Although series books about Bessie Bradford and her circle were Joanna H. Mathews' best known works, Mathews also contributed a number of short pieces to periodicals. "Daisy's Faith," which first appeared in The Illustrated Christian Weekly on 30 November 1872, was her most popular poem, reprinted in multiple anthologies. It employed three elements found in a number of Mathews' other works -- a female protagonist, a strong sense of religion, and a reliance on heavy imitation of a child's mispronunciations. Reviewers regularly commented on Mathews' use -- or overuse -- of the latter. One remarked of the Kitty and Lulu series, "We tire a little of the baby talk before we get quite through these volumes," charitably adding "but it is very natural and life-like, as are the babies" ("Juvenile Record," Harper's 46 [Jan. 1873]:303]). Another called "the excessive use of baby-talk" one of Mathews's "pet defects" ("Editor's Table," Ladies Repository 34 [Jan. 1874]:75).

Daisy appears in another poem, "Mischievous Daisy," originally published in the Illustrated Christian Weekly 16 March 1872, and in a short story, "Daisy's Christmas Stocking," originally published in Little Corporal in May 1873.

The real Daisy was probably one of Mathews's nieces, for the dedication to Lily Norris' Enemy from 1871 reads, "Dedicated to 'Aunt Josie's Daisy,' the sweetest little 'sunbeam' that ever brightened the clouds of a dark and sorrowful winter."


—Joanna H. Mathews.

Down in de b'ight deen meadow,
    De pitty daisies' home—
Daisies dat are my namesakes,
    Mamma has let me tome.
S'e said dat s'e tould see me
    From her yoom window dere;
Besides, I know our Fader
    Will teep me in His tare.

Oh! see how many daisies,—
    Daisies so white an' fair—-
I'll make a weaf for mamma,
    To wear upon her hair,
An' den s'e'll loot so pitty, —-
    My darlin' own mamma! —-
An' tiss her 'ittle Daisy,
    An' s'ow it to papa.

One, two, fee, sits, an' 'leven.
    Hundred an' eight — an' nine;
I b'ieve dat's mos' enough now,
    To make it pitty fine.
I wouldn't be af'aid here;
    Mamma an' Dod tan see,
I know dey would let nossin'
    Tome near dat tould hurt me.

De bweeze is soft an' toolin',
    An' tosses up my turls;
I dess it tomes from heaven
    To p'ay wis 'ittle dirls.
De birdies sin' so sweetly;
    To me dey seem to say,
"Don't be af'aid, dear Daisy,
    Dod teeps oo all de day."

I'll mate a ball for baby
    Soon as dis weaf is done,
An' den I'll fow it at her —-
    Oh, my! my fwead's all don'!
Well, den, I'll tate dis wibbon
    Off my ole st'aw hat:
I sint mamma would let me;
    I'll —- Oh, dear me! what's dat?

I sought I did hear somesin'
    Move in dat bus' tlose by;
I'm not at all af'aid, dough;
    Oh! no, indeed; not I!
Mamma — why! s'e's not lootin',
    S'e's f'om de window don';
Den maybe Dod is tired too,
    'Tause I 'taid here so lon'.

I dess I'll yun a 'ittle,
    I b'ieve Dod wants me to;
He tan't tate too muts t'ouble,
    I sint I'd better do,
An' tate my pitty f'owers,
    An' 'tay wis mamma dear;
Dod is 'way up in heaven --
    I would lite some one near.

My daisies! dey are fallin';
    My han's are s'atin' so.
Oh, dear! de weaf is boten!
    Don't tare! I want to do.
I know dere's somesin' 'live dere;
    See now! dere's two bid eyes
A-lootin' yight stwaight at me --
    Dod's way up in de sties.

Tan He tate tare of Daisy?
    I see a deat, blat head
A-tomin' foo de bus'es;
    But den I'm not af'aid;
Only —- I want my mamma —-
    I dess dat — is — a — bear.
Bears eat up 'ittle chillens!
    I wis — dat — Dod — was here!

Ow! ow! I tan't help stweamin'.
    Oh, dear! I so af'aid!
Tome, mamma! Oh, tome twitly
    To help oor 'ittle maid!
Dod has fordot oor Daisy;
    Dat bear is tomin' fast —-
Why! 'tis our dear ole Yover
    Tome home f'om town at last!

O Yover! dear ole dordy!
    What made oo f'wight —- well, no,
I'm not af'aid —- for, Yover,
    Dod tares for me, oo know.
He would let nossin' hurt me --
    Dere's mamma lootin', too.
We'll mend dat weaf now, Yover,
    Mamma will lite it so.

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Copyright 2015 by Deidre Johnson . Please do not reproduce without permission