An Autobiography 1

, , 1945


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SKU: 3765. Category: . Tag: .

Product Description

two volume original typescript, inscribed by the author with accompanying letters from friends and family, circa 1945. The unpublished memoirs of a man who worked as a commercial traveller in Scotland. From the collection of Charles Benson, with his bookplate to the front pastedown of each volume. Both are firmly bound in slightly bowed maroon cloth boards, which are slightly faded with bumping and minor tears. The pages are slightly toned, foxed and marked. The two volumes are non-chronological, the second volume being comprised of “further reminiscences”, but even within the volumes the memoirs tend to centre helpfully upon themes and anecdotes with clear headings rather than being concerned to narrate the entire life story, consequently making for an entertaining and informative read. Each volume has a handy index to the rear. Volume I has a mention of early flight: “It was on July 25th, 1911, that I saw an aeroplane for the first time. I was playing golf with the late Robert Thomson, chemist, of Elgin, on Blackford Hill, when an aeroplane, piloted by Gustav Boehm, passed closely over our heads. He was flying in the Daily Mail £10,000 competition.”. There is much about the early days of cycling, including a six page description of one trip from Inverness to Fort William, also entertaining passages such as: “The fact was, I had arranged a cycle spin with a friend (a lady). A lady cyclist in those days was rather uncommon, but a lady cycling on a Sunday made people stop in their tracks and stare.”. There is also much on seafaring, yachting and fishing activities; four pages on “Deafness” and three pages on “identification”, devoted to variously amusing or awkward examples of Gibb’s inability to recall faces. There are sections devoted to WW1, including an account of a German Zeppelin raid on Edinburgh on April 2nd, 1916: “I never saw “the floor of heaven” look more beautiful. My wife and I had a walk along our farm road. “A fine night for a Zep raid”, I remarked. We were seated in our dining room at 9pm, when our electric lights were suddenly reduced to a dull glow – a warning the equivalent to our modern syren. […] Time hung heavily and when eleven o’clock arrived, I proceeded to a back bedroom window where a vista of the greater part of Edinburgh is available. I pulled aside the blind and just at that instant, bang-flash went the first bomb!….”. Volume II finishes with several pages devoted to WW2. An entertaining, varied and unique account of Scottish life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.