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and jointed into sentences, on the lattice of a shady veranda. And when she is gone,—look at the vines and the flower-beds,— then there is no need of crape on the door-knob. As they wilt, the bees come again: "There's no woman within —no woman — no woman within any more."
The nearest approach to the New England standard which I saw in Utah, was Kimball's, the next station but one, as I have said, to Salt Lake City. The driver promised to be as long as possible in changing horses, that I might seek admission to the house —'• a cozy white cottage, low, broad, and roomy, with those architectural after-thoughts, known as wings and leantos, which mark the increase of family and prosperity as the growth of a tree has its memorandum in the rings of its bark. This admission I sought, not from any desire to take Time by the forelock in my exploration of the Mormon's domestic concerns, but because the house looked like one where I could get bread and milk. Its outside had a promise of scoured whiteoak shelves within; of dazzling pans, golden cream, and snowy loaves.
My knock at the door was answered with an immediate " Come in!" I found myself in a sunny, lowceiled sitting-room, where a fine-looking matron, somewhere in her well-preserved fifties, sat talking to a pair of very tidy and prepossessing young women, both under twenty-five, and each holding a healthy baby.
I frankly stated my case at once. I was an Overland traveller who had lived on cured provisions and hard-tack so long that a slice of fresh bread and butter, with a bowl of sweet "morning's milk," undenuded of the cream, would not only insure my gratitude, but the regular market price, left to their own quotation.
The matronly lady instantly arose and went to the dairy closet. The material for my satisfaction was before me in a few seconds, with the snowiest of damask towels beneath it. I felt new life with every bite and table-spoonful. I felt the dust washed out of me, body and soul. A still further freshening occurred to me as I looked at these pretty young mothers and their babies. I made up a pretty little idyl about them. The mothers were former school acquaintances—cousins—something of that sort. They had been married about the same time; by a pleasant turn of Fortune's wheel they had been brought to be near neighbors in the same settlement; and now, as I had seen at the East so often, one of the pretty young mothers had run in to match babies with the other, and prattle out their hearts' sweet foolishness without risk of being misunderstood—talking lovely rigmaroles of baby-talk to their "itile pessus tittens" with fullest sympathy from each other and benignant grandma.
The sight of them, after six hundred miles of sterile ice and stone, exhilarated me like a generous ladleful of punch. "Those are very pretty babies!" said I, addressing the matron in all sincerity of heart.
"Yes, I think so," she replied; "but you must allow for a grandmother's partiality."
I replied that no such allowance was necessary to me, and continued, "These young ladies are your daughters, then?"
"They are my daughters-in-law, sir," returned the fine-looking matron.
"So you have both your sons and their wives with you? Indeed, you are to be envied, with such a delightful home about you in other respects."
"These babies, sir," answered the matron gravely, "are the children of my son, now abroad on the Lord's business—my son, Mr. Kimball, after whom this place is called. These young ladies are his wives, and I am the first wife of one you have often ere this heard of in the States, — Heber Kimball, second President, and next to our prophet Brigham Young in the government of Utah."
Why should I blush? Nobody else did. The babies crowed as they were tossed ceiling-ward in the maternal fashion, not even paying the Gentile intruder the compliment of getting scared by him. The young mothers had heard the whole conversation; yet Eve before the fall could not have been more innocent of shame. Mrs. Heber Kimball showed no sign of knowing that I could be surprised by anything she told me. Yet I, a cosmopolitan, a man of the world, liberal to other people's habits and opinions to a degree which had often subjected me to censure among strictarians in the Eastern States, blushed to my very temples, and had to retire into the privacy of my tipped milk-bowl to screen the struggle by which I restoi'ed my moral equipoise. I was beyond measure provoked at myself. Ever since we left Green River I had known I was in Utah. I had been thinking about Mormon peculiarities all day long; yet the first apparition to my senses of that which had absorbed my intellect, took me entirely aback!
If the three observed my confusion, they had sufficient tact not to show it. I think that Mrs. Heber Kimball the first must undoubtedly have understood my position, and that the plain straightforward statement which she made, was for the purpose of landing me at one throw in the midst of polygamic ideas. She did not ask my name; made no inquiries regarding my companions, who were stretching their legs outside of the cottage gate, rejecting all invitations on my part to come in and share my bread and milk with me. She was kind and pleasantly interested in my well-being to the extent of this provision, but as nonchalant of whatever spirit I might cherish toward Utah as one can well imagine. Without the least braggadocio or offensive protrusion of our mutual and radical differences, she nevertheless set me at once upon the true basis, and let me know that polygamy was the law of the land where 1 now trod, and she and her own as firm in the faith as I in- monogamy, without anything more to be ashamed of in her creed than the Vicar of Wakefield or Horace Greeley in theirs.
Had I never seen anything more of polygamy than I met here, I should have gone my way feeling puzzled as to whether the system might not have possessed a certain advantage for people arrived at one particular stage, of civilization, akin to that which it bestowed upon the Old Testament Jews. I had no doubt that it would be a frightfully retrograde step for the society whence I came, but that decided nothing in regard to these Mormons. On the ladder of civilization, round number two would be degradation to the foot planted on. number three; but it would be as great an elevation to the stauder on number one.
Mrs. Heber Kimball the first, though rapidly nearing her grand climacteric, was the finest-looking woman whom I saw in Utah. In the Highlands of Scotland she might have been Helen McGregor; in Palmyra, Zenobia; in France, Joan of Arc. She was considerably above woman's middle size; her hair, slightly grizzled, was dressed neatly back beneath a plain, snow-white cap; her figure was erect, and the embodiment of strength and endurance; her eyes, which seemed a bluish gray, were fearless, and looked straightforward; her mouth was almost masculine in its firmness; her nose a finely cut aristocratic Roman; her manner perfectly self-poised, replete with influential and winning dignity, and expressive of a powerful will, strong for the control of her own faculties, as well as the whole nature of other people; her voice pleasant, yet commanding; her general expression that of pride without self-consciousness, and courage untainted by braggadocio. She was a woman to make you stop and look back after her in a crowded thoroughfare; she would have arrested your attention an}-\vhere, on Broadway, the Strand, or the most thronged portion of the Parisian Boulevards. I did not wonder when, days afterwards, in talking with her husband, who knew nothing of my previous meet> ing with her,—since she was only visiting her daughters-in-law at the time I saw her, — Heber Kimball told me that not only in time, but in ability, she was the very first of his wives—the wife to whom he most deferred, and in whose wisdom he had the most implicit confidence. I was fully prepared for that assertion; but I confess that my credulity was at first nearly staggered, when I heard that her conversion to Mormonism was prior to her husband's, and that, in plain terms, he was her convert to all the tenets of Joe Smith and the later dogma of polygamy—last of all conceivable doctrines for whose championship you