- PART SECOND.
- CHAPTER XXXVII. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
|<< chapter 36||< chapter 1||chapter 38 >||chapter conclusion >>|
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
THE arrival of Mrs. Mary Silvertung, and the announcement of dinner, turned all attention from Elsie, and gave her time to compose herself, which was rather a difficult task with so many hopes and fears concealed in her | | 314 heart. The elder took his place at the head of the table, untroubled by his strange relationship to the ladies; a rather complicated relationship which every one must reconcile to his own satisfaction. The Saints never think of such things. "Has not Elsie improved, Mary?" asked the elder.
"Very much," sighed Mary; fearfully gazing upon the daughter whose sacrifice she had come to witness.
Mrs. Mary Silvertung very much changed. She was thinner and weaker, and had a transparent, unreal look, sometimes seen in those whose days are numbered. Something like a halo from a brighter sphere softened the wrinkles and hallowed the dull, pinched features. But it was sad to note how weak, how shrinking, how timid she had grown; for it told of a long and lonely martyrdom, of terrible sufferings--merited, doubtless, yet none the less terrible.
"Why, my dear Sister Silvertung," exclaimed Sister Dinly, "you are not at all jubilant over your daughter's appearance. Look at her. She is quite a beauty, and is good as she is beautiful. Is she not, Elder?"
"Rather wayward at times. Picked up rather a disgraceful acquaintance. But young people must have their follies, so we won't say any more about it, especially as the young man either has left, or is about to leave, the city."
"Oh, Elsie," said her mother, tears springing from her eyes, "I did not think to hear such things of you." Elsie kept silence, although her tingling cheeks showed what she felt.
"Well, don't let us say any more about it. When Elsie is my wife, she will learn better."| | 315
"How long is Sister Mary going to remain with us?" inquired Mrs. Dinly.
"I can't possibly stay more than three or four days, on account of the children."
"Three or four days! Why, that is no time at all. Well, I am going to claim you for one of those days. Say, you spend to-morrow with me. I am going to visit my son at Cottonwood on Tuesday, so come to-morrow. I have nice roams at Sister Simpson's, and she will be very glad to see you. Now, then will you come, you and Elsie?"
The meek woman looked towards her husband. Sister Dinly saw the look.
"The elder and my daughter Lucy must come in the afternoon. We will have a jolly family party."
"All right," said the elder who seemed desirous to be agreeable. "Mary, why don't you accept, with thanks?"
"Well, then it's agreed. We will spend the morning visiting. Oh! by the way Elsie, have you seen Sister Oreana, lately? We must go to see her; she is one of my few old friends," added Mrs. Mary.
"Why, of course; and I never thought of it. Suppose we go there first? She ought always to be ready for callers. I will come here for you a little after nine. Be ready for sure."
"I wish you would excuse me, Sister Dinly," said Elsie, following the instructions to oppose any invitation given by her.
"What for? You ought to be delighted to accompany your mother and Sister Dinly to the Lion House. I suppose you have some other projects, but | | 316 you had better give them up at once. Let me hear of no more excuses. You will go," replied the elder.
Elsie hastily arose, under pretense of waiting on the table, but in reality to conceal her joy.
The greatest difficulty was now overcome. Once at the Bee Hive, she could easily slip through a Side gate, and hurry to the place of meeting.
Dinner over, the entire party, except Sister Dinly, went to the Tabernacle. Elder Silvertung escorted Elsie, while Lucy and Mary walked together. This arrangement gave the elder the satisfaction of making every one miserable. But love defied even the acuteness of Brother Silvertung. In the brush of leaving the Tabernacle; Elsie was able to give a smile and a nod to Stanly, whom she descried in a retired spot. This smile and nod said, "All right, I shall be there." The prospect of speedy deliverance made Elsie feel so happy that she became amiable, even to the elder.
When they reached home, Elsie and her mother were purposely left alone.
The miserable woman had been well tutored. Although her heart recoiled from the idea of this projected marriage, her lips spoke words of suasion to Elsie. No thought of resistance crossed her mind. The will of this man ,was to her the will of God. The misery, the degradation she had brought upon herself by obeying this will, she accepted as a cross laid upon her shoulders by God. To this life of horror she was going to condemn her daughter, still thinking, in her blind superstition, that it was God's ordinance. Elsie felt too elated to dispute with her mother. What was the use? To-morrow she would be free. "Mother, dear, say no more now, my head aches; we will talk this matter | | 317 over some other time. Tell me all about yourself, the children, and Smithville."
Mrs. Mary was nothing loth to change the conversation, and the time that the elder wished to be devoted to the furtherance of his suit, was spent in harmless gossip. By persuasion of the master of the house-hold, Elsie returned to her own room. She gathered up a few trinkets, precious to her youthful heart; among these, the ring so mysteriously received. This done, she went to the window to watch. Perhaps Stanly would pass by. In this she was not mistaken. About nine o'clock the young man came along, looking up at Elsie's window for a last sign. The day had been cloudy, and the evening sky was obscured by dark masses rolling one upon another, giving casual glimpses, in their hurried march, of the young moon, sailing on to the westward horizon. One of these fitful illuminations allowed the lovers to exchange looks. The young man dared not stop; he moved on slowly, looking back upon his love, who waved her handkerchief and watched him until a black rift rushed over the moon, making all dreary darkness.
Still Elsie lingered at the window, watching the silver crescent as it emerged from clouds only to be swallowed up again by the ever-increasing heralds of storm. Already, in the distance, rumbled the thunder; and lights like molten spears darted from out the cloud masses, or played around the mountains. The elements were going to rage fierce war that night. "Poor Stanly," sighed the girl, as she closed the window to keep out the rain.
|<< chapter 36||< chapter 1||chapter 38 >||chapter conclusion >>|