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.
some fault, or what she considered such, on her part, especially her impulsiveness that led her often to say things she afterward regretted.  As an example, one of her pupils was reading French to her and coming to the expression Mon Dieu! so common in French narratives, had pronounced it so badly that Lizzy exclaimed, “Mon Doo?  He would not know himself what you meant!” The laugh which it was impossible to repress, did not diminish her compunction at what she feared her pupils would regard as irreverence on her part.  I believe I always cherished sufficient affection for my teachers, and yet I was not a little astonished on accompanying Lizzy to school one day, to see as we turned the corner of a street a rush of girls with unbonneted heads, to greet their young teacher for whom they had been watching, and escort her to her throne in the school-room, and evidently in their hearts.  For a year or two after this visit I have no recollection of her, or indeed of any of the Payson family.  Death, meanwhile, had been busy in my own home, and my memory is a blank for anything beyond that sad circle.

Since that date you have known her better than I. I wish that these recollections of a time when I knew her better than you, were not so meagre.  If we were not thousands of miles apart, and I could talk with you, instead of writing to you, perhaps they would not appear quite so unsatisfying.  Yet, trivial as they are, I send them, in the persuasion that any trifle that concerned her or hers is of interest to you.

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 1, 1879.

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Recollections of Elizabeth’s Girlhood by an early Friend and Schoolmate.  Her own Picture of Herself before her Father’s Death.  Favorite Resorts.  Why God permits so much Suffering.  Literary Tastes.  Letters.  “What are Little Babies For?” Opens a School.  Religious Interest.

It is to be regretted that the letters referred to by Miss Willis, and indeed nearly all of Elizabeth’s family letters, written before she left her mother’s roof, have disappeared.  But the following recollections by Mrs. M. C. H. Clark, of Portland, will in part supply their place and serve to fill up the outline, already given, of the first twenty years of her life.

In the volume of sketches entitled, “Only a Dandelion,” you will find, in the story of Anna and Emily, some very pleasing incidents relating to the early life of dear Elizabeth.  Anna was Lizzy Wood, her earliest playmate and friend.  Miss Wood was a sweet girl, the only sister of Dr. William Wood, of Portland.  She died at an early age.  Emily was Mrs. Prentiss herself.  I remember her once telling me about the visit at “Aunt W.’s,” and believe that nearly all the details of the story are founded in fact.  It is her own picture of herself as a little girl, drawn to the life.  Several traits of the character of Emily, as given in the sketch, are on this account worthy of special note.  One is her very intense desire not only to be loved, but to be loved alone, or much more than any one else; and to be assured of it “over and over again.”  When Anna returned from her journey, she brought the same presents to Susan Morton as to Emily.  On discovering this fact Emily was greatly distressed.

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