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forth was nearly unconscious, but the longed-for moisture crept toward the delicate thirsty spongioles, and by one slight contraction of a human muscle, the prosperity of that strange orphan, that banished scion among shrubs, was permanently secured. How much of the Bible's poetry we lose through our ignorance of physical geography! Henceforth to the Lawton blackberry, the cloudless sun, which had shone but to wilt it before, was a guide luring it upward with a golden finger. So the proprietor's furrow, scratched with a mere boot-tip, had instantly changed a curse into a blessing; and the wilting, parching, blasting enemy was in an instant converted to the best of friends. The poor little spindling thorny canes found the sunlight "at peace with them," as the rivulets of water were turned to give them drink. This is but one of the multitudinous, even constant illustrations of some Old Testament statement found among the Mormons, whether they be citizens or agriculturists. Indeed, the whole Mormon polity is only a fresh realization of the elder and original Jewish life.
The freshly arrived Gentile is surprised at the paucity of women in the streets of Salt Lake City, and still more so by the appearance of the few who do manifest themselves. I had expected to find the feminine element largely predominating on the sidewalks of a nation whose essential characteristic is disproportion of the sexes on the woman's side. But the settlements of Colorado (a Territory in which the disproportion in the opposite direction is something quite appalling) are gay with the ornamental portion of the race, compared with the thoroughfares of Mormondom. A"ny sunshiny day in Denver or Central City brings out on the promenade a greater number of women than can be found under the most favorable circumstances in the streets of Salt Lake City. I could only account for this fact by supposing that the institution of the harem, no matter where transplanted nor by what race adopted, inevitably brings with it the jealousies and the rigors of Stamboul; that polygamy and the seclusion of women are fundamentally inseparable.
Such women as appear are a further surprise to the Gentile, by their unobtrusive, unconscious demeanor. Not unnaturally, one expects to find the Mormoness either shamefaced or brazen. I looked for dejected faces, faces that knew, felt, and showed their owners' degradation; or hard, defiant faces, glorying boldly in their shame. Nothing of the kind appeared. My mistake arose through forgetfulness that the social moralities are manufactured; artificial, not natural; man's temporary expediency, not God's eternal law; that shame is merely the regret one feels, discovering himself ridiculously at variance with the usages of the surrounding majority. The poet is right by the' lofty ideal standard (which nobody observes); entirely wrong by the practical standard (on which the whole world shapes itself), for, whenever the high ideal man gets grouped with others into a community, there " honor and shame " do "from condition rise," and, indeed, rise from nothing else. A public opinion, isolated from all others on one hand by a mountain system six hundred miles wide, and on the other hand by a desert of equal width, accepts of polygamy as the normal state of the race. Thus, on all principles of social morality, I, who had been looking to see Mormon women blush and drop their veils as they passed me, should have stayed in my room at
Townsend's, with my cheeks crimsoned by the thought that I was a degraded monogamist! In fact, the women appeared like the respectable class of seamstresses common in any Eastern city, conscious not only of no degradation, but of no singularity. A person ignorant of the system under which they lived, would never have looked at them a second time.
After getting thoroughly rested from our sleepless ride of six hundred miles, we gladly accepted the guidance of one of our newly acquired acquaintances, and went out to overhaul the lions of Salt Lake City.
One of the first places which we visited was the Theatre, or Opera-house. This was a comparatively recent building, but engaged our earliest attention from the fact that its interior was at the present moment lively with preparations for the coming Independence Ball to be given by the President. We were now at the end of June or early in July. My diary does not tell me the exact date, but it could not have been later than the first day of the latter month.
The building was situated on one of the streets running parallel to that Main (or vulgwiter "Whiskey" ) Street on which Townsend's fronted. It was situated at a trifling distance from the presidential mansions, and belonged to Brigham Young, who had erected it not only with a view to furnishing accommodation for the amusements of his people as a state expediency, but as a business speculation. I am far enough from any inclination to state this fact as a slur. Brigham Young has no less right to make money than any private citizen; and it is creditable to his tact and foresight to have initiated an enterprise which abundantly conduces to the welfare of the Church, while it acts for his own emolument. Here, once for all, I desire to record my conviction that if, instead of harmonizing, as in the present instance, the two interests of church advancement and selfish aggrandizement happened to clash, Brigham Young would not hesitate the fraction of a second after perceiving the fact to put his own interests under foot, and conserve those of abstract Mormonism.
Without any such knowledge ef the classics as might have informed Brigham Young how the Roman ruler kept his people good-natured by bread and circus acting, the remarkable master of this remarkable nation, by his own shrewd sense and clear intuitions, from the beginning understood the vast efficiency of amusements as an element in the enginery of a rigorous government. While the "Social Hall "(a small saloon like those devoted to concerts and lectures at the East) seemed sufficient for popular accommodation, the head of the "Latter-day Saints " gave not only the prestige of his approval and monetary aid to the institution which provided his people with innocent recreation, but contributed his actual presence to their sports, and (what was a still more perilous experiment, but abundantly justified by the result) personally joined in these sports, leading the dance, like Napoleon at the Tuileries.
When the rapid growth of the population demanded a wider area for the hours of its unbending, the President, taking the initiative as in all other popular movements, condescended to become the builder and proprietor of the first nominally constituted theatre or opera-house erected within the Mormon dominions. The accounts of this enterprise belong to his personal ledger, and its use is granted to any organization calculated to further its purpose, at a rate merely equivalent to the interest on his expenditure in building and keeping it in repair. I have spoken of it as tending to his aggrandizement, but in justice I should substitute for that statement the assertion that it does not tend to his loss.
We found the building a very plain one. Its faqade was covered with a neutral-tinted stucco, and entirely without ornamentation, unless a surface broken by simple pilasters be considered as such.
The front doors were closed. It was still early in the afternoon, and we visited the theatre quite as much for the sake of becoming acquainted with the people whom we were likely to find engaged in the overseeing or handiwork of its preparation for the approaching festival, as for a good view of itself. We passed by a narrow side-alley to the rear, and entered through a dark, tortuous passage, such as leads through the hinder part of any theatre at the East.
We found the stage finely commodious, less so than that of the New York Academy of Music, but a trifle larger than that of Njblo's. Its area was not so well distributed as that of the latter theatre, the breadth to a certain extent being sacrificed to the depth; but the happy calculation or chance which made Niblo's stage as nearly perfect in its proportions as any in the world, cannot be expected everywhere, — even among an inspired race like the Modem Theocracy. No Mormon doubts the fact that the plan of the Tabernacle and the Temple have been revealed to Brigham Young, as was the pattern of the former edifice among the Jews to Moses; but I suppose that even the most enthusiastic theocrat does not expect to