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.

Two tongues are running like mill-clappers, so good-night.

* * * * *

II.

Little Incidents and Details of her last Days on Earth.  Last Visit to the Woods.  Sudden Illness.  Last Bible-reading.  Last Drive to Hager-Brook.  Reminiscence of a last Interview.  Closing Scenes.  Death.  The Burial.

Her last days on earth were now close at hand.  Such days have in themselves, of necessity, no virtue above other days; and yet a tender interest clings to them simply as the last.  Their conjunction with death and the Life beyond seems to invest whatsoever comes to pass in them—­even trifles light as air—­with unwonted significance.  Soon after her sudden departure her husband noted down, for the satisfaction of absent friends, such little incidents and details as could be recalled of her last ten days on earth.  The following is a part of this simple record: 

Sunday, Aug. 4, 1878.—­To-day she went to the house of God for the last time; and, as would have been her wish, had she known it was for the last time, heard me preach.  There was much in both the tone and matter of the sermon, that made it seem, afterwards, as if it had been written in full view of the approaching sorrow.  A good deal of the day at home was spent in getting ready for her Bible-reading on the ensuing Thursday.  At four o’clock in the afternoon she and the girls, M. and H., usually drove in the phaeton over to the Rev. Mr. Reed’s, on the West road, to attend a neighborhood prayer-meeting; but to-day, on account of a threatening thunder-shower, they did not go.  She enjoyed this little meeting very much.

Monday, Aug. 5th.—­Soon after breakfast, she and the girl—­“we three girls,” as she used to say—­started off, carrying each a basket, for the Cheney woods in quest of ferns; it having been arranged that at ten o’clock I should come with the phaeton to fetch her and the baskets home.  The morning, although warm, was very pleasant and all three were in high spirits.  Before leaving the house, she ran up to her “den”—­so she called the little room where she wrote and painted—­to get something; and on passing out of it through the chamber, where just then I was shaving, she suddenly stopped, and pointing at me with her forefinger, her eye and face beaming with love and full of sweet witchery, she exclaimed in a tone of pretended anger:  “How dare you, sir, to be shaving in my room?” and in an instant she was gone!  A minute or two later I looked after her from the window and saw her, with her two shadows, hurrying towards the woods.  At the time appointed, I went for her.  She awaited me sitting on the ground on the further side of the woods, near the old sugar-house.  The three baskets, all filled with beautiful ferns, were placed in the phaeton and we drove home.

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