Alan H. Ross, Letter to Blodwen Davies, June 1, 1930

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
June 1st 1930

[ Spring Lake (Rocks and Water) ]

Spring Lake (Rocks and Water), Tom Thomson, 1916, Tom Thomson Art Gallery Permanent Collection, Oil on board. 21.5 x 27 cm. Purchased by the Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association from the Estate of Tom Thomson, gift to the Gallery, 1967. This image is very similar to a photograph taken by Thomson of the Scarborough bluffs, now in the Tom Thomson fonds of the Library and Archives Canada

Blodwen Davies


Dear Miss Davies: –

[...] Tom and I were raised within two miles of each other he a mile south of Leith and I mile North. We went to school together for about 8 years, from 1882 or ’83 until 1890 [...]

I have been with him on several occasions when I am now sorry to say that neither of us was very sober, but it is in such times men exchange real confidences and it was on one such occasion that I discovered how deeply sensitive he was and how he resented anything like public ridicule. […] I remember one night in 1901, in Meaford, when he embosomed himself, lamenting his lack of success in life in terms that rather astonished me. I began to think then that he realized his powers and that he also had secret ambitions. But one never knows. […]

I remember well, too, one occasion in October of 1898 when Tom and I both had the narrowest possible escape of drowning. It was at Vail’s Point, during the trout trolling season there, and for about an hour our lives were not worth five minutes purchase – but it is a long story. […] About 50 yards from shore, [...] our boat swung into the trough and over we went, lines, oars, lunch basket, fish, fishing tackle – everything – all rolled up on the beach on the big combers that were sweeping in, while we were wading to dry footing up to our waists in water. My brother Dave and two others were there waiting for us and they received us as though we returned from the dead. We had pulled for about 4 miles through one of the worst blows I ever saw on Georgian Bay, in an 12 foot skiff, and I noticed at the time that Tom, who was rowing in the bow, never once spoke. He never would speak about such things, even afterwards, but I have always noticed that that kind do the most serious thinking.


I am,
Alan H. Ross

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Bibliotheque et Archives Canada, MG30 D38 'Blodwen Davies fond', Vol. 11, Alan H. Ross, Letter to Blodwen Davies, June 1, 1930. Notes: Original document withdrawn from circulation. Copy available on microfilm C-4579

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