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 XIII.
JOURNEYING TO TOWN.

OFTEN had Elsie pictured to herself a trip to town. Next to escape, it was her most cherished desire, and many an hour had she spent painting every detail of the trip in the most brilliant hues of youthful imagination.

How different was the reality! Separated from her mother, in the power of the man she hated, knowing his secret designs, and dreading that this trip was only a pretext for the better furtherance of his scheme,--the girl suffered tortures. How she envied the birds, and the lizards! they all seemed so free and happy.

There was no hope, unless Brother Menly was a true prophet and God would help her.

It was a most miserable journey. The only relief was the memory of the tramp. Of him Elsie thought often, and always as a friend. From the moment she started at seeing him watching her departure, her mind interested itself in him. This interest was very much intensified by his second appearance upon the road. Evidently he had awaited them. For what purpose? Why had he gazed upon her so intently? Would he meet her again?

These problems excited Elsie's natural curiosity; her thoughts became less somber, less concentrated upon self.

The elder was in a very happy mood. At first he tried to conciliate Elsie by polite attentions, but her gloomy sadness repelled him. He very naturally at- | | 203 tributed this sadness to the separation from her mother--a sorrow that would soon wear off, if let alone; and, as he disliked the role of sympathizer, he soon left Elsie to her own thoughts, and amused himself with reflections upon his actual prosperity and in projecting schemes for its increase.

Everything went well with this zealous servant of the Lord. If sometimes the doom pronounced against him on Mountain Meadows affrighted his memory, he soon laughed away the superstitious dread, for blessings, not curses, seemed to be his portion. Riches, power, and a numerous progeny, were his. What more could a Saint desire?

The idea that now possessed him in regard to Elsie promised to afford him much amusement and pleasure.

To own her in spite of her dislike, to break that proud spirit, would indeed be delightful. However, he was in no hurry. He would wait to see whether her beauty would be worth the trouble. Then, too, she must receive some little accomplishment. He could afford an ornamental wife.

So in silence they rode along, the man laughing, the girl sighing,--on towards Zion; both indifferent to the grand beauties of the mountain scenery through which they passed; one blinded by sensual egotism, the other by sorrow.

But when they emerged from the mountain-pass on to the plain where stands the city of Zion, Elsie forgot all in ecstasy as she gazed upon the glorious scene before her.

At her feet lay the city, the oasis in the desert; its tree-lined streets, its blooming orchards, looked in the distance, like a fairy lake of amber-tinted green and | | 204 silvery gray; upon it floated masses of purple, pink, and white foam, out of which rose the buildings, like so many islets. A gray belt of desert encircled the city, enhancing, by contrast, its beauteous verdure. Away in the distance, the waters of the great Salt Lake gleamed in the sunlight like a golden mirror, reflecting the savage beauty of the cedar heights; while around on every side, arose, in silent majesty, the snow-clad peaks of the Wasatch.

The traveler, satiated with nature's loveliness, would have declared it a scene of surpassing beauty. To unsophisticated Elsie, it was one of heavenly splendor. Words died on her lips; a gentle sadness, akin to heavenly joy, took the place of despair.

But the beauteous scene began to fade. Mrs. Lucy Silvertung received Elsie somewhat ungraciously; and the first night spent in town was as miserable as the preceding ones.

But the next morning Mrs. Oreana, the reigning favorite, called to see the child of her old friend. She was so much pleased with Elsie that she carried her off to the Beehive House for a few days, and then insisted that Elsie should take lessons with the "royal" children. When Mrs. Lucy saw how attentive the powers were to Elsie, she deemed it best to be gracious; and when Elsie returned from the "royal" house, Aunt Lucy met her in the most affectionate manner, and Elsie suddenly found herself of very great importance.

The elder came and went, without hinting his intentions by either word or sign. Elsie began to think she must have been mistaken. Perhaps it was a feint on the part of the elder to save her from | | 205 Brother Smith, without giving that worthy direct offense. The more Elsie thought of this the more she felt certain it was so. How easy it is to believe any thing that we earnestly desire!

Once persuaded of her mistake, Elsie commenced to enjoy the pleasant life opening to her.

In her new home she saw none of the horrors of Mormonism. The house was pretty and nicely furnished, the table well supplied, and Mrs. Lucy elegantly dressed.

Elsie's wardrobe underwent a great change. The sun-bonnet disappeared altogether, much to Elsie's delight. Her new dresses were various and tasteful; her friends gave her numerous presents, and for the first time she knew the pleasure of possessing ribbons, trinkets, and pretty things.

Then her lessons delighted her. She was freed from toil, and could walk when she pleased, read, study, or play.

Often, indeed, the tears would flow at the thought of her mother, and her cheek would flush at the cruel injustice of polygamy. He heart would yearn for her old friend Brother Menly, whose wise counsels had so often befriended her, the friend whom no one could replace, not even Mrs. Oreana, who had inspired Elsie with the most enthusiastic devotion. Still Elsie was young, her heart was buoyant, her life pleasant. Therefore it was impossible to be unhappy.

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