August 1, 1857

1 August 1857


A love-letter for my daughter, Kitty! How ridiculous! It seems but yesterday since she had her first spanking. A love-letter for Kitty, and one for me by the same post. Well—either she is too old, or I am too young. It must be time I was feeling venerable; but how is a woman to feel venerable, who catches herself jumping down three stairs at a time? who never can lie a-bed a minute after sunrise, and who never feels tired, or cold, or solemn? How is a woman to feel venerable who likes a frolic better than a sermon? It is all nonsense. That feeling comes with grey hair, and my hair wont turn grey.

A love-letter for Kitty! Seems to me that the young folks of the present day are in a great hurry. I like young folks. What flowers are to a garden, they are to a house. Am I to have mine stripped at the pleasure of every youngster whose roving eye is caught? Am I to be left to a corner, a cat, and a snuff-box? Am I to hear no more bird-like caroling, up stairs, and down stairs, and in my lady's chamber? Is there to be a cover for one only at my merry table? Are the sunny tresses I have curled and braided to flash back the sunlight in other homes? Have I sung lullaby, and watched the stars pale for this? What is the love of any man living, to a mother's—to mine?

Will she be dearer to him when she is sick and grieved, than when she is well and happy? Will he comfort her when she is sorrowful—laugh with her when she is merry—open wide his sheltering arms at her fancied terrors—and love her very faults? Or, will he pluck the pretty flower that I have reared, and place it in his breast only till the bloom and fragrance have fled? Transplant it to a hothouse soil, only to expose it suddenly and capriciously to the chilling blast? Ah! take away my merry Kitty's love-letter. Time enough yet. Time enough yet!

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "Widow Hawthorne's Soliloquy," The New-York Ledger (1 August 1857): 4, column 3

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "Widow Hawthorne's Soliloquy," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2023)

Contributors to the digital file:

Jordan Harper and Kevin McMullen