November 1, 1856

1 November 1856


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by ROBERT BONNER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Patter, patter, patter, down comes a city shower, on dusty and heated pavements; gleefully the willow trees shake out their long, green tresses, and make their toilets in the tiny mirror-pools beneath. The little child runs out, with outspread palm, to catch the cool and pearly drops. The weary laborer, drawing a long, grateful breath, bares the flushed brow of toil; boyhood, with bare and adventurous foot, wades through gutter-rivers, forgetful of birch and bread and butter. Ladies skutter tiptoe, with uplifted skirts, to the shelter of some friendly omnibus; gentlemen, in the independent consciousness of corduroys, take their time and umbrellas, while the poor jaded horses shake their sleek sides, but do not say neigh to the impromtu shower bath.

The little sparrows twitter their thanks from the dripping eaves, circling the piazza, then laving their speckled breasts at the tiny lakelets in the spouts. Old Towser lies with his nose to the door-mat sniffing "the cool" with the philosophy of Diogenes. Petrarch sits in the parlor with his Laura, too happy when some vivid lightning flash gives him an excuse for close quarters. Grandpapa puts on his spectacles, walks to the window, and taking a look at the surcharged clouds says, "How this will make the corn grow." The old maid opposite sets out a single geranium, scraggy as herself, invoking some double blossoms. Forlorn experimenter! ever a spinster's affections must centre somewhere.

See that little pinafore mariner stealing out, with one eye on the nursery window, to navigate his pasteboard boat in the street pools. There's a flash of sunshine! What a glorious rainbow! The little fellow tosses his arms aloft, and gazes at it. Ten to one, the little Yankee, instead of admiring its gorgeous splendor, is wishing he could invert it for a swing, and seizing it at both ends, sweep through the stars. Well, it is nothing new for a child to like "the milky way."

Fair weather again! piles of heavy clouds are drifting by, leaving the clear blue sky as serene as when "the morning stars first sang together." Nature's gems sparkle lavishly on glossy leaf, and swaying branch, on bursting bud and flower; while the bow of peace melts gently and imperceptibly away (like a dying saint) into the light of heaven.

Oh, earth is gloriously fair! Alas! that the trail of the serpent be over it all!

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "A City Shower," The New-York Ledger (1 November 1856): 4

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "A City Shower," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2018)