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New York: 25 February 1854

[from] LESSER GOSSIP.

(With you in that other chair, dear reader.)

  ...But, apropos of the petticoat rush for print, at the present moment--there has been no little injury done to the correct estimate of the nature and value of literary labour, by the paragraphs stating the profits of Mrs. Beecher Stowe and Fanny Fern. There are few ladies, living in seclusion and with tears and pronouns to spare, who would not be happier for a little more money, especially if it could be got by turning these superfluities into fame. There are young ladies who "took the prize" at boarding-school, and have been told by impartial friends that they could be immortal poetesses if they would but condescend to publish. There are lovely belles kept short of pin-money. There are reduced widows who have shone in society, as they are quite sure Mrs. Beecher Stowe never could have shone. And there are delicate and educated girls struggling with penury and privation, and proud ones, writhing under dependence and sick with capabilities unused. To any of these, the reading of a paragraph, stating that "the authoress of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' contributed it first in numbers to a magazine and now has received $100,000 from the sale of it in a volume," or that "Fanny Fern gets fifty dollars an article, and makes $6,000 a year by her pen"--is stuff for a fever. So much money and so easy made! And, even if an accident of hitting the popular taste did favour these ladies, there must be lesser degrees of success for those who come after. Three thousand dollars a year would be something! They wouldn't mind writing one of Fanny Fern's short articles for even twenty-five dollars. And down goes resignation and off goes a proposition by the next mail, to the Editor of Putnam or the Home Journal--to which, strange enough, no answer ever comes, for it is but one breath of a whole Simoom of such letters, multitudinous beyond all power of attention or response.