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.

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IV.

Return to Town.  Recollections of this Period.  “Ordinary” Christians and spiritual Conflict.  A tired Sunday Evening.  “We may make an Idol of our Joy.”  Publication of Pemaquid.  Kezia Millet.

She returned to town early in October and began at once to prepare for the winter’s work.  Her industry was a marvel.  The following references to this period are from reminiscences, written by her husband after her death: 

She lost not a day, scarcely an hour.  The next eight months were among the busiest of her life; and in some respects, I think, they were also among the happiest.  She resumed her painting with new zeal and delight.  It was a never-failing resource, when other engagements were over.  Hour after hour, day after day, and week after week she would sit near the western window of her sunshiny chamber, absorbed in this fascinating occupation.  Rarely did I fail to find her there, on going in to kiss her good-bye, as I started for my afternoon lecture.  How often the scene comes back again!  Were I myself a painter I could reproduce it to the life.  Her posture and expression of perfect contentment, her quick and eager movements, all are as vividly present to my mind, as if I saw and parted from her there yesterday!  One morning each week was devoted to her Bible-reading; the others, when pleasant, were generally spent in going down town with M. in quest of painting materials, shopping, making calls, etc., etc.

She was much exercised in the early part of the winter by a burglary, which robbed her of a beautiful French mantel clock given her on our silver wedding-day by a dear friend; and by the loss of my watch, stolen from me in the cars on my way home from the Seminary—­a beautiful watch with a chain made of her hair and that which once “crowned little heads laid low.”  She had ordered it of Piguet, when we were in Geneva in 1858, and given it to me in memory of our marriage.  But her grief over the loss of the watch was small compared with mine, then and even since.  What precious memories can become associated with such an object!  One of the books which she read during the winter was “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.  She read it in the original in a copy given her by Miss Woolsey.  She was quite captivated by this work, and some of its most striking scenes and incidents she repeated to me, during successive mornings, before we got up.  Her power of remembering and reproducing, in all its details, and with all the varying lights and shades, any story which she had read was something almost incredible.  It always seemed to me like magic.  Her father possessed the same power and perhaps she inherited it from him. [20]

The following letter will show that while her mind was still exercised about the doctrines taught by writers on the “Higher Life” and “Holiness through Faith,” it was in the way of a deepening conviction that these doctrines are not in harmony with the teaching of Scripture or with Christian experience.  Referring to some of these writers, she says: 

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