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 XXXIV.
AN UNEXPECTED FRIEND.

A SLOW, weary hour passed. Lucy talked a little with her pet boy, and Elsie pondered over her fate.

Suddenly, a cheery voice broke the silence. It was Sister Dinly's voice.

Perhaps we ought to inform the reader that Sister Dinly could not forgive her husband for cheating her out of the privilege of giving him a wife of her choosing. The country became too narrow a sphere for her activity, and she found herself often called to town upon Church business.

Her husband never objected to these calls. To tell the truth, her absence was often eagerly desired, espec- | | 302 ially by Mrs. Dinly number two, who liked her queen better at a distance.

One of these business calls brought Sister Dinly to town at the present juncture; and she took up her abode with her dear, dear friend, Sister Simpson.

"Why, I declare you all look as solemn as owls; here Spencer, come and kiss your grandmother."

"Can't; I am to tell on Elsie, and she won't do nothing, so I won't get candy."

"Elsie is a very naughty girl; but see, I have brought you some candy, in a cart, drawn by a big, shaggy dog, with a bell on its neck."

Spencer forgot everything in delight over his new toy, and the candy. Still, father might bring him some also, so he still kept an eye upon Elsie; but the glance was rather doubtful.

"And now, how is it, Lucy, I find you looking so glum? Elder going to take another wife?"

"You have guessed it pretty well. I should think he had enough."

"Yes, four are enough for one man to keep; but there, one can't keep count upon 'em. Just look at my husband, after all I had done, to go and cheat me out of my rights. But you can't complain of that, Lucy, for you ain't the first."

"Anyway, I thought I should be the last."

"So did I, child, or I wouldn't have given you to him."

"You need not worry about it; as far as this marriage is concerned, Aunt Lucy shall be the last," said Elsie.

"Why, what have you to say about it, little one?"

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"Everything, since I am the proposed victim," retorted Elsie, bitterly.

"You!" exclaimed the old lady; "is this true, Lucy?"

"Yes," was the sullen answer.

"Of course the elder can do as he pleases, and he couldn't have made a better choice. Elsie must feel quite flattered."

"Flattered! you mean insulted. Have the women here lost all self-respect, that they are pleased with degradation? I am not,--and I will kill myself rather than become that man's wife."

Elsie paused, trembling with excitement.

"Hey day, what a spirit we have!"

"She talks fine now, but she will change her tone when it comes to the point," remarked Lucy, who from experience knew it was no easy matter to resist the elder.

"Rebellious spirits, be calm," said Sister Dinly; "I didn't come here to listen to such talk. I came to tell you the news; "and she branched off into a rich piece of gossip about the apostates, who in their new profession of faith were as much puzzled what to do with their many wives as a newly-converted African chief.

The lady was in the midst of her story when the elder reappeared.

"Why, Sister Dinly, how do you do?"

"Salubrious, thank you. But la, now, allow me to congratulate you the very first thing. Really, elder, you have excellent taste."

"Of course, or I should not be your son-in-law."

"The dear man, he just knows how to flatter; but I can't let you interrupt my story."

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The old lady exerted herself to be piquant, and her audience laughed, even to Elsie. The story or the laugh seemed to have restored a better feeling. The elder saw a friend go by, and hurried out to speak with him. Lucy went to the kitchen, and Spencer, relived, rushed into the garden to play. Sister Dinly and Elsie were left alone.

Immediately Sister Dinly began to act strangely. She looked out of the window, then out of the door; when fully satisfied that no eavesdropper lingered near, she came up to Elsie with a note in her hand.

"Little one, read this quickly, then destroy it. I will watch that no one surprise us."

Elsie took the paper. It was Stanly's note. It said:

"I have everything ready for escape. To-morrow morning at half-past ten leave your house--you will certainly be able to find a way. Walk quickly to the Hot Springs road; there father will meet you in a buggy; he will drive you to Ogden. It will be less suspicious than for me to do so. I will go on to-night and have everything ready. Sister Dinly is our friend."

With a beaming face Elsie concealed the note.

"It will never do for you to look like that. You will be found out sure. Look glum. Remember, my dear, that you must play fox when you live with foxes. Now, you can trust in me. I have vowed, for reasons of my own, that the elder shan't marry you. The wretch shall find that a woman is a match for him. Stanly wants you to--well, we know; better not pronounce dangerous words--suppose we say, take a walk--he wants you to take a walk to-morrow. Are you ready?"

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"Ready? Yes, I am ready now; but how can I get out? That man watches me--and mother is coming. He will make another jailer of her."

"There, there, don't I know all about it? I shall manage it beautifully. All I ask of you is to oppose any plan of mine that is laid before the elder."

"How good you are, Sister Dinly. How can I thank you?"

"You needn't thank me; haven't I reasons of my own for getting you off? Then an elopement is much more exciting than a wedding. I haven't had such fun for a long time. But don't tell me any of the particulars. The less I know the better, or I shall get into a peck of trouble."

The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Elsie's mother. The pleasure of this meeting was a good excuse for the light in Elsie's face.

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