- PART SECOND.
- CHAPTER XXXV. PLANS.
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AFTER the departure of Elsie and the elder, Stanly remained motionless at the trysting place. But the calm was only exterior; a cataclysm swept over his heart and brain. In a brief quarter of an hour emotions had become passions, the smouldering flame a volcano.
At length prudence and common sense succeeded in restoring a calmer state of mind. The young man shook himself as if to see that he was all there; then he began walking back and forth, his brain grew steadier, thought clearer.| | 306
Something must be done, and that quickly. Waiting until all was ready was out of the question now. Elsie must be saved, and his father and himself must leave the territory. War was declared; the first attack made; the final blow might come at any moment. But how do it? Now that his relations with Elsie were known, it would be impossible to speak with her. If he attempted to carry her off, any one they met on the road would suspect and betray them.
Slowly a plan suggested itself. He would go away first alone, as if be had renounced hope; his father should follow with Elsie. Vailed, she might pass for one of Delville's wives, The more Stanly thought over the plan, the more feasible it appeared.
If the old man would only consent! The old man might object to leave in such a hurried manner: if he did, why he certainly would not object to take Elsie to Ogden, so that she would be saved. But there was not a moment to be lost. The success of the plan depended upon its being carried out immediately. Late as it was, he must visit his father. Stanly tried to remember where the old gentleman was likely to be found--a difficult question when a man has three homes; at least, so Stanly found it, for twice he was disappointed. At length he found Mr. Delville at the house of his first wife, where he had fixed up a temporary office, secured by bolts, locks and bars.
The room Mr. Delville had dubbed office, was a wing of the house having a separate entrance. It was lighted by two windows; the front one looked on to a porch, and from this window, two panes were missing. An inner door communicated with the house through a narrow, dark hall. A couch bed, a large writing- | | 307 table, an old fashioned arm-chair, two ordinary seats completed the furniture of the room. Here the ruined man spent most of his time looking over the ledgers, and account books of his once flourishing business.
Since the reception of the friendly warnings, Mr. D. had put bolts and bars upon the doors, and carefully restored the fastenings of the windows; but the missing panes were not replaced.
Stanly found some difficulty in obtaining admission.
"To tell you the truth, Stanly," said the old man, "I'm getting afraid. Old friends give me strange hints and warnings; however, I have nearly everything prepared for"--here he pointed towards Ogden. "I can't utter the word, Stanly. It goes awfully hard. Then too, the women might hear."
"You are right; for the women are the slaves of the Church. But I am glad you are preparing, for I came to urge you to go immediately."
Then Stanly made a confidant of his father, the result of which we have already seen.
Mr. Delville was to be ready to leave Monday, Stanly preceding him Sunday night; taking the line of the almost finished railroad, so as to avoid any comments. Stanly had work on the railroad.
The great difficulty was to communicate with Elsie; but Stanly felt assured that this would be overcome.
"It seems mean to leave the women and their families," said Delville.
"I don't see that you could do them any good by staying; in fact, not so much as by going. Each one has a house, and you can send them money."
"That is so, and the sale of the farm will enable me to leave them some money."| | 308
"Don't give it to them in any such way that they will surmise your intentions."
So fearful had Stanly become, so anxious was he, lest his plans should fail. All that night he could not sleep. He lay awake, trying to devise some means of speaking with Elsie. But the morning found him still perplexed. To approach the house would be to spoil everything; for he knew he could not do it, without being seen by the elder. Dare he trust any one to take a note to her? It was a question he could not answer. Perhaps opportunity, that had often befriended him heretofore, might favor him now. Possessed with this thought, he went out and walked up and down the streets.
As he was passing by the house of Brother Simpson, he saw Mrs. Dinly in the garden. His remembrance of this lady was a very pleasant one. During her previous visit, she had shown great favor to him.
"Why, Stanly Delville, I'm so glad to see you: come in and tell me all the news. I've only just arrived, haven't yet been to see the folks. How is Elsie? Why, you don't even smile at that name: what is the matter?"
"A great deal is the matter. It is all up with my love."
"Why, Elsie hasn't refused ye, has she?"
"No; but the elder chooses to take her himself."
"Stanly Delville, no joking with me."
"It is no joke: I only wish it was. Mrs. Dinly, it is true. I--"
"You mean to say, that Elder Silvertung wants to marry another wife?"
"He does, and his choice is Elsie."| | 309
"And she gives you up?"
"No, indeed! Poor girl, she is in despair."
"And you stand idly by?"
"What can I do?"
"What can you do! Why, run away with her. Stanly Delville, this marriage shall never take place, if I can help it. When I gave my Lucy to Silvertung, it was distinctly understood, that she was to be the last. That is next best to being first. No betweens for me, or any of mine. Now, look here, boy, if you will try to carry her off,--why, bless me! here's the railroad within thirty miles of us, just a nice drive; it will be very easy, and I will help you; and if we two can't spoil the elder's fun,--why then we ain't of much account."
Stanly looked at the old lady as if he would read her very soul.
"Oh, you can look at me as much as you like,--no deception here. I don't intend my Lucy's nose shall be put out of joint: that's what's the matter, young man. You may always trust people when your interest is theirs."
"We can run away to-morrow if you will see Elsie, and arrange it."
"Write it, Stanly. I don't want to compromise myself by knowing all about your plans. Come into my room and write it."
"But can you get Elsie out of the house to-morrow morning between 9 and 10 A.M.?"
"Yes, I promise that."
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