An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Arsonist's Guide - burning lady memoirizer, letters, practical advice, authors' homes


Dear Mr. Pulsifer,

I read in the newspaper about what you did to Miss Dickinson's house there in Amherst. She was a lovely woman, by all accounts. Unassuming. Chaste. A woman content to live in her parents' home for all her days, as am I. But no doubt you had your reasons for burning down her house, just as I have reasons for wanting you to burn down Edith Wharton's house.

I live next door to the house. Perhaps you know it by its nickname: The Mount. The name was Mrs. Wharton's idea, of course. She was the sort of woman who would name her own house. Somewhat of a whiner, too. Always going on about her husband, how he couldn't satisfy her. Until she left him for someone who could. The Mount, indeed.

But that is not the reason I want you to burn down her house. The tourists who visit there show no respect. They park in front of my mailbox, making it most difficult for me to get my mail. I am an old woman. I've never married: my parents, my siblings, most of my friends are gone. My mail is all I have. I've repeatedly asked the people who manage the Edith Wharton House to please make sure their patrons do not park in front of my mailbox. They have assured me they will put a stop to it, but they have not. There is a car parked there right now. So I turn to you.

I am not without means, and am prepared to reward you for your efforts. I hope I may hear from you soonest.


Beatrice Hutchins
Lenox, MA

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