Friday, August 10, 2007

"Fellows in round jackets are not always fools."

"Dear 'Floy':

"My dog Fido is dead. He was a splendid Newfoundland, black and shaggy; father gave $10 for him when he was a pup. We all loved him dearly. He was a prime dog, could swim like a fish. The other morning we found him lying motionless on the door-step. Somebody had poisoned poor Fido. I cried all the day, and didn't play marbles for a whole week. He is buried in the garden, and I want you to write a epithalamium about him. My brother John, who is looking over my shoulder, is laughing like everything; he says 'tis an epitaph, not an epithalamium that I want, just as if I don't know what I want? John is just home from college, and he thinks he knows everything. It is my dog, and I'll fix his tombstone just as I like. Fellows in round jackets are not always fools. Send it along quick, please, 'Floy'; the stone-cutter is at work now. What a funny way they cut marble, don't they? (with sand and water.) Johnny Weld and I go there every recess, to see how they get on with the tombstone. Don't stick in any Latin or Greek, now, in your epithalamium. Our John cannot call for a glass of water without lugging in one or the other of them; I'm sick as death of it. I wonder if I shall be such a fool when I go to college. You ought to be glad you are a woman, and don't have to go. Don't forget Fido, now. Remember, he was six years old, black, shaggy, with a white spot on his forehead, and rather a short-ish tail--a prime dog, I tell you.

Billy Sands"

From Ruth Hall, by Fanny Fern, published 1854.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kurt Chiang said...

This is great. What is this? Explain. Is it a real or fictional writer?

9:05 AM  
Blogger Dina said...

Fanny Fern, who wrote Ruth Hall, was a real writer; a columnist in the 19th century, she was incredibly popular and at one time was the highest paid columnist in the US. She got paid more than the men. She wrote an autobiographical novel called Ruth Hall; in it, her alter ego, Ruth Hall struggles in poverty after her husband dies. She eventually find work as a writer and becomes very popular under the pseudonym 'Floy'. This is one of the fan letters Ruth receives in the book, a wonderful, hilarious and sad book. I highly recommend it.

6:18 PM  

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