From Jest to Earnest by E. P. Roe, published in 1875.
According to this website, E. P. Roe was the most popular American novelist during his time. His books outsold those of Mark Twain! (The full text of From Jest to Earnest is available online at the above link!)
From Jest to Earnest is a delightfully innocent romance from a decidedly theological vantage point. It reminds me of an American version of George Macdonald's romance stories (set in Scotland), particularly The Curate's Awakening.
This story is made particularly charming and meaningful to me knowing that my great-grandfather, the poor preacher, gave this book to the elegant and rich daughter of his employer before eventually eloping with her. What a fun parallel story in itself!
She was the beginning of several desirable things, but the pattern was in no instance finished, and was always ravelling out on one side or the other. She had the features of a pretty girl, but ill health and the absence of a pleasing expression spoiled them. She had a fine education, but did not know what to do with it; considerable talent, but no energy; too much conscience, as she had not the resolution to obey it. Her life was passed mainly in easy chairs, chronic dyspepsia, and feeble protest against herself and all the world.
To a certain extent, God gives to the prayerful control of Himself, as it were, and becomes their willing agent; and when all mysteries shall be solved, and the record of all lives be truthfully revealed, it will probably be seen that not those who astonished the world with their own powers, but those who quietly, through prayer, used God's power, were the ones who made the world move forward.
"Men would be better--I should be better--if all young ladies showed your spirit, Miss Martell."
At the next pause in the dance she said, in a low tone, "Come, let us have no 'ifs.' Be better anyway."
When we receive our slight cuts and bruises through life, there are usually outcry and abundant sympathy. But when we receive our deep wounds, that leave scars, often only God knows; and it is best so, for He can heal, but the world can only probe.
Perhaps more distress is caused by those troubles which never come, but which are feared and worried over, than by those which do come, teaching us, often, patience and faith.