Have you ever found yourself in a bad mood and wished you had a place where you could go to get away from everyone? Perhaps you live with someone who is prone to occasional bouts of stinkin’ thinkin’, and you have longed for somewhere to send that disagreeable person until there is a change of mood. If either of those situations describes you, it might be time to consider investing in a growlery.
“I was passing through the passages on my return with my basket of keys on my arm, when Mr. Jarndyce called me into a small room next to his bedchamber, which I found to be in part a little library of books and papers, and in part quite a little museum of his boots and shoes, and hat-boxes.
Sit down, my dear, said Mr. Jarndyce. This, you must know, is the growlery. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here.
You must be here very seldom, sir, said I.
O, you don’t know me! he returned. When I am deceived or disappointed in the wind, and it’s Easterly, I take refuge here. The Growlery is the best used room in the house. You are not aware of half my humours yet.” (Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Retrieved from http://www.online-literature.com/dickens/bleakhouse/9/)
While a growlery is, by definition, intended to be a place of solitude, there is one near Washington, D.C. that has been visited by thousands. It was built by Frederick Douglass as a stand-alone building outside his home at Cedar Hill. When Douglass was feeling irritable, he retreated to the small stone cabin, consisting of a single room, fireplace, desk, stool, and couch. He emerged from his self-imposed seclusion when he felt better equipped to deal with life’s problems. He called it his growlery, but 21st-century observers would likely call it a “Man Cave.”
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