Friday, November 02, 2007

Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to offer this small tribute to one of the men whose history became my summer job, Thomas Chandler Haliburton. He was a complex man--a judge, a lawyer, a man who served in both the Nova Scotian provincial legislature as well as the British House of Commons, a wannabe aristocrat, a political writer, a historian, a drinker of fine port and a smoker of fine cigars, an amateur farmer, a racist, an elitist, and a lover of all kinds of stories.

His fame rests primarily on one character he went on to include in nearly half a dozen books: Sam Slick. A traveling Yankee who craftily sold clocks to rustic locals and mouthed off on every social and political issue of the day, Slick was a swaggering ladies man who said things that Haliburton couldn't admit to himself. In his day, he was as popular as Charles Dickens or Mark Twain, and he milked it for all it was worth.

Anyway, I worked in his house all summer. Some days we had dozens of visitors, some days we had only a few visitors, some days we had none at all. This is a song I wrote sitting in his grand dining room, and the images are taken from the internet and images I had access to while I worked there. If you're ever in Windor, Nova Scotia in the summer or early fall, stop in the Haliburton House Museum and I'll show you around.