By Joyce Barkhouse
"Twelve months in anyplace, my good friend, is kind of a weary whereas And turns out extra like a century while lived on Sable Isle ..."
So wrote Thomas Raddall on the age of eighteen, now not dreaming that a long time later Sable Island -- that "hell in the world" -- would supply a romantic historical past for considered one of his maximum novels, The Nymph and the Lamp.
Traumatized through the horror of the nice Halifax Explosion of 1917, in a couple of months by way of the demise of his father in conflict abroad, Tom used to be compelled to depart institution on the age of fourteen.
This short account of his existence tells of his early adventures and of the way he turned considered one of Canada's most famed storytellers.
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Extra resources for A Name for Himself. A Biography of Thomas Head Raddall
Tom was no sissy. He had a quick temper and hard fists when he was seething with anger and resentment. It was useless for him to complain to his inflexible father, so some of the bullies learned to respect his ability to fight his own battles against heavy odds. Tom hated the whole music thing. In addition to the lessons at Miss Hoyt’s, he had to spend an hour practising at home every afternoon or evening when his friends were out having fun. And it was all so useless. ” Nellie loved to get dressed up in frilly gowns and glide up to the platform where she performed flawlessly and all the ladies smiled approval and applauded enthusiastically.
Thomas Head Raddall for his generosity and patience in helping to prepare this brief story of his life. Special thanks also to Dr. Charles Armour, University Archivist, Dalhousie University. CHAPTER 1 The Great Explosion To fourteen-year-old Thomas Raddall the fateful morning of the sixth of December, 1917, began like any other day. He sat down to a breakfast of hot oatmeal porridge with his mother and his little sister, Winifred. The baby, Hilda, was in her high chair and his older sister, Nellie, was upstairs in bed with a bad cold.
He went, and he endured, as was his nature. Sable Island was a noisy place. Even on calm days there was the constant booming of breakers, and when a storm sprang up the sounds were frightening. It was during such storms that the many ghosts of Sable came alive and wandered through the tumult. One was that of a French nobleman whose wife had been banished to the island by Henry IV because she had refused to become his mistress. Her husband had followed her only to discover that she was dead. He soon died of a broken heart, but it was said that often his ghost could be seen riding a big white horse through fog or foam, while on dark nights he could be heard muttering curses against the French king.