July 26, 1856

26 July 1856


Entered according Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by R. BONNER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.



Shall I ever be unhappy again? Six big closets with shelves and drawers! What a Godsend! You laugh! you are unable to comprehend how such joyful emotions can spring from so trivial a cause.

Trivial? Did you ever board out? Did you ever stand in the midst of your gas-lighted, damask-curtained, velvet-chaired, closetless hotel (yes—hotel) apartments, with a six-cent ink-bottle between your perplexed thumb and finger, taxing your brain, as it was never taxed before, to discover an oasis where to deposit it, when not in use?

Trivial? Did you ever live for a series of years with your head in a trunk? Did you ever see your ghost-like habiliments dangling day after day from pegs on the wall? Did you ever turn away your disgusted eyes, as a remorseless chambermain whirled clouds of dust over their unprotected fabrics? Did you ever, as you lay in bed of a morning, exhaust your ingenuity in devising some means of relief? Did you ever, exulting in your superier acumen, rush out, and purchase, at your own expense, a curtain to cover them? Did you ever jam off all of your finger nails trying to drive it up? (for what woman ever yet hit a nail on the head?) Did you ever have that dusty curtain drop down on your nicely smoothed hair, nine times out of ten when you went to it for a dress? Did you ever set fire to it with a candle, when in an abstracted state of mind?

Trivial? Did you ever implore a white-aproned waiter, with tears in your eyes, and twenty-five cents in your hand, to bring you an empty cigar box to keep your truant clippers in? Did you ever stifle with closed windows, because if you threw them up, you would throw out your books, which were piled on the window ledge? Were you ever startled in the middle of the night, by the giving way of a solitary nail, on which were hung a bag of buttons, a bag of hooks and eyes, a child's satchel, a child's slate, a basket of oyster-crackers, a bag of chess-men, and—your hopes?

Trivial? Did you ever partially carry out the curse, which was passed on Eden's tempter, the serpent, as with a long-handled umbrella, you explored, for some missing shoe, the unknown regions under the bed? Did you ever sit on your best bonnet? Did you ever step into your husband's hat? Did you ever tear a zig-zag rent in your favorite dress, and find on looking for pieces of the same to mend it, that you had given them away, to your wash-woman, with other uncounted needfuls, because you had no place to keep them? Did you ever stand in dismay over your furs and woollens in spring, and your muslins, grenadines and bareges, in autumn?

Trivial? Ah—you never witnessed the cold-blooded indifference with which hotel-keepers, and landlords generally, shrug their shoulders, as surveying your rooms, and taking a coup d'œil of your feminine effects, you pathetically exclaim, with dropped hands and intonation—no closets!

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "Closet Meditations," The New-York Ledger (26 July 1856): 4

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "Closet Meditations," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2015) http://fannyfern.org.