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.
England stayed, has just lost two children after a few days’ illness.  They were buried in one coffin.  Old Gideon Howland, the richest man here, is also dead.  The papers are full of deaths.  Our dear baby is nine months old to-day, and may God, if He sees best, spare her to us as many more; and if He does not, I feel as if I could give her up to Him—­but we don’t know what we can do till the time comes.  I hear her sweet little voice down stairs and it sounds happy, so I guess she feels pretty comfortable.

Sabbath Evening.—­The baby is better, and I dare say it is my imagination that says she looks pale and puny.  She is now asleep in your study, where too I am sitting in your chair.  I came down as soon as I could this morning, and have stayed here all day.  It is so quiet and pleasant among your books and papers, and it was so dull up-stairs!  I thought before your letter came, while standing over the green, grassy graves of Lizzie Read, Mary Rodman, and Mrs. Cadwell, [7] how I should love to have dear Abby in such a green, sweet spot, where we could sometimes go together to talk of her.  I must own I should like to be buried under grass and trees, rather than cold stone and heavy marble.  Should not you?

* * * * *

II.

Birth of a Son.  Death of her Mother.  Her Grief.  Letters.  Eddy’s Illness and her own Cares.  A Family Gathering at Newburyport.  Extracts from Eddy’s Journal.

Passing over another year, which was marked by no incidents requiring special mention, we come again to a birth and a death in close conjunction.  On the 22d of October, 1848, her second child, Edward Payson, was born.  On the 17th of November, her mother died.  Of the life of this child she herself has left a minute record, portions of which will be given later.  In a letter to his sister, dated New Bedford, November 21st, her husband thus refers to her mother’s departure: 

We have just received the sad intelligence of Mother Payson’s death.  She passed away very peacefully, as if going to sleep, at half-past five on Friday afternoon.  Dear Lizzy was at first quite overwhelmed, as I knew she would be—­for her attachment to her mother was uncommonly tender and devoted; but she is now perfectly tranquil and will soon, I trust, be able to think of her irreparable loss with a melancholy pleasure even.  There is much in the case that is peculiarly fitted to produce a cheerful resignation.  Mrs. Payson has been a severe sufferer; and since the breaking up of her home in Portland, she has felt, I think, an increasing detachment from the world.  I was exceedingly struck with this during her visit here last winter.  She seemed to me to be fast ripening for heaven.  It is such a comfort to us that she was able to name our little boy! [8]

Mrs. Payson died in the 65th year of her age.  She was a woman of most attractive and admirable qualities, full of cheerful life and energy, and a whole-hearted disciple of Jesus.  A few extracts from Mrs. Prentiss’ letters will show how deeply she felt her loss.  To her youngest brother she writes: 

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