- part: MY QUEEN;
- CHAPTER VII. THE DELVILLES.
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ROBERT DELVILLE, silk mercer and linen draper, of High street, Liverpool, was a ruddy, coarse-featured, loud man, with the physique of a pugilist. Rumor hinted at a wild youth, addicted to low games and cruel companions; but that was all in the far past. Many a year ago Robert Delville had settled down into a good, blunt citizen, rather sharp at a bargain, yet honest in the main. He was loved by his family, and liked by his friends, regular at church, and fond of the Bible. It is true that he displayed a predilection for witnessing executions (but that was nothing singular in those days), and frequently he would emphatically declare his dissatisfaction at the existing state of things, social, moral, and religious.
He had eagerly embraced the new gospel, and soon after astonished his little world with the announcement that he was going to Zion. For some time a clearance sale has been going on. It is all over now. The place is empty and deserted; the shutters going up. Upstairs, in the family apartments, the greatest confusion reigns. Some are boxing furniture, others packing trunks. The day's work is almost over. The mistress, a portly, good-natured-looking woman, sits down upon a trunk to rest awhile. She has a very troubled look, and every now and then she wipes her eyes, from which the tears will flow in spite of her efforts to repress them. A pretty little girl lays her cheek caressingly against her mother's, and cries | | 34 because her mother weeps. In one corner of the room, a serious-faced boy is packing away some books, carefully, tenderly, as if he loved them.
Another son, the eldest, a bright sturdy youth of fifteen, is working with a will.
"Is this to go, mother?" he asks, pointing to a beautiful picture of Aurora.
"No, dear, they say we cannot take anything more than is absolutely necessary. The furniture will be sold to-morrow. Oh dear! I shall have to go away. I never can endure to see that go. I did not think it would be so hard;" and the strong, rosy-faced woman, to whom sorrow had hitherto been a stranger, wept afresh, as she looked around upon the elegance and comfort so soon to be taken from her.
"Never mind, mother," replied the youth. "It will be all right: and won't we have jolly fun crossing the plains? I'll shoot deer and buffalo, and--"
"That is all you think about, Rob. As for me, I don't like this move one bit," said the boy of the books. "I hope I shall be able to go to school there."
"Go to school! Why, of course you can; didn't Brother Trapp tell father, 'that Zion is the nicest city in all the world, the very best place for children, boys or girls.' So you are all right, Stanly. Here's father, just ask him."
Mr. Delville enters.
"Well, wife, it is all done. Everything sold: here's the money. We shall be able to do great things in Zion. Why, surely Lucy, you ain't crying?"
"Oh! Robert, it is so sad to leave the old place where I was brought up,--and we were married, and all our children were born: to see all the things we | | 35 prize, sold as if we were ruined. Just think, how happy we have been here. Why can't we be as good Saints here, as in that way-off-country?"
"Now, Lucy, would you stay here and be burned up with the wicked, instead of reigning with Christ in a city paved with gold, and whose walls are of precious stones. Besides dear, a great destiny awaits me there. I have had wonderful dreams of late; and then Brother Trapp, who often converses with God, has told me of great things in store for you and me, and the children, if we remain faithful."
"But, Rob, we don't want anything more than we have; and they do whisper of terrible things done by the leaders of this people."
"Lies, all lies, Lucy. The wicked must slander the saints. The devil hates to be cheated out of his prey: and he shows fight by slandering those who work against him. Speaking of the devil, reminds me, that I have in my pocket the funniest thing about his black majesty and the prophet that ever I read. It made me laugh till the tears ran down my cheeks. It is the best thing out. Just right to drive away the blues. Shall I read it?"
"Yes, dear, if it will drive away the blues."
"Oh! it will do that. You will laugh till you ache,--listen."
"DIALOGUE BETWEEN JOS. SMITH AND THE DEVIL.*Enter devil with hand bills.
"Wanted immediately! All the liars, swindlers, thieves, robbers, incendiaries, cheats, adulterers, harlots, blackguards, drunkards, gamblers, bogus makers, idlers, | | 36 busy-bodies, pickpockets, vagabonds, filthy persons, hireling clergy, and their followers, and all other infidels, and rebellious, disorderly persons, for a crusade against Jos. Smith and the Mormons!
"Be quick! Be quick! I say, or our cause will be lost, and our kingdom overthrown, by that d-- fool of an impostor and his associates; for even now all earth and hell is in a stew."Enter Mr. Smith, who has a long talk with his majesty and almost converts him. The devil proposes a drink, they repair to a cellar and toast each other in a glass of spruce beer.
"HIS SATANIC MAJESTY'S TOAST.
"Here's to my good friend, Joe Smith; may all sorts of ill luck befall him, and may he never be suffered to enter my kingdom either in time or eternity; fore would almost make me forget that I am a devil, and make a gentleman of me, while he gently overthrows my government at the same time that he wins my friendship.
"JOE SMITH'S RESPONSE.
"Here's to his Satanic Majesty! may he be driven from the earth, and be forced to put to sea in a stone canoe, with an iron paddle; and may the canoe sink, and a shark swallow the canoe, and its royal freight, and an alligator swallow the shark, and may the alligator be bound in the northwest corner of hell, the door be locked, the key lost, and a blind man hunting for it."
"Now, what do you think of that? Why, bless me, you don't smile."
"I should think not; it is outrageous. I don't re- | | 37 spect the prophet half as much as I did. O, Robert! I am afraid this is a bad move."
"Lucy, I thought you were a good saint, anxious to receive the endowments, which we can't do till we get to Zion. Even our marriage is not perfect. If we were to die now, we should be as strangers in heaven; and, as they don't marry there, we should have to live apart for all eternity. As soon as we reach Zion we will be sealed to each other, won't we, Lucy?"
At the mention of marriage Mrs. Delville's tears flowed faster. She found a pretext to send the children out of the room, then, turning to her husband, she said:
"Robert, it is this new doctrine of marriage that is troubling me. If you should take another wife it would kill me. I never could endure the torture of yielding my place in our home. And my children--Oh, God! when I think of it!"
"Why do you think of it? But there,--that is just like a woman, always fussing about something,--as if I would take another wife, while you are alive. No, indeed! one is enough for me. Why, you might just as well imagine me a cut-throat."
"Oh, Robert I how can you talk so?"
"Why, mother, how can you talk so? Haven't we been as happy as lovers, ever since we joined?"
"And so we shall always be, old lady--"
"And will you promise me, Robert, that you never will enter polygamy?"
"I promise you, Lucy. There's my hand on't."
"Thank God! Robert. I shall be happy now."
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