Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

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<< chapter 17 chapter 33 >>

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BEFORE Oreana reached Silvertung's house, she met her friend.

Mrs. Silvertung had lost much of the charm that distinguished Mrs. Lascelle. There was a frightened look upon the woman's face, and her eyes were heavy and swollen. Her voice had lost its sweet timbre, and a tone of weary complaining struck painfully on the ear.

"I am so glad you've come, Oreana. It seems something like home to see you. Isn't it dreary and lonesome in this place? and those mountains give me the horrors. I imagine they are going to crush me."

"What ridiculous fancies you have, Mary; they come from the evil one, and you must banish them. It | | 87 is your duty as a Saint. I think Zion is a delightful city. Look at these broad streets, watered by the mountain streams and fringed with trees. In a few weeks, when these are all in bloom, think how beautiful it will be. The mountains are glorious. I won't allow you to say a word against them. But what delights me most is the absence of money, of the filthy lucre, of the base coin for which men sell their souls, Now this exchange of meat for flour, of butter and eggs for cotton and flannel, is just like the patriarchal times. Is it not beautiful?"

"I suppose it is. You know best," Mary sighed.

"And as for its being lonesome,--why all the Saints are like brothers and sisters; and I should think you would find good company in Sister Alice Silvertung."

"Oh, don't say anything about her, dear; she is very nice, but--oh, dear, it is hard, so hard. I don't like polygamy. I know I ought to like it, but I don't."

"Mary," exclaimed Oreana, "you too, are you one of the rebellious? No wonder the Lord is wroth against this people. Think how the Lord has favored you with visions and revelations, and dare you provoke him with faint-heartedness? By the sufferings of the just will the world be redeemed!"

"Oreana I don't, don't. When you look at me so you frighten me. Did I not obey when the Lord commanded? But the cross is very heavy; and surely I may sometimes complain just to you, who are so strong."

"Mary, complaining is not worthy of a Saint. If you acquire the habit of complaining to me, you will do the same when you are with others."

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"Don't scold me, dear, I will try to do better; but I scarcely know what I am doing. It is all so strange; then this reform terrifies me. Yesterday some teachers came to the house; they tortured us with the most horrible questions, and when I cried, they denounced me as faint-hearted."

"So they should do. You ought only to weep for your sins. A mother in Israel should exult. If you would occupy yourself more with works of salvation, there would be no time to indulge in these weaknesses. Have you been baptized yet for your mother?"


"Mary, this is sinful remissness. I have been baptized for all our departed female relatives. I hoped Julian would do as much for the men, at least for my father; but no, he hardens his heart against the voice of the Lord, and he thinks I can still love him. Love one who hungers after the flesh-pots of Egypt? Never. If my father be lost it will be his fault. The thought fills my heart with indignation."

"Why don't you be baptized for them?"

"Mary, is it possible you are so ignorant of our principles? Women can't be baptized for men. But I have digressed. I was going to tell you that to-morrow I am going to be baptized for the Princess Charlotte, Lady Jane Gray and Charlotte Corday. You must come with me and you can be baptized for your dearest relations. Will you come?"

"Yes, but I dread going into the water."

"It seems to me you dread everything. What a weak little thing you are! Where is Elsie to-day?"

At the mention of the child Mary quivered. It was with some difficulty she answered: "Alas! what can I | | 89 do with Elsie? She is always asking for her papa; then, too, she is so cross and naughty to the elder, and to-day he punished her."

"I am glad that he has taken her in hand. The child has a spirit that must be subdued. But here we are at the Tabernacle. Won't it be glorious when the new Tabernacle is finished and our Temple built?"

"I hope we shall have some nice sermons this afternoon," sighed Mary Lascelle.

"We shall be certain of two good stirring ones; for the President and Elder Silvertung will speak."

The addresses were certainly stirring enough. The speakers had searched the ancient Scriptures for passages that they could best interpret according to their sanguinary ideas. The first text startled the hearers. Mrs. Delville shuddered. Julian frowned. It was from Leviticus xvii. 11:

"For it is blood that maketh atonement for sin."

The speaker, Elder Silvertung, eloquently persuaded the people that as some sins could only be effaced by blood, the sublimest charity consisted in shedding the blood of the guilty, that, being washed in their blood they might be saved. The second speaker followed in much the same strain. The people became excited. At length the chief arose. In a sonorous voice he read the verses from the fifteenth chapter of Chronicles:

"Whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

"And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about."
--Chron. xv. 13, 15.

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"Now your position towards God to-day is exactly the same as that of the Israelites three thousand years ago. As they were the people of God, chosen from among the nations of the earth, so are you. He has made a covenant with you, as He did with Abraham, with Moses, and with David. Like the Israelites of old, you are surrounded by the enemies of God. They swarm like flies; they must be destroyed as you would destroy flies.

"God says so. He wants it done. If you don't do it He must do it Himself.

"Now, then, what does it behoove you to do? Will you stand lazily by with arms folded while God, does this dirty work? Or will you come forward as good servants should,--as did these brave old Israelites,--and say, 'Lord, don't you trouble yourself, I will do this for you.' Let all those who want to help the Lord hold up their hands." (A multitude of hands went up.) "Good! I told the Lord you were made of the right stuff.

"Now I have something to tell you, something mighty grand.

"The Lord has made to me another revelation. He wants to form a Society for the Defense of His Cause. He is very anxious about it. He has dictated the rules, and given me the names of those He wants. I tell you the Lord is mighty kind and generous to this people; and if any of you go back on Him, that man or woman should be buried in the deepest pit of hell, and every devil on the top of him."

This harangue increased the excitement a hundred-fold.

Julian was horrified. For the first time he felt | | 91 afraid. Mrs. Delville clung to her husband, who appeared almost beside himself with joy.

"I suppose I may tell you," he whispered, "the Lord has chosen me,--me, Robert Delville,--for one of His soldiers. Ain't you proud of your husband, Lucy?"

For response Mrs. Delville shuddered.

Mary Silvertung trembled in silence.

Oreana's eyes sparkled with triumph. Pointing to Julian, Mrs. Delville and Mary, she exclaimed:

"It is good that you tremble, ye unregenerate, ye faint-hearted. Julian, I did not see your hands uplifted. Don't you fear the wrath of the Lord? Do you think He will allow your open contempt to pass unrebuked? Is not this new revelation glorious? My heart leapt with joy at the news. And you are chosen, cousin Robert. Would that I were a man, to wield a strong arm in the cause of God. But I will not repine; I can work if I cannot fight."

Julian regarded Oreana with astonishment: this was a new phase of her character. The revelation pained him. He dared not trust himself to speak. The company of these fanatics became unsupportable. He must be alone; and, without a word, he rushed away.

"Julian forgets his manners," remarked Mr. Delville; "that's bad policy."

"When one feels badly, one can't be polite. I know I can't," replied Mrs. D.

Elder Silvertung, bland and smiling, now came up. He made a point of being exceedingly polite to Mrs. D., while she shrank from him in disgust. Oreana considered this conduct of the elder as sublime.

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"See how gracious he is to Mrs. Delville, who treats him as if he were a dog," remarked Oreana to Mary. "Your husband is a remarkable man; you ought to be very proud of him. Look, he makes Lucy speak to him. I am so glad. There, be is coming for you; so I suppose I must resign you."

With a great deal of demonstration the elder took possession of Mary; then, turning to Mr. Delville, he said:

"Is not the Lord good to me? He has given me four loving wives, among them, this, our beautiful little Mary. Ah! I am a happy man, Delville, and truly grateful to the Lord. May He some day be as bounteous to you. How proud you will be then, Mrs. Delville, to be the queen of five or six fair, fruitful wives. I hope that day is not far distant."

He bowed, and walked off smilingly, with his victim on his arm. He felt happy, for he knew he had stung Mrs. Delville. He noted the indignant flush on her cheek, the twitching of her mouth, the look of agony she gave her husband. The sight was happiness to him. How nicely he had punished her for her condemnatory remarks. Silvertung seemed to be clair-audient, so well he knew what people said about him.

"Now, Mary dear, tell me, is not plural marriage the only true, happy marriage? You have experience in both, answer me. Isn't it the only one?"

Mary choked down a sob, and answered, "Yes."

"I knew you would say yes; and we will bring up Elsie a good little saint. We will teach her all the duties, all the virtues becoming to a celestial wife."

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