25 January 1923 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Very strong W.N.W. gale but quite dry + no frost. Very clear. I only saw one town case viz. old John Hamilton, Backrow1 who has been at the Infirmary + operated on successfully for cataract but took double pneumonia + nearly croaked. Cycled to Whitmuir, found the work against the wind coming back very hard.2 Pollok called for a crack.3 He doesn’t love Crichton!4 Went to “Burns nicht” at the Episcopal Hall. Tonge5 asked me to take the place of Canon Perry6 We had Haggis + Lemonade! I recited “Death + Dr Hornbook”.7 There was some good singing.

1 John Hamilton (about 1849-1927), retired grocer (1921 Census states “gardener, retired”), widower of Mary Scott.

2 Presumably to attend Christina Neil née Scott of Whitmuir who had given birth to a daughter on 16 January 1923.

3 John Pollok (1858-1938), Town Clerk and Procurator Fiscal, Selkirk.

4 Presumably Baillie William Crichton (about 1854-1934), printer, publisher and at this time Provost of Selkirk [death, 1934 778 / 65 Selkirk].

5 Possibly the Very Reverend George Preston Tonge (1877-1942), at this time Assistant Supervisor to the Mission for Seamen.

6 Bishop the Reverend Canon William Perry (1869-1948), Professor and Principal of the Episcopal Theological College, Coates Hall, Edinburgh.

7 Death and Dr Hornbook, A Story, 1785 by Robert Burns which finishes “But just as he began to tell, | The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell | Some wee short hour ayont the twal’, | Which rais’d us baith: | I took the way that pleas’d mysel’, | And sae did Death.” See also Purdie, David, 2014, Dr Hornbook – And Death [online] The Bottle Imp, Issue 15, Medicine and Scottish Literature. Available from: https://www.thebottleimp.org.uk/2014/06/dr-hornbook-and-death/ [Accessed 24 January 2023].

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/26, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1923]

Published by


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s