St Kilda Diaries: The Diary of Alice Maclachlan (1906 - 1909)

January 1906, Garve

Jany 1st Monday Garve where we have spent three very happy years. Had New Year’s Day service in School House at 10-45 A.M. Not many there. Walked back part way with Jeanie and Jim McRaw. Mr McR curling at Fairburn. Went over and spent aft. & evening with McRaws. Home 11.30.

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Tues.Jany 9 th Rose late. Very much depressed at receiving letter from our office in Edin. (Mr. Lee) telling us to be prepared to leave the Manse at any time as the Wee Frees have got Church Manse. Mr McRaw came up to supper and talked matters over.

Sat. Jan. 13th Duine busy all day. Got paper from home telling of Dr Grant’s death. Fearfully sad, only 31. Paralysis. Very stormy. Didn’t go out all day.

Thurs. Jan. 25th Up early. This is election day so there is a general exodus from Garve to Dingwall to vote for Mr Weir. Hope he will get in. Was busy all morning. P. went off at 1 o’clock. Grant, Garbal brought us 14 rabbits for the poor, & a nice piece of venison for ourselves. Post brought letters from Jeanie, Minnie, Nellie, Mr Ross (to say I am by all means to go to Alness on Tuesday next). Geo. brought Northern Weekly & Scotsman while Bella & Hugh came in The fulmer to see what about blouse. These wretched Hepburns have not sent Insertion yet so must just wait till tomorrow. Then went down to Garve, to shop, Murchiors & Miss Crams. Mr McRaw, Duine came home together from Dingwall & went straight over to the farm. I joined them & had a very jolly evening. All in good form. Bed 11-30.

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February 1906, Garve

Thursday February 1st– Beauly Wet and boisterous but Jack and I went to Muir of Ord and had a fairly long drive. Then Ella and I went and had tea at the Manse with the McRaes. No letters and PC of AB [?]. Annie and I then went to the Mutual Improvement onward and upward association where I saw the McKenzies of Glenbrau [?] & others. Had tea. Mrs McKenzie read a story. Mr McRae prayed twice & spoke a little then we came away & went down to Mrs Paterson’s for a little. Then home to supper - ? and bed. Up early tomorrow. 

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Friday Feb 2nd Got better today. Leave Beauly by 10-9 as I wish to be earlier than the 10.30. Get on beautifully & am very glad to get from Beauly kind as they were all. Everything fitted in delightfully – just as I wished & Duine and Mr McRae met me at Garve on arrival. A fearfully stormy day. Snow and wind. Mrs Grant of Luibfern buried today. Have felt so tired since coming back but will be the better of the night’s rest. Have commenced a very interesting book, which Mr Ross gave me called “The Eternal Guest” and am enjoying it immensely. Bed early.

Saturday Feb. 3rd Stormier than ever, blowing a regular hurricane & a good deal of snow. Feeling lazy all day. P & I have to sit in bedroom all day as the wind is so high that we can’t have fire in sitting room. However we are very cosy. This & yesterday are the worst days this year. No letters to day. Finished book & started “A Welsh Singer”. Knitted a good deal. Bed 11-30.

Monday Feb 5th Not a bad day at all but very like snow. Baking a lot as Billy comes up tonight. Had a visit from Mr McNaught, Loch Luichart, this aft. No letters today. Duine went down to Garve to post letter and pay merchant, or rather to cash cheque. Billy in great form. Wrote Bessie and Mr Ross. Horsack [?] got his eye hurt today. We had red herrings for supper & I ate three. John MacLean came home from Edinburgh Aberdeen today. Hugh goes into trousers. His father has brought him a lovely big rocking horse. Bed 11.30 reading Chambers Journal.

Tuesday Feb 6th Duine up first. Busy cleaning sitting room. Washed two blouses and tie. Baked 4 gingerbreads – a great success (for a wonder). Hugh came to see me in his new trousers. It is a very raw cold day with showers. No letters today at all. P & I writing letters after tea. Then we go down to the Schoolhouse. I to see Miss Gaw [?] P to Congregational Meeting. Home before 11 o’clock. Bed straight.

Wednes. Feb. 14th St. Valentines Day. A perfectly lovely frosty day. Must get over to Billies today. Hope he has been to Dingwall. Post brought nothing special. A letter to P. from Mr McRae, Beauly saying that as the weather is so severe, he & P. will not exchange on Sunday first (the 18th) as had been arranged but wait instead until the next Sunday. We had not finished dinner when Miss McNaught from Loch Luich-art came in. Stayed until train time, so that made us late in getting over to Billys. He seems rather dull today but we understood it when he told us it was ten years that day since his wife died. I felt so sorry for him. He has been to Dingwall & brought Speldings & fresh fish. He also brought very kind messages from Mr Merilees, & from Mr. Ross Alness (Presbytery Day). We had four good games, I gained three & lost one to Billy. I forgot today that Bella MacRae was in, early in the day & brought me two nice books to read. Bed 11-30

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March 1906, Garve

Thurday March 1st Duine up first. Fire just on when wire arrives from Tobermory from Flora saying she is ill & I am to go & if I can’t duine is

Away in Tobermory all March until the 24th when I returned to Garve alone leaving the Duine there. I didn’t enjoy being there at all but it was nice when Duine came to me.

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Sat. March 25th Very cold journey to Garve. Postmaster met me. Was busy cleaning up all day. Expecting someone from Dingwall for Sunday Services. However I got a PPC from Mrs McDonald Dingwall saying [?] were coming up driving on the Sunday. They did come and a precious silly pain they were. It seems McKenzie announced in the morning Mr Mac had gone to Tobermory to see his sister who was dying!!!

Thurs 27th March Jeannie McR & Mr MacRaw came up here. Letter from Duine Wednes. 28th March This is my birthday. Got a lovely scarf from Bab. Letters from Bab, Nell & the duine. The D sending me corsets. Flora improving & up for an hour. Went to tea at Miss Crams.

Thurs 29th March Over at McRaws. Met Chisholm (Farmer Fairburn Tower) there. He is a bit of a silly too. Had good games, got one and lost one to McRaw.

Friday 30th Mar Letter from Duine as usual. Flora much better and getting up every day for longer. Was at Miss Crams for tea & supper. Home 9.40.

Sat. 31st March Jean McRaw came to spend the aft. No news worth relating. Flora still getting on well I hear in todays epistle.

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April 1906, Garve

Thursday April 5th – Miss Cram and I had a very sleepless night. Have had a quiet SAS day. My thoughts have been so far away where sometime today strange hands will be laying my poor Jack in his lonely grave. Oh it is too sad. How I long for news as to his last illness etc. Had a short letter of sympathy from George B. Mother bearing up wonderfully well. Nice letter from Duine. He of course has posted this letter before the wire arrived. Flora improving rapidly.

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Friday Ap. 6th No news to day until letters came. Had a most pathetic letter from poor Mother. She feels poor Jack’s death terribly but is keeping up bravely. It is awfully sad. Also a nice letter from Bab . They are very much cut-up about him as we all are. I had my usual letter from Duine. It will be my last just now as he will be here himself to-morrow. Had Mrs McLean, Betsy Cameron (for Miss Cram) May Ross & Bella Cameron. Had fairly good night.

Saturday Ap 7th Got up early as I am expecting Duine. So disappointed he didn’t come by the 9 o’clock as I [& he] expected. However a wire arrived immediately from him in Kyle saying he had only reached there, boat so late and he will be here at 10 o’clock. I am so thankful. Hugh and John going to Dingwall to barbers. Sent off mother’s shawl for her birthday on Monday 9th. Duine arrived at last alright. I feel so much stronger now. Got a letter from Willie – poor boy, such a sensible letter also letters from Bessie and Mrs Cameron [Contin]. Mr C is coming up on Monday. Bed 10.30 as we were tired.

Sunday Ap 8th What a lovely day. Of course did not go out. Duine called to see Miss Cram and Mrs McKenzie (Post Office) the latter not at all well yet. Miss Crams eyes still very sore. Reading “The Champion” and enjoying it very much.

Monday Ap 9th Got up early and did flues. Mr Cameron [Contin] arrived about 12 o’clock at Duines. Mr Shaw [Ullapool] came in. Got dinner for both for all of no. and Mr Shaw went west, is Presbytery meeting at Kyle, 4.13 train.

Tuesday Ap 24th Busy all morning. Poor Mrs Mackenzie Post Office died today at midday. How they will miss her. We went down to see them after tea saw Bella only. Then we went along to the merchants there to Miss Cram. Duine went back to the Post Office and had worship with them then back to the School House & had supper with Miss Cram. Bed 10.

Wednes Ap 25th Duine up first every morning first now. I got a letter from Willie enclosing one from Miss Welch to mother. She must be a gem. It is written same time as Mrs Ross’s. It gives all details of dear Jack up to two days before his death. I have kept a copy of it, it is heart rending but we are consoled all the same. It is the saddest reading we ever read. Very depressed. Went over to Billy after tea & had a very enjoyable evening. Bitterly cold, home 11 o’c

Thurs. Ap. 26th Much better day. Got a letter from Mr Lee to-day telling us to be prepared to move out of Garve on May 28th & to Peter to meet him in Dingwall tomorrow between 1-2 o’clock. We are very sorry indeed about it but it can’t be helped. Mr Lee wishes a talk so he may have some places to discuss. Had letter from Bab. also to-day. Ironing all day. Had a big washing - or rather Mrs Fraser had yesterday - Billy coming up tonight. He came up & is greatly upset over our news (from Mr Lee). Bed 11-20.

Friday April 27th Got up first this mg (first time this week) as we are going by first train to Dingwall. Got there alright and had a little walk before going to the Manse. Saw Mr MacDonald for a short time before he went off for Comm. Services at Wick. He will see Will & I sent messages. Had dinner with Miss Mac & saw Mr. Lee at Station (with Mr. Johnston (Strathpeffer). Mr. Lee offered us Jura or St. Kilda (what a cheek!!!) but in the end we got him to say we might do what we could about Station Master’s house but I think we might try them for Manse still. So does Billy who I saw at the Station on my return home. Duine & Mr. Johnson had gone on to Fodderty straight from Dingwall to Mrs Mackenzies funeral. Mr. Cameron (Contin) officiated here in duines absence. Went back to Dingwall after leaving duine & had tea with Miss MacDonald & she came with me to the Station. Saw Jack Munro on Street. Hom Aft. train. Duine got home at 7-45 from Fodderty. McRaw came up to hear Lees’ news. Bed 11 o’clock.

Saturday Ap 28th Nothing much doing today. Fearfully wet. Baking in morning. Went down to Garve in evening to see Granny. Gave heer all news. Sent off wire to Flora from Peter wondering why she isn’t writing. Haven’t heard for an age.

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May 1906, Garve

Sunday May 6th A disagreeable & wet day but quite warm. The cuckoo made its appearance here for the first time this year, today. Went out twice with Duine to the Schoolhouse. Crammy’s eyes a little better. Bed 10-15.

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Monday May 7th Up early myself. Duine up every day since last recorded. I am expecting Miss McDonald (Dingwall) today. Had a great rush to get ready before mail time but managed. When we were at dinner who arrived but Dan from Beauly. We all went across the fields after dinner & on to Strathfame House & away beyond. A lovely walk & then home by the new bridge & village. Duine saw Mss McDonald away by train & then he brought Billy up. Poor Billy he had been seeing all the Auties & Roddie McKenzie (Post Office) & has been so good. It seems they have no idea of putting any one into the Manse & Gibson is away for altogether now. So we are feeling so far a little more settled than before. However we may not be here very long. It was so good of Billy. Bed 11 o’clock.

Tuesday May 8th Forgot to say yesterday was the loveliest day this year. The sun very hot & warm and the cuckoo heard all day. Today it is warm but is raining all day. Washed my hair in morning. Duine went down to Garve and cashed cheque. After dinner we went…

Wednes. May 16th Very stormy day. This is Nell’s birthday, can’t send her anything at present. Had a letter from herself today. She was in good spirits & told me all about her visit home for the weekend. We went over to Billy’s for the afternoon & evening. Home 11-15 fearful night.

Thursday May 17th Very busy all morning upstairs cleaning out boxes. Had interesting letter from Mr. Lee telling Duine & I to go to Dingwall on Saturday in order to travel up as far as Garve with Mr. Robertson H.M. Inspector of Schools in order to talk over St. Kilda & to travel 1st class with Mr. Robertson & sent him (Mr. Lee) our expenses. We went down to Garve to spend evening with Miss Cram. We walked down with McRaw who had come up to tell us that the Auties want the manse vacated on 28th. Crammy fearfully put about. Bed 10-45.

Friday May 18th Had a very nice letter from Fraser & co, Inverness re storage of furniture. Very stormy day like the previous two days. Busy all day turning out boxes and drawers. Very tired. Had fire on in all the rooms awfully nice and comfortable in bedroom with the wood fire. Bed 11-15.

Saturday May 19th Forgot to say that on Thursday I got an invitation to Jean’s wedding which is to be on June 2nd [Saturday] at 3.30 in Edinburgh. I wish I could go. This is a raw coldish day. In a hurry as we are going to Dingwall to meet the great Inspector of Schools. Got on very well indeed with Mr Robertson. He is to write to Mr Lee.

Saturday 26th Busy all the time preparing for our flitting. Frasers can’t come on Friday but on Tuesday. Duine going to Inverness today. I went down to Miss Cram’s to stay weekend. Sunday 27th Had a lovely quiet day with Miss Cram. Went about all morning & sat about & read till nearly 10 o’clock.

Monday May 28th This is term day. Came up about 10 o’cl. from Miss Crams. Duine came back from Inverness by the mail train. We were very busy all day packing up the last things. Mr. McRaw Hossack came up to rope & nail down boxes. Bed 11-o.clock.

Tuesday May 29th The van came from Inverness by the Goods Train. McRaw – Johnnie - Eugenie[?] – Urquhart and Hossack all came up. Then two men from Inverness. Also John MacLean and Willie MacLeod. Mrs Murchison was there too. They got on splendidly & had everything out very shortly after one o’clock. Mrs Murchison was busy scrubbing until 6 o’clock when McRaw came over for us & we have been so fortunate she has been so kind. Wordmaking.

Wednes. May 30th Had lovely rest and went over in afternoon to finish up at the Manse. Mrs Murchison scrubbed out the kitchen and left it all so clean. We went and said goodbye to all the Gorston folk & were back at Miss McCraws by 6 o’clock. Mr McR was in Dingwall today.

Thursd. May 31st Rather a showery day. Paid calls on way to Loch Luichart, & got to Miss McKenzies at the School by 5-15. Very tired. Had tea and left by 8 train. Couldn’t get as far as the McNaughts. Went to Crammys for supper. Home King Alphonso & Princess Ina married today at Madrid.

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June 1906, Garve

Friday June 1st– Very wet day. Stayed in morning & wrote letters. In the afternoon we went & visited all Garve village beginning at the McLennans farm. Stayed in evening word making.

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Saturday June 2ndStayed in morning. Lovely day and in the afternoon went across field to the McLean’s & down to P.O. to say Good-bye to the McKenzies etc. Home for tea (to Mr McRaw which is our home at present). After tea saying good-bye to the farm folks. Then across to Garve & home again. Bed 11 o’clock. This is Jeanie’s Wedding day.

Sunday June 3rd Our last Sunday and day here. Leave Garve tomorrow at mid-day. Went out to church in the morning. Everybody there. Read in the afternoon too tired to go out again. So Billy and Duine went out. Bed 10-30.

Monday June 4th So sorry our last day at present in Garve has come. Said our Goodbyes & left by the 1-8 train. Got here (to Inverness) all right. Saw Alec & Bessie at Beauly. Alec trav-elled with us to Bunchrew. Came straight up to Mrs Kennedy’s. Had tea & went out hunting for rooms. Didn’t settle on them tonight. Bed 11 o’c.

Tuesday June 5th Lovely weather. I went to Mrs McQueen, Thiel[?] Terrace and took bed sitting room. It will do for the time. Had dinner & then went for our luggage & took cab to our lodgings. Got dressed & went to tea to Crombagh (Rev and Mrs McKay’s) then went for ink and paper. Came in and wrote letters. Then Miss Kennedy came in. She had been to St Kilda so she gave us such a lot of news about it. Bed 11 o’clock

Wednesday June 6th Had good night. Went shopping for dinner. Went to High School to see sewing from Miss McLennan & Miss Kennedy. Time so much taken up with schools etc in Inverness that there was no time for my diary so will leave it till we get to St Kilda.

June 27th Last day in Inverness. Mr Robertson (Strontray) came to see us & spent the day with us. Went out shopping & to say Goodbyes.

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