Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shy Mr. H

Who's that trying to stay out of sight behind a rock?
It's Mr. Hunter, acting out a story he heard about Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Paul Auster describing Nathaniel Hawthorne in Auster's introduction
"The shyest and most reclusive of men, known for his habit of hiding behind rocks and trees to avoid talking to people he knew, Hawthorne largely kept to himself during his stint in the Berkshires, avoiding the social activities of the local gentry and appearing in town only to collect his mail at the post office and return home.  Solitude was his natural element, and considering the circumstances of his life until his early thirties, it was remarkable that he had married at all."
Hawthorne had always seemed like a more imposing figure when I'd read his work in school.  Then I read Auster's description of how Mr. H-as-in-Hawthorne was apparently mortified to run into people, and I felt such sympathy, such a kinship.

In 2003, Mr. Hunter and his admittedly shy traveling companion stopped on the grounds of Tanglewood to check out the rebuilt Little Red House.  The original Little Red House is where Nathaniel Hawthorne lived from 1850 to 1851 and where he wrote The House of the Seven Gables.  The rebuilt house now contains practice rooms for music students at Tanglewood.

Mr. Hunter peeks out to ask, "Are they gone?!"

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Little Red House"
Lenox, Massachusetts
September 2003

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