Carl was born in October 1897 in Maywater, Prince Edward Island, to Cecilia and John Meredith as their youngest child and inherited mother's own dark blue eyes. He was raised there along with his older siblings, Jerry, Faith and Una.
Life in Glen St. MaryEdit
Carl's main interest was in creatures of all sorts. He spent much of his childhood studying the habits of ants, and often had various animal companions in his pockets. Jerry refused to share a bed with him because of his pets. Carl brought spiders to the supper table, frogs to Sunday School, and lizards to bed. When asked where he would like to be buried, Carl replied that he wouldn't like to be buried at all, but would prefer to be buried in the ant bed if necessity arose.
Carl survived several illnesses as a child, including a very serious bout of double pneumonia in July 1907 caused by exposure when he was made to spend a rainy night in the Methodist graveyard as punishment for cowardice.
The Good Conduct Club sometimes punished Carl for his perceived lapses in masculinity. When Carl, Faith, and Una fled from Henry Warren's ghost, Jerry judged Carl most at fault, both because he ran first and because "he was a boy, so he should have stood his ground to protect you girls, whatever the danger was." On another occasion, Carl was punished by being made to wear Una's dress.
In August of 1907, John Meredith attempted to punish Carl by whipping him, but was unable to bring himself to do so.
In childhood, Carl was good friends with Rilla Blythe. She did not mind most of his animal companions, and the two of them would sometimes run off on a "moon-spree" to Rainbow Valley together. They were sometimes teased for their friendship and made a solemn vow never to marry one another.
Queen's Academy Edit
Carl attended Queen's Academy during the 1913-4 year, graduating with a teacher's license in the spring of 1914. He taught at the Harbour Head school for the 1914-5 school year.
World War IEdit
When the war first broke out, Carl was too young to enlist. Carl enlisted in the army on his eighteenth birthday, in 1915, and left in October of the same year.
In August of 1918, Carl was "slightly wounded"--according to him-- and sent to the hospital. A few days later the Meredith family found out that Carl had been wounded in his right eye and had lost his sight in it.
Carl returned home before Christmas 1918. In her diary, Rilla reported that Carl expected to go to college in the fall of 1919.
- "He knew the secrets of bugs and had a sort of freemasonry with bees and beetles. Una never liked to sit near him because she never knew what uncanny creature might be secreted about him. Jerry refused to sleep with him because Carl had once taken a young garter snake to bed with him; so Carl slept in his old cot, which was so short that he could never stretch out, and had strange bed-fellows."
- —Rainbow Valley, Chapter 4
In August 1914, Carl escorted Miranda Pryor to the dance at the Four Winds lighthouse "more to torment Joe Milgrave than for any other reason."
- "Carl had the clear, bright, dark-blue eyes, fearless and direct, of his dead mother, and her brown hair with its glints of gold."
- —Rainbow Valley, Chapter 4
Thomas is a male given name of Aramaic origin and means twin. Carlyle is a male given name of Old English origin and means fort at Luguvalium.
- Carl is a male given name of Old German origin, version of Karl which means free man.
Carl Meredith is named for Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), an influential Scottish philosopher and author.