He was christened Donald Percival McKenzie, but his mother preferred to call him Percival. The father, however insisted on the “Donald” and demanded that it be given priority over whatever appellation the mother might desire to add to the rare old Highland surname of McKenzie.
Captain McKenzie received the news of his son’s arrival into the world just as his ship was leaving the coaling station at Cape Verde Islands, but his wife’s suggestion of “Percival” caused him to hold the ship to an anchor while he dashed off a letter protesting against the tacking of such a namby-pamby name on to a son of his. “‘Donald’ is the name I have set my heart on, Janet, and I won’t have the name of McKenzie defiled by any such English designation as ‘Percival’. I won’t have any Percy McKenzies in my family.” Then, to conciliate his wife, who, he felt, deserved some consideration, he added, “You may call him Percival also if you’ve set your mind on it, but remember, Donald comes first!” So Donald Percival McKenzie it was, and thus it is inscribed in the Register of Births for the City of Glasgow, in the County of Lanark, Scotland, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-six.
Though registered thus by the laws of church and state and in the mind of the father, yet the mother won her desire for a time and omitted the “Donald” when addressing, or referring to, her son. It was only during Captain McKenzie’s brief home visits between voyages that young Donald Percival discovered that he had another appellation which he was expected to answer to. This discovery became a most pleasing one when the boy advanced to those years of discretion when he might fraternize with his fellows on the aristocratic “Terrace”