A few years ago, there was a PBS reality show called Colonial House, which is a historical experiment to see if a group of modern day contestants could survive in a 1628 setting. For those of you unfamiliar with Colonial House, think of it as Survivor except no one wins a million dollars but what you do get is 5 months of backbreaking labor and no shower. It’s…ah…educational.
I tuned in because (do I really have to say it again?) it reminds me of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I’m glad I did because there was a contestant on the show that resembles Nat Eaton. His name is Dominic Muir; he’s from England. Granted, at 26 at the time of taping, he appears much older than my image of Nat Eaton, but all things considered, he has Nat Eaton potential. At the very least, he strikes a dashing figure in his Puritan ensemble, a hard outfit to pull off.
For anyone who has read the book, I would just like to point out that it never states Nat Eaton’s exact age. There are references that he’s “young,” but no solid numbers. I’ve always assumed Nat Eaton is 19 because he sounds more mature than Kit Tyler, 16. Moreover, Kit’s other suitor, William Ashby, is 19, so in order for Nat to be a worthy competitor for Kit’s hand, he has to be 19 too. Now, I realize that there were no existing concepts of “legal age” in the 17th century and for all we know, no one would blink an eye if Kit Tyler married a 60 year old. But my modern sensibilities tells me that if Nat Eaton was say, in his 20′s, he would be too old to date a 16 year old.
Before I break out the age calculator, I think it best to stop there and leave you with images.
1) Dominic Muir on board a colonial ship.
2) Dominic Muir on board the same ship with the other Puritans.
3) He might be dressed in modern day clothes, but here he is, looking very J. Crew, performing some woodwork. Remember Nat Eaton’s shirtless firewood chopping scene?
Do you see the Nat Eaton potential?
If you have your own image of Nat Eaton and it is completely different from my version, I would love to hear about it!