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.

P.S.—­This was written soon after the inauguration of Gen. Garfield, to whom allusion is made.  His high regard for the venerable ex-President of Williams College—­the Rev. Dr. Mark Hopkins—­he made known to the whole country, but the younger brother was also the object of his warmest esteem and love, and the feeling was heartily reciprocated.  Nearly a score of years ago, when he was just emerging into public notice from the bloody field of Chickamauga, Prof.  Hopkins spoke of him to the writer in terms so full of praise and so prophetic of his future career, that they seem in perfect harmony with the sentiment at once of admiration and poignant grief which to-day moves the heart of the whole American people—­yea, one might almost say, which is inspiring all Christendom.—­Saturday, Sept. 24, 1881.

CHAPTER XIII.

PEACEABLE FRUIT. 1873-1874.

I.

Effect of spiritual Conflict upon her religious Life.  Overflowing Affections.  Her Husband called to Union Theological Seminary.  Baptism of Suffering.  The Character of her Friendships.  No perfect Life.  Prayer.  “Only God can satisfy a Woman.”  Why human Friendship is a Snare.  Letters.

The trouble which had so long weighed upon her heart, crossed with her the threshold of 1873, but long before the close of the year it had in large measure passed away.  Such suffering, however, always leaves its marks behind; and when complicated with ill-health or bodily weakness, often lingers on after its main cause has been removed.  It was so in her case; she was, perhaps, never again conscious of that constant spiritual delight which she had once enjoyed.  But if less full of sunshine, her religious life was all the time growing deeper and more fruitful, was centering itself more entirely in Christ and rising faster heavenward.  Its sympathies also became, if possible, still more tender and loving.  Her whole being, indeed, seemed to gather new light and sweetness from the sharp discipline she had been passing through.  Even when most tried and tempted, as has been said, she had kept her trouble to herself; few of her most intimate friends knew of its existence; to the world she appeared a little more thoughtful and somewhat careworn, but otherwise as bright as ever.  But now, at length, the old vivacity and playfulness and merry laugh began to come back again.  Never did her heart glow with fresher, more ardent affections.  In a letter to a young cousin, who was moving about from place to place, she says: 

I shall feel more free to write often, if you can tell me that the postmaster at C. forwards your letters from the office at no expense to you, as he ought to do.  It is very silly in me to mind your paying three cents for one of my love-letters, but it’s a Payson trait, and I can’t help it, though I should be provoked enough if you did mind paying a dollar apiece for them.  There’s consistency for you!  Well, I know, and I’m awfully proud of it, that you’ll get very few letters from as loving a fountain as my heart is.  I’ve got enough to drown a small army—­and sometimes when you’re homesick, and cousin-Lizzy-sick, and friend-sick, I shall come to you, done up in a sheet of paper, and set you all in a breeze.

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