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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 051 [03-31-1861]

              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.               
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