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> Issue 66 > Page 38 - Flora McPherson: The Quest for Rev. Norman McLeod

Page 38 - Flora McPherson: The Quest for Rev. Norman McLeod

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/6/1 (267 reads)

course. The book (The Present Church of Scotland and a Tint of Normanism Contending in a Dialogue) was a strange combination of personal reminiscences, sermons and theo? logical diatribes. I knew that I must keep from it every phrase and idea that might even possibly be useful, so I copied fran? tically in all my spare time for three weeks (I was now back working half-time at the London Library). I sorted, indexed and cross-indexed as I went. For the next month I couldn't read at all. Copying from tiny closely-spaced print and old yellowed pages is one of the hazards of history-writing. (Editor's Note: Readers will be quick to notice that in 1959 every librarian did not have a photocopying machine!) Imagine this as vour office... f''m mm-' ..'??siBiilSe*''*'"' hnagine a career at sea... becommg an officer in the Canadian Q)ast Guard. If you are finishing Grade 12 plus 6 OAC's (Ontario), CEGEP (Quebec) or Grade 12 (other provinces) in your university preparatory program this year, if you excel at math and physics, and if you think big... Head for the freedom, the excitement and the diallenge of a sea-going career with the Canadian Coast Guard. I#l The four-year Canadian Coast Guard officer training plan offers: • Tuition-free training • A monthly allowance • Practical sea training • A modem, attractive campus in Sydney, with private rooms At last I was ready to begin writing. I had decided that it couldn't be a teen-age adventure story. The motives of the char? acters were too complex to be ignored or to be explained simply. It had to be a bi? ography for adults. For my own satisfac? tion, I wanted it to be not just the story of a man who was a dictator, but also a study of leadership and of the narrow line in a person's thought and conduct between a sense of public responsibility and ac? tive dictatorship. That seemed a universal and timeless problem. Gradually, a chapter a week, regularly scrutinized and appraised by Mary Barber, it began to take shape. Writing revealed • many more things [that I wanted to know--what colour were the stu? dents' gowns in King's College, Aberdeen, in 1812? What wild flowers might be in bloom in Cape Breton late in May? What would Pictou harbour look like as one sailed into it in the early fall of 1817? (Since I was a librarian I did the research myself; I didn't phone the refer? ence room.) By the summer I was discouraged; I still did not know enough about the McLeod family and the inner working of the community. I took a month off and went again to No? va Scotia, driv? ing this time, and taking my mother along for a holiday. In the Archives in Hali? fax I found much newly-processed material not available on my first visit. There was one ma? jor unanswered question--Why, when the settlers at St. Ann's were starving because of crop failures, did they not get help from John Munro, a powerful - • -??$ Please send ine mun* iiilormalJDn oi Ca; (xjilsI Guard (xillege: Canadian Coast Guard College CanadS
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