Texts From the American Girls

by Mallory Ortberg

nellie why didnt u come to the hedge today
to the lessons hedge )for lessons)
I’m sorry, Miss Parkington
I wasn’t able to get away in time and
i was going to teach you more lessons
is this about my birthday party
are u mad at me
no — Samantha –
because i told you
its not that youre not my friend
you are my friend
I’m glad to be your friend
u are just more of my FACTORY friend
and not really
my “birthday party” friend
I understand
guess how many kinds of ice cream we had
I don’t know
haha there are only three kinds of ice cream nellie
everyone knows that
I see
youve got a lot of lessons ahead of you nellie

Miss Felicity –
I must thank you for coming by last week to my hiding-place
the biscuits and canteen you brought were sorely needed
I know once I can enlist with the Patriots
I will be a burden to you no longer
I fear that before that day, however
I must trespass on your kindness one last time
and ask when you will return
as the water you so kindly brought me
ran out several days ago
and I am afraid to venture forth in daylight
and this fetid swamp provides me with no relief
I congratulate you, Miss Felicity
that is wonderful news
Perhaps –
perhaps it shall make the trip shorter
when you do come again
I will name her Penny!!!
for I have grown weak from thirst
She is the color of a penny
is why I have chosen that name, Ben
A good name, that
I trust I can keep my strength up
long enough to see her myself
I am going to brush her mane EVERY DAY

Harriet –
Mother wanted me to ask you
if you’d like to go to the fair tomorrow wth us
Did she now
since we’ll be working at the same booth together
all afternoon
Father’s offered to give us a ride in his wagon
oh, his milk wagon?
his milk wagon
He only has the one wagon
you know that
Like father like daughter I suppose
he only has one wagon
and you only have one dress
You can just say no, Harriet
if you don’t want to come with us
you can just say no
do you even know how many dresses I have
I’m sorry if I insulted you
you don’t have to come
I have seven dresses
I have a dress for every day of the week
I have a dress for Monday
look I’ll see you tomorrow
I have a dress for Tuesday
on Wednesday I have a different dress
and on Thursday you have a fourth
I get it
do you though
I think I grasp the prinsiple of the thing
oh my God
Addy Walker
how DO you spell principle, Harriet?
is it with an S?
or a C?
you are going to be so sorry that you ever — 
Maybe we should ask a spelling expert
Maybe we should ask someone who won
that you EVER –
a spelling
for spelling the word principle correctly
I only have the one dress so you can see the medal every day

Previously: Texts From Little Women.

Mallory Ortberg is a writer in the Bay Area. Her work has also appeared on Slacktory and Ecosalon.