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Martha Merriman

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Marthamerriman

Martha Merriman is the mother of Felicity Merriman; Felicity refers to her as "Mother".

Facts

  • Name: Martha (maiden name unknown) Merriman
  • First Appearance: Meet Felicity

Family

Personality

Martha Merriman is from a well to do family--her father is the owner of a large plantation. She is very strict and ladylike with a no nonsense personality. She is an accomplished seamstress, as women were of that time, as well as a good cook. She has had Rose since before Felicity's birth; this could possibly mean that Rose came with her from her father's plantation.

Mother is much more disapproving than Father when it comes to Felicity's nature and actions. She does not approve of her hobbies or Penny when they are first discovered and would rather Felicity take interest in more ladylike pursuits such as stitches, cooking, and handwriting. She wishes Felicity would show more maturity and gentleness instead of being such a tomboy and spend more time on ladylike pursuits. She wants Felicity to become a gentlewoman as she is and show that people of the colonies are not rough and uncivilized. She can get very upset with what she considers Felicity's rashness, willfulness, foolhardiness, and lack of responsibility and is constantly fussing at Felicity for her habits. Despite this she cares for her eldest daughter greatly.

In the Books

Meet Felicity: An American Girl

Mother is seen first when Felicity is practicing her writing, asking Felicity why she is squirming. Felicity says hat her stays are too tight. She loosens her daughter's stays, saying that her stays would be less uncomfortable if she sat properly and acted more gracefully. She asks to see Felicity's paper so she can see her handwriting practice. Upon seeing it, Mother points out that the lettering was fine until the letter H and the rest of the letters are sloppy and followed by horse sketches. She laments that Felicity does not concentrate on her work and if she spent more time with her mind on her writing, she would write well. When Felicity asks to go with Benjamin Davidson to his delivery, she agrees because there is no keeping her in the house when she's distracted. She tries to warn Felicity to put on her hat, but it is left behind. When Felicity and Ben return from Jiggy Nye's tannery, she asks them where they were for so long.

When Felicity asks to go out after three days of rain, Mother chides her. She then points out--tiredly--that Felicity's sewing is poor and that the hem must be ripped out again. When Felicity protests, Mother says that she needs more patience and haste makes waste--she smiles at her as she has told Felicity this every day. When the sun comes out, she sends Felicity along with William and Nan to deliver preserves to Mrs. Deare (and afterwards Felicity takes her siblings with her to the tannery). When she hears about the trip to the tannery due to William's outburst and Nan's explanation, she first hushes Nan and fusses at Felicity that she's not to go out to the tannery again. At the suggestion from Felicity they buy Penny, she says they will not as they already have two horses--Old Bess and Blossom. Felicity complains that Bess is slow and Mrs. Merriman tells Felicity it might do her good to take things slower. Felicity's assurance that she would care for Penny herself prompts Mother to say that she is impatient and headstrong, that she doesn't even have the patience to sew seams right, that she leaves her writing practice done halfway, and that she puts herself and Nan and William in danger without thinking. She concludes that a headstrong girl and a headstrong horse are too much for one family. Mother is afraid that Penny will hurt Felicity. She tells Felicity to put the horse out of her head before asking if she's been heard. Felicity says yes because she listened to her mother, but she refuses to put Penny out of her head and her heart.

When Felicity takes Ben's breeches from the mending pile, she questions where they have gone and when Ben can't tell her, gets upset with him. When she next asks about the breeches--noting they are fine India cotton--Ben tells her that he lent them to a friend and that the friend needs them more. Mrs. Merriman tells him to put on his old wool ones as they need not go to church looking like ruffians. Martha asks Felicity what she is doing on Penny when Felicity rides her into the yard and is shocked to hear how long she has been taming her and sinks on the step. After Felicity lets Penny go and gives Ben his breeches back, Mrs. Merriman is glad to see that the breeches are returned and mended, and says that Ben should keep an eye on them.

Felicity Learns a Lesson: A School Story

Mother lectures Felicity on her behavior picking apples as she is up on the roof with no shoes and socks. She is the one who sets Felicity up with lessons at Miss Manderly's. When Felicity is upset at Annabelle's rudeness towards her, Mother comforts her.

Felicity's Surprise: A Christmas Story

Mother is delighted that Felicity has been invited to the Governor's Palace. When Felicity shows interest in a dress on a fashion doll, she buys the silk and begins to make the dress.

Mother is ill during the holidays with a bad cough and becomes very sick after Christmas. Felicity spends hours by her side, worried for her health. By the day of the ball she has become much better. When Ben offers to escort Felicity to the ball, she directs the family to bathe and dress her and lends her one of her earrings to wear on her neck ribbon.

Happy Birthday, Felicity!: A Springtime Story

Felicity Saves The Day: A Summer Story

Mother is on Grandfather's plantation with Felicity, Nan, and William.

Changes for Felicity: A Winter Story

She gives Felicity the trunk with the riding habit.

Felicity’s Dancing Shoes

Felicity and Nan decide not to tell their mother about their plan as they're sure she'll disapprove. When Felicity comes back home in filthy socks and Mother notices, Felicity and Nan have to tell her the story. Mother tells Felicity that she is not to borrow Nan's shoes anymore and to go around in her normal shoes.

Felicity Takes a Dare

Feldare 09

Martha watches the high wire act with her children.

Mother is alerted to Felicity's fencewalking by Nan and William's cheering; she demands that she get down immediately and fusses at her that she could have fallen off the fence. At Felicity's reassurance that she would not have, her mother goes on to say she could have and that Felicity is setting a poor example for Nan and William. She concludes that Felicity should learn the difference between bravery and foolhardiness lest she bring herself or others to harm. She finally sighs and tells the three children to run inside and get ready for the fair and they'll walk over to it--but on the ground, not on fences.

When Felicity tries to skip ahead with Nan, Mother tells her to stay near. She holds up William to see a footrace and waists while the children watch the tumblers. When the high wire act starts, Mother says looking at them makes her dizzy and leads the children to the fiddler's tent. At a booth, Mother buys treats for all the children. She is dusting crumbs off William when Mrs. Fitchett comes by. Mrs. Fitchett offers to take Mother to see the new stitches from London; when Felicity asks to go see the horses, Mother starts to say no but allows it when Mrs. Fitchett persuades her and tells the children to stay together.

Nan is sent to fetch Mother after Felicity breaks her arm; she stays with Felicity when Mr. Galt arrives and helps Mr. Galt set her arm. After Felicity sleeps for a few hours, she wakes up to see Mother next to her bed and Mother asks her how she feels. She says the boy was wrong to dare Felicity to go in the pen with the horses. She says that Felicity was very brave when her arm was set and, when Felicity expresses disappointment that she can't go see the fireworks, she leads Felicity to a chair next to the window to watch the fireworks. She calls Felicity her good girl and says that she will take comfort in the fact that with her broken arm, Felicity will not be walking on any fences. Then they laugh and watch the fireworks.

Felicity's New Sister

The Merriman family was on their way to the plantation (even though Mother was nine months pregnant) when the carriage cracked and they had to stop at a deserted cabin. While they were there, Mother went into labor and gave birth to the baby with Rose and Felicity's help. The baby was named Polly.

Felicity Discovers a Secret

Peril at King's Creek

Mother is at Grandfather's plantation with the children. She invites the Wentworth's over for dinner and she tells Mr. Haskall that a tour around King's Creek Plantation will be no trouble for her. Mother tells him about the plantation's workings and how big it is, but she lets Felicity tell Mr. Haskall about the stable and allows Felicity to say that her father is a patriot. She recalls sadly that her father would of known the types of plants on the plantation if he were still here. She goes into the parlor with Felicity after the tour, and recalls with Mr. Peabody that her father tried to buy his horse Midnight from him. Mr. Peabody warns Mother that her plantation might be in danger as there were reports of loyalists attacking patriot plantations.

Traitor in Williamsburg

Lady Margaret's Ghost

Mother goes on a trip with Nan, William, and Polly to visit her Aunt Prudence in Norfolk, leaving Felicity in charge of the Merriman household for two weeks.

In the Film

It was implied early in the movie that Mother was pregnant. Polly was born towards the end of the film.

Mother was played by Marcia Gay Harden.

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