Dorothy Stone, Recollections offered to William Little, [1969?]


Thomson, it seems, used to have his meals at Mowat Lodge – run by Shannon Fraser – and on his return from a morning or afternoon session of painting he would toss the wooden panels onto the woodpile. Fraser rescued these paintings and I remember seeing the walls of Mowat Lodge filled with them – quite a collection.

[...] Another example of Tom’s pride was that he would never admit if he were broke or hungry and times he would land in on Beatty at the Studio Building straight off the evening train from the North. Beatty would ask if he had had any supper – “of course he had!” So Beatty would remark that he had been working past his meal time and would Thomson keep him company while he went out for a bite and they would go down to Bloor and Yonge and have a couple of big steaks and Thomson’s pride was saved.

Beatty also told me that Thomson wanted to join up in the First War but that Dr. MacCallum told him that he was of more value to Canada as an artist and that if Thomson attempted to enlist he would certify him as physically unfit.

But the most fascinating of all the reminiscences took place late in September 1931 between Beatty and Shan Fraser at the hotel at Kearney which Fraser took over after Mowat Lodge (I was told) burned down. A group of art students went to Kearney for the autumn colour and Beatty turned up. It was frosty at night and we gathered after supper many times while Beatty and Fraser hoisted a few, and the warmth, inside and out, some well chosen questions and a fascinated audience was enough to set them off.

[...] I can see them yet in the glow of the firelight chuckling and exchanging knowing glances and saying something to the effect that “we knew where he wanted to stay and we saw to it that he stayed there.”

So since 1931 it has been my belief that the casket which went to Leith was not weighted with a human body. […]

Source: William T. Little, "Dorothy Stone's recollections," in , ed, The Tom Thomson Mystery (Toronto: Toronto, 1970), 106-109

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