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.

Sabbath Evening, 8th.—­I wanted to write last evening but had a worse pain in my side and left arm than I have had since I came here.  While it lasted, which was an hour and a half, I had such pleasant thoughts for companions as would make any pain endurable.  I was asking myself if, supposing God should please suddenly to take me away in the midst of life, whether I should feel willing and glad to go, and oh, it did seem delightful to think of it, and to feel sure that, sooner or later, the summons will come.  Those pieces which you marked in the “Observer” I have read and like them exceedingly, especially those about growth in grace....  You speak of the goodness of God to me in granting me so much of His presence, while I am here away from all earthly friends.  Indeed I want to be able to praise Him as I never yet have done, and I don’t know where to begin.  I have felt more pain in this separation from home on mother’s account than any other, as I feel that she needs me at home to comfort and to love her.  Since she lost her best earthly friend I have been her constant companion.  I once had a secret desire for a missionary life, if God should see fit to prepare me for it, but when I spoke of it to mother she was so utterly overcome at its bare mention that I instantly promised I would never for any inducement leave or forsake her.  I want you to pray for me that if poor mother’s right hand is made forever useless, [8] I may after this year be a right hand for her, and be enabled to make up somewhat to her for the loss of it by affection and tenderness and sympathy....  I don’t remember feeling any way in particular, when I first began to “write for the press,” as you call it.  I never could realise that more than half a dozen people would read my pieces.  Besides, I have no desire of the sort you express, for fame.  I care a great deal too much for the approbation of those I love and respect, but not a fig for that of those I don’t like or don’t know.

* * * * *

II.

Her Character as a Teacher.  Letters.  Incidents of School-Life.  Religious Struggles, Aims, and Hopes.  Oppressive Heat and Weariness.

Miss Payson had been in Richmond but a short time before she became greatly endeared to Mr. and Mrs. Persico, and to the whole school.  She had a rare natural gift for teaching.  Fond of study herself, she knew how to inspire her pupils with the same feeling.  Her method was excellent.  It aimed not merely to impart knowledge but to elicit latent powers, and to remove difficulties out of the way.  While decided and thorough, it was also very gentle, helpful, and sympathetic.  She had a quick perception of mental diversities, saw as by intuition the weak and the strong points of individual character, and was skillful in adapting her influence, as well as her instructions, to the peculiarities of every one under her care.  The girls in her own special department almost idolised her.  The parents also of some of them, who belonged to Richmond and its vicinity, seeing what she was doing for their daughters, sought her acquaintance and showed her the most grateful affection.

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