Wallace, the Webley and the Fearsome Hound

The more-or-less true stories behind the novelette “The Webley”

The main street of Harriston, Ontario

“The Webley” is the last story in Monstrous Affections, and fittingly, it’s the most personal. Which is not to say this story happened to me (hey, I’m not that old!) and it’s not to say that it happened to anybody (hey, fiction writers are liars!). But it came out of some conversations I had (and set to video) with my father and uncle (both since passed), about a scandalous, fast-living branch of the Nickle family that high-tailed it out of western Ontario farm country around the time of the Second World War, and settled in Texas and eventually Louisiana.

The Nickles of these stories were utterly unlike the Nickles I’ve come to know all my life. They were fiercely religious; they knew their way around a dance hall and a boxing ring; they weren’t above filching a sidearm from their betters when the Hun was at the gate or warning their poaching parishoners when the law was coming in on the next train.  

The stories  percolated around in my head, and eventually came together in “The Webley,” which you can read in Monstrous Affections. Before I wrote that, however, I gathered the tales exactly as told by Lawrence and Graham Nickle, in three video interviews. 

They are here, for what they are worth.

Legends of the Ontario Nickles, Part I

Legends of the Ontario Nickles Part II

Legends of the Ontario Nickles Part III