Sept. 30th—You speak of indulging unusually, of late, in your natural vivacity and finding it prejudicial. Here is a point on which I am completely bewildered. I find that if for a month or two I steadily set myself to the unwearied pursuit of spirituality of mind and entire weanedness from the world, a sad reaction will follow. My efforts slightly relax, I indulge in mirthful or worldly (in the sense of not religious) conversation, delight in it, and find my health and spirits better for it. But then my spiritual appetites at once become less keen, and from conversation I go to reading, from reading to writing, and then comes the question: Am I not going back?—and I turn from all to follow hard after the Lord. Is this a part of our poor humanity, above which we can not rise? This is a hard world to live in; and it will prove a trying one to me or I shall love it dearly. I have had temptations during the last six months on points where I thought I stood so safely that there was no danger of a fall. Perhaps it is good for us to be allowed to go to certain lengths, that we may see what wonderful supplies of grace our Lord gives us every hour of our lives.
October 1st—I have had two or three singular hours of excitement since I left writing to you last evening. If you were here I should be glad to read you a late passage in my history which has come to its crisis and is over with—thanks to Him, who so wonderfully guides me by His counsel. If I ever saw the hand of God distinctly held forth for my help, I have seen it here, coming in the right time, in the right way, all right.
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Returns to Richmond. Trials there. Letters. Illness. School Experiences. “To the Year 1843.” Glimpses of her daily Life. Why her Scholars love her so. Homesick. A Black Wedding. What a Wife should be. “A Presentiment.” Notes from her Diary.
In November of this year, at the urgent solicitation of Mr. Persico, Miss Payson returned to Richmond, and again became a teacher in his school. But everything was now changed, and that for the worse. Mr. Persico, no longer under the influence of his wife, who had fallen a prey to cruel disease, lost heart, fell heavily in debt, and became at length hopelessly insolvent. Later, he is said to have been lost at sea on his way to Italy. The whole period of Miss Payson’s second residence in Richmond was one of sharp trial and disappointment. But it brought out in a very vivid manner her disinterestedness and the generous warmth of her sympathies. At the peril of her health she remained far into the summer of 1843, faithfully performing her duties, although, as she well knew, it was doubtful if she would receive any compensation for her services. As a matter of fact, only a pittance of her salary was ever paid. Of this second residence in Richmond no other record is needed than a few extracts from letters written to a beloved friend who was passing the winter at the South, and whose name has already been mentioned.