not long now till we hope to have you home – We need cheering up a bit.  Love from both her parents to Sheann.

Your loving Ma

Ref: 1992.50.64iii/L34

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archives Collection Assistant

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