The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 929 pages of information about The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss.
sick.”  “Yes,” she said, “but I wanted you to have your breakfast first.  At one o’clock in the night I found a little swelling.  I do not know what it is, but the child is certainly very sick.”  On examination I knew it was erysipelas.  “Don’t say that,” said the nurse, and burst into tears.  I made them get me up and partly dress me, as I was so excited I could not stay in bed.

Dr. Buck came at ten o’clock; he expressed no anxiety, but prescribed for her and George went out to get what he ordered.  The nurse brought her to me at eleven o’clock and begged me to observe that the spot had turned black.  I knew at once that this was fearful, fatal disease, and entreated George to go and tell the doctor.  He went to please me, though he saw no need of it, and gave the wrong message to the doctor, to the effect that the swelling was increasing, to which the doctor replied that it naturally would do so.  The little creature, whose moans Margaret had termed scolding, now was heard all over that floor; every breath a moan that tore my heart in pieces.  I begged to have her brought to me but the nurse sent word she was too sick to be moved.  I then begged the nurse to come and tell me exactly what she thought of her, but she said she could not leave her.  I then crawled on my hands and knees into the room, being unable then and for a long time after to bear my own weight.

What a scene our nursery presented!  Everything upset and tossed about, medicines here and there on the floor, a fire like a fiery furnace, and Miss H. sitting hopelessly and with falling tears with the baby on a pillow in her lap—­all its boasted beauty gone forever.  The sight was appalling and its moans heart-rending.  George came and got me back to my sofa and said he felt as if he should jump out of the window every time he heard that dreadful sound.  He had to go out and made me promise not to try to go to the nursery till his return.  I foolishly promised.  Mrs. White [3] called, and I told her I was going to lose my baby; she was very kind and went in to see it but I believe expressed no opinion as to its state.  But she repeated an expression which I repeated to myself many times that day, and have repeated thousands of times since—­“God never makes a mistake.”

Margaret went soon after she left to see how the poor little creature was, and did not come back.  Hour after hour passed and no one came.  I lay racked with cruel torture, bitterly regretting my promise to George, listening to those moans till I was nearly wild.  Then in a frenzy of despair I pulled myself over to my bureau, where I had arranged the dainty little garments my darling was to wear, and which I had promised myself so much pleasure in seeing her wear.  I took out everything she would need for her burial, with a sort of wild pleasure in doing for her one little service, where I had hoped before to render so many.  She it was whom we expected to fill our lost Eddy’s vacant place; we thought we had had our sorrow and that now our joy had come.  As I lay back exhausted, with these garments on my breast, Louisa Shipman [4] opened the door.  One glance at my piteous face, for oh, how glad I was to see her! made her burst into tears before she knew what she was crying for.

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The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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