Robert Lindsay. 2nd Jan. 1875 - 24th Feb. 1910
Robert was the younger son of the four children of Robert Lindsay and Mary Jack. I remember the excitement of his departure for South Africa for health reasons, on doctor's advice. In retrospect I think he had a somewhat chronic infection of his nasal sinuses which gave rise secondarily to a bit of a cough. In those days anyone with a cough was a suspect for T.B., and by way of treatment for the then almost incurable was sent off to a warm dry climate to make the best of it. Robert went.
He got a job in a shop in Kimberley soon after the South Aftican war ended. I have the impression that he sold umbrellas there, which shows how unreliable my memory is! Anyway, his letters home were a tremendous source of happiness to his father, written in a neat, somewhat cramped hand. I always got the Cape of Good Hope stamp from them, and Grandfather got the hope. So did Agnes Gemmell.
I remember being laid up with diphtheria in Blythswood Drive, (No. 11 it was), in bed, with a pile of London Illustrateds around me, a sheet soaked in Carbolic Acid fixed around a brass ended bedstead, in gas-light, when in walked Agnes Gemmell to tell me she was going out straight away to marry my Uncle Robert. She stood at the end of the brass-poster and I thought she looked beautiful and supremely happy.
I continued to get the Cape of Good Hope stamps.
Then he and Agnes came back to Scotland, and bought a little draper's shop in Dunning, some 9 miles from Perth. I once walked out there from Aunt Jessie's house in Perth. It was a corner shop. I remember being bewildered by the number of bobbins of thread, their colours, and all the different cloths which whey sold in that wee shop.
Sometime thereabouts, Robert visited the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Glasgow, and I remember him landing at our house with his nose still bleeding from treatment of his sinuses, but not at all depressed. Treatment which he might have had before he went to Africa, had it been then available, which it probably was not.
Then he returned to Dunning.
Agnes and he lost their first child, Robert (24/1/1906 - 21/5/1907), at a very early age, but then their second, John, was born about 1909 to give his mother, but unfortunatly not his father, many years of great happiness. In 1910, Robert fell ill. In retrospect he had an undiagnosed appendicitis, a burst appendix, then a frequently fatal condition, and one only beginning to be operated upon. One cannot blame the old country doctor, for all of us doctors have black marks against us. Robert lasted ten days, in pain, and as he was dying Agnes, Grandfather, John and Jessie gathered at the bedside and with Robert, sang their favourite hymns.
These were Lindsays!
Robert was a fine looking chap. I remember him vividly. Clear-cut features, with a nose a little prominent for a Lindsay, very alert bright eyes, quick on the up-take, well turned out, kindly and gentlemanly. He had gift for music, especially for the violin. I must leave it for his son to tell more about his accomplishments as he would learn of them from Agnes, his mother, who played and sang so often with him.
His premature death was a source of great grief to the whole family. Yet it is curious how Nature (which modern theologians sometimes now call The Holy Ghost) corrects the imbalance. John Lindsay married Agnes, to turn grief to joy!
I saw him so rarely, spoke with him so little, and was myself so young, and junior, that I can record no more than what is written above, that is a kindly disposed uncle, young in heart and with a marvellous ear for music.
John Lindsay, his son:
John was only six months old when his father died. Robert's widow, Agnes, describes him as very musically gifted, being a pianist and an accomplished violinist, judging by his repertoire of music now in John't possission. He was practically self-taught, apart from receiving some tuition at school (or later) with his brother John.
Robert emigrated to South Africa, arriving there on 25th January (Burn's birthday) 1902. Agnes Gemmell joined him in Capetown, and they were married on 31st March 1904. They returned to Scotland on 26th February 1905 and bought a drapery shop in the village of Dunning, Perthshire. Here Robert made a reasonable living, and found time to study the violin and to enjoy painting.