Annie Green in Skye 1891-2

Tuesday, 9 August 2016 03:26 PM BST

Contributed by: Jerry Green

 Two letters by Annie Maria Green to her brother John, written from Skye. John was my Grandfather. In 1899 Annie married William Edward Dunkley. The story was written by Roger Evans, a Grand son of Annie Maria and the story complete with a report on his visit to Skye can be downloaded from here.


Right: first page of the first letter: the “cross writing” makes it difficult to read, and so I havetranscribed both letters below.
Mrs. Flora Macdonald – Annie’s employer
                                                                 [December  1891]                                              “Viewfield”
My dear Jack
         I must write to give you my very best wishes for a happy birthday & long life; & good health for I daresay Mother will like to know I am quite well today all bilious feeling has disappeared. I heard from Dick a few days ago; he has had a splendid harvest, he said. He had not thrashed, but one man near him had 50 bushels to the acre, isn’t that enormous.
       They have had a prairie fire, but it did him no damage, although it came very near, but the wind was favourable & blew it the other way, wasn’t it lucky. His potatoes were so plentiful; he gave a quantity away, not having room to store them. And what do you think; he has grown whiskers.
        How is everyone at Hellidon? Are you going to distinguish yourself as a Bass Soloist in the Oratorio at Christmas?
       Well, certainly we don’t waste much ink and paper on each other; perhaps in the course of your busy life you might find time to scrape a little to me.
       It will be horrible, being away at Xmas. I have never missed Xmas at home before, but all are kind to me & the children are so funny. They want to give everyone Xmas presents, with there (sic)
own money, they won’t let their Mother give them any help, they have saved every 1d for months & now they have over 4/-; I had to get presents for them, there will be great excitement. The baby who is called “Jorkee” (I don’t know if that is correct spelling), will be 1 year old on Monday, his real name is John.1
        Please thank Hetty very much for the songs; they will do very well, but is she sure she does not***** want any of the part-songs; she must send for them if she does; give her my love & tell her, I will answer her letter next time, but I am not very inclined to write tonight as I have been rather Bilious today & she knows that feeling but I am alright now.
      How is Mother? Well I hope. I hear Influenza is very bad in some places again. I hope you will all escape this winter.
     Is Emily well? I have not heard from her for some time.
     Well! You can’t say you have nothing to write to me about as I have asked enough questions to fill a sheet of foolscap.
      You will all think me long in writing, but you see I have to learn “to kill two birds with one stone” as I live on my means. I am learning economy.
      What a fearful letter I am writing, I feel sort of mad tonight; perhaps because I am feeling better.
      This is a terribly damp climate, I expect because it is always raining, if not down here you can see it on the hills. So no wonder should my brain be a little soft.
      Did you see the eclipse of the moon about three weeks ago, just about midnight2. I did, Mrs M & the children & I watched it, & Bel tried to make her father rise to see it, but he would sleep, she could not rouse him.
      Goodbye; much love to all, & every good wish & much love to yourself.
                                                              From  Annie
Tell poor little Dick I never forget him, & often tell Sandy about him; poor little Sandy he is over 3 years, & the baby will soon catch him up in height.
Don’t trouble to send the Riding Habit; as things are talked of several months before they are done; at least a good many things so perhaps I shall not require (it) for a few years
Macdonald family c 1888 (2 years before Annie came)
Mrs M with Sandy, Isabel, Flora, and Joanna
                                                                          (Photo from Hugh Macdonald)
[January 1892]
Dearest Jack
           Many thanks for your letter it made me laugh. It was very queer here at Xmas, not observed at all only in our church. No shops closed or work stopped, no plumpudding or mincepies, but all the same I was happy. Mrs M. gave me a little brooch with a cairngorm in it & the children gave me a fancy scent bottle. On Xmas Eve the party was very nice the children looked very pretty, one girl was dressed as Pharaoh’s daughter & looked well. One gentleman was an automatic sweet machine, he was splendid & amused the children greatly. Now I must (tell) you about New Year which is kept. On New Year’s Eve, Mrs McDonald gave a large dinner party, I joining in it. 16 of us sat down about 8.30 p.m. to an enormous dinner which lasted about 2 hrs. The plumpudding was brought in on fire! Then after dinner we just talked, till the gentlemen joined us then we had music & games till 12, then immediately the clock struck Champagne was brought in & each one wished the other a Happy New Year & fearful handshaking & Champagne drinking went on. Then we all sang “Auld Lang Syne”
             A happy New Year to all & many returns of them. I have not yet tasted a single mince- pie there were some at the dinner but I chose plumpudding. I envy you yours”    
                   Macdonald children c 1900 (after Annie left): Meg, Flora
              (“Bogue”),Joanna(“Toonie”),John(“Jock”),Sandy,Isobel(“Bel”)                                                                                                                                                                                                (photo from Hugh Macdonald)

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