HOOD, Robert Allison




Author Tags: 1900-1950, Cariboo, Fiction

A confirmed British chauvinist, Robert Hood wrote romantic potboilers of his era and published collections of terrible verse. His most ambitious project was an epic of the Pacific Coast, a romanticized verse-format history entitled Ballads of the Pacific Northwest: Its Discovery and Settlement, (Ryerson, 1946). Published in conjunction with Vancouver's Jubilee celebration, it contains a series of ballads about historical figures such as Chief Maquinna, John Jewitt, Captain George Vancouver, Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, Sacajawea, Walter Moberly and John A. "Cariboo" Cameron. Hood also wrote a collection of prose and poetry, By Shore and Trail in Stanley Park (McClelland & Stewart, 1929), subtitled "Legends and Reminiscences of Vancouver's Beauty-spot and Region of Romance, with Historical and Natural History Details."

Robert Allison Hood was born on March 20, 1880 at Cupar, Fife in Scotland. He came to California with his mother and brother in 1893. After graduating from the University of California in 1906, he came to Vancouver to work in a real estate and insurance. In his first novel, The Chivalry of Keith Leicester: A Romance of British Columbia (1918), Keith Leicester is a B.C. rancher who believes he is a misogynist. Marjorie, an English girl, arrives to work for a nearby rancher and soon elicits chivalry from the hard-as-nails rancher from Portlake, B.C. This tough rancher also harbours a deep admiration for the poetry of Pauline Johnson. Marjorie is mistaken for a jewel thief while staying at the Hotel Vancouver. Leicester comes to her defence and takes responsibility for, and custody of, Marjorie until the matter is cleared up. They paddle a canoe to Ferguson Point and recognize their mutual loneliness. Escorting Marjorie to Brockton Point on horseback, he explains at some length why Pauline Johnson is the Walter Scott of Vancouver. They rest at Ferguson Point. There Leicester tactfully professes his love and describes the harbour as “the Sunset Doorway of the Dominion.” All ends happily when Marjorie turns out to be independently wealthy. The couple is prepared to heroically forego a comfortable life in England in favour of a much less lucrative but richer life in the West. Hood’s other B.C. novel is The Quest of Alistair (1921). His third novel, The Case of Kinnear (1942), is set in Scotland.

BOOKS:

The Chivalry of Keith Leicester: A Romance of British Columbia (McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1918).

The Quest of Alistair (McClelland & Stewart, 1921).

By Shore and Trail in Stanley Park (McClelland & Stewart, 1929).

The Case of Kinnear (Macmillan, 1942).

Ballads of the Pacific Northwest: Its Discovery and Settlement (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1946).

Vignettes of Vancouver and Some Vagrant Verses (Vancouver: Education Services Ltd., 1954).

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2005] "Fiction" "1900-1950" "Stanley Park"