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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

I thought this text would be appropriate for today (April 1) as an April Fools' Day anecdote. (For those of you who are not familiar with the custom, April Fools' Day occurs on April 1 and is marked as a day for practical jokes.) - - - - - - - - - From the novel "Ruth Hall: A Domestic Tale of the Present Time" written by Fanny Fern (pseudonym for Sara Payson Willis, sister of the noted author/editor N.P. Willis.) (New York: Mason Brothers, 1855): Chapter LIII Skiddy's intercepted hegria--his incarceration--his final escape (page 106-7; first two paragraphs) "WELL, I hope you have been comfortable in my absence, Mrs. Hall," said Mrs. Skiddy, after despatching her husband to market, as she seated herself in the chair nearest the door; "ha! ha! John and I may call it quits now. He is a very good fellow--John; except these little tantrums he gets into once in a while; the only way is, to put a stop to it at once, and let him see who is master. John never will set a river on fire; there's no sort of use in his trying to take the reins--the man wasn't born for it. I'm too sharp for him, that's a fact. Ha! ha! Poor Johnny! I must tell you what a trick I played him about two years after our marriage." "You must know he had to go away on business for Fogg & Co., to collect bills, or something of that sort. Well, he made a great fuss about it, as husbands who like to go away from home always do; and said he should 'pine for the sight of me, and never know a happy hour till he saw me again,' and all that; and finally declared he would not go, without I would let him take my Daguerreotype. Of course, I knew that was all humbug; but I consented. The likeness was pronounced 'good,' and placed by me in his travelling trunk, when I packed his clothes. Well, he was gone a month, and when he came back, he told me (great fool) what a comfort my Daguerreotype was to him, and how he had looked at it twenty times a day, and kissed it as many more; whereupon I went to his trunk, and opening it, took out the case and showed it to him-- without the plate, which I had taken care to slip out of the frame just before he started, and which he had never found out! That's a specimen of John Skiddy!--and John Skiddy is a fair specimen of the rest of his sex, let me tell you, Mrs. Hall. Well, of course he looked sheepish enough; and now, whenever I want to take the nonsense out of him, all I have to do is to point to that Daguerreotype case, which I keep lying on the mantel on purpose. When a woman is married, Mrs. Hall, she must make up her mind either to manage, or to be managed; I prefer to manage," said the amiable Mrs. Skiddy; "and I flatter myself John understands it by this time..." -------------------------------------------------------------- 04-01-97

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