I don’t think Thoreau gets enough credit for his sense of humor. He could be a pretty funny guy, in a deadpan sort of way, and was even willing to poke fun at himself, as in this description of his little house at Walden Pond:
“One inconvenience I sometimes experienced in so small a house, the difficulty of getting to a sufficient distance from my guest when we began to utter the big thoughts in big words. You want room for your thoughts to get into sailing trim and run a course or two before they make their port. The bullet of your thought must have overcome its lateral and ricochet motion and fallen into its last and steady course before it reaches the ear of the hearer, else it may plow out again through the side of his head. Also, our sentences wanted room to unfold and form their columns in the interval… As the conversation began to assume a loftier and grander tone, we gradually shoved our chairs farther apart till they touched the wall in opposite corners, and then commonly there was not room enough.”
Can’t you just see these two guys, getting more and more wound up with their grand ideas? Henry is going to make a serious point (more about that next time) but I’m not convinced that he always took himself as seriously as we might assume.
(About “A Year in Walden”)