August 15, 1857

15 August 1857


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


Mother's room! How we look back to it in after years, when she who sanctified it is herself among the sanctified. How well we remember the ample cushioned chair, with its all-embracing arms, none the worse in our eyes for having rocked to sleep so many little forms now scattered far and wide, divided from us perhaps by barriers more impassable than the cold, blue sea. Mother's room—where the sun shone in so cheerily upon the flowering plants in the low, old-fashioned window seats, which seemed to bud and blossom at the least touch of her caressing fingers; on which no blight or mildew ever came, no more than on the love which outlived all our childish waywardness, all our childish folly. The cozy sofa upon which childish feet were never forbidden to climb; upon which curly heads could dream, unchidden, the fairy dreams of childhood. The closet which garnered tops, and dolls, and kites, and whips, and toys, and upon whose upper shelf was that infallible, old-fashioned panacea for infancy's aches and pains—brimstone and molasses! The basket, too, where was always the very string we wanted; the light-stand round which we gathered, and threaded needles (would we have threaded thousands more) for eyes dimmed in our service; and the cheerful face that smiled across it such loving thanks.

Mother's room! where our matronly feet returned when we were mothers; where we lifted our little ones to kiss the wrinkled face, beautiful with its halo of goodness; where we looked on well pleased to see the golden locks we worshipped, mingling lovingly with the silver hairs; where—as the fond grand-mamma produced in alarming profusion, cakes and candy for the little pets, we laughingly reminded her of our baby days, when she wisely told us such things were "unwholesome;" where our baby caps, yellow with time, ferreted from some odd bag or closet, were tried on our own babies' heads, and we sat, wondering where the months and years had flown between then and now;—and looking forward, half-sighing, to just such a picture, when we should play, what seemed to us now with our smooth skins, round limbs, and glossy locks, such an impossible part.

Mother's room! where we watched beside her patient sick-bed through the long night, gazing hopelessly at the flickering taper, listening to the pain-extorted groan, which no human skill, no human love, could avert or relieve; waiting with her the dawning of that eternal day, seen through a msit of tears, bounded by no night.

Mother's room! where the mocking light strayed in through the half-opened shutters, upon her who, for the first time, was blind to our tears, and deaf to our cries; where busy memory could bring back to us no look, no word, no tone, no act of hers, not freighted with godlike love. Alas!—alas for us then, if turning the tablets, she showed us this long debt of love unappreciated—unpaid!

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "Mother's Room," The New-York Ledger (15 August 1857): 4

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "Mother's Room," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2023)

Contributors to the digital file:

Jordan Harper and Kevin McMullen