By Joyce Barkhouse
"Twelve months in anyplace, my good friend, is kind of a weary whereas And turns out extra like a century whilst lived on Sable Isle ..."
So wrote Thomas Raddall on the age of eighteen, no longer dreaming that decades later Sable Island -- that "hell on the earth" -- would supply a romantic historical past for one in every of his maximum novels, The Nymph and the Lamp.
Traumatized through the horror of the good Halifax Explosion of 1917, in a number of months by way of the loss of life of his father in conflict abroad, Tom was once compelled to go away institution on the age of fourteen.
This short account of his lifestyles tells of his early adventures and of the way he grew to become one in all Canada's most famed storytellers.
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Extra resources for A Name for Himself. A Biography of Thomas Head Raddall
The outlook was depressing. He promised himself he would endure it for one year — the same length of time he had served on Sable Island — and not one day more. In fact he was to stay near the Mersey for the rest of his life. It was not for love of his work as a clerk at the MacLeod Company at Milton, a village at the edge of the forest, about one hundred sixty kilometres west of Halifax, that he remained. Initially it was because he fell in love with the Nova Scotia wilderness. (Courtesy Dalhousie University Archives, Thomas Raddall Papers) Fishing became a favourite way for Thomas Raddall to unwind.
He went inside. The fee for the wireless course at the School of Telegraphy was eighty dollars. Tom ran home and begged his mother to let him take the course. She was appalled. Eighty dollars! It might as well have been eighty thousand. It would take nearly all her savings. She read the brochure he had brought home, and noted at once that the minimum age for a first-class, sea-going certificate was eighteen. Tom was not yet fifteen. It was out of the question. But Tom was wildly enthusiastic. He would not give in.
Initially it was because he fell in love with the Nova Scotia wilderness. (Courtesy Dalhousie University Archives, Thomas Raddall Papers) Fishing became a favourite way for Thomas Raddall to unwind. For all his childhood delight in tales of the wild West, Tom had never been in the deep forest before. And for all his desire to emulate his father as a crack sharpshooter, he had never shot anything other than wild ducks on Sable Island. 22 rifle and a cheap metal fishing-rod. They proved to be his keys to paradise.