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Fanny Fern

  • ... light hearts seldom keep company with heavy coffers ...

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • ... the tiny feet that crept, mice-like, in and out from under the sweeping folds of her silken robe.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • Fitz Allen had 'traveled;' and that is generally understood to mean to go abroad and remain a period of time long enough to grow a fierce beard, and fierce mustache, and cultivate a thorough contempt for everything in your own country.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • Hurry, drive and bustle ... Everybody looking out for number one, and caring little who jostled past, if their rights were not infringed.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • O, girls! set your affections on cats, poodles, parrots or lap-dogs; but let matrimony alone.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • Altogether, he's about as genial as the north side of a meeting-house.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 1st series ()
  • Oh, the bitter, bitter bread of dependence!

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • Never ask a favor until you are drawing your last breath; and never forget one.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • Dear reader, true religion is not gloomy.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • ... every father knows at once too much and too little about his own son ...

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • Well, it is a humiliating reflection, that the straightest road to a man's heart is through his palate.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • There is nothing on earth so savage — even a bear robbed of her cubs — as a hungry husband.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • Fern Leaves, 2nd series ()
  • Hotel life is about the same in every latitude.

  • There are so many ready to write (poor fools!) for the honor and glory of the thing, and there are so many ready to take advantage of this fact, and withhold from needy talent the moral right to a deserved remuneration.

  • ... adversity is so rough a teacher!

  • ... they who are not fastidious as to the means, seldom fail of securing the result they aim at.

  • Pity that gold should always bring with it the canker — covetousness.

  • You are taken sick; you send for a physician; he comes in, stays ten minutes, prescribes for you a healing medicine, and charges you three or four dollars. You call this 'extortionate' — forgetting the medical books he must have waded through, the revolting dissections he must have witnessed and participated in, and the medical lectures he must have digested, to have enabled him to pronounce on your case so summarily and satisfactorily.

  • In most of the New York shop windows, one reads: 'Here we speak French;' 'Here we speak Spanish;' 'Here we speak German;' 'Here we speak Italian.' I suggest an improvement — 'Here we speak the Truth.'

  • Now I am in for it, with one of my unappeasable headaches. Don't talk to me of doctors; it is incurable as a love-fit ...

  • To her the name of father was another name for love ...

  • ... a little oil makes machinery work easy ...

  • I hate the word proper. If you tell me a thing is not proper, I immediately feel the most rabid desire to go 'neck and heels' into it.

  • Why don't men ... leave off those detestable stiff collars, stocks, and things, that make them all look like choked chickens, and which hide so many handsomely-turned throats, that a body never sees, unless a body is married, or unless a body happens to see a body's brothers while they are shaving.

  • I hate new gowns — I hate new shoes — I hate new bonnets — I hate any thing new except new — spapers, and I was born reading them.

  • O clamorous tyrant, Custom!

  • Why will parents use that expression? What right have you to have a favorite child?

  • Hoary-headed old Winter, I have had enough of you!

  • Few husbands (and the longer I observe, the more I am convinced of the truth of what I am about to say, and I make no exception in favor of education or station) have the magnanimity to use justly, generously, the power which the law puts in their hands.

  • Our domestic Napoleons, too many of them, give flattery, bonnets and bracelets to women, and everything else but — justice ...

  • Uncles, and aunts, and cousins, are all very well, and fathers and mothers are not to be despised; but a grandmother, at holiday time, is worth them all.

  • I am convinced that there are times in everybody's experience when there is so much to be done, that the only way to do it is to sit down and do nothing.

  • One person is as good as another in New England, and better, too.

  • Everything in the country, animate and inanimate, seems to whisper, be serene, be kind, be happy. We grow tolerant there unconsciously.

  • I am getting sick of people. I am falling in love with things. They hold their tongues ...

  • Nowhere more than in New York does the contest between squalor and splendor so sharply present itself.

  • Ah! the difference, whether the hearse stands before one's own door, or one's neighbor's.

  • When a literary person's exhaustive work is over, the last thing he wishes to do is to talk books.

  • How strong sometimes is weakness!

  • The term 'lady' has been so misused, that I like better the old-fashioned term, woman.

  • No crust so tough as the grudged bread of dependence.

  • ... vanity has no sex.

  • It is the most astonishing thing that persons who have not sufficient education to spell correctly, to punctuate properly, to place capital letters in the right places, should, when other means of support fail, send mss. for publication.

  • There are no little things. 'Little things,' so called, are the hinges of the universe.

  • Blessed be sleep! We are all young then; we are all happy. Then our dead are living.

  • What a pity when editors review a woman's book, that they so often fall into the error of reviewing the woman instead.

  • Can anybody tell me why reporters, in making mention of lady speakers, always consider it to be necessary to report, fully and firstly, the dresses worn by them? When John Jones or Senator Rouser frees his mind in public, we are left in painful ignorance of the color and fit of his pants, coat, necktie and vest — and worse still, the shape of his boots. This seems to me a great omission.

  • I want a human sermon. I don't care what Melchisedek, or Zerubbabel, or Kerenhappuk did, ages ago; I want to know what I am to do, and I want somebody besides a theological bookworm to tell me; somebody who is sometimes tempted and tried, and is not too dignified to own it; somebody like me, who is always sinning and repenting; somebody who is glad and sorry, and cries and laughs, and eats and drinks, and wants to fight when they are trodden on, and don't!

  • Oh! to be a child again. My only treasures, bits of shell and stone and glass. To love nothing but maple sugar. To fear nothing but a big dog. To go to sleep without dreading the morrow. To wake up with a shout. Not to have seen a dead face. Not to dread a living one. To be able to believe.

  • Show me an 'easy person,' and I will show you a selfish one. Good-natured he may be; why not? since the disastrous consequences of his 'easiness' are generally shouldered by other people.

  • Alas! when will 'good people' learn that the devil is never better pleased than when they try to make 'religion' a gloomy thing.

  • Advice is like a doctor's pills; how easily he gives them! how reluctantly he takes them when his turn comes!

  • Preface. Excuse me. None this time. There have already been too many big porticos before little buildings.

  • I dare say you will try to make me believe that Editors are human. Now I deny that, for I myself have, in past days, had evidence to the contrary.

  • Experience is an excellent doctor, though he never had a diploma.

  • ... the cream of enjoyment in this life is always impromptu. The chance walk; the unexpected visit; the unpremeditated journey; the unsought conversation or acquaintance.

  • Too much indulgence has ruined thousands of children; too much love not one.

  • The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • in Joyce W. Warren, ed., Ruth Hall and Other Writings ()
  • You labor under the hallucination that I felt merry when I wrote all that nonsense! Not a bit of it; it's a way I have, when I can't find a razor handy to cut my throat!

    • Fanny Fern,
    • in Joyce W. Warren, Fanny Fern: An Independent Woman ()
  • To the Pilgrim Mothers, who not only had their full share of the hardships and privations of pioneer life but also had the Pilgrim Fathers to endure.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • toast following a toast to the Pilgrim Fathers, in Prosper Cravath et al., Early Annals of Whitewater 1837-1867 ()

Fanny Fern, U.S. writer, columnist

(1811 - 1872)

Real name: Sara Payson Willis Eldredge Farrington Parton. She almost always wrote as Fanny Fern.