Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Frankenstein Sundae, 226

more about the book concerning Mary Shelley, John Howard Payne, and Washington Irving ...
The book—both copies of it—is a beauty to look at. The paper is thick and creamy and seems roughly trimmed at the edges; there are engravings of the principals involved in the triangle, each image covered with a piece of translucent lift-off tissue bearing, in red type, the identifying name of the person. One image shows The Payne Cottage of East Hampton, Long Island. This was one of the few Mary Shelley sites in the United States that I had not visited, and this very morning (May 13, 2016) I was feeling somewhat … inadequate about that egregious failure.

And then … redemption! Looking on Google for images of the house (still standing, a museum), I discovered a link to a 2005 story in a local newspaper, a story that says this: The report, prepared for the East Hampton Village Board by Robert Hefner, a historic preservation consultant, confirms once and for all that not only was Payne not born in this saltbox house on James Lane, but neither he nor his parents or grandparents ever lived there.[1] link to story about the Payne cottage-that-isn't
Oh, vindication! Something in the air, something in the stars, something buzzed to me by a bee—something told me I should not go to East Hampton, Long Island, to see the home of the man who had loved Mary Shelley, who had served as an intermediary for her with Washington Irving. I just knew it.
I was just lucky.
But I’d still love to see that house—and not just to gloat.

[1] Carissa Katz, “Home, Sweet Home—John Howard Payne May Have Slept Here, but Not for Very Long” (East Hampton Star, 30 December 2005), online. (See link above.)

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