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The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss   By: (1816-1903)

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[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been numbered and relocated to the end of the chapter in which they occur. They are marked by [1], [2], etc.]

THE LIFE AND LETTERS

OF

ELIZABETH PRENTISS

AUTHOR OF STEPPING HEAVENWARD

BY GEORGE L. PRENTISS

This memoir was undertaken at the request of many of Mrs. Prentiss' old and most trusted friends, who felt that the story of her life should be given to the public. Much of it is in the nature of an autobiography. Her letters, which with extracts from her journals form the larger portion of its contents, begin when she was in her twentieth year, and continue almost to her last hour. They are full of details respecting herself, her home, her friends, and the books she wrote. A simple narrative, interspersed with personal reminiscences, and varied by a sketch of her father, and passing notices of others, who exerted a moulding influence upon her character, completes the story. A picture is thus presented of the life she lived and its changing scenes, both on the natural and the spiritual side. While the work may fail to interest some readers, the hope is cherished that, like STEPPING HEAVENWARD, it will be welcomed into Christian homes and prove a blessing to many hearts; thus realising the desire expressed in one of her last letters: Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls.

G. L. P.

KAUINFELS, September 11, 1882.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

THE CHILD AND THE GIRL.

1818 1839.

I.

Birth place and Ancestry. The Payson Family. Seth Payson. Edward Payson. His Mother. A Sketch of his Life and Character. The Fervor of his Piety. Despondent Moods, and their Causes. His bright, natural Traits. How he prayed and preached. Conversational Gift. Love to Christ. Triumphant Death.

II.

Birth and Childhood of Elizabeth Payson. Early Traits. Devotion to her Father. His Influence upon her. Letters to her Sister. Removal to New York. Reminiscences of the Payson Family.

III.

Recollections of Elizabeth's Girlhood by an early Friend and Schoolmate. Her own Picture of herself before her Father's Death. Favorite Resorts. Why God permits so much Suffering. Literary Tastes. Letters. "What are Little Babies For?" Opens a School. Religious Interest.

IV.

The dominant Type of Religious Life and Thought in New England in the First Half of this Century. Literary Influences. Letter of Cyrus Hamlin. A strange Coincidence.

CHAPTER II.

THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.

1840 1841.

I.

A memorable Experience. Letters to her Cousin. Goes to Richmond as a Teacher. Mr. Persico's School. Letters.

II.

Her Character as a Teacher. Letters. Incidents of School Life. Religious Struggles, Aims, and Hope. Oppressive Heat and Weariness.

III.

Extracts from her Richmond Journal.

CHAPTER III.

PASSING FROM GIRLHOOD INTO WOMANHOOD.

1841 1845.

I.

At Home Again. Marriage of her Sister. Ill health. Letters. Spiritual Aspiration and Conflict. Perfectionism. "Very, Very Happy." Work for Christ what makes Life attractive. Passages from her Journal. A Point of Difficulty.

II.

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.

III.

Her Views of Love and Courtship. Visit of her Sister and Child. Letters. Sickness and Death of Friends. Ill health. Undergoes a surgical Operation. Her Fortitude. Study of German. Fenelon.

CHAPTER IV.

THE YOUNG WIFE AND MOTHER.

1845 1850.

I.

Marriage and Settlement in New Bedford. Reminiscences. Letters. Birth of her First Child. Death of her Mother in Law. Letters.

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.

III.

Further Extracts from Eddy's Journal. Ill Health. Visit to Newark. Death of her Brother in Law, S... Continue reading book >>




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