Saved at Last...
(Springfield, Ohio, 1881)
SAVED AT LAST.
AMONG THE MORMONS.
BY MRS. A. G. PADDOCK.
COPYRIGHT, 1881, BY FARM AND FIRESIDE COMPANY.
FARM AND FIRESIDE COMPANY.
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Let us look more closely at the homes behind the flowery screen that borders either side of the way. Under the trees, whose blossoms are falling in showers upon the path, groups of neglected-looking children are playing. Coarsely dressed women are at work in the gardens; and at one or two of the open doors a haggard face looks out. In the last cottage on the street the doors are closed and the windows darkened. No smoke rises from the chimney, no children play in the yard, the garden is overgrown with weeds and the gate creaks on its hinges. Within all is gloomy and silent; and yet the house is not deserted. In an arm-chair beside one of the closed windows a woman sits alone, her hands folded idly in her lap, her eyes fixed on vacancy. For two years she has been the sole tenant of the house, and in those years her face has grown thin and furrowed and her hair has bleached until now it's as white as the snow on the peaks.
In the next house, separated from this one only by a low hedge, all the doors and windows are thrown open, a flood of spring sunshine pouring into every room, and a round-faced, cheery-looking matron moving briskly about her household tasks. As she takes the bread from the oven and deposits the crisp, brown loaves upon a table scoured until its whiteness rivals that of the cloth that she lays over it, a sudden thought strikes her, and she says aloud:
"I'll jest take a loaf into Sister Hartley. Poor creetur! I ain't seen a mite of smoke comin' out of her chimbly these two days, and I mistrust she ain't cooked a bite for herself. Mebbe she ain't had a bite to cook. That man --" an indignant slap upon the unoffending loaf, which by this time was wrapped up in a towel, completed the sentence.
A little gap in the hedge served as a gate way, and the bustling housekeeper, after tucking a pat of butter and half a dozen eggs into the basket that held the loaf, stepped through into her neighbor's neglected garden and knocked at a side door, following up the knock with the announcement.
"It's only me, Sister Hartley."
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The voice sounded dull and hollow; and when the door was thrown open, letting in the sunlight, the woman at the window clasped her hands over her eyes.
"Shut the door," she said, in the same dull tones, "the light hurts me."
"I shan't do no such thing," was the decided answer. "The light'll do you good, and you're goin' to have it whilst I stay. What do you 'spose would become of you if I let you have your own way? What with washin' and getting' Johnny ready to go to St. George, I've bin that busy that I ain't had a minute's time to run over sence Sunday, and I didn't know as I'd find you alive. You ain't made yourself no breakfast this mornin'?"
The woman shook her head.
"Jest as I thought. Now I an agoin' to make you a fire, hang on the kittle and git you a cup of tea. You can put on two plates, for I lay out to eat a bite with you. We had breakfast that early on account of Johnny's goin' away I didn't take more'n two mouthsful."
The fire had to be built in the next room, and a window was opened there by the energetic hands that kept at work while their owner talked. In a marvelously short space of time the tea-kettle was singing over the fire, a little round table was drawn out and duly set with plates, cups and saucers, and a couple of poached eggs were served up with the fresh, home-made loaf and the tea, whose fragrance diffused itself through the room.
"Now, Sister Hartley, you can't help eatin', I know. Anyways I lay out to stay till I see you make a good breakfast and then I must hurry back, for William would look for his dinner when the sun gits to the noon mark, if there'd bin wars and earthquakes sence breakfast."
"I ought to be more thankful to you than I am, Martha -- you, who are the only person on earth that cares whether I live or die."
The rigid outlines of the woman's face softened a little as she spoke, and one of the thin, white hands was laid on the neighbor's shoulder.
"Don't go to talkin' like that, Sister Hartley, or I shall be clean upset. Who was it, I'd like to know, that took me in when I hadn't neither father nor mother and learnt me all I know, and kept me till I was married from her house to as good a man as ever drawed breath; for if William is a little sot about havin' dinner just at twelve, there ain't a woman anywhere that's got less to complain about than I have; though, to be sure, if you'd had this door open last night you might o' heard me scoldin' him for spillin' the milk on my clean table. He will strain the pans so full that they run over, spite of all I can say or do."
The shadow of a smile played for a moment about the pale lips of the elder woman.
"There," exclaimed the other, triumphantly, "I know'd I could chirk you up if you'd only give me the chance. You remember Miss Dobbs, back home -- what a persnickitty old maid she was to be sure! Well, after I went to housekeepin' next door to her she would run in mornin', noon and night to tell about the neighbor's hens that got into her garden, and the boys that stole her fruit, and all that. She always brung the longest face I ever see on a mortal woman, but most generally she had to smile about something before she went back. She said I done her good, and I guess I did."
"You have done me good, Martha, and I wish I could thank you."
"Well, then, if you're pertikiller about thanks I'll take it for an accommodation if you'll leave this door and winder open awhile to-day and let me fix up somethin' for your supper to-night. And if you want to oblige me very much you can take a turn in the garden while the sun is shinin'."
The last words were spoken while Martha was folding the towel that had covered the bread and replacing it in the basket on her arm. In another minute she was out of the house, and to the solitary occupant who watched her retreating figure the room seemed to have become suddenly darker and smaller.
Angels do not always wear wings and white robes. The angel who let the sunshine into Mrs. Hartley's darkened room that spring morning wore a dress of brown homespun, a check apron, and a heavy, serviceable pair of shoes. Her face was browned with exposure to sun and wind, and her plump arms, bare to the elbows just now, were brown likewise.
Martha Sloan, the orphan daughter of a farm laborer and married before she was twenty to a man who followed the same occupation, had never heard of ministering spirits unless it might have been in some forgotten Sunday-school lesson. Her literary accomplishments were limited to writing her own name and spelling her way laboriously
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through some of the verses of a well-worn book, her mother's legacy, which she had kept through many vicissitudes.
"Thou shalt love the neighbor as thyself." That was a short verse and all the words were easy. She had known it by heart a good many years. She needed to know it by heart here where there were such neighbors.
Hardly had she crossed the threshold of her own house when the woman who lived on the other side of her place came in, and dropping helplessly into a chair, covered her head with her apron and began to sob.
"What is the matter now, Sister Dunbar?" Martha asked, though not in the tone of one who expected to hear anything new. The woman took down her apron and wiped her eyes.
"I'm clear discouraged, sister Martha. This is George's week to stay with me. I do my best to please him, but he finds fault with everything. And yet before we came here he was the kindest husband that ever lived. I hope it isn't wicked in me to say so, but I know Julia tries everyway to set him against me. Oh, me! I wish I was dead!"
"Sh, Sister Dunbar! You shouldn't say that. Think of your little children!"
"I do think of them. It was thinking of them that make me consent to that marriage. You're a mother yourself, Martha Sloan, and you know if you'd had to choose between Johnny being turned out to perish when he was little and William taking another wife, you'd have done just as I did."
"We don't none of us know what we'll do till we're tried, Sister Dunbar."
"May be that's so; but no more do we know what polygamy is till we've tried it. Not but what I believe in the principle" -- with a frightened glance over her shoulder as though suspecting an unseen listener -- "but I haven't got the strength to live in it."
"Any fresh trouble to-day?"
"Oh, no! Only the old story: the house never put to rights, nothing fit to eat, and if things don't go any better he will bring Julia here and let her take charge of everything. You know I'd rather work myself to death than have her brought back. I remember too well the three months she staid in the house when he was first sealed to her."
The pale, blue eyes flashed for a moment like the flame leaping up from an expiring fire. Martha opened her lips as if to speak, then closed them again firmly. "Sister Dunbar" was as weak as she was miserable, and any pitying words that her kind-hearted neighbor might have uttered would have been repeated a dozen times before night to those who were always ready to repeat such words as an evidence of a wrong spirit -- a spirit at war with the law which the women of this community were bound to obey.
"I don't know what to do, I'm sure." It was the complaining voice of Martha's visitor that broke the silence. "Things are at sixes and sevens; but with four children and little enough provided and the baby so cross with teething, I'm at my wits' end."
May be I can help you out to-day." Martha spoke cheerily this time, for she knew she was on safe ground. "Send Jimmy and the baby over here. I can take care of 'em just as well as not, and after I git my dinner out of the way I'll run over. George at home to-day?"
"No; he took the team and went to the canyon early this morning. He won't be home before dark."
"And before dark we'll have the house to rights and a good supper a cookin'. Chirk up, Sister Dunbar. By patience and perseverance the mouse gnawed through the mountain."
"That's what my mother used to say and I say it to myself whenever my work gits ahead of me."
It was wise to ignore everything except the day's work. No one knew this better than Martha; and when her visitor rose to depart she followed her to the gate and looked about her in all directions to be certain that Sister Dunbar's remarks had not been overheard. It was a busy day for Martha. Besides attending to her own household affairs and helping to bear Sister Dunbar's burdens, she had her neighbor on the right to care for. No one, not even Martha's husband, knew what a faithful watch she kept over this woman. That night, after all her other tasks were done, she found an hour to devote to her, and left her, as she hoped, better than in the morning.
But when all the lights that twinkled in the cottage windows had gone out, the solitary tenant of the house whose windows never showed a light from within, paced the tangled paths of the weed-grown garden, and with hands and eyes uplifted to the cold, silent stars, cried out:
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"Oh, God! If there be a God, have pity upon me and let me die!"
So many nights she had stood in the same place and uttered the same prayer, and yet death appeared as far off as ever. To-night she seemed to see, in place of the weeds and brambles around her, the smooth, grassy mounds of that far away burial place in which her kindred slept a peaceful dreamless sleep. Why could she not share her rest? At first she had hoped that the boon she sought might come to her from unseen hands in this very spot; for in this fair valley, filled to the brim with bloom and verdure, bloody graves awaited all who rebelled against the despotism under which they lived. She had rebelled against it. She had defied the tyrant who held all their lives in his hand, and yet death did not overtake her. Elsewhere the ministers of blood atonement were swift and sure; but here in this lonely place, where they might dig her grave by day unquestioned, they did not come.
The fog that had risen from the river dripped coldly from the trees. It was not like the dew that fell in that far-off home which she had left years, oh, so many years ago! It had dropped on her uncovered head. Her white hair was damp with it. Slowly, very slowly, she turned her steps and went indoors. It was not fear that caused her to slide the heavy bolts and put up the bars that secured every entrance to the house. What had she to fear? Since death was denied her, all she sought was to hide herself from human eyes. She shut herself in an inner room whose one window was so thickly curtained that no ray of the feeble light burning beside her bed could be seen from without.
It was longer past midnight, but she had not come here seeking sleep. Last night when worn-out nature gave way entirely, she had sunk upon the bed in a sleep that resembled a swoon, and lain many hours in blessed unconsciousness. To-night all her faculties were awake, and a thousand stinging memories beset her heart. In this room, which no one save herself ever entered, three portraits hung side by side. The first was that of a fair, young girl dressed in white. The hair that fell in rippling masses to the waist was black as night. The violet eyes that even on the canvas seemed to flash with merriment, were shaded by long, silken lashes of the same hue. The winsome beauty of the face, the pose of the lovely head, the attitude of the figure full of girlish grace, might well cause the gaze of the beholder to linger upon it. But who would guess that it had ever represented the white-haired woman who now stood before it with clasped hands and eyes dull with dispair? Yet it was in truth herself at whom Miriam Hartley now looked, and her lusterless eyes brightened a little as she saw through and beyond the painted canvas the home of her childhood and all within it, the faces of father and mother, of brothers and sisters, passed quickly before her, and for a little while the dark room seemed lighted by their presence. Then she turned slowly away and her eyes rested on the next picture -- a baby boy in the act of taking his first, uncertain steps, reaching out his hands for help. Her face softened. She smiled, and murmured in tones of unutterable tenderness:
"My baby, my lamb! Come to mother."
The illusion lasted but a moment. Then another picture, one that had burned itself in upon her brain, came up and blotted out the image of the rosy, smiling face and the dimpled hand. She saw, instead of the canvas before her, a boyish figure lying stark and motionless upon a rocky path, the golden curls, the very same curls that crowned the baby's head, stained with the blood that oozed from a cruel wound, and the blue eyes wide open, but sightless. A terrible cry, such a cry as had broken the silence of the dark canyon above her house ten years before, echoed through the deserted rooms now as she clasped her hands over her eyes as if to shut out the awful vision. It was her boy, the only one that ever called her mother, whose blood was shed in that canyon by men whose natures were more fierce than the beasts of prey that harbored there. Was there a God who saw it all? If there was, he must surely make inquisition for blood some day, and then these murderers would not go unpunished."
As if bent on self-torture she dropped her hands and faced the next picture -- that of a man of commanding figure and haughty bearing. The eyes were as blue as those of the baby's portrait at the right, but the expression, as well as of the handsome mouth, told of pride and unconquerable self-will.
"Ah, cruel as ever!" the woman muttered aloud. "What do you care for the agonies of the poor fool that worshipped you? Does it make any shadow that comes between you and the baby face of your mistress? My curse on you both!"
Now her eyes blazed, and the thin hands clenched until the nails cut into the flesh.
"Oh!" she cried out, "if I could make you suffer as I have suffered. She will suffer,
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for they say she loves you -- loves you almost as I did once and you will tire of her in another year and cast her aside for a fresh face. I could almost find it in my heart to pity her; but you -- you will go on your way caring for nothing, feeling nothing, and invoking the name of God as a shield for your crimes. If there is a God, surely he will smite you at last.
Are my readers repelled by the pictures here presented? Lord Macauley closed and put aside Uncle Tom's Cabin with the comment: "A disagreeable book!"
Doubtless. And the reality was yet more disagreeable. Men, women and children bought, sold, chained, lashed, starved. Human beings condemned to a fate worse than that of the beasts of the field. With such a subject how could a picture painted from life abound in cheerful tints.
So is the present case. A system more barbarous than anything outside those "dark corners of the earth that are full of the habitations of cruelty" holds multitudes of human beings in absolute thrall. On the one hand this system rears the altar of blood atonement, and its high priest stands by and says:
"When a man transgresses his covenants, breaks his oath of unquestioning obedience, his blood must be poured out on this altar."
On the other hand rises the altar of celestial marriage, upon which thousands of women are immolated and tens of thousands of children born to an inheritance of sorrow and shame, swelling the sacrifice. A law which the people dare not set aside reads:
"It is the duty of woman to give other wives to her husband, even as Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham. But if she refuse, then it shall be lawful for the husband to take other wives without her consent, and she shall be destroyed for her disobedience."
And yet, standing face to face with the wrongs and cruelties of this system, compelled to witness its crimes, beholding its victims, the artist is commanded to paint a picture in which light and shadow shall blend harmoniously. The skies of Utah are soft as those of Italy; but beneath them the blackest crimes go unpunished. The air is exhilarating as wine, but it is tainted with treason and murder. The valleys are bright in summer with ten thousand blossoms, and rich in autumn with golden grain and ripened fruit, but their sod is red with innocent blood. The mountains are storehouses of treasures, such as Aladdin never dreamed of, but their hidden recesses have echoed again and again with the cries of those whom the Danites hunted to death.
A woman crazed by her wrongs all the sweetness of her nature turned to gall, her lips uttering curses, her heart full of jealousy and hatred, is not a pleasant sight to look upon, I admit. Yet there are many such women in Utah, and they have been made what they are by a system which has grown up under the shadow of the American flag, and in the very heart of the freest, the greatest, the most enlightened and the most Christian nation under the sun.
Upon a sandy, barren hillside overgrown with sage brush lies our city of the dead. A more desolate spot could scarcely be imagined than this bare, bleak burial ground with its hundreds of unmarked graves; and yet with what longing eyes the women of this beautiful valley have looked toward it! How they have coveted the rest of those who sleep there! To many, very many, of the heart-broken wives sacrificed on the altar of celestial marriage, this rest has been granted. The city of the dead is populous. It is a marvel to the stranger how it could have gathered so many tenants from this sparsely settled valley, but to us who know how many women, killed by the horrors of polygamy, have been carried there with their little children, the marvel is that room has been found for all.
Oh, my countrymen! It is nothing to you that thousands of your sisters are dragging out the slow years of a wretched life in the midst of tortures that causes them to pray daily for death? Mothers, is it nothing to you that multitudes of young girls just budding into womanhood are destined for the same fate? Christians, is it nothing to you that all these women are destroyed, body and soul, in the name of religion? Follow with me the fortunes of the characters of this story, and remember as you read that they are taken from life, and that the incidents are actual everyday occurrences.
On the morning succeeding that with which our story opens, Martha Sloan, busy and cheerful as usual, was out in her trim little garden tying up currant bushes and coaxing refractory borders into straight lines. When her work was done she stooped a few minutes longer to bend admiringly over the open blossoms of a strawberry bed that was the pride and delight of her heart. Her back was to the gate, and she was so absorbed for the moment in the contemplation of her treasures that she did not hear a step upon
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the walk, and was quite unconscious that nay one had entered the garden until a hand clutched her dress.
"Why, sister Dunbar!" she exclaimed, turning round so quickly as to almost knock the intruder over, "you like to scairt me clean out of my wits. What's the matter? You're as white as a sheet."
"Matter enough" -- In whisper. "Come into the house and I'll tell you."
Martha led the way indoors without any appearance of excitement or alarm. She was too well accustomed to Sister Dunbar's revelations to expect anything out of the usual order. Still she took the precaution to motion her to step into the bed-room and to close the door when both were seated.
'Now, what is it?" she asked, after giving her visitor time to recover herself.
"You know," Sister Dunbar began, still in a whisper, "that old man Cope brought Jane back to the settlement about a week ago?"
"Well, he's made up with his first wife, or he's trying to, and he treats Jane worse than a dog, thinking, I suppose, that he will please her. You know what I think of second wives, and what I've had to put up with myself, but I do not pity Jane. Yesterday they had a fuss about her baby. It's been sick a good while, and he had some medicine that he wanted to give it -- something that would kill it, most likely. I'm sure I wouldn't trust him to give medicine to a kitten. Jane stood out about it. She worships her baby; thinks all the more of it because it's a poor, weakly thing, and she took it in her arms and went off to a neighbor's, declaring that neither he nor the first wife should touch it. She staid till dark, but the neighbor (I don't say who it was) thought it would make matters worse to keep her over night, and advised her to go home then. She went and the old man acted as if nothing had happened; but it appears he'd made up his mind what to do, and what do you suppose it was?"
"I'm sure I couldn't tell for the life of me."
"Well, you shall hear. In the middle of the night he takes Jane out of the house in her night-clothes, drags her as far as the old cottonwood tree on the canyon road and chains her up with an ox-chain."
Martha uttered an exclamation.
"Stop! You haven't heard all yet. After he'd got her chained fast, he went back and fetched the baby and threw it down on the ground just far enough from her so that she could not possibly reach it with hand or foot, and there they both are yet. You know Jane's condition, and the heavy ox-chain is fastened about her waist, for I've been down myself to see. I didn't get very near her, though, for Cope stands in the road with an ax and swears he will use it on anybody that interferes. I've been to the bishop about it, but all he says, is: 'Let the woman obey her husband.'"
Martha rose to her feet. Her ruddy face had turned pale, and her lips were firmly compressed as she walked to a closet in the corner of the room, took down a long-handled hatchet and started for the door.
"What on earth are you going to do?" exclaimed Sister Dunbar, in alarm.
"I'm goin' to let Jane loose and take her and her baby away, and if Cope wants to use his axe he'll find I can handle this hatchet jest as well."
"Don't, for heaven's sake, Sister Martha. You'll only get yourself into trouble and do the poor thing no good. I've seen how such things end."
But Martha was already out of the house and walking rapidly in the direction of the canyon road. Sister Dunbar, whose curiosity for the moment mastered her fears, rose and followed her at a considerable distance; but long before either reached the cottonwood tree a horseman came in sight riding down the road from the mouth of the canyon.
CHAPTER II.The poor creature chained to the tree was in plain view. Her head drooped low on her breast; she was silent, and the beholders might have thought her unconscious if she had not made an effort to reach out her hands toward her babe, whose faint moans the other women were by this time able to distinguish. In the middle of the road, and only a few feet from the tree, stood Cope, brandishing his axe above his head.
The man on horseback, now within a rod or so of this tableau, halted and called out:
"What does all this mean?"
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"It means," answered Martha, "that this brute chained one of his wives to a tree last night and says he will keep her there."
The words were scarcely spoken when the horseman leaped to the ground, and leveling a heavy dragoon six-shooter at Cope's head, ordered him to drop his axe. The wretch, who was as cowardly as he was brutal, obeyed at once.
"Now take yourself off on the instant or I'll send you where you belong."
Cope needed no second bidding. The revolver still covered him, and the sharp click of the lock emphasized the new comer's threat. In less time than it takes to write the words he had vanished from the scene, and the stranger had begun the work of releasing the victim of his cruelty. The chain was fastened by strong staples which it required time and strength to remove. Martha stood by holding the baby, which she had taken up as soon as she reached the spot, and Sister Dunbar looked on, pale and trembling.
"Now," said the man, when his task was ended, "you women take her away as quickly as possible -- or stay, I will put her on my horse."
"No," said Martha, "you have risked enough already. I will take her home with me. You must not stop here. Ride as fast as your horse can carry you, and get out of the way of all of them before Cope spreads his story through the settlement." Then seeming to realize that her words did not convey the gratitude she felt, she added:
"Whoever you are, the Lord bless you for your good deed and keep you safe! Go now."
Her earnestness and the terror in Sister Dunbar's face seemed to decide the stranger. He lifted his hat courteously, and with a simple "good morning," sprang upon his horse and rode away in the direction from which he had come.
"Lord, help us!" said Sister Dunbar, in whose trembling arms Martha had placed the baby. "How will this end for all of us? I know that man; it is the Gentile who passed through here last month on his way to the mountains to prospect for silver; the same one who talked with Mary Ellsworth. What will become of him now? They will be on his track before night."
"Never you fear for him, Sister Dunbar. He's a man that can take care of himself."
Martha, as the reader may have discovered, was given to deeds rather than words. She said no more now, but made the best of her way homeward, half leading, half carrying poor Jane, while Sister Dunbar followed with the baby.
Meanwhile the stranger was riding northward along a bridle path that skirted the foothills. He was, as Sister Dunbar had said, a Gentile, whose mere presence in the valley was reckoned an intrusion and he was quite well aware of the consequences of his recent act. The women present were Mormons without doubt, and might be forgiven for their share in the transaction; but interference in any of the domestic affairs of the people by one not of their faith was a crime punishable with death.
Robert Maynard was not easily intimidated. All the years of his manhood had been spent in the northern territories, and he had come off victorious in many a desperate encounter with the wild beasts of the rocky mountains, and with savages more fierce and formidable than they. Here, however, he knew he must meet foes far harder to deal with; men who united all the means and appliances of civilization to the treachery, cruelty and cunning of savages. He knew, too, that after what had occurred he could not trust himself for an hour by daylight in one of their isolated settlements, and that night must overtake him on the lonely road he was traveling. He hoped to reach Salt Lake by dark. There were a few Gentile residents there, and a military post at which a handful of troops were stationed. And yet even in Salt Lake a man's life was not safe for a day if he fell under the ban of the priesthood. Maynard remembered that only a little while before, a man loved and revered by all outside of the Mormon community had been brutally murdered within a few steps of his own door, and that another exemplary citizen whose only crime consisted in marrying a woman who had renounced polygamy had been shot down in broad daylight on one of the principal streets of the city while in the custody of an officer.
"If it was only a fair fight, now," Maynard said to himself, "I think I could stand off a dozen of them; but cowards who always lie in wait for a man in the dark, or creep up behind him to shoot him in the back, are not so to get away with."
Then as his thoughts reverted to the scene in which he had just taken part, and to the settlement that lay in the distance behind him, a face came up that for a time drove his present danger from his mind.
A month before, when on his way to the mountains, he had stopped at this settlement
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for dinner. There was no inn in the place, but the bishop turned an honest penny occasionally by furnishing meals to wayfarers at an exorbitant price. Maynard was waited on at the table by a dark-eyed girl whose delicate beauty was in such strong contrast to the appearance of the bishop's red-faced daughters that he surmised that she bore no relationship to any of the flock.
Before leaving Salt Lake one of the oldest Gentile residents had given him this parting advice:
"Maynard, my boy, whatever else you do, don't venture to look at a Mormon girl, much less to speak to one. I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end of the fate that has overtaken men who had committed the imprudence of making a pretty speech or two to some of the daughters of the saints."
Doubtless this was excellent counsel, and Maynard meant to follow it; but the dark eyes of this girl, veiled by long lashes that swept her cheek; the extreme beauty of her face and form; the timid, deprecating air with which she waited on him, quite disarmed him of his customary caution, and before he knew it he was asking her questions and telling something of his own plans.
His horse had lost a shoe in the morning, and before dinner was over he felt quite reconciled to the accident which made it necessary for him to stop in the settlement for several hours. In the course of the afternoon he contrived to learn all that Mary Ellsworth had to tell of herself.
She was an orphan. Her parents who accompanied the Mormon emigration of the previous year, had died on the plains, and their money and other property, of which they brought a considerable amount, had disappeared, so that she was left penniless as well as friendless, and had no resort but to seek employment in any family that would take her. She filled a servant's place now, and it was very evident not only that the work required of her was beyond her strength, but that she was harshly treated by the bishop's wife and daughters. As for the bishop himself, he was very kind -- offensively so, Maynard thought, repressing a strong inclination to knock him down as he listened to some of his speeches to the girl.
"So young, so beautiful, so unprotected" -- these were some of Maynard's thoughts to-day. "What will be her fate in that house? If it had not been for this morning's encounter I might have seen her again."
To tell the truth, the hope of seeing Mary Ellsworth again was the only motive that had induced him to visit the settlement a second time, though he meant to make the purchase of certain supplies from the bishop a pretext for coming down into the valley.
Robert Maynard was a miner. For ten years he had searched with varying success for the hidden treasures of the earth. He had "a claim" now far up the rugged sides of the Wasatch that promised him the fortune he had been seeking so long. A year ago he would have laughed at the idea of jeopardizing all his prospects of wealth for a single glimpse of a girl's face.
The life he had led, full of dangers and vicissitudes, the hardships he had endured, his hand to hand strife with nature to wrest from her grasp the riches she had concealed in the heart of the mountains, had left little leisure for the tender passion. He had, moreover, no youthful memories of any face which was to him more than all others. No silken tress of hair, no letter breathing the fragrance of by -- gone years formed any portions of the treasures such as are buried with many a poor fellow who finds a grave in the mountains. Up to the day he met Mary Ellsworth he was absolutely heart-whole. It may be that if questioned now he would have asserted that he was so still, but somehow the dark eyes cast down except when some question of his had caused her to raise them to his face, the smooth cheek, with its tender, changing color, the lovely mouth (he had seen the lips quiver at a harsh reproof from her mistress), made a picture that he could not banish, even in the midst of his hardest day's work upon the unyielding rock that covered the silver he sought. Yet when his partner, Jim Bradford, a rough, grizzled "forty-niner", grumbled loudly at his determination to go down the valley for supplies that were not immediately needed, and more than hinted that there was a woman in the case, he had repelled the insinuation with lofty scorn, declaring that he had no sweetheart except the Flora Bell, that being the name Jim had given to their mine.
It was a long ride to Salt Lake, and a solitary one. He did not meet or pass a single traveler, for prospectors on their way to the canyons usually took another route, and the farmers just now were too busy to be absent from home. It was an hour after dark before the lights of Salt Lake began to show in the distance, and when he entered the
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 9
principal street of the city most of the houses seemed closed for the night. Street lamps had not yet been introduced into the Mormon capital, and after finding stabling for his horse, he picked his way on foot as best he could to the bachelor quarters of his friend, Major Golden. A brief history of the morning's adventure drew from the major an emphatic remark as to the fate that ought to overtake the entire Mormon priesthood.
"But you were lucky, after all," he added, "to get out of the scrape so easily. Likely as not the whole scene was gotten up for a trap; I've heard of such things here."
"No," answered Maynard, "that could not have been the case this time. The face of the woman who spoke to me first was truth itself. I cannot forget her expression when she told me to ride for my life, and the poor girl fastened to the tree was half dead when I released her."
"Well, at any rate, you have stirred up a hornet's nest in that settlement, and it is doubly unfortunate because it lies on the direct route to your mine."
"That's so, but still I think I shall take that route when I get ready to go back."
"Don't, unless you have got your will made and are quite ready to step into the next world. You haven't been here long enough to learn all I could tell you about these cowardly wretches."
Nevertheless, when Maynard laid his head on his pillow that night he said to himself: "I will see her again if I die for it."
When he slept it was to dream of flying through the mountain passes to a land of freedom, carrying with him one whom he had rescued from Mormon tyranny.
It is now time to return to Martha Sloan, who, with such assistance as her frightened neighbor was able to render her, had succeeded in getting poor Jane and her baby under her hospitable roof. Fortunately for Martha her husband and herself were usually of one mind, and in nothing were they more heartily agreed than in their secret hatred of Mormonism.
In their old home in one of the middle states they had listened to the persuasive words of a Mormon elder and had been baptised into that faith, but they had no thought of emigrating to Utah until influenced to do so by Mr. Hartley. On their arrival in the dominions of the Mormon prophet they found everything so different from the representations made to them that they determined to return at once, but they soon found that they would not be permitted to do so; and for fifteen years they had realized that they were prisoners. During all these years they had been on the lookout for an opportunity to escape, but as yet no such opportunity had presented itself. Their boy, who was toddling baby when they brought him here, was now a stalwart lad of sixteen.
"Thank the Lord he ain't a girl," William Sloan often said to his wife. "If we had a daughter some o' them gray-haired scoundrels that's a pickin' up all the young girls in the settlement would be after her; and if one of 'em come around my house on such an errant, I should be obleeged to kill him."
Yet the Mormon priesthood knew how to stab fathers and mothers through their sons as well as through their daughters. Mrs. Hartley's only son was but sixteen, when he went out of the house one summer morning never to return; and it was his mother who found his lifeless body in the canyon after night fell.
Martha Sloan, courageous always where no one but herself was concerned, was filled with fear for her boy, and after Clarence Hartley's tragic death, her Johnny, then but a child, was never allowed to be out of his parents' sight. For his sake, too, both Martha and her husband forced themselves to wear a mask which their honest natures loathed. Outwardly, they conformed to all the requirements of the Mormon faith, except in the matter of polygamy, and even on this subject they never allowed their real sentiments to be known.
When William Sloan was "counseled" by the bishop to take another wife, he always answered that he did not see his way quite clear yet; but while his backwardness called down frequent reproofs upon his head, it was supposed by his brethren that he "believed in the principle" -- that being the expression commonly used to denote faith in the revelation upon celestial marriage.
Martha's interference in Brother Cope's family affairs was the first overt act of rebellion which any of the family had committed, and this might perhaps be forgiven, for Cope was universally detested, even by his brethren, while Jane, besides having the good will of her neighbors, was the daughter of an influential member of the priesthood, who lived twenty miles farther south.
10 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
"If her father only takes her part," said poor, frightened Sister Dunbar, "we may not be called to account for what we have done, though to be sure it was directly against the bishop's counsel."
"Her father'll take her part, don't you never worry about that," was the answer.
"Yes, but how is he to find out what has happened."
"Oh, he'll hear soon enough. Jest you make your mind easy, Sister Dunbar. I ain't a grain afeared but what when the thing is laid before President Young (the title by which the prophet was usually addressed) he'll say we did right."
"Maybe that's so; but what can we say about the Gentile that helped her? The bishop won't be willing to overlook that. His wife says he was in such a temper they all had to keep out of his way after he found out how this same fellow talked to Mary Ellsworth when he was here before."
"We hain't nothin' to do with the Gentile. We didn't ask him to help us. We don't know his name, and we ain't expected to swear jest how he looked. And as for Cope, we know he never set eyes on the man before, for he was down south last month."
"Well, I'll leave you to manage all that. I can say I stood back and was too much frightened to tell what was going on; and dear knows that's the truth."
Martha's judgment proved correct. In a couple of days Jane's father arrived in the settlement, and as his daughter and her child were both dangerously ill in consequence of the brutal treatment they had received, he forwarded a complaint against Cope to the prophet, and being a man of wealth and influence the charge received much more attention than it otherwise would. Cope was severely reprimanded, and the prophet granted Jane a divorce (it may be necessary to state, for the information of those who are strangers to the customs of Utah, that the parties to a plural marriage go to the prophet for a divorce. The usual fee for such divorce is ten dollars), and gave her father permission to take her and her child home with him.
The bishop was not altogether pleased with the turn which affairs had taken. His own counsel had been set at naught, and being a man of an arbitrary disposition and a most violent temper, he chafed and fumed at this, and made his home more uncomfortable than usual for his family, though he dared not make any open comments upon the prophet's decision.
But this was not all. Cope's description of the stranger who had liberated Jane made him feel certain that he was no other than the miner who had stopped at his house a month ago, and roused his wrath by daring to notice Mary Ellsworth.
It is hardly necessary to say that the bishop looked upon Mary as his own property. From the day that she came into his family he had made up his mind that she should be sealed to him, with or without her consent. He had already four wives. His first wife, the mother of his grown daughters, was the hard task-mistress whom poor Mary served; but in justice to her it must be said that she had full knowledge of her husband's designs, and though she told herself over and over again that she never loved him since the day, now nearly twenty years ago, when he first brought another woman into the house to claim the title of wife, she could not look upon the girl's beautiful face without a feeling of jealous rage.
The second wife, nearly as old as herself, was now a faded, spiritless, heart-broken woman, "as miserable as she deserves to be," so said her rival, whose happiness she had destroyed twenty years ago. The other two wives were mere drudges who saved the bishop a man's wages by working the farm upon which he had placed them. But this girl, with her fair face, her dainty ways, her refinement of speech and manner, would receive far different treatment.
"She will be put in a fine house in the city, no doubt, as soon as she is sealed to him, while I and my daughters slave here as we have always done."
This was the burden of her thoughts, the secret of much of her harshness to the poor girl, who on her part could not divine why all her efforts to please her mistress were unsuccessful.
Mary at first was grateful to the bishop because he was kind to her and tried to lighten her tasks and to save her from ill treatment; but when he began to pay her attentions which annoyed her, and to praise her beauty, she learned to dread him. Still she did not dream that he meant to make her his wife until after the episode narrated in the present chapter.
It happened that she was present when Cope described the stranger who had, as he phrased it, "meddled in his family affairs," and she recognized Maynard from this
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 13
description quite as readily as the bishop did. In spite of herself her heart beat quickly at the thought that he had been so near her, and her cheek flushed and paled as she remembered that he had said as he rode away:
"I hope to see you when I come again."
Simple words that might have meant very little to anyone else, or to Mary herself in happier days, but which she had treasured, in her loneliness and sadness, as something too precious to part with.
Unfortunately for her the bishop, turning suddenly toward her, saw the blush that dyed her cheeks and guessed the cause.
"Aha! So she remembers that scamp," he said to himself. "Well if the thought of him can bring the color into her face like that it is high time that she be placed beyond his reach. I'll speak to her this very night, and let her know that she must get ready to go to the Endowment House with me next week. No use asking Margaret to go" (glancing toward the next room, in which he could hear his wife's sharp voice scolding some member of the household), "but we can easily dispense with her company."
Having settled these matters to his own satisfaction the bishop took no more notice of Mary for the present; but in the evening he astonished and terrified her by demanding a private interview, and closing and locking the door of the room in which he ordered her to seat herself.
Polygamic courtship is usually a most unromantic affair. When, as is often the case, a man is making arrangements to marry two or three wives on the same day, his mind is somewhat distracted by the necessity of dividing his attentions equally among the different claimants. Young men about to venture on the uncertain sea of matrimony, are frequently advised to take two wives to begin with. This advice is well meant, as it is supposed that the two, being wedded on the same day, neither will be able to claim the precedence, and thus the warfare between the first and second wives, which often converts many a Mormon home into a battle-ground, will be avoided. Experience has demonstrated, however, that the single hour which intervenes between the two marriage ceremonies gives occasion for an assumption of superiority on the part of the one first wedded, and for bitter jealousies and heart-burnings on the part of the other.
Then, too, the trouble which the first or legal wife of an old man often makes when he decides to take a youthful bride, has the effect of checking the tender speeches and delicate attentions which are supposed to be part and parcel of an orthodox courtship.
The fact that many of the young girls so married are taken to the Endowment House sorely against their will must also be taken into account. It is much easier for a gray-haired high-priest to make a brief, business-like bargain with the girl's parents -- or if she is an orphan or her parents are not in the territory with the bishop of the ward or the president of the stake -- than attempt to win a reluctant bride in the fashion that prevails in other countries. It is not known that any gray-beard in Utah, in search of a fourth or fifth wife, has ever been guilty of writing sonnets to her eye-brows, or serenading her at midnight in the touching strains in which wooers elsewhere sing of their love.
The Utah mode of courtship has its advantages. It is short, practical, and generally successful. The present writer recalls an instance in which an elderly suitor won from a stern father the promise to bestow on him the hand of his fourteen-year-old daughter by the well-timed present of a span of mules. A thrifty and well-to-do citizen, who always has an eye to business, even in his love affairs, makes a practice of hiring a good-looking servant girl, keeping her until her wages amount to thirty or forty dollars, and then offering his hand in lieu of a cash payment. After the marriage the girl remains in the kitchen doing the work of the family without wages until her children become troublesome, when she is turned out to make room for a fresh importation.
In the present case the good bishop might have been a little less abrupt in making his offer of marriage if his temper had not been so sadly ruffled by the recent disturbances in the settlement; but when the suspicion that Mary might be interested in the handsome stranger was added to his other annoyances he was in no mood to waste time in soft speeches. As soon, therefore, as the key was turned in the lock (to guard against the possible appearance of his wife upon the scene), he began without any preface:
"Mary, it is my duty to provide you with a husband to be your protector in this world, and to raise you up in the last day and give you a place in the celestial kingdom.
12 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
It does not become to me to boast of my attainments" (here the bishop's modesty almost overcame him), "but it is well known that I rank very high in the priesthood for a man of my age. I have therefore decided to marry you myself, and I will take you up to the Endowment House some day next week -- say Thursday. I did intend to put it off till after the spring planting, but there are so many dangers besetting an unprotected young girl," looking keenly at her to discover if possible whether she would show that she understood what his last words referred to, "I have made up my mind that I ought not to let the planting or anything else stand in the way of my duty towards you. The boys are old enough to attend to the farm, and it is time they were put in charge, for of course I shall live principally in the city after this."
Mary was at first too much astounded to utter a word, but after a few minutes she managed to falter out:
"I do not feel unsafe. I am well taken care of here, and content. I -- I -- do not wish to -- to make any change."
"Nonsense, Mary," the bishop interrupted sharply; "contented here where you have to work like a slave, besides being scolded and tormented from morning till night! Don't you think I've got eyes, girl?"
Then after a moment's pause he added, as though the idea had just struck him: "You don't suppose that I mean to marry you and bring you back here? I own a good house in Salt Lake and I am going to furnish it up with the best, and get you a hired girl, too, though of course it isn't best to speak about that here. You know as well as I do what trials I have with my family (the bishop sighed mournfully), and it would only make matters more unpleasant to talk about our plans before Margaret and the girls. In some families, now," continued the ill-used husband, "the first wife does all she can to make things agreeable, and goes to the Endowment House and gives her consent without any fuss, but Margaret never had an obliging disposition, and I am sorry to say she is more obstinate than ever just now. She was made to go to the Endowment House when I took Ellinor, but she raised such a storm about it afterward I settled it in my own mind that I would never take her again, and I never have."
Mary sat silent -- literally struck dumb -- and the bishop not feeling called upon to trouble himself about the objections which she was powerless to make, and having besides a growing fear that if their interview lasted longer his wife might knock at the door and demand admittance, rose to go, saying as he did so:
"Don't trouble yourself about any preparations. We will start early on the day before the ceremony so as to get to Salt Lake in the afternoon, and I have a sister there who will fit you out with everything you need."
The bishop was gone, and Mary sat alone in the room. It had grown dark, and she crouched in the corner with the feeling that makes a hunted creature seek the slightest shelter when its strength is gone. How helpless she was! How utterly helpless and alone! It seemed for the moment as though God, as well as man, had forsaken her. One week, only one little week, remained in which help might come up to her; and yet, from what quarter could it come?
Her thoughts turned for an instant to the stranger who had spoken the only words of sincere kindness she had heard since that night when she closed her father's eyes in the lonely mountain pass in which they buried him. Robert Maynard was brave and good. If he knew, would he not help a poor girl who was utterly friendless and forsaken? But she must not wish for him to come. They would kill him if they could find him even now. She hoped he was far away and safe; and as she said this to herself she felt a choking sensation in her throat. She could have sobbed aloud, but she must not. In another minute her mistress might come.
"And if she finds me here in this room into which I have no business to go, she will say something dreadful."
This thought mingled with the poor child's confused longings to hide some place where no one could find her. She rose mechanically and groped her way out. Her tasks for the day were done, and in the little closet in which she slept she would have the blessed privilege of being alone for a few hours at least. There was a bolt on the door of this sleeping room; how she wished to-night that the door was of iron, with bars of treble thickness. "For then," she said to herself, "I might shut myself up here and die alone, and never look on his face again."
A shudder of dread and repulsion passed over her at the thought of this man from whom she wished to hide -- from whom she must escape, though she knew not how.
After a night of such misery and terror that it seemed to her, her hair must have
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 13
turned gray, the first faint light if dawn began to steal through her window, and with it came a knock upon her door, followed by the sharp voice of her mistress, bidding her get up at once to cook breakfast for the bishop, who had been called away south and must start that morning.
Here was a reprieve! It might be that the man who held her fate in his hands would be gone for weeks, and in the meantime might not God open up some way of escape? Happily for her, her mistress chose to wait upon the bishop herself and keep Mary in the kitchen, so that she was spared any parting words from him; and as he rode away she heard him say, in answer to a neighbor's question, that he might be gone a week or more.
It is possible that the wife suspected what had taken place on the previous evening, for she was doubly irritable and exacting to-day, and poor Mary was kept so hard at work and under such a constant fire of angry and abusive words, that she had little time to brood over her own danger or to form plans for escaping from it. But when night fell, and she was once more locked in her own room, a thought came to her that seemed an inspiration. If she could get to Salt Lake before the bishop returned she would be safe. There were Gentiles there -- she had heard that often enough -- and now there was a Gentile court which had done something to protect those who appealed to it. She knew the distance, too, and she was sure she could walk it in a night and a day.
Hope gave her new strength as she sat and waited for the house to grow silent, and for the lights in the settlement to disappear. The hours seemed endless, but at last midnight came, and a cautious survey from her window assured her that no one was stirring in sight of the house.
The window was small and not intended to open, but with some difficulty she succeeded in removing the fastenings that held it in place and climbed through it. There was no moon, but the faint starlight showed the road distinctly enough for her. Crouching in the shadow of the trees that bordered it the fugitive made her way noiselessly to the limits of the small settlement and then paused in doubt as to what course to take. The traveled road would not be safe -- of that she was sure -- and she knew no other route.
"But," she reasoned, "Salt Lake lies to the north, and close to the mountains, and if I keep along the foot-hills I must reach there sometime."
The road to the foot-hills led past the cotton wood tree to which Cope had chained his disobedient wife, and a little way beyond this was a deep ravine spanned by a rickety bridge. On the other side of the ravine the only road visible was the one leading to the canyon. This was not her route, and picking her way among the sage brush and rocks she endeavored to fix upon a northward course. After a hour's walking and climbing during which it seemed to her that she made little progress, she came upon a bridle path, the same one by which Maynard had made his journey to the city a few days before. This path seemed to her to lead in the direction in which she wished to go, and quickening her pace to a run, she hurried forward until out of breath. As she stopped for a few minutes to rest she fancied she heard voices in the distance behind her. It was only fancy; but the fear that she might be pursued lent new strength to her tired limbs, and she rose and pressed onward with such blind haste that she stumbled over the rocks in her path and fell more than once into the streams that crossed it. How long the way seemed! Try as she would she could not continue to run, and by and by it became almost impossible for her to walk. Yet she must keep on. The sky was already beginning to show signs of the coming dawn. In a little while her flight would be discovered. Her temples throbbed, her head swam, her wet garments clung to her feet. How long could she keep from falling down in the path? She looked up to the sky. Was not God there, and did he not see her? If he did, he surely knew that her strength was all gone, and that it was time for him to help her.
She was trembling and shaking all over now. She could go no farther. Maybe, though, she was going to die; then she would be safe; then -- a mist blurred her sight; there was a ringing sound in her ears; then she knew no more.
CHAPTER III.It was a hot day in early June, and the sunlight, pouring down from a sky in which no cloud had been seen for weeks, filled the whole atmosphere with a blinding glare, making the shade of the trees that bordered the streets of Salt Lake doubly welcome.
14 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
The city was such only in name. Every house was set in the midst of an orchard; well-kept gardens came up to the sidewalks, and cows grazed beside the little rivulets that ran along every street, giving the place an aspect more rural than that of many New England town.
On one of the most quiet streets of this city of orchards and gardens stood a large, square, two-story house with pleasant surroundings. On a porch, covered with climbing vines, a slender figure dressed in white sat in a low rocking chair, doing nothing as it seemed, for she had neither book nor work in her hands. A girlish face, shaded by wavy masses of golden hair, blue eyes, and cheeks tinted with a sea-shell pink, made a pretty picture, lighted up as it was by a single ray of sunshine that streamed through an opening in the vines. Yet the fair face had none of the brightness of girl hood. There was a grave, almost sad look in the blue eyes, and the expression of the countenance was tinged with anxiety and foreboding. This girl, who seemed scarcely eighteen, was a wife, and alas for her, a childless wife. Does any one ask why this should cause the premature look of sadness and care which marked her face? A Mormon wife who has no children is not counted worthy of a high place in her husband's regard, and she knows that she will soon, be called upon to witness his marriage with another. She, moreover, was a second wife, and in spite of the fact the she had been taught to regard a polygamous marriage as legal and honorable, she felt in her heart that the tie which bound her to the man she called husband was slender indeed.
"If I were a first wife I should not feel so much afraid of being cast off."
This was the burden of her thoughts to-day as she sat alone, her eyes wandering idly up and down the deserted street. The sound of approaching wheels broke in upon her reverie. One of the canvas-covered wagons that came in daily from the settlements turned the corner near the house and stopped at the gate. A woman dressed in homespun, her face shaded by a gingham sun-bonnet, climbed out of the wagon unassisted and approached the house.
"Does Brother Hartley live here?" she inquired.
"He does," was the answer. "Please walk in. He is out just now, but I expect him home to dinner."
"I will come in, for I should not like to miss seeing him."
Elsie Hartley had the instincts of a lady, and her unknown and shabbily-attired guest was ushered into the best room and made to feel as though her dress and equipage had been more elegant and fashionable.
"You will stay to dinner, of course," the hostess said, when the gingham sun-bonnet hat had been removed.
"I think I will, since you are kind enough to ask me."
The face and manners of the visitor did not quite accord with the homespun dress, but rather hinted at a past when she too might have had the same surroundings as her hostess.
"You do not know me, but Brother Hartley is an old neighbor -- I might say an old friend, for we came from the same town in the state, and I have known him all my life. My name is Dunbar."
"Ah, you are from W--------, then; and of course you know -- Sister Hartley?"
"She lives near you?"
For once in her life Sister Dunbar was reduced to the necessity of answering in monosyllables. She had not expected these questions, and she was at a loss how to speak of the white-haired, half-crazed woman who was her neighbor to this girl, for whose fair face Hartley had forsaken the wife of his youth. This second marriage was all right, according to the "principles" in which Sister Dunbar professed to believe, yet somehow the contrast between this handsome house, with its pretty and youthful mistress, and that other house in whose gloomy and silent rooms the deserted wife was waiting for death, oppressed her strangely and made her wish herself away. If she had known beforehand how Elsie longed to find out why the first wife refused to see her, and why her husband would never speak of her or go to see her himself, it is doubtful whether even her love of gossip would have induced her to come.
"I have never seen Sister Hartley," Elsie continued. "She was sick when we were married; and though I have begged Brother Hartley to take me to see her or to bring her here, he will not do it.
Lest the reader should think Elsie a simpleton, it is necessary to state that the privacies
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 15
of domestic life are not by any means considered sacred in Mormon communities. How can they be when the teachers or inspectors, whose duty it is to visit each family once a month, are required to find out and report everything that passes between husbands and wives, parents and children, or brothers and sisters?
It took Sister Dunbar some minutes to frame a reply to the last question, but at length she stammered out:
"Sister Hartley has been in poor health for a long time, and we are afraid she is not altogether right in her mind. She never sees anybody now if she can help it."
"I am very sorry. How long has she been in such a state?"
Here was another embarrassing question. To mention the exact time from which Mrs. Hartley's illness dated would be to give the month and the day of Hartley's second marriage.
"I really can't say; I have such a poor memory," she answered at last, "but she has not been out anywhere for a couple of years."
"Poor woman! And is there any one staying with her to take care of her?"
Elsie sat a few minutes lost in deep and seemingly painful thought. At length she lifted her eyes and looked her visitor steadily in the face.
"Sister Dunbar," she said, "I was brought up here, and you have been here many years. We both know that polygamy brings trouble into families. When I married it was with the understanding that the first wife gave her consent, but it has never seemed right that Brother Hartley (Mormon wives always address their husbands as "Brother") should live with me altogether, and of late I have been almost sure that his wife determined to give him up when he married me. I want to know the truth, and then -- I will try to find out what I ought to do. Will you tell me the truth?"
Sister Dunbar thus appeared to turn red, then pale, and finally began with a deprecating manner:
I am sure I want to tell the truth, but at the same time I don't want to make trouble. Sister Hartley never believed in Polygamy; indeed, I am not sure that she believed in any of the principles, and I know that she came to Utah much against her own wishes and only because her husband was determined to come. She lost her only child some years ago, and after that she never seemed like herself. She worshipped her husband. He was all that she had left in the world, and I don't think she ever dreamed of his taking another wife. When he made up his mind that it was his duty to do so she may have said she consented -- a good many of us feel obliged to say that -- but in her heart I know she was bitterly opposed to it, and I think she felt as though it would be more than she could bear to see him afterward."
When Sister Dunbar once began to make revelations her infirmity in that respect caused her to go much further than she intended. She was an inveterate gossip, and like certain parties who lived eighteen centuries before her, lived for little else than to hear or tell some new thing. In the present instance she had meant to say as little as possible in reply to Elsie's questions; but when she paused to take breath the white face of her listener showed her that she had told too much. Elsie was a second wife, and in the depths of her heart Sister Dunbar felt that she deserved to suffer; but not for worlds would she have given expression to this feeling now, and when the girl raised her eyes to her face with a piteous, appealing look she said, as though soothing a child;
"There, there! Don't feel badly. You are not to blame."
"Who is to blame then?"
Elsie spoke with a quiver in her voice that showed the tears were not very far off.
"Nobody. It seems ordained that women should suffer in this life. I have suffered myself. My husband took another wife when I was sick in bed, with a baby only a week old lying beside me. It seemed very hard, but if God orders such things we have nothing to say."
Sister Dunbar," Elsie spoke up impulsively, "God never ordered any such thing. You know better and so do I. When I married I didn't think anything about what God had ordered. I liked Brother Hartley very much, and I was persuaded by those who were older and wiser than I that it was right for me to marry him. All the other girls were going into polygamy and why should not I? But I never thought of the trouble I was bringing on the first wife."
"What did your mother say?
"Only this: 'You will suffer less as a second wife.' I didn't understand her then, but I do now. Polygamy is a curse to every woman in the territory."
16 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
"Hush! Hush! You don't know who may be listening. We may think what we please, but we must not talk."
A step was heard at this moment on the walk, and Elsie, looking out said:
"Brother Hartley is coming."
Yesterday she might have said, "my husband," but now it seemed to her that no one except that lonely, deserted wife, whose sad story was ringing in her ears, had any right to call him so.
It was easy to recognize in the man who now entered the room the original of the portrait which hung in Mrs. Hartley's chamber. There was the same haughty, handsome face, the same proud mouth, the same piercing eyes; but the hair was sprinkled with silver, and the smile with which he greeted his young wife and welcomed her visitor could not hide the deep lines graven by care -- shall we say also by remorse? Yes, for this man had once loved the wife of his youth as he did not and could not love the girl whose fresh, youthful beauty had caught his fancy.
It was partly the passion kindled by this beauty and partly his over-mastering ambition to gain a place among the leaders of the people -- a place that could never be his while he had but one wife -- that had caused him to forget his marriage vows and crush the heart he had won in those long-past, happy years, whose memory he now tried to banish.
In Mormonism, as in religion, he had not a particle of faith; but he saw in the system a stepping-stone to wealth and power, and of this he meant to avail himself. He had already grown tired of Elsie's pretty face, and he was now negotiating with one of the rulers of the people for the hand of his daughter. This new alliance, if he succeeded in making it, would give him the prestige he sought, and he had his eye upon an important office, just vacant, which his future father-in-law could easily obtain for him. The necessity of making application for this office in advance of any one else caused him to push his suit for the hand of the girl who, if she lacked Elsie's beauty, would bring him money and secure her father's influence in his favor.
Elsie knew nothing as yet of his plans, and he did not mean to tell her until everything was in readiness for the ceremony. She would cry for a day or two, of course, -- she always did when anything went wrong, -- but she was only a child, and he could buy her off with a new dress and a trinket or two. In fact, Elsie was very little in his thoughts as he perfected his arrangements for his third marriage; but often and often another face rose up before him -- a face that haunted him by night as he turned on his sleepless pillow, and made his days wretched in spite of all that he told himself he had gained. What would he not give to be able to banish that face from his memory!
He had never been near W------- since the day of his second marriage, and he had avoided, as far as possible, any meeting with its inhabitants. It was not, therefore, a pleasant surprise to him to find Sister Dunbar sitting with Elsie; but he was too good an actor to betray his feelings, and his visitor missed none of the cordiality of other days in his welcome. Still, notwithstanding his outward composure, he was nervously afraid that she would mention his wife's name, and he filled up the dinner hour with questions about the religious progress of the people of W------, in which he professed the deepest interest.
Contrary to his usual custom he remained at home after dinner and took the burden of the conversation upon himself until he saw Sister Dunbar safely deposited in the wagon that was to take her back to the settlement. He flattered himself that by this means he had prevented her saying anything to Elsie which he did not wish to reach her ears. It was therefore with as much surprise as displeasure that he heard Elsie's first question after they were left alone:
"Why did you not tell me the truth about your wife?"
"What do you mean?" he asked, affecting the greatest astonishment, though he changed color visibly.
"I mean," answered Elsie, "that if I had known all I would never have married you."
She was not deficient in courage after all, this fair, fragile-looking girl. She regarded Hartley now with a steady gaze, which somehow he shrank from meeting, and he could not at first find words to answer her. When he spoke, at length, it was in a jesting tone.
"Why, Elsie, child, what tragic airs you put on! Are you rehearsing for the stage?"
"You need not speak in that way." She had risen to her feet now, and her cheeks were crimson. "You made me believe that your wife consented to our marriage. I was too young and ignorant then to realize that no woman could consent to such
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 17
a thing with her heart; but I have learned much in two years, and I know now that your wife has lost all she had to live for."
In spite of himself, in spite of his pride and his iron will, Hartley trembled. How plainly he could see that face now! And the accusing voice that sounded in his ears was not that of the girl before him. No; it was a voice that had thrilled his heart in that dead past which for him could have no resurrection. But he must not let Elsie see how he felt, and affecting anger he said harshly:
"That gossiping woman has been filling your ears with her tales. I will take good care that she does not come here again."
"Sister Dunbar only answered my questions, and she did that most reluctantly. I knew before that polygamy was a curse, but I did not know until to-day how much another had suffered through me."
"Elsie, until now you have only talked nonsense; but when you speak in such terms of a divine ordinance you commit a sin that if known would not be passed over lightly. For my sake, if not for your own, be a little more careful what you say."
For his sake! Hartley knew what chord to touch. She loved him, this fond, simple-hearted girl, against whose happiness he was even now planning a fatal blow. He had a strange power to win the love of women -- a love from whose bonds they could not free themselves, even when it became the curse of their lives. The pallid, gray-haired woman who tortured herself daily by looking on his pictured face was forced to say:
"My doom is, 'I love thee still.'"
And Elsie, whose young life he had blighted, would go down to her grave loving him. She knew this herself. She felt it in every fiber of her being after Hartley had left her, with a clouded brow, and without the kiss which until to-day she had never failed to receive. When she asked Sister Dunbar to tell her the truth she had said:
"I will try to find out what I ought to do,"
She knew her duty now. She knew, notwithstanding the specious reasonings by which the priesthood sought to commend polygamy to the people, that it was a crime against God and humanity. Her woman's heart told her that the wife whom he had promised long ago to love and cherish was the only one who had a rightful claim upon the man they both called husband, and that she ought to give him up.
"But I cannot, I cannot!" she moaned, wringing her hands and sobbing.
She was young yet, little more than a child, and the relief of tears was not denied her. She wept until the pain at her heart eased a little, and then with a quick revulsion of feeling, said half aloud:
"I could not leave him if I would. The laws of my people bind me to him, and I cannot go to the president and ask for a divorce for I have no complaint to make against my husband. He has been kind always -- too kind; and as for her (Elsie felt as though a strong, cruel hand grasped her heart as her thoughts went back to the deserted wife), I cannot right her wrongs. I could not make her happy again even if I should leave him. No, I must stay where I am and bear whatever comes. There are two of us now to suffer instead of one, that is all."
About two weeks after Sister Dunbar's visit, Hartley, who had been very kind to Elsie, and had apparently forgotten their conversation at that time, said to her one morning as he was leaving the house:
"I want you to get up a nice supper to-night and invite Alice Farr and her mother."
Elsie opened her blue eyes a little wider than usual.
"What makes you think of inviting them," she asked, "I have hardly ever spoken to either of them."
"That is no reason why you should not get acquainted now. They are very nice people, and Brother Farr's friendship is worth having. Do as I tell you and we shall have a pleasant time. I shall not be home until five o'clock, so good-bye till then."
Brother Hartley mounted his horse, which was standing at the gate, and with a parting wave of his white hand, rode away. Elsie watched him until he was out of sight and then returned to the house oppressed by a feeling of sadness and dread, for which she could give no reason.
"Somehow it seems as though he were never coming back," she said to herself. "My old nurse used to tell me that it brought ill luck to watch one out of sight, but I hope I am not childish enough to feel that way. What on earth makes him wish me to invite those people? I cannot imagine, but I will do my best to please him."
18 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
The first thing in order was to dispatch a note to Alice Farr and her mother. Alice was the daughter of a polygamous wife, but her mother had always been the husband's favorite and money had been freely spent to give her children the best advantages the territory afforded. Alice was no beauty, but she was bright and sensible, and had, moreover, a spirit of her own that promised anything but quiet submission to the fate to which she, in common with all other Mormon girls, was destined. And yet what could rebellion avail here, where woman was wholly in the power of a tyrant from whose decrees there was no appeal.
Five o'clock came and brought Mr. Hartley, as well as the expected guests. Elsie noticed with a little surprise that her husband greeted the ladies with the air of an old and privileged friend. She noticed, too, that Alice returned his greeting with eyes cast down and with heightened color, but her embarrassment, if such it was, was of short duration.
There were two or three other guests, for Elsie had invited some of her own relatives, and during the supper and the evening that followed Alice kept the whole company amused by her lively sallies.
When the last guest had said good-night, and host and hostess were left alone, Hartley turned suddenly to Elsie and asked:
"What do you think of Alice?"
"She is accomplished and witty," was the answer, "but to-night she seemed to me to be acting a part."
"What a fancy! I have known her a good while and she always appears just as you have seen her."
"You have known her a good while! I don't think you ever mentioned her name to me until to-day."
"Maybe I have not. I -- Elsie, I had a particular reason for asking you to invite her here to-day. I wanted you to get acquainted with each other, because -- Elsie, child, do sit down in that chair. I cannot talk while you are standing up, and I have something of importance to say to you."
Elsie sank into the chair that he pointed out. All the forebodings of the morning rushed back upon her, and her heart stood still with a vague terror.
"My dear," Hartley resumed in his calmest tones, and in the most matter-of-fact manner, "you and I believe in the principle of celestial marriage, do we not?"
Elsie bowed her head. She could not trust herself to speak.
"We believe also that no man can inherit the kingdom promised the Saints unless he has children to bear his name?"
Elsie again made a faint sign of assent. Now, indeed, she knew what was coming.
"I am past the prime of life -- past fifty," he continued, "and yet it is my misfortune to be childless. I may say, too, that I have only one wife, for there is only one who is willing to share my home. My brethren have spoken to me often of the matter, and I have at length consented to be guided by their counsel and to take another wife. It has been my chief concern to select some one who would be a companion for you and with whom you could live happily. I have therefore chosen Alice Farr."
Elsie grasped the arms of the chair tightly that she might not fall. What right had she, who had displaced another woman with a far better right to this man's name and love, to utter one word of complaint? It was but just that she should suffer as she had cause another to suffer, and yet a feeling of jealous rage, stranger even than the pangs of slighted love, burned in her heart as she thought of the girl who it seemed to her had been mocking her under her own roof that night.
"I am glad that you receive this announcement like the sensible girl that you are." It was Hartley's voice that roused her from her trance. "And I know you will be ready to go with us to the Endowment House on Thursday, and to give Alice a sister's welcome when I bring her home."
"On Thursday! So soon as that?" gasped Elsie.
"Yes. Circumstances which I will afterward explain make it necessary that the sealing should take place then, and I prefer to bring Alice here at once."
What could Elsie say? What could she do? A plural wife herself, she had not a single right beyond what Alice would have that very week. She summoned all her pride to her aid, and perceiving that Hartley was waiting for her to speak, said:
"I will be ready to do anything you wish."
"Spoken like yourself. I could not bestow higher praise than that;" and in his gratitude to her for sparing him a scene, Hartley kissed her cold cheek. For the first
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 19
time, since she had called herself his wife she shrank from the caress, and pleading weariness, begged to be allowed to go to her room. She was already in bed and feigning sleep when Hartley came up stairs, but her face was deathly, and her white lips and the lines about her mouth betrayed the agony she was stifling.
"Poor little girl!" he said to himself with a touch of pity, "she takes it very hard after all but I know her pride will carry her through, and after everything is settled she will become reconciled to what can't be helped."
Hartley was right in one thing. Elsie had pride enough not only to cause her to mask her sufferings, but to enter with seeming alacrity into the preparations for the wedding party with which Hartley proposed to celebrate his third marriage. The Farr's were rich and had a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Hartley wished to impress his new connections with a suitable idea of his own wealth and importance, and therefore all the arrangements for the party were on an extensive scale.
When the appointed day arrived Elsie accompanied Hartley to the Endowment House and witnessed the ceremony which united him to another woman "for time and eternity," and during the evening that followed she acted the part of a smiling and attentive hostess with as much ease and grace as though she had not a thought or a care beyond the comfort and enjoyment of her guests.
The next morning, however, she was unable to rise from her bed, and though she protested that she was only a little tired, another morning and yet another found her no better, until finally she was forced to confess herself really ill. A slow, nervous fever -- nature's revenge for the constraint the poor child had put upon herself -- kept her a prisoner in her room for weeks. Hartley came in once or twice a day and made civil inquiries after her health, but beyond this she saw nothing of him. Alice stepped at once into the place of mistress of the house, and though she was quite as mindful of appearances as Harley himself, and came in regularly before the duties of the day commenced to inquire if there was anything she could do for her "dear sister," she was too much taken up with the responsibilities of her new position to have any time to devote to the invalid, and Elsie would have been left altogether to the care of a hired nurse if she had not been blessed with a mother.
This mother, a pallid, hollow-eyed woman, with all the marks of age and infirmity in her face and form, was in reality but sixteen years older than her daughter, but polygamy had done the work of time and furrowed her face and bleached her hair. She was a first wife, and Elsie, before she was married to Hartley, had prided herself a little upon being the offspring of a legal marriage, possibly because her mother had unconsciously betrayed the fact that she looked upon the other children in the family as illegitimate.
Yet Mrs. Kendall professed to be "reconciled" to her husband's subsequent marriages, and though she declined to live in the same house with the plural wives Elsie had never heard her speak unkindly of them. It was for this reason, perhaps, that she sought now to hide her own misery and jealousy from her mother's eyes; but sickness had broken down her strength, and one day after Hartley's accustomed call and the stereotyped inquiry whether she was not feeling a little better, she burst into an uncontrollable fit of weeping. All her mother's attempts to sooth her only redoubled her hysterical sobs, and finally Mrs. Kendall said:
"Something must be done to quiet you. I will call your husband."
Elsie sprang up in bed. "No, no! Not him nor her. Not for worlds. Lock the door and let me get over it I will be quiet; only give me time."
A strange look passed over the mother's face. "Poor child!" she murmured. "Is it possible that she loves him after all? Loves him as if she had the right?"
"What are you saying, mother?" Elsie demanded sharply.
"Nothing, my daughter. Here, drink this cordial, and let me bathe your face."
Elsie submitted like a child. Her strength was quite gone, and for the next half hour she was glad to lie back among her pillows; but when she felt able to speak again her eyes were lighted with a newly-formed resolution.
"Mother," she said in a faint voice, "sit down here close beside me and -- is the door locked?"
"Yes, my child."
"Then I want to tell you something -- something that I could not tell to any one else if I died for not speaking. When I was a little child you taught me that it was wicked to tell lies, and I thought that was something I should never do; but, mother, I have been acting lies for a long time -- such a long time -- and now it seems as though I must go on
20 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
in the same way till I die. When I was married," a spasm of pain passed over her as she pronounced the word, "I was as ignorant as a baby about the meaning of marriage, and because I was brought up in the midst of polygamy, and better people than I were living in it, I supposed it must be right. I never dreamed that I was injuring anybody by going into it, but I began to find out things before I had been married six months, and I have been finding out more ever since. When the months passed and my -- and Brother Hartley never went to see his first wife, and never spoke of her to me, I knew something was wrong and I felt guilty, though I did not know why. Then I began to see that he did not care as much for me as he did at first, and I was unhappy enough, but I little knew how much there was for me to bear yet."
"About a month ago a woman came here from W----, Brother Hartley was not in the house when she came, and I questioned her and learned -- too much. Brother Hartley's first wife was driven into insanity by his marriage with me, and she is all alone in a house in which he left her, and dying by inches. When I heard that I felt like a murderer. I knew, too, that I was not his wife -- that I never had been -- and yet I could not give him up. I thought my cup of suffering was full, but I knew nothing about real suffering until the night when he told me he was going to take Alice. Oh, mother, mother! I died a thousand deaths that night."
"My poor child! Until now I never dreamed of your loving that man. It was only because I felt sure that you did not love him that I consented to the arrangement which your father had made."
"Not love him! Did you want me to be married without love?"
"Married? Child, there is no marriage here. Women are only sacrificed, and that is all, and the less heart they have, the less they will suffer. I was married;" a faint touch of pride, a little of the dignity of wifehood shone in the worn face, "but those who are sealed in that cursed Endowment House are only sold into slavery."
"Mother, you frighten me!" Elsie exclaimed, forgetting her own sorrows for the moment. "I always thought you believed in celestial marriage."
"I have lived a lie for a good many years, just as all women do here. I have taught this to you because I was compelled to, but I never believed God had anything to do with a system that breaks a woman's heart, blights her life, and either kills her or kills all the good in her."
"That is just what polygamy is doing for me -- killing all the good in me. You know, mother, that I was not cruel once; I would not hurt any living thing if I could help it; but what tortures I have wished upon others since I have been lying here! Yesterday morning Alice came in here with Sister Grove, and while she stood close beside my bed she said in such a way I knew she did it on purpose to wound me:
"My husband insists that I shall take a horseback ride every day. He fears my health will suffer, I have so many cares just now."
"I could have killed her as she stood there, speaking to Sister Grove, but watching me to see me turn a little paler. Then, last night," Elsie paused a moment to gather strength, "last night she came in with him, and he put his arm around her, and she leaned against his shoulder and looked up in his face, while he pretended to be waiting for me to answer his questions. I wished then that one of these mountains might fall on them and crush them both."
"My child, listen to me: You cannot hurt them, but you are hurting yourself more and more every day. You must conquer such feelings."
"Must! I cannot."
"Elsie, if I seem cruel now you will think me kind in the end. Has not Alice a claim on this man equal to yours?"
"Maybe she has. I said that to myself at first; but, oh, I love him so, I love him so!"
"Pluck that love out of your heart; it will be the curse of your life. Elsie, I had a right to love your father. He was mine, mine only in the sight of God and man. We had a home once that was like heaven to me; but we were persuaded to leave all and come here, and in less than six months he was sealed to another woman. If you will look on my face, on my white hair, and remember that I am only thirty-six, you may form some faint idea of what I endured for years. My love died a lingering death, but I am free from it now. I care no more for the man who was once my husband than I do for the ground under my feet. That seems a hard thing to say to you who are his child, but it is true; and I repeat, you will suffer as long as you love that man."
"I would kill my love for him if I could" -- Elsie was sitting up in bed now, with a
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 21
bright flush on her cheeks and an unnatural light in her eyes -- "but how shall I do it?"
"Allow yourself to think of him just as he is. Remember his treachery to the wife of his youth; remember, too, that he never loved you; that you were only the plaything of his idle hours, to be cast aside at will. He does not believe in Mormonism. He knew that the ceremony which gave you to him was not marriage, and he looks upon you just as any man does upon a girl who has sacrificed everything that a woman holds dear for his sake."
Elsie clenched her hands and set her teeth. "If I could believe that," she said, after a time, speaking almost in a whisper, "then indeed my love would die. How many times he has told me that he looked upon our union as something far more sacred than what the world calls marriage! But he lied to me in other things, and why not in that?"
CHAPTER IV.Robert Maynard only stayed in Salt Lake three or four days. He was anxious to get back to the mine, so he told the major, for from the indications when he left he felt pretty certain that the streak of ore which he and his partner were following would widen out into a ledge which could be worked profitably.
"And when the railroad gets here," he added, "our mines will yet astonish the world."
"Yes, the railroad," said the major, "that is the great civilizer after all. When the line is once completed the tide of emigration will set this way, and these precious scoundrels that run the Latter Day church will soon find themselves in the minority. I know a good many people who are waiting for the day when they can teach them a much-needed lesson, and I have a few old scores to pay off myself. Stick to your mine, Robert, my boy. I hope there may be millions in sight when you get back; for if this territory proves as rich as Nevada we will have ten thousand miners in here before this time next year."
Maynard's enthusiasm on the subject of mines was usually much greater than that of his companion but to-day there was an absent look on his face while the major talked. Truth to tell, it was not the mine at all that was drawing him toward the mountains just now. Mary Ellsorth's dark eyes were more potent than all the silver hidden away among the rocky peaks of the Wasatch, and the spell they had cast over him could not be resisted. He must see her again, no matter what might be the consequences to himself. Brave, resolute and determined hitherto, he had always mastered the difficulties that lay in his path, and he did not despair now of being able not only to catch sight once more of the face that haunted him, but
"Perchance to speak, kneel, touch, kiss --
In sooth, such things have been."
Porphyro, seeking a glimpse of Madeline, on the eve of St. Agnes, was not more set of purpose, nor had he the greater dangers to encounter.
But our hero, though brave, was not reckless. True courage does not disdain to counsel with prudence, and Maynard laid his plans so that he might meet his foes by daylight and guard against concealed assassins, such as lay in wait at night for all whom the priesthood had doomed to death. The bridle path skirting the foot-hills, by which he had reached the city, was comparatively safe, partly for the reason that the soldiers from Camp Douglass made use of it, and partly because there was no cover near it except a little stunted sage-brush, and a horseman riding along the path could see and be seen for miles. The unsafe portion of Maynard's route was that part of his journey by daylight it was necessary that he should leave Camp Douglas during the night.
His horse was a powerful bay, whose fleetness and endurance had stood many a hard test, and whose sagacity had more than once saved his master from an Indian ambush, seemed to-night to understand the situation quite as well as his master. He maintained a steady trot, getting over the ground quite rapidly, yet reserving his strength for a time when it might be needed more. The stars twinkled brightly in the clear sky. The soft breeze fanned Maynard's temples, and seemed like the bearer of good tidings, as with his heart full of dreams and fancies far more sweet and unselfish than most of those which stir the breast of mature manhood, he pursued the journey, every step of which brought him nearer to the one object of his thoughts.
22 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
Hours passed. The stars began to grow paler, and a faint flush tinted the sky -- the promise of coming day. He felt his spirits rising, he scarcely knew why, and unconsciously hummed the fragments of a song that belonged to the memories of his boyhood. The horse quickened his pace, as though sharing his master's elation of spirit. Maynard's eyes were raised to the brightening sky. Somehow the breaking day seemed the promise of time When error shall decay and truth grow strong, And right shall reign supreme and vanquish wrongs.
His path lay in the shadow of the mountains, but the beams of the rising sun already shone upon the peaks on the other side of the valley, and cast a glow upon the lake at their base.
"What a fair picture," he said aloud. The words were scarcely uttered when his horse stopped so suddenly as almost to unseat him.
"Bayard, good Bayard, what is it?" he said, smoothing the neck of the horse, who trembled visibly; but even as he spoke he saw for himself. A rod before him a dark object, unmistakably a human figure, lay across the path.
Great heaven, a woman! Another victim of their accursed cruelty!"
He sprang from the saddle, and with a word to his bonnie bay, who still trembled in every limb, walked toward what seemed the dead body of a woman, the head and arms hidden by a shawl. The body lay face downward. He knelt beside it and raised it with a cry that echoed from the rocks above the strong man sank down with his lifeless burden.
It was the face of Mary Ellsworth! White, rigid and expressionless, but yet the same face that had filled his thoughts by day and his dreams by night since he saw it last. In that moment he knew how he loved her -- knew that, living or dead, he must continue to love her to the end of his own life and beyond. He rested the head on his knee and kissed the white face. Was it fancy, or did the form in his arms stir? The eyes, too, were closed; in death would they not be open? The bare possibility that this might not be death roused him to instant exertion. He chafed the cold hands and bathed the face with spirits from the flask he carried. In a little while a tremor passed over the slight frame, and a faint, fluttering sigh parted the lips.
"Not dead? O God, I thank thee!"
Maynard thought sometime in his wild wandering life he had forgotten how to pray aright, but surely no more earnest prayer, no more sincere thanksgiving ever sent up from a human heart than that which rose to heaven from that lonely spot. He redoubled his efforts and was rewarded by seeing the closed eyes open slowly. Consciousness had returned, but not recollection.
"Mother?" the girl murmured faintly, and Maynard felt the tears, which were no shame to his manhood, filling his own eyes. He would not startle her by speaking, but her head was still pillowed on his knee, and as her faculties gradually awoke to life her glance rested on his face, first with a look of fear, then of recognition. A faint red tinged her cheek as she seemed to become aware whose arms supported her, and she made a slight movement as though to raise herself up.
"Do not be afraid; you are quite safe," Maynard said, gently.
"Where am I? How came I here? Oh, I remember now. I was running away from -- from them all, and I fell down. My strength was all gone I thought I was dying. That is the last I knew."
Don't try to talk about it. My horse is here, and when you are able to sit up he will carry you to a place of safety."
"Let me go now." A terrified look swept over the girl's face. They have found out by this time that I have run away, and they will follow me."
"Never fear. Nobody will come after you here by daylight, and long before night we will be at Camp Douglass, where the wife of one of my friends will be glad to receive you and take care of you."
"By this time Maynard had lifted the girl to her feet, but her first attempt to walk showed how weak she was.
"No use trying to get away from here just now;" and Maynard was not sure that he regretted the delay, which involved no present danger. "You are not able to ride yet, and see, your clothing is wet and you are shivering with cold. I will find a seat for you and then build a fire and make you as comfortable as I can."
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 23
Mary could not do otherwise than acquiesce in this arrangement. She was still dizzy and faint, and glad to rest in the seat which her rescuer prepared for her; glad, too, of the warmth of the fire, for dress, shoes and stockings were wet through. When the fire was burning brightly Maynard bethought him of the lunch which the major had insisted on his taking with him.
"Don't get anything to eat at the houses on the way; they'll poison you, depend on it."
This was the major's warning, to which his friend was inclined to pay very little attention, but he was glad now that Golden's caution had born fruit in the shape of such simple material for the impromptu breakfast which he had set about preparing. He was in the highest spirits, and yet when he addressed the helpless girl so strangely thrown upon his protection, he compelled himself to speak in tones of the gravest and most respectful courtesy.
"Poor frightened dove! I must do my best to reassure her; and yet I do not think she is afraid of me."
He said this to himself as he made ready to place her on the horse, after the breakfast, which was certainly the most delightful meal of his life. She did not seem afraid of him. On the contrary, her dark eyes spoke her gratitude and trust most eloquently as she said:
"It was surely God who sent you to save me."
She objected a little to the arrangements for the journey, which obliged him to walk while she rode.
"I can walk part of the way," she averred, "or -- or we might both ride."
The last suggestion was tempting one, certainly, but he put aside the temptation and answered lightly;
"You do not know what a good walker I am. I have traveled on foot over all the territories, and I could make the journey across the continent in the same way."
It was eight o'clock when they started, and they would need nearly the whole day to reach Camp Douglass. Maynard, on his part, would have wished the journey longer if he had not seen how much his companion needed rest. His wildest fancies of the night before, when he was riding over the same ground, had not pictured anything like this delicious day, alone with the only woman he had ever loved; and though he controlled his words, his manner and even the tones of his voice, his eyes betrayed his secret.
Two or three times in the course of the day he was tempted to ask the immediate cause of her flight, but he refrained for fear of distressing her. But when they were within two or three miles of the camp she spoke herself of her unhappy life at W------ and finally, amid tears and painful blushes, the whole truth came out. Maynard could scarcely hear her through.
"The miscreant, the double-dyed villain!" he exclaimed, laying his hand upon his weapon; "I will kill him yet." Then in a softer tone he added; "Poor child, you had no father, no brother, no one to protect you I wonder at you courage."
"My father told me just before he died that there was One who would always be near me to protect me. If I had not remembered that I think I must have died of terror."
They were by this time very near the end of their journey, and a new anxiety took possession of the girl's mind.
"Are you sure," she asked, "that this lady, your friend, will welcome a forlorn stranger like me?"
"Quite sure, or I should not take you to her. She has daughters of her own, and will be as kind to you as a mother. Besides you are not the first one who has fled to Camp Douglass for safety. There are many there now who will stay and be cared for until they have an opportunity to leave the territory."
"I have nowhere to go, and no friends nearer than England. Indeed, I am not sure that I have friends there now. All our people were so displeased with us for going off with the Mormons; so I may say I have no one to care for me."
Here was another temptation. It was hard, indeed, to refrain from telling her that he meant to make it the business of his life to take care of her, but as this was not the time or the place for such a declaration, he wisely contented himself with assuring her that she would find friends in the place to which he was taking her. The motherly welcome of Mrs. Rushton, to whom Maynard entrusted his charge with a few words of explanation, confirmed this assurance; and when he took leave of her for the night he had the satisfaction of knowing that her anxieties on this point were set at rest.
Two more days passed and Maynard still lingered at the camp. His haste to return to
24 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
the mine had subsided, and if he had consulted his inclinations he would have put off the trip indefinitely; but his good sense told him that he would lose nothing by a month's absence from the girl to whom he could not yet speak of his love, and besides he depended on the Flora Bell for the means to take care of a wife when she should be won. So on the morning of the third day he called to say good-bye, and either by accident or by a little volunteered co-operation on the part of Mrs. Rushton, found Mary alone.
"You are not going away?" This was her only reply to the announcement he had to make, but her color came and went in a manner that would have given Maynard courage to say a great deal if he had been used to reading such signs.
"I must go," he said, "but I shall be down again in a month, or sooner than that we get to shipping ore." And then he could not help adding; "Shall you be glad to see me?"
"Glad to see you! I owe my life -- everything to you," and the tears began to fall. Maynard would have been more than human if he had turned away then without saying, "I love you," and in words that were none the less effective because unpremeditated, he told her, how hard it was to put her out of his thoughts for an hour since he first saw her, and how he had made up his mind to risk everything for one more sight of her sweet face.
"But you never thought of me, while I was willing to risk my life to see you," he added, with as much art as though he had studied all his life how to win a woman's love.
"I thought of you all the time. I -- that is -- I meant --"
"Never mind what you meant. That is enough;" and he drew her toward him she hid her crimson face on his shoulder.
"You belong to me now, remember that" -- those were Maynard's parting words -- "and you must never say again that you have nobody to care for you. It nearly broke my heart to hear you say that the day we came here."
"I will remember. But -- ought I to tell Mrs. Rushton? I do not think I could."
"You little goose! I will tell her myself, and she will take care of you for me till I come again. Then I expect you to give me the right to take care of you always."
It was a hasty wooing, and had Maynard been worldly-wise he might have thought as he rode away that it would have been more prudent to wait a few weeks, or even months, before committing himself as he had done. He was not, however, of a coldly calculating temperament, and no such reasonings disturbed him this morning as he presented himself at Major Golden's door, very much to that gentlemen's astonishment.
"I thought you were at the mine, days ago," he said in reply to Maynard's salutation.
"I should have been but for something which I could not possibly foresee." And then in a few words he told the story of his adventures, omitting, however, any account of the morning's interview.
"Poor girl!" the major said, "I cannot wish that you had not been the one to rescue her unless, indeed, I add the wish that I had been there myself; but I warn you to keep clear of the settlements after this. They will track you like bloodhounds, and your life will not be worth a penny if one of them ever gets a chance to shoot you in the back."
"I know; but I don't mean to give anyone that chance."
"Yes, but how will you get back to your mine?"
The major looked deeply troubled, for Robert was as dear to him as a brother; but all at once his face brightened, and he exclaimed:
"I have it; strange that I didn't think of it sooner! About twenty of the boys who came in this spring were here yesterday. They are wild to start on a prospecting trip somewhere, and your part of the country will suit them as well as anything else that I know of. I will see them at once, and I'll engage that they will be ready to go with you this afternoon."
The major's plan worked well, and when at an early hour in the afternoon the "boys" started southward, riding two abreast, he looked after them admiringly and said to himself:
"Robert is safe this time. These sneaking, Latter Day cowards will think twice before making even a night attack on twenty such fellows."
The prospecting party camped for the night about a dozen miles south of the city and made the rest of the journey by daylight; so that beyond a few black looks from the
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 25
saints, they chanced to meet they encountered nothing to remind them that they were in an enemy's country. Two years before this the Danites had received orders to drive all prospectors out of the country with shot-guns, and this order had never been rescinded. Still it was evident that while the miners were as obnoxious as ever to the Mormon leaders, the latter had begun to learn that they must substitute strategy for force in their dealings with them. A few of the Mormon people, restive under the rule of the priesthood, and glad of anything that promised deliverance from it, had also joined the ranks of the prospectors. For this glaring disobedience to counsel they had been cut off from the church, and they would have been blood-atoned (Blood-atonement -- death by the knife -- is, according to Mormon creed, the only means by which one who apostatizes from their faith can be saved in the next world), likewise, but for the protection afforded them by their new allies. Two of these apostates, as they were termed, joined our party at the mouth of the canyon, and half way up the steep defile they were overtaken by another, a boy of sixteen, whose hard-ridden horse panted an indignant protest against the forced march which his master had undertaken in order to reach the company.
"My eyes, ef that ain't Johnny Sloan," exclaimed one of the new recruits -- Morris, by name. "I say, boy, did the bishop send yer after us?"
"You bet. Same as he sent you. The bishop ordered me to St. George, and I went; oh, yes!"
"How far did yer git on that trail, Johnny?" asked another.
"Jist a little ways beyond Provo. Then you see I had a pressin' errant for my mother to old man Hoag's, and I rode over that way while the others was baitin' their horses, but I lost the trail somehow, turned north, come around the pint of a mountain, and here I be."
"Johnny," said one of the apostates who had not yet spoken -- and old man with white hair and bent, but still vigorous frame -- "I s'spose you know the consequence of this?"
"Likely as not I do." Johnny made an ugly, but deeply significant, gesture -- that of drawing the forefinger of his right hand across his throat -- "but you see, before folks cooks a rabbit they has to catch him."
The old man shook his head sadly. The boy, full of the reckless courage of youth, might scoff at the dangers he had never encountered, but those who had listened to the dying cries of friends that they could not rescue ought not to be called cowards, though they expressed their fears of the murderous Danites. The distance from the mouth of the canyon to Maynard's mine was fifteen miles, but the trail was so rough and steep that the progress if the party was necessarily slow, and night overtook them before they were within hailing distance of the Flora Bell. Jim, aided by a couple of wandering prospectors who had stopped at the mine to work for a "grub stake," had been pushing the tunnel night and day since his partner left with results that will be told afterward.
It was now the first of June, but the snow was still deep in the mountains in some places. Just below the mine, however, there had been a slide which had carried off snow and rocks together, and in the immediate vicinity of the tunnel and of Maynard's cabin, which was built on a little flat, the ground was bare, affording the new-comers a place to camp comfortably. The cabin, constructed of logs still encased in the native bark, with a roof of poles held in place, and rendered water-tight by a coating of earth, was not more than twelve feet by fourteen by inside measurement. The company which had just arrived numbered twenty-three souls, but, as one of them observed, there was plenty of room outside, and there preparations for the night were soon made.
A prospector starting out on a month's trip, such as the present party contemplated, carries with him, in addition to his tools, blankets and cooking utensils and the inevitable bacon, flour, yeast powder, a little sugar and coffee, and a small sack of "Nevada strawberries" (white beans). Thus equipped and provisioned he works hard, eats heartily, sleeps soundly, and if success does not crown his search, returns to the base of supplies at the end of the month for a fresh outfit and starts out again with unabated courage. All of the present party, with the exception of the three recruits from the valley, had led this life for years. Many of them had grown gray in their search for silver and gold, but all were ready to begin over again in this new field, and if their unflagging energy and perseverance did not win success they at least merited it.
Morning dawned upon a busy scene. Breakfast was dispatched in haste, and the prospecting party broke up into small squads and departed in different directions to
26 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
explore the mountains. When the last one was out of sight Maynard turned to his partner with the question that he had waited until now to ask:
"Well, Jim, old fellow, what luck."
"Come inside and I'll show yer," was the sententious response.
Hereupon Bradford, with a little unnecessary ostentation, produced a key and led the way to the mouth of the tunnel. A heavy door, fastened with a padlock and chain, closed the entrance.
"What's this for?" Maynard asked.
"Wait an' see," was all the reply that Jim vouchsafed. The key was turned in the lock, the heavy door swung back, and the two men, each with a lighted candle in his hand, stepped inside.
The rocks on either side were damp; the water trickled down upon them from above and formed little pools below. The tunnel made two or three sharp turns, easily understood by a miner who noticed the narrow, grayish streak overhead. This was the "vein" which the tunnel followed through all its windings and turnings. The candles flickered feebly, and did little more than make darkness visible; yet all the work necessary to excavate the solid rock for a distance of one hundred and fifty feet had been done by their aid alone. About a hundred feet from the mouth of the tunnel a [winze] let in a little of the light of the outer world, but this only served to make the pitchy darkness beyond appear more intense. Maynard asked no questions as they walked along, having learned by experience that Jim's "Wait an' see" was final. When they reached the "face" (the last point at which work had been done in the tunnel), Jim lighted the two extra candles he had brought, held them up and exclaimed in a triumphant tone: "Jest you look thar!"
Maynard did look, and for the moment the sight nearly took away his breath. Overhead, underfoot, and on either side the rock had given place to the gray mineral which they had followed through so many difficulties. He stood in the midst of a body of ore whose extent he could not even guess. The wealth so long sought for lay before his eye -- within his grasp.
"Didn't I tell you the very last thing afore you started on that wild goose chase that this here vein was agoin' ter widen out? And hain't she widened out? See!"
Jim picked up a crow-bar and pushed it into the soft mineral.
"I've sounded this all around, an' can't find bottom nor top nor side, nowhere. And look! here (indicating a streak of ore about a foot wide in the face of the tunnel) is the richest thing I've seen in my travels, outside of the Poor Man's Lead, up in Idaho. It'll go two thousand ounces, I'll stake my bottom dollar on that; an' t'wont surprise me ef it assays three thousand. Ther's enough of that to set us both up ef there wasn't anything more; an' when you come to think of this hull ore -- body, that'll average a hundred an' fifty ounces all the way through. We can begin to lay out for a two-forty team, an' a high-toned kerridge, an' a house with a coopilow, an' --"
"Stop, Jim," interposed his partner; "don't let us get too much on our hands at once. The house and the horses and the carriage are all that I can take care of at present. How much ore have you got out?"
"See for yourself," Jim pointed to the walls, "We've only run in about ten foot. The ore is sorted an' sacked an' piled in the shed. I didn't want to do any more till you got back, an' I don't think we'd better strike a lick to-day till we've talked the thing over."
"Right. We will talk it over by ourselves. I will send the boys after wood, so that we can be alone till night."
The partners feasted their eyes for a few minutes longer on their newly-discovered treasures, picked out a few bits of ore that appeared exceptionally rich, and then slowly retraced their steps. As they neared the entrance Maynard asked:
"Why did you lock up the tunnel; were you expecting visitors?"
"Didn't know what ter expect," was the reply; "an' it's been my way always to lock up the stable door afore the horse is stole."
The "boys," both of them gray-haired and a little bent by many years of underground work, were enjoying their morning smoke and making themselves generally comfortable, but at their employer's suggestion they shouldered their axes at once and started out for the wood, which, if not urgently needed, might as well be got that day as any other. The partners thus left in undisturbed possession of the cabin replenished the fire and seated themselves for "the talk" which was to decide their own future and that
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 27
of the mine. Jim smoked a few minutes in silence, and then opened the conversation.
"Pardner, I dunno as I'd care about ownin' it to anybody else, but sence the first minute that I know'd this strike was a sure thing I've had the curiouest feelin's. Seemed as ef I was a boy agin, an' nights I dreamed of the old farm, an' wake up callin' for some of 'em at home -- some that may be the grass has bin a growin' over these many years; for I've never heard a word from any of 'em sence '57.
"You see, I was in the thick of the first stampede to Californy; went overland, an' had a rough time; but I was young then, an' didn't mind it. You've heard me tell about that often enough, but I've never told you about the folks at home. I left father an' mother an' sister -- little Minny -- she was the cutest little thing. I can see her blue eyes and' her pink cheeks this minute, plain as I see you."
Jim paused, drew his rough hand across his eyes as though to clear the mists of years from his sight, and then went on:
"But that wasn't all I left. There was a dear little girl, not my sister -- Deacon Holts' daughter -- his farm jined ours. The Deacon was rich an' close-fisted an' wouldn't give his daughter to anybody that wasn't fore-handed; an' it was for her that I went to Californy. 'T'was the easiest thing in the world, so I thought then, to get rich, when you had'nt nothin' to do but pick up gold offen the ground. An' next year I'd come back, so I told Hetty, with money enough to buy out 'Squire Ruggles an' build a house twice as big as his. I've told you about them times in Californy; no luck the first year, an' not much the second; but I kept hopin' an hopin', for I was young then, and beside, in them days I got letters that helped me through.
"At last, along in the spring of '51, I made a little raise -- not much, but enough to take me to the state an' start some kind of business when I got there. I was homesick enough to make me willin' to give up the idee of the hundred thousand that I'd meant to take back with me, an' after I got my next letter I meant to start. You know how letters used to come in them days. We waited for 'em months an' months, an' tramped clear to Frisco after 'em.
"One day -- I can't never forgit that day, though I've tried hared enough -- I went into town for my letters. I've told you how the boys used to stand in line at the post office for hours. I was a little late, and felt bad enough about takin' my place down to the end of the line; but ther was one feller close to the winder that didn't seem to care much about his mail, an' so I bought out his place -- give him twenty-five dollars for it. In a few minutes I got a chance to call for my letter, and took it in my hand, feelin' happy as a king; an' even after I'd opened it I didn't seem to git hold of what was in it. It was from mother; an' she wrote everything else first, thinkin' to soften what she had to tell me -- that Hetty, my Hetty, was dead! I don't want to talk about that. I got over it after a while -- enough so'st to feel that she was waitin' for me somewhere; an' in the long night tramps I've took it's seemed as ef she was a lookin' down from the stars. But I've never wanted to speak her name, only to myself, an' I never have till to-day."
Maynard laid his hand gently on his comrade's shoulder. His own eyes were misty, but he, too, felt that words were not called for.
"I understand," was all that he said.
After a long silence Jim resumed:
"That broke up my goin' home; an' as the years went on, an' I kept on trampin', now in Californy, now in the territories, my folks lost track of me. I didn't get their letters, an' then I stopped writin, an' as I told you, I hain't heard nothin' sence '57; but this strike has made me rich enough to go home; an' as I was a sayin', I hain't been able to think of nothin' else sence."
Maynard gave himself, as well as Jim, a little time to think before he spoke.
"I don't know that we can sell out just now," he said at length, "but I believe there will be a chance for us to get pretty near what the mine is worth in a couple of months. You know the railroad will be completed in July, and Major Golden has friends who are already forming companies in the East to buy up and work mines here.
"Now my idea is this: Let us leave the tunnel as it is, but run a drift each way to show the ore, and slope out a little from above. The mine will then look just as well as we want it to. We will put up something that will answer as an ore-house for the present, sack the ore we take out and pile it up, have a few assays made, and then invite those who are looking about for investments to come and examine the mine. The property will sell itself -- there is no doubt about that -- and we can leave the territory as soon
28 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
afterward as we like; for though I haven't any home to go to just yet, I mean to have one."
Jim smiled grimly. "I thought as much," he said. "I knowed I was right about your made-up trip into the valley; but go ahead an' tell your story."
And Maynard did tell his story much more freely and fully than he would have done if Jim had not revealed a side of his own nature which his partner had never seen before.
"I hope the girl is cured of Mormonism, an' out," was Jim's first remark after the story was finished.
"She never was a Mormon," Maynard answered, flushing a little, "Nor her parents, either, for that matter, though her father was persuaded to accompany the Mormon emigration in the hope of bettering his fortune here."
"Well, it's all right; I don't question that, an' there is nobody wishes you more joy than your old pardner does. But to take any comfort after this you want to git out of the territory, an' that's another reason for puttin' things in shape to sell the mine."
"We ought to have some assays made the first thing," Maynard observed; "but it's a long trip to Salt Lake, and I've only just got back. Still --"
"You'd be willin' I 'spose to take it all on yourself," Jim interrupted, his eyes twinkling with suppressed merriment, "and save your old pardner the journey. It's very good of you; there ain't anybody in partikler that's waitin' to see me, at the camp or anywhere else; then agin, there ain't anybody layin' for me to blood-atone me; so on the hull I think I'd better go this time."
"All right. Two of the boys who stopped here last night are going back next week, and you can make the journey in their company."
"I could carry a letter, you know, jest as well as not. 'Twouldn't be a mite of trouble; and ef there was an answer I'd manage to find time to call for it."
Maynard's late experience was something so entirely new to him that he colored like a girl at his partner's good-natured railery.
"You are very kind," he said, "and I'll think about your offer to-day; but in the meantime I believe we had better have some dinner; that is, unless the strike has taken away your appetite. I've known such things to happen."
Jim loudly disclaimed having been affected in this way by their good fortune, and at once set about the preparation of the meal, which included a few luxuries not down on their ordinary bill of fare.
"To-day is Thanksgivin', Christmas an' Fourth of July all in one," he said. "Leastways it amounts to that to us, an' I'm goin to celebrate it. Seems as ef I could see the table set at home jest as it was that last Thankgivin', way back in '48."
CHAPTER V."I declare, Martha Sloan, the sight of that house, with its furniture that cost, dear knows how many hundred dollars, and a piano -- a thing I haven't seen or heard before since I left the state -- has made me more discontented than I've ever been since the first year I came here. Look at my house! Bare floors, wooden chairs, a table that George made himself out of some old boxes, and no two dishes alike to put on it."
"Better have the bare floors an' the wooden chairs, an' be an honest woman, married lawfully to the man you're a livin' with, than have all the pianny's an' sofy's in the world an' be a --"
"Sister Martha, for goodness sake think what you're saying. Nobody knows who might be listening."
Sister Dunbar spoke in a distressed whisper, looking over her shoulder, as was her wont, for eaves-droppers.
"There's nobody about the place but our two selves, Sister Dunbar, an' anyhow, I've got pretty near through whisperin' an' watchin' for fear somebody might be a listenin'. I've kept that up for nigh onto sixteen years, an' it's a wearin' on me."
"You don't mean to say, Martha, that you're not going to obey counsel any more."
"I mean to say that I've made up my mind to go to the Lord for counsel after this, an' not to anybody else."
Two causes, of which Sister Dunbar knew nothing, were operating to produce this unwonted boldness of speech on the part of Martha. Johnny, her only child, was
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 29
with the Gentiles, and safe (so his mother believed), and the night before, William Sloan, who had just returned from a trip to Salt Lake, had brought news which strengthened her belief that the day of their deliverance from Mormon rule was near at hand.
"I'll tell you, Martha," he said, "the bishop is a weakenin', and so is some that's higher up than the bishop. They see that they can't carry things with such a high hand much longer. The Gentiles are a comin' in by hundreds, an' the new judges that's been sent on from the states has got real grit, I can tell you that. Why, the one that holds court at Provo has got out warrants for them that had a hand in blood-atonin' the Potter's an' Parrishes, an' the one at Salt Lake is goin' after the men mixed up in that Jones affair, an' a good many others. Things that we hain't dared to talk about, even in a whisper, is bein' brought right into court, and there's bin a reglar stampede to St. George among them that wouldn't dare stay any longer in this part of the territory."
Another piece of news which her husband brought gave Martha far more hope than anything else. A stage line running to and from the mines was to pass through the settlement, and a Gentile who wished to open a hotel was ready to buy their place for that purpose. The sale, if conducted with secrecy and dispatch, could not be prevented by the church authorities, and then they could get out of the settlement -- perhaps even out of the territory.
"It 'pears to me too good, almost, to be true," Martha said, musingly, "to git back home where there ain't no priesthood more spies to listen under a body's winder, more murderin' wretches layin' behind fences with shot guns, an' follerin' decent folks nights. It'll be pretty near like goin' to heaven, only it would seem more that way to me if I could take Sister Hartley along. Poor creetur!"
Martha sighed deeply, and her round, smiling face grew very grave. Since the week succeeding the one on which this story opens Mrs. Hartley had not left her bed. Martha had watched over her and waited on her with the same devotion which had caused her to follow her benefactors to this country in which they had found nothing but sorrow. There was no physician in the settlement, for the Saints were forbidden to employ a physician in sickness, and had there been one, both Mrs. Hartley and her faithful nurse knew that her ailment was something beyond the reach of medicine. The prayer, for death, so long offered in vain, seemed now about to be answered; but as the hour of deliverance drew near a great change appeared to come over the sufferer's spirit. The handsome, haughty face of the portrait on the wall still looked down upon her, and in all her waking hours her eyes met those which had won her girlish heart only to crush it and cast it aside after her love had been tested by years of sacrifice and suffer. Yet she did not now invoke curses upon her husband; and when Sister Dunbar, who had been allowed by Martha to go into the room, with some delicacy for the invalid repeated the story of his third marriage, the wife felt no exultation at the thought that the girl for whom her husband had abandoned her was now suffering in her turn. Martha wondered much at the change in her old mistress, but finally set it all down as due to her sickness.
"An' mebbe, " she said to William, in an awe-struck whisper, "she's had a warnin'. She says to me last night, 'Martha, they have been here;' an' when I asked her who she meant, she says: 'Father and mother and my boy. They are here now, night and day.' I declare, she spoke in such a way an' looked so strange you might o' knocked me down with a feather, I was that upset. She won't be here long, depend on it; an' nobody that knows what she's bin through an' how she's prayed to go can grudge her the answer to her prayer. I don't, though I'll miss her as if she was my own mother."
Martha wiped her eyes with her apron, and set about preparing something which she hoped the invalid might be tempted to eat.
The day passed, and at night Martha, after begging vainly, as she had often done before, to be allowed to stay with her beloved mistress, made her as comfortable as possible and left her alone. It was now near mid-summer, but though the days were hot the nights were delightfully cool. Martha and her husband sat until a late hour on the porch before their door, talking of indifferent matters, for there were listeners close at hand most probably, and this was no place to discuss their plans. A faint light was visible in Mrs. Harley' window, from which Martha had removed the thick curtains, and William said:
"It seems as if you ought to step in before we go to bed and see how she is."
"I'd be glad to, but it worries her to have me come in after dark. She says if she gits
30 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
any sleep at all now it's in the fore part of the night, an' she don't want to be disturbed. She's very gentle, though, poor, dear creature, to what she used to be, an' lets me do almost anything for her. She et that puddin' to-day, an' thanked me in a way that made the tears come to my eyes. But when she had that bad spell last winter, I might a' begged her on my hands and knees an' she wouldn't a' touched it."
The next morning Martha was up betimes. She was an early riser always, and to-day William was going to Salt Lake to complete the arrangements for disposing of their place. So they sat down to breakfast just as the day was dawning, and by sunrise William was on his way.
The first business of the morning, with Martha, was to see how the invalid had passed the night, and to attend to her wants. The key of the side door she always kept, and letting herself in this way she went directly to Mrs. Hartley's room, and rapped gently. There was no response from within.
"Poor soul! She's dropped asleep, I dare say, an' I won't disturb her," she whispered to herself, turning away. Half an hour later she came back and knocked again. Receiving no answer this time, she opened the door softly and looked in. The part of the room in which the bed stood was in shadow, but she could see the face of the invalid on the pillow. The covering of the bed was thrown back a little, the hands were folded on the breast, and the whole attitude was that of a person in a quiet, undisturbed slumber."
"It's a new thing -- her sleepin' in the mornin' like this -- but it'll do her good, poor dear."
She drew a little nearer the bed, looked again, and started back with a cry. Her mistress indeed slept well. All the pangs that broke her rest, all torturing memories, all disquieting dreams, were ended forever.
"For so he giveth his beloved sleep."
That was a text which Martha remembered well. It was carved on the headstone which bore the name of her own mother, whose life toil had long ago ended in perfect rest. Tears dimmed her eyes as she looked at her dear mistress lying there in that "Blessed sleep! >From which none ever wake to weep." But through her tears she said:
"Thank God! They waited for her, and she has gone with them to her Father's house."
There was nothing now to bind her faithful heart to this spot; and after the funeral, at which Mr. Hartley was not present, the Sloan's gave up their house to the purchaser and moved to Salt Lake, from which place they succeeded, in the course of the year, in making good their escape from the territory and returning to their old home in Ohio.
Mrs. Hartley's death, which took place about three weeks after her husband's marriage to Alice Farr, was duly announced to him at his city residence. He regretted very much his inability to be present at the funeral, so he told the messenger, but his wife, Elsie, was dangerously ill, and it was impossible for him to leave home, even for a day. He, however, sent a liberal sum to defray funeral expenses, but the money was promptly returned by the indignant Martha.
Whether conscience was entirely dead, or whether years of hypocrisy had taught him to mask his real self so successfully that none could guess what passed in his heart, not even those who knew him best could tell. To all outward seeming his life went on exactly as before. He had gained the position he coveted, wealth began to flow in, and in less than six months he took another wife -- this time a rich widow somewhat advanced in years, who had a house of her own, which she declined to share with Elsie and Alice.
Elsie found some comfort in this marriage because it distressed Alice, who, poor child, had learned too to love the man who had such a fatal power to win the hearts of women.
"I suppose you know," Elsie said to her directly after the wedding, which they both attended, "that the last Mrs. Hartley is a legal wife."
"A legal wife! What do you mean?" Alice asked petulantly.
"I mean, my dear," was the unruffled response, "that Mr. Hartley was a widower when he married her, which was not the case when he married you and I. Therefore the law recognizes their union; and if they choose to remove from this territory Mrs. Hartley can still associate on equal terms with other ladies, while we -- well, I dare say you can tell what we would be called anywhere else."
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 31
Alice burst into angry tears. "Say what you please about yourself. I am a wife, with a better right to the name than that fat, ugly old woman, who was only married for the sake of her money."
"A wife! Yes; but still I presume you have noticed how our Gentile neighbors, Mrs. R--- and Mrs. W---. Lift their eyebrows and draw back their skirts when they happen to pass you on the street. I was looking out of the window yesterday when they met you at the gate, and really it was as good as a play."
Alice rushed from the room, shutting the door violently after her.
She was little more than a child, and Elsie pleased herself by saying something to throw her into a fit of rage whenever they were alone together; but in the presence of "our husband," as Elsie made a point of calling him when speaking to Alice, the two wives treated each other with elaborate courtesy, and in public they were pointed out as examples of the harmony that exists in polygamous families.
Elsie had risen from her sick bed so changed that it seemed to her as though the girl Elsie had died and a lost spirit had come back in her place. She hated Alice with a vindictiveness that frightened her when she allowed herself to reason about her own feeling, and she wished to hate Hartley too, but could not. Something that she could not define, the ghost of her dead love, bound her to him and make her swear to herself never to go away, as she had once thought of doing, and give him up to Alice.
There was not the slightest pretense of sentiment in his marriage with the Widow Brant, who was older than himself, besides being quite as fat and ugly as Alice had described her. She was rich, and wanted some one to mange her property for her, and Hartley was quite willing to assume that charge, in the hope of making something for himself; so the only rivalry which existed in the family was between the two young wives.
Elsie still retained her marvelous beauty, which she knew well how to enhance by every art of dress and adornment. Alice was plain, but witty and accomplished, and the birth of a child toward the end of the year gave her a much stronger hold upon her husband than before. Still, she knew quite as well as Elsie that the law did not recognize her as a wife, and the freezing contempt with which she had been treated by the few Gentile ladies she had met gave her a most unpleasant consciousness of her true position. Years ago, when the Saints had the valley to themselves, and the slightest expression of doubt with regard to the validity of plural marriages was promptly and effectually punished, polygamous wives seemed not to have any anxieties on this head, but now all things were changed and in a few years she, Alice Farr, who had always considered herself as good as the best, might be pointed at as a shameless creature who had lost all that makes a woman's life worth living.
These were not pleasant thoughts, and she tried to put them away, but could not. They embittered her life far more than her daily quarrels with Elsie, or the claim set up by that odious Widow Brant, who insisted that Hartley should spend every third week at her house, and even proposed that he should accompany her to California, to look after her property there. Decidedly, Alice was not happy; but neither was she miserable as Elsie was. She had neither her capacity for suffering, nor her penetration, which enabled her to judge rightly as to Hartley's estimate of those who called themselves his wives.
"He loves me. I am sure of that, no matter what Elsie may say, or what other people may think!"
This was the comfort which Alice always administered to herself when smarting under Elsie's taunts or the treatment she received from her Gentile neighbors.
Elsie, on her part, tried to find comfort in outdressing and outshining her neighbors, in giving costly entertainments, and plunging into a vortex of amusements. Hartley was growing rich, and as he was much more liberal in the matter of furnishing money to his family than Mormon husbands commonly are, Elsie had all that she wished to spend. But dress and amusements were not able to pluck from her memory a rooted sorrow, and before another year passed a little vial labeled "Morphine" might have been found on an upper shelf of her bed-room closet. This was, as she told herself, her only friend -- the only thing that enabled her to forget her misery and endure life. She counts it her only friend still. She is growing haggard. Her beauty is disappearing in spite of cosmetics, and in a little while she will escape from the burdens of life in the same way that other plural wives have done.
As for Hartley, no judgment overtakes him. He is one of the law-givers of the people. Riches and honors are heaped upon him; strangers who visit Utah partake
32 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
of his hospitality, and when he visits the cities of the East, as he often does, he is treated with distinguished consideration as one of the most wealthy and influential citizens of Utah.
But we turn from this picture of a happy and prosperous polygamous family to follow once more the fortunes of the hardy miners, whose presence in the territory has dealt the peculiar institutions of the country the heaviest blows they have yet received.
Jim Bradford made the next trip to Salt Lake, as he had proposed, and it is pretty certain, also, that he carried a letter which had to be delivered at Camp Douglass, and that he brought an answer back; and much as Jim affected to make light of this "foolishness," he would rather have lost the precious specimens he carried to the city, or the certificates of assay he received, than either of the letters entrusted to him.
The Flora Bell proved herself worthy of the estimate placed on her, and the assays made in the city vindicated Jim's judgment with regard to the quality of the ore. Specimens taken from the little streak in the center of the vein, which differed in color, weight and general appearance from the rest, assayed a little more than two thousand ounces to the ton, while the great body of the ore into which they ran their drifts assayed from forty ounces all the way up to two hundred and seventy.
"It'll sample a hundred an' fifty ounces -- jest what I've said all along," was Jim's remark to the assayer; "an' that's as good a thing as I want."
"I should think so," was the answer, "if you've got enough of it."
"Enough! We can't find top nor bottom to the ore body; an' as for the walls, we're drifted twenty foot each way an' hain't touched 'em yet."
"Think anything about selling?" inquired the assayer.
"Well, I dunno. It'ud take a pile of money to buy me out now, I can tell you. It'll pay big to ship the richest of the ore soon's the railroad comes in; an' as for the low grade, we can pile that up on the dump an' wait for the smelters to start up; for the first man that comes in here with money, an' knows a chance to make money when he sees it, is goin' to put up a smelter, you mark that."
"A party of gentlemen from the East came in last night, and some of them were here making inquiries about the mines. That is why I spoke to you."
"Tenderfeet!" Jim's face expressed boundless contempt. "I never see a chap fresh from the states yet that didn't think nuggets or gold orter lay around on the ground big as tea-kittles, or else they're lookin' for boulders of pure silver. An' when you take these fellers into a mine an' they see the pickin' and blastin' an shovelin' that's got to be done, to say nothin' about the ore that's got to be shipped an' smelted, an' the bullion that's got to be refined, they're took sick right away, an' want to go back to New York or Bosting, where they find the gold an' silver ready coined."
"But these gentlemen have had some experience in mines. They own property in Nevada and California."
"Well, in that case I don't mind their comin' up, ef they want to see the Flora Bell. I ain't ashamed to show her to nobody, nor my pardner ain't neither. But selling out is another thing."
As a result of this talk with the assayer, two of the gentlemen alluded to called on Jim the next morning. They found him willing to talk by the hour about the tunnel, the vein it followed, the extent of the ore body; but on the subject of selling out he was decidedly reticent.
"You see," he explained to his visitors, "it's jest this way with me an' my pardner: We've bin a huntin' a mine these twenty year; leastways I have, an' he ain't more'n five years behind me, though you wouldn't think it to look at us. We've trampled all over the coast an' the territories; we've bin roasted in summer an' froze in winter; bin ketched in snow slides an' shot at by Injuns and blowed up with powder; an' now after goin' through so much we've got a mine, an' we want to hold on to it."
"But suppose," said one of the gentlemen, insinuatingly, "that you were offered ten thousand dollars apiece for your interests. That would take you to the states and set you up there in some business which would be free from risk and hardship."
Jim shook his head. "We can make more'n that this summer shippin' our high grade ore, an' then we've got thousands of tons of medium grade to fall back on when the smelter starts up."
Suppose we take a trip to the mine," suggested the other gentleman; "we want to see the country, and we may not have a better opportunity."
"No objection; not the least in the world. You've bin in the mountings before, I
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 33
take it, an' that bein' the case, we can make you comfortable, my pardner an' me can, at our cabin."
It was finally arranged that three of the party from the East, representing a wealthy mining company, should go with Jim. One of the three was the professional "expert," whose report on a mine is considered indispensable by the purchaser, notwithstanding the undisguised contempt of the practical miner for the "book learning" which is the bases of such report.
Maynard received his visitors courteously, showed them all there was to see in the mine, was marvelously patient with the expert, whose constant use of technical and scientific terms was a sore trial to Jim, and won golden opinions from the others by his gentlemanly bearing and his readiness to oblige, but he had still less to say than Jim about selling the mine, and the visit ended without any definite result.
It was now four weeks since Maynard had said good-bye to the fair girl whom he already looked upon as his own, they had been long weeks -- the longest he had ever known -- in spite of the excitement caused by the strike and the interest he felt in the work of opening up the mine so as to make it look its best. So, a little to Jim's astonishment, he announced that he meant to return to Salt Lake in company with their visitors.
"I've 'tended to the assays," Jim said, "an' we've got supplies laid in for three months. We won't make nothin' by runnin' after these chaps that wants to buy a mine. Let them run after us."
"That is just what I mean to do," Maynard answered; "I shall not say 'mines' to anybody while I am gone, and in less than three weeks these same friends of ours will be back to make us an offer that we can afford to take. My business in Salt Lake this time is a little more important even than making a sale of the Flora Bell."
"Of course! Queer that I didn't think of your reasons for goin' down a leetle offener than usual this summer. I'm a crusty old chap, pardner, but I take a sight of comfort in knowin' that you're some happier than you ever was before."
"I know it, Jim; I've never had a truer friend than you, and I didn't mean to go away without telling my errand to the city. Jim, old fellow, if Providence favors me, I'll come back a married man!"
"What! So soon? I thought you was agoin' to put it off till after the sale."
Maynard laughed -- a clear, ringing, boyish laugh, which it did his companion's heart good to hear. "In that case," he said, "I should have hurried up the sale. No, Jim, I don't want to put off that day that will give me a legal right to protect my little girl, knowing, as I do, how much she needs a protector."
There was tender light in his eyes as he spoke, and an unwonted tremor in his voice. Jim, who had known love once, nay, who still loved the gentle girl who was, as he said, "awaitin' for him somewheres," understood these signs and guessed how sacredly his promised bride was enshrined in his heart of hearts.
"I say agin, as I said at the first, nobody wishes you more joy than your old pardner does; an' if you're as happy as you deserve to be, it'll be mighty near heaven."
These confidence were exchanged over night by the partners, and before the earliest beams of the sun began to show themselves above the crest of the Wasatch the party were on their way down the canyon. Maynard rode in advance of his companions. It was well perhaps that he was forced to wait a little for them; well, at least, for Bayard, whose speed would have been tested to the utmost if the impatient lover had been making the journey alone.
"These are the longest miles I ever traveled," Maynard said to one of the others as they reached the mouth of the canyon.
The gentleman smiled. "They seemed longer to us going up," he said; "but then the fact that we were climbing up hill, and our impatience to see the mine, made the journey a trifle tedious."
It was yet early in the forenoon when they passed through the settlement, and they came in sight of Salt Lake about sunset. When the party reached the southern limits of the city, Maynard bid good-bye to his companions and turned his horse's head in the direction of Camp Douglass.
"At last!" he said to himself, as though nearing the end of a pilgrimage of years. "Bayard, good Bayard, make haste; we have traveled too slowly."
The horse, obeying his master's voice and hand quickened his speed. They were already within a mile of the camp.
"She does not expect me. She will be startled, but not sorry to see me. How she looked when I asked her if she would be glad!"
34 SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS.
In ten minutes more he had dismounted from his panting horse and was knocking impatiently at Mrs. Rushton's door. Fortune favored him. It was Mary herself who opened the door. She gave a little cry as he stepped into the lighted hall, then threw herself into the arms that were open to receiver her.
"I am so glad -- so glad, you have come," was all she could say, but that was enough. She did not stop to think whether maidenly reserve required her to hide what she felt. He was her hero, her lover, the one to whom she owed her life, and to whom she was glad to give it back.
"Then you really wanted me to come back," Maynard said, lifting up the face that had drooped out of sight. "Really and truly?
"Yes, really and truly; but you startled me so! Mrs. Rushton said you might not be down for a month yet."
"Mrs. Rushton did not know that every day has been a month since I went away. Where is she now?"
"Gone out for the evening; I forgot to tell you that, and I am forgetting to ask you in. Come this way, into the sitting room. There is no one at home but myself."
It is hardly to be supposed that Maynard was distressed by this announcement. If it was so sweet to walk by her side, to be alone with her on that day when he dared not tell his love, even by a look, what must he think of the hours that he was permitted to spend with her now, when she was his promised wife? Mary insisted on getting supper for him, and they sat down together.
"Quite as if we were married and keeping house," Maynard said, enjoying the pretty blush which the speech called up.
After supper they returned to the sitting-room. A piano was one of the features of this room, and Mary offered to play.
"You ought to ask me," she said, "but since you don't, I will inflict something on you to punish you."
"I did not know you played. I have had no chance to find out," he said. "There are a great many things that we have not asked each other about, but there will be plenty of time for questions and answers after to-morrow."
"And why specially after to-morrow? She asked.
"Because to-morrow is our wedding day!"
"So soon! You do not mean it." Her color came and went, and she dropped the music in her hands.
"Why should I not mean it? My darling" -- he placed her on the seat beside him and took both her hands -- "six months from now we will not know each other or love each other any better than to-day, if we should put off our marriage so long, and in six months something might happen to take you away from me if I had not the legal right to keep you -- to protect you. But be my wife to-morrow, and I will defy the world to take you from me."
"It shall be just as you wish. I was startled for the moment, just as I was when you came in so unexpectedly to-night, but I can wish for no greater happiness than to be you wife; God knows that, and I am willing that you should know it too, though may be it is a little bold in me to tell you so."
"My dear, little girl! My little wife! I wish everybody in the world was half as truthful. Why should either of us be ashamed of the love we would have reason enough for shame." The lover's talk that filled up the evening, interesting enough to themselves, but not quite so much so to others, we need not write down in full. Mrs. Rushton, returning about ten o'clock, found a very demure little maiden seated by herself on the sofa, her hands folded primly in her lap, while the gentleman who rose to greet the hostess occupied a chair at least three feet away; but there was comical look in the matron's bright eyes as she picked from Mary's slightly disordered tresses a fragment of the flower that Maynard wore in his buttonhole. If any doubt existed in her mind after this as to the arrangements made during the evening, it was speedily dispelled by Maynard, who said:
"Mrs. Rushton, we are to be married to-morrow. May we presume that we have your consent?"
"My consent and my blessing, you foolish children. If I had had my way about it you should have been married before you went back to the mine. I am worn to a shadow by the responsibility you imposed on me. Please to consider that to-morrow you take the whole burden upon your own shoulders."
SAVED AT LAST FROM AMONG THE MORMONS. 35
"The prospect does not terrify me. But I must tax your hospitality a little further and ask you to give my wife a home for another month. By the end of that time I hope to be able to take her out of the territory."
"Don't tell me too much at once. My poor head is quite confused already. I meant to ask you something about your mine, but I am not equal to that to-night. There are vague rumors that you have become a millionaire, but I don't want you to confirm them just yet."
Maynard had not once thought of his old sweetheart, the Flora Bell. This new love had driven everything else out of his head as well as his heart, and as it was near midnight he judged it best, as Mrs. Rushton had said, not to tell too much at once. The mine and the good fortune it had brought were things that would keep until after to-morrow.
It was a very quiet wedding at which the post chaplain officiated the next day, but a very happy one. There were no bridesmaids; there were no white favors, and no bells were rung. But the two most interested missed nothing in the festivities of the occasion. The bride cried a little, without knowing that this was the orthodox custom, but her tears were tears of joy. The groom was as composed "as though he was used to being married every day in the year," Mrs. Rushton said, and he made his responses in tones that might have been heard outside the building.
There was no wedding journey just yet.
"We will put that off until next month, when we start for California," Maynard had said, and his bride acquiesced in the arrangement most cheerfully. It was hard, at the end of the week, for Maynard to say good-bye to his wife, on account of the Flora Bell, but by that time another party of capitalists were making inquiries about the mine, and as they had plenty of money, which they seemed anxious to invest, he judged it best to go with them when they went up to look at his property. No expert accompanied this party, and it was perhaps due to this fact that they were able to make up their minds as to whether they wished to buy the Flora Bell, and what price they were willing to give.
Jim had his mind set upon large figures -- a hundred thousand apiece for himself and his partner -- but Maynard, who cared more just then about getting back to California with his bride than about waiting to realize an immense fortune, persuaded him to moderate his ideas, and finally eighty thousand dollars was named as the lowest figure at which the Flora Bell could be bought.
"That gives us forty thousand apiece -- as much as we need to use just now" -- Maynard said; "and there's nothing to hinder our finding another mine one of these days."
"Yes, but I've noticed that lightnin' don't often strike twice in the same place. Howsumever, if you're suited I am; an' the same day you start for Californy will see me on my way home to look up the old folks an' little Minny."
Late in August, Jim, as good as his word, stood on the depot platform at Ogden and waived his adieus to Maynard and his dark-eyed bride, as the westward bound train bore them swiftly away, then took out the ticket he had bought that day and whispered to himself:
"To-morrow I'll be goin' home-yes, home! If Hetty was only there!"
Mrs Alonzo G. Paddock was born Cornelia Hill in 1839, the 9th child of William and Anna Elting Hill, in Shokan, Ulster Co., New York. On October 25, 1869 she married Alonzo Gates Paddock in Plattesville, Wisconsin. They then moved to Omaha, Nebraska where their first child, Lawrence, was born in May of 1870. By 1873 they had moved to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory and had 3 more children, all born in Utah: William (Willie) H. (1873), Grace M. (1875), and Gates Elling (1877). The 1880 Federal Census for Utah shows her as "Cornelia," living in Salt Lake City, with her "miner" husband, Alonzo G. Paddock, and their four children.
In Utah Cornelia became a vocal opponent of polygamy -- a moral stance she maintained until her death on Jan. 26, 1898. She is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information on Mrs. Paddock, see Richard S. Van Wagoner's "Sarah M. Pratt: The Shaping of An Apostate" (in Dialogue, Vol. 19, No. 2). See also Jeffrey Nichols' "Prostitution, Polygamy, and Power Salt Lake City 1847-1918", University of Illinois Press, available on-line at http://www.press.uillinois.edu/epub/books/nichols/toc.html
Mrs. Paddock wrote numerous newspaper articles and three fictional books: In the Toils, or, Martyrs of the Latter Days (1879), The Fate of Madame LaTour, Tale of Great Salt Lake (1881), and Saved at Last From Among the Mormons (1881).
The story in Saved at Last From Among the Mormons is told almost entirely from the female perspective of domestic life in Utah Territory before the coming of the railroad. The story's male characters and the world they inhabit are generally two dimensional and unconvincing. These stock characters do not reveal very much about what life in early Utah was really like, but the modern reader can still catch authentic scraps of womanly concerns in the dialogue Paddock wrote for her female participants in this novelette. For example, at one point in the tale, two of the lesser wives of a polygamous Mormon elder fret over how their morality might be viewed by Gentile women -- who naturally would not recognize their relationships with the man as being actual marriages.
All in all, Saved at Last From Among the Mormons is steeped in the conventions of escapist "light reading" of the Victorian era. The female characters long to flee the restrictions of their loveless lives, but the "Mormon" element of their situation is not particularly well developed. The same story might easily be re-written as an escape from the gypsies, or from the Indians, or from any sort of kidnappers. The 1880s readers of the plot did not need to know very much about Utah and the Mormons, in order to identify with the fantasies Paddock offered. Still, the story was written in Utah, just before polygamy came under the most fervent condemnation of the rest of the nation, and it preserves the flavor of that singular period. That fact alone gives Saved at Last From Among the Mormons a certain degree of historical relevance.
At this late date there is probably no way of ascertaining how wide a readership Mr. Paddock's adventures enjoyed in Utah. Such literature would not have been sold openly in the village and city shops of "Deseret" in those days. However, it is likely that a few surreptitious copies did circulate among Mormon women and those frontier ladies who read the tales all the way through to the final page, must have been at once scandalized and intrigued by their plots. Even in the 21st century women in the American West are still escaping from polygamous households, but few authors now seem interested in fictionalizing the stories of their precarious lives "under the banner of heaven."