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.
world.  Often when I lie in bed racked with pain and exhausted from want of food—­for my digestive organs seem paralysed when I have neuralgia—­hearing these little darlings about the house compensates for everything, and I am inexpressibly happy in the mere sense of possession.  I hate to have them grow up and to lose my pets, or exchange them for big boys and girls.  I suppose your boys are a great help to you and company too, but I feel for you that you have not also a couple of girls....  Poor Louisa!  It is very painful to think what she suffered.  Her death was such a shock to me, I can hardly say why, that I have never been since what I was before.  I suppose my nervous system was so shattered, that so unexpected a blow would naturally work unkindly.

Early in the following summer she was distressed by the sudden bereavement of dear friends and by the death of her nephew, who fell in one of the battles of the Wilderness.  In a letter to Miss Gilman, dated June 18th, she refers to this: 

Your dear little flowers came in excellent condition, but at a moment when I could not possibly write to tell you so.  The death of Mrs. R. H. broke my heart.  I only knew her by a sort of instinct, but I sorrowed in her mother’s sorrow and in that of her sisters.  Death is a blessed thing to the one whom it leads to Christ’s kingdom and presence, but oh, how terrible for those it leaves fainting and weeping behind!  We expect to go off for the summer on next Thursday.  We go to Hunter, N. Y., in the region of the Catskills.  My husband’s mother has been with me during the last six weeks and has just gone home, and I have now to do up the last things in a great hurry.  You may not know that my A. and M. S., and a number of other young people of their age, joined our church on last Sunday.  I can hardly realise my felicity.  I seem to myself to have a new child.  Your sister may have told you of the loss of Professor Hopkins’ son.  He was the first grandchild in our family and his father’s all.  We may never hear what his fate was, but the suspense has been dreadful.

Her interest in the national struggle was intense and her conviction of its Providential character unwavering.  To a friend, who seemed to her a little lukewarm on the subject, she wrote at this time: 

For my part, I am sometimes afraid I shall die of joy if we ever gain a complete and final victory.  You can call this spunk if you choose.  But my spunk has got a backbone of its own and that is deep-seated conviction, that this is a holy war, and that God himself sanctions it.  He spares nothing precious when He has a work to do.  No life is too valuable for Him to cut short, when any of His designs can be furthered by doing so.  But I could talk a month and not have done, you wicked unbeliever.

To her Husband, Hunter, June 27, 1864.

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