9 December 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Sent May1 a grouse

Gave little Georgina Wylie2 Chlor[oform] + extracted a lot of rotten teeth. John Anderson3, Craighill called + paid his account of £11.3.6. Cycled to Hospital +c + up to Rosemount4. During afternoon worked at the record cards5. At 6.30 left in a char-a-banc with Sandy Steel6 + party for a concert at Innerleithen. Went via Gala to pick up Bell7. Concert very successful in aid of Jubilee …8. Was stuck on platform beside Prov. Mathison9 a druggist Aberdonian + antiquarian. Recited ‘Salmon’, ‘Borderland’ + ‘Pill’10. Got some tea. Did not get home ‘till12. Helen + Nancy13 were down at the meet of Lauderdale at Friarshall14.

1 Mary may be Mary Jane Wallace née Muir (1836-1933), Dr Muir’s sister, married to James Wallace, living at Scotstoune, Haslemere, Surrey.

2 Georgina Wylie (1916-1949), born 26 January 1916 at 24 Chapel Street, Selkirk, daughter of William Wylie, railway signalman, and Jane Wylie nee Walters [ScotlandsPeople indexed at Watters], married 1894, Edinburgh [parents’ marriage, 685/5 551, Newington, Edinburgh; birth 1916, 778/9, Selkirk, death 1949, 685/5 1112, George Square]

3 John L Anderson, shepherd, Inhabitant Occupier not rated at Craighill, Ettrick [1921 Valuation Roll, VR011700009-/312, Selkirk County, page 312 of 611]

4 Rosemount, 30 Hillside Terrace, home of James Kirkpatrick, wool agent (about 1854-) and such of his children as may still have been at home, his wife Grace Kirkpatrick née Smith (1857-1915), formerly of Kingussie, Inverness-shire, having died in 1915 [1921 Valuation Roll, VR007900012-/141, Selkirk Burgh, page 141 of 644]

5 The Muir and Graham medical co-partnership had changed its administration and Dr Muir was undertaking onerous work on record cards

6 Samuel ‘Sam’ Strang Steel (1882-1961), 1st Baronet, M.P., J.P., T.D., Lord Lieutenant of Selkirk 1948-1958

7 Bell of Gala appears occasionally in Dr Muir’s diaries, he is not yet identified

8 Concert

9 Probably Robert Mathieson (1861-1941), druggist and Provost of Innerleithen for forty years, born New Machar, Aberdeenshire, he had two shops, at High Street and Waverley Road, an aerated water factory at Chapel Street and a house and garden St Serf’s, 2 Buccleuch Street, all Innerleithen; however though he may have been an antiquarian of sorts he was not related to and should not, as Ted McKie notes, be confused with, Robert Mathison (1832-1891), master builder, antiquarian and builder of The Glen [sources: 1921 Valuation Roll, VR011200022-/169, Peebles County, page 169 of 255; 1911 Census 762/1 2/ 14, page 14 of 31; 1941 Statutory registers Deaths, 762/1 10; Past Innerleithen: Robert Mathison]

10 ‘Salmon’ and ‘Borderland’ (or variations on those titles) are poems or ballads occasionally recited by Dr Muir, though neither has yet been identified

11 The Peel (Pill) is from Dr John F Fergus (1865-1943), ‘Fancies of a Physician, Medical and Otherwise, in Scots and English’, Brown Son & Ferguson, Glasgow, 1938. Its penultimate verse reads
“Syne it was a hard to name it, but it was waur to heal | But the doctor, couthy body, garr’d the fella rak’ a peel: | An oh, it was an unco peel made up wi’ money a pushion, | There was scammony and jalap in’t, an aloes in profusion, | And calomel and rhubarb – but it cured him a’ the same | O’ the awful’ unco feelin’ that was wummlin’ in his wame.”
Scammony Convolvulus scammonia, a bindweed native to the countries of the eastern Mediterranean; its dried roots are used as a purgative
Jalap is the dried tuberous root of the Mexican plant Ipomoea purga or Exogonium purga, of the morning-glory family, or a powdered purgative prepared from it

’The Dictionars o the Scots Leid’ record Wummling “Wammle, v., n., adv. Also wamle, wam(m)el, -il, waum(m)le, -el, waamle; wom(m)le, womble (wm.Sc. 1887 Jam.), wummle, -el, wumble; wimil, -mel, waimble; whummle-, whamble (Sc. 1827 Blackwood’s Mag. (Jan.) 42) and reduplic. form wimble-wamble. [wɑml, wml, wʌml]
I. v. 1. Of the stomach or its contents: to roll, to stir uneasily, rumble queasily (Sc. 1808 Jam., 1905 E.D.D.; Bnff., Abd., Fif. 1973). Also transf. and fig. Vbl.n. wammlin.”, and
Wame “2. In various senses of Eng. belly (Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. Wambe; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Marw. s.v. Wab o’ the wame). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.; in some contexts not very distinguishable from sense 1. Phrs.: a sair wame, stomach-ache (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1973).”

12 This sentence appears to be completed at the start of the following diary entry

13 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper and Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948), Dr Muir’s second daughter

14 Friarshall or Friarshaugh, Melrose, home of Charles William Herdman at this time

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/24, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1921]

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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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