10 June 1919 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

When I rose this morning I couldn’t put my left foot to the ground without excruciating pain + the toe was very swollen + red, so I had to keep to the smoke room sofa all day. David [Graham, co-partner] advised me to paint the toe with iodine which I did. Saw Mrs Mitchell from Whitehope in the Smoke room + one or two others at night. Entered David’s visits for last week [into accounts]. Finished ‘Mr Standfast’ + began ‘Greenmantle’ both by John Buchan + lent by Mrs Mackintosh1.

1Greenmantle, 1916 and Mr Standfast, 1919, both published by Hodder & Stoughton, are Buchan’s two Richard Hannay novels set during the First World War itself while his The Thirty-Nine Steps was set prior to the outbreak of war and was one of a large number of Invasion Novels which reflected the growing tension in the decades leading to August 1914. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers, 1903 and When William Came: A Story of London Under the Hohenzollerns, 1913 by H H Munro ‘Saki’ are perhaps the others most worthy of attention. All address the sense of threat and looming crisis which had slowly grown since the Franco-Prussian War and culminated in the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. The genre is a very extensive one (so the authors can hardly claim unique prescience) and includes The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer, 1871 by George Tomkyns Chesney and H G Wells’s The War of the Worlds, 1898 and The War in the Air, 1907. Buchan’s and Childers’s novels are notably similar in their movement from drift and oppressive ennui to release through action, in each involving middle class men of a ‘type’, though both sidestep the jingoistic calls to arms and action (particularly of some poets of the time) which are almost unbearable in retrospect

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/22, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1919]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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