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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OREANA walked away slowly, her head bent, apparently in deep reverie. Mrs. Delville was right. Oreana was becoming dreamy. She sought solitude, and often laughed softly, then sighed, as if she followed a bright vision that continually escaped her; again, she hummed snatches of sweet melody. When a woman acts in this wise, it may be safely inferred that she is breaking the first commandment. Oreana was no exception, and her religious absorption did not prevent her from enthroning an idol in her heart, before which her soul bowed in worship.

In the long ago, when meditating upon the new gospel, she loved to picture to herself the second Moses, the chief appointed by the Lord. In imagination, she saw him clothed with majesty, crowned with celestial light, the embodiment of all that was great, holy, venerable, and sublime.

Her soul had bowed before him in ideal worship.

But since her arrival in Zion, the spiritual began to give place to the material. Ideal worship merged into actual worship.

As she had been enthralled by the idea, so now she was psychologized by the man. She saw him only as he willed that he should be seen. Thus his ignorance appeared to be wisdom, his coarseness, simplicity, and his animal boldness, God-like strength.

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She had not spoken to him, yet she thought of him continually.

The eye of the serpent fascinated her; and there were none to snatch her from its fatal coils. The delicate intuition, the sensitive purity, the mercy, all that constitutes woman's higher nature, her heaven-appointed guardians against evil, were dead,--killed by the poisonous atmosphere of polygamy and blood atonement.

Pure affection could not shield her; for she had pitilessly sacrificed it when she broke the sacred ties of home, and trampled under foot a lover's true devotion.

Still in a reverie she entered her room, and sat down by the window to dream. Suddenly she started to her feet in glad surprise. She saw her uncle approaching the house accompanied by a gentleman.

Oreana hastily smoothed her hair, and arranged her dress. She was putting the last touches to her toilette when she heard a well-known sonorous voice address Mr. Delville. At the sound, her heart stood still; then, as if to make up for the lost time, it beat as fast again as it should have done, madly propelling the blood through her veins, flushing her cheeks, making her eyes to glow and her lips to quiver. Never before had the sound of a man's voice affected her in this way.

"Oreana, Oreana!" called Mr. Delville; and Oreana, vainly trying to still her heart, entered the room, and literally bowed before her idol.

"President, this is my niece."

"I have heard much in praise of you, Sister Oreana, and for once rumor falls far short of the truth."

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"There now, President," said Mr. Delville, who appeared exceedingly pleased, "don't make the girl vain. I'm sure I thought you were above noticing looks."

"Brother Delville, the exterior is a reflection of the interior. In our sister's beauty I see the soul,--the soul that showed so much faith and heroism during that painful journey decreed by our Lord, not only as a punishment, but also to show of what kind of metal those converts were made. You see I know all about you, Sister Oreana; and I hope you have quite recovered from the hardships."

By this time Oreana had regained her self-possession, and was able to answer without trepidation. The conversation became general. A brusque courtesy distinguished the chief. He appeared much pleased, and often rubbed his hands while he listened to Oreana, whose brilliancy astonished even her friends. The atmosphere of the being deified by her fancy seemed to give her inspiration. She spoke words that glittered and sparkled--bright gems of fantaisie.

At length the visitor rose to go; but he promised to come again soon. He shook hands with the family. The touch of his fingers thrilled Oreana. The serpent watched the effect. Still holding her hand, he looked at her for a few moments, then said:

"Sister Oreana, I have seen you before; the first time about a year ago. Since then, frequently. Have you, ever seen me?"

Oreana blushed. Could she tell him of her fancies, of her ideal worship? No. She hesitated, and was silent.

He did not appear to notice her agitation, but continued as if speaking to himself:

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"Yes, in visions the Lord has shown you to me. A great destiny lies before you. Be faithful: listen not to the ungodly. How wonderful are the ways of the Lord!

"Good-bye, my friends; good-bye, Sister Oreana."

"That bait took finely," said the great man to himself. "A magnificent girl! What a bust, what arms, what lips! What devotion to the cause! You shall be mine, my beauty. Our bridal day is not far distant."

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