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.

The year 1853 was passed quietly and in better health.  In the early summer she made a delightful visit at The Island, near West Point, the home of the author of “The Wide, Wide World.”  She was warmly attached to Miss Warner and her sister, and hardly less so to their father and aunt, whose presence then adorned that pleasant home with so much light and sweetness.

Early in August she went with her husband and child to White Lake, Sullivan Co., N. Y., where, in company with several families from the Mercer street church, she spent six weeks in breathing the pure country air, and in healthful outdoor exercise. [5]

About the middle of October she was greatly distressed by the sudden death of the young cousin, already mentioned, who was staying with her during her husband’s absence on a visit to New Bedford.  Miss Shipman was a bright, attractive girl, and enthusiastic in her devotion to Mrs. Prentiss.  The latter, in a letter to her husband, dated Saturday morning, October 15th, 1853, writes: 

I imagine you enjoying this fine morning, and can’t rejoice enough, that you are having such weather.  A. is bright and well and is playing in her baby-house and singing.  Louise is still quite sick, and I see no prospect of her not remaining so for some time.  The morning after you left I thought to be sure she had the small-pox.  The doctor, however, calls it a rash.  It makes her look dreadfully and feel dreadfully.  She gets hardly a moment of sleep and takes next to no nourishment.  Arrowroot is all the doctor allows.  He comes twice a day and seems very kind and full of compassion.  She crawled down this morning to the nursery, and seems to be asleep now.  Mrs. Bull very kindly offered to come and do anything if Louise should need it, but I do not think she will be sick enough for that.  I feel well and able to do all that is necessary.  The last proof-sheets came last night, so that job is off my hands. [6] And now, darling, I can’t tell you how I miss you.  I never missed you more in my life, if as much.  I hope you are having a nice visit.  Give my love to Capt. and Mrs. Gibbs and all our friends.  Your most loving little wife.

On the following Wednesday, October 19th, she writes to her husband’s mother: 

You will be shocked to hear that Louisa Shipman died on Sunday night and was buried yesterday.  Her disease was spotted fever of the most malignant character, and raged with great fury.  She dropped away most unexpectedly to us, before I had known five minutes that she was in danger, and I came near being entirely alone with her.  Dr. M. happened to be here and also her mother-in-law; but I had been alone in the house with her all day.  It is a dreadful shock to us all, and I feel perfectly stupefied.  George got home in time for the funeral, but Dr. Skinner performed the services.  Anna will go home to-morrow and tell you all about it.  She and Mr. S. slept away, as the upper part of the house is airing; and to-night they will sleep at Prof.  Smith’s.

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