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.

[9] The following is an extract from a letter of Mrs. M. giving an account of the interview:  It was of her I thought, as an hour before sunset, on that day, I passed through the grounds to the door of her beautiful home.  I thought of her as I had seen her busy at work among her flowers on the morning of the day when the fatal illness began, wearing a straw hat, with broad brim to protect her from the heat of the sun.  Several of her family were standing around her, and the pleasant picture we saw as we drove by the lovely lawn is fresh and green in my memory now.  Once, after this, I had seen her, at our last precious Bible-reading (though little thought we then it would be our last), when she so earnestly urged us to be true “witnesses” for our Master and Lord and gently bade us God-speed, “encouraging” us also, as she expressed it, “by the particular desire of my husband to-day,” in the heavenward path.  I knew that she was not quite well, and as I entered the house was invited to her chamber.

I found her attired as usual, but reclining on the bed, apparently only for quiet rest.  Her greeting was warm, her eyes bright, she was very cheerful, and, I think, was not then suffering from pain.  To my inquiries after her health, she replied, that she had been at first prostrated by the heat of the sun, remaining at work in it too long, with no idea of danger from the exposure; “but now,” she said, “I do not think much is the matter with me”—­though afterwards she added, “The doctor has said something to my husband which has alarmed him about me, and he is anxious, but I can not perceive any reason for this.”  We talked of many familiar things, even of home-like methods of cookery, and she kindly sent for a small manuscript receipt-book of her own to lend me, looking it over and turning down the leaves at some particular receipts which she approved, and “those were my mother’s,” she said of several.  She spoke of her engagements and the guests she loved to entertain, adding that she thought God had given this pleasant home, surrounded by such beautiful things in nature, that others too might be made happy in enjoying them.  All the time while listening to her remarks, and deeply interested in every one she made, the strong desire was in my heart to speak to her of her works, of my appreciation of their great usefulness, and how God had blessed her in permitting her to do so much to benefit others.  I longed to say to her, “O had you only written the books for the little ones, ‘Little Susy’s Six Birthdays,’ and its companions, it would have been well worth living for! had you never written anything but ‘The Flower of the Family,’ it were a blessing for you to have lived!  And ’Stepping Heavenward’—­what a privilege to have lived to write only that volume!” I could scarcely refrain from pouring out before her the thoughts which warmed my heart, but I had been told that she preferred not to be spoken to of her works, and I refrained.  Only once, when we were alone, I said, with some emotion, “I am so glad to have seen you; it was because you were here that I wished to come to this village; this was the strong attraction.” ...  Thus I parted from her.  I shall not look upon her again until the day when “those who sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him.”

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