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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Here s  Fanny  using-up Jim again  

[newspaper clipping]
          MR. AND MRS. LIBRARIO.
  Isn t it astounding how men revel in dirt?
Now there s Mr. Librario; if his desk is dusted,
it must be by stealth, when the creature is out
book-hunting, or when he is asleep, or smoking,
in which latter case, you might amputate one of
his feet, and he wouldn t know it.  Now if I
didn t always, before beginning, make an exact
note of the latitude and longitude of every nasty
bit of manuscript, every tail end of a pipe, every
cold stub of a pencil, every previous old ink-
crusted penholder, or crumb of a wafer, and
conscientously replace them all just where I
found them, he might talk; but haven t I a desk
of my own, I d like to know, and can t I enter
heartily into that part of the feeling?  But when
Mr. Librario tells me that he can t write as well
when his desk is  cleared up;  when he faces
me out that a dusty-desk does not constantly
involve dirty-shirt-wristbands; when he lifts up
both hands imploringly at sight of my nice little
feather-duster, and trys to put me off with a 
compliment about my morning-gown, or my
hair, I must say I m not to be caught with
any such nonsense.  And when I point to his
own hair, that his fingers have chased ideas
through, till it looks like the mane of a Shetland
pony; and when I lift up his paws, black with
ink, which he declares  won t come off, 
although I have presented him with several
cakes of pumice-stone soap; when I gently in-
sinuate that if his horrid waste-paper basket
were emptied there might be more room in it;
or that if one or two coats of tobacco smoke
were wiped from his windows, it might throw
more light on the various subjects of his con-
templation; or that it is high time the floor of
his execrable den were swept and garnished;
and when the creature, just at the point, starts
theatrically, and pretends he hears the front-door-
bell ring, and is certain that  it is somebody for
me,  I must say that is not what I expected when
I plighted my  blue stockings  to him. But
when, after having summarily ejected me and
my harmless feather-duster from his room, he
invites Tom, Dick and Harry up into the dis-
reputable den, instead of my pretty, clean par-
lor; and Tom, Dick and Harry, whom I never
saw, and who consequently never saw me, sit
there, with their heels up, and discuss meer-
schaums, and take all that dirt as a sample of  a
literary woman s housekeeping.  Oh! oh!
  Now do you suppose I could write if there was
a thread or a straw on my carpet, or a speck of
dust on any article in the room, or an ink spot
on my finger; could I scribble in soiled cuffs,
or collar, or if my hair were uncombed, or if
my flowers were not basking in the sun before
me at my window; or were not the bust of him
 who hath his eyes and ears open  in its place
upon my desk; or did not my pet cast of a
baby s plump foot and hand, lie there; or was
not everything about me clean, sweet and
pleasant to look upon?  No sir; and there s
just the difference between Mr. Librario and me.
He likes dirt, like the rest of his  sect;  I don t.
He likes a pipe, I like a nosegay.  He likes to
splash through street-puddles, and I like to
tiptoe over them with clean feet.  He has a
watch, which, like its master,  never goes
wrong!  I have  a lady s watch;  you should
see the volumes written in Mr. Librario s face
when he uses that expression!  When I get
frantic about that hideous den that he calls his
 study,  thank goodness, I have the courage to
tell him what no man living will bear that his
watch don t keep time!	      FANNY FERN.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Sixteen: page fifty-one
Description:Newspaper clipping by Fanny Fern about her views on her husband James Parton's cleanliness.
Subject:Fern, Fanny; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Parton, James; Women
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2010-05-24

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Sixteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of the scene in New York at the commencement of the Civil War, boarding house living, visits to the Edwards family, Mort Thomson's engagement to Fanny Fern's daughter Grace Eldredge, Frank Cahill's return to New York from London, Frank Bellew's dissatisfaction with living in England, Thomas Nast's engagement to Sally Edwards, the scene in New York during the departure of the 7th New York Regiment for Washington, attending the wedding of Olive Waite and Hamilton Bragg, a visit with Frank Cahill to the camp of the 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers and the 2nd Regiment of New York State Militia on Staten Island, the death of Charles Welden, and his reporting work.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Military; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.