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 XXXII.
MURMURING VOICES.

HOLINESS to the Lord! Under this motto flourished the Zion Co-operative Mercantile Institution,--flourished on the flesh and blood of the poor, flourished upon the tears, the ruin of those it reduced to beggary, for Delville, although the greatest sufferer, was not the only one.

From all parts of the territory the farmers and laborers brought their produce to the Institution. There they exchange it for merchandise; or if they wished money, the Co-op gave them its paper, which was not redeemable any where else--thus the mass of the people became the slaves and victims of the so-called Co-operative Institution. They found themselves growing poorer, for, of course, they could not be hard upon the Lord, although He was rather hard upon them.

Nevertheless, they rejoiced in the Institution; for did it not belong to them ? Was it not the Co-operative, and did not the word Co-operative signify working together. Yes, they must be all working together, and some day everything would come out right.

A writer says: "Any one who wishes to manage the masses, needs only two or three popular, empty words, well tuned and humored; with these he may whistle the people backward and forward, upward and downward, till he is weary, and get upon their backs when he is so."

This assertion is verified by the people whom | | 290 Mormonism has gathered to the basin of the Great Salt Lake. These hard-working, well-meaning, honest, confiding people were whistled over mountains and deserts into an abyss of crime and poverty, by the words: "Saints, apostles, conference, co-operation."

But there were some who perceived the hollowness of these terms. Few in number, as must always be the thinking portion of a community; but strong in courage, these men protested against fraud, raising their voices for the righteous cause in the very midst of the priestly conclave.

Astounded by such audacity, the priests quailed, and the people looked on anxiously; and some ranged themselves with the protestants.

It was not a simple apostasy, but a schism,--schism that threatened the church with the most certain destruction, the death that comes from disintegration.

In the early days the usurpation of Brigham Young and the marriage revelation divided the Church of the Latter Day Saints into the Josephites and Mormons proper; then from the blood of Joseph Morris and his associates (shot by the Mormons because they assumed to have revelations), sprang the sect of the Morrisites. These were not only cut off from the Church, but driven out of the territory; whereas the new schism might be cut off from the Church, but it could not be banished.

The men were rich, powerful in the territory, and known in the world of commerce. The chief had considered them safe, for they were polygamists, and members of the priesthood, and thus bound to the system. But he drove them too hard, and they re- | | MURMURING belled; defied him in his stronghold, and laughed at his anathemas. The people looked on in amazement.

Some thought that the wrath of God would consume the rebellious, but the little band pursued their way quietly, troubled only on one subject: "What to do with their harems." Rather a serious question.

It was expected that Mr. Delville would join the schismatics; but liberty of spirit was lost to him. Indeed, he rather liked 'despotism, provided he could be the despot, or the despot's favorite; and he still hoped that the Church would reinstate him in her favor. The disgrace and loss of property incurred by his non-affiliation with the Co-operative Institution destroyed all his energy. He fretted, he grumbled, he hinted at foul play; but he dared not assert his manhood. He still believed in the teachings of the Church, and he spent many a sleepless night thinking of the curse fulminated against him in the Tabernacle. His wealth was fast disappearing; three large families were dependent upon him, and the means of gaining an income had been taken from him. In such a case, one family often drives a man to desperation, what then, of three? Mr. Delville had not learned the secret of making plural wives profitable. One day, feeling more wretched than usual, he wandered into a saloon. A friend urged him to drink. It was the first time for many years that liquor had passed his lips, and as the fiery element coursed through his veins, the darkness and misery disappeared. Once more he felt rich and powerful; in the cup he found delight. From that day he was doomed, doubly doomed; for his tongue, | | 292 loosed by drink, uttered words of dark and mysterious import. The secrets of the Danites (that none ever mentioned and lived) came freely to his lips.

The schismatic excitement reached Smithville, and brought in Brother Smith. The worthy Saint was one-fifth of a widower. The cantankerous wife--she who had eleven children, and who lived in a barn--had grumbled herself into the grave; so that the good brother thought that he ought to replace her. He wooed Kleena; and Kleena took him out of spite. As courtship is pleasanter than matrimony, it was agreed that the sealing should be deferred until the eve of his departure for Smithville. Every evening the twain might be seen under the shadow of the trees of the Lover's Walk. Now Brother Smith was not very sentimental, and Kleena not distinguished as a conversationalist, and sometimes these promenades became dismally silent.

One evening, as they sauntered along, prosier than usual, Stanly and Elsie passed by, so absorbed in each other, that they never noticed Kleena.

"That's Elsie Lascelle and her beau," said Kleena; "you remember Elsie, don't you?"

Brother Smith answered in the affirmative. In truth, Elsie was a sore spot in his memory. He could not forget that he had asked for her, and had been refused. He also remembered the reason why, and was consequently much surprised about Stanly Delville A few questions, skillfully asked, made him master of the situation. Kleena was only too glad to be able to give interesting information: she never once thought that she was betraying her friend.

Brother Smith was overjoyed at the trick played | | 293 on the elder,--and when Kleena told of the projected elopement, he could not repress a whistle of delight.

But after the joy of the discovery had somewhat subsided, a doubt arose in his mind. Should he, by keeping silent, avenge himself upon the elder for the slight of refusal,--a slight which scarcely merited the name; for the elder had done it very politely, and at the same time gave excellent reasons for so doing,--or should he, by disclosing the plot, take vengeance upon Elsie for the many insults she had offered him, and at the same time be doing a service to the Church.

He did not hesitate long,--the last idea was so decidedly the better one. It would give him the satisfaction of seeing the elder considerably annoyed, of punishing Elsie, and of enhancing his chances of Church preferment.

A wise man was Brother Smith.

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