Part 5 out of 7
school-teacher got hold of that--he's an awful smarty--and he says, 'Oh,
that's from Shakespeare,' or some such book, just like that--and I just
give him one look, and I says, 'Mr. Lyman Hickenlooper, if you'll take
notice,' I says, 'you'll see those words was composed by the angel
Moroni over two thousand years ago and revealed to Joseph Smith in the
sacred light of the Urim and Thummim,' I says, and the plague-oned
smarty snickered right in my face--and say, now, what did you and your
second git a separation for?"
He was called back by the stopping of her voice, but she had to repeat
her question before he understood it. The Devil tempted him in that
moment. He was on the point of answering, "Because she talked too
much," but instead he climbed out of the wagon to walk. He walked most
of the three hundred miles in the next ten days. Nights and mornings he
falsely pretended to be deaf.
He found himself in this long walk full of a pained discouragement; not
questioning or doubting, for he had been too well trained ever to do
either. But he was disturbed by a feeling of bafflement, as might be a
ground-mole whose burrow was continually destroyed by an enemy it could
not see. This feeling had begun in Salt Lake City, for there he had seen
that the house of Israel was no longer unspotted of the world. Since the
army with its camp-followers had come there was drunkenness and vice,
the streets resounded with strange oaths, and the midnight murder was
common. Even Brigham seemed to have become a gainsayer in behalf of
Mammon, and the people, quick to follow his lead, were indulging in
ungodly trade with Gentiles; even with the army that had come to invade
them. And more and more the Gentiles were coming in. He heard strange
tales of the new facilities afforded them. There was actually a system
of wagon-trains regularly hauling freight from the Missouri to the
Pacific; there was a stage-route bringing passengers and mail from
Babylon; even Horace Greeley had been publicly entertained in
Zion,--accorded honour in the Lord's stronghold. There was talk, too, of
a pony-express, to bring them mail from the Missouri in six days; and a
few visionaries were prophesying that a railroad would one day come by
them. The desert was being peopled all about them, and neighbours were
forcing a way up to their mountain retreat.
It seemed they were never to weld into one vast chain the broken links
of the fated house of Abraham; never to be free from Gentile
contamination. He groaned in spirit as he went--walking well ahead of
But he had taken up a new cross and he had his reward. The first night
after they reached home he took the little Bible from its hiding-place
and opened it with trembling hands. The stain was there, red in the
candle-light. But the cries no longer rang in his ears as on that other
night when he had been sinful before the page. And he was glad, knowing
that the self within him had again been put down.
Then came strange news from the East--news of a great civil war. The
troops of the enemy at Camp Floyd hurried east to battle, and even the
name of that camp was changed, for the Gentile Secretary of War, said
gossip from Salt Lake City, after doing his utmost to cripple his
country by sending to far-off Utah the flower of its army, had now
himself become not only a rebel but a traitor.
Even Johnston, who had commanded the invading army, denouncing the
Saints as rebels, had put off his blue uniform for a gray and was
himself a rebel.
When the news came that South Carolina had actually flung the palmetto
flag to the breeze and fired the first gun, he was inclined to exult.
For plainly it was the Lord's work. There was His revelation given to
Joseph Smith almost thirty years before: "Verily, thus saith the Lord
concerning the wars that will come to pass, beginning at the rebellion
of South Carolina." And ten years later the Lord had revealed to Joseph
further concerning this prophecy that this war would be "previous to the
coming of the Son of Man." Assuredly, they were now near the time when
other Prophets of the Church had said He would come--the year 1870. He
thrilled to be so near the actual moving of the hand of God, and
something of the old spirit revived within him.
From Salt Lake City came news of the early fighting and of meetings for
public rejoicing held in the tabernacle, with prophecies that the
Gentile nation would now be rent asunder in punishment for its rejection
of the divine message of the Book of Mormon and its persecution of the
prophets of God. In one of these meetings of public thanksgiving Brigham
had said from the tabernacle pulpit: "What is the strength of this man
Lincoln? It is like a rope of sand. He is as weak as water,--an
ignorant, Godless shyster from the backwoods of Illinois. I feel
disgraced in having been born under a government that has so little
power for truth and right. And now it will be broken in pieces like a
These public rejoicings, however, brought a further trial upon the
Saints. The Third California Infantry and a part of the Second Cavalry
were now ordered to Utah. The commander of this force was one Connor,
an officer of whom extraordinary reports were brought south. It was said
that he had issued an order directing commanders of posts, camps, and
detachments to arrest and imprison "until they took the oath of
allegiance, all persons who from this date shall be guilty of uttering
treasonable sentiments against the government of the United States."
Even liberty of opinion, it appeared, was thus to be strangled in these
last days before the Lord came.
Further, this ill-tempered Gentile, instead of keeping decently remote
from Salt Lake City, as General Johnston had done, had marched his
troops into the very stronghold of Zion, despite all threats of armed
opposition, and in the face of a specific offer from one Prophet, Seer,
and Revelator to wager him a large sum of money that his forces would
never cross the River Jordan. To this fair offer, so reports ran, the
Gentile officer had replied that he would cross the Jordan if hell
yawned below it; that he had thereupon viciously pulled the ends of a
grizzled, gray moustache and proceeded to behave very much as an officer
would be expected to behave who was commonly known as "old Pat Connor."
Knowing that the forces of the Saints outnumbered his own, and that he
was, in his own phrase, "six hundred miles of sand from reinforcements,"
he had halted his command two miles from the city, formed his column
with an advance-guard of cavalry and a light battery, the infantry and
the commissary-wagons coming next, and in this order, with bayonets
fixed, cannon shotted, and two bands playing, had marched brazenly in
the face of the Mormon authorities and through the silent crowds of
Saints to Emigrant Square. Here, in front of the governor's residence,
where flew the only American flag to be seen in the whole great city, he
had, with entire lack of dignity, led his men in three cheers for the
country, the flag, and the Gentile governor.
After this offensive demonstration, he had perpetrated the supreme
indignity by going into camp on a bench at the base of Wasatch Mountain,
in plain sight of the city, there in the light of day training his guns
upon it, and leaving a certain twelve-pound howitzer ranged precisely
upon the residence of the Lion of the Lord.
Little by little these galling reports revived the military spirit in an
Elder far to the south, who had thought that all passion was burned out
of him. But this man chanced to open a certain Bible one night to a page
with a wash of blood across it. From this page there seemed to come such
cries and screams of fear in the high voices of women and children, such
sounds of blows on flesh, and the warm, salt smell of blood, that he
shut the book and hastily began to pray. He actually prayed for the
preservation of that ancient first enemy of his Church, the government
of the United States. Individually and collectively, as a nation, as
States, and as people, he forgave them and prayed the Lord to hold them
Then he knew that an astounding miracle of grace had been wrought within
him. For this prayer for the hostile government was thus far his
greatest spiritual triumph.
_Just Before the End of the World_
The years of the Civil War passed by, and the prayer of Joel Rae was
answered. But the time was now rapidly approaching when the Son of Man
was to come in person to judge Israel and begin his reign of a thousand
years on the purified earth. The Twelve, confirmed by Brigham, had long
held that this day of wrath would not be deferred past 1870. In the mind
of Joel Rae the time had thus been authoritatively fixed. The date had
been further confirmed by the fulfilment of Joseph's prophecy of war.
The great event was now to be prepared for and met in all readiness.
It was at this time that he betrayed in the pulpit a leaning toward
views that many believed to be heterodox. "A likely man is a likely
man," he preached, "and a good man is a good man--whether in this Church
or out of it." He also went so far as to intimate that being in the
Church would not of itself suffice to the attainment of glory; that
there were, to put it bluntly, all kinds of fish in the gospel net;
sinners not a few in Zion who would have to be forgiven their misdeeds
seventy times seven on that fateful day drawing near.
Bishop Wright, who followed him on this Sabbath, was bold to speak to
"Me and my brethren," he insisted, "have received our endowments, keys,
and blessings--all the tokens and signs that can be given to man for his
entrance through the celestial gate. If you have had these in the house
of the Lord, when you depart this life you will be able to walk back to
the presence of the Father, passing the angels that stand as sentinels;
because why?--because you can give them the tokens, signs, and grips
pertaining to the holy priesthood and gain your eternal exaltation in
spite of earth and hell. But how about the likely and good man outside
this Church who has rejected the message of the Book of Mormon and ain't
got these signs and passwords? If he's going to be let in, too, why have
doorkeepers, and what's the use of the whole business? Why in time did
the Lord go to all this trouble, any way, if Brother Rae is right? Why
was Joseph Smith visited by an angel clad in robes of light, who told
him where the golden plates had been hid up by the Lord, and the Urim
and Thummim, and who laid hands on him and give him the Holy Ghost? And
after all that trouble He's took, do you think He's going to let
everybody in? Not much, Mary Ann! The likely men may come the roots on
some of our soft-hearted Elders, but they won't fool the Lord's Christ
and His angel gatekeepers."
Elder Beil Wardle, on the other hand, showed a tendency to side with
the liberalism of Brother Rae. He cited the fact that not all
revelations were from God. Some were from perverse human spirits and
some from the very Devil himself. There was Elder Sidney Roberts, who
had once suffered a revelation that a certain brother must give him a
suit of finest broadcloth and a gold watch, the best to be had; and
another revelation directing him to salute all the younger sisters,
married or single, with a kiss of holiness. Urged to confess that these
revelations were from the Devil, he had refused, and so had been cut off
and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan in the flesh.
"And you can't always be sure of the Holy Ghost, either," he continued.
"When the Lord pours out the Holy Ghost on an individual, he will have
spasms, and you would think he was going to have fits; but it don't make
him get up and go pay his debts--not by a long shot. Of course I don't
feel to mention any names, but what can you expect, anyway? A flock of a
thousand sheep has got to be mighty clean if some of them ain't smutty.
This is a large flock of sheep that has come up into this valley of the
mountains, and some of them have got tag-locks hanging about them. But
it don't seem to pester the Lord any. He sifted us good in Missouri, and
He put us into another sieve at Nauvoo, and I reckon His sieve will be
brought along with Him on the day of judgment. And if there are some
lost sheep in the fold of Zion, maybe, on the other hand, there's some
outside the fold that will be worth saving; that will be broke off from
the wild olive-tree and grafted on to the tame olive-tree to partake of
its sap and fatness."
Joel Rae would have taken more comfort in this championship of his views
if it were not for his suspicion that Elder Wardle sometimes spoke in a
tone of levity, and had indeed more than once been reckoned as a
doubter. It was even related of him that a perverted sense of humour had
once inspired him to deliver an irreverent and wholly immaterial address
in pure Choctaw at a service where many others of the faithful had been
moved to speak in tongues; and that an earnest sister, believing the
Holy Ghost to be strong upon her, had thereupon arisen and interpreted
his speech to be the Lord's description of the glories of their new
temple, which it had not been at all. Such a man might have a good
heart, as he knew Elder Wardle to have; but he must be an inferior guide
to the Father's presence. He was even less inclined to trust him when
Wardle announced confidentially at the close of the meeting that day,
"Brother Wright talks a good deal jest to hear his head roar. You'd
think he'd been the midwife at the borning of the world, and helped to
nurse it and bring it up--he's that knowing about it. My opinion is he
don't know twice across or straight up about the Lord's secret doings!"
Yet if he had sought to render a little elastic the rigid teachings of
the priesthood, he had done so innocently. The foundations of his faith
were unshaken; for him the rock upon which his Church was built had
never been more stable. As to doubting its firmness, he would as soon
have blasphemed the Holy Ghost or disputed the authority of Brigham,
with whom was the sacred deposit of doctrine and all temporal and
So he sighed often for those Gentile sheep on whom the wrath of God was
so soon to fall. Even with the utmost stretching of the divine mercy,
the greater part of them must perish; and for the lost souls of these he
grieved much and prayed each day.
It was more than ten years since that day in the Meadows, and the blight
there put upon his person had waxed with each year. His hair showed now
but the faintest sprinkle of black, his shoulders were bent and rounded
as if bearing invisible burdens, and his face had the look of drooping
in grief and despair, as one who was made constantly to look upon all
the suffering of all the world. Yet he wore always, except when alone, a
not unpleasant little effort of a smile, as if he would conceal his
pain. But this deceived few. The women of the settlement had come to
call him "the little man of sorrows." Even his wife, Lorena, had divined
that his mind was not one with hers; that, somehow, there was a gulf
between them which her best-meant cheerfulness could not span. In a
measure she had ceased to try, doing little more than to sing, when he
was near, some hymn which she considered suitable to his condition. One
favourite at such times began:--
"Lord, we are vile, conceived in sin,
And born unholy and unclean;
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
Corrupts his race and taints us all.
"Soon as we draw our infant breath,
The seeds of sin grow up for death;
The law demands a perfect heart,
But we're defiled in every part."
She would sing many verses of this with appealing unction, so long as he
was near; yet when he came upon her unawares he might hear her voicing
some cheerful, secular ballad, like--
"As I went down to Coffey's mills
Some pleasure for to see,
I fell in love with a railroad-er,
He fell in love with me."
The stolid Christina listened entranced to all of Lorena's songs,
charmed by the melody not less than she was awed by her sister-wife's
superior gifts of language. The husband, too, listened not without
resignation, reflecting that, when Lorena did not sing, she talked. For
the unspeaking Christina he had learned to feel an admiration that
bordered upon reverence, finding in her silence something spiritually
great. Yet of the many-worded Lorena he was never heard to complain
through all the years. The nearest he approached to it was on a day
when Elder Beil Wardle had sought to condole with him on the affliction
of her ready speech.
"That woman of yours," said this observant friend, "sure takes large
pie-bites out of any little talk that happens to get going."
"She _does_ have the gift of continuance," her husband had admitted. But
he had added, hastily, "Though her heart is perfect with the Lord."
The fact that she was sealed to him for eternity, and that she believed
she would constitute one of his claims to exaltation in the celestial
world, were often matters of pious speculation with him. He wondered if
he had done right by her. She deserved a husband who would be saved into
the kingdom, while he who had married her was irrevocably lost.
There had been a time when he read with freshened hope the promises of
forgiveness in that strange New Testament. Once he had even believed
that these might save him; that he was again numbered with the elect.
But when this belief had grown firm, so that he could seem to rest his
weight upon it, he felt it fall away to nothing under him, and the truth
he had divined that day in the desert was again bared before him. He saw
that how many times soever God might forgive the sins of a man, it would
avail that man nothing unless he could forgive himself. He knew at last
that in his own soul was fixed a gauge of right, unbending and
implacable when wrong had been done, waiting to be reckoned with at the
very last even though the great God should condone his sin. It seemed to
him that, however surely his endowments took him through the gates of
the Kingdom, with whatsoever power they raised him to dominion; even
though he came into the Father's presence and sat a throne of his own by
the side of Joseph and Brigham, that there would still ring in his ears
the cries of those who had been murdered at the priesthood's command;
that there would leap before his eyes fountains of blood from the
breasts of living women who knelt and clung to the knees of their
slayers--to the knees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints; that he would see two spots of white in the dim light of a
morning where the two little girls lay who had been sent for water; that
he would see the two boys taken out to the desert, one to die at once,
the other to wander to a slower death; that before his sinful eyes would
come the dying face of the woman who had loved him and lost her soul
rather than betray him. He knew that, even in celestial realms exalted
beyond the highest visions of their priesthood, his soul would still
burn in this fire that he could not extinguish within his own breast. He
knew that he carried hell as an inseparable part of himself, and that
the forgiveness of no other power could avail him. He no longer feared
God, but himself alone.
From this fire of his own building it seemed to him that he could obtain
surcease only by reducing the self within him. As surely as he let it
feel a want, all the torture came back upon him. When his pride lifted
up its head, when he desired any satisfaction for himself, when he was
tempted for a moment to lay down his cross, the cries came back, the sea
of blood surged before him, and close behind came the shapes that
crawled or moved furtively, ever about to spring in front and turn upon
him. Small wonder, then, that his shoulders bent beneath unseen burdens,
that his air was of one who suffered for all the world, and that they
called him "the little man of sorrows."
With this knowledge he learned to permit himself only one great love, a
love for the child Prudence. He was sure that no punishment could come
through that. It was his day-star and his life, the one pleasure that
brought no suffering with it. She was a child of fourteen now, a
half-wild, firm-fleshed, glowing creature of the out-of-doors, who had
lost with her baby softness all her resemblance to her mother. Her hair
and eyes had darkened as she grew, and she was to be a larger woman,
graver, deeper, more reserved; perhaps better calculated for the Kingdom
by reason of a more reflective mind. He adored her, and was awed by her
even when he taught her the truths of revealed religion. He closed his
eyes at night upon a never-ending prayer for her soul; and opened them
each day to a love of her that grew insidiously to enthrall him while he
was all unconscious of its power--even while he knew with an awful
certainty that he must have no treasure of his own which he could not
willingly relinquish at the first call. She, in turn, loved and
confided in her father, the shy, bent, shrunken little man with the
"He always smiles as if he'd hurt himself and didn't want to show it
before company," were the words in which she announced one of her early
discoveries about him. But she liked and ruled him, and came to him for
comfort when she was hurt or when Lorena scolded. For the third wife did
not hesitate to characterise the child as "ready-made sin," and to
declare that it took all her spare time, "and a lot that ain't spare,"
to neat up the house after her. "And her paw--though Lord knows who her
maw was--a-dressing her to beat the cars; while he ain't never made over
me since the blessed day I married him--not that _much_! But, thank
heavens, it can't last very long, with the Son of Man already started,
like you might say."
_The Wild Ram of the Mountains Offers to Become a Saviour on Mount Zion_
In the valley of which Amalon was the centre, they made ready for the
end of the world. It is true that in the north, as the appointed year
drew nigh, an opinion had begun to prevail that the Son of Man might
defer his coming; and presently it became known that Brigham himself was
doubtful about the year 1870, and was inspiring others to doubt. But in
Amalon they were untainted by this heresy, choosing to rely upon what
Brigham had said in moments more inspired.
He had taught that Joseph was to be the first person resurrected; that
after his frame had been knit together and clothed with immortal flesh
he would resurrect those who had died in the faith, according to their
rank in the priesthood; then all his wives and children. Resurrected
Elders, having had the keys of the resurrection conferred upon them by
Joseph, would in turn call from the grave their own households; and when
the last of the faithful had come forth, another great work would be
performed; the Gentiles would then be resurrected to act as servants
and slaves to the Saints. In his lighter moments Brigham had been wont
to name a couple of Presidents of the United States who would then act
as his valets.
Some doubt had been expressed that the earth's surface could contain the
resurrected host, but Apostle Orson Pratt had removed this. He cited the
prophet who had foretold that the hills should be laid low, the valleys
exalted, and the crooked places made straight. With the earth thus free
of mountains and waste places, he had demonstrated that there would be
an acre and a quarter of ground for each Saint that had ever lived from
the morning of creation to the day of doom. And, lest some carping
mathematician should dispute his figures, he had declared that if, by
any miscalculation, the earth's surface should not suffice for the
Saints and their Gentile slaves, the Lord "would build a gallery around
the earth." Thus had confusion been brought to the last quibbler in
It was this earlier teaching that the faithful of Amalon clung to,
perhaps not a little by reason that immediately over them was a
spiritual guide who had been trained from infancy to know that salvation
lay in belief,--never in doubt. For a sign of the end they believed that
on the night before the day of it there would be no darkness. This would
be as it had been before the birth of the Saviour, as told in the Book
of Mormon: "At the going down of the sun there was no darkness, and the
people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the
night came; and there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as
light as if it were midday."
They talked of little but this matter in that small pocket of the
intermountain commonwealth, in Sabbath meetings and around the hearths
at night. The Wild Ram of the Mountains thought all proselyting should
cease in view of the approaching end; that the Elders on mission should
withdraw from the vineyard, shake the dust from their feet, and seal up
the rebellious Gentiles to damnation. To this Elder Beil Wardle had
replied, somewhat testily:
"Well, now, since these valleys of Ephraim have got a little fattened a
whole lot of us have got the sweeny, and our skins are growing too tight
on our flesh." He had been unable to comprehend that the Gentiles were a
rejected lot, the lost sheep of the house of Israel. On this occasion it
had required all the tact of Elder Rae to soothe the two good men into
an amiable discussion of the time when Sidney Rigdon went to the third
heaven and talked face to face with God. They had agreed in the end,
however, that they were both of the royal seed of Abraham, and were on
the grand turnpike to exaltation.
To these discussions and sermons the child, Prudence, listened with
intense interest, looking forward to the last day as an occasion
productive of excitement even superior to that of her trips to Salt Lake
City, where her father went to attend the October conference, and where
she was taken to the theatre.
Of any world outside the valley she knew but little. Somewhere, far over
to the east, was a handful of lost souls for whom she sometimes indulged
in a sort of luxurious pity. But their loss, after all, was a part of
the divine plan, and they would have the privilege of serving the
glorified Saints, even though they were denied Godhood. She
half-believed that even this mission of service was almost more of glory
than they merited; for, in the phrasing of Bishop Wright, they "made a
hell all the time and raised devils to keep it going." They had slain
the Prophets of the Lord and hunted his people, and the best of them
were lucky, indeed, to escape the fire that burns unceasingly; a fire
hotter than any made by beech or hickory. Still she sometimes wondered
if there were girls among them like her; and she had visions of herself
as an angel of light, going down to them with the precious message of
the Book of Mormon, and bringing them into the fold.
One day in this spring when she was fourteen, the good Bishop Wright, on
his way down from Box Canon with a load of wood, saw her striding up the
road ahead of him. Something caught his eye, either in her step which
had a child's careless freedom, or in the lines of her swinging figure
that told of coming womanhood, or in the flashing, laughing appeal of
her dark eyes where for the moment both woman and child looked out. He
set the brake on his wagon and waited for her to pass. She came by with
a smile and a word of greeting, to which his rapt attention prevented
any reply except a slight nod. When she had passed, he turned and looked
after her until she had gone around the little hill on the road that
entered the canon.
After the early evening meal that day, along the many-roomed house of
this good man, from door to door there ran the words, starting from her
who had last been sealed to him:
"He's making himself all proud!"
They knew what it meant, and wondered whom.
A little later the Bishop set out, his face clean-shaven to the ruffle
of white whisker that ran under his chin from ear to ear, his scant hair
smooth and shining with grease from the largest bear ever trapped in the
Pine Mountains, and his tall form arrayed in his best suit of homespun.
As he went he trolled an ancient lay of love, and youth was in his step.
For there had come all day upon this Prince of Israel those subtle
essences distilled by spring to provoke the mating urge. At the Rae
house he found only Christina.
"Where's Brother Joel, Sister Rae?"
"Himself has gone out there," Christina had answered with a wave of her
hand, and using the term of respect which she always applied to her
He went around the house, out past the stable and corrals and across the
irrigating ditch to where he saw Joel Rae leaning on the rail fence
about the peach orchard. Far down between two rows of the blossoming
trees he could see the girl reaching up to break off a pink-sprayed
bough. He quickened his pace and was soon at the fence.
The good man had been full of his message a moment before, but now he
stammered and hesitated because of something cold in the other's eye as
it seemed to note the unwonted elegance of his attire. He took a quick
breath and went on.
"You see the Lord has moved me to add another star to my crown."
"I see; and you have come to get me to seal you?"
"Well, of course I hadn't thought of it so soon, but if you want to do
"As soon as you like, Bishop,--the sooner the better if you are to save
the soul of another woman against the day of desolation. Where is she?"
and he turned to go back to the house. But the Bishop still paused,
looking toward the orchard.
"Well, the fact is, Brother Joel, you see the Lord has made me feel to
have Prudence for another star in my crown of glory--your daughter
Prudence," he repeated as the other gazed at him with a sudden change of
"My daughter Prudence--little Prue--that child--that _baby_?"
"_Baby_?--she's fourteen; she was telling my daughter Mattie so jest the
other day, and the Legislatur has made the marrying age twelve for
girls and fifteen for boys, so she's two years overtime already. Of
course, I ain't fifteen, but I'm safer for her than some young cub."
"But Bishop--you don't consider--"
"Oh, of course, I know there's been private talk about her; nobody knows
who her mother was, and they say whoever she was you was never married
to her, so she couldn't have been born right, but I ain't bigoted like
some I could name, and I stand ready to be her Saviour on Mount Zion."
He waited with something of noble concession in his mien.
The other seemed only now to have fully sensed the proposal, and, with
real terror in his face, he began to urge the Bishop toward the house,
after looking anxiously back to where the child still lingered with the
mist of pink blossoms against the leafless boughs above her.
"Come, Brother Seth--come, I beg of you--we'll talk of it--but it can't
be, indeed it can't!"
"Let's ask _her_," suggested the Bishop, disinclined to move.
"Don't, _don't_ ask her!" He seized the other by the arm.
"Come, I'll explain; don't ask her now, at any rate--I beg of you as a
gentleman--as a gentleman, for you are a gentleman."
The Bishop turned somewhat impatiently, then remarked with a dignified
"Oh, I can be a gentleman whenever it's _necessary_!"
They went across the fields toward the house, and the Bishop spoke
"There ain't any need to get into your high-heeled boots, Brother Rae,
jest because I was aiming to save her to a crown of glory,--a girl
that's thought to have been born on the wrong side of the blanket!"
They stopped by the first corral, and Joel Rae talked. He talked rapidly
and with power, saying many things to make it plain that he was
determined not to look upon the Wild Ram of the Mountains as an
acceptable son-in-law. His manner was excited and distraught, terrified
and indignant,--a manner hardly justified by the circumstances, about
which there was nothing extraordinary, nothing not pleasing to God and
in conformity to His revealed word. Bishop Wright indeed was puzzled to
account for the heat of his manner, and in recounting the interview
later to Elder Wardle, he threw out an intimation about strong drink.
"To tell you the truth," he said, "I suspicion he'd jest been putting a
new faucet in the cider barrel."
When Prudence came in from the blossoming peach-trees that night her
father called her to him to sit on his lap in the dusk while the
crickets sang, and grow sleepy as had been her baby habit.
"What did Bishop Wright want?" she asked, after her head was pillowed on
his arm. Relieved that it was over, now even a little amused, he told
"He wanted to take my little girl away, to marry her."
She was silent for a moment, and then:
"Wouldn't that be fine, and we could build each other up in the
He held her tighter.
"Surely, child, you couldn't marry him?"
"But of course I could! Isn't he tried in the Kingdom, so he is sure to
have all those thrones and dominions and power?"
"But child, child! That old man with all his wives--"
"But they say old men are safer than young men. Young men are not tried
in the Kingdom. I shouldn't like a young husband anyway--they always
want to play rough games, and pull your hair, and take things away from
you, and get in the way."
"But, baby,--don't, _don't_--"
"Why, you silly father, your voice sounds as if you were almost
crying--please don't hold me so tight--and some one must save me before
the Son of Man comes to judge the quick and the dead; you know a woman
can't be saved alone. I think Bishop Wright would make a fine husband,
and I should have Mattie Wright to play with every day."
"And you would leave me?"
"Why, that's so, Daddy! I never thought--of course I can't leave my
little sorry father--not yet. I forgot that. I couldn't leave you. Now
tell me about my mother again."
He told her the story she already knew so well--how beautiful her mother
was, the look of her hair and eyes, her slenderness, the music of her
voice, and the gladness of her laugh.
"And won't she be glad to see us again. And she will come before
Christina and Lorena, because she was your first wife, wasn't she?"
He was awake all night in a fever of doubt and rebellion. By the light
of the candle, he read in the book of Mormon passages that had often
puzzled but never troubled him until now when they were brought home to
him; such as, "And now it came to pass that the people Nephi under the
reign of the second king began to grow hard in their hearts, and
indulged themselves somewhat in wicked practises, like unto David of
old, desiring many wives--"
Again he read, "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives, which
thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord."
Still again, "For there shall not be any man among you have save it
shall be one wife."
Then he turned to the revelation on celestial marriage given years after
these words were written, and in the first paragraph read:
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch
as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the
Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses,
David, and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine
of their having many wives--"
He turned from one to the other; from the many explicit admonitions and
commands against polygamy, the denunciations of the patriarchs for their
indulgence in the practise, to this last passage contradicting the
others, and vexed himself with wonder. In the Book of Mormon, David was
said to be wicked for doing this thing. Now in the revelation to Joseph
he read, "David's wives were given unto him of me, by the hand of
Nathan, my servant."
He recalled old tales that were told in Nauvoo by wicked apostates and
the basest of Gentile scandalmongers; how that Joseph in the day of his
great power had suffered the purity of his first faith to become
tainted; how his wife, Emma, had upbraided him so harshly for his sins
that he, fearing disgrace, had put out this revelation as the word of
God to silence her. He remembered that these gossips had said the
revelation itself proved that Joseph had already done, before he
received it, that which it commanded him to do, citing the clause, "And
let my handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto
my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me."
They had gossiped further, that still fearing her rebellion, he had
worded a threat for her in the next clause, "And I command my handmaid,
Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph and to none else.
But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed,
saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she
abide not in my law ... and again verily I say, let mine handmaid
forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses and then shall she be forgiven
This was the calumny the Gentile gossips back in Nauvoo would have had
the world believe,--that this great doctrine of the Church had been
given to silence the enraged wife of a man detected in sin.
But in the midst of his questionings he seemed to see a truth,--that
another snare had been set for him by the Devil, and that this time it
had caught his feet. He, who knew that he must have nothing for himself,
had all unconsciously so set his heart upon this child of her mother
that he could not give her up. And now so fixed and so great was his
love that he could not turn back. He knew he was lost. To cling to her
would be to question, doubt, and to lose his faith. To give her up would
But at least for a little while he could put it off.
_How the World Did not Come to an End_
In doubt and fear, the phantom of a dreadful certainty creeping always
closer, the final years went by. When the world came to be in its very
last days, when the little bent man was drooping lower than ever, and
Prudence was seventeen, there came another Prince of Israel to save her
into the Kingdom while there was yet a time of grace. On this occasion
the suitor was no less a personage than Bishop Warren Snow, a holy man
and puissant, upon whom the blessed Gods had abundantly manifested their
favour. In wives and children, in flocks and herds, he was rich; while,
as to spiritual worth, had not that early church poet styled him the
Entablature of Truth?
But Prudence Rae, once so willing to be saved by the excellent Wild Ram
of the Mountains, had fled in laughing confusion from this later
benefactor, when he had made plain one day the service he sought to do
her soul. A moment later he had stood before her father in all his years
of patriarchal dignity, hale, ruddy, and vast of girth.
"She's a woman now, Brother Snow,--free to choose for herself," the
father had replied to his first expostulations.
"Counsel her, Brother Rae." In the mind of the Bishop, "counsel,"
properly applied, was a thing not long to be resisted.
"She would treat my counsel as shortly as she treated your proposal,
The Entablature of Truth glanced out of the open door to where Tom
Potwin could be seen, hastening importantly upon his endless and
mysterious errands, starting off abruptly a little way, stopping
suddenly, with one hand raised to his head, as if at that instant
remembering a forgotten detail, and then turning with new impetus to
walk swiftly in the opposite direction.
"There ain't any one else after her, is there, Brother Rae,--any of
these young boys?"
"No, Bishop--no one."
"Well, if there is, you let me know. I'll be back again, Brother Rae.
Meantime, counsel her--counsel her with authority."
The Entablature of Truth had departed with certain little sidewise
noddings of his head that seemed to indicate an unalterable purpose.
The girl came to her father, blushing and still laughing confusedly,
when the rejected one had mounted his horse and ridden away.
"Oh, Daddy, how funny!--to think of marrying him!"
He looked at her anxiously. "But you wanted to marry Bishop Wright--at
She laughed again. "How long ago--years ago--I must have been a baby."
"You were old enough to point out that he would save you in the
"I remember; I could see myself sitting by him on a throne, with the
Saints all around us on other thrones, and the Gentiles kneeling to
serve us. We were in a big palace that had a hundred closets in it, and
in every closet there hung a silk dress for me--a hundred silk dresses,
each a different colour, waiting for me to wear them."
"But have you thought sufficiently--now? The time is short. Bishop Snow
could save you."
"Yes--but he would kiss me--he wanted to just now." She put both hands
over her mouth, with a mocking little grimace that the Entablature of
Truth would not have liked to see.
"He would be certain to exalt you."
She took the hands away long enough to say, "He would be certain to kiss
"You may be lost."
And so it had ended between them. Ever since a memorable visit to Salt
Lake City, where she had gone to the theatre, she had cherished some
entirely novel ideas concerning matrimony. In that fairyland of delights
she had beheld the lover strangely wooing but one mistress, the husband
strangely cherishing but one wife. There had been no talk of "the
Kingdom," and no home portrayed where there were many wives. That lover,
swearing to cherish but one woman for ever, had thrilled her to new
conceptions of her own womanhood, had seemed to meet some need of her
own heart that she had not until then been conscious of. Ever after, she
had cherished this ideal of the stage, and refused to consider the
other. Yet she had told her father nothing of this, for with her
womanhood had come a new reserve--truths half-divined and others clearly
perceived--which she could not tell any one.
He, in turn, now kept secret from her the delight he felt at her
refusal. He had tried conscientiously to persuade her into the path of
salvation, when his every word was a blade to cut at his heart. Nor was
he happy when she refused so definitely the saving hand extended to her.
To know she was to come short of her glory in the after-time was anguish
to him; and mingling with that anguish, inflaming and aggravating it,
were his own heretical doubts that would not be gone.
In a sheer desperation of bewilderment he longed for the end, longed to
know certainly his own fate and hers--to have them irrevocably fixed--so
that he might no more be torn among many minds, but could begin to pay
his own penalties in plain suffering, uncomplicated by this torturing
necessity to choose between two courses of action.
And the time was, happily, to be short. With the first day of 1870 he
began to wait. With prayer and fasting and vigils he waited. Now was
the day when the earth should be purified by fire, the wicked swept from
the land, and the lost tribes of Israel restored to their own. Now was
to come the Son of Man who should dwell in righteousness with men,
reigning over them on the purified earth for a thousand years.
He watched the mild winter go, with easy faith; and the early spring
come and go, with a dawning uneasiness. For the time was passing with
never the blast of a trumpet from the heavens. He began to see then that
he alone, of all Amalon, had kept his faith pure. For the others had
foolishly sown their fields, as if another crop were to be
harvested,--as if they must continue to eat bread that was earth-grown.
Even Prudence had strangely ceased to believe as he did. Something from
the outside had come, he knew not what nor how, to tarnish the fair gold
of her certainty. She had not said so, but he divined it when he
shrewdly observed that she was seeking to comfort him, to support his
own faith when day after day the Son of Man came not.
"It will surely be in another month, Daddy--perhaps next week--perhaps
to-morrow," she would say cheerfully. "And you did right not to put in
any crops. It would have been wicked to doubt."
He quickly detected her insincerity, seeing that she did not at all
believe. As the summer came and went without a sign from the heavens,
she became more positive and more constant in these assurances. As the
evening drew on, they would walk out along the unsown fields, now grown
rankly to weeds, to where the valley fell away from their feet to the
west. There they could look over line after line of hills, each a little
dimmer as it lay farther into the blue through which they saw it, from
the bold rim of the nearest shaggy-sided hill to the farthest feathery
profile all but lost in the haze. Day after day they sat together here
and waited for the sign,--for the going down of the sun upon a night
when there should be no darkness; when the light should stay until the
sun came back over the eastern verge; when the trumpet should wind
through the hills, and when the little man's perplexities, if not his
punishment, should be at an end.
And always when the dusk came she would try to cheer him to new hope for
the next night, counting the months that remained in the year, the
little time within which the great white day _must_ be. Then they would
go back through the soft light of the afterglow, he with his bent
shoulders and fallen face, shrunk and burned out, except for the eyes,
and she in the first buoyant flush of her womanhood, free and strong and
vital, a thing of warmth and colour and luring curve, restraining her
quick young step to his, as she suppressed now a world of strange new
fancies to his soberer way of thought. When they reached home again, her
words always were: "Never mind, Daddy--it must come soon--there's only
a little time left in the year."
It was on these occasions that he knew she was now the stronger, that he
was leaning on her, had, in fact, long made her his support--fearfully,
lest she be snatched away. And he knew at last that another change had
come with her years; that she no longer confided in him unreservedly, as
the little child had. He knew there were things now she could not give
him. She communed with herself, and her silences had come between them.
She looked past him at unseen forms, and listened as if for echoes that
she alone could hear, waiting and wanting, knowing not her wants--yet
driven to aloofness by them from the little bent man of sorrows, whose
whole life she had now become.
His hope lasted hardly until the year ended. Before the time was over,
there had crept into his mind a conviction that the Son of Man would not
come; that the Lord's favour had been withdrawn from Israel. He knew the
cause,--the shedding of innocent blood. They might have made war;
indeed, many of the revelations to Joseph discriminated even between
murder and that murder in which innocent blood should be shed; but the
truth was plain. They had shed innocent blood that day in the Meadows.
Now the Lord's favour was withdrawn and His coming deferred, perhaps
another thousand years. The torture of the thing came back to him with
all its early colouring, so that his days and nights were full of
anguish. He no longer dared open the Bible to that reddened page. The
cries already rang in his ears, and he knew not what worse torture might
come if he looked again upon the stain; nor could he free himself from
these by the old expedient of prayer, for he could no longer pray with
an honest heart; he was no longer unselfish, could no longer kneel in
perfect submission; he was wholly bound to this child of her mother, and
the peace of absolute and utter sacrifice could not come back to him.
Full of unrest, feeling that somehow the end, at least for him, could
not be far off, he went north to the April Conference. He took Prudence
with him, not daring to leave her behind.
She went with high hopes, alive with new sensations. Another world lay
outside her valley of the mountains, and she was going to peep over the
edge at its manifold fascinations. She had been there before as a child;
now she was going as a woman. She remembered the city, bigger and
grander than fifty Amalons, with magnificent stores filled with exotic
novelties and fearsome luxuries from the land of the wicked Gentile. She
recalled even the strange advertisements and signs, from John and Enoch
Reese, with "All necessary articles of comfort for the wayfarer, such as
flour, hard bread, butter, eggs and vinegar, buckskin pants and
whip-lashes," to the "Surgeon Dentist from Berlin and Liverpool," who
would "Examine and Extract Teeth, besides keeping constantly on hand a
supply of the Best Matches, made by himself." From William Hennefer,
announcing that, "In Connection with my Barber Shop, I have just opened
an Eating House, where Patrons will be Accommodated with every Edible
Luxury the Valley Affords," to William Nixon, who sold goods for cash,
flour, or wheat "at Jacob Hautz's house on the southeast corner of
Council-House Street and Emigration Square, opposite to Mr. Orson
She remembered the hunters and trappers in bedraggled buckskin, the
plainsmen with revolvers in their belts, wearing the blue army cloak,
the teamsters in leathern suits, and horsemen in fur coats and caps,
buffalo-hide boots with the hair outside, and rolls of blankets behind
their high Mexican saddles.
More fondly did she recall two wonderful evenings at the theatre. First
had been the thrilling "Robert Macaire," then the romantic "Pizarro," in
which Rolla had been a being of such overwhelming beauty that she had
felt he could not be of earth.
This time her visit was an endless fever of discovery in a realm of
magic and mystery, of joys she had supposed were held in reserve for
those who went behind the veil. It was a new and greater city she came
to now, where were buildings of undreamed splendour, many of them
reaching dizzily three stories above the earth. And the shops were more
fascinating than ever. She still shuddered at the wickedness of the
Gentiles, but with a certain secret respect for their habits of luxury
and their profusion of devices for adornment.
And there were strange new faces to be seen, people surely of a
different world, of a different manner from those she had known,
wearing, with apparent carelessness, garments even more strangely
elegant than those in the shop windows, and speaking in strange, soft
accents. She was told that these were Gentiles, tourists across the
continent, who had ventured from Ogden to observe the wonders of the new
Zion. The thought of the railroad was in itself thrilling. To be so near
that wonderful highway to the land of the evil-doers and to a land,
alas! of so many strange delights. She shuddered at her own wickedness,
but fell again and again, and was held in bondage by the allurements
about her. So thrilled to her soul's center was she that the pleasure of
it hurt her, and the tears would come to her eyes until she felt she
must be alone to cry for the awful joy of it.
The evening brought still more to endure, for they went to the play. It
was a play that took her out of herself, so that the crowd was lost to
her from the moment the curtain went up in obedience to a little bell
that tinkled mysteriously,--either back on the stage or in her own
heart, she was not sure which.
It was a love story; again that strangely moving love of one man for one
woman, that seemed as sweet as it was novel to her. But there was war
between the houses in the play, and the young lover had to make a way
to see his beloved, climbing a high wall into her garden, climbing to
her very balcony by a scarf she flung down to him. To the young woman
from Amalon, these lovers' voices came with a strange compulsion, so
that they played with her heart between them. She was in turn the youth,
pleading in a voice that touched every heart string from low to high;
then she was the woman, soft and timid, hesitating in moments of
delicious doubt, yet almost fearful of her power to resist,
--half-wishing to be persuaded, half-frightened lest she yield.
When the moment of surrender came, she became both of them; and, when
they parted, it was as if her heart went in twain, a half with each,
both to ache until they were reunited. Between the acts she awoke to
reality, only to say to herself: "So much I shall have to think
about--so much--I shall never be able to think about it enough."
Feverishly she followed the heart-breaking tragedy to its close,
suffering poignantly the grief of each lover, suffering death for each,
and feeling her life desolated when the end came.
But then the dull curtain shut her back into her own little world, where
there was no love like that, and beside the little bent man she went out
into the night.
The next morning had come a further delight, an invitation to a ball
from Brigham. Most of the day was spent in one of the shops, choosing a
gown of wondrous beauty, and having it fitted to her.
[Illustration: FULL OF ZEST FOR THE MEASURE AS ANY YOUTH]
When she looked into the little cracked mirror that night, she saw a
strange new face and figure; and, when she entered the ballroom, she
felt that others noted the same strangeness, for many looked at her
until she felt her cheeks burn. Then Brigham arose from a sofa, where he
had been sitting with his first wife and his last. He came gallantly
toward her; Brigham, whom she knew to be the most favoured of God on
earth and the absolute ruler of all the realm about her--an affable,
unpretentious yet dignified gentleman of seventy, who took her hand
warmly in both his own, looked her over with his kindly blue eyes, and
welcomed her to Zion in words of a fatherly gentleness. Later, when he
had danced with some of his wives, Brigham came to dance with her, light
of foot and full of zest for the measure as any youth.
Others danced with her, but during it all she kept finding herself back
before the magic square that framed the land where a man loved but one
woman. She remembered that Brigham sat with four of his wives in one of
the boxes, enthusiastically applauding that portrayal of a single love.
As the picture came back to her now, there seemed to have been something
incongruous in this spectacle. She observed the seamed and hardened
features of his earliest wife, who kept to the sofa during the evening,
beside the better favoured Amelia, whom the good man had last married,
and she thought of his score or so of wives between them.
Then she knew that what she had seen the night before had been the
truth; that she could love no man who did not love her alone. She tried
to imagine the lover in the play going from balcony to balcony, sighing
the same impassioned love-tale to woman after woman; or to imagine him
with many wives at home, to whom would be taken the news of his death in
the tomb of his last. So she thought of the play and not of the ball,
stepping the dances absently, and, when it was all over, she fell
asleep, rejoicing that, before their death, the two dear lovers had been
sealed for time and eternity, so that they could awaken together in the
They went home the next day, driving down the valley that rolled in
billows of green between the broken ranges of the Wasatch and the
Oquirrh. It was no longer of the Kingdom she thought, nor of Brigham and
his wives; only of a clean-limbed youth in doublet and hose, a plumed
cap, and a silken cloak, who, in a voice that brought the tears back of
her eyes, told of his undying love for one woman--and of the soft,
tender woman in the moonlight, who had trusted him and let herself go to
him in life and in death.
The world had not ended. She thought that, in truth, it could not have
ended yet; for had she not a life to live?
_The Lion of the Lord Sends an Order_
They reached home in very different states of mind. The girl was eager
for the solitude of her favourite nook in the canon, where she could
dream in peace of the wonderland she had glimpsed; but the little bent
man was stirred by dread and chilled with forebodings. To him, as well
as to the girl, the change in the first city of Zion had been a thing to
wonder at. But what had thrilled her with amazed delight brought pain to
him. Zion was no longer held inviolate.
And now the truth was much clearer to him. Not only had the Lord
deferred His coming, but He had set His hand again to scatter Israel for
its sin. Instead of letting them stay alone in their mountain retreat
until the beginning of His reign on earth, He had brought the Gentiles
upon them in overwhelming numbers. Where once a thousand miles of
wilderness lay between them and Gentile wickedness, they were now hemmed
about with it, and even it polluted the streets of the holy city itself.
Far on the east the adventurous Gentile had first pushed out of the
timber to the richly grassed prairies; then, later, on to the plains,
scorched brown with their sparse grass, driving herds of cattle ahead,
and stopping to make farms by the way. And now on the west, on the east,
and on the north, the Lord had let them pitch their tents and build
their cabins, where they would barter their lives for gold and flocks
and furs and timber, for orchard fruits and the grains of the field.
Little by little they had ventured toward the outer ramparts of Israel,
their numbers increasing year by year, and the daring of their
onslaughts against the desert and mountain wastes. With the rifle and
the axe they had made Zion but a station on the great highway between
the seas; a place where curious and irreverent Gentiles stopped to gaze
in wonder at and perhaps to mock the Lord's chosen; a place that would
become but one link in a chain of Gentile cities, that would be forced
to conform to the meretricious customs of Gentile benightedness.
It had been a fine vengeance upon them for their sin; one not unworthy
of Him who wrought it. It had come so insidiously, with such apparent
naturalness, little by little--a settler here, a settler there; here an
acre of gray desert charmed to yellow wheat; there a pouch of shining
gold washed from the burning sands; another wagon-train with hopeful men
and faithful women; a cabin, two cabins, a settlement, a schoolhouse, a
land of unwalled villages,--and democracy; a wicked government of men
set up in the very face and front of God-governed Israel.
At first they had come with ox-teams, but this was slow, and the big
Kentucky mules brought them faster; then had come the great rolling
Concord stages with their six horses; then the folly of an electric
telegraph, so that instant communication might be had with far-off
Babylon; and now the capstone in the arch of the Lord's vengeance,--a
railway,--flashing its crowded coaches over the Saints' old trail in
sixty easy hours,--a trail they had covered with their oxen in ninety
days of hardship. The rock of their faith would now be riven, the veil
of their temple rent, and their leaders corrupted.
Even of Brigham, the daring already told tales that promised this last
thing should come to pass; how he was become fat-souled, grasping, and
tricky, using his sacred office to enlarge his wealth, seizing the
canons with their precious growths of wood, the life-giving waterways,
and the herding-grounds; taking even from the tithing, of which he
rendered no stewardship, and hiding away millions of the dollars for
which the faithful had toiled themselves into desert graves. Truly,
thought Joel Rae, that bloody day in the Meadows had been cunningly
One morning, a few weeks after he had reached home from the north, he
received a call from Seth Wright.
"Here's a letter Brother Brigham wanted me to be sure and give you,"
said this good man. "He said he didn't know you was allowing to start
back so soon, or he'd have seen you in person."
He took the letter and glanced at the superscription, written in
Brigham's rather unformed but plain and very decided-looking hand.
"So you've been north, Brother Seth? What do you think of Israel there?"
The views of the Wild Ram of the Mountains partook in certain ways of
his own discouragement.
"Zion has run to seed, Brother Rae; the rank weeds of Babylon is a-goin'
to choke it out, root and branch! We ain't got no chance to live a pure
and Godly life any longer, with railroads coming in, and Gentiles with
their fancy contraptions. It weakens the spirit, and it plays the very
hob with the women. Soon as they git up there now, and see them new
styles from St. Looey or Chicago, they git downright daft. No more
homespun for 'em, no more valley tan, no more parched corn for coffee,
nor beet molasses nor unbolted flour. Oh, I know what I'm talkin'
The tone of the good man became as of one who remembers hurts put upon
his own soul. He continued:
"You no sooner let a woman git out of the wagon there now than she's
crazy for a pink nubia, and a shell breastpin, and a dress-pattern, and
a whole bolt of factory and a set of chiny cups and saucers and some of
this here perfumery soap. And _that_ don't do 'em. Then they let out a
yell for varnished rockin'-cheers with flowers painted all over 'em in
different colours, and they tell you they got to have bristles
carpet--bristles on it that long, prob'ly!" The injured man indicated a
length of some eighteen or twenty inches.
"Of course all them grand things would please our feelings, but they
take a woman's mind off of the Lord, and she neglects her work in the
field, and then pretty soon the Lord gets mad and sics the Gentiles on
to us again. But I made my women toe the mark mighty quick, I told 'em
they could all have one day a week to work out, and make a little
pin-money, hoein' potatoes or plantin' corn or some such business, and
every cent they earned that way they could squander on this here
pink-and-blue soap, if they was a mind to; but not a York shilling of my
money could they have for such persuasions of Satan--not while we got
plenty of soap-grease and wood-ashes to make lye of and a soap-kittle
that cost four eighty-five, in the very Lord's stronghold. I dress my
women comfortable and feed 'em well--not much variety but plenty _of_,
and I've done right by 'em as a husband, and I tell 'em if they want to
be led away now into the sinful path of worldliness, why, I ain't goin'
to have any ruthers about it at all! But you be careful, Brother Rae,
about turning your women loose in one of them ungodly stores up there.
That reminds me, you had Prudence up to Conference, and I guess you
don't know what that letter's about."
"Why, no; do you?"
"Well, Brother Brigham only let a word or two drop, but plain enough; he
don't have to use many. He was a little mite afraid some one down here
would cut in ahead of him."
Joel Rae had torn open the big blue envelope in a sudden fear, and now
he read in Brigham's well-known script:--
"DEAR BROT. JOEL:--
"I was ancus to see more of your daughter, and would of kept her hear at
my house if you had not hurried off. I will let you seal her to me when
I come to Pine valle next, late this summer or after Oct. conference. If
anything happens and I am to bisy will have you bring her hear. Tell her
of this and what it will mean to her in the Lord's kingdom and do not
let her company with gentiles or with any of the young brethren around
there that might put Notions into her head. Try to due right and never
faint in well duing, keep the faith of the gospel and I pray the Lord to
bless you. BRIGHAM YOUNG."
The shrewd old face of the Bishop had wrinkled into a smile of quiet
observation as the other read the letter. In relating the incident to
the Entablature of Truth subsequently, he said of Joel Rae at the moment
he looked up from this letter: "He'll never be whiter when he's dead! I
see in a minute that the old man had him on the bark."
"You know what's in this, Brother Seth--you know that Brigham wants
Prudence?" Joel Rae had asked, looking up from the letter, upon which
both his hands had closed tightly.
"Well, I told you he dropped a word or two, jest by way of keeping off
the Princes of Israel down here."
"I must go to Salt Lake at once and talk to him."
"Take her along; likely he'll marry her right off."
"But I can't--I couldn't--Brother Seth, I wish her not to marry him."
The Bishop stared blankly at him, his amazement freezing upon his lips,
almost, the words he uttered.
"Not--want--her--to marry--Brother Brigham Young, Prophet, Seer, and
Revelator, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in all the world!"
"I must go up and talk to him at once."
"You won't talk him out of it. Brother Brigham has the habit of
prevailing. Of course, he's closer than Dick's hat-band, but she'll have
the best there is until he takes another."
"He may listen to reason--"
"Reason?--why, man, what more reason could he want,--with that splendid
young critter before him, throwing back her head, and flashing her big,
shiny eyes, and lifting her red lips over them little white
teeth--reason enough for Brother Brigham--or for other people I could
"But he wouldn't be so hard--taking her away from me--"
Something in the tones of this appeal seemed to touch even the heart of
the Wild Ram of the Mountains, though it told of a suffering he could
"Brigham is very sot in his ways," he said, after a little, with a
curious soft kindness in his voice,--"in fact, a _sotter_ man I never
He drove off, leaving the other staring at the letter now crumpled in
his hand. He also said, in his subsequent narrative to the Entablature
of Truth: "You know I've always took Brother Rae for jest a natural born
_not_, a shy little cuss that could be whiffed around by anything and
everything, but when I drove off he had a plumb ornery fighting look in
them deep-set eyes of his, and blame me if I didn't someway feel sorry
for him,--he's that warped up, like an old water-soaked sycamore plank
that gits laid out in the sun."
But this look of belligerence had quickly passed from the face of Joel
Rae when the first heat of his resentment had cooled.
After that he merely suffered, torn by his reverence for Brigham, who
represented on earth no less a power than the first person of the
Trinity, and by the love for this child who held him to a past made
beautiful by his love for her mother,--by a thousand youthful dreams and
fancies and wayward hopes that he had kept fresh through all the years;
torn between Brigham, whose word was as the word of God, and Prudence
who was the living flower of her dead mother and all his dead hopes.
Could he persuade Brigham to leave her? The idea of refusing him, if he
should persist, was not seriously to be thought of. For twenty-five
years he, in common with the other Saints, had held Brigham's lightest
command to be above all earthly law; to be indeed the revealed will of
God. His kingship in things material no less than in things spiritual
had been absolute, undisputed, undoubted--indeed, gloried in by the
people as much as Brigham himself gloried when he declared it in and out
of the tabernacle. Their blind obedience had been his by divine right,
by virtue of his iron will, his matchless courage, his tireless spirit,
and his understanding of their hearts and their needs, born of his
common suffering with them. Nothing could be done without his sanction.
No man could enter a business, or change his home from north to south,
without first securing his approval; even the merchants who went east or
west for goods must first report to him their wishes, to see if he had
contrary orders for them! From the invitation list of a ball to the
financing of a corporation, his word was law; in matters of marriage as
well--no man daring even to seek a wife until the Prophet had approved
his choice. The whole valley for five hundred miles was filled with his
power as with another air that the Saints must breathe. In his
oft-repeated own phrase, it was his God-given right to dictate all
matters, "even to the ribbons a woman should wear, or the setting up of
a stocking." And his people had not only submitted blindly to his rule,
but had reverenced and even loved him for it.
Twenty-five years of such allegiance, preceded by a youth in which the
same gospel of obedience was bred into his marrow--this was not to be
thrown off by a mere heartache; not to be more than striven against,
half-heartedly, in the first moment of anguish.
He thought of Brigham's home in the Lion House, the score or so of
plain, elderly women, hard-working, simple-minded; the few favourites of
his later years, women of sightlier exteriors; and he pictured the long
dining-room, where, at three o'clock each afternoon, to the sound of a
bell, these wives and half a hundred children marched in, while the
Prophet sat benignantly at the head of the table and blessed the meal.
He tried to fix Prudence in this picture, but at every effort he saw,
not her, the shy, sweet woman, full of surprised tenderness, but a
creature hardened, debased, devoid of charm, dehumanised, a brood-beast
of the field.
And yet this was not rebellion. His mind was clear as to that. He could
not refuse, even had refusal not been to incur the severest penalties
both in this world and in the world to come. The habit of obedience was
Presently he saw Prudence coming across the fields in the late
afternoon from the road that led to the canon. He watched her jealously
until she drew near, then called her to him. In a few words he told her
very gravely the honour that was to be done her.
When she fully understood, he noted that her mind seemed to attain an
unusual clearness, her speech a new conciseness; that she was displaying
a force of will he had never before suspected.
Her reply, in effect, was that she would not marry Brigham Young if all
the angels in heaven came to entreat her; that the thought was not a
pretty one; and that the matter might be considered settled at that very
moment. "It's too silly to talk about," she concluded.
Almost fearfully he looked at her, yielding a little to her spirit of
rebellion, yet trying not to yield; trying not to rejoice in the amused
flash of her dark eyes and the decision of her tones. But then, as he
looked, and as she still faced him, radiant in her confidence, he felt
himself going with her--plunging into the tempting wave of apostasy.
_A New Face in the Dream_
In a settled despair the little bent man waited for the end. Already he
felt himself an outcast from Israel. In spirit he had disobeyed the
voice of Brigham, which was the voice of God; exulting sinfully in spite
of himself in this rebellion. Praying to be bowed and bent and broken,
to have all trace of the evil self within him burned out, he had now let
that self rise up again to cry out a want. Praying that crosses might
daily be added to his burden, he had now refused to take up one the
bearing of which might have proved to Heaven the extinction of his last
selfish desire. He had been put to the test, as he prayed to be, and he
had failed miserably to meet it. And now he knew that even his life was
waning with his faith.
During the year when he waited for the end of the world, he had been
nerved to an unwonted vigour. Now he was weak and fit for no further
combat. He waited, with an indifference that amazed him, for the day
when he should openly defy Brigham, and have penalties heaped upon him.
First he would be ordered on a mission to some far corner of the world.
It would mean that he must go alone, "without purse or scrip," leaving
Prudence. He would refuse to go. Thereupon he would be sternly
disfellowshiped. Then, having become an apostate, he would be a fair
mark for many things, perhaps for simple persecution--perhaps for blood
atonement. He had heard Brigham himself say in the tabernacle that he
was ready to "unsheathe his bowie knife" and send apostates "to hell
He was ready to welcome that. It were easier to die now than to live;
and, as for being cut off from his glory in the after-time, he had
already forfeited that; would miss it even if he died in fellowship with
Brigham and full of churchly honours; would miss it even if the power on
high should forgive him,--for he himself, he knew, could not forgive his
own sin. So it was little matter about his apostasy, and Prudence should
be saved from a wifehood that, ever since he had pictured her in it, had
seemed to him for the first time unspeakably bad.
They talked but little about it that day, after her first abrupt
refusal. There was too much for each of them to think of. He was obliged
to dwell upon the amazing fact that he must lie in hell until he could
win his own forgiveness, regardless of what gentle pardoning might be
his from God. This, to him, simple and obvious truth, was now his daily
As for Prudence, she had to be alone to dream her dreams of a love that
should be always single. Brigham's letter, far from disturbing these,
had brought them a zest hitherto lacking. Neither the sacrilege of
refusing him, its worldly unwisdom, nor its possible harm to the little
bent man of sorrows, had as yet become apparent to her. Each day, when
such duties as were hers in the house had been performed, she walked out
to be alone,--always to Box Canon, that green-sided cleft in the
mountain, with the brook lashing itself to a white fury over the
boulders at the bottom. She would go up out of the hot valley into its
cool freshness and its pleasant wood smells, and there, in the softened
blue light of a pine-hung glade, she would rest, and let her fancy build
what heaven-reaching towers it would. On some brown bed of pine-needles,
or on a friendly gray boulder close by the water-side, where she could
give her eyes to its flow and foam, and her ears to its music,--music
like the muffled tinkling of little silver bells in the distance,--she
would let herself go out to her dream with the joyous, reckless abandon
of falling water.
It was commonly a dream of a youth in doublet and hose, a plumed cap,
and a cloak of purple satin, who came in the moonlight to the balcony of
his love, and sighed his passion in tones so moving that she thought an
angel must have yielded--as did the girl in the balcony who had let down
the scarf to him. She already knew how that girl's heart must have
fluttered at the moment,--how she must have felt that the hands were
mad, wicked, uncontrollable hands, no longer her own.
There was one place in the dream that she managed not without some
ingenuity. It had to be made plain that the lover under the window did
not come from a long, six-doored house, with a wife behind each door;
that this girl, pale in the moonlight, with quickening heart and
rebellious hands on the scarf, and arms that should open to him, was to
be not only his first wife but his last; that he was never even to
consider so much as the possibility of another, but was to cleave unto
her, and to love her with a single heart for all the days of her life
and his own.
There were various ways of bringing this circumstance forward. Usually
she had Brigham march on at the head of his great family and counsel the
youth to take more wives, in order that he should be exalted in the
Kingdom. Whereupon the young man would fold his love in his arms and
speak words of scorn, in the same thrilling manner that he spoke his
other words, for any exaltation which they two could not share alone.
Brigham, at the head of his wives, would then slink off, much abashed.
She had come naturally to see her own face as the face of this happily
loved girl in the dream. She knew no face for the youth. There was none
in Amalon; not Jarom Tanner, six feet three, who became a helpless,
grinning child in her presence; nor Moroni Peterson, who became a
solemn and ghastly imbecile; nor Ammaron Wright, son of the Bishop, who
had opened the dance of the Young People's Auxiliary with prayer, and
later tried to kiss her in a dark corner of the room. So the face of the
other person in her dream remained of an unknown heavenly beauty.
And then one afternoon in early May a strange youth came singing down
the canon; came while she mused by the brook-side in her best-loved
dream. Long before she saw him, she heard his music, a young, clear,
care-free voice ringing down from the trail that went over the mountains
to Kanab and into Kimball Valley; one of the ways that led out to the
world that she wondered about so much. It was a voice new to her, and
the words of his ballad were also new. At first she heard them from
"There was a young lady came a-tripping along,
And at each side a servant-O,
And in each hand a glass of wine
To drink with the Gypsy Davy-O.
"And will you fancy me, my dear,
And will you be my Honey-O?
I swear by the sword that hangs by my side
You shall never want for money-O.
"Oh, yes, I will fancy you, kind sir,
And I will be your Honey-O,
If you swear by the sword that hangs by your side
I shall never want for money-O."
The singer seemed to be making his way slowly. Far up the trail, she had
one fleeting glimpse of a man on a horse, and then he was hid again in
the twilight of the pines. But the music came nearer:--
"Then she put on her high-heeled shoes,
All made of Spanish leather-O,
And she put on her bonnie, bonnie brown,
And they rode off together-O.
"Soon after that, her lord came home
Inquiring for his lady-O,
When some of the servants made this reply,
She's a-gone with the Gypsy Davy-O.
"Then saddle me my milk-white steed,
For the black is not so speedy-O,
And I'll ride all night and I'll ride all day
Till I overtake my lady-O."
She stood transfixed, something within her responding to the hidden
singer, as she had once heard a closed piano sound to a voice that sang
near it. Soon she could get broken glimpses of him as he wound down the
trail, now turning around the end of a fallen tree, then passing behind
a giant spruce, now leaning far back while the horse felt a way
cautiously down some sharp little declivity. The impression was
confused,--a glint of red, of blue, of the brown of the horse, a figure
swaying loosely to the horse's movements, and then he was out of sight
again around the big rock that had once fallen from high up on the side
of the canon; but now, when he came from behind that, he would be
squarely in front of her. This recalled and alarmed her. She began to
pick a way over the boulders and across the trail that lay between her
and the edge of the pines, hearing another verse of the song, almost at
"He rode all night and he rode all day,
Till he came to the far deep water-O,
Then he stopped and a tear came a-trickling down his cheek,
For there he saw his lady-O."
Before she could reach a shelter in the pines, while she was poised for
the last step that would take her out of the trail, he was out from
behind the rock, before her, almost upon her, reining his horse back
upon its haunches,--then in another instant lifting off his
broad-brimmed hat to her in a gracious sweep. It was the first time she
had seen this simple office performed outside of the theatre.
She looked up at him, embarrassed, and stepped back across the narrow
trail, her head down again, so that he was free to pass. But instead of
passing, she became aware that he had dismounted.
When she looked up, he was busily engaged in adjusting something about
his saddle, with an expression of deepest concern in his blue eyes. His
hat was on the ground and his yellow hair glistened where the band had
pressed it about his head.
"It's that latigo strap," he remarked, in a tone of some annoyance.
"I've had to fix it every five miles since I left Kanab!" Then looking
up at her with a friendly smile: "Dandy most stepped on you, I reckon."
The amazement of it was that, after her first flurry at the sound of
his voice and his half-seen movements up the trail, it should now seem
all so commonplace.
"Oh, no, I was well out of his way."
She started again to cross the trail, stepping quickly, with her eyes
down, but again his voice came, less deliberate this time, and with
words in something less than intelligible sequence.
"Excuse me, Miss--but--now how many miles to--what's the name of the
nearest settlement--I suppose you live hereabouts?"
"What did you say?"
"I say is there any place where I could get to stop a day or so in
"Oh--I didn't understand--I think so; at least, my father sometimes--but
there's Elder Wardle, he often takes in travellers."
"You say your father--"
"Not always--I don't know, I'm sure--" she looked doubtful.
"Oh, all right! I'll ask him,--if you'll show me his place."
"It's the first place on the left after you leave the canon--with the
big peach orchard--I'm not going home just yet."
He stroked the muzzle of the horse.
"Oh, I'm in no hurry, I'm just looking over the country a little. Your
father's name is--"
"Ask for Elder Rae--or one of his wives will say if they can keep you
She caught something new in his glance, and felt the blood in her face.
"I must go now--you can find your way--I must go."
"Well, if you _must_ go,"--he picked up his hat,--"but I'll see you
again. You'll be coming home this evening, I reckon?"
"The first house on the left," she answered, and stepped once more
across the trail and into the edge of the pines. She went with the same
mien of importance that Tom Potwin wore on his endless errands; and with
quite as little reason, too; for the direction in which she had started
so earnestly would have led her, after a few steps, straight up a
granite cliff a thousand feet high. As she entered the pines she heard
him mount his horse and ride down the trail, and then the rest of his
song came back to her:--
"Will you forsake your houses and lands,
Will you forsake your baby-O?
Will you forsake your own wedded lord
To foller a Gypsy Davy-O?
"Yes, I'll forsake my houses and lands,
Yes, I'll forsake my baby-O,
For I am bewitched, and I know the reason why;
It's a follering a Gypsy Davy-O.
"Last night I lay on a velvet couch
Beside my lord and baby-O;
To-night I shall lie on the cold, cold ground,
In the arms of a Gypsy Davy-O.
"To-night I shall lie on the cold, cold ground,
In the arms of a Gypsy Davy-O!"
When his voice died away and she knew he must be gone, she came out
again to her nook beside the stream where, a moment before, her dream
had filled her. But now, though nothing had happened beyond the riding
by of a strange youth, the dream no longer sufficed. In place of the
moonlit balcony was the figure of this young stranger swaying with his
horse down between the hollowed shoulders of the Pine Mountains and
reining up suddenly to sweep his broad hat low in front of her. She was
surprised by the clearness with which she could recall the details of
his appearance,--a boyish-looking fellow, with wide-open blue eyes and a
sunbrowned face under his yellow hair, the smallest of moustaches, and a
smile of such winning good-humour that it had seemed to force her own
lips apart in answer.
Around the broad, gray hat had been a band of braided silver; when he
stepped, the spurs on his high-heeled boots had jingled and clanked of
silver; around his neck with a knot at the back and the corners flapping
down on the front of his blue woollen shirt, had been a white-dotted
handkerchief of scarlet silk; and about his waist was knotted a long
scarf of the same colour; dogskin "chapps" he had worn, fronted with the
thick yellowish hair outside; his saddle-bags, back of the saddle,
showing the same fur; his saddle had been of stamped Spanish leather
with a silver capping on the horn and on the circle of the cantle; and
on the right of the saddle she had seen the coils of a lariat of
The picture of him stayed in her mind, the sturdy young figure,--rather
loose-jointed but with an easy grace of movement,--and the engaging
naturalness of his manner. But after all nothing had happened save the
passing of a stranger, and she must go alone back to her dream. Yet now
the dream might change; a strange youth might come riding out of the
east, sitting a sorrel horse with a star and a white hind ankle, a long
rangy neck and strong quarters; and he--the youth--would wear a broad,
gray hat, with a band of silver filigree, a scarlet kerchief at his
throat, a scarlet sash at his waist, and yellow dogskin "chapps."
Still, she thought, he could hardly have a place in the dream. The real
youth of the dream had been of an unearthly beauty, with a rose-leaf
complexion and lustrous curls massed above a brow of marble. The
stranger had not been of an unearthly beauty. To be sure, he was very
good to look at, with his wide-open blue eyes and his yellow hair, and
he had appeared uncommonly fresh and clean about the mouth when he
smiled at her. But she could not picture him sighing the right words of
love under a balcony in the moonlight. He had looked to be too intensely
_The Gentile Invasion_
When she came across the fields late in the afternoon, the strange
youth's horse was picketed where the bunch-grass grew high, and the
young man himself talked with her father by the corral bars. She had
never realised how old her father was, how weak, and small, and bent,
until she saw him beside this erect young fellow. Her heart went out to
the older man with a new sympathy as she saw his feebleness so sharply
in relief against the well-blooded, hard-muscled vigour of the younger.
When she would have passed them, her father called to her.
"Prudence, this is Mr. Ruel Follett. He will stay with us to-night."
The sombrero was off again and she felt the blue eyes seeking hers,
though she could not look up from the ground when she had given her
little bow. She heard him say:
"I already met your daughter, sir, at the mouth of the canon."
She went on toward the house, hearing them resume their talk, the
stranger saying, "That horse can sure carry all the weight you want to
put on him and step away good; he'll do it right at both ends,
too--Dandy will--and he's got a mighty tasty lope."
Later she brought him a towel when he had washed himself in the tin
basin on the bench outside the house. He had doffed the "chapps" and
hung them on a peg, the scarlet kerchief was also off, his shirt was
open at the neck, and soap and water had played freely over his head. He
took the towel from her with a sputtering, "Thank you," and with a pair
of muscular, brown hands proceeded to scour himself dry until the yellow
hair stood about him as a halo--without, however, in the least
suggesting the angelic or even saintly: for his face, from the friction
inflamed to a high degree, was now a mass of red with two inquiring
spots of blue near the upper edge. But then the clean mouth opened in
its frank smile, and her own dark lashes had to fall upon her cheeks
until she turned away.
At supper and afterwards Mr. Follett talked freely of himself, or seemed
to. He was from the high plains and the short-grass country, wherever
that might be--to the east and south she gathered. He had grown up in
that country, working for his father, who had been an overland
freighter, until the day the railroad tracks were joined at Promontory.
He, himself, had watched the gold and silver spikes driven into the tie
of California mahogany two years before; and then, though they still
kept a few wagon trains moving to the mining camps north and south of
the railroad, they had looked for other occupations.
Now their attention was chiefly devoted to mines and cattle. There were
great times ahead in the cattle business. His father remembered when
they had killed cattle for their hides and tallow, leaving the meat to
the coyotes. But now, each spring, a dozen men, like himself, under a
herd boss, would drive five thousand head to Leavenworth, putting them
through ten or twelve miles a day over the Abiline trail, keeping them
fat and getting good prices for them. There was plenty of room for the
business. "Over yonder across the hills," as Mr. Follett put it. There
was a herding ground four hundred miles wide, east and west, and a
thousand miles north and south, covered with buffalo grass, especially
toward the north, that made good stock feed the year around. He himself
had, in winter, followed a herd that drifted from Montana to Texas; and
in summer he had twice ranged from Corpus Christi to Deadwood.
Down in the Panhandle they were getting control of a ranch that would
cover five thousand square miles. Some day they would have every one of
its three million acres enclosed with a stout wire fence. It would be a
big ranch, bigger than the whole state of Connecticut--bigger than
Delaware and Rhode Island "lumped together", he had been told. Here they
would have the "C lazy C" brand on probably a hundred and fifty
thousand head of cattle. He thought the business would settle down to
this conservative basis with the loose ends of it pulled together; with
closer attention paid to branding, for one thing; branding the calves,
so they would no longer have to rope a full-grown steer, and tie it with
a scarf such as he wore about his waist.
But they were also working some placer claims up around Helena, and
developing a quartz prospect over at Carson City. And the freighting was
by no means "played out." He, himself, had driven a six-mule team with
one line over the Santa Fe trail, and might have to do it again. The
resources of the West were not exhausted, whatever they might say. A man
with a head on him would be able to make a good living there for some
years to come.
Both father and daughter found him an agreeable young man in spite of
his being an alien from the Commonwealth of Israel. He remained with
them three days looking over the country about Amalon, talking with its
people and making himself at least not an object of suspicion and
aversion, as the casual Gentile was apt to be. Prudence found herself
usually at ease with him; he was so wholly likable and unassuming. Yet
at times he seemed strangely mature and reserved to her, so that she was
just a little awed.
He told her in their evenings many wonder-tales of that outside world
where the wicked Gentiles lived; of populous cities on the western edge
of it, and of vast throngs that crowded the interior clear over to the
Atlantic Ocean. She had never realised before what a small handful of
people the Lord had set His hand to save, and what vast numbers He had
made with hearts that should be hardened to the glorious articles of the
The wastefulness of it rather appalled her. Out of the world with its
myriad millions, only the few thousand in this valley of the mountains
had proved worthy of exaltation. And this young man was doubtless a fair
sample of them,--happy, unthinking, earning perdition by mere
carelessness. If only there were a way to save them--if only there were
a way to save even this one--but she hardly dared speak to him of her
When he left he told them he was making a little trip through the
settlements to the north, possibly as far as Cedar City. He did not know
how long he would be gone, but if nothing prevented he might be back
that way. He shook hands with them both at parting, and though he spoke
so vaguely about a return, his eyes seemed to tell Prudence that he
would like very much to come. He had talked freely about everything but
the precise nature of his errand in the valley.
In her walks to the canon she thought much of him when he had gone. She
could not put his face into the dream because he was too real and
immanent. He and the dream would not blend, even though she had decided
that his fresh-cheeked, clear-eyed face, with its clean smile and the
yellow hair above it was almost better to look at than the face of the
youth in the play. It was not so impalpable; it satisfied. So she mused
about them alternately, the dream and the Gentile,--taking perhaps a
warmer interest in the latter for his aliveness, for the grasp of his
hand at parting, which she, with astonishment, had felt her own hand
Her father talked much of the young man. In his prophetic eye this
fearless, vigorous young stranger was the incarnate spirit of that
Gentile invasion to which the Lord had condemned them for their sins. He
had come, resourceful, determined, talking of mighty enterprises, of
cattle, and gold, and wheat, of wagon-trains, and railroad,--an eloquent
forerunner of the Gentile hordes that should come west upon the
shoulders of Israel, and surround, assimilate, and reduce them, until
they should lose all their powers and gifts and become a mere sect among
sects, their name, perhaps, a hissing and a scorn. He foresaw the
invasion of which this self-poised, vital youth of three or four and
twenty was a sapper; and he knew it was a just punishment from on high
for the innocent blood they had shed. Yet now he viewed it rather
impersonally, for he felt curiously disconnected from the affairs of the
Church and the world.
He no longer preached on the Sabbath, giving his ill-health as an
excuse. In truth he felt it would not be honest since, in his secret
heart, he was now an apostate. But with his works of healing he busied
himself more than ever, and in this he seemed to have gained new power.
Weak as he was physically, gray-haired, bloodless, fragile, with what
seemed to be all of his remaining life burning in his deep-set eyes, he
yet laid his hands upon the sick with a success so marked that his fame
spread and he was sent for to rebuke plagues and fevers from as far away
For two weeks they heard nothing of the wandering Gentile, and Prudence
had begun to wonder if she would ever see him again; also to wonder why
an uncertainty in the matter should seem to be of importance.
But one evening early in June they saw him walking up in the dusk, the
light sombrero, the scarlet kerchief against the blue woollen shirt, the
holster with its heavy Colt's revolver at either hip, the easy moving
figure, and the strong, yet boyish face.
He greeted them pleasantly, though, the girl thought, with some
restraint. She could not hear it in his words, but she felt it in his
manner, something suppressed and deeply hidden. They asked where his
horse was and he replied with a curious air of embarrassment:--
"Well, you see, I may be obliged to stop around here a quite some while,
so I put up with this man Wardle--not wanting to impose upon you
all--and thanking you very kindly, and not wishing to intrude--so I just
came to say 'howdy' to you."
They expressed regret that he had not returned to them, Joel Rae urging
him to reconsider; but he declined politely, showing a desire to talk of
They sat outside in the warm early evening, the young man and Prudence
near each other at one side of the door, while Joel Rae resumed his
chair a dozen feet the other side and lapsed into silence. The two young
people fell easily into talk as on the other evenings they had spent
there. Yet presently she was again aware, as in the moment of his
greeting, that he laboured under some constraint. He was uneasy and
shifted his chair several times until at length it was so placed that he
could look beyond her to where her father had tilted his own chair
against the house and sat huddled with his chin on his breast. He talked
absently, too, at first, of many things and without sequence; and when
he looked at her, there was something back of his eyes, plain even in
the dusk, that she had not seen there before. He was no longer the
ingenuous youth who had come to them from off the Kanab trail.
In a little while, however, this uneasiness seemed to vanish and he was
speaking naturally again, telling of his life on the plains with a
boyish enthusiasm; first of the cattle drives, of the stampede of a herd
by night, when the Indians would ride rapidly by in the dark, dragging a
buffalo-robe over the ground at the end of a lariat, sending the
frightened steers off in a mad gallop that made the earth tremble. They
would have to ride out at full speed in the black night, over ground
treacherous with prairie-dog holes, to head and turn the herd of
frenzied cattle, and by riding around and around them many times get
them at last into a circle and so hold them until they became quiet
again. Often this was not until sunrise, even with the lullabys they
sang "to put them to sleep."
Then he spoke of adventures with the Indians while freighting over the
Santa Fe trail, and of what a fine man his father, Ezra Calkins, was. It
was the first time he had mentioned the name and her ear caught it at
"Your father's name is Calkins?"
"Yes--I'm only an adopted son."
Unconsciously she had been letting her voice fall low, making their chat
more confidential. She awoke to this now and to the fact that he had
done the same, by noting that he raised his voice at this time with a
casual glance past her to where her father sat.
"Yes--you see my own father and mother were killed when I was eight
years old, and the people that murdered them tried to kill me too, but I
was a spry little tike and give them the slip. It was a bad country, and
I like to have died, only there was a band of Navajos out trading
ponies, and one morning, after I'd been alone all night, they picked me
up and took care of me. I was pretty near gone, what with being scared
and everything, but they nursed me careful. They took me away off to the
south and kept me about a year, and then one time they took me with them
when they worked up north on a buffalo hunt. It was at Walnut Creek on
the big bend of the Arkansas that they met Ezra Calkins coming along
with one of his trains and he bought me of those Navajos. I remember he
gave fifty silver dollars for me to the chief. Well, when I told him all
that I could remember about myself--of course the people that did the
killing scared a good deal of it out of me--he took me to Kansas City
where he lived, and went to law and made me his son, because he'd lost a
boy about my age. And so that's how we have different names, he telling
me I'd ought to keep mine instead of taking his."
She was excited by the tale, which he had told almost in one breath, and
now she was eager to question, looking over to see if her father would
not also be interested; but the latter gave no sign.
"You poor little boy, among those wretched Indians! But why were your
father and mother killed? Did the Indians do it?"
"No, not Indians that did it--and I never did know why they killed
them--they that _did_ do it."
"But how queer! Don't you know who it was?"
Before answering, he paused to take one of the long revolvers from its
holster, laying it across his lap, his right hand still grasping it.
"It was tiring my leg where it was," he explained. "I'll just rest
myself by holding it here. I've practised a good smart bit with these
pistols against the time when I'd meet some of them that did it--that
killed my father and mother and lots of others, and little children,
"How terrible! And it wasn't Indians?"
"No--I _told_ you that already--it wasn't Indians."
"Don't you know who it was?"
"Oh, yes, I know all of them I want to know. The fact is, up there at
Cedar City I met some people that got confidential with me one day, and
told me a lot of their names. There was Mr. Barney Carter and Mr. Sam
Woods, and they talked right freely about some folks. I found out what I
was wanting to know, being that they were drinking men."
He had moved slightly as he spoke and she glanced at the revolver still
held along his knee.
"Isn't that dangerous--seems to me it's pointed almost toward father."
"Oh, not a bit dangerous, and it rests me to hold it there. You see it
was hereabouts this thing happened. In fact, I came down here looking
for a big man, and a little girl that I remembered, whose father and
mother were killed at the same time mine was. This little girl was about
three or four, I reckon, and she was taken by one of the murderers. He
seemed like an awful big man to me. By the way, that's mean whiskey your
Bishop sells on the sly up at Cedar City. Why, it's worse than Taos
lightning. Well, this Barney Carter and Mr. Sam Woods, they would drink
it all right, but they said one drink made a man ugly and two made him
so downright bad that he'd just as lief tear his wife's best bonnet to
pieces as not. But they seemed to like me pretty well, and they drank a
lot of this whiskey that the Bishop sold me, and then they got talking
pretty freely about old times. I gathered that this man that took the
little girl is a pretty big man around here. Of course I wasn't
expecting anything like that; I thought naturally he'd be a low-down
sort to have been mixed up in a thing like that."
He spoke his next words very slowly, with little pauses.
"But I found out what his name was--it was--"
He stopped, for there had been an indistinct sound from where her father
sat, now in the gloom of the evening. She called to him:
"Did you speak, father?"
There was no reply or movement from the figure in the chair, and Follett
"I guess he was just asleep and dreaming about something. Well,
anyway--I--I found out afterwards by telling it before him, that Mr.
Barney Carter and his drunken friend had given me his name right, though
I could hardly believe it before."
"What an awful, awful thing! What wickedness there is in the world!"
"Oh, a tolerable lot," he assented.
He had been all animation and eagerness in the telling of the story, but
had now become curiously silent and listless; so that, although she was
eager with many questions about what he had said, she did not ask them,
waiting to see if he would not talk again. But instead of talking, he
stayed silent and presently began to fidget in his chair. At last he
said, "If you'll excuse us, Miss Prudence, your pa and I have got a
little business matter to talk over--to-night. I guess we can go down
here by the corral and do it."
But she arose quickly and bade him good night. "I hope I shall see you
to-morrow," she said.
She bent over to kiss her father as she went in, and when she had done
so, warned him that he must not sit in the night air.
"Why your face is actually wet with a cold sweat. You ought to come in
"After a very little, dear. Go to bed now--and always be a good girl!"
"And you've grown so hoarse sitting here."
"In a little while,--always be a good girl!"
She went in with a parting admonition: "Remember your cough--good
When she had gone neither man stirred for the space of a minute. The
little man, huddled in his seat, had not changed his position; he still
sat with his chair tilted back against the house, his chin on his
The other had remained standing where the girl left him, the revolver in
his hand. After the minute of silence he crossed over and stood in
front of the seated man.
"Come," he said, gruffly, "where do you want to go?"
_How the Avenger Bungled His Vengeance_
At last he stood up, slowly, unsteadily, grasping Follett by the arm for
support. He spoke almost in a whisper.
"Come back here first--to talk--then I'll go with you."
He entered the house, the young man following close, suspicious,
"No fooling now,--feel the end of that gun in your back?" The other made
no reply. Inside the door he took a candle from the box against the wall
and lighted it.
"Don't think I'm trying anything--come here."
They went on, the little bent man ahead, holding the candle well up. His
room was at the far end of the long house. When they reached it, he
closed the door and fixed the candle on the table in some of its own
grease. Then he pointed Follett to the one stool in the little cell-like