Enters upon her last Year on Earth. A Letter
about The Home at Greylock.
Her Motive in writing Books. Visit to the Aquarium. About “Worry.” Her
Painting. Saturday Afternoons with her. What she was to her Friends.
Resemblance to Madame de Broglie. Recollections of a Visit to East
River. A Picture of her by an old Friend. Goes to Dorset. Second Advent
Doctrine. Last Letters.
Mrs. Prentiss crossed the threshold of her last year on earth with hands and thoughts still unusually busied. Her weekly Bible-reading, painting in oils and in water-colors, needle-work, and other household duties, left her no idle moment. “My fire is so full of irons,” she wrote, “that I do not know which one to take out.” Nor was her heart less busy than her hands and brain. Twice in January, once in February, and again in April, death invaded the circle of her friends; and when her friends were in trouble she was always in trouble, too.  These deaths led to earnest talk with her husband on the mystery of earthly existence, and on the power of faith in Christ to sustain the soul in facing its great trials. “I am filled with ever fresh wonder at this amazing power,” she said. Such subjects always interested her deeply; never more so than at this time, when, although she knew it not, her feet were drawing so near to the pearly gates.
The keynote of her being throughout this last winter was one of unwonted seriousness. A certain startling intensity of thought and feeling showed itself every now and then. It was painfully evident that she was under a severe strain, both physical and mental. Again and again, as spring advanced, the anxiety of her husband was aroused to the highest pitch by what seemed to him indications that the unresting, ever-active spirit was fast wearing away the frail body. At times, too, there was a light in her eye and in her face an “unearthly, absolutely angelic expression”—to use her own words about her little Bessie, six and twenty years before—that filled him with a strange wonder, and which, after her departure, he often recalled as prophetic of the coming event and the glory that should follow.
But while to his ear an undertone of unusual seriousness, deepening ever and anon into a strain of the sweetest tenderness and pathos, ran through her life during all these early months of 1878, there was little change in its outward aspect. She was often gay and full as ever of bright, playful fancies. Never busier, so was she never more eager to be of service to her friends—and never was she more loving to her children, or more thoughtful of their happiness. She proposed for their gratification and advantage to write four new books, one for each of them, provided only they and their father would furnish her with subjects. The plan seemed to please her greatly, and, had she been spared, would probably have been carried into effect—for it was just the sort of stimulus she needed to set her mind in action.