By Joyce Barkhouse
"Twelve months in anyplace, my pal, is sort 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, no longer dreaming that a long time later Sable Island -- that "hell in the world" -- would supply a romantic historical past for one among his maximum novels, The Nymph and the Lamp.
Traumatized via the horror of the good Halifax Explosion of 1917, in a number of months through the loss of life of his father in conflict in a foreign country, Tom used to be compelled to depart college on the age of fourteen.
This short account of his existence tells of his early adventures and of the way he grew to become one in all Canada's most famous storytellers.
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Additional info for A Name for Himself. A Biography of Thomas Head Raddall
But Tom wouldn’t. Right then he vowed he would never spend another year of his life in isolation like that on Sable Island. He was young, and he had hardly ever had a chance to enjoy the company of his peers. He could not know that the day would come when he would long to shut himself off from the world, to be free of the nagging duties of family life, so that he could escape into the world of his imagination and live only with the people of his own creation. And yet the seed of his ambition to become a great writer had already been planted in his unconscious mind.
He began to feel a kinship with nature which brought relief to his young, troubled soul. For the rest of his life, he would find peace and comfort whenever he could spend time by himself—in a cabin by the sea, canoeing on a lake or tramping through the wilderness. But during the months he was forced to live in exile—often full of anger and self-pity—he never dreamed that he would look back with a certain nostalgia to that period of his life. The day before he left, he wrote a gleeful verse: FAREWELL TO SABLE ISLAND Twelve months in any place, my friends, is quite a weary while, And seems more like a century when spent on Sable Isle.
H. Raddall, DSO, had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel overseas, but through neglect this rank had not been recorded at the time. Later, when the error was corrected, his widow would receive an additional few dollars. But, as Tom said: Mother found herself in a frightening position in that last autumn of the War. Rent, food, clothing, fuel, everything necessary for existence had rocketed since the War began, and now the cost was climbing faster than ever… Father’s cash savings had been pitifully small… Her one hope was to return to England, where her Canadian pension dollars would buy more, but while the War lasted (this) was impossible….