15 December 1919 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Damp drizzly mild day with heavier rain at night. Mrs Whitehead1, Tower Street died this morning. I motored via Bleachfield Road, Pinegrove + Dunsdale to Bowhill, Sundhope + Scaurneuk. Went across to [the] Firs in afternoon + saw Smith2 about the Red X [Cross] meeting. Jean Ballard had held up [delayed] a circular dated Nov. 27 till late on Sat. last when she sent it to me. This has muddled up things very much. Saw Minnie Brown3 + asked her to send out circulars for meeting on Thursday at 4. Went to Guild meeting in Church Hall + recited ‘Piper at Lucknow’4, ‘Boy in the Train’5, ‘The Idealist’6 + ‘The Whistle’.

1 Isabella Whitehead née Murray (about 1837-1919), died 15 December 1919 at 24 Tower Street, Selkirk, aged 82, death certified by “John S Muir M.B. etc”; she was daughter of Thomas Murray, stocking maker, and Agnes Murray née Mitchell and the widow of John Whitehead, Mail Contractor

2 Assume Patrick ‘Pat’ Smith (1858-1930), Advocate and sheriff-substitute, sometime of The Firs, Selkirk

3 Minnie Mackay Brown (1874-1966), a teacher before the war when she left for Egypt September 1915 as part of the Selkirk Voluntary Aid Detachment of the British Red Cross Society and served until 29 May 1919

4 ‘Piper at Lucknow’ by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), American Quaker poet and Abolitionist

5 ‘The Boy in the Train’ by Mary Campbell Smith (1869-1938), the poem of a child’s train journey to Kirkcaldy that starts “Whit wey does the engine say ‘Toot-toot’? | Is it feart to gang in the tunnel? | Whit wey is the furnace no pit oot | When the rain gangs doon the funnel?”

6 ‘The Idealist’ by Robert William Service (1874-1958), the story of a louse that ends “I die, but I do not care, | For I’ve lived in the head of a queen!”

[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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