This is written mainly to my cohorts in a FB group I’m in from latest book reading/following along with the current Christian Classics – Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, one of those books written in journal form – making me want to get out mine and do better with it – making it one you can read throughout your life as yours corresponds to hers, so as I read it before as, well, not quite the teen-ager she starts off as; so much didn’t know about back then and, really, she’s been confronted with this situation at a much younger age; book is set, like so many, back in the 1800s, so did people not live as long? so did things that we consider elderly at much younger age? anyway, here goes
she has gotten married to the local doctor; have actually been married barely a month – can you imagine? when he had to go see to his mother because she, who’d been not well, had gotten worse, had become dangerously ill and then passed away.
So it was decided, by his father? to give up their home and scatter the family? who all? not sure, doesn’t really say, at least not yet, but must not be all because there are other married sons and daughters for them to be scattered about, but the point being their share is to be his father and unmarried sister. Good thing – or is it? – they at least have their own home, and large enough to accommodate them, for he asks her to have 2 rooms ready for them at once. So she even rolls in? the stuffed chair she’d had in her? room – have heard things about the habits of couples in the 1800s but not sure what is meant here or not – and put the large print (not sure even knew they had those back then) Bible on the little table in there. Did learn tea – and I think these are Americans – was at 7. Breakfast was at 7:30, at least in their house; however, like so many country people, his father got up earlier than that and, at least according to daughter, would need his breakfast at once. Reminds me of my dad, breakfast pretty much at 6:00 am sharp. So she said she would see that he had it; now, something don’t understand; sister said something about not expecting much from young housekeepers – sound familiar? – but she had a cook. “need not trouble yourself. will speak to brother” oh, doesn’t that sound like something a sister would say….”he has nothing to do with it” duh – speechless, looong silence, shaking of head “Did you make the bread?” says doesn’t know how with smile at look of horror “not know how!” oh, now how mischievous she gets – “why, can you?” like asking – at least back in that day – if know the 10 Commandments – an unmarried farm woman not know how to make bread! but they lived in the city now, but at least she was immediately ashamed – can anybody say that now? – and sorry – sorry? is anybody ever now? guests – but are they, if they’ve come to live there? – due courtesy, especially just a week after mother has died. so then she rushes across the room, seizes her hand, begging eagerly her forgiveness, but with sister amazed, but blank, not conscious of anything to forgive – not even having gotten the remark, but now just startled at what she’s done, telling she thought she’d suddenly gone crazy – oh, great, now what….but definitely crestfallen – when’s the last time seen/heard that word – may go back to my trusty Merriam-Webster’s but not right now – all while father just sitting there grim and grave without a word.
But, now, another nod to the times – asked about family worship – oh, how different doctoring was back in the day – not sure if he brought family in, so was just getting back himself from having been gone, but either way, surely in today’s time would have waited till next day to get report of patients from covering doctor while he was gone, but, no, not then, so proceeds to tell dad hope won’t feel obligated to wait up for him for never know when be in, but hasn’t mattered because what had been their family worship – remember, they’d only been married a month – was still an intimate couple thing but of course had been a long time, if ever, since had been that way for Father, but does this say something about how we’ve got from there to here? oh, no, Father would do his duty, whatever the cost – well, ok, then. But son’s not going to be expecting that and, sure enough, when comes in, quite surprised to find everybody still up! So had least had prayers and then, at least escorted them to their rooms; otherwise, would they have gone even then? Then finally they’re alone, but is this what you’d want to hear from your new, just barely a month husband, especially when pretty much half of that, practically ever since you got back from your honeymoon, which part of that was spent meeting the family, since hadn’t been done before, is “you must love me more than ever, now, for have lost my best friend” – really? hm….I mean, I know you apparently were close to your mother, but thought I was supposed to be your best friend now. But she agreed, with the idea that no way, in the sense no way could she love him anymore, but could she love him less…..
when, even as they were talking, she was hearing the greatest racket – he didn’t hear it? didn’t seem to notice it….so the next morning she finds they had totally rearranged everything in their rooms – now why? but doesn’t that sound familiar? but did it really make them look like? a fright – or did it, was it just because wasn’t the way she’d had things arranged, or….did it?
stay tuned – possibly, we’ll see