Copyright
Frederick M. Coffin Fanny Fern.

Fern leaves from Fanny's port-folio, Volume 1 online

. (page 1 of 19)
Online LibraryFrederick M. Coffin Fanny FernFern leaves from Fanny's port-folio, Volume 1 → online text (page 1 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|



Digitized byCjOOQlC



Digitized byCjOOQlC



Digitized byCjOOQlC



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Digitized byCjOOQlC



'Fi^



•h^



I

T-



V




Digitized byCjOOQlC



Digitized by VjOOQIC



TWENTY-SECOND THOUSAND.



rmrs poet-folio.



' \ #4



I omiQTKAL imuiam vt wsed, u. oarwrn



AUBURK:

DSBBY AND MTLLEB.

BUFFALO:

DSBBT, OBTON AND MULLIOAH.

CINCINNATI:

HBNBY W. DEBBY.

1858.



Digitized by



Google



Entered aocordins to Act of CSongress, in the year one thousand eight hundred md
flfty-ihree, hj

DSBBT AND MiLLSB,

In the Olerk^ Office of the District Court of the Northern District of New-Youfc.






Digitized byCjOOQlC



TO

ONE WHO HAS "GONE BEPOBB,**

®l)i0 Book

IS TEARFULLY AND AFFBOTIONATILT



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Digitized byCjOOQlC



PREFACE.



I NEYEB had the slightest intention of writing a
book. Had snch a thought entered my mind, I
shoxdd not long have entertained it It would hare
seemed presumptuous. What ! /, Fanny Fern, write
a book ? I never could have believed it possible.

How, then, came the book to be written ? some one
may ask. Well, that 's just what puzzles me. I can
only answer in the dialect of the immortal " Topsy,"
" I 'spect it growed !" And, such as it is, it must go
forth; for "what is written, is written,^^ and — ster-
eotyped.

So, dear readers (for I certainly number some
warm, firiendly hearts among you), here is my book,
which I sincerely wish were worthier of your regard.
"But I can only offer you a few " Fern leaves," gath-
ered at random, in shady spots, where sunbeams sel-
dom play, and which I little thought ever to press
for your keeping.

Many of the articles submitted were written for



Digitized byCjOOQlC



TI PBBTAOB.

and published in the Boston Olive Branch, Boston
True Flag, and the New York Musical World and
Times, while many are now here published for the
first time.

Some of the articles are sad, some are gay ; each
is independent of all the others, and the work is
consequently disconnected and fragmentary; but, if
the reader will imagine me peeping over his shoulder,
quite happy should he pay me the impromptu com-
pliment of a smile or a tear, it is possible we may
come to a good understanding by the time the book
shall have been perused.

Fanny Fern.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



CONTENTS.



'* The StiUSmaU Voice," U

Look on this Picture, and then on that, 16

The Widow's Trials, 17

My Little Sunbeam, 25

Self-Couquest, 26

"Our Hatty," 83

Two in Heaven, 40

" Summer Days;" or. The Tonng Wife's Affliction, .... 41

Comfort for the Widow, 47

Thorns for the Bose, 49

Thanksgiving Story, d9

Summer Friends ; or. Will is Might, 61

" Nil Desperandum," 67

CecileGrey, 69

Childhood's Trust, 74

EliseDeVaux, 75

The Wail of a Broken Heart, 81

Mary Lee, 83

A Talk about Babies, 89

Elsie's First Trial, 91

A Night-Watch with a Dead In£mt, 98

A Practical Blue-Stocking, 100

The Little Pauper, 105

£<lith May ; or. The Mistake of a Life-Time, 108

Mabel's Soliloquy, 114

How Husbands may Rule, 116

Little Charley, 120

The Lost and the Living, • . . 1^



Digitized by VjOOQIC



8 00MT1NT8.

On a UtUa Child who had crept before a LooUnx-GlMi that

was left apon the Sidewalk, 126

Kitty's BeeoWe, 128

Woman, 188

The Passionate Father, 185

The Partial Mother, 189

The Ball-Boom and the Nursery, 141

AU'sWeU, 146

How Woman Loves, 149

A Mother's Soliloquy, 157

The Invalid Wife, 159

The Stray Lamb, 168

Lena May ; or. Darkness and Light, 166

Thoughts Bom of a Caress, 178

A Chapter on Literary Women, 175

He who has most of Heart, 180

Dark Days, 182

Night, 186

ChUdren's Bights, 188

Sorrow's Teachings, 192

« An Infidel Mother," 194

Little CharUe, the Child-Angel, 197

The Cross and the Crown, 202

LiUa, the Orphan, 204

Observing the Sabbath, 21d

The Prophet's Chamber, 214

Lilies of the YaUey, 219

Grandfather Glen, 221

The Widow's Prayer, 227

The Step-Mother, 280

A Word to Mothers, 284

The Test of Love, 236

Child-Life, 240

••The Old House," .243

"Seeing the Folly of it," . . 246

The Transplanted Idly, 250

No Fiction, 257

Inddent at Mount Aubum» 260



Digitized byCjOOQlC



00NT1NT8. 9

A Sunda J Morning Solfloqxi J, 268

litUeAllie, 266

The Flirt ; or, the Un&ithM Lover, 271

Fern Glen, 277

Minnie, 282

Sweet-Briar Farm, 284

"TheAngel-CMld,'* 290

Not a " Model Minister," 293

" Merry Christmas ! — Happj Christmas I " 296

Leta, 298

The Model Step-Mother, 801

A Page from a Woman's Heart ; or. Female Heroism, . • . 808

little May, 811



PART II.

Nicodemns Ney, 816

Advice to Ladies, 817

The Model Widow, 820

The Model Widower, 822

The Tear of a Wife, 824

Editors, 826

Bachelor Housekeeping, 829

Borrowed Light, 881

Mistaken Philanthropy, 838

The Model Minister, 886

The Weaker Vessel, 837

A Tempest in a Thimble, 889

The Quiet Mr. Smith, 841

Prudence Prim, 843

Men's Dickeys never fit exactly, 846

A litUe Bunker HUI, 846

So^loquy of Rev. Mr. Parish, 848

Tim Treadwell, 860

The Model Lady, 861

Important for Married Men, 862

Mr. Clapp's Soliloquy, 864

A*



Digitized byCjOOQlC



10 OONTBNTS.

Plot

What Mrs. Smith said, « 865

ETerybody's Vacation except Editors^ 857

Old Jeremiah ; or, Sonny Days, • • • 859

"IcanV* 862

A Chapter on Clergymen, 864

Uncle Jabe, 367

An Interesting Husband, 869

Indulgent Husbands, 873

A Fern Soliloquy, 875

Aunt Hetty on Matrimony, • • • . 877

Was n*t you caught Napping ? 880

A Lady on Money Matters, 882

Mrs. Croaker, 884

Te the Empress Eugenia, 886

Empress Eugenia's Maids of Honor, 889

Fast Day, 891

The Bore of the Sanctum, 892

Owls kill Hummmg-Birds, 897

« The Best of Men haye their Failings," 899



Digitized byCjOOQlC



"THE STILL SMALL VOICE."

PooB, tired little Frank ! He had gazed at that stereo-
typed street panorama, till his eyelids were drooping with
weariness. Omnibuses, carts, cabs, wheelbarrows, men,
women, horses, and children ; the same old story. There
is a little beggar-boy driving hoop. Franky never drives
hoop ; — no, he is dressed too nicely for that. Once in a
while he takes the air ; but Peter the serving-man, or
Bridget the nurse, holds his hand very tightly, lest he
should soil his embroidered &ock. Now little Frank
changes &om one foot to the other, and then he creeps
up to his young mamma, who lies half-buried in those
satin cushions, reading the last new novel, and lays his
hand on her soft curls ; but she shakes him off with an
impatient " Don't Franky ;" and he creeps back again to
the window.

There winds a funeral slowly past. How sad the
mourners look, clad in sable, with their handkerchiefs to
their eyes ! It is a child's ^eral, too ; for there is no
hearse, and the black pall floats from the first carriage
window, like a signal of distress. A sudden thought
itrikes Franky, — the tears spring to his eyes, and



Digitized by VjOOQIC



12 "THB 8TILL SMALL TOIOB."

creeping again to his mother's side, he says, " Mamma,
must J die, too?"

The young mother says, abstractedly, without raising
her blue eyes from the novel she is reading, " What did
you say, Frank ? "

" Mamma, must I die, too ? "

" Yes — no ! What an odd question ! Pull the bell,
Charley. Here, Peter, take Frank up stairs to the nurs-
ery, and coax Bruno along to play tricks for him ;" and
Frank's mamma settles herself down again upon her
luxurious cushions.

The room is very quiet, now that Franky is banished ;
nobody is in it but herself and the canary. Her position
is quite easy ; her favorite book between her fingers, —
why not yield herself again to the author's witching
spell ? Why do the words, " Must I die, too," stare at
her from every page ? They were but a child's words.
She is childish to heed them ; and she rises, lays aside
the book, and sweeps her white hand across her harp-
strings, while her rich voice floats musically upon the
air. One stanza only she sings, then her hands fall by
her side ; for still that little, plaintive voice keeps ring-
ing in her ear, " Must I die, too, mamma ? "

Death ! — why, it is a thing she has never thought of;
— and she walks up to the long mirror. Death for her,
with that beaming eye, and scarlet lip, and rosy cheek,
and sonny tress, and rounded limb, and springing step ?



Digitized by VjOOQIC



«<THB STILL SMALL TOICB." 13

Death for her, with broad lands, and fail ooffers, and the
world of fashion at her feet ? Death for her, with the
love of that princely husband, who covets eren the kiss
of the breeze as it &ns her white brow ? Darkness,
decay — oblivion? (No, not . oblivion ! There is a fii-
tore, but she has never looked into it.)



" Well, which is it, my pet, the opera, the concert, or
Madame B.'s soirSe ? I am yours to command."

"Neither, I believe, Walter. I am out of tune to-
night; or, as Madame B. would say, < Vaporish;' so I
shall inflict myself on nobody. But — "

" 0, I beg your pardon, Mrs. B.ose; I am fond of a
merry face, too. Smile, now, or I 'm off to the club, or
the billiard room; or, as husbands say when they are
'hard up' for an excuse, I have *a business engage-
ment' What ! a tear ? What grief can you have, little
Rose?"

" You know, Walter, what a strange child our Frank
is. Well, he asked me such an odd, old-&shioned ques-
tion to-day, * Must I die, too, nuunma ? ' in that little flute-
like voice of his, and it set me thinking, that 's all. I
can't rid myself of it ; and, dear Walter," said she, lay-
ing her tearful cheek upon his shoulder, " I don't know
that I ought to try."

«( 0, nonsense, Eose ! " said the gay husband, " don't



Digitized by VjOOQIC



14 "THE STILL SMALL VOICE."

turn Methodist, if you love me. Aunt Charity has relig-
ion enough for the whole nation. You can't ask her
which way the wind is, but you have a description of
* Canaan.' Religion is well enojugh for priests; it is
their stock in trade ; — well enough for children and old
people ; — well enough for ancient virgins, who like vestry
meetings to pass away a long evening; but for yow,
Kose, the very queen of love and beauty, in the first
flush of youth and health — pshaw! Call Camille to
arrange your hair, and let 's to the opera. Time enough,
my pet, to think of religion, when you see your first gray
hair."

Say you so, man of the sinewy limb and flashing eye ?
See ! — up Calvary's rugged steep a slender form bends
wearily beneath its heavy cross ! That sinlesa side,
those hands, those feet are pierced — for you. Tortured,
athirst, faint, agonized, — the dark cloud hiding the
Father's face, — that mournful wail rings out on the still
air, " My God ! my God ! why hast thou forsaken me ? "

The dregs of life, our offering for all this priceless
love, O sinless Son of Gt)d ! The palsied hand, and
clouded brain, and stammering tongue, and leaden foot
of age, thy trophies ? God forbid ! And yet, alas !
amid dance, and song, and revel, that " still small voice "
was hushed. The winged hours, mis-spent and wasted,
flew quickly past. No tear of repentance fell ; no sup



Digitized byCjOOQlC



"THK STILL SMALL TOICB." 16

pliant knee was bent ; no household altar flame sent np
its grateM incense.



"Must I die, too?" li

Sweet child ! — but as the sun dies ; but as the stars
fade out ; but as the flowers die, for a resurrection mom !
Close the searching eye beneath the prisoning lid ; cross
the busy hands over the pulseless heart. Life — life eter-
nal ! for thee, thou young immortal !

Joy to thee, yoxmg mother ! From that little grave, so
tear-bedewed, the flower of repentance springs, at last
No tares shall choke it; no blight or mildew blast it!
God's smile shall be its sunshine, and heaven thy.reward.



Dear reader; so the good Shepherd hides the little
lamb in his arms, that she who gave it life may hear its
Toioe and follow.



Digitized by



Google



LOOK ON THIS PICTURE, AND
THEN ON THAT.

<< Father is coming!" and little, round faces grow
long, and merry voices are hushed, and toys are hustled
into the closet; and mamma glances nervously at the
door ; and baby is bribed with a lump of sugar to keep
the peace; and father's business &ce relaxes not a
muscle ; and the little group huddle like timid sheep in
a corner, and tea is despatched as silently as if speak-
ing were prohibited by the statute book ; and the chil-
dren creep like culprits to bed, marvelling that baby dare
crow so loud, now that " Father has come."



" Father is coming ! " and bright eyes sparkle for joy,
and tiny feet dance with glee, and eager &ces press
against the window-pane ; and a bevy of rosy lips claim
kisses at the door ; and picture-books lie unrebuked on
the table ; and tops, and balls, and dolls, and kites are
discussed ; and little Susy lays her soft cheek against the
paternal whiskers with the most fearless <* abandon;"
and Charley gets a love-pat for his "medal;" and mam-
ma's face grows radiant; and the evening paper is read,
— not silently, but aloud, — and tea, and toast, and time
vanish with equal celerity, for jubilee has arrived, and
« Father has come ! "



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THE WIDOW'S TRIALS.

The funeral was over, and Janie Grey came back to
her desolate home. There were the useless drugs, the
tempting fruits and flowers, which came all too late for the
sinking sufferer. Wherever her eye fell, there was some
sad reminiscence to torture her. They, whose life had
been all sunshine, came in from cheerful homes, whose
threshold death's shadow had never darkened, to offer
consolation. All the usual phrases of stereotyped con-
dolence had fallen upon her ear ; and now they had all
gone, and the world would move on just the same that
there was one more broken heart in it. She must bear
her weary weight of woe alone. She knew that her star
had set. Earth, sea and sky had no beauty now, since
the eye that worshipped them with her was closed and
rayless.



" Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth," said Uncle
John, joining the tips of the fingers of either hand, and
settling himself in a vestry attitude, to say his lesson.
" Afflictions come not out of the ground. Man is cot

A



Digitized by LjOOSI^



18 THB widow's trials.

down like a flower. God is the God of the widow and
the fatherless. I suppose you find it so ? " said he, look-
ing into the widow's face.

" I can scarcely tell," said Janie. " This was a light-
ning flash &om a summer cloud. My eyes are blinded ;
I cannot see the bow of promise."

" Wrong ; all wrong," said Uncle John. " The Lord
gave, and the Lord has taken away. You ought to be
resigned. I 'm afraid you don't enjoy religion. Afflic-
tions are mercies in disguise. I '11 lend you this volume
of * Dew-Drops' to read. You must get submissive,
somehow, or you will have some other trouble sent upon
you. Good morning."

Uncle John was a rigid sectarian, of the bluest school
of divinity ; enjoyed an immense reputation for sanctity,
than which nothing was dearer to him, save the contents
of his pocket-book. It was his glory to be the Alpha and
Omega of parish gatherings and committees ; to be con-
sulted on the expediency of sending tracts to the Kan-
garoo Islands ; to be present at the laying of corner-
stones for embryo churches; to shine conspicuously at
ordinations, donation visits. Sabbath-school celebrations,
colporteur meetings, — in short, anything that smacked
of a church-steeple, or added one inch to the length and
breadth of his pharisaical skirt. He pitied the poor, as
every good Christian should ; but he never allowed them
to put their hapds in his pocket ; — that was a territory



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THB widow's TBIALS. 19

over which the church had no control, — it belonged
entirely to the other side of the fence.

Uncle John sat in his counting-room, looking very
satis&ctorDy at the proof-sheets of " The Morning Star,"
of which he was editor. He had just glanced over his
long list of subscribers, and congratulated himself that
matters were in such a prosperous condition. Then he
took out a large roll of bank bills, and fingered them
most affectionately ; then he frowned ominously at a poor
beggar child, who peeped in at the door ; smoothed his
chin, and settled himself comfortably in his rocking-chair.

A rap at the door of the counting-room. "May I
come in, uncle ?" and Janie's long, black veil was thrown
back from her sad face.

"Y-e-s," said Uncle John, rather frigidly. "Pretty
busy, — 'spose you won't stay long ? " and he pushed his
porte-monnaie fiirther down in his pocket.

" I came to ask," said Janie, timidly, " if you would
employ me to write for your paper. Matters are more
desperate with me than I thought, and there is a neces-
aty for my doing something immediately. I bolieve I
have talents that I might turn to account as a writer, I
have literally nothing. Uncle John, to depend upon."

" Your husband was an extravagant man ; — lived too
&st, — that's the trouble, — lived too feist. Ought to
have been economical as I was, when I was a young man.
Can't have your cake and eat it, too. Can't expect me to



Digitized byCjOOQlC



30 THB widow's trials.

make up for other people's deficiencies. You must take
caife of yourself,^

** Certainly, that's just what I wish to do," sud Janie,
struggling to restrain her tears. "I — I — " but she
only finished the sentence with sobs ; the contrast betweai
the supny past and the gloomy present was too strong
for her troubled heart

Now, if there was anything Uncle John mortally
hated, it was to see a woman cry. In all such cases
he irritated the victim till she took a speedy and fren-
aded leave. So he remarked again that ^ Mr. May was
extravagant, else there would have been something left.
He was sorry he was dead ; but that was a thing he
was n't to blame for, — ^and he did n't know any reason
why he should be bothered about it. The world was full
of widows ; — they all went to work, he supposed, and
took care of themselves."

" If you will tell me whether you can employ me to
write for you," said the widow, " I will not trouble you
longer."

" I have plenty who will write for nothing," said the*
old man. " Market is overstocked with that sort of thing.
Can't afford to pay contributors, specially new beginners.
Don't think you have any talent that way, either. Bet-
ter take in sewing, or something," said he, taking out his
watch, by way of a reminder that she had better be
going.



Digitized byCjOOQlC



THB widow's trials. 21

The young widow could scarcely see her way out
through her fast-falling tears. It was her first bitter
lesson in the world's selfishness. She, whose tender feet
had been so love-guided, to walk life's thorny path alone ;
she, for whom no gift was rich, or rare, or costly enough ;
she, who had leaned so trustingly on the dear arm now so
powerless to shield her ; she, to whom love was life,
breath, being, to meet only careless glances, — nay, more,
harsh and taunting words. O, where should that stricken
heart find rest, this side heaven ?

Yet she might not yield to despair ; there was a little,
innocent, helpless one, for whom she must live on, and
toil, and struggle. Was the world all darkness ? Bent
every knee at Mammon's shrine ? Beat every human
heart only for its own joys and sorrows ?

Days and months rolled on. Uncle John said his

prayers, and went to church, and counted over his dear

bank bills; and the widow tot up till the stars grew

pale, and bent wearily over long pages of manuscript ;

^and little Kudolph lay with his rosy cheek nestled to the

V

pillow, crushing his bright ringlets, all unconscious of the
weary vigil the young mother was keeping. And now it
was New-Year's night ; and, as she laid aside her pen,
memory called her back to rich, sunny days, — to a lux-
urious home. Again she was leaning on that broad, true
breast. Troops of friends were about them. 0, where
were they now ? Then she looked upon her small, plainly



Digitized by VjOOQIC



22 THB widow's trials.

furnished room, so unattractive to the eye of taste and
refinement; — then it fell upon her child, too young to
remember that father, whose last act was to kiss his baby
brow.

'» Still the child slumbered on, — his red lips parted with
ja smile, — and, for the first time, she noted the little
stocking, yet warm from the dimpled foot, hung close by
the pillow, with childhood's beautiful trust in angel hands
to fill it ; and, covering her face with her hands, she wept
aloud, that this simple luxury must be denied a mother's
heart. Then, extinguishing her small lamp, she laid
her tearfril cheek against the rosy little sleeper, with
that instinctive yearning for sympathy, which only the
wretched know. In slumber there is, at least, forgetful-
ness. Kind angels whisper hope in dreams.

The golden light of New- Year's morning streamed
through the partially opened shutters upon the curly
head that already nestled uneasily on its pillow. The
blue eyes opened slowly, like violets kissed by tho
sun, and the little hand was outstretched to grasp the
empty stocking. His lip quivered, and tears of disap-
pointment forced themselves through his tiny fingers;
while his mother rose, sad and unrefreshed, to meet
another day of toil. And Uncle John, oblivious of
everything that might collapse his purse, sat comfortably
in his rocking-chair, ''too busy" to call on his niece.
Treading, not in his Lord's footsteps, where sorrow, and


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryFrederick M. Coffin Fanny FernFern leaves from Fanny's port-folio, Volume 1 → online text (page 1 of 19)