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 IX.
KLEENA ON PRINCIPLE.

WHEN Elsie reached home, she found the women all ready to commence the day's labors. The cows waited to be milked; children and chickens demanded their breakfast, and other household duties that are never done, because every day brings a repetition.

There is a monotony about household and farm work, as generally performed, which is directly at variance with the human mind; and here, no doubt, lies the secret of the dislike that many of active mentality have to this kind of labor. The house drudge or the farm laborer becomes as mere machine, automatically going round in the same narrow circle. All pleasure, all charm, all beauty is excluded; and the mind atrophies or rebels according to its force.

Elsie rebelled. Her spirit protested. Now for the first time she blessed labor, for it prevented her from thinking.

In the afternoon Kleena ran in, all smiles.

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"Elsie, come into the orchard; I'm dying for a talk."

"I will, Kleena, as soon as I can get this baby to sleep. I have been trying to get him off for the last half hour."

"Well, I don't wonder. You look so awful glum you would scare any baby. Give him to me. I'll get him to sleep in a minute. I'm just bursting with news. Now, little screecher, just you go to sleep."

Babies always did as Kleena told them, and this one was soon asleep.

"Now, Elsie, come along where no one can hear us, because it is secrets, you know."

The girls stole away in the orchard, Elsie trembling all the while, afraid to speak lest her secret should escape.

"Well," grumbled Kleena, "you're the queerest girl. You don't even look curious, nor ask me what it is. If it wasn't that I am good, I wouldn't tell you. Can you guess?"

"Going to be married?"

"Well now, you did come pretty near it. But 'taint that exactly. But I have a beau. Just guess who. A real serious beau."

"Tell me, Kleena" (pronounced Kleenay). "I'm not good at guessing."

"Oh! he is a grand beau--way up--quite high-toned. Just think. Brother Smith."

"Oh, Kleena! that horrid thing."

"Well, he ain't so very handsome; but who cares for beauty in a man? He is better'n handsome, he's rich; and they say he will be a bishop 'fore he dies. Now, mother says that in our country a bishop is a mighty great man, who would never even look at the | | 189 likes of me; and just think, me being the wife of a bishop."

"But he has four wives!"

"All the better. Don't you see he will be ever such a grand man in the other world, and wives come in there for a share of the grandeur."

"Then you are going to marry him."

"Well, now, that isn't certain. He hasn't asked me yet; but he will, for he is so awful polite, and talks so beautifully about the salvation of my soul--and of my pretty eyes, and teeth--them's sure symptoms of a proposal. But now I want to talk over matters. You have an awful lot of ideas, and I'm rather jumbled atween the wish to get up in the world, and principle."

"You should choose principle, Kleena. But I did not know you bothered yourself about principles."

"Well, I don't generally. Let those who make 'em do that. Howsumever, I do think that families shouldn't be broken up; that you should stick to yer own. Now, you see my sister and cousin are both married to a pretty nice man. They are as happy as birds. He's pretty well-to-do, and he is going to build another house so that they may each have one for their very own; not that they want to live apart, for they are just so happy. Well, sister and cousin think that I ought to be the third wife, and I think so too. It would be such a pity to let such a nice man as Brother Gibson go out of the family. Now, that's my principle, Elsie, and you see it goes right agin my prospects. There's Brother Leeson, too, an actual bishop, he's rather sweet, but not quite so far gone as Brother Smith. Now, give us your opinion; don't forget the principle. Come now, speak out."

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"Oh, don't ask me, Kleena. I hate it all. I don't think there should be any plural marriage."

"Why, you little apostate, you're going right agin God's revelation."

"I can't help it. There's brother Menly, he never had but one wife."

"He is an apostate."

"Well, there are several more we know of."

"Yes, but they won't have no glory in the next world; besides, it's a commandment."

"Well, if it is right, why should it be so hard upon the women? They are God's children as well as the men."

Sister Leeson says it is hard on women everywhere, and that we are much happier than the Gentiles, who will be all swept off the earth in a few years. Them's her very words, and she knows, for the President says she's a good saint--a mother in Israel. But now, tell me that to do. There's Brother Leeson, great glory, but not quite sure; Brother Smith, less glory, but sure, and Sister's husband, on principle."

"If I were you, Kleena, I would stick to principle. There's mother calling me; I must go in.

"Thank you for your advice, Elsie, and in return I will speak to Sister Leeson about you. That's a bad spirit you've got."

Elsie tossed her head defiantly and told Kleena to mind her own business.

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