August 22, 1857

22 August 1857


Mary? Not so, my little ones; have you forgotten the head-stone in the church-yard, with that name upon it, and the little sister who lies beneath it? The new babe is welcome, but call her not Mary; there can be but one Mary. Her spirit-voice still calls me "Mother." Little feet, all unheard by you, trip softly round me. A little hand, which you see not, gently clasps mine. A little shining head bends low with yours for a mother's goodnight blessing. No, no—call not the new babe "Mary." Even a little sister may not wear the robes she wore, or efface the print of the fairy foot in the useless little shoe; the idle needle must rust in the doll's frock, where the busy fingers left it. The half-formed word must not be finished, even by a sister's fingers, in the little blotted copy-book; for between the new-born babe and me stands ever the shadowy form of the first-born. No, no, my little ones, not "Mary,"—take not away her birthright.

"Now there are three of you?" Nay, my little ones, now there are four; three here—one with God.

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "What Shall We Name the Baby?," The New-York Ledger (22 August 1857): 4, column 3

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "What Shall We Name the Baby?," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2023)

Contributors to the digital file:

Jordan Harper and Kevin McMullen