AS PORTRAYED IN
WORKS OF FICTION
Stephen W. Fullom
The Great Highway
(London: 3rd, combined ed., 1854)
G R E A T H I G H W A Y:
A Story of the World's Struggles.
S. W. FULLOM,
AUTHOR OF "THE MARVELS OF SCIENCE," ETC. ETC.
With Illustrations on Steel by John Leech.
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in our philosophy." -- Shakspeare.
G. ROUTLEDGE & CO. FARRINGDON STREET.
NEW YORK: 18 BEEKMAN STREET.
Here they came in contact with the great American heresy, which was now agitating the West. The Mormons, on their first migration to this part of the Union,
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 225
had settled in Missouri, but after much contention and bloodshed, had been expelled from that State, and taken refuge in Illinois. A beautiful plain on the banks of the Mississippi, abounding in every product of nature, had seemed like a new Canaan to the miserable wanderers, as they traversed the wide, pathless solitudes in search of a resting-place. It was instantly hailed as the spot at which the Saints were to await the coming of the Messiah; and a special revelation to Joe Smith confirmed the general impression, giving directions for the construction of the settlement. A hill sloping back from the river, with a gem-like islet in its front, was designated as the site of a city, and the surrounding lands were divided among the faithful, in lots proportioned to their resources. Instructions were given for laying out the city, which, among other buildings, was to contain a temple, a second Mecca, to be regarded as the centre of worship and holiness, as well as a large boarding-house, for the accommodation of strangers, and at which Joe Smith was to be permanently boarded and lodged at the expense of the community. A body-guard was also ordered to be raised for Joe, who was appointed mayor of the city, and president of the whole settlement, at the same time that he was invested with the command of the army; and being previously high-priest and prophet, the supreme authority, spiritual and temporal, was thus consolidated in his person.
The city rose like magic, as if the Divine hand had indeed given an impulse to the builders, but, in fact, it was but the impulse of fanaticism. In the centre stood the temple, a superb structure, though not transcending in magnificence that of Solomon, as the Mormons arrogantly boasted. Ten thousand souls formed the population of the city, which received the name of Nauvoo, or
226 THE GREAT HIGHWAY.
Beautiful; and twenty thousand agriculturists located on the plain. The community now numbers nearly half a million, and forms, in a new territory, one of the confederated States of the Union.
The arch-impostor who originated the delusion, was a native of the State of New York, of obscure extraction, and possessing few of the endowments usually associated with the commission of a prophet. His character, indeed, like his success, is an enigma, and, as well as his capacity, was marked by some singular contradictions. Choosing Mahomet for his model, his institution is, after all, but a Brummagem production, transparent to the most casual observer. It is possible that the Arabian seer may have brought himself to believe in his own credentials, inasmuch as he sought to supersede idolatry by the worship of the one true God; but no such plea can be urged in behalf of Joe Smith, whose great object was the exaltation of himself. What he has taught, he taught knowingly, wilfully, and deliberately, with a full knowledge that he was a charlatan and a knave. The one motive apparent from the beginning of his career, is self-aggrandizement, gain, care for his own safety, his own ease, comfort, and enjoyment. His success probably surprised no one so much as himself, and though he was not made for such a position, yet, by drawing out his innate energy and will, the position, to a certain extent, rendered him equal to its requirements. This showed force, not grasp of mind, though he was not wanting in a certain Yankee shrewdness and cunning, almost amounting to subtlety. His language was homely, but clear and forcible, and now and then, characterised by a certain quaintness, which had a very telling effect. He would strike down an enemy with a sarcasm, more effectually than could be done by a blow; and blows, in truth (though he laid claim to success as a
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 227
pugilist), were not his favourite resource. He seems to have wished for preeminence in every vocation, and aspired to be at once a general, a publican, a prize-fighter, a law-giver, and a prophet. At times, too, like Cromwell, he could descend to be a buffoon; and, like Nero, played the fiddle -- not indeed while Rome was burning, but while the voice of humanity was crying to Heaven against his Gomorrah.
Such was the being whose highest notion of religion was to invest all things in a mantle of materiality -- to clothe the Most High, whose glory the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain, in the form, the flesh, and the PASSIONS of man; to efface from our nature all that is pure, virtuous, and good; and reduce the holiest things to the level of his own base, vulgar, sordid, wicked soul. To what have we sunk, when such a prophet can find disciples; when a profligate in morals, a defaulter in trade, a blasphemer of religion, openly preaching all these horrors, can niche his unholy image in the shrine of the human heart!
The people of Illinois naturally regarded the immigration of the Mormons as an intrusion, and contemplated with abhorrence the naturalization of the heresy on their soil. Such pretensions as those of the Saints, paraded with all the arrogance of success, were not calculated to allay these feelings, but rather tended to heighten and confirm them, and the rugged backwoodsman, with passions and prejudices easily aroused, began to look upon the Mormons as personal enemies, while he knew them to be heretics and reprobates. The disciples of Joe, on the other hand, defied their enmity, and, to show how lightly they regarded it, appeared in arms to court attack. The Mormon militia, numbering about two thousand men, assembled on grand parade at Nauvoo, and were passed in
228 THE GREAT HIGHWAY.
review by General Joe Smith, attended by a brilliant staff, and surrounded by his body-guard, which, assuming the name of "Danites," or "Destroying Angels," swore to maintain and enforce all his acts. Such a display created the greatest excitement throughout the State, and but one feeling of indignation against the Mormons pervaded all classes.
At this juncture a man named Higbee, a seceder from the sect, brought before the Municipal Court of Nauvoo a charge against Joe Smith, exposing the infamy and flagrant wickedness of his life, but the Aldermen, being all Mormons, and Joe himself the presiding judge, the case was, of course, immediately quashed. A Nauvoo newspaper, however, had the temerity to repeat the charge, supporting it by affidavit, and other evidence, very difficult to rebut; but free discussion was not a thing which the Prophet liked, except when it was on his own side, and, therefore, the "Expositor" as the paper was called, was ordered to be suppressed, which was not only done, but to intimidate others, the office was burnt to the ground, while the proprietors were obliged to take refuge in the neighbouring city of Carthage, where they demanded redress from the authorities of the State.
It was on the day following the riot that a party were assembled in a large room of Nauvoo Mansion, the boarding-house before mentioned, where strangers, as well as Mormons, found accommodation and entertainment. The assemblage comprised both men and women, several in evening-dress (such is the dandyism of the new creed), though others wore the everyday garb of farmers, with, here and there, a little addition of finery. A quadrille was being danced, in which nearly all the company joined, and a spirited strain from a violin furnished an appropriate accompaniment.
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 229
The fiddler was the most prominent figure in the scene. Lolling, rather than sitting, in his easy chair, his long lank legs stretched out in front, his head drooping forward, he might have been thought asleep, only that his arm kept vigorously in motion, sweeping over the chords of the violin. From the space covered, his form seemed gigantic, though his height, when standing up, did not exceed six feet. But the observer was most attracted by his countenance, which, though the features appeared common at a first glance, was strongly marked, the eyes, if furtive, being quick and piercing, while the sharp outlines of the upper face disappeared in the full rounded jaw, indicating alike energy of character and unbridled sensuality. Although he had hardly attained the prime of life, indulgence, working out its own retribution, already told on his frame, and a paunch, with fat capon lined, was a portentous sign of growing obesity. But the most remarkable thing was to see such a man, dressed in a neat suit of black, with his throat encased in a spotless white neckerchief, and presenting all the appearance of a sleek, well-conditioned Puritan preacher, playing the fiddle for the dancers, piping for a flock of Saints, while several grave, rubicund elders sat by, smoking and chewing, in silent approval of the festivity. The fiddler was the captain and chief of the whole -- Joe Smith.
"This is a merry scene" said one of the elders, who, though older and stouter, bore a strong resemblance to Joe, and was, in fact, his brother Hiram. "Yea, a merry- scene," he repeated, in a snuffling voice, as the dance concluded, "and now it is manifest that we have our portion in a good land, and live a life of content. Moreover, our enemies have turned their backs upon us."
"Who talks of enemies?" cried Joe. "If there's any enemy of mine here, let him stand out, like a man, and I
230 THE GREAT HIGHWAY.
won't ask the Saints to come between us. There's old Campbell, of Carthage; he says he'll riddle my skin till it won't hold shucks. I wish he'd come here. I'd riddle him; I'd claw him. Shades of Samuel and Saul, if he touch but a hair of the humblest of the chosen people, he shall not escape like the dogs of Missouri, but he shall perish like Agag. Verily, we're no longer lambs, but are full grown, and now we'll show our teeth. We've got teeth, haven't we?"
There was a buzz of assent, amidst which several gentlemen produced revolvers.
"Oh! you've got teeth, you poor lambs," pursued Joe; "and what are they given to you for?"
"To bite!" replied a loafer.
"Brother, you've answered well," re-joined Joe, " and for this I make you one of the band of Danites, and your name shall be written in the sealed book. Come, let's liquor -- drink of my cup, and be merry." And he handed him a mug of water, tempered by a lavish infusion of brandy.
"Now let's have a song," said Sidney Rigdon -- a dark, sinister-looking man, who sat next to Hiram Smith, and who was one of the apostles. "General, sing, sing! Harmony and concord go hand in hand, as may be read in Proverbs. Moreover, you have a gift for song. You have a voice as a turtle-dove, which makes the heart joyful. Now pour it out like a trumpet!"
"What shall it be?" said Joe.
"'Job Jones,'" answered Rigdon; and the whole company approving the choice, the song was given with great gusto by the prophet.
"This is a first-chop song; A 1, general," remarked Sidney Rigdon, when the performance was finished, amidst the applause of the audience; "and it's capable of
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 231
a signification worthy to be noted. 'Job Jones' is like the poor deluded multitudes who drink the water of false doctrine, pouring the same into their souls to their own undoing, when they may have their fill of strong cordial in the church of the Latter-Day Saints."
"A good similitude, brother Rigdon," observed Hiram Smith. "Now I see it is profitable to take a parable out of all things."
"Wine is given to be made merry with, as is manifested in Scripture," observed Joe; "so is brandy -- so rum, gin, whiskey, beer, ale, mint-julep, sherry-cobbler, compounds, and all liquors, including tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, milk. We are coming upon times and seasons -- nay, we are come upon them already, and these things should be understood. There are souls that require strong drink, and I tell you there are men in the church who can't speak that which is in them till they are out-and-out drunken, because they haven't strength of their own to contend against the wiles of Satan."
As he uttered these words, a scream from one of the fairer portion of the company, at the other end of the room, drew attention to a witch-like old woman who had mounted on a table, where she stood pointing her finger at Joe. It was Jail Bird.
"Well, old dame, where are you from?" cried the prophet, with a composure that amazed most of the assembly, who never suspected the new comer was acting under his directions. "You've got a bad arm -- rheumatics, eh! You've come to the prophet to be cured. You've found me out, have you?"
Jail, in reply, made a convulsive movement with her hand, and then poured forth a torrent of her old gibberish, which passed among the faithful as the Unknown Tongue.
232 THE GREAT HIGHWAY.
A general hush followed this incident, which was broken, at length, by the shrill, penetrating voice of Joe.
"Ay, Frost!" he cried. "I know him. A knave, is he? -- an apostate! Verily, you are a witness to the truth, sister! He is rightly named Frost, for his heart and soul are frozen. Caesar hated lean men, but, if there is any one I hate, it is a man without honest feeling -- a man of ice, a man who sends a chill through you -- such as this Frost."
"This is marvellous," cried Sidney Rigdon. "I expect the woman is one of the blest -- a good soul, yea! But interpret, general, that we may all know the hidden things of her discourse."
"She is for shooting him," said Joe. "She says he is accurst, and all who have to do with him. Truly, it is a wonder! It shows what things are coming on the earth, and how the Saints should rejoice. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Solomon, Paul, listen, if you can, on your thrones, if you have any, to this woman's words, and you shall see cause to marvel."
"We must take account of her report, brother," observed Hiram. "If the man is a wrong-doer -- and you know him to be such -- let him be expelled the city."
There was a general murmur of approbation at these words.
"But hear the woman -- hear our sister!" cried Joe, pointing at Jail, who appeared to be writhing in spiritual agony, but now gave utterance to another outburst, with the same effect as before.
"She asks for John Clinton," cried Joe. "Truly there is such a man -- and a good man -- a saint and brother. Stand out, brother Clinton, and you shall have honour among the brethren. Ha!" he continued, as the farmer,
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 233
looking more obtuse and stolid than ever, stepped forth from the background. "Now I see an honest man. This is a sort of man who would be tarred and feathered in Missouri, as I was, when that Judas, Simmonds Rider, sold me to the mobbers, at Father Johnson's, in Jackson county. What it is to live in a free State, in this great Union! But our fathers fought for independence, and so will we. That Simmonds Rider, mark ye, took sick and died. He said that night, 'I'll gee you, 'tarnal roarin,' Joe Smith.' Oh! but who geed him? Who fixed him, eh ?"
"I reckon he is fixed for everlastin'," said Sidney Rigdon, while laughter and acclamations broke from the company.
"But what says our sister, brother?" said Hiram. "I think she would have you away. See, she beckons."
"Yes, she'll have me to the temple, and brother Clinton too; I am glad he is come to such honour, just as Saul, the son of Kish, when he sought his father's asses. Well, I rejoice in heart at it, and am comforted, because I know brother Clinton to be a man of meekness, patience, godliness, virtue, faith, truth, peace, temperance, and charity. I know you're not like that ice-bound, frozen, soul-numbing Frost, brother. Oh! what a wintry knave is that Frost! how he makes my fingers ache -- that fellow!"
The farmer, though he listened with all his ears, made no reply to this exordium, but stood staring, first at Joe, and then at Jail Bird, in utter bewilderment and amaze. Jail seemed impatient at so much delay, and rushed with a frantic exclamation from the room, all the company falling back as she disappeared, though one or two, bolder than the others, were about to follow, when the prophet called them back.
234 THE GREAT HIGHWAY.
"Stay all of you!" he cried. "But two of us are to go -- brother Clinton and me; the rest remain and wonder."
"Wonder! wonder!" cried Sidney Rigdon. "Brother," -- and he slapped the gaping farmer on the back, -- "I give you joy. This it is to be a faithful member of the Church: you will be shown a hidden thing. I wish Pelatiah Allen, Esquire, of Hiram, Jackson county, was here to-night. He gave the mobbers a barrel of whiskey to raise their spirits when they set to their manly work of tarrin' and featherin' Joseph Smith, junior, and elder Sidney Rigdon. Them were blessed feathers. General, them feathers will be our wings some day, when we fly up among the angels. But go! go!"
"Surely, I will," said Joe. "Brother Clinton, come -- with a good heart and courage. Come! come!" And he drew Clinton from the room, leaving the company silent and panic-struck.
It was a dark night, but as they passed out, a man thrust a link into Smith's hand, and they saw the figure of Jail moving on before them. But as they approached the temple she disappeared, and Clinton, whose torpid faculties reeled under so much excitement, was wondering what had become of her, when he found her standing at his side.
"There! there!" she cried, as the prophet flung open the door of the temple. "The words are in the book."
"The book -- it is the book of life!" exclaimed Smith, leading the trembling farmer into the building. "And see, it is here ready -- read and understand!" And he threw the glare of his link on a reading-desk, supporting an open volume, in which, with protruding eyes, the farmer read these words.
THE UNKNOWN TONGUE. 235
"Thy daughter, Jessie Clinton, thou shalt give unto Joseph Smith, junior, in spiritual marriage, and she shall be his wife."
"You see how it is with you?" said Joe. "You will obey."
"Surely," faltered the ashy lips of the farmer.
Jail gave a scream of triumph, and dashed the link to the ground, leaving the huge building in darkness.
(remaninder not transcribed)
Albert G. Riddle
(Cleveland: Cord & Andrews, 1874)
A ROMANCE OF THE CUYAHOGA VALLEY
BY A. G. RIDDLE
AUTHOR OF "BART RIDGELEY"
B O S T O N
NICHOLAS & HALL
CLEVELAND: CONN, ANDREWS & CO.
[ iii ]
[ 61 ]
A refreshing in the religious sensibilities in that far-off time, among a people whose sojourn in the Ohio wilderness had freed them somewhat from the more conventional trammels of habit and thought, had taken place, and was still agitating the common mind.
Strong, earnest, and somewhat rude men, with the seal of the apostolic day, had stood forth among the people, and reproclaimed the message of Peter at Pentecost: "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Men heard it with amazement. It struck them with the force of new revelation, and they could hardly believe that it was quoted aright. Many doubted, and shook their heads; it was heretical and schismatic, this unclothed word, preached with the fervor of a new doctrine. Many gladly received it, and were baptized; and new associations organized, without other word or formula than the New Testament. Much of the old spirit of sweetness and love and charity prevailed among them, calling themselves, as they did, "disciples,"
62 THE PORTRAIT.
The acceptors of these restored views included many men of consideration through the country generally; and among them, in Mantua, the younger Atwater, the Snows, Seth Carman, and others, with the Randolphs of Hiram, and many persons of consideration in the various towns. While the movement which produced this awakening revived the zeal and fervor of the other sects, and led to feebler revivals among them, singularly enough, it was thought that they did not look complacently upon the uprising of the disciples, whom they rather contemptuously called "Campbellites," and, in Portage County, "Rigdonites."
Among all the preachers whose fervor and zeal had re-lighted some of the dim or extinguished torches and tapers of Christian faith in Northern Ohio, Rigdon stood preeminent. Then thirty-two or three years of age, he was in the first maturity of his remarkable powers as a popular preacher. Of stout, compact, and
A NEW PENTACOST, ETC. 63
In the autumn of 1830 rumors had already reached the Mantua settlements of the new revelation that had been made to an obscure young man in Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y.' stories of the angel, the golden plates, the opening of the side hill, of miracles and marvels, were rife among them. Suddenly it was announced that the Prophet, with his brother and the three witnesses, had arrived in Hiram, and were at the Johnsons, near where the college building now stands; that a miracle had been wrought on the person of Mrs. Johnson, whose withered arm had been restored, in the presence of the Rev. Sidney Rigdon and others, and that Rigdon had become a convert.
It was said that, in a meeting of a few, it had been
64 THE PORTRAIT.
It is difficult to comprehend the intense excitement and commotion produced by the tales of these marvels. Especially were the New Disciple churches shaken by the course of Rigdon; and all the more so, when it was known that he in no way changed or varied from his old faith and preaching, and that the new revelation was but a supplement of the old, -- a realization of the pouring out of the spirit in these last days. It was also said that the text of the new and marvellous book explicitly sustained the special views and dogmas of their churches.
Those outside of all church organizations, as well as the members of established sects, were under a degree of excitement which cannot be appreciated at this remote time. Indeed, for the most philosophical reasons, the non-professors, the negatives, are often the more easily taken, and are in some sort predisposed to become the victims of new religious dogma.
Very soon it was announced that the Prophet and his
A NEW PENTACOST, ETC. 65
The Prophet and his party came over from Hiram, and muffled in cloaks, made their way through the yielding crowd into the building, and occupied an elevated platform, specially prepared. Nothing could exceed the eagerness of the crowd to obtain a sight of the Prophet. What a temptation to turn aside from my little tale to philosophize upon the strange nightside of human nature, that allies it so helplessly to marvels and quackery in medicine, and hopelessly to clouds and mists in religion! The Prophet, stepping upon the platform, uncovered, turned, and, stretching his hand over the hushed crowd, said, "Peace be with you!" and sat down. These words were uttered, not without dignity, in a deep and not unpleasant voice; and, in the wrought and unhealthy condition of mind of the excited multitude, the words and action produced a deep impression.
The Prophet was then about twenty-five years of age, and nearly six feet in height; rather loosely but powerfully built, with a perceptible stoop in his shoulders. The face was longish, not badly featured, marked with blue eyes, fair blond complexion, and very light yellowish flaxen hair. His head was not ignoble, and carried with some dignity; and on the whole, his person, air, and manner should have been noticeable in a gathering of average men. He was attired in a neat-fitting suit of blue, over which he wore an ample clock
66 THE PORTRAIT.
At his left sat his fair-haired younger and slighter brother Hiram, the one redeeming strand in the dark web then fabricating; his face was almost beautiful, with rapt adoration with which he regarded the Prophet. On his right sat Rigdon, and behind them the three witnesses of the presence of the golden plates, of their delivery, with the silver-framed crystals, the ancient "Urim and Thummim," the spectacles through which alone could the characters be read -- to the shining Messenger Moroni, and his flight with them from earth -- the youthful, handsome, and dainty Cowdery, the rough, homely, and honest looking Harris, and the stolid, meaningless face of Whitmer.
The awful presence of the Prophet had of itself imposed upon even the most skeptical; and when Rigdon arose as the spokesman, it was in a hush of the profoundest expectation and awe. His effort, masterly for its seeming want of art and simplicity of language, was devoted to a summary of the new revelation, its reasonableness and proofs. In his citations and application of Scripture texts, he was ingenious and plausible. When he came to the living witnesses, he called first Oliver Cowdery, whose statement was clear and explicit, and fully confirmed by the others. When they sat down, he challenged any man to produce the same quantity, and as high quality, of evidence to support the authenticity of the received Scripture. He closed with the assertion of the miracle wrought on the person of Mrs. Johnson, in his presence, in confirmation
A NEW PENTACOST, ETC. 67
"Go your way, and tell what things ye have seen and heard, how the blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed, the lame walk, the dead shall be raised; to the poor the gospel is preached;" and sat down in a profound silence, which remained unbroken for a moment, when it was announced that in an hour Mr. Rigdon would preach at the same place, after which the rite of baptism would be administered to believers who had not been immersed according to the gospel, as always preached by him. Then the Prophet and his party passed out amid the most respectful silence of the audience, many of whom retained their places during the interval before the promised services.
At the hour, the house was, if possible, more crowded than during the afternoon. When the Prophet and his party resumed their places, Rigdon arose, and reading a simple revival hymn, uttered a fervent prayer, read one of his favorite and well-known texts, and, as was his wont, dashed headlong into his subject. It was the old awful story of the lost and ruined without light or
68 THE PORTRAIT.
He was never more thoroughly master of himself, never held his subject with a firmer grasp, and never had his audience more completely in his power. His mastery of the passions and sympathies was perfect; and the almost awful stillness with which he was heard, was at times interrupted by low moans and heartbroken sobs. He uttered the old message of Peter, and closed with a fervid and passionate appeal to the lost and ruined, to acknowledge and obey the gospel.
When he ceased, men still bent eagerly forward to catch the next accents, -- when the deep voice of the Prophet broke over the expectant throng:
"The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
At once, spontaneously, a large number of men and women from all parts of the room arose, and made a movement forward in response to the demand, when Rigdon, as had been announced, and was his custom, passed out with his party, and collecting the new converts, extemporized flambeaux and torches, conducted them to the margin of the neighborhood creek often resorted to for such a purpose, followed by a procession of several hundreds. As they reached the dark, wintry stream, suddenly a brilliant flame burst up from the
A NEW PENTACOST, ETC. 69
Among the many who pressed forward to receive the rite, were John and Sally Green; and so the new evangel was preached, and so was it received.
[ 75 ]
IN that inner room of Green's, for all the afternoon, sat the Prophet and Rigdon, and John Green, who seemed to have been at the confessional; and now pale, abject, and cowering, on his knees, with his hands clasped, and not daring to raise his eyes, with his blanched and tear-stained face ghastly in its wretchedness, he tremblingly awaited sentence, -- whether it was to consign his body to a jail and death, and his soul to perdition, or both to earthly penance and contrition.
"Arise," said the Prophet; "it doth not yet appear what the spirit shall command. Withsraw." The poor wretch proceeded towards the door.
One moment, -- does your sister know?"
"Not all. She 'spicions a 'cap."
"Go and bring in Oliver, the scribe."
Green returned with that worthy, who served the Prophet as a secretary, and who now, in the presence of Green from his chief's dictation, reduced a lengthy statement to writing; a magistrate was brought in, and in his presence Green prefixed his mark to it, and acknowledged it to be his free act and deed. The justice subscribed it as witness, when it was sealed up, receiving
76 THE PORTRAIT.
"And so the Mammon of unrighteousness is made to redound to the glory of the Most High," said Smith, with mock solemnity, his blue eyes twinkling with immense satisfaction. "Sid, this's a devilish good strike. We'll take this poor cuss and relieve him of his sins, that is, his money, so that he'll have nothing to do but to lay up treasures in heaven, -- eh, Sid? you see, he can't complain, his tongue's tied. He shall be our servant, our ox, our ass, and see his hoards put to giidly, if not godly, uses, and this shall be to him instead of the law of the Lamanites. He shall be doomed to ten year's pennance and hard labor."
"And his sister, Jo?"
"She's a knowing one. She must go with us, too. It'll do it to keep our eye on her."
"And the boy? What of him? It will not do to let him go, -- something might come of it if he does."
The Prophet, who had dropped, as was his wont, his prophetic mantle when with his confidential ministers, was really kind at heart, and this question posed him.
"This boy," continued Rigdon, who was not then prepared to depart utterly from all recognition of natural law, "would seem to have some claims, at least, on his father's money."
"That's so, though we can't admit them very fully." answered Jo; "let's have him in, and John and Sally, and settle it at once, Sid."
At Rigdon's summons, the parties were soon before them, -- John cowering and fawning, Sally sad-faced,
A NEW PENTACOST, ETC. 77
The eye of the Prophet rested kindly upon him. He placed his hand on his shining hair, and shook him by his firm shoulder, regarding his promising figure, and frank, handsome face, and open, fearless brow, with approving admiration.
"It is a goodly youth," he said at length, "a child of the lords of the Lamanites. He shall become a prince of the house of Judah. Clothe him in fine raiment, and let him be skilled in all the knowledge of his fathers, and come in and go out before the Lord. And he shall wax, and become a mighty man, and a great captain, and in the great day will lead the hosts of the Lord to battle against the Lamanites and Gentiles, and shall prevail. So, let it be."
"And for you, man of guile," -- turning to John, who cowered before him -- "into whose heart temptation came, that in the end God might be glorified, go forth, to toil diligently with thy hands. Thou shalt care for the herds and swine. Be discreet with thy tongue, penitent and patient in thy heart, constant in prayer, and diligent in works of repentance; if, haply," and rising to his full height and extending his arm, "if, haply, in the fulness of thy years, God shall pardon and give thee rest. So let it be."
The last sentences were pronounced with a solemnity and awe that impressed even Rigdon, who looked for a
78 THE PORTRAIT.
Riddle's Letter to James T. Cobb
Albion W. Tourgee
(Boston: Roberts Bros., 1887)
ALBION W. TOURGEE
AUTHOR OF "A FOOL'S ERRAND," "HOT PLOWSHARES," ETC.
[ v ]
The good people to whom the supersedure of the ancient highway brought misfortune were not in any way connected with the establishment of the new religion, so far as I know; but the life of this region in which the story is located, during the later years of the Inn, was precisely that from which Mormonism sprang. Two of its early leaders -- one an Apostle -- went from this country. Tradition imputes to one of them suspicion of a mysterious crime. The self-accusing impluse
attributed to the Apostle is borrowed from the judicial annals of another State, and is a curious incident of the early history of "the New Dispensation."
Without regard to what Mormonism now is, I have endeavored to depict it as it was then regarded, both by those who came in contact with it and the "Saints themselves. It was a curious product of a strange religious and intellectual development. As a child I have a vivid recollection of the Temple at Kirtland, Ohio, before it was dismantled. The accounts which are accewssible of the manner and appearance of the Prophet Joseph Smith are singularly conflicting. I have followed one given by an eye-witness, from whose narrative the scene in the Temple is chiefly drawn. There is no doubt that there was a certain Oriental warmth of fancy about the founder of the Mormon faith which is entirely lacking in the bleak, frigid, matter-of-fact nature of his successor. The ceremonials, which according to report were at the outset impressive and poetical in character, so far as they are revealed to the eye of the Gentile are now barren and unimpressive to the very verge of the ludicrous; there is reason to believe that the secret rites of the Endowment House are about equally horrible and grotesque. Brigham Young was no doubt a much greater man than Joseph Smith; but the latter was unquestionably a poet, as every founder of a new faith must be, while his successor was utterly devoid of
imaginative power. The whole movement was purely American in character, -- the American orientalized by Christian tradition. Almost all its early membership was drawn from western New York, northern Ohio, and Vermont, from which latter State have come the majority of its leaders. This fact is no doubt the primary cause of the attention of the senator from that State being specially directed to the evils arising from this peculiar religious fantasy. In 1836 Smith declared that there were less than fifty foreigners in the sect, while one who travelled with the main body on its famous Western march, after the fall of Nauvoo, said: "To pass along the line of wagons, listen to the conversation, and hear the hymns and prayers of the emigrants, one would think he had fallen in with a caravan of New England crusaders crossing the desert on their way to conquer the Holy Sepulchre from the Infidels."
Intimate association with one of the early disciples, and the acquaintance of some very intelligent believers in this curious faith have given me a strong interest in its origin and the philosophy of its evolution from the religious life of that day. This evolution I have sought to indicate, rather than laboriously to trace.
It was long an agricultural problem -- perhaps it still is with some few tillers of the soil -- whether cheat or chess came from deteriorated wheat or not. One thing was accounted certain, -- chess grew only where wheat had been sown. Whether Mormonism
is the chess of the religious life of that first half of the present century or not, it is certain that faith in Moroni's revelations sprang up in the shadow of a peculiar Christian idealism, which especially abounded in the region where the story is laid, giving to different lives a varying color, according to the nature of each. The elder characters herein portrayed are contrasted types of the life which was largely shaped by this influence; Dewstowe, Ozro, and Dotty, of that resulting life in which material interests have subordinated and in great measure superseded religious speculation. My purpose has been faithfully to depict the life which marked the period in which these epochs met and overlapped, -- when the one was setting and the other rising in our Western world. The episode of the pin-making macjine has been regarded as fanciful, but a well known family in this region long treasured the model herein described as a relic of the inventive genius of one of its most gifted members.
A. W. T.Mayville, N. Y.,
June 28, 1887
[ ix ]
001 "A JOLLY PLACE IN TIMES OF OLD."
018 "A FAIR YOUNG MISTRESS."
029 A REGULAR BOARDER.
057 A VACANT CHAMBER.
091 A KNIGHT OF THE ROAD.
118 A COMMERCIAL VIEW.
140 A MODERN EPHESUS.
165 A "SENSIBLE AND TRUE AVOUCH."
177 "ASHES TO ASHES."
200 ON THE VERGE OF DESTINY.
212 THE BENISON OF PEACE.
233 AFTER MANY DAYS.
257 A MISSION OF MERCY.
265 BLOTTED OUT.
274 A SUDDEN START.
287 YESTERDAY'S WOE.
305 FULFILLING LOVE'S COMMANDMENT.
315 THE SHADOW OF CRIME.
335 IN THE NEW JERUSALEM.
345 THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET.
357 UNEXPECTED RESULTS.
365 A FUTILE QUEST.
375 AWAKENED JUSTICE.
386 PARTITION AND PARTNERSHIP.
394 SAINTS AND SINNERS.
402 SOUL SCOT.
410 A WEAVER'S KNOT.
415 THE WORLD'S MUTATION.
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The voice was clear and full...
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EIGHTEEN years before our story opens...
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MR DEWSTOWE was one of the most enterprising and successful of the peripatetic merchants of a generation ago. He was not only a merchant, but a horseman as well...
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DON'T you want to ride as far as the village,...
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IT was a jolly company that gathered at Button's Inn that night...
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ONLY Dewstone, the stranger from the South, and the German remained...
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IT was a busy period that intervened between the early autumn...
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A STORM had set in with the going down of the sun...
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THE morning of Christmas dawned cold...
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MR. JACKSON'S peculiarities, not to say his eccentricities, were so marked that be was rarely referred to by his name, even by the people of the Inn, but remained as he had been styled at first, -- "the stranger." Somehow he seemed foreigrn to their life, and equally foreign to that of the ordinary traveller. He had shown the utmost friendliness, and taken a great interest in all the affairs of the Inn, but had not intermeddled nor manifested any undue familiarity. His religious views had been a matter of considerable speculation in the neighborhood. There could be no question as to the profoundly religious tendency of his nature, nor was there any doubt in the minds of the people as to the sincerity of his professions. He attended the religious gatherings held within reasonable distance of the Inn, seeming to be equally at home in all without regard to sect. His devotional aspect, absorbed attention, and general impressiveness of manner affected all very favorably,
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and made Methodists and Baptists alike anxious to claim him as one of themselves. But when they approached him in regard to his own sectarian views and affiliations, the result was eminently unsatisfactory. He seemed not inclined to doctrinal disquisition, or to argument of any kind. Indeed, there was a brevity and sternness about him that smacked more of command than of importunity. He was one of those men whose peculiar manner impresses even strangers with the impulse of obedience, and the expectation of ready compliance with his wish had apparently been confirmed by the habit of command. Though he took no part in any religious exercises, except by giving strict attention and making occasional responses, all deferred to him in a manner, and all looked upon him as an exemplary and godly man. Efforts to induce him to express a preference for one creed or another were, however, futile. Every one knew that a man of such a positive character could not fail to have fixed and positive religious convictions but what his were, no one could determine. He had been driven by dint of much indirect inquiry for he was by no means a man to whom one would. care to put leading questions in regard to what be
AFTER MANY DAYS. 235
manifested no inclination to speak about -- to admit that he was not "exactly" a Methodist, nor "exactly" a Baptist; and he was known to be neither a Congregationalist nor a Presbyterian. As these were the chief sects of this region, whose life sprung almost entirely from New England, it was quite impossible for the gossips of the neighborhood to determine "exactly" what he was.
The border-land that lies between an established civilization and a new one is always fertile in religious ideas. Not only does a new creed usually bring with it a new political and social life, but such new life most frequently offers occasion, if it does not develop the need, for a new belief. Out of the relations between Egypt and Israel sprang Judaism while the domination of the Roman by weakening popular faith in the Mosaic system, opened the way for a broader and nobler ideal. Out of these came the opportunity of Christianity. So too with Christian sects; new forms and new dogmas have ever abounded on the borders of the new civilizations which they have encountered. Luther and Calvin and Knox were not less the products of disturbed political and social conditions than the proximate causes of religious
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convulsion. Our American border-life was peculiarly fecund in such religious movements. Solitude is the nurse not only of inspiration, but also of self-delusion. The forest and the desert are especially the nurseries of prophets and pretenders. There is something about the silence and seclusion in which man walks the very lord of all he sees, that builds up his self-reliance and exalts the consciousness of individual power to a point rarely if ever attained by those dwelling in the midst of crowded populations. The cloister may offer a temporary and imperfect substitute, but the divine frenzy that comes only from undoubting confidence in one's own convictions is rarely found in the city-bred enthusiast. In him there is always something that smacks of pretence and design. He who looks often in the faces of men is sure to fear the multitude. Public opinion flexes his judgment, and the fear of ridicule makes him a coward. It is only in the man whose surroundings compel habitual self-communing, and yet are not of overwhelming grandeur, that conviction grows strong enough to become an unquestioning faith, not in another's teachings, the doctrines of a particular sect or the tenets of a special creed, but in the results of his own solitary meditation.
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The presence of the multitude crushes out individuality. It may quicken the pulse, sharpen the wit, and improve the externals, but it breaks down the confidence of man in his own conclusions, motives, aspirations, and beliefs.
So, too, the wilder forms of Nature are not conducive to the highest individualism. The silence and sameness of the forest; the dull level of the unbounded desert; the fen, with the sea sobbin among its rushes, but the limitless power of its breakers held at a distance from the accustomed haunt, -- these and other forms of less striking solitude have ever been the surroundings in which man has reached the climax of individual power. From Moses to El Mahdi the prophets who have left the impress of their faith on thousands or millions of followers have had this training. Remoteness from the centres of humanity and a not too near exposure to the grander forms of Nature these two thinas seem to be essential to the perfection of individual power. The rugged mountain-range and the boisterous ocean-shore have never been fertile in religious phantasies, or productive of great natural leaders. The moor, the forest, the desert, and the shore of the inland sea may nourish religious contemplation until the saint
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becomes a seer, and the seer. a prophet who deems himself divinely ordained to do the work of the Almighty. The ocean, with its eternal symphony of terror, crushes out speculation, thrills the soul with awe, until it shrinks within itself and clamors for external aid, and inclines the mind not to speculation and dissent, but to faith and superstition. He that dwells by the seashore is almost always a believer. He may be an enthusiast, but he is rarely a doubter, and never a promulgator of strange doctrines or new beliefs.
Our Western forests nourished prophets and messiahs by the score. New sects and new creeds sprang up under their shadow almost as readily as new towns and new States. Freedom from te restraint of old institutions encouraged also freedom of religious belief. There were "Free" Baptists, "Free" Presbyterians, "Free" Methodists, and even "Free" Quakers; a like series of "Independents" and sects distinguished from other known bodies by special prefixes such as "Christian," "Protestant," or "Primitive," as well as many having entirely new and self-distinguishing names and holding special unrelated tenets. It was at this time that the witty Frenchman spoke of our country as a land
AFTER MANY DAYS. 239
of "one hundred religions and but one sauce." It was true for the first half of this century our country was a hot-bed of new beliefs. Infinite space and unechoing solitude, in a climate compelling mental activity, incline a people al- ways to the contemplation of infinite subjects, questions in regard to the divine essence, purpose, and attributes. Until the thirst for wealth became a universal disease, and Mammon set up his golden idol for us to worship, the American people were among the most religiously inclined of any in the world, -- perhaps more than any that the world has known since the overthrow of the Jewish hierarchy. There was little harmony in form or method, but there was universal accord in result. To be religious to believe in something, and believe in it with might, mind, soul, and strength, was accounted the first duty of man. The young might be permitted to be frivolous and even profane, but with arrival at maturity a sober religious cast of mind was expected. The were exceedingly lax in the observance of formal laws of the Church as well as of the State. Of frivolity there was very little. Christmas was curiously regarded. Religious service was Generally held on that day, but it was not popularly observed
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as a day of merry-making. It was rather a supernumerary Sabbath than a holiday, in the ordinary acceptance of the term. In fact, mirth and gladness were divorced from religion, except it was a state of religious exaltation bordering on frenzy, which was accounted the inexpressible and exclusive joy of the believer. The forest did not make them more religious than other people, in the sense of scrupulous observance of forms or ceremonies, or strict adherance to the letter of the law. But united with the political impulse toward individualism, it gave us a phenominal independence of authority, united with a universally religious cast of thougbt, which has produced some strangely discordant results. Much that came from these conditions was good and admirable; some of it was whimsical, and some monstrous.
This religiousness did not consist in careful and anxious observance of ceremonial or the unquestioning acceptance of any particular form of belief, but rather in a universal tendency to speculation in regard to religious matters. Every one might not have his own distinctive creed, but he was pretty sure to have his own construction of accepted dogmas. It was the outcome of the personal piety of the Puritan,
AFTER MANY DAYS. 241
colored by the contempt for authority and all forms of external restraint, which marked the Yankee in his westward course across the continent. Learning was almost as little esteemed as authority neither were thought essential to a knowledge of the divine will or conducive to divine favor. Individual consciousness was exalted to a level with the inspired Word. The "witness of the spirit" made all men equal. The most unlearned disputed with confidence with the wisest on the subtlest points of doctrine. Men believed that they walked with God" in an almost literal sense. Communion with the Divine -- direct and conscious influence and inspiration -- was a usual rather than an exceptional form of belief and experience. The most marvellous of miracles was the most commonplace incident of an ordinary religious experience. Intelligence intensified rather than lessened this curious effect, because intelligence recognized the supernal, and could not deny the miraculous experience of one while admitting that of another.
In other lands and other times such religious exaltation has expended itself in the zealous observance of special rites, in mortifying penance, in the worship of saints, and abject obedience
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to ecclesiastical authority. None of these marked the great tide of religious sentiment that swept over the land during the first balf-century of our national existence. The overthrow of political authority had generated an absolute contempt of ecclesiastical restraint. Toleration had reached its utmost limit. Religiousness of any sort was respected and respectable: irreligion of the very mildest character was counted little less than a crime. Sects multiplied so that it was almost impossible to say where one ended and another began. Men spoke as familiarly of their relations with God as with each other. Repentance formed an impenetrable cloak for all irregularities of life. Appeal from the authorities of the various churches to the Most High God and the American people was open to all, and was made with little hesitation. Piety meant personal communion with Deity; from that to specific revelation was but a brief step.
Out of this almost universal sense of immediate contact with the Deity came more than one curious result, tolerance and intolerance, credulousness and unbelief, new sects, new methods, new doctrines, and one absolutely new religion. Prophets by the score arose proclaiming new ways
AFTER MANY DAYS. 243
and new tenets, but only one had the boldness to overleap the confines of Christian faith and proclaim an absolutely new dispensation. At first, even this new theosophy did not seek to disturb the established order. It inculcated temperance, industry, and, without proclaiming community of goods, made want impossible and poverty exceedingly rare among its votaries. It based its claims not on a complete and finished revelation, but on a continuing inspiration, a living prophet, and a cumulative law. Strange enough, this sect took its rise and secured its first foot-hold in the most religious and intelligent part of the country, -- western New York and northern Ohio. At the time of which we write it was just assuming definite form. Since then it has dropped some of its vagaries and assumed more definite and distinctive features. Though the name of Jesus Christ was assumed as a part of its titular appellation, it retained little of the accepted Christian idea except that of immediate personal intercommunion with the Deity which American Christianity had carried to such an unprecedented length. Doctrinally speaking, Mormonism is but an exaggeration of the idea of personal communion, control, and direction which pervaded the religious
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atmosphere of that day. It is a religion of intermitting revelation, of present miracles, and continuing prophetic guidance. The breaking down of ancient barriers brings sometimes liberty and sometimes license. The "internal light" of the Friends is but little removed from the claim of prophetic inspiration of the Mormon and the miraculous "witness of the Spirit" on which other Christian sects insist with more or less emphasis. The idea of personal guidance by signs and tokens of the divine will, which was so notable a characteristic of the Puritan faith, yielded some strange fruits when freed from the restraints of established institutions, and removed from the atmosphere it had created for itself in New England. Of these, by far the most notable was the new religion which sprang up in the very midst of the best life of the land, has now become the established belief of more than a quarter of a million souls, and presents today one of the most difficult questions that has ever come before the American people for solution.
Socially, as well as religiously, this was a period of peculiar interest. It was the unrecognized nidus of forces unparalleled in history. Hand and brain were just awakening to a new
AFTER MANY DAYS. 245
life. So swift has been our subsequent development, that it seems as if until that time man had only slumbered on the earth. As yet wealth was little esteemed as an index of social rank. The richest and the poorest stood on the same social level. In fact the rich were very few, and the very poor were fewer still. Luxuries were rare, but of necessities there was so general an abundance as to amount almost to universal superfluity. The reign of machinery had hardly begun. The locomotive was scarcely a recognized factor of transportation paper was yet made by hand; cast-iron stoves and plows were almost unknown nails were still made by the smith. Invention bad hardly opened the door of wonderland. American mechanical genius, yet lay in chrysalid slumber. One clerk in the office of the Secretary of State did all the work of granting patents to our inventors until the year before Ozro's application was made. In the first half century of our government there were issued barely ten thousand patents, -- as many are granted now in half a year. At the time of which we write the Patent Office, just established as a separate bureau, consisted of a Commissioner and three clerks. Even these found the time to hang heavy on their hands.
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That year another clerk was added, and the administration was attacked for extravagance in consequence.
A simple people standing on the verse of an epoch of unparalleled material prosperity, but as yet concerned more with religious and political speculation than with the competition for wealth, composed the two great tides of life which radiated from two great centres, the one at the East and the other at the South, over all that constitutes our present national domain.
To such people the religious proclivities of a man like Mr. Jackson were a matter of serious speculation, -- to none more so than to the land-lady of the Inn whose religious intensity found in his stern, almost ascetic, fervor a kindred sentiment. With her it was no question of, approval. To whatever sect he might belong she recognized not only the divine nature of his zeal, but felt that his associations must have had something to do with shaping his religious character. She was predisposed after four months' scrutiny of his blameless life to recognize in this unyielding pietist not only a man of high rank in the sect to which be belonged, but one entitled to consideration because of his life and character.
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When, therefore, he proclaimed himself in no doubtful tones "the servant of the Most High God," she yielded submissively to his dictation. He was not indeed like other men, and taught not like other religious teachers. The imperiousness of undoubting faith and the sincerity of a zeal which even the fear of martyrdom could not quench showed in his demeanor and thrilled in his hoarse, rasping tones. He was one of those who say even to a stranger, "Go, and he goeth." To her who had noted his demeanor so long; who had seen him retire to his own room three times a day for prayer and meditation who realized the self-restraint which held him back from participation in the worship of others, yet compelled him to give it the sanction of his presence and approval, -- to her he spake with an authority which she did not dream of gainsaying. When he had commanded them to make merry, though her heart was sore and apprehensive of what might be in store for the future, she hardly thought of questioning. Indeed, at that very moment had flashed through her mind, the words of the yet unrecognized Messiah, when in that "beginning of miracles" he said to his mother, Woman, what have I to do with thee? and paying no further heed to her remonstrance,
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commanded the wondering servants to "Fill the waterpots with water." She had taken this as a divine behest that she should comply with the wishes of this masterful stranger who had dwelt so long beneath her roof, and was still a stranger. Where he lived, what was his business or position, none knew. He had witnessed strange and stirring scenes of which he sometimes spoke, but without any allusion to himself, except as an eye-witness. He seemed to know all phases of life, and more than once had startled the good woman with that knowledge which brought conviction to the heart of Nathanael, when the Master said to him,
"Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." As soon as she could, therefore, she went to her own room to read over again the familiar story of these miracles.
Ozro and Dewstowe bad alone to the barn to prepare the horses for the road. Dotty had packed the traveller's luncheon in his saddlebags and returned to finish up the "morning's work." It was no light task, and the mother had left more of it than usual for her to do that morning. She was a brave-hearted strong, limbed girl, however, and went out and in about
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her work as blithe and cheerful as if it had no hint of hardship in it. The stranger watched her from the. side of the fireplace with evident approval.
"Dotty," he said at length, in a voice tender despite its hoarseness. It was the first time he had ever addressed her so familiarly, and she looked at him in surprise. She was just lifting the tea-kettle to hang it on the crane which swung over the fireplace, bolding back her skirts with the other hand as she did so to keep them from the flame.
"Dotty," the stranger repeated with affectionate emphasis, "what would you do if you had a fortune?"
"I'd pay off the mortgage on this Inn for the first thing," said the girl, with prompt decision.
"But suppose that was already paid off?"
"But it ain't and I cannot suppose anything of that sort!"
"It is, and you shall carry the release to your father presently. Now what would you do?"
"Who paid it?"
"And you --?"
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"I wanted to make a Christmas present."
"And you gave all that?"
"I could give much more and not feel it seriously."
"Why, you must be made of gold!" exclaimed Dotty, in great surprise.
"You see I am not," he rejoined with a laugh that brought on his cough.
"Well, who are you anyhow?
"An humble servant of the Lord!"
"So you said," responded Dotty, mischievously. "We've had lots of them here, but they are not generally so much inclined to give as to receive."
"To one He givetb thirty, to another sixty, and to another a hundred-fold," said the stranger, solemnly. "The Lord has been very kind to me, and as I have freely received so would I freely give to them He points out to me as faithful trustees of His benefits."
"You don't think I would be?" said the girl in surprise. "I am not one of the elect. I'm not even a I 'professor' at all, -- Ozro nor I either. It's queer. Ma brought us up very strict, and Ozro's good enough for a whole church; but we ain't 'professors,' and it don't seem like we ever will be."
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The girl was washing a great iron spider in the pan of water in which the dishes from the table bad been cleansed, as she spoke, holding it by one hand, while she yielded the dish-cloth with the other.
"Well, what would you do with a fortune if you had it?" persisted the stranger. She rested the edge of the spider on the table, and squeezed the water from the cloth meditatively as she replied:
"Really, I don't know. Pa and Ma don't need it if the mortgage is paid. Ozro will make enouah out of his inventions, and -- and -- really," she continued turning to him, "I don't see as I should have any use for it."
"How about Mr. Dewstowe?" asked Mr. Jackson, slyly.
"Oh," she answered with a frank smile, "he's got enough of his own."
"So you've no use for money?"
"No -- that is -- if I knew."
She hesitated, and looked at her interlocutor half distrustfully.
"Well, if you knew what?" he said encouragingly
"I don't know as I ought to say what I was going to."
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"You need not be afraid to speak freely to me." "I am not, sir, but -- it is very strange don't know -- well, it was about my brother Jack, sir. If I only knew he was comfortable, sir."
"Your brother Jack!" exclaimed the stranger, with a start. "I thought be was dead?"
"So he may be," said the girl, cautiously. "I only meant if he was alive and was -- well, say comfortably well off -- I should have nothing more to ask for, and would not know what to do with money, if I had it."
"You don't want a rich husband, then?"
"Oh she said, resuming her work and wiping out the inside of the spider with the cloth she held in her hand, "I'd like him to be well off of course; but I should expect him to take care of that."
"For fear he should not, I want to make you a wedding present; but if I do, you must not let it be known until you are engaged to be married. Do you agree to that?"
"I don't know," said the girl, thoughtfully.
"I might think he ought to know it even if we were not really engaged, you know."
"Well, at least you would not tell him without first asking me?"
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"I don't know sir," she responded, setting the spider in its place by the chimney-jamb. I don't believe I would like to have much under such conditions. I would, of course, remember that you did not want me to say anything about it; but I should not like to promise I would not tell if I thought I ought to."
"Well," said he, laughing, "you are a stubborn girl, and I guess you come honestly by that attribute. If you will wipe your hands, I will let you have what I intended to give you." She turned to the towel-rack and dried her hands in the method approved by the Pharisees, who washed and wiped "to the elbow." Then she came and stood before him. He took a package of papers from his pocket, selected one, and handed it to her.
"That is for you," he said.
She turned it over curiously.
"May I look at it?" she asked.
"Certainly; read it."
Dotty opened it and glanced at its contents. It was a long document, couched in legal phraseology which she only half understood; but she did understand enough to know that she was made richer by that instrument than she had ever thought to be.
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The tears sprang, to her eyes, and falling on her knees she seized the stranger's band and kissed it again and again. A look of calm content came over Mr. Jackson's face as he smoothed the hair about her forehead with the other hand, and said:
"There, there, don't cry!"
"But who are you that does such wonderful things?" she asked appealingly.
He smiled curiously down at her, and said:
"No matter, dear; I am one whose work is almost done."
She looked at him in wonder and awe as she rose to her feet.
"And now," said he "I wish you would take this to your father, -- and this to your mother. Then by the time you get your cloak on, Mr. Dewstowe will be ready for his ride, -- unless, indeed, he and Ozro have fought and killed each other already."
"Oh, no fear of that," Dotty answered brightly.
"Well, perhaps not; but don't be too sure. Run away now!"
She stooped quickly and kissed him, -- then fled while her cheeks flushed a burning red.
"I could not help it!" she said to herself as
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she went along the porch. ""And I'm sure he deserved it. Anybody would kiss a man as good as he is,"
Dotty gave her father a bulky document, "with Mr. Jackson's compliments," and took a small sealed note to her mother, who was sitting by the window with the great family Bible open on her knee. Dotty put the paper she had herself received in her pocket, drew on her wraps, and when Dewstowe and the traveller drove to the porch with the latter's horse fastened to the sleigh she was ready to start. Ozro seemed more serious than usual as he helped her to her seat, tucked the robes about her, and then turning quickly away entered the house. The landlord came out upon the porch as they drove off, looking dazed and flurried. The landlad baving opened the letter her daughter had brought, read these words
"Luke xv. 24."
Turning to the book upon her knee she found the place indicated, and read:
"For this my son was dead, and is alive again he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
The snow sparkled in the chill sunshine. The bells jingled merrily. Dotty's red hood
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disappeared. The landlady caught a glimpse of Ozro's set face as he crossed the porch, and then her husband's stalwart form came into the field of vision walking hastily and swinging his arms nervously. In one hand he held a large closely-written sheet bearing a seal of red wafer.
[ 257 ]
THE horses dragged slowly up the hill...
(pages 257-264 not transcribed)
[ 265 ]
MY son was dead...
(pages 265-273 not transcribed)
[ 274 ]
IT was with no feeling...
(pages 274-286 not transcribed)
[ 287 ]
I HAD been down to the harbor...
(pages 287-304 not transcribed)
[ 305 ]
I DO not know how I reached home. I thought very little of the dead man behind me, or of the act that caused his death, but much of the beautiful woman to whom I was going; not with the idea of possession, -- that hardly entered my mind, -- but with the thought that I had avenged her wrongs and relieved her of her husband's tyranny and suspicion. She might be no nearer to me, but she would not belong to him, nor her happiness be dependent on his caprice. This was the thought that filled my mind as I plodded doggedly homeward. I have wondered since what made me return at all; but I was anxious that she should know how faithfully I had obeyed her wishes, -- that no fault of mine had prevented the success of my errand. Above all, I suppose I wished to see her once more. I had not thought of flight, but somehow felt that my opportunities for seeing her would not be many, and was determined to make one more at all hazards.
"When I arrived in sight of the Inn, it was dark except her window and the light of the
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smouldering fire in the public-room. How should I reach her, how speak with her, how tell her that she was free, -- for despite what I had seen it did not occur to me that she would consider it as other than a relief. It may seem strange to you, but the fact that I had taken life did not oppress me at all. I neither pitied nor feared the bruised and battered mass that lay at the bottom of the ravine; I was simply glad that the man was dead. I went at once to my room, the one my mother now occupies. I found a bottle of rum and took a drink, which I sorely needed. I threw myself on my bed, and wondered how I should get speech with your mother. I dared not go through the public-room, for I knew that there were half a dozen men sleeping by the fire. I shrank from waking my mother, for I would then have to tell her all that had occurred. Suddenly the idea of the trap-door in the old overhang came into my mind. I knew that when the house was rebuilt it bad been left in place, though it had long been unused. It was hung on wooden bar-hinges set into the chimney at one end, and into the house-logs at the other. It worked up and down indifferently, but the ends had been concealed by a narrow slat which served as a base-board
FULFILLING LOVE'S COMMANDMENT 307
in the room above, being nailed to the logs to conceal the uneven ends of the flooring; below, it was supported by a couple of braces nailed to the wall. It ran the whole length of the closet. To remove these braces was an easy matter. If nothing should be standing upon the trap-door in the room above, I could easily lower it without attracting attention.
"I did not hesitate. Climbing on the closet shelves, I loosened the braces and cautiously lowered the door. When it swung down I raised my head and looked into the room. The candle was burning on the stand by the bedside. Your mother was lying beside you with the quilt loosely thrown over her. Fearing that my sudden appearance might startle her, I rapped gently on the floor and called her name in a low voice. She waked with a start and sat up in bed, her hair falling about her shoulders, seeming dazed and confused. She had been asleep, probably dreaming.
"What is it? Is it you, dear?" she asked in a low eager tone. I could see her face by the light of the candle on the stand beside her. Such a look of sweet expectancy I never saw on any human countenance before. Then first I realized my deplorable condition; I had kllled,
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not her husband alone, but her love. I had not regarded myself as a murderer, until I thought how she would recoil from me when she knew the truth. Her attention was fixed on the door that opened on the stairway. I thought of dropping down from my perch and fleeing as Cain did from the sight of man; but the Lord willed it otherwise. I do not know why I remained. When her attention was at last attracted to me she came forward, throwing something around her shoulders as she did so, and gazed in amazement at the long narrow trap-door. It must have seemed to her like a grave. She asked if I had seen her husband. I could only bow my head without looking up. I remember thinking that I could never look into her eyes again."
He paused. The perspiration was streaming down his face. He wiped it with his handkerchief, gazing steadily into the fire as he did so. His voice was strained and tremulous, and he spoke with that hurried nasal cadence which characterized the popular religious frenzy of that day. After a moment he proceeded.
"She bade me come up and relate what her husband had said, -- all that had occurred. I swung myself into the room. She stepped back
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and waited, standing beside a chair, one hand clasping the shawl about her throat. I stood before her overwhelmed, confounded. Despite the terrible facts, I could not but be conscious of her loveliness. It was as if an angel were before me, whom I worshipped even while I waited for the words of doom. She questioned, and I told her all, -- truly, as it had happened. Her trunk was open a little way from the chair by which she stood, with many of the things it usually contained piled at the ends. It occurred to me that she had determined to leave as much of her belongings as she could, and follow her husband if I failed."
"That is why she gave me laudanum," interrupted Ozro, with a tone of relief, "She would have had to leave me, and did not want the pain of a conscious parting."
"Very likely," said the other, absently. "I stood looking down at the trunk," he resumed, "when I heard a gasp -- a moan. She had said nothing and I had not once looked up. When I did so she was deathly pale, -- her left hand pressed above her heart, her face wearing a look of intense physical pain coupled with a strange undefinable fear.
"Go! go!" she said gaspingly, motioning me
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away. Pity, aversion, and fear were mingled in her tone. She tottered, and I sprang forward to save her from falling. God! what a look of horror came into her eyes as she started back, putting up both her hands to repel me, unconscious that the shawl had fallen from her shoulders. She trembled, gasped again, and clutched the chair. I sprang toward the door, forgetful of everything but her peril.
"'Stop, stop,' she fairly shrieked, as my hand touched the latch. 'Have you not done enough?'
"'But you are ill,' I pleaded, 'let me call my mother.'
"'And proclaim your presence here?'
"I had not thought of this peril to her good name. She moaned and sank into the chair. What could I do, -- the husband's murderer in the wife's chamber? Her eyes closed, and she breathed short and quick.
"'Let me do -- something!' I exclaimed.
"She looked up weakly.
"'Go! go!' she said, "quick!'
"'But you?' I asked.
"'Never mind me! It is nothing -- much! I have had it before -- once! Go -- fly! They will suspect me -- and you --'
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"She shuddered, and put her hands over her eyes as if to shut out some terrible picture. It gave me a thrill of rapture even in my agony to know that she thought of me at all. I had made no defence, no excuse.
"'I did the best I could, Mrs. Evans.' I said.
"God help me, I fear it was a lie! I thought I spoke the truth but I might have kept my hold, and let him kill me with the knife. I ought to have done so; it was my place to die. Then he would have been alive, and some time she would have found him and been happy. But it was God's will that it should be otherwise. He knoweth all things!"
The man stopped, and again wiped his face with the large silk handkerchief which he took out of the hat that lay beside him on the floor. He still held the pipe in his left hand, though he had long ago ceased smoking. He had not once looked at Ozro since telling him of his father's fate. The young man was pale and trembling but be said pityingly,
"Had you not better wait a while, sir?"
"No, no! it must be told now! For this thing came I here under God's mysterious guidance!" exclaimed the other, hurriedly,
"I was mean enough, you see," he continued,
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"to think of myself even then; to plead -- O God! and she was dying!"
He looked at Ozro, -- his countenance so terribly distorted with horror and shame that the young man drew back in affright.
"I don't blame you," said the other, mistaking the movement for aversion. -- "I don't blame you, But she did not repel me. She was an angel -- your mother. She stretched out her hand. I touched it, and fell on my knees -- not near her -- away off: I could hardly reach her finger-tips.
"'I believe you,' she gasped, -- 'I believe every word!'
"Then she snatched her hand away and pressed it to her heart again.
"'Go! Go,' she repeated, 'fly -- at once!'
"'Fly -- where?' I rose to my feet. I suppose my tone showed my despair.
"'Anywhere! Do not come back -- ever. Nobody else will believe -- Here -- take these!'
"She handed me her jewel-case, which lay on a pile of books by the chair. I had risen and started to go. I looked at it, and shook my head.
"'Oh, I forgot! Here -- I have money. My purse -- quick!'
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"She pointed to her trunk. I seized it, dragged it toward her and picked up the pocket-book -- a little red one I had often seen in her hand. She. took it, touched the spring, and it flew open. A terrible spasm of pain seized her.
"'Jack!' she gasped, 'Jack! never let it be known -- that you were -- here -- never! For my sake!'
"She half started up -- trembled, gasped, fell back, and would have fallen from the chair had I not caught her. There were two or three convulsive gasps -- that was all. I placed her head against the back of the chair, rubbed her hands, called her name -- felt for her pulse. There was none. She was dead! I did not doubt it. Perhaps even then if I had given the alarm she might have been saved. I did not think it possible, or I am sure I would have done it. My only thought was to save her from shame, and I remembered only her anxiety that I should fly for her sake. It was cowardly, I know; but -- well, there is no excuse. I was overwhelmed with horror. Snatching some of the money, I clambered back down the trap-door, replaced the braces as well as I could, seized my fur-coat (a present from my mother, made of skins my father had taken when he was a young man),
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and putting on your father's hat almost unconsciously, started on my flight. God! how cruel to leave her sitting there dead, that cold, cold night! Through all its terrible hours I thought of that! In all the years since I have not been able to forget it!"
He rose, and staggered weakly across the room. Ozro again asked him if he had not better delay the rest of his story.
"No, no!" he exclaimed, "let me finish now. Let me have it over -- be done with it forever!"
He sat down and resumed.
[ 315 ]
HALF-DAZED, I went into the storm to 'go away,' as she had bidden me. That was my sole thought. I did not care for myself, and had no sense of fear. I felt that I must go in order that I might not reveal my love, and so cast a shadow on her good name. It was that which she had feared, which her husband's suspicion had made her dread worse than death. I felt no remorse except for the evil I had wrought to her. I would have given my life to have restored her existence; nay, I would gladly have given my life to have restored him, if thereby life and happiness miaht come again to her.
"I turned after reaching the road and looked up through the blinding storm at the dimly lighted windows. She seemed looking down at me as I had seen her before, the abundant hair falling over the fair shoulder down beside the white arm almost to the floor. I knew that I had killed her -- felt that I was her murderer.
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I had not meant to do her ill: never in word or thought had I done her intentional harm. She had not given me a tender thought: I felt that it was a sacrilege to think of love in connection with her. But she knew and had forgiven -- perhaps she had despised -- my weakness; she also had excused my passion and recognized my sincerity; and she had charged me to go away, and save her honor from taint in the world's thought.
I was going. I did not know where or how, -- just away, out of sight, out of knowledge, out of the world may be. But for my tell-tale body that would have been the easiest solution of the difficulty, and being the easiest would have been adopted. Were you ever tired, -- thoroughly beaten out, I mean, -- heart, brain, and body? That was my condition, and it is not surprising if my mind was not very clear. I had tramped through the storm to and from where I had fought for m life with a strong man; I had seen my love burned to ashes, and the woman I idolized die by my act. No wonder my thought was confused, and my conscience dead.
"Somehow, I did not think much of the man who was lying at the bottom of the 'Gulf.' I did not look upon his death as murder, nor had
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I any sense of blood-guiltiness as to him. I had done him no wrong unless the silly boastfulness of a hope which was honest and natural enough under the circumstances ma be thought a wrong. I hated him before I saw him, -- before I ever knew he was alive, -- because of his harshness and injustice to her. I was sure he had been unjust, because she could not be in the wrong. I had been willing to go in search of him simply because she desired his presence, -- just as I would have gone for a dog, or any brute she loved. Through it all I was conscious of a sense of gratification that he was dead: he could make her no more trouble. There was a feeling too, that he had met his desert. So I stumbled on through the cold and the snow, leaving the dear dead behind me and hating the dead before me, but with no thought of fleeing from either because of a sense of guilt.
'I was glad too that he was dead because she loved him. Though I had not meant to do him harm, I hated him not less because she loved him than for the wrong he had done to her. For me, I had only to remember the look of horror that overspread her face when she realized that he had died by my hand, the self-loathing her eyes expressed as she thought that
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rid of it. Fast or slow, backward or forward, one side or the other, go where I would it was all the same, -- there he was, looking -- right at me and through me all the time. I knew at once that he had come back to stay with me wherever I might go, and that this was to be my punishment. For the first time it came to my mind that my false and foolish boasting had made all the trouble, and destroyed two lives. Then I saw myself a murderer, -- not an intended, revengeful murderer, but a reckless, careless, selfish one. I bad boasted of my love and its hopes, and this jealous, fanatic nature had been inflamed by my wrong-doing to commit the cruel act I had condemned. He had loved, but he could not trust; he could not believe in her innocence and purity, how then should he believe my angry denial? He had loved, - ay, he still loved. I saw it now. He did not seek me out of revenge. His look did not reproach me for the wrong I had done to him, but for the evil I had wrought to her. It was sorrow rather than anger that impelled his spirit to its vengeful task.
"I went on, guided by this presence, until I reached the place where the old Portage crossed the Shore Road. The stage was just coming, across the flat from the village -- it used to run
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to the harbor then. It suddenly occurred to me that I had heard the stranger tell the landlord to put his portmanteau on the stage when it came along if he should not return, as he might walk on until it overtook him. It had evidently been his intention to come out here, take a look at the place where the woman he loved was staying and then return and take the stage westward. I had on his hat and my own fur-coat. Why should I not take his place? I thought I could see satisfaction in the white ghostly face that shone upon the snow before me as I formed this resolution. I turned and walked on westward. After an hour or so the stage overtook me. As the light of the lamps fell on me, the driver called out: Hello, is that Mr. Evans ?'
"'Yes,' I answered. 'Have you got my portmanteau?"
"'Safe enough; but I began to fear I was going to miss you.'
"'Oh, I'm all right. I knew you would have a hard time, and thought I would walk on ahead a little way. Are you full?'
"'No -- only two; pile in.'
"He stopped beside me. I opened the door and climbed in. Fortunately it was a driver I had never seen. On the fifth day afterward
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'Jackson Evans' got out of the stage in Cincinnati, and two days later was floating down the Ohio on a flat-boat. There was an address on the portmanteau I had assumed the ownership of, but I did not know whether it was the right one or not. So I broke it open: learned from papers in it the address of your father's bankers; took it to a bank, and paid them to transmit it to New York. This took the last money I had, and I hired out as a boatman. It was late in the season, but the river was still open, and there was one captain who was going to risk getting through. He wanted hands, and I went with him. On that day Jackson Evans disappeared, and Abner Jackson took his place. Two years afterward this chance of name was legalized by special statute. Mississippi was a new State then, and it was thought good policy to make things of that sort easy to new-comers. Poindexter, the governor, took a fancy to me, having an interest in the boat I was running then, -- and when I hinted that the name was an assumed one, he volunteered to have it legalized, and did so.
"Up to this time the dead man had been with me all the while. I saw him now and then after I went on the boat, but not regularly. Before
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we got to Orleans I was taken with fever, and when I recovered I knew he was always with me; but I did not actually see him except at long intervals. When I came to look in a glass after my recovery, I found that a lock of my hair had turned as white as snow. I knew then it was the mark of Cain. After that I wore my hat at all times. I don't mind the mark now, but the habit has become fixed, so that I feel uncomfortable in the presence of others unless covered.
"Strange enough, the Lord prospered me. Perhaps it was because I attended to what was placed in my hands, and had no inclination to dissolute society. I liked always to be engaged, but did not care to be alone, -- in fact, I did not feel myself alone at any time. As I had lost all hope, so I had lost all fear. I did not care whether I lived or died. I was not a religious man, and had no inclination toward repentance nor any fear of punishment. I felt like one serving out a penalty he knows to be just, inevitable, and eternal. I knew that this life of suffering could only be exchanged for another just as bad: I did not think it could be any worse. So I went on doing faithfully what came in my way.
"The mark of Cain helped me. The fact that I never removed my hat in the presence of any
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one attracted attention ; and I suppose the habitual seriousness which was the result of the consciousness of ghostly company gave me a gravity and earnestness somewhat unusual among the boatmen on the river. At all events, I soon found myself in command of a boat, -- then of a better one,, until the name of Abner Jackson is about as well known up and down the river as that of any man that ever had charge of a load of passengers or signed a bill of lading
"The life suited me. I had no interests outside of it, and nothing to hope for beyond it. So I ran my boat, took care of my passengers, and made money for my owners. Nobody trifled with me, and everybody felt safe in my care. When I first took command, there was a good deal of curiosity expressed because I wore my hat all the time. On one of my first trips the passengers protested against my wearing it at the table, and one remarked that to do so was an insult to the ladies. I asked the ladies to excuse us, and invited him to accompany me on deck. He apologized -- after we had exchanged shots. His wound was serious, but before we reached New Orleans he was out of danger. Soon afterward a gambler came on board at Natchez-under-the-Hill, and deliberately pulled off my
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hat in presence of the passengers and crew. I shot him where be stood, put on my hat and went about my business. Some other experiences with the desperadoes who infested the river gave me a reputation for coolness and determination that was of great advantage. After a time I became myself a part owner of the boat I commanded. I also bought a plantation and negroes, and engaged in trade. Whatever I did prospered. I took no special pride in this, though of course it was a sort of satisfaction. I did not know what I should do with my acquisitions, or who would profit by them.
"No one ever recognized me in all the time I followed the river, though I saw more than one familiar face. Among these was my mother's cousin, Sidney Rigdon. He had stayed some weeks at the Inn during the fall before I went away. † Afterward he had become one of the leading men among a new religious sect, at that time much talked about because of the peculiar name that was applied to them. They were called Mormons, though I learned from him that their real name was 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.' I managed to see a good deal of him without letting him suspect who I was. He seemed very much in earnest, led an
† Transcriber's note: Presumably this would have been the fall of 1823. It is not known if Albion W. Tourgee meant this fictional presence of Rigdon in western New York to coincide roughly with the purported Sept. 1823 experience of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the "golden plates."
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exemplary life, and judging from him I formed a very good opinion of the strange people with whom he had cast in his lot. From him I learned how matters were going on here at the Inn. I could not understand all that he told me: since I came here it has been made plain. A year or so after this I sent some money to my mother, -- a hundred dollars; and after that, some every year. If she ever received it, I do not suppose she knew from whom it came."
"I think she suspected," said Ozro, thoughtfully.
"After that I used to see more of the spirit. Sometimes it would be with me almost all the while for a trip or two; then it would not appear for months. Sometimes it would not be visible, but I would know it was with me all the same. I did not understand what it wanted nor why it came so often, and so kept right on with my business. Of course I used to think of matters up here at the Inn a good deal, and sometimes would quite make up my mind to come and see how things were getting on. Then the spirit would go away and leave me.
"I didn't want to come; but I soon knew I'd have to. Nobody can guess how wearing it is to have somebody else around with you all
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the while, and feel that he sees and knows all that you see and know and feel and think. That's the way it was with me. Ever since the night I met the murdered man's spirit down by the 'Gulf,' I had not ever been fairly alone. Sometimes I 'most forgot him, but if I did he was sure to jog my elbow in some way or other, just to let me know he was there, I suppose. I knew there was no use in trying to get away from him, and so never made the attempt; but I was very glad when he left me to myself now and then. It was strange how he would come sometimes when I was least expecting him. I have had that face come between me and one I was speaking to, between my eye and the page of a book I was reading between me and a bill of lading I was putting my hand to. I never knew when or where or in what mood it would appear. Sometimes it looked angry and troubled, sometimes sad ; and then again calm and pitiful, as if regretting the task it had to perform. If I became angry or contemplated injustice, it was sure to look reproachful or distressed. If I chanced to take pleasure in the society of a woman, it became flushed and angry, and would pursue me everywhere.
I cannot say that I was afraid of it. I grew
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to know its moods and expect its presence; but it was very annoying in its more excited forms, and would follow me about persistently until I changed my conduct or intention. I tried once or twice to drown it in drink, but my suffering's were only made greater thereby. My unconscious moments were filled with horrible visions, and in my waking hours the spirit pursued me unceasingly. This companion, invisible to others, served to make me silent and reserved without becoming at all moody or sulky. After a time I found I could converse with it, -- not indeed getting specific replies to questions I might ask, but seeming to know just what it would say if speech were in its power.
"Don't you think this may have been a delusion?" asked Ozro, cautiously.
"Do I seem a man likely to be self-deceived?" asked Jackson, severely.
In truth he did not. Ozro wondered what his associates on the river would have thought if they had known what visions the captain of the popular steamer had.
"No," continued Jackson, "I do not pretend to know just what this ghostly appearance was. Whether it was the 'spiritual body' of which the Apostle speaks, or only a spiritual influence that
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shaped itself to my consciousness in that form, I do not know. But the thing I do know is, it was of God."
He raised his eyes reverently as he uttered these words.
"No doubt, no doubt!" said Ozro, seriously.
"Yes, it was of God," repeated Jackson; "and in this way I have learned a good deal about your father, Ozro; and strange as it may seem, we have become the best of friends. He was a good man, though of course he had his faults. I think the task of keeping around with me was as great a penance to him as it was to me for a time, but he came at length to enjoy it too. He must have been a very good business man in his day, for nothing pleases him so well even yet as to have me do a good thing in that line; and if ever I go against his warning, I am sure to lose. That is why I took to your machines so quick. He was betwixt me and them all the time, especially the little one. I didn't understand that, till Dewstowe brought those other pins. It's natural of course that he should be anxious about your welfare, but I am satisfied that he feels a special interest in your temporal good. For this reason I am sure you will be fortunate in business."
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Ozro smiled, but the other was too busy with his thoughts to note even the shrug of incredulity that accompanied the smile.
"Strange as it may seem," he continued, "I think the fact that we were partners, as it were, in the wrong that was done your mother, lies at the bottom of our association, -- if I may use that word to express such a relation. Of course I know nothing of the laws of that world of which he is now a part; I only know that he has the power of making himself visible to me when he is not visible to others. I am satisfied that he is not only able to read my thoughts, but that he cannot help knowing them. I have a notion that this is very often quite as irksome to him as it is to me, -- perhaps even more so; that my pain, unhappiness, or misfortune affects him not less sensibly than it does me; that this is due, or was at first at least, not so much to sympathy, as to a sort of fate, -- a certain community of woe from which neither of us can escape.
"Like me, his crime has forever separated him from your mother and her love. She went out of the world, not hating him nor me, -- for she could not hate any one, -- but with a sickening disgust, which eternity will not be long enough
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to wear away, toward both of us. That is our punishment, I feel sure. Where she is we cannot come. She started in the eternal race millions of years ahead of us. If we get to where she was then, we shall only find her far beyond. That is my belief. You may think me a visionary, but my life proves me to be anything but that. No one can deny that Abner Jackson has been a sober, hard-headed, practical man, who has prospered in most of his undertakings, and made as few mistakes in fifteen years as often falls to a man's lot who does anything like the amount of business I have transacted. If I have learned something of the world beyond, it is because fate has laid a burden on me that not many men are called to bear. I know that I shall be forgiven, -- I haven't any doubt or fear of that. Not only have I the assurance of the spirit, but the Lord has spoken to me by the mouth of His Holy Prophet, and I know that I shall be saved; nay, I am assured that I shall be saved 'with an exceeding great salvation.' But the stain of blood-guiltiness rests upon my soul, -- upon mine and his, -- and must ever rest there, unless washed out by special atonement. This separates us forever by divine decree from the victim of our sin. This it is that links your
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father and me -- together, -- the tie of endless expiation. Not alone here on earth, but during the endless ages of eternity shall we be united. Forever and forever we shall walk the plains of heaven together, doing the will of the Almighty and bowing to it without murmuring never seeing her whom we wronged, nor knowing the new name she has received in the celestial City, but never ceasing to think of her and ever longing to see her face. I am not a visionary, Ozro, but the Lord has taught me by a hard lesson and in a strange and notable way. I am not even a religious enthusiast. My tongue refuses to utter the ecstatic praises that fall from other lips. I can only do the will of God in silence, -- 'faithful in a few things.'
"About two years ago, I finally determined to come back and see for myself how things were going on at the Inn. I knew you must be a man grown by this time, and I thought I might be able to do something to help repair the wrong I had done so long ago. I couldn't make good your loss even in a pecuniary sense, for your father would have been a rich man if he had lived, Ozro, -- a rich man. I take it he was pretty well off as it was; but he would have
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stood away up among the biggest of them if he had lived, for he was a business man and no mistake. I think you must be like him, by the way you've held things together here at the Inn. Mother tells me you've had your own way for five or six years, and have managed to keep the place going and kept the interest on the mortgage down besides. I don't see how you did it, I confess; but then Dotty has been some help toward the last, I suppose. Ma always was a manager; but Pa must have been a drag. He seems to be all broke up. I can't understand it. Ma used to be very fond of him, and there never was any difference between them, except about me. He seems to lay their estrangement all to you; but I suppose it was the drink. Yet it don't seem to me he would have gone so completely to the bad if she hadn't been so hard on him. That's neither here nor there, though, now.
"I didn't know what sort of a chap you'd grown up, and so couldn't tell, of course, what might be done. I had a notion I might get you a job on the river, -- I'm owner of as good a boat as floats, you see, -- an' I did not know but you might like to go back with me and work her a while before taking command on your own account. Your father never seemed to like the
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idea, and I see now it would not do at all. You ain't that sort of a chap: not but you could do it well enough if there was need to; but there ain't no need of it, and besides your fitter for something else, -- there ain't no denying that. Perhaps it's better too. Not but what the command of a river boat is a good berth: it's an honorable place and a responsible one, that requires a sober man and a brave one to fill it as it ought to be filled. You'd do it well. I saw that when you gripped that dog the first night I came to the Inn; but perhaps you can do other things better, and every man ought to do what be can do best, -- there's no doubt about that. Well, I shan't ever go back to the river again. So it's no use to talk of that."
[ 335 ]
I DID not feel any serious apprehension in revisiting my old home, though I knew that the act which attended my departure must be regarded by others as the foulest of crimes. I was well aware that no one would believe the story I have told you of my encounter with your father. I had learned that a body was found which, though not conclusively identified, was suspected to have been his; but I never heard that there was any suspicion that he came to his death by my hand. As no one knew of his coming to the Inn except myself, this notion was not likely to prevail; besides, the stage-driver had asserted stoutly that he took your father safe and sound as far as Erie at least. I knew too, that time had made great changes in my appearance, and thought it not unlikely that I could spend months here, as I have done, without my identity being suspected.
"I closed up my business as well as I could, however, thinking it possible I might never return. When I reached Cleveland, I became
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possessed of a strange disinclination to coming farther. For the first time I think I felt actually afraid. I was afraid to come near the old place, -- afraid to meet my parents and the neighbors. My father I knew mourned me as dead; my mother -- well, I was afraid to meet her eye. If I had known what she really thought, I would have returned long before merely to clear my name from the suspicion of theft. What do you suppose became of the diamonds? I have seen diamonds since, and know that is what they were."
Jackson turned sharply toward Ozro as he spoke.
"You had better ask Dotty."
"Dotty? What does she know about them?"
"Your mother hid them, and forgot the place of their concealment; that is all."
"Ah, and Dotty found them?"
"I found them, -- or rather the ghost showed them to me."
"You mean my mother?"
"Poor mother, how she has suffered!" said Jackson, with a sigh. "But that does not explain Dotty's connection with the jewels."
"I gave them to her."
IN THE NEW JERUSALEM. 337
"You did! Do you know what they are worth?"
"No -- it does not matter."
"Not if she marries Dewstowe?"
"That's not like your father, sir," said Jackson, reproachfully. "Or rather," he added in a softer tone, "it is like your mother. There are not many men who give without taking note of the value of the gift."
"I wish it were more," huskily.
"'Even all that he hath,'" responded Jackson meditatively.
"Why not," said Ozro, passionately, "if it will give her pleasure?"
"Strange, strange!" said the elder man half to himself; "there is a love that gives by rule and measure, and demands a strict account; and another that gives without asking, and demands nothing in return. Yes, you are right. Though love may be sometimes cruel, that which esteems another's happiness above self is not likely to go far wrong. But don't be rash, my son, -- don't be rash. Time brines a good many things to a man who has nerve enough to wait for them.
"But to return to my story," he continued,
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seeing that Ozro sat moodily looking into the fire and made no reply "As I said, a great fear took hold upon me at Cleveland. It seemed to possess your father, too. Every time I thought of continuing my journey, he would appear to me with that distressed and anxious look I had learned to know so well as the precursor of evil, and flit about before my eyes, hiding everything I looked at. So I stayed there several weeks, doubtful whether I would continue my journey or not.
"About this time there was a good deal being said concerning a great Temple the Saints -- the Mormons as you call them -- had opened at the town of Kirtland, some forty miles away, where the New Jerusalem of the Latter Day is located, whence the Prophet hath declared 'salvation shall flow to the uttermost parts of the earth.' There was much curiosity about this Temple, which was said to have double pulpits, great winding stairs, veils of colored silk that stretched from side to side, so right that the light was mellowed by their hues, and of so frail a texture that when the congregation were hushed in prayer they sometimes showed the waving of Moroni's wings, as he came to whisper in the Prophet's ear the commandment of the Most High. Curiosity was stimulated also by the fact
IN THE NEW JERUSALEM. 339
that this Temple was proclaimed to have been built under the direct advisement and oversight of the Almighty. Indeed, it was known to have been erected, by the people themselves, few of Whom had any special mechanical training under the immediate supervision of the Prophet, who besides having no architectural knowledge is without skill as a draughtsman, and indeed is but an indifferent penman. He gave orders day by day what the workmen should do, without the aid of any plan or trestle-board. Sometimes he grew impatient and would not wait for inspiration, and then the work would have to be taken down and done over again, -- for the Prophet, though he is the Lord's Anointed, is exceedingly weak, and fleshly pride not seldom checks the holy influence upon his human nature. Sometimes, the brethren tell me, there would be nothing done for weeks, or if anything, were attempted it would have to be torn down and done over, because the Most High was angry at the Prophet's pride. Then the congregation would be assembled and continue in prayer until the rush of Moroni's pinions was felt, and they knew that God and their Prophet were reconciled.
"This building thus divinely planned -- like, the one constructed on Mount Zion -- was said to
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be unlike anything ever seen on earth, and in the apparent richness of its adornment and splendor of its effects unparalleled by anything known in our Western world since the children of Nephi builded the Temple of Mexitli, which the unbelievers seized and desecrated to the service of idols, and stained with human blood. It was because of this ravishment of the ancient Temple by the wicked and debauched among the priesthood that the new one had no secret passages or covered ways. Only silken curtains of royal purple half hid the high-priest as he ascended by the winding stair to the Prophet's seat, and the veil that hid the Holy of Holies where he retired alone to commune with the Most High through His chosen messenger the blessed Moroni, transformed into an angel of light for his faithfulness at the Hill of Cumnorah, whereby the Holy Book of the Western Continent -- the New Word which supplements the ancient revelation -- was preserved for our salvation. There is a curious cave or deep narrow gorge near the site of the Temple, and unbelievers said there was a secret way between this and the Holy Place whereby the Prophet's disappearances were deftly managed to deceive the uninitiated. But though the cave was open to all, and was thronged every
IN THE NEW JERUSALEM. 341
day by curious visitors who inspected with the utmost minuteness every inch of its interior, no one has ever found the hidden way nor any evidence of its existence. These and many other marvellous and sometimes absurd stories came to my ears, and I began to lose the good opinion of this people which I had received from Rigdon; but as the Temple was open to unbelievers only on holy days and public occasions, I readily fell in with the proposal of a traveller who was stopping at the same inn with me, that we should drive out and stay over a Sabbath at the New Jerusalem.
"As we journeyed thither, our conversation was that of unbelievers. Neither of us had any faith in the new sect, and both expected to be able to penetrate and expose the deceptions practised on its weak and deluded followers. As we drew near, we were surprised at the sentiments of the people. Some, indeed, spoke with no little fanatical bitterness; very many reviled the Prophet in malignant terms, -- but all agreed that his followers were sober, industrious, intelligent, and devoted. The were all native Americans. Almost all of them, we were told, had been good and acceptable members of other churches before they joined the Saints.
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"It was Friday night when we reached the little village and stopped at the inn kept by one of the most prominent of the new sect. He was a modest, quiet man, who only smiled at the discourteous banter some of our fellow-travellers indulged in with regard to his faith, and said: 'Wait and see, gentlemen, and decide for yourselves. That is the way I did. You have to look after your salvation, and I after mine. So you must take your way, and I will take mine.'
"The next day we loitered about the town. Our first impressions as to the character of the people were confirmed by all we saw. Whatever might be their religious errors, we were bound to confess that a more peaceable, industrious, and kindly community we had never seen than the few hundred Saints who dwelt at the New Jerusalem. In fact they seemed to be distinguished from the people around them only by unusual sobriety, industry, and contentedness. I have often thought since that time that the divine guidance in the establishment of the new belief was in nothing more apparent than in the supreme wisdom which located its New Jerusalem in the very centre of the Western Reserve. In the very midst of a population of almost unmixed
IN THE NEW JERUSALEM. 343
New England origin, inheriting all their religious intensity, zeal for knowledge, self-reliance, and unsparing inclination to investigate and expose all shams, -- here the uncultured Prophet who wrote with difficulty and read with ease only with the aid of the miraculous lenses, the Urim and Thummim which translated to his vision all texts and tongues, -- here, by divine commandment, he pitched the New Jerusalem and laid the foundations of the Temple. The city of the Saints is surrounded by a population of the highest average of intelligence to be found in the world, of the strictest morality, the most universal religiousness, and the most fearless independence. In the three counties which lie nearest, it is said that less than five per cent of the population are of foreign birth; four fifths of the people are of the purest New England stocks. In many towns the church membership includes the entire adult population. Less than one in a hundred is unable to read and write. From this people the Church of the Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Christ has drawn almost its entire membership. At this day less than four-score of its members are of foreign birth. Only within a twelvemonth have they sent out missionaries to enlighten this and other lands.
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"Many of these facts I learned that day, others I learned afterward; but they fairly rep- resent the impression produced by that day's observation. I was favorably inclined toward the new religion because it seemed to make happy homes, peaceful and industrious people. Besides that, it seemed to me that a false religion could not live in such a blaze of intelligence, and that an impostor would not have chosen such a location for the performance of false miracles. I did not meet my cousin Sidney Rigdon, as he was absent in the work of the Church, for which he has been especially set apart. I was a stranger among a strange people, but I had not felt such a sense of peace and rest since I grappled with your father on the slippery edge of the 'Gulf.' He too was content. When his countenance appeared hovering over my bed as I dropped asleep that night, it was radiant with approval. Yet little did I imagine how near I was to wonderful events; nor did I dream that before the morrow's sun had set, my lot would be irrevocably cast in with this little company of Saints, -- that I would have touched the Prophet's hand and said to him: 'Whither thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God!'"
[ 345 ]
THE Saints had gathered in the Temple and the music of the hidden performers was floalting through the solemn shaded spaces when we reached the place of worship the next morning. All was calm and silent save for this and the voices that called to each other from the pulpits that stood opposite, each with their four tiers of dignitaries who represented the temporal and spiritual power of the Church. We were given seats near the green veil which hangs midway between these thrones of high-priest and president, either of which the Prophet may occupy, supported by the four-and-twenty Elders and the twelve Apostles in one, and the twelve Councillors and the Presidents of the Seventies when he sits in the other.
"This organization was not then complete. Of elders and teachers there were enough, but there was a vacant seat in the order of the twelve Apostles, eleven having been chosen by divine direction more than a month before; but
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as to the twelfth, no revelation had been vouchsafed. At this time the people were gathered together in order that special prayer and supplication might be made for divine guidance in this matter. The Prophet was in the Holy Place awaiting the result. There was a solemn, but not artistic, chant intoned by the congregation and then-the music died away, the veils were drawn by invisible hands, and the people bowed in prayer. Sitting close to the wall and in the shadow of the veil, the fact that I did not remove my hat had probably not been observed; at least no objection was made. For myself, I was not aware of it; the habit had become so firmly fixed that I never thought of departing from it. It was a very solemn scene, -- the hundreds of earnest worshippers between the veils separated from other hundreds on the other side, all bowed in fervent whispered petitioning. I watched it a moment, and then bowed my head with the rest. It was many years since I had witnessed any religious ceremony, and this seemed more solemn and impressive than any I had ever beheld. Still the low inarticulate murmur grew and swelled in the lofty space above the veils. I thought of what I had heard of the coming of Moroni in answer to the prayers of
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET. 347
the congregation, and looked up just in time to see a strange tremor of the veils, as if invisible winds had indeed swept the air about them. There was, too, a rushing sound as if a wind swept through the Temple; yet I knew that not a breath was stirring in the sultry air without.
"Instantly every one of the worshippers seemed to have become aware of these things, and the voice of prayer was spontaneously changed to praise. It was still only a murmur, but it was mingled with sobs and half-uttered ejaculations of praise. 'Amen!' 'Hallelujah!' 'Glory to God!' came from here and there within the veils and beyond the confines of the two between which I was seated. Then the ejaculations grew into a tumultuous murmur; the angel's name and that of the Prophet were mingled with the various appellations of the Most High. It was a solemn scene. I waited, strangely moved. Could it be true? Had the divine messenger indeed passed over the bowed heads of the believing people? Had we indeed heard the rustle of seraphic pinions? I waited in rapt expectation.
"Suddenly a voice, which seemed strangely remote because of the silken barriers that intervened, struck the chords of a hymn evidently familiar to the worshippers, though I had never
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heard it before. The air was simple, yet fall of a solemn exaltation. Faith and triumph were blended in the words. Then all arose and sang. Tears and smiles took the place of tears and lamentations. Invisible 'hands drew the curtains aside once more. The music of the unseen musicians mingled with the swelling chant. It was an anthem of praise because their prayer had been heard. The angel of the Lord had come, and His people were comforted. Finally the chant ended, and the congregation sat down. All was silent save the breath of trembling expectation which fluttered over the throbbing multitude. I do not know how long we waited. Suddenly, as I watched the breathless throng a sigh of relief passed through it; every face lighted up, and every eye was fixed on the Prophet's place.
"I followed the general gaze, and saw the curtain that veiled the Holy Place tremble as if a hand had passed gropingly along it. Still no one was to be seen. Again it trembled; then it was parted in twain, and a man came forth with the dim uncertain gaze that characterizes one whose eyes have been blinded by too intense a light. It was the Prophet, clad in the white robe he wore only when he spoke by inspiration,
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET. 349
"It was the first time I had ever seen the celebrated founder of the new faith. I do not know what it was that made his presence so impressive. I have come very near him since then, but have never seen him without feeling that I stood in the presence of a superior being He was by no means notable for comeliness of form or regularity of feature. Hardly above the average height, compact and sinewy, with a look of calm determination on his face, you might pass him a thousand times and not guess that there was anything remarkable about him. If you chanced to note his eyes they would hold you; or his smile, that would attract. Here was no parade, no glamour, -- just a man clad in a white robe, standing in the bright light of day before a thousand people. Yet I had never been so hushed and awed by human presence. Before he had spoken a word my heart said: 'This man is a Prophet. He may be uncultured, erring human, but he is sent of God."
"He stood looking over the hushed assemblage for a moment like one who knows not what he wishes to say. The place where he stood was not like a pulpit, though it was the apex of the narrowing circles of seats on which the spiritual dignitaries sat. There was no desk, no
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book, no cushion. It was just a little circular space in which be stood alone, as if cut off from all the rest of the world. The silken curtain that hung from the low railing about it was of dark green, like that which shaded the entrance to the Holy Place from which be came. The eleven Apostles and the four-and-twenty Elders turned in their places and looked up at him anxiously. All these simple things made a peculiar impression on me.
"There is nothing stately or magnificent about the Temple, nothing ornate or artistically remarkable, but I doubt if such notable effects were ever produced by such simple means. The Lord knew the poverty of his Saints, and showed the Prophet how be might be most acceptably worshipped without extravagant expenditure. The Prophet had not the treasured wealth of Israel at his beck, nor the kings of the earth to send presents of gold and silver and precious stones for the adornment of the holy edifice; but I question if even Solomon's priceless Temple brought a more worshipful mood, or induced a more solemn and ecstatic frame of mind in those who entered its hallowed precincts. I doubt if the Temple at Kirtland will hold a thousand people, -- I am sure it will not seat
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET. 351
that number; but many stood and many more sat in the sloping aisles, and, -- I do not know why it was, why it is, for it is a daily miracle, but it always seems to me that the congregation which gathers there is an innumerable multitude. Perhaps it is because there are never any vacant places, and the light falls only on the pulpits at the end, while the tinted veils increase the solemn shadow in which the congregation sit.
"It was a long time before the Prophet spoke. I had expected to find him loud-voiced and positive, -- an impostor who bore down unbelief by sheer force of assertion and persistence of iteration. I had expected to find readiness of speech, vigor of declamation, and vehemence of gesture. None of these things appeared. He stood looking over the audience with strange indecision, one hand resting quietly upon a post of the railing before him, while the other plucked absently, rather than nervously, at the curtain which depended from it. Self-distrust, almost humiliation, rather than self-confidence characterized his manner. He seemed like one compelled to utter words be did not wish to speak. Strongly as my curiosity was aroused, I could not restrain a feeling of pity for one so evidently compelled to do violence to his own desires.
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"His voice, though firm and resonant, had a peculiar sympathetic character that touched the heart, silenced doubt, and quite effaced all consideration of the speaker. He had not uttered a dozen words before I had forgotten that this man was Joseph Smith the Mormon, of whom I had heard so much, and only wondered what he was going to say, -- what was the message he was about to deliver.
"'Saints, elders, and apostles!' said the Prophet. The form of address startled me, not so much by the terms used as by the order in which they were arranged. I had not been a very good boy, but there was one thing I was forced to learn very thoroughly in my youth, the New Testament. There are few chapters of it that I have not, at one time or another, committed to memory as an appointed task; and if I had seen little of the Holy Word for years, I was still familiar with its language. It struck me that this putting of the body of believers before the select official few was a thing unheard of since the time when Paul had written, 'To all the saints in Jesus Christ, with the bishops and deacons.' It was a little thing perhaps, but it made a deep impression on my mind.
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET. 353
"'Brethren,' continued the Prophet, humbly, 'the Lord hath made known His will concerning that matter which we have in hand, and him that shall be chosen. In ancient times we know that the place made vacant in "the ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell" was filled by lot from among those chosen by the congregation of saints. When eleven had been chosen to the new apostleship by direction of the Spirit and without dissent among the congregation, we were for a time left without guidance, and it was proposed that the ancient method be adopted, and names were accordingly selected for that purpose. It was for direction in this matter that we gathered here for prayer today. In answer to your supplications it is vouchsafed to me to deliver this message from the Most High: --
"'Behold, I have given commandment to my angel Moroni, that he shall say to the Prophet of the Lord, who shall repeat it to my people: Trouble not yourselves about the choice of my servants. Behold I the Lord know in what manner to select my ministers, and who they shall be. All these things I have foreknown from the beginning And behold there sitteth among you at this time one who is not of you,
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yet he shall be my apostle, the minister and witness of my truth. Behold he knoweth it not, nor doth his heart incline unto my ways; but I have brought him through darkness and tribulation that he may glorify my name. I have made him to sin deeply and love weakly. There is blood upon his hands. He hath wronged the widow and the fatherless. Yet he shall be my witness. He shall make atonement for wrong, and offer his blood in expiation even as I shall command. Behold, I have put my mark upon him and preserved him many days for this thing -- that he shall enhance my glory, make unbelievers ashamed, and win for himself a great name, even like unto that Stephen who first of all gave his life for my sake.
"'Behold now he sitteth in the sanctuary,' exclaimed the Prophet, with a fervor he had not before shown, while his eyes seemed to burn into my heart and read my inmost thought. 'He heareth the voice of my Prophet, and knoweth the truth of his word. He weareth another's name, and hath fled from the face of his kindred. But I have set my mark upon him, -- even in the hair of his head have I set my mark, and I will claim him for my own. There is none here that knoweth his face, but
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET. 355
I the Lord know it, -- also all his words and ways!"
"'When he cometh to join himself with my people, he shall fill the vacant place and do all that I shall command him. Behold now he sitteth covered as to his head in the congregation of the Saints. So also shall he alone sit covered in the seat of the apostle, because I have put my mark upon him, and he shall remain covered, to hide it from the sight of men, until he shall exchange it for a crown of everlasting glory!'
"The Prophet paused. Every one turned and looked at me. I felt myself the centre of all the eyes of that seemingly unnumbered host; but I looked not to the right or left. Amazed as I was at the word to which I had listened, I was determined to give no sign. Even if the Prophet had not known of whom he spoke, the eyes of the congregation would have pointed me out to him. He gazed at me sharply for a while, and said:
"'The angel hath given me the name of him that shall be the twelfth apostle, but I know it not.'
"He held up a small piece of paper as be spoke, and after looking keenly at it, shook his head and continued: --
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"'I do not know it; I never saw it before, Nevertheless it shall be enrolled as the twelfth, and from this day the order of the apostleship shall be accounted full.'
"The Prophet handed the paper to one who sat in the circle beneath him. It was passed from hand to hand. Each read it and shook his head. The services were soon over.
"That night I went to the Prophet's house, where, in the language of Scripture, 'He told me all that ever I did.' As soon as the necessary formalities could be arranged, I took the seat reserved for me on the left of the circle of the apostles. Because of this I am here to confess my sin, to make reparation so far as I can, and to offer the atonement that both the law and our holy faith demand."
[ 357 ]
"MR. BUTTON," said Ozro, breaking in upon the narrative.
"No, no!" said the other, protestingly, "not Button. I have saved my parents' name, at all events. That is what the lawyers tell me. My name is Abner Jackson, by special enactment of the Legislature of Mississippi; and by that name alone can I be indicted, tried, and hanged. I'm sorry for Ma, and for Pa too [Ozro noticed that he pronounced the words with the same curious modulation that Dotty used], for he is a proud man in his way, Pa is, and perhaps, all things considered, has about as much reason for being proud as most mortals. I've noticed," he added with grim humor, "that it don't take much to support a pretty rank growth of pride; and though I have found strength to obey the Lord's will thus far, yet I want to atone for my fault under a borrowed name. Remember that, Ozro," he added solemnly, "when you deliver me to the judge, and the judge delivers me to the officer, and my atonement is made complete."
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He raised his eyes and moved his lips as if in prayer.
"Well, Mr. Jackson then, if you will have it so," said Ozro. "I hope I need not tell you that your sad story has awakened my profoundest sympathies; that goes without saying. It is a pity that the facts with regard to the whole matter could not have been known before. It would have saved much misery."
"The Lord knows what is best for his children," was the submissive answer. "It might have made much more instead."
"True, true," said Ozro, thoughtfully; "at least we have the consolation of thinking that the end is near."
"Very near," said the other. There remains little more for me to do."
"I did not mean that," said Ozro. "Like my mother, I believe every word you say. I only meant that we are near the end of mystery."
"Of course," said Jackson, dully, "of course." "I want to say, too," said Ozro, rising and going to the window to hide his emotion, "that while I do not doubt that her death was due to your conduct, I do not think you intended any wrong, and your penitence has fully atoned for your fault."
UNEXPECTED RESULTS. 359
"I am very grateful," said the other, quietly. I've done my best."
Looking up the hillside, Ozro marked the spot where his mother lay buried.
"Poor mother!" he said to himself, while he forgave as she had forgiven.
"As to my father --"
"Don't say anything about that, Ozro, if you please. That isn't your matter; the law must settle that. I am not answerable to you for your father's death; but so far as I may, I hold myself bound to make good to you such pecuniary loss as you have suffered thereby."
"I do not want it, -- I do not need it," said Ozro, hastily.
"But you will not refuse?" interposed the other, anxiously. "You don't know how my heart is set on it. It is not only paying for the harm I've done, but because I've come to think so much of you, too. You are her child and his, and in all these years I've been drawing near to both of them. It's a fact, Ozro," he said, coming to the young man's side, as if he would have put his hand upon his shoulder, but refraining from doing so with an effort, -- "it's a fact, you feel nearer to me than my own kin; because I have thought of you so much,
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I suppose. I'm sure your mother would approve."
"I can't talk about it." said Ozro, excitedly.
"I see, I see," said Jackson, mournfully, shaking his head, as he went back and leaned against the mantle. It is the memory of your father. You think it is blood-money, -- a payment which the murderer makes to buy forgiveness for his crime. You can't understand that he has worked with me and helped me to get this property. You think it is stained with his blood, and don't realize that it's his money, -- the better part of it at least, for I am not entitled to any more than an agent's share."
"Mr. Jackson," said Ozro, turning quickly and going toward him, "I have no such feeling. Your self-condemnation has led you to imagine what does not exist. Will you please read that? He opened the letter be had that morning received, handed the other an enclosure yellow with age, on which the stiff bold handwriting stood out with that sallow vividness which makes an old manuscript suggest the dead hand that traced its lines.
Jackson took it, wonderingly; read it with that care which the habits of his later life had engendered, moving his lips as be perused the
UNEXPECTED RESULTS. 361
words. until be reached the signature. Then be turned back to the date and looked up at Ozro in evident bewilderment.
"Eighteen twenty-four! What does it mean?" he gasped hoarsely, while his hand shook so that the paper rattled in his grasp. "I received it this morning from Smith & Truman."
"Smith & Truman! His bankers! Eighteen twenty-four! Thank God! Thank God!"
The man fell upon his knees, the tears coursing down his cheeks, and burst out in impassioned prayer. Ozro stooped and picked up the paper the other had let fall, and stole quietly from the room. He was both dazed and horrified at what he had heard. It had chanced the whole theory of his past. He felt as if he bad been suddenly restored to his mother's arms, -- his mother, whom he had hardly dared to love. The Inn was now hateful to him. There was something terrible in the misfortunes attending his presence under its roof. He had forgiven, but all sense of gratitude was blotted out. He was sick of the terrible tragedy to the details of which he had listened. Only the memory of his mother, sweet and beautiful, remained. As to his father, -- if there was one whom he had
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not forgiven, it was the father who had suspected, accused, and cast off his mother. Yet at that very moment that father's nature was dominant in his own. He had put away all thought of Dotty: for him she seemed hardly to exist. He could not pluck her out of his heart, -- he did not wish to do that, -- but he had irrevocably decided that she was to live henceforth for another, and he did not wish to see or know anything of that life. He felt no anger, hardly blame, indeed, -- but he wished to avoid remembrance of her. He would go to his mother's grave, -- he must go there now, -- and then turn his back on the old life and all its sad memories.
Yes, he would go to the grave. He thought of it at that moment, buried under the snow, the dark hemlocks bending over it protectingly, the great bowlder lying beside it, -- this place which had been his playground in youth, and the trysting-place of his love afterward. Here be had dreamed his dreams, planned his undertakings, and mapped out his future. He had a superstitious notion, too, that his mother was nearer to him here than elsewhere, and he loved to think of her as taking an interest in his welfare and watching over his fortunes,
UNEXPECTED RESULTS. 363
As he started out he met the landlord on the porch, and wondered if this man would be glad or sorry to know of his departure. He saw Louise laying the table for the Christmas dinner as he passed the window, and wondered who would prepare the light ash-wood for the great Dutch oven, in which the weekly baking was done, when he should be gone. As he passed the woodshed, he noticed the abundant store of this household convenience piled within; he thought there was enough to last all winter. Louise had swept a path to the oven, and the ashes scattered on the snow showed that it was in use. He knew that a wild turkey he had shot a few days before was slowly roasting in the great brick arch, flanked by many another dish that would grace the mid-afternoon meal of the Christmas day. Dotty should have laid the table, but she was in such haste to go with Dewstowe that for once she had left it for Louise. He smiled bitterly as he thought of this. Reaching the well, be lowered the bucket hanging on the sweep, dipped it skilfully and brought it steaming to the curb. He balanced the bucket on the edge of the curb, stooped and drank from the brim. As he went on up the hill he was surprised. to find that some one had
364 BUTTON'S INN
been before him. Tracks led to the very edge of the "Gulf." Beneath the drooping limbs of the hemlock there were two deep impressions in the snow. Some one that very morning had been kneeling by his mother's grave. With the stranger's story fresh in his mind, Ozro did not question, as he sank down in the snow under the shelter of the dense green boughs, who it was that had been there before him.
[ 365 ]
DOTTY, in her hasty search for Ozro, the result of which she bad reported to Dewstowe had not thought of seeking him in Mr. Jackson's room. In spite of his long stay at the Inn and his familiarity with its inmates, Mr. Jackson had been quite a recluse in his own apartment. The door of his room was almost always shut, and his voice was so often heard in continuous monologue that it was believed he spent much of his time, when thus secluded, in prayer. This fact made his privacy all the more complete, since none would think of intruding on his devotions. To her mother, just waking to consciousness, everything was "blotted out" by the one idea that her son was alive. Louise, the domestic, could not remember that she had seen Ozro since Dotty and Dewstowe drove away. In reply to the inquiry which Dotty made in the public-room, her father said jocosely, --
"La, no; I hain't seen the creetur sence mornin'. Like's any way he s 'bout the barn
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somewheres. He ain't upstairs," he added, as Dotty went toward the doorway, "'cause the ghost has been there, and everybody in the house has been runnin' up and down stairs this two hours. Come by daylight this time I seed it as plain's I see you. An' who do you suppose it is?"
"Oh, I haven't time to talk about the ghost," said Dotty, petulantly, " I want Ozro."
"But 'tain't no ghost at all, girl," said her father, gleefully, interposing between her and the door by which she was retreating; "it's your Ma, Dotty -- nobody but your Ma!"
"Suppose it is," said the girl, angrily, "couldn't you have kept still about it, and not made her the talk of the neighborhood? Poor Ma she ain't to blame," she added, biting her lip, and trying in vain to choke back the tears.
"More she ain't," said the landlord, in surprise at the absence of any astonishment on Dotty's part, -- "more she ain't, an' nobody thought of blamin' her. Of course I was glad to know there wasn't any ghost after all; an' the doctor here," pointing to a young man in the company, "he's been in to see her sence, an he says it's a case of -- of what d' ye call it?" he asked, turning to the young man, a recently
A FUTILE QUEST. 367
graduated medical student, who was making his way westward toward the fortune that awaited all.
"Epilepsy," answered the physician, positively, but with a blush, as Dotty turned her frightened gaze upon him. A singular case, too, but not necessarily alarming. It is a strange disease; nobody can ever tell its course or guess its end with any certainty. We call it structural in character, but I think it is sometimes functional, -- indeed, it must be," he added, as if repelling a doubt. "Coming so late in life, there is little danger to be apprehended, especially as it seems to be irregular in its manifestations. How long has it been since the last attack?" he asked of Dotty.
"Not so very long," said the landlord, answering for her, "but it had been a good while -- years, in fact -- since the one before that."
"And the recent attacks were apparently brought on by the recurrence to the same subject, -- the original exciting cause, I mean?"
"That's it -- that's jest it," said the landlord. "The young man's jest come twenty-one, you see, an' that has brought the old matter up, so 't he is likely to make as much trouble at the Inn as his mother did afore him."
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"But where is he?" inquired Dotty, recalled to the object of her search by this allusion.
"Didn't I tell you I don't know nothin' 'bout him?" answered her father, irritably. "Rot me, if I don't hope he'll clear out, an' the sooner the better! Didn't he say he was goin' tomorrow? Well, I hope he'll jest date his notion one day ahead, that's all. Not that I've anything ag'in him, but it's bad luck to have him round. All this trouble with yer Ma has been on his account."
"If the exciting cause were removed --" began the young physician, thoughtfully. The case interested him, and he could not help speculating about it.
"That's it -- that's jest it," interrupted the landlord. "He's got to leave whether he will or no, and I'm goin' to tell her so."
"That would be very indiscreet," said the medical man, hastily. "She should never be reminded of anything connected with the past which caused her trouble."
"There ain't no help for it, then," said the landlord. "It's got to be part of our lives, jest as much as if it had been born in us. We've got rid of the ghost, but I don't see but the trouble it made is goin' to stay right on."
A FUTILE QUEST. 369
He shook his head hopelessly as he turned toward his chair and sat down.
"See here, Pa," said Dotty, coaxingly, "don't you be troubled. Don't you get down-hearted, now the worst is over."
"But the worst ain't over," said he, petulantly. What is the worst? Why, it's what come between me an' Lucy, ain't it? Only think," he added with a shudder, "I might have killed her! It "s a mercy I didn't -- and now I can't even ask her pardon from fear of bringin' it all up ag'in."
"Oh," said Dotty, lightly, "as soon as I can find Ozro, we'll make it all right with Ma. I wonder where he can be?" she added anxiously.
"Jest as like as not he's taken himself off the same way his mother did," said the landlord, grimly.
"Why, Pa, exclaimed Dotty, white to the lips at this confirmation of her unexpressed fear. She hurried out and made her tearful report to Dewstowe, who was waiting impatiently on the porch. His suggestion comforted, almost as much as his ready acceptance of her fear alarmed, her. She had confidence in his sagacity, and looked up at him with hope as well as gratitude in her glance.
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"Don't cry," he said cheerfully, "we shall probably laugh at our fear before we get through with our search. There is nothing to fear." There really was not; but the belief in the inheritable character of the suicidal mania is so universal that both had leaped to the conclusion that Ozro was especially liable to an attack thereof.
Dotty went to Mr. Jackson's room and knocked. There was no answer. After one or two attempts to attract attention, she opened the door and peeped cautiously in. The stranger was kneeling by his chair, his eyes closed, and his lips moving rapidly, though no sound issued from them. She waited a moment coughed, spoke his name, but receiving no response, entered hesitantly, and touched him on the shoulder. His eyes opened and he seemed to look at her, but his lips still moved as if his prayer went on.
"Do you know where Ozro is?" she asked apologetically.
"Ozro?" be repeated confusedly. "No -- yes; he was here a few moments ago." He rose from his knees as be spoke. "It might have been a half hour or such a matter," he added, looking at his watch.
A FUTILE QUEST. 371
Dotty rolled her handkerchiedf into a wad, pulling it over her thumb unconsciously.
"We can't find him -- anywhere!"
The man was alert now.
"Where is Mr. Dewstow?" he asked, picking up his hat. "I will see him. Don't be alarmed," he added, as he went out hurriedly.
Dotty crossed to the window and pressed her handkerchief to her eyes with both hands. She kept saying to herself that she would not weep, and then wept all the harder. At length she began to dry her eyes and repress her sobs. She heard Louise in the next room, and did not wish to let her agitation be known. What was she troubled about, anyhow? Why should she be alarmed? It was little complimnet to Ozro that she should distrust him so readily. She put her handkerchief in her pocket, and looked out of her window, bravely resolved to have no more fear. The window faced the slope of the hill back of the Inn. She started suddenly, and, leaning forward looked eagerly at the white hillside. An exclamation of fear and surprise came from her lips. She hurried out of the room and startrd up the hill.
"Well, I declare!" said the serving-woman, as she paused at her work and saw Dotty taking
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the snowy track up the hillside. "What has got into the girl?"
Dotty had climbed the hill and followed the track around the end of the hemlock screen that fell over the grave, and found the object of her search leaning against the great bowlder, gazing abstractedly at the snowy mound before him. He started at her words, and she threw herself sobbing upon his neck.
"Why, Dotty, what is the matter?" he asked, in astonishment
She answered with tears and sobs and half-incoherent words.
"Forgive me, Ozro -- forgive me! -- I -- I didn't -- mean -- to be -- to be --"
Words and sobs were so commingled that he could understand nothing except that she was uttering some remorseful self-accusation. What did it mean? Was she begging him to forgive her for having accepted Dewstowe? He could think of nothing else, and so shaped his consolation on this hypothesis. She was still his old playmate. He loved her no less than before, -- though, of course, he must not show his love now. He spoke in soothing careless tones, though all the while he was straining her to
A FUTILE QUEST. 373
his breast with a clasp that told his love better than words could. She hardly heard his words, but the pressure reassured her. She had found alive the lover whom she feared was dead. She tried to repress her sobs, but it was a long time before she succeeded. All the while Ozro was talking in a low soothing tone, as if he held an excited child.
"There, there, dear," Dotty heard him say "I don't doubt you have done what was best. He's a good man, and -- and I have no doubt he will -- will make you -- a good husband."
"A good husband! Who?" she asked, looking up in surprise.
"Why, Mr. Dewstowe, of course!"
"Mr. Dewstowe!" indignantly exclaimed Dotty, breaking away from his embrace. Her eyes flashed angrily through her tears, and her heavy brows were drawn down threateningly above them. "Well, he'll have to wait a good while first. That's all I've got to say!"
"Wait -- why?" he said in a dazed wondering way. He had settled the whole matter in his mind, and could not doubt the conclusion at which he had arrived.
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"Why?" she repeated angrily, stamping her foot in the snow. "Because I'm going to marry you first -- numbskull!"
Ozro stood an instant stupefied with amazement. Then he staggered toward her, with arms outstretched, only to meet a box on the ear and hear a rippling laugh, as Dotty fled down the hill toward the house. She turned before she had gone a dozen steps, and looked back for the expected pursuit.
She saw Ozro, with his hat off, kneeling in the snow under the hemlocks by his mother's grave. She stood a moment irresolute, and then walked soberly on to the house. As she came out on the porch, Dewstowe and Jackson were just driving out of the barn.
"I have found him!" she called out to them. There was no mistaking the contentment in her tone.
"Dear me!" said Dewstowe, with well-assumed ruefulness, as he reined the horses about and drove back upon the barn-floor, "my hopes are dashed again! Luck must be against me!"
"Well, come in with me," said Jackson, gleefully, "and let's see if we can't change it."
[ 375 ]
WHEN Dewstowe and Jackson entered the house they went directly to the room of the latter, where they talked in low earnest tones, while Louise laid the table in the room without. Presently Dotty came and helped her. She might have heard what they said, for strangely enough the door was open. She wondered what they were talking about that caused Dewstowe to walk back and forth across the room, with his head fallen forward on his breast, unconscious of her presence even when he passed the open door.
Ozro went to the barn and busied himself with the noonday chores. A light cutter drove up from the direction of the village. In it were the sheriff of the county and the attorney whom Ozro had employed to secure his patents. They stopped at the door of the barn and exchanged civilities with Ozro.
"Won't you go in and warm, gentlemen? Dinner will be ready soon."
"We wish to see you a little while," said the attorney, with some embarrassment of manner.
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(pages 376-385 not transcribed)
[ 386 ]
ASKING his company to excuse him...
(pages 386-393 not transcribed)
[ 394 ]
THE letter was from an eminent dignitary of the Mormon Church. It read: --
MY DEAR BROTHER AND COADJUTOR IN THE WORK OF THE LORD: --
All your brethren in the Apostleship and in the Church send cheer and greeting unto thee in respect of the trials and tribulations which the Spirit, through His blessed Messenger, bath foretold by the mouth of His Holy Prophet should happen unto you about this time. "Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you for my sake," said Jesus of Nazareth; and what was true in that day is not less true in the day of Joseph Smith, the chosen Prophet of the Lord, whom He hath called to be the head of the reformed and redeemed Church of Latter-Day Saints.
Remember, my brother, that thy brief sufferings, which are but for a season, will redound to the everlasting glory of that New Dispensation so mysteriously revealed through the will and power of Almighty God. Seeing thy courage, thy truth, and thy unconquerable resolution to make atonement for thy fault, the shame will be taken away from the New Zion; men will marvel at thy constancy, and believe in the faith by which thou art inspired to good works. Thy name
SAINTS AND SINNERS. 395
will be handed down to endless ages with that of the proto-martyr Stephen, And like him thy blood shall be the seed of the New Church, the vindication of the new and purified Gospel. Be of good cheer, therefore, and may God give thee grace to endure all in His name, and send His holy angel to bring thee from the martyr's cross to the throne that awaits the first blood-atoning witness in the New Jerusalem,
All the brethren pray for thee; and when thy hour of final trial comes, you may have assurance that every Saint is bowed before the Lord, asking His presence with thee, to make thy burden easy, and the darkness light about thee.
My dear brother, I arm moved to speak privately to thee on mine own account. The Prophet hath received commandment respecting thee, but being still of the flesh he wavereth and hesitates to give it words. I know not what it may be, but I do know that the Prophet is sorely troubled because of it, and hath been for many days greatly depressed. Because of this I have cast about in my mind, and verily believe I have discovered the reason of his sorrow and discomfiture.
Thou knowest, my brother, that the Church of God is sore pressed for that of which thou hast abundance. It is true thou hast given already with a lavish hand; but let me ask thee, my brother, if, instead of leaving that substance, with which God hath blessed thee, for thy kindred to snarl and quarrel over, and lest thou be tempted to escape the pains of thy glorious atonement by using it to blind the eyes of justice and
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enlarge the meshes of the law, it were not better that thou shouldst give it complete and entire, a worthy and acceptable sacrifice, to the Church of God on earth? Thou knowest the throes which the Church now suffers. Thou knowest how the ungodly abound in subtle devices to work her ill. Doth not thy own soul's safety, the glory of thy martyrdom, and the good of the whole body of the Saints on earth demand that thou shouldst do this before Satan tempt thee, and the flesh grows weak?
I opine, my dear brother, that the Spirit commanded the Prophet to have this thing done before thou didst go out from among us, and that he hath been much tormented because of his disobedience. Being the eldest of thy brethren in the Apstleship, I make bold to call these things to thy mind, and trust the Lord will guide thy feet in the way of wisdom whilst thou livest, and bring thee up through thy great tribulation to be the eternally glorified first witness of His truth. Remember the Church is in sore straits for that earthly substance which can be to thee hereafter only a temptation and a snare. The Lord keep thee. Amen.
When Ozro had read the letter aloud by his direction, Jackson said: --
"I would not wilfully disobey the commandment of the head of the Church, or the advice of my brethren in the Apostleship. But in this thing which I have done I see the Lord's hand,
SAINTS AND SINNERS. 397
and have followed His leading. The flesh is weak, but God knoweth all things even from the beginning
The name which was signed to this letter has since become renowned throughout the world, -- for sanctity among them that believe in him, and for sagacity and power among all men.
"Let me see it!" said the sheriff, quickly. He took the other letter from his pocket, and compared the handwriting carefully.
"Mr. Jackson, don't you think both these letters were written by the same hand?"
Jackson took them, looked at them carefully, and said calmly: --
"They are very like."
"Like! The handwriting is precisely the same in both!"
"Well, I vow, you take it coolly! Don't you? see they tried to have you hanged in order to get hold of your property?"
"The Lord rules and overrules," said Jackson, with a reverential upward look.
"I don't see how you can believe in these men, or the religion they profess, after that," said the sheriff, indignantly.
"Shall I doubt the Almighty because of the
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weakness of His servant?" said Jackson, solemnly. "Who was he who wrote upon the ground, 'Let him that is without fault cast the first stone'? Are the priests and ministers of your faith, -- are they who despise and persecute the Saints of God because they dare to believe His word, -- are they without fault? Nay, I will not even admit your insinuation. My brethren no doubt feared that my strength might fail, and they desire above all things that the Church may be purged from stain. Of course they know the needs of the Church, and do not know how the Lord has directed me since I came here. I would have given my life willingly to atone for a crime I thought I had committed, because the faith I have espoused requires atonement for wrong; and I have a right to ask that the motives of my brethren be not impugned."
"There is something in that, sir," answered the sheriff, with respectful seriousness; "but I tell you what, I shall be careful how I allow any of the bills of the 'Kirtland Bank' to be shoved on me hereafter!"
"And you will do well," said the apostle, earnestly. "The Prophet erred grievously when he gave that institution the sanction of his name. Pride, and not humility, was at the bottom of the
SAINTS AND SINNERS. 399
impulse he mistook for revelation. Shame and woe will certainly come to God's people because of it. But He knoweth best. After the deliverance from Egypt came the forty years in the wilderness. The errors of God's servants cast no shadow on His truth."
"You evidently accept the faith without much confidence in the Prophet," said the sheriff, with a smile.
"I Why should I not?" answered Jackson. "I would not give countenance to any of the slanderous reports that have been spread abroad in re
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it seems to me in conformity with truth, and healthful in its influences upon human life. The believer may be mistaken, or the prophet may be insincere; it matters little, so long as it is God in whom we believe, and not man."
"Well said the other, "I think I'll stick to the old way for a while, anyhow."
"What do you call the 'old way'? Will you go to the Church of Rome, or back to Judaism? Protestantism itself is a new faith, and the Church of the Saints is only its youngest branch. Did it never strike you as a singular fact that all our people are Protestants, or come out of Protestant peoples? I do not think there is one among us who was a Roman Catholic, nor have I ever known a Jewish convert. You claim Protestantism to be better than the old faiths: why should not Mormonism be better than Protestantism?"
"I cannot argue with you, Mr. Jackson," said the sheriff, shaking his head good-naturedly. "I'm not very strong on religion, anyhow; but Mormonism will have to show better fruits than it has yet produced, to command my approval. You have a right to cite your conduct in its favor; but do you know I think your action is due more to your character than to your faith.
SAINTS AND SINNERS. 401
"You would have done what you have, had you never seen the Temple, or heard the voice of the Prophet."
"It may be, it may be," said the apostle, with a troubled look; "God alone knoweth the heart!"
The solemnity of his words impressed his hearers deeply, and a long silence followed. Dotty stole out and resumed the work of assisting Louise in preparing the dinner. After a while her mother came, very pale and very weak, and helped her languidly. They talked in low tones as they moved back and forth around the table, glancing often at the open door of the room of the son and brother whose new name was more familiar to their lips than the one he had first borne.
[ 402 ]
I SUPPOSE the old inn will be given up now?" said the sheriff, breaking the silence at last.
"There is but one thing more, and then my work here will be done," said Jackson, looking dreamily at Ozro.
The young man's face flushed under the inquiring glances that were directed towards him.
"I suppose, Evans," said the sheriff, jocularly, that we can hardly count on you to put the old Inn in repair, and restore its former glory."
"I think not" answered Ozro; "in fact, I am afraid I shall have to adhere to my intention and leave here to-morrow."
"What -- now?" asked Dewstowe with a comical grimace. "Don't think of it, partner. There is no need for such haste. I'll go back and wind up the old business, hunt up a stand for the new and get a shingle painted, 'Dewstowe & Evans,' you know, -- so that you won't lose your way when you come to the city to look for me. Stay here till summer; that's soon enough to
SOUL SCOT. 403
begin the new enterprise. You know we have yet to decide what we'll do, and where we'll do it. I don't think the former will be hard to determine, but the latter will stand a deal of thinking about. I may as well do the scouting before you come on. You'd better stay here and help the 'Apostle,' for I judge the job be refers to couldn't well be done without you."
"I was about to consult you in regard to this matter," said Ozro, smiling at Dewstowe's jest, but addressing himself to the attorney, and handing him a paper. "Will you read this, and advise me what ought to be done?"
The letter Ozro had received was from a New York banker, who was one of the executors of his father's will, a copy of which was enclosed. A notice of Ozro's invention had fallen under the banker's eye, and the inquiries he had made of the lawyer were the results. The reply the attorney had made satisfied him of Ozro's identity. The will was a singular instrument, but quite in character with the role its author had played in the little drama of the hillside hostel. It was duly proved and certified under the seal of a State then but recently admitted to the Union. At Ozro's request the lawyer read aloud the substantive parts as follows: --
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"I George Evans, of the town of county of _______, in the territory of Michigan, being of sound and disposing mind, do hereby make and publish this my last will and testament, in the words and figures following, to wit: --
"Item. I omit the usual invocation to the Supreme Being, because of doubt as to whether such a being exists. Until past middle life I served God faithfully according to my lights. To this I attribute all the sorrow I have experienced, and nearly all I have caused others to suffer. If there is a God, He has not shown himself a just God to me, having given me none of those things promised to those who serve Him, except earthly possessions, which I think due to my own foresight rather than to His favor, since I have observed that this blessing is granted most abundantly to those who least desire to serve Him. I therefore feel at liberty to dispose of my acquisitions without asking guidance or direction from Him.
"Item. I will that my body, which has served me faithfully, be decently interred; and I direct that ten of my townsmen, to be selected from the list I shall leave, be requested to act as pall-bearers, and be paid one hundred dollars each for their services out of the moneys in hand at my decease. I desire that they wear white gloves, white hats, white waistcoats, and cravats, and blue broadcloth coats; all to be provided by my executors out of the first funds coming to their hands.
"Item. I give and bequeath all my estate, both real and personal, to my son Ozro Evans, the son also of
SOUL SCOT. 405
my wife. Matilda E. Evans, on the following conditions: (1) That within six months after coming of age he shall claim said inheritance of my executors and furnish proof of his identity. (2) That he shall be able to earn a livelihood by his own exertions, and shall have shown a reasonable inclination to do so. (3) That if not already married, he shall, within the time limited marry a woman about his own age, of good family and repute, with whom he has been acquainted for ten years, and who has never been affianced to another.
"Item. In case of the failure of my said son to claim this bequest within the time limited, or to comply with the conditions above specified, I give and bequeath my entire estate to the trustees of the town of _____, where I now reside, the income to be used by them in paying the expenses of needy and deserving boys, to be selected by competition from the schools of the town, at any college they may choose in this State; the fund thus advanced to each being accounted a loan, to be paid back in ten equal annual instalments to be added to the fund, in order to teach them that he who receives favor should not forget to do kindness to others.
"Item. I forbid my executors to make any advertisement, search, or inquiry for my said son until the tenth day of September, 1839, at which time he will come of age. I do this simply to afford a practical test of a religious theory. For more than forty years of my life I believed in an all-wise, all-merciful, and all-just God, and dedicated myself to
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His service. My wife, who did not share my religious views, rebelled against the restraints my conscience compelled me to lay upon her. We separated, but I never ceased to love her. My harshness no doubt wrought her death. If I was wrong, -- as I feel that I must have been, -- no suffering can atone for my error. I have neglected her child, because I felt how futile it would be to attempt reparation for the wrong done his mother. Of course, if there is a just God, He will see to it that the inheritance comes to the hands of the rightful heir, and so my doubt may serve to confirm the faith of others. For myself, I have neither faith nor hope. I should prefer to believe, even now, but see nothing in my life to justify belief. It would be folly to pretend any great affection for the son whom I have thus neglected, but I can fairly say that I hope he will have a happier life than mine has been.
"I forgive all those who have done me wrong, not as I hope to be forgiven, but whether forgiven or not. I have no fear of death. Though I have never sought to do evil, I feel that the world would have been better if I had never been born into it." 
"Well, that is a will," said Dewstowe, with a low whistle. "What kind of a man was this father of yours, anyhow?"
"Do not blame him," said Jackson, solemnly. "This is but the cry of his bitterness. 'My
 Members of the legal profession who are familiar with testamentary literature will have no difficulty in tracing this instrument.
SOUL SCOT. 407
God I why hast thou forsaken me?' cried the Nazarene in his agony. Out of the good your father sought to do had come the most terrible evil. He, felt that he had doubly slain her whom he loved, -- once with suspicion, and once with harsh judgment. No wonder he doubted, when what he counted duty brought such bitter consequences. Yet he did not do evil, nor wish evil to his fellows, and at the last trusted the God he thought he had renounced.
"He was a victim," continued Jackson, "of a religious faith which developed to a dangerous degree the idea of universal conformity to inflexible ideals. What had become a second nature to him was only a slower death to the gentle woman whom he loved. He was willing to do murder in God's name; and the jealous fervor of his nature prevented him from seeing his act in its true light until its terrible result overwhelmed his hope. He was simply a product of that good which, when rooted in human nature, quickly deteriorates and soon yields evil fruits."
"In other words," said the matter-of-fact Dewstowe "he was a sort of righteous sinner?"
There was a ripple of laughter at the humorous combination, which was checked when Jackson
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said with reverent inclination: "Ay, one of those in whom God alone can tell where sinfulness ends and righteousness begins."
Ozro tearfully extended his band to the strange religionist whose faith nothing could daunt, and whose charity was measured by an unfailing sense of his own unworthiness, who grasped it warmly.
"Well," said the lawyer, who had gotten out his pencil and made some figures which he had been carefully considering, "whatever may be the truth about his religious views, your father has left, a remarkably clear Will, and one the provisions of which must be literally complied with. You have just sixty-nine days in which to get married and prove yourself his son. This proof may have to be made both in New York, where one of the executors resides, and also in Michigan, where the will is recorded; so I should say that there is not a moment to lose."
Why not have the wedding tonight? suggested the sheriff.
"Capital!" said Dewstowe. "And I will leave my load here, and we will make the trip to New York on our own runners. The bays will do it quicker than the stage."
SOUL SCOT. 409
"The lady?" Enquired the lawyer, who was studying the will. "She --"
"I will answer for her," said Jackson, with dignity.
"She has never been engaged to another?" continued the lawyer, glancing keenly at Dewstowe.
"There it is again," said the merchant, with assumed dolorousness. "My luck is certainly deserting me! Now, if I'd just had a bit of understanding with her, Evans, your cake would be dough. But, no, I didn't. It wasn't my fault, but your good fortune -- or perhaps her good sense."
[ 410 ]
SO the Christmas merry-making...
(pages 410-414 not transcribed)
[ 415 ]
(pages 415-418 not transcribed)
The Mormon Prophet...
(Toronto: W. J. Gage, 1899)
The Mormon Prophet
Author of The Mermaid, The Zeitgeist,
The Madonna of a Day, Beggars All, Etc.
T O R O N T O
THE W. J. GAGE COMPANY (LIMITED)
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In studying the rise of this curious sect I have discovered that certain misconceptions concerning it are deeply rooted in the minds of many of the more earnest of the well-wishers to society. Some otherwise well-informed people hold Mormonism to be synonymous with polygamy, believe Brigham Young was its chief prophet. and are convinced that the miseries of oppressed woman and tryannies exercised over helpless subjects of both sexes are the only themes that the religion of more than two hundred thousand people can affors. When I have ventured in conversation to deny these somewhat fabulous notions, it has been earnestly suggested to me that to write on so false a religion in other than a polemic spirit would tend to the undermining of civilized life.
In spite of these warnings, and although I know it to be a most dangerous commodity,
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As, however, to many who have preconceived the case, this narrative might, in the absence of explanation, seem purely fanciful, let me briefly refer to the historical facts on which it is based. The Mormons revere but one prophet. As to his identity there can be no mistake, since many of the "revelations" were addressed to him by name -- "To Joseph Smith, Junior." He never saw Utah, and his public teachings were for the most part unexceptionable. Taking necessary liberty with incidents, I have endeavored to present Smith's character as I found it in his own writings, in the narratives of contemporary writers, and in the memories of the older inhabitants of Kirtland.
In reviewing the evidence I am unable to believe that, had Smith's doctrine been conscious invention, it would have lent sufficient power to carry him through persecutions in
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Near Kirtland I visited a sweet-faced old lady -- not, however, of the Mormon persuasion -- who as a child had climbed on the prophet's knee. "My mother always said,"
In criticising my former stories several reviewers, some of them distinguished in letters, have done me the honour to remark that there was latent laughter in many of my scenes and conversations, but that I was unconscious of it. Be that as it may, those who enjoy unconscious absurdity will certainly find it in the utterances of the self-styled prophet of the Mormons. Probably one gleam of the sacred fire of humor would have saved him and his apostles the very unnecessary trouble of being Mormons at all.
Im looking over the problems involved in such a career as Smith's, we must be struck by the necessity for able and unprehudiced research into the laws which govern apparent marvels. Notwithstanding the very natural and sometimes justifiable asperations which have been cast upon the work of the Society for Psychical Research, it does appear that the disinterested service rendered by its more
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L. D.MONTREAL, December, 1898.
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IN the United States of America there was, in the early decades of this century, a very widely spread excitement of a religious sort. Except in the few long-settled portions of the eastern coast, the people were scattered over an untried country; means of travel were slow; news from a distance was scarce; new heavens and a new earth surrounded the settlers. In the veins of many of them ran the blood of those who had been persecuted for their faith: Covenanters, Quakers, sectaries of diverse seorts who could transmit to their descendants their instincts of fiery zeal, their cravings for "the light that never was on sea or land," but not that education by contact with law and order which, in older states, could not fail to moderate reasonable minds.
With the religious revivals came signs and wonders. A wave of peculiar psychical phenomena swept over the country, in explanation
2 THE MORMON PROPHET.
(pages 2-42 are still under construction)
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THE return of Smith and his few followers, and the speedy publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, stirred anew the flames of religious excitement. All other sects were at one in decrying "the Mormons," as they now began to be called by their enemies. There was perhaps good reason for intelligent disapprobation, but Understanding was left far behind the flying feet of Zeal, who, torch in hand, rushed from house to house. It was related that Joseph Smith was in the habit of wounding inoffensive sheep and leading them bleeding over the neighborhood hills under the pretext that treasure would be found beneath the spot where they would at last drop exhausted; and there were dark hints concerning benighted travellers, who, staying all night at the Smiths' cabin, had seen awful apparitions and been glad to fly from the place, leaving their property behind. There was a story of diabolical influence which Smith had exercised in order to gain the young wife whom he had stolen from her father's roof, and. worse than all, there were descriptions of occult rites carried
44 THE MORMON PROPHET.
Ephraim Croom had again withdrawn himself out of the hearing of the controversy. Judging that Susannah was sufficiently guarded by his parents to be safe, he became almost oblivious of conversation which he despised. He did not reflect that Susannah knew nothing of his hidden conflict, that she could only perceive that, after uttering an ominous warning, he had left her to work out its application alone
It was at first not at all her liking for the Smiths, but only her unbiassed common sense, which convinced her that the wild stories told concerning them were untrue. When she became enraged at their untruth she became more kindly disposed toward the young mother, whose baby had made a strong appeal to her girlish heart...
(pages 44-135 are still under construction)
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IN the next year, 1831, the new church was formally organized, and this was the "revelation" given for her direction by the mouth of Joseph Smith -- "And now, behold, I speak unto the Church; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not lie; thou shalt love thy wife, cleaving unto her and to none else; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. Let him that goeth to the East tell them that shall be converted to flee to the West."
The reports of the first missionaries, who had travelled westward, preaching both to the Indians (called by the "Saints," Lamanites) and to white men, were received in the beginning of this year, and the point designated for the first station of the Church on its way westward was a place called Kirtland, on the banks of the Chagrin River, in northern Ohio. Thither Halsey was sent, having commands to preach by the way.
THE MORMON PROPHET. 137
There is no spot in northern Ohio more lovely than the five hills or bluffs that rise from the banks of the Chagrin River and its tributary brooks twelve miles to the southeast of what is now Cleveland. On east of what is now the city of Cleveland. On the shores of the of the river and its streams lie green levels; from these bluffs rise steeply for some one or two hundred feet to tablelands of great fertility.
The site for the first Mormon temple was on the highest of these hills overlooking the
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Not long after Susannah and Halsey had reached Kirtland, Joseph Smith, with a convert named Rigdon, went on, with missionaries were travelling farther west, in order to find in wilderness the place that was appointed for the building of Zion or the New Jerusalem. At the same time all those men among the converts who were deemed fit were sent out in couples to preach the new Gospel, some back to the eastern States whence they had come, some to Canada, some to the south. To Joseph Smith it was given to know who was to go and who to stay. Halsey was directed to remain, to receive and establish the new converts who came, to tithe their property for the building of the temple, and to found, according to Smith's direction, a school of the prophets.
"And to thy wife Susannah, it shall be given to teach the children such worldly learning as she has herself acquired, until it may be possible for us to appoint for them a more learned male instructor."
Joseph Smith spoke these words in the room which served him as business office and chapel. He was drawing on his gloves,
THE MORMON PROPHET. 139
Several of the elders and their wives were present, some busy off on one errand and some on another. Susannah, being with Halsey, received the command in person, although it was not directly addressed to her. She had observed that since her arrival at Kirtland the prophet never addressed himself to her directly when in punlic. In many ways his manners were becoming gradually more formal, and his relapses into native speech less frequent.
Susannah could not criticize keenly, so much she marvelled at the man. His activities before starting on this journey were almost incredible. Every hour he had made decisions, for the most part successful, concerningthe adaptability of men whom he had only seen, for labours of which he knew as little. He had preached continually. He had baptised newcomers in the icy floods of the April stream. He had advised as to the choice of lands and their manner of cultivation, as to the size and form of houses. He had visited the sick and planned merry-makings for the young. In addition to all this, even while preparing for the lomg journey into an unknown region, he was busy learning three languages, and was laying plans, not only for missionary campaigns that were to spread over the whole earth, but for a new translation of the Old Testament. If the better
140 THE MORMON PROPHET.
After Smith and Sydney Rigdon had started westward Susannah went over to console Emma. The prophet's wife was at that time living in a building of which the front part was the general store whence the material needs of the growing church were as far as possible provided. Susannah passed through between bales of cloths, boxes, and barrels of provisions. It was dusk; a young man who served in the store carried a candle before her, and the odd-shaped piles of merchandise threw strange moving shadows upon the low beams of the roof and walls. The young man held the candle to light the way up a straight staircase. "Mis' Smith," he shouted, "here's Mis' Halsey come to see you."
At the top of the staircase Susannah was met by a cooing, creeping baby, who beat with its little first upon a wicket gate fencing off the stair.
"It was the last thing he did before setting out, to nail that gate togetehr and fasten it up with his own hands, so as I wouldn't need always to be running after the young one, lest he should fall down the stair." It was Emma Smith who spoke; she emerged disheveiled and tearful from an upper room
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Emma subsided again into tears -- tears that were the more touching to Susannah because Emma was not like most women; she seldom wept.
"I don;t mean to give way," Emma continued, but if it was your husband as had gone, you'd know how it was, and it's the first time I've ever been separate from him so long."
Susannah sat down with the child in her arms. When the question was brought home to her she did not believe that temporary separation from Halsey would cause her tears.
Emma began again with an effort at self-control. "It's a long way to Jackson County, quite across Missouri. It's all Elder Rigdon's doing, his going just now."
Susannah found something that she could say here in agreement. "It may be wrong, but I --- I don't like Elder Rigdon."
"Well, of course the way he believed, and all his congregation, when the word was first preached to them makes Joseph think that he must be full of grace. Ye know, to see Joseph when he's quite by himself, ye'd be surprised to see how desponding he is by nature. He's that desponding he was real surprised,
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"I don't like him." Susannah sat upright; her hands were busy with the boby upon her knee.
"Well, I dunno." Emma spoke meditatively. "It said in one of Joseph's revelations that we should swell together in love."
(pages 142-155 are still under construction)
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OHIO was being quickly settled. Within a few miles of Kirtland, Cleveland and Paynesville were rising on the lake shore, and to the south there were numerous villages; but the society of the Saints at Kirtland was especially prosperous, and so sudden had been the increase of its numbers and its wealth that the wonder of the neighbouring settlers gave birth to envy, and envy intensified their religious hatred. Twice before Smith had left Fayette he had been arrested and brought before a magistrate, accused of committing crimes of which the courts were unable to convict him. Now the same spirit gave rise to the same accusations against his followers. About this time webs of cloth were taken from a woolen mill bear Paynesville, and several horses were also stolen. The Mormons, whether guilty or not, were accused by common censent of the orthodox and irreligious part of the community. Hatred of the adherents of the new sect began to rise in all the neighbouring country, as a ripple rises on the sea when the wind begins to blow; the growing wave broke here and there in
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About Christmas time there were a number of cases of illness in Kirtland. Joseph Smith healed one woman, who appeard to be dying, by merely taking her by the hand, after praying, and commanding he to get up. After that he went about with great confidence to others who were stricken, and in many cases health seemed to return with remarkable celerity. It is hard to understand why the report of this, going abroad with such addition as gossip gives, should have greatly added to the rage of the members of other religious sects. Perhaps they supposed that the prophet arrogated to himself powers that were even more than apostolic. They threatened violence to Kirtland on the prophet's account, so that before the new year he took Emma and the child and established himself with them in an obscure place called Hiram, some twenty miles to the south. Sydney Rigdon, who by this time was, under the prophet, the chief leader of the Saints, went also to Hiram to be beside him. Smith was toiling night and day ro produce a new version of the Hebrew Scriptures, believing that he was taught by inspiration to correct errors in them. Rigdon was scribe and reviser. These two being absent from Kirtland, responsibility and work without limit rested again with Angel Halsey.
With unsatisfied affections and thoughts
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(pages 158-162 are still under construction)
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In the village she saw that people were moving about and talking with an air of excitement. When she turned to a quiet corner and asked an elderly man for Mrs. Rigdon's house, he stared at her as if at an apparition.
"Is it Sydney Rigdon's wife that you're wanting?"
Susannah had raised her veil, and he looked at her face with the greatest curiosity. Flushed with exercise, braced by the sharp air, he colour was brilliant and her eyes sparkling. Her plain dress and heavy veil appeared to the man to be a disguise, so surprising to him was the brilliancy of her face and the modulation of her voice.
"Do you know where the Rigdons live?" she asked.
He was chewing tobacco, and now he spat upon the ground, not rudely, but as performing an habitual action in a moment of abstracted thought. "Oh, I know well enough, but if ye won't mind my saying a word to ye, young lady, I's advise ye to put up somewhere else. I've got darters of my own -- in course I don't know who ye may be or what
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"You think ill of them because you despise their sect," she said gently, "but I am the wife of one of the elders."
"Haye ye got hold of some news that ye're carrying to them? He evinced a sudden interest that appeared to her extraordinary.
"Oh, I don't know. I jest thought 'twas queer, if you'd got hold of anybody's secrets, that you should be asking where they lived, straight out and open in the street like this."
His words suggested to her only the idle fancies of prejudice. Some other people drew near, and, dropping her veil, she was starting in the direction in which he pointed when he spoke again in a more determined voice.
"You jest tell me one thing, will you?" He even laid his hand upon her bridle with authority," Are ye going to stop at Rigdon's all night?"
When he received her reply he let go the bridle, saying in warning tones, "Well, see that ye don't do it, that's all."
The incident left a disagreeable impression on Susannah's mind, but she did not attach any distinct meaning to it.
Rigdon and his wife were both within
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The light fell sideways upon his thickset form and large hairy face. His manner was the result of struggle between effort for heroic pose and an almost overmastering alarm. His matter was the evil conduct of the surrounding Gentiles toward the Saints. It seemed that in this and neighbouring places, evangelistic meetings had been held in which Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists had joined, and Rigdon averred that the preachers had used threatening and abusive language with regard to the Saints. A series of such meetings had begun in Hiram, small as it was; and Joseph Smith, like a war-horse scenting the battle, had set aside his arduous task of correcting the Old Testament and gone forth to preach in the open air. At first he had been greeted only with derision or pelted with mud, but in the last few days he had made and baptized converts, and now the fury of the other sects was at white heat.
Susannah's mind swiftly sifted out the improbabilities from Rigdon's wrathful tale.
"But the people that gather to such meetings as Mr. Finny holds are for the most part awakened, for the time at least, to a higher
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She almost felt the disagreeable heat of Rigdon's breath as he threw out in answer stories of coarse and brutal insult which had been heaped upon himself and Smith. The large animal nature of this man always annoyed her. There was much of breath in his words, much of physical sensation always clinging to his thoughts. At present, however, she was not inclined to judge him too hardly; although visibly unstrung, unwise in his sweeping condemnation, coarse in his anger, and somewhat grandiloquent in his pose, there was still much of real heroism inhis mental attitude. Braced by the fiercest party spirit, he stood staunch in his loyalty to Smith and the cause, with no thought of yielding an inch of ground to the oppressors.
"I do not believe," repeated Susannah sturdily, "that it is the more religious of the Gentiles who have said and done these things. I have come here to-night to hear and to speak with Mr. Finney, whom I know to be a very godly and patient man."
"Why has he come here?" demanded Rigdon. "He who by his preaching can gather thousands in populous places, why should he ride across this thinly settled parcel of land, preaching to mere handfuls, if it is not to denounce us? And he has not the courage to go nearer to the place where the Saints are gathered in numbers. He will
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Susannah drew upon herself their anger, and so strong was Rigdon's physical nature that even his transient anger seemed to embody itself in some sensible influence that went out from him and preyed upon her nervous force.
The night had fallen. A bell, the rare possession of the largest meeting-house, had already begun to ring for Finney's preaching. Susannah went out on foot. The Rigdons, as also the Smiths, were living some way from the village. She had now a mile of dark road to traverse.
Closely veiled, Susannah stepped onward eagerly. She felt like a child going home. The scene which she had left showed up vividly the elements of Mormon life that were most repulsive to her, the broad assumptions of ignorance, the fierce beliefs born of isolation, and the growth by indulgence of such animal characteristics as were not kept under by a literal morality or enforced by privations...
(pages 167-170 are still under construction)
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He used only such phrases as the thoughts of the time warranted with regard to those who had been proved to be workers of iniquity, but to Susannah it was clear, in one brief mement, what effect his words would have when heard by, or reported to, more brutal men. She knew now that Rigdom's words were true. The so-called Christian ministers even the noblest of them, stirred up the low spirit of party persecution.
She rose sudden;y, sweeping back her veil from her face. "I will go out." She said the words in a clear voice.
A way was made to a back door by the side of the pulpit. Every one looked at her. Finney, going on with his preaching, recognised her as she began to push forward, and he faltered, as if seeing the face of one who had arisen from the dead. The excited audience felt the tremor that passed over its leader; it was the first signal for such obvious nervous affections as frequently befell people under his preaching; before Susannah had reached the door a stalwart man fell as if dead in her path.
There was a groan and a whisper of awe all round. This was the "falling" which was taken by many as an indubitable sign of the divine power. Susannah ahd seen it often under Smith's preaching. She waited with indifference until he was lifted up.
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THE house in which the Smiths lived was small. Susannah crossed a field-path, led by a light in their window. In the living room a truckle bed had already been made up. By the fire Joseph and Emma were both occupied with two sick children. These children, twins of about a year, had been taken out of pity at their mother's death, and Susannah was told as she entered that they had been attacked by measles.
Susannah found that the fact that she had been to the meeting had not irritated the Smith, although Mrs. Rigdon had called to make the most of the story. Emma, absorbed in manifold cares for the children, was only solicitous on Susannah's acount lest a night's rest in that house should be impossible. Smith, pacing with a child in his arms, seemed to be head and shoulders above the level whose surface could be ruffled by life's minor affairs. With the eye of his inner mind he was gazing either at some lofty scheme of his own imagining, or at heaven or at vacancy. All of him that was looking at the smaller beings about him was composed and kind.
One of the twins, less ill than the other,
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(pages 174-176 are still under construction)
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When they began to beat Rigdon with rods and his screams rang out, Susannah could endure no longer. She broke madly away from her keepers, running back along the road towards Emma's house. They essayed to follow; then with a laugh and shrug let her go, calling to her to run quick and see if the prophet had fetched down angels to protect him.
Susannah ran a long way, then, breathless and exhausted, found that she had missed a turning and gone much too far. Afraid lest she should lose herself by mistaking even the main direction in which she wanted to go, and that while out of reach of any respectable
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(pages 178-179 are still under construction)
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It is the low, small details of physical discomfort that make the bitterest part of the bread of sorrow. Now and afterwards, through all the persecution in which she shared, Susannah often felt this. If she could have stood off and looked at the main issues of the battle she might have felt, even on the mere earthly plane, exaltation. Yet one truth her experience confirmed -- that no human being who in his time and way has been hunted as the offscouring of the world -- no, not the noblest -- has ever had his martyrdom presented in a form that seemed to him majestic. It is only those who bear persecution, not in its reality but in imagination, who can ceive of it thus.
All night the women were crowded together in the small inner-room with the two sick babes, while Emma and two of the brethren performed the painful operation of taking the tar from Smith's lacerated skin. The prophet bore himself well. Now and then through the thin partition the watchers heard an involuntary groan, but he was firm in his determination to be clean of the pitch, and to preach as he had appointed the next day.
At dawn Susannah went to get her horse at Rigdon's house. The animal was safe. When she had saddled it she inquired after
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(pages 181-182 are still under construction)
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IN the summer of that same year, while the wheat in Manchester fields was still green, and the maize had attained but half its growth, while the ox-eyed daisies still stood a happy crowd in the unmown meadows, and pink and yellow orchids blazed in unfrequented dells, the preacher Finney, after long absence, chanced to be again travelling on the Palmyra road. As was his habit, he sought entertainment at the house of Deacon Croom in New Manchester.
The preacher remembered always that his citizenship was in heaven. From the thought he drew great nourishment of peace and hope, but as far as his earthly affairs were concerned the outlook was at present grievous.
He was returning from a long and dreary religious convention held in an eastern town, where one, Mr. Lyman Beecher, had stirred up against him the foremost divines of New York and Boston. They had asserted that Finney's doctrine, the Spirit of God could suddenly turn men from following evil to pursuing good, was false and pernicious; that his method stirred up the people to unholy excitements which were productive of great evil.
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(pages 184-209 are still under construction)
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IN the bleak December two elders came from Zion, the holy city in Missouri, bringing the history of dire tribulations.
Halsey had been out to see the newcomers, who were staying at the prophet's house. It was late when she heard his tread, muffled in the drifted snow. He hardly paused to shake it from his clothes before he came near. She saw that he was in a mood of strong grief and excitement.
"Angel," she spoke pityingly," you have had a hard, hard day; you have stayed so very late at this evening's conference." She held out her hand to him. "Do not tell me tonight if you can rest before telling." Young as she was, her countenance, as she lifted it
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(pages 211-214 are still under construction)
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"There ain't many men, Mrs. Halsey, as would stay and face that sort of music when they could get away, but if it was to do good to moral creature I'd think about staying, but it's t'other way. It's me and Rigdon as has been advertised as working the bank; it's my blood and his the Gentiles that have our notes are thirsting for. Suppose we stayed and they took to mauling us again, wouldn't the Saints here take to fighting to protect us? I've taught them to fight in self-defence and they'd fight to defend me. God knows there are better men than we are that would be killed right and left if we stayed, and 'twould be no use, for the Gentile numbers would oberpower us. 'Taint no use. When I found to-day that there wasn't a chance of staving off the bankruptcy I sent Emmar and the children and Rigdon's folks off in a close waggon after sundown. Rigdon's rid off by another road, and I;ve got my horse ready and ought to be gone. And there ain't a man in Kirtland as will know which way we've gone by to-morrow, so that no Saint will need to do any lying on my account."
"You are very sorry for the mistakes you have made about the bank." she said pityingly.
He gave another short laugh that, like the first, was less like a laugh than a sob.
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(pages 216-232 are still under construction)
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THEY did not send the child to Far West, or even insist on Elvira seeking safety there, because that town also became swiftly involved in the flames of the war which had flashed into new life at the Gallatin fight. The whole land was full of threats and terrors and many open fights at the polling-booths were soon reported. the Mormons and anti-Mormons in various localities entered into mutual bonds to keep the peace, but in many cases these bonds were soon broken.
To the Mormons everywhere had been issued a proclamation, signed by Smith and the elders, commanding that no official tyranny, however unjust, was to be resisted. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers." "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of amn for the Lord's sake." But when private violence was offered the order was that the men should fight in defence of their families.
It seems to have been this order to fight, and the fact that the Mormons proved themselves sturdy fighters, which alone caused any of the Gentiles to enter into a compact of peace. So mad was their anger against a
THE MORMON PROPHET. 234
(pages 234-238 are still under construction)
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There was a silence for some long moments. Embers in the fire broke and fell; the horses cropped the grass: a nut or twig dropped somewhere among the adjacent trees,
"Well," said the young Danite reflectively, "if that's it, I guess I'll have to take my fling first and seek salvation after; but Smith and Rigdon don't only preach that sort of Gospel now; they are all for the Old Testament kind of thing, and the destroying angels in the Revelations."
(pages 240-303 are still under construction)
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THE May morning was wreathing itself with opening flowers to meet the first hour of sunlight when Susannah was startled by hearing that the prophet inquired for her. There was in the house where she lived an empty chamber, unfurnished because of poverty; it was in this that the prophet, who demanded a private audience, awaited her.
So vexed was she at the public advertisement which he had made of her, that she forgot the bereavement she had suffered since she last saw him; but when she looked up she saw that Smith;s face wore signs of emotion that he was not trying to conceal.
At first he made an attempt at some unctuous form of address, an effort at formality, a mechanical tribute to habit. Failing to finish his phase, he stood before her, not as the lauded leader, not as the interesting martyr, but claiming recognition merely as a man, a large, coarse man feeling his own coarseness in her presence, a sinful man feeling his own sinfulness, but at the same time a man with a warm heart, which was now beating with emotions of shame and pity and glad recognition that at first he could not speak,
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(pages 305-309 are still under construction)
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She made an impatient movement of her head. "I know," she said, "that there is no truth in that story." She moved a little away from him; she was becoming oppressed by his still earnestness.
"Isn'y it any proof to you that I hadn't the wits nor the education to make the book?" His words were wistful.
She sat down on the sill of the open window, the only seat in the room, and looked out on the moist earth.
"I guess you want to get rid of me," he said, "but I can't go till I know how it is with you, for I've been wrestling in prayer this night concerning you." Then after a minute he said, "Our brother gave you the money that he found on the person of your husband's murderer?"
"I paid it into the treasury."
"But if you don't believe, maybe you are thinking of going east?"
"Do you think I could use the price of my husband's blood for that? It is not for me to know whether the avengers of blood are
(pages 311-316 are still under construction)
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WITH the jubilant Saints at Quincy the prophet could not remain long. He journeyed up the banks of the Mississippi. Here and there communities of his people welcomed him with touching joy; their numbers and their faithfulness must have raised his heart. He came at last to a poor, sickly locality, around which the great river took a majestic sweep, and here the prophet saw what no one else had seen -- a site of great beauty and advantage. The inhabitants were dying of malarial fever. Smith bought their lands at a low price and drained them. Thus arose the beautiful city of Nauvoo.
In the Illinois State Legislature two parties were nearly equal in strength, and both coveted the Mormon vote. When Smith applied for the city charter, for charters also for a university and a force of militia to be called "The Nauvoo Legion," they were granted, and worded to his will.
White limestone, found in great abundance near the surface of the earth, served as material for public buildings and the better houses. Wooden houses, and even log huts, were washed with white lime. On three
THE MORMON PROPHET. 318
(pages 318-326 are still under construction)
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Susannah found it hard to understand why Emma was not taken to Nauvoo even before the great house was built for her reception. It was indeed commonlt reported among the Gentiles at this time that the prophet had secretly espoused other wives; but a malignant report of thsi nature, together with accusations of drunkenness and rank dishonesty, had persistently followed the sect from its beginning, and as far as Susannah knew, were now, as before, totally untrue. This special report, however, reached Emma in an hour of depression, and she came to Susannah for sympathy, shaken with grief and indignation.
"What does it mean that they always say that of him when the one thing that he's done has been to excommunicate any of the brethren that taught any such thing? And there's just been an awful row on in the Council of Nauvoo against Sydney Rigdon and some pamphlet he's written on a doctrine he calls 'Spiritual Wives,' and Joseph has risen up ansd cast him out, even though he was his best friend."
THE MORMON PROPHET. 328
"Rigdon's doctrine," wrote Smith, "is a vile one because it is held by the whole sect of Perfectionists which are now scattered through the Churches of the eastern States, and is a proof that the glory of the Lord is departed from them, for they say that a man may be married to one wife in an earthly manner, and she who is to be his in a spiritual and eternal manner may be another woman, and this is vile; therefore I've cast out Sydney Rigdon and called him apostate. But it seems to me in this matter and in the perpetual slander of the Gentiles it may be that it is being shown to us, even as things were shown by outward signs at times to the ancient prophets, that there is somewhat concerning the existing form of marriage that it would be well to reconsider, for I perceive that the more my revelations cause a difference to be set between our people and the Gentiles, the more shall we be bound closely together, which unity is undoubtedly of the Lord."
Susannah always found it difficult to
329 THE MORMON PROPHET.
Then it transpired that another letter had that day arrived, giving another and more graphic account of Rigdon's rebellion and overthrow, after which Joseph inconsistently wrote:
"Yet with regard to the amtter of his heresy it remains undoubtedly true for men who are called to some great and special work one woman may be needed as a bride upon earth and another woman may be called as a spiritual bride" (this word "bride" was crossed out, though left legibile enough, and "guide" written above it) "to lead him into higher and heavenly places prepared of the Lord for thsi purpose."
After perusing this passage carefully, and with inward laughter at its inconsistency, she gave the letter back, endeavouring to render some help.
"Have you not observed that your husband's mind is very peculiar? When any idea is forcibly suggested to him, all his thoughts seem to eddy round it until he thinks that the whole world is to be revolutionized by it, and then when diverted to something else he forgets all about it liek a child, and never thinks of it again perhaps for years."
Emma, unable to comprehend the analysis, drew back offended.
THE MORMON PROPHET. 330
(pages 330-414 are still under construction)
[ 415 ]
TWO years after that, Ephraim, returning one day from the field, brought with him a poor wayfarer whom he had met upon the road.
The stranger was of middle age, with hair already gray and face deeply furrowed. In ragged garments, resting his bandaged feet, he sat propped in the sitting-room. The warm air blowing from rich harvest fields came in at open door and windows. Attentive before him, Ephraim and Susannah sat.
"You are one of the Latter-Day Saints?" Susannah asked.
"I am ma'am, and it's real strange to hear you say them words, for it's 'Mormons' the Gentiles calls us."
Then to her questioning he told the story of the downfall of Nauvoo.
"There was two causes for the persecution; we had got to powerful and too great for the folks in Illinois, just as we had done in Missouri; but there was another thing, and that was that wickedness crept in amongst us. 'Twasn't as bad as was reported, thoughm but 'twas there -- I'm afraid 'twas there."
The man sighed.
THE MORMON PROPHET. 416
He was going on into Vermont, passing by that way that he might refresh his eyes with a view of the sacred hill, and had only remained at Ephraim's request to relate his tidings to Susannah.
"After coming out of Missouri I never lived at Nauvoo. I had a farm midways, between Nauvoo and Quincy. As near as I can make out, the scandal they've got agen us, which they've always had agen us because of the wickedness of the Gentile mind, began to have some truth in it when Rigdon came out with his teaching concerning the nonsense of spiritual wives, which wasn't new with him, for I hear that it's held among all the folks as call themselves 'Perfectionists.' Well, our prophet made pretty quick work of that doctrine, and he rebuked Rigdon in public and private, and packed him out of the place, and no one can say that our prophet has ever done otherwise with any one as he has had notions about marriage."
417 THE MORMON PROPHET.
"You have, ma'am? Well, its strange too, to hear a Gentile say a good word for our prophet, but perhaps, as he came from here, ma'am, you may be some relation of his; and I ask you, is it likely, as he's always acted so severe in that matter, that he should have taught a false doctrine himself? But even some of the Saints do say nowadays that he was led away by some strange doctrines before he died; but, for my own part, I believe that the tales have arisen from the sinful natures of many of the men that he trusted; for he was too trustful, and there's apostles and bishops and elders amongst us that are servants of hell. There's been evil work since our prophet;s martyrdom, for there's thousands of our people now deluded by them and going out after Mr. Brigham Young and his crew."
"You want to know how the prophet's death came about, and I can tell you; for when my disease came on, and the doctor told me 'twas fatal. I started to go up to Nauvoo to ask the prophet to lay his hands upon me and heal me. But when I got there the city was all in a buzz, for the cause that some of the elders had got out a paper accusing the prophet of having a lot of ladies for wives. Well now, I can tell you how that came about. When our prophet first got the charter for the Nauvoo Legion there was a man called
THE MORMON PROPHET. 418
"I fear, my good friend," said Ephraim, "that although it is true that the Lord will establish his true servants, it is also true that their kingdom is not of this world."
"Well, sir, tramping along as I've done many a day, with no companion but the disease that's prevailing against me, I've thought that that may be true; but, whichever way it is, Bennet set himself to work iniquity, and they say that when the prophet could endure him nolonger and gave him the sack, he had the vileness to dress himself up in the prophet's clothes and go about in disguise, talking Sydney Rigdon's rank spiritual-wife doctrine to the ladies and some of them were such fools
419 THE MORMON PROPHET.
(the remainder of this text has not been transcribed)
Wives of the Prophet...
(NYC: Macaulay Co., 1935)
By Sidney Bell
THE MACAULEY COMPANY, NEW YORK
[ 9 ]
The moon was not yet risen, but the eastern sky, faintly luminous, cast shadowy outlines over the wild and desolate country. In the distance massive mountains lay ponderously inert, as if wrapped in eternal sleep. In the foreground an isolated and barren hill, rising like a dimly lighted stage curtained on three sides by a sweeping circle of dark low-lying foothills, dropped precipitously to a river, beyond which a broad, roughly undulating valley stretched into the far-distant horizon. Mounds of fresh earth scattered about the flat summit of the hill loomed above the jagged edges of numerous black pits, which appeared in the spectral light like monstrous gaping graves.
Wilderness Hill on midnight of Good Friday in the year 1826 was the scene of a strange pantomime.
Suddenly, piercing the awful silence, came the weird plaint of a loon, and a startled cry, quickly smothered, escaped from the almost indiscernible form of a young girl huddled close to a towering boulder. Trembling from fright, she cowered deeply into the brow-like shelter of the large rock.
Would they never come! Surely she had hidden here for hours! Why had she dared upon this foolish venture! If only she were safe at home! A flood of contrition swept over her, but at thought of the perilous demon-haunted path separating her from the warmth and protection of her little room, she shuddered and crouched closely into the man's heavy coat she was wearing.
Minutes passed. --
Soon, along the tortuous path which, in and out among large boulders, wound up from the river, she saw the large figure of a tall young man wrapped in a cloak. He climbed the precarious ascent quickly and surely, like one familiar with the way. Emerging from the shadows onto the top of the hill, he walked directly to the largest of the pits, dropped a small bag to the ground, opened it, and
[ 10 ]
The girl with lessening fear and wide-eyed excitement watched him fixedly.
In a few moments there appeared from the path another figure -- that of an old and stooped man leading a small black dog on a leash. He picked his way furtively across the gashed hill to where the young man stood. No greeting passed between them. As if by previous understanding, they waited silently, peering into the darkness below. The young man circled his long arms in ceremonious gestures before him and mumbled strange unintelligible words, as if pronouncing some magic charm over the cavernous depths. The little dog fidgeted nervously at every slight sound or movement in the deathful stillness. At the hollow "oo-oo" of a distant owl, it set up a long mournful cry, startling the engrossed men. The younger, suppressing an impatient oath, reached over and slapped the frightened creature into whimpering submission. The old man lifted it into his arms and gently patted its head until its fear subsided.
The shadow of the girl against the rock remained tense -- immobile. --
The sky grew lighter and the hills and ravines of the rugged country took on more definite form. Just as the round edge of a reddish moon rose over the rim of a distant mountain, the young man cupped his hands about his mouth and emitted three weird, loonlike cries. Mysterious, melancholy, ominous, they penetrated into endless distance. The girl started, pressing cold fingers against her quivering lips. The old man clutched the little black dog more closely under his coat until the ghostly edied away. --
Shortly, fantastic forms, distorted by the shadows, ascended the path. The heavy quiet of the night was broken only by the stones loosened by their groping feet. They emerged singly into the faintly lighted circle of the hill and moved like grotesque spectres across the ground toward the pit. Without direction they formed themselves into a ritualistic circle about the young man who stood in their midst, tensely erect, as if oblivious of their approach. In a silence of growing immensity they concentrated their gaze upon the
[ 11 ]
The shadow against the rock quivered. --
The reddish moon was now well into the sky. The cloaked figure in the center of the circle, his eyes half closed, slowly raised his long powerful arms toward the moon and like a high priest began to chant. From low, sepulchral tones, his voice rose in slow crescendo to demonic intensity and pitch, then quickly subsided to an almost inaudible mumble:
It is not day,
nor yet day
It is not day,
nor yet morning.
It is not day,
nor yet day
For the moon is
Abia, obra, sabis
Abia, obra, sabis."
Three times he repeated the incantation. The solemn forms in the circle stood rigidly fixed. The girl, forgetting fear, crept closer along the edge of the boulder. Slowly, the enchanter lowered his arms. The old man, clutching the dog, lifted the forked stick from the white cloth and placed it in his extended hands. Holding the two prongs firmly, the stick projected before him, the diviner, as if in a trance, bowed his head and spoke in solomn monotone:
Divining-wand, do thou keep the power Which God gave unto thee the first hour! We are searching hidden treasure -- buried silver. Work to the money!"
Moving slowly to the edge of the pit, he cautiously felt his way into its depths. When he reached the bottom, he repeated:
Which God gave unto thee the first hour!"
There was a pause. After a moment, as if directed by some mysterious power within the extended stick, he walked automatically
[ 12 ]
Suddenly it dipped downward! The diviner stopped short. All effort to hold the wand upright failed. Without a word he marked the spot with a large stone. As an irrepressible murmur of mingled awe and relief escaped the peering circle, the diviner raised a warning hand. Three times he walked about the pit and three times the wand darted downward as he crossed the marked spot. The mounting excitement of the watchers was manifest only in their hypnotic tension and fearful concentration on the pantomime below.
The girl glided stealthily from her hiding place and, unnoticed, mingled with the men. The old man with the dog picked up the cloth and objects on the rock and made his way into the pit. The others, as if by silent command, followed.
As they again formed a ritualistic circle, the diviner took the square box from the old man, opened it, and lifted out a small white stone shaped like the foot of a child. For some time he gazed at it closely, then solemnly intoned:
"Heaven above, heaven beneath Stars above, stars beneath All that is above is also beneath Understand this and be happy."
After a significant pause, he continued in broken staccato phrases: "It is here -- as I have seen before -- a ton of silver bars -- buried by Spanish pirates -- a Spirit guards the treasure -- he demands the blood of a black animal -- let us begin the sacrifice!"
Imperceptibly, the circle narrowed as the figures drew closer, fearful lest they lose a single word or gesture. The girl, with parted lips and widened eyes, forgetful of all caution, moved forward as though entranced until she stood directly behind the diviner.
With ceremonious precision, the white cloth was spread upon the ground. The old man placed the bewildered little dog in the center. As it whined and struggled, the circle leaned forward, tense and staring. With a quick movement the diviner grasped the knife and slit the throat of the quivering beast. In that instant, as the blood spurted over the white cloth, a scream, hysterical with terror, broke across the awful silence!
[ 13 ]
Their eyes met in recognition -- in hers, terror; in his surprise. Without speaking he placed his fingers on her lips, commanding her to silence. She crept back into the shadows of the pit.
Unpreturbed by the interruption, the diviner returned to the ceremony. With a signal from the wand, two figures emerged from the circle, lifted the bleeding animal, and, dragging it over the spot at which the stick had thrice dipped, marked out a cross with the dripping blood. This finished, the diviner majestically indicated where the digging was to begin. Relieved from the sustained tension of silence and inactivity, the men took up the picks and shovels piled in one corner of the pit and set feverishly to work. --
The moon was now advanced into the sky and illumined the scene clearly. The men were obviously farmers. They wore loose, ill-fitting overalls, crumpled slouch hats, and high boots. Their clothing was patched and shapeless; their movements, strong, awkward, methodical; their faces, stolid and weather-beaten -- those of men used to the hardships of frontier life. Under the distorting light of the moon, they resembled the legendary ghouls said to inhabit the neighboring hills.
The diviner took no share in the actual digging, but stood closely by, directing the work with his wand. With autocratic gesture he shifted the digging from point to point, the men obeying his slightest indication with slave-llike docility. Animated by the vision of gleaming bars of silver just within their reach, they labored for hours .....
[ 14 ]
The hours passed. --
There was no cessation of labor, but the intensity slackened. Not one bar of silver had been found. The diviner, observing the increasing weariness and restlessness of the diggers and aware of the near approach of dawn, put down his wand, took up the magic stone, and strode into the midst of the exhausted men. As he raised his hand, the treasure hunters dropped their tools. Again -- now reluctantly -- they formed a circle.
Discouraged, they knew what they would hear, but listened patiently as their priest, gazing into the stone, chanted:
"In the name of the Trinity, it is here -- I see the treasure -- a ton of silver bars -- but it evades us -- the Spirit is angry -- it demanded the sacrifice of a black sheep and threatens us with revenge because we have tried to palm off a black dog -- and it is angry because we have broken our vow of silence -- Oh ye of little faith! -- one of us will die -- later we must try again to find the treasure -- the night will soon be gone -- go as you came -- tell no one what has happened -- the Spirit commands!"
Raising his hand in benediction, he repeated, "Abia, obra, sabis --"
The disconsolate men clamored obediently from the pit. All except the old man trudged in single file across the hill and quickly disappeared below the precarious ascent up which they had come hours before. When the old man -- who would have remained to talk -- had been commanded to follow the others and had vanished down the winding path, then -- and not until then -- did the diviner turn to the trembling girl. Approaching her, he drew her, he drew her firmly to her feet. When she would have spoken, he quickly but not unkindly placed his finger again on her lips. He regarded her long and intently -- with frank interest and desire. She did not shrink from his scrutiny, but her face betrayed question and confusion. As he started to take her into his arms, she drew back in fear. He did not insist. ...
... they too in complete silence crossed the hill and disappeared down the path. --
(pages 15-50 not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)
[ 51 ]
At this time the Smiths belonged to no religious denomination. Scorned by the orthodox because of their fantastic visions and irregular habits -- not to mention their alleged immoralities -- they were not welcomed by the established churches. But Mrs. Smith was not one to keep her candle under a bushel. She had watched with shrewd interest the revival movements then sweeping the country. She had followed with intent curiosity the numerous Methodist camp-meetings exciting their own community. She had listened avidly to the exhortations of the circuit riders proclaiming the Day of Judgment, the doom of the wicked, the blessedness of the righteous. . . She had seen hundreds of people, many of them scoffers, seized with terror, crying aloud to God for mercy, shrieking for salvation, leaping and rolling over benches, falling to the ground in trances, and succumbing to jerks that lasted for hours -- even days.
And Mrs. Smith never forgot her own vision. She craved to publicize her religious experience, to establish her own band of devotees, and thus to fulfill the prophecy of Joe's messiahship. Then, too, since her son's remarkable success with the peek stone, she had been quick to recognize the wisdom of clothing his activities in a garb of sanctity.
It had become the custom for the Smiths to hold Sunday night religious meetings in their house. The fame of these meetings had spread throughout the surrounding district, and the inquisitive and credulous came for miles on foot or on horseback to listen and to give testimonies to the "powers" of the boy wonder.
On the first Sunday after Emma and Joe had come from Harmony, the meeting was particularly large. Word had gone out that Joe had brought home a rich bride from Pennsylvania, and the curious joined the devout on the road to the Smith house.
When the room was crowded, the meeting was opened by Mrs. Smith, who led in the singing of "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?" A thin, wiry little woman of fifty, her wispy, gray hair
[ 52 ]
"My dear brothers and sisters, this is an occasion for special rejoicing. We not only have Brother Joseph back in our midst, but he has brought with him a bride. Brother Joseph wants it known; that he was divinely led in the selection of his wife. The Lord spoke to him through the marvelous stone. Let us all pray that Sister Emma, will be worthy of the great honor which has fallen upon her in thus being allowed to serve as one of God's chosen."
Murmurs of "Amen" and "God make you worthy, Sister Emma," interrupted her discourse.
"Sister Emma has been serving God according to the imperfect light of the Presbyterians. But she is anxious to be instructed in the latest revelations."
"God be praised!"
"O Lord, help Sister Emma!"
"We know that all of the present churches fall far short of the truth, and we have come together to declare the one and only true faith, as revealed to us through the visions of Brother Joseph."
"God bless Brother Joseph!"
"I see another stranger in our midst -- a seeker, I know, after the True Faith. Let us do our part in leading him and Sister Emma to the light by telling our experiences with Brother Joseph's miraculous gifts."
"Let us speak!"
"Although he is my son, I make no claim on his powers. I was but the humble instrument selected by the Lord to bring into the
[ 53 ]
"Yes! Let us."
"God bless him!"
"And now come forward with your testimonies. Who will speak first?"
Joe had taken a chair to the little open space beside his mother and sat facing the east with the magic stone held in the upturned palms resting on his knees. Throughout the testimonials, he lowered his gaze intently upon it, sitting immobile, like one in a trance. Each speaker in turn arose and made an obeisance in his direction. The first to begin was Joe's father, who, as if by routine, rose and with dramatic gestures spoke in the automatic sing-song of a tale oft repeated:
"When Brother Joseph was a small boy, I was once sick nigh unto death of a strange fever. All the remedies had failed and I thought sure I'd die. Little Joseph came into my room. I saw a glow about his head. He laid holy hands upon me and said, 'Father, get well.' Instantly I went into a deep sleep and found myself in a beautiful garden which I thought was Heaven. On each side of the main walk there was a richly carved bench, and on each of the benches six carved images about the size of a man. As I approached, the first image on one side got up and bowed to me. Then I turned to the other side, and the first image there got up and bowed to irie exactly as the other. So I went on, turning from left to right, until all twelve had bowed. When I awoke, the fever was gone and I was cured."
Before the shouts of approval had died away, another man was nn his feet eager to testify.
"I wanna tell about my cornfield. A heavy frost fell one night and threatened to destroy my crop. But Brother Joseph jist looked in his magic stone and blessed the field, and the next morning the frost was gone and didn't come back until I got everything shocked."
"Praised be Brother Joseph!"
A third jumped up. "Brother Joseph did as much for me and more. When we moved onto our new farm, we couldn't find no
[ 54 ]
"Praised be to the Lord!"
A little boy about twelve was the next to stand up. He spoke breathlessly, in a thin high-pitched voice, as if reciting a well-rehearsed piece.
"I want to testify for Brother Joseph. I lost my knife and it was gone for three weeks. Brother Joseph looked into the stone and told me I'd find the knife under the steps of the kitchen porch, and there it was."
"The Lord bless the lad."
The spirited chorus of responses following the boy's speech was augmented by nods of approval as the zealots beamed upon their most youthful convert. A little hush of expectancy ran through the group when a middle-aged, appealingly attractive woman rose to her feet. It was obvious that they expected something rare and awesome from this witness.
"Brother Joseph performed a miracle in our house. For fifteen years me and my man had prayed for a child, but I seemed to be a cursed and barren woman. I had taken herbs and consulted many midwives, but to no avail. Then we heard about Brother Joseph. My husband sent for him and he came to our house. He laid his stone on me in blessing and I conceived and brought forth a male child. Glory be to God and Brother Joseph!"
She sat down almost in a frenzy. Her ecstatic excitement communicated itself to the group and they burst forth into song,
His wonders to perform."
During her testimony, her husband -- the meek little man at her side -- glowed proudly, adding his share of the "Amens" to the shouts that followed.
Other testimonials came rapidly, their tempo quickening as each
[ 55 ]
There was, in the whole group, but one face which seemed quiet and natural. It was that of the stranger in the back of the room. He watched and listened closely, but his expression reflected none of the emotional contortions of the others. Emma wondered who he might be and why he was here. Once she had found his eyes watching her as if he were asking the same questions about her. She had been the first to look away.
Throughout the meeting Brother Joseph continued to sit apart with averted face, giving no sign that he was aware of the adulatory speeches regarding him. Now he arose and faced the group. He spoke in the round, sonorous, solemn tones reserved for ritualistic occasions.
"Brothers and sisters, looking into the stone, I have seen your testimonies being received at the throne of the Most High. Verily, dearly beloved, I say unto you that you are in His favor. You have found the one and only true way. Your faith has made you whole. No good thing will be withheld from those who believe. But rememher, I am only the medium -- the humble tool through which God works to aid you to find the road to glory.
"Hear my testimony that ye may tell others. When I was young and tender, a great desire to find the one true religion came over me. I went from church to church and found it not, but instead was distracted by the war and tumult of conflicting opinions, and I came to the conclusion that there was not on earth the religion I sought. Confused, I fell into foolish errors, became a prey to he temptations of youth, and sinned grievously in the sight of the Lord.
"One day a voice commanded me, saying, 'Go to the word of God for guidance.' Compelled by this Higher Power, I opened the Bible, placed my finger on a verse, and read, 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.' Still puzzled, I retired to the woods to medilate on these words. In the beautiful, clear, spring sunshine, I uttered my first prayer. As I began speaking, a thick darkness covered me. In terror I called aloud to God for help. There descended
[ 56 ]
"You have testified to the wonders it has worked. As I look into it tonight, I see signs of a great and wonderful new day. This day is near at hand. A quivering flood of light hovers over the magic spot in the woods where the Angel first appeared to me. It is too blinding to look long upon. I shall continue to watch and listen for the voice that spoke unto me.
"Look again upon this stone and pray. You have known its powers. He who looketh upon it in faith is blessed. But he who scoffs does so to his eternal damnation. Go ye forth and preach the glad tidings!"
He finished. A tremor ran through the group as they stared fixedly at the whitish, opaque stone shaped like the foot of a child. From the midst of the crowd a woman rose hastily, and, pushing aside those in her way, rushed to the seer, fell on her knees before him, and cried out wildly:
"I have faith. I will have faith. My child has been sick. It is dying. They told me about you, but I didn't believe. Now I have seen and heard and do believe. Make my baby well!"
With the tears streaming down her face, she looked up at Joseph with tragic, pathetic eyes. He placed the stone upon her head, and gazing into it intently, muttered some strange words. He then spoke to the woman.
"Your faith is now great. Continue to believe and your child will live."
"God grant His blessing!"
"God save the child!"
"God help you, Sister!"
"Glory be unto Joseph!"
The exclamations rose to an ecstatic fury as the people pressed forward around the kneeling woman, who, in gratitude, was kissing
[ 57 ]
"Oh, Jesus, wash us clean of sin."
The meeting was over. While Emma received the greetings of the neighbors, the mysterious stranger made his way forward to Joe. They talked quietly for a moment and then left the house together. Soon Emma escaped to her little room. For hours she lay staring into the darkness, listening for her husband's return. When at last he crept carefully into the room, he did not light the candle, but undressed quietly and gently got into bed. She knew he did not wish to be questioned: she breathed regularly, pretending sleep. Long after he had lost consciousness, she lay awake trying to think order and reality into the confused events of the past week.
(pages 58-65 not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)
[ 66 ]
Joe had not taken his marriage too seriously. He found a wife rather pleasant, even convenient, but it had not occurred to him to feel any responsibility for her happiness. He had many other more important things to do. Then too, women had always come easily to him; as a consequence, he took them for granted. Marriage had never entered his mind until he met Emma, and, although pique and desire for her had partially motivated his suit, undoubtedly the major considerations had been her superior position and fortune. She would be useful; her culture and learning, he felt, could somehow be turned to good account. At the time of their marriage it had been his firm intention to obtain the advantages the Hale family possessed.
He had not for a moment doubted his ultimate success. Although illiterate, he possessed an uncanny, natural genius for managing people. His easy manner of address, his mild and winning charm on occasion, and his instinctive understanding of human nature in its most obvious manifestations, enabled him to persuade them even against their better judgment. Entirely unmoral, he had no scruples about taking what he could get. He had relied upon these methods of his past success to win his point with Isaac Hale, and would probably have succeeded even here had his interests not been deflected into more promising channels.
Nevertheless, he had not forgotten the bitter words with which Mr. Hale had scourged him. Perhaps part of his indifference to Emma could be explained on the basis of the resentment that had followed his meeting with Hale, for Joe was not one to forget those who had crossed him in his schemes. Abnormally sensitive on the score of his social position and inordinately ambitious to shine before his fellow men, he met all opposition with vengeful hate.
Joe's temperamental peculiarities, however, could not account entirely for his neglect of his wife. A new and absorbing interest had taken hold of him in the person of the mysterious stranger. His long and unexplained absences from home had grown out of his friendship
[ 67 ]
"I have news for you of great importance. Where can we talk alone?"
"I'll meet you outside."
Joe's canny knowledge of people told him that this was no ordinary man. It was obvious he had not come to the meeting to be cured of rheumatism or to find buried treasures, and so he followed him out of the house with alacrity.
They had gone to the stranger's room in the inn at Palmyra and had talked far into the night. There Brother Joseph obtained his first real vision of power. He had come away from that interview, the first of many that followed, and had ridden home along the dark road, his mind aflame with the blazing glory of which he had been dreaming and talking for so many years. The stranger was undoubtedly God's angel sent to show him the way. Already his mind was forming the pattern of a consistent story.
And he was not mistaken in his estimate of the importance of this meeting. Sidney Rigdon's coming to Palmyra was the turning point in Joe's life -- his influence the most noted in the young man's career. Every phase of Joe's unnatural, undisciplined life had made fertile the soil in which this man would sow. Ma Smith, for all her fanatical exaggerations and greedy ambitions for her son's advancement, had done no more than fan the flame of his hopes. She had fostered a potential megalomaniac, but her abysmal ignorance and primitive fanaticism precluded his exploitation. Her will was strong, but her mind was weak and chaotic. Sidney Rigdon's peculiar genius supplied the necessary order and direction.
Enjoined to the strictest secrecy, Joe's protracted visits with Rigdon had not been fully explained even to his mother. He had pacified her by the method he had learned to use in childhood.
"I am deep in revelations. I have been commanded to tell no one. But soon there will be great news. I look into the stone every day and see gold, gold, gold!
Her eyes flickered greedily, "But Mr. Rigdon? What's he got to do with it?"
"The Lord sent him straight to our door that Sunday night. He's a smart man -- speaks seven languages and has read hundreds of books. He helps me when I look into the stone. But don't ask any more questions now. You'll know everything when the proper time
[ 68 ]
The old woman had been impressed by the "fine gentleman," but a little resentful of her exclusion from the cabalistic proceedings. Still she held her peace.
* * * *Joe sat with Rigdon in the now familiar room in the White Horse Inn. It was to be their last interview for some time. Sidney was on his way to Philadelphia and would leave on the morning stage. They sat at a small table, facing each other. In strong contrast to Joe's healthy bulk, Rigdon's body was small and fragile. He had the thin, narrow face of the ascetic. Cold blue eyes looked out speculatively from under black, jutting brows. His forehead was high, intelligent. A man of about forty, he was meticulously groomed in the characteristic long coat and stiff white stocks of the parson. With slender, sensitive hands he emphasized his final instructions to Joe. His voice was arresting and cultivated.
"I think everything is planned -- in readiness for our first important step. I strongly urge that you follow the order agreed upon. Is it clear to you?"
"Here is my Philadelphia address. I do not plan to return for several weeks. I shall bring with me all that we need. If an emergency arises, write me.
The two men rose and clasped hands. A look of satisfaction that had in it something of a secret understanding passed between them, but their farewells were casual and brief.
* * * *
[ 109 ]
That evening Joe and Rigdon again sat in the room of the White Horse Inn. Exultant over the day's triumph, they were relaxing -- Joe with a bottle of whiskey, Rigdon with a glass of port. Between them flowed an air of camaraderie, growing out of a perfect understanding and satisfaction with each other. Pouring "three fingers" into his glass from the freshly opened bottle, Joe spoke in an expansive tone:
"Well, we certainly did put it across. Five hundred converts! Whew! I never expected so many! Your speech got 'em, Rigdon. You're the finest orator I ever heard and you sure can write up my Revelations."
Joe looked at Sidney with frank and envious admiration. "Yes, the day did go well. Our plans have certainly been lessed. You carried out the program with amazing skill. I congratulate you." Rigdon spoke slowly and judiciously. If there was a touch of condescension in his tone, Joe failed to notice it as he went on generously, "Couldn't have managed it without you. Your coming to Palmyra that Sunday night certainly was a godsend -- You never did tell me how you happened to be there."
"Just on my way back to Boston from Ohio --" he answered evasively and volunteered no more.
But Joe was in a warmly reminiscent mood, quite himself as, forgetting the role of Prophet, he rambled naively on.
"Talk about miracles! I sure felt one had happened when you came forward that Sunday night out at the farm. Remember what you said to me?"
"Why, no, I think I've forgotten." Rigdon smiled at the boy tolerantly.
"Well, you said, 'You've hidden your light under a bushel ....
[ 110 ]
"You're right. Together we can conquer the world. With my Revelations and your education we can build up an Empire -- for the Lord," he added, as an afterthought.
Rigdon's eye's narrowed. "Yes, the Lord has promised that His chosen shall inherit the earth, but we must remember the command, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.' There's work ahead of us, and we've no time to lose," he finished brusquely.
"And to think," Joe went on undeterred as he poured another "three fingers" into his glass, "to think that all those years you were digging in those Indian mounds and writing that history, you had no idea that I was alive and digging for buried treasure and getting Revelations from the Lord, and that we'd get together and found a new religion!"
"We must forget the past and lose ourselves in the work before us." He spoke abruptly as if eager to conclude this theme.
There was a sharp knock on the door, and, after Joe's loud "Come in," the door opened and Parson Eller entered the room. With an abrupt "Good evening gentlemen," he strode to the table in a manner indicating that he had not come for a social call. His usually gentle and kindly face was set as he stood before the two men with the air of one bound on distasteful business. Rigdon had never met him, but knew him by reputation. Both men at the table rose as he came toward them.
I hope you can spare me a few moments?"
"Won't you sit down, Parson?" Rigdon motioned him to a chair.
"No, thanks, my errand won't take long." Leaning across the table, he addressed himself to Rigdon, slowly and distinctly enunciating each word, "Mr. Rigdon, where is the Spaulding manuscript?"
Rigdon turned pale, but almost immediately recovered himself as he replied defiantly
"Why should you ask me that question?"
"Because you're the only man that can answer it."
"I ... I don't understand you." Rigdon's poise was shaken. Turning to Joe, he said, "If you'll just wait for me downstairs --"
[ 111 ]
"Concerns me?" Joe was mystified.
"Yes. Let us be frank, gentlemen. I have come to you in all kindness and have no desire...
"What do you mean?" Joe demanded of Parson Eller.
"I mean that this Bible is taken from the Spaulding manuscript.
"Spaulding? Who's he?" Joe asked in complete confusion.
Parson Eller, ostensibly addressing Joe, in reality flung his words accusingly at Rigdon in curt, incisive tones.
"Mr. Solomon Spaulding was a student at Dartmouth. He was there in my undergraduate days. Later, he spent considerable time studying the Indian mounds of Ohio and wrote many scholarly articles about his researches. In his leisure time he had written a fanciful story purporting to show that the Indians are descendants of the lost tribe of Israel. The story was never published — that is, until your Bible appeared. The manuscript was in the hands of a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, printer for several years, and during that time Mr. Rigdon was employed in this printer's shop."
"But Rigdon wrote our manuscript," Joe, caught off guard, exploded. "He's an archaeologist." "We haven't any manuscript,"
Rigdon quickly cut in. "His insinuations are absolutely false. He couldn't prove a word of it."
"No, not since you got the manuscript from Spaulding's widow. But there are a dozen people at least who read that manuscript and would be glad to testify to the resemblance."
Joe was suddenly sober and turned to Rigdon. "What does all this mean anyhow?"
Parson Eller interrupted, looking pityingly at Joe:
"So, he's duped even you?"
Turning his back on Rigdon, he addressed himself solely to Joe. "Young man, let this be a warning to you. Your so-called Book of Mormon, quite apart from its plagiarism of the Bible and the Spaulding manuscript, can get you into a lot of trouble. I have told no one what I know, and if you
[ 112 ]
"Give up our Bible... our Church? Joe grew weak as he considered such a possibility -- the loss of his power, his glory; the wreck of all his dreams for a great Empire.
"Yes. Why not turn your talent to some useful end? Why not help people instead of ruining them?" Parson Eller pleaded, thinking that Joe was vacillating.
"I'll be damned if we will! We've got a new religion and we've just as much right to preach as you have. Spaulding? I never heard of him."
"No, and neither has he" Rigdon broke in. "The trouble with you preachers is that you can't stand to have anyone else doing a better job than you're doing."
"I might more truthfully fling those words at you, Sidney Rigdon!" Eller spoke with some contempt. "I know your story. Why did you leave the Christian church in which you were a respected and honored leader? Why did you thus treacherously betray the Faith? Why have you broken with those who trusted you?
Parson Eller's voice rose with passion. When Rigdon, white with anger, would have spoken, his accuser, pointing a warning finger, went on: "I'll answer those questions! You are cursed with envy -- you are eaten with pride -- your ambition will destroy you!"
As the two men glared at each other, Joe impatiently broke in, "Those dirty Campbellites double-crossed Rigdon! We've got a religion that'll beat theirs all hollow!
Ignoring Joe, Eller appealed to the sullen Sidney Rigdon, "How can a man of your character and great gifts stoop to such low methods for revenge?"
From Rigdon's thin, tight-lipped face came words cold and hard: "Who are you to judge another's motives? The human heart is an inscrutable mystery. To you -- who doubtless mean well -- I can only say that I believe in the ultimate power for good in our new religion. What matter the means, if the end be good?"
Again Joe broke in belligerently, "Hey! What's this got to do with our new Bible?"
"Gentlemen, Mr. Spaulding wrote a good yarn. You've garbled it into a jumble of impious and irreligious notions. But I'm less concerned with your Bible than I am with the harm you are doing
[ 113 ]
may delude some poor wretches, but I tell you, as there is a just God in Heaven, you'll come to no good end." There was silence for a moment. Then, "Well, gentlemen, what do you say?'
"I don't believe a word of what you said. We're ready to fight if that's what you want, eh Rigdon?" Joe, in spite of his bravado, was bewildered, and turned to his companion for assurance.
"The truth always wins out," Rigdon replied evasively.
"There is more wisdom in those words than you perhaps realize," Parson Eller added in prophetic irony. Then his tone changed and a tremor of anger entered his voice. "Since you don't realize the evil of your blasphemous and irresponsible schemes, this community will have to teach you. You'll hear more about this matter."
He left the room as abruptly as he had entered. The two men stared at the slammed door for a moment, then turned reluctantly to face each other. Joe had passed through surprise, incredulity, fear, and indignation during this "Revelation." There was a bit of all these emotions in his voice as he turned to Rigdon.
"Did you really steal that manuscript?"
Rigdon measured the younger man with level, coolly calculating eyes. After a pause he countered in a meaningful tone: "Did you really find the Golden Plates?
[ 114 ]
One day in late December of the following year, two farmers met on the street in front of the Palmyra Sentinel. Old friends, they stopped to pass the time of day, and soon were engaged in a conversation typical of many taking place in the community at this time.
"And hey ye heerd the nooze, Bill?"
"'Bout Prophet Joe?"
"Got 'im in jail yesterday."
"They shoulda locked 'im up long ago fer this. He's gone too fer with his plagued peekin'."
"Yep. Fella like 'im ain't much 'count. The whole family 's worse than a hornet's nest, and nothin' shorta jailin' 'em 'll rid us of their crazy doin's."
"How'd they finally git 'im?"
"Parson Eller, they say, advised Si Treadwell to swear out a writ on accounta the daughter. But that's only the beginnin'. Wunst they gits him on the stand, there'll be plentya charges preferred."
"I'd think of Si 'ud be plenty hot on accounta Margaret. They say she's gone plumb daft."
"Yeh, and she was a nice girl -- till she got mixed up with Joe Smith."
"I heerd she run away from home t'other Sunday and they didn't locate her fer a coupla days."
"Parson Eller found her over to the Smiths. Peers like she'd been attendin' their crazy meetin's."
"Can't understand what the women folks sees in that big blatherskite."
"Wal, guess ef all the things we hear be true, there'll be others ud feel safer fer their women folks ef they'd run 'im outa these parts."
"I reckon they'll be doin' it one of these days. Si woulda done it 'fore this, but Parson Eller got 'im to agree to a trial. If he's acquitted, it'll be purty dangerous 'round here for 'im."
[ 115 ]
"I heerd the Williamses joined up with the new religion."
"Yep. I 'low Joe's the only feller I ever knew who kin steal from folks and make 'em think it's fer their own good."
"Wal, people's been afeerd of 'im. They're a nasty bunch to deal with. Wouldn't stop shorta shootin' when he gits mad."
"Ef they don't clap 'im in jail and keep 'im there, it's sartin shore decent folks has got to git together and drive 'em out right smart. There's plentya land out West for sich as them."
"Here comes the Parson now. Goin' into the Sentinel office. I'm right glad that paper's got the guts to tell the truth about those muckers."
"I'll be thar when the time comes fer to git 'em outa here." "Me too . . . Wall, guess I'd better be movin' on. See ya at the trial tomorrow."
"Better be airly ef ya want a seat."
The two farmers sauntered off in opposite directions.
Inside the office of the Sentinel, Editor Egbert Grandin greeted his friend.
"Well, well, John. Congratulations. Took a lot of courage to put Joe in jail."
"It took a good deal more than courage. I didn't want to do it. He's a likeable enough fellow, fanatical and arrogant perhaps, but attractive in many ways."
"There's no need to sympathize with him. His irresponsibility has become a menace to the community. By the way, have you found out any more about Rigdon?"
"We can't do much there, I'm afraid. I am absolutely convinced that this so-called Book of Mormon is plagiarized from the Spaulding manuscript, but there was only one copy and Rigdon's got that. We couldn't prove anything in court."
"I can't make head nor tail of it."
"There isn't anything to be made of it. It attacks all existing churches by establishing another. The book itself is a conglomeration of Spaulding's wild stories about the American Indians, and
[ 116 ]
"But all new religions have to start sometime, John, and you, yourself, have always preached tolerance."
"I'm not opposed to a new religion. I've always been sympathetic to the Harmonists in Pennsylvania, the Wallingfords in Connecticut, and the Campbellites in our own section. But the leaders and members of these sects were decent people who lived peacefully and honestly with their neighbors."
"I don't understand how Sidney Rigdon got mixed up in this business. He seems like an intelligent fellow."
"Rigdon is a strange person -- difficult to understand. I doubt if he understands himself. He might have been a great man. He's a scholar and a gentleman. There's no one in America more learned in biblical literature and the history of the world than Rigdon."
"How do you explain his friendship for such an ignoramus as Joe Smith?"
"Ambition. That has been and will be his ruin. He got the idea that he should be at the head of some religion, left the Baptists because they wouldn't support his unorthodox beliefs, and quarrelled with the Campbellites because he couldn't dominate their Church."
"But he can't get anywhere with this Revelation business."
"I'm not so sure. I think Rigdon is using Joe to start the religion and expects to get rid of him or use him for his own purposes eventually."
"He has a lot of influence over people -- one of the finest orators I ever heard -- but he'll find Joe a hard nut to crack."
"Well, whatever happens, I'm afraid Rigdon is doomed to disappointment. His inordinate desire for power will destroy him."
"By the way, is Si Treadwell willing to take the stand against Joe?"
"Yes, but we're counting on his daughter's testimony to prove our case. There are many petty accusations, but they're difficult to sustain with actual evidence."
"How is the girl? Have you seen her lately?"
"I talked with her yesterday. Seems quieter. Says she'll testify, but it's an awful thing to submit the Treadwells to. It's already broken the mother."
[ 117 ]
"I'm afraid so. I've never known such a complete change in anyone. Joe seems to have bewitched her. She was a natural, happy little girl, a bit shy perhaps, until she began to attend those Sunday night orgies at the Smiths. She was converted and baptized -- the rest is common gossip."
"It seems incredible that a modest, sensible girl could have been taken in by such a charlatan. The affair's been going on now for some years. How do you account for the girl's recent spells?"
"I heard that Joe is trying to get rid of her. At times she seems almost out of her senses."
"I'm surprised Joe's wife stood for it. She's not of his breed."
Parson Eller hesitated a moment before replying, "I don't fully understand it myself. She wouldn't return to Harmony."
"What did you write the father?"
"What could I write? My mission had failed, and I didn't dare tell that broken-hearted old man all I felt about the situation." "Didn't Hale know what a scoundrel Smith is?"
"Yes. That's what makes it so hard for him to bear this. It seems that he was instrumental in organizing an opposition to run Joe out of town."
"Out of Harmony? On what grounds?"
"Partly his fraudulent money-digging schemes. But the climax came over a young girl, Jenny Vale, he was said to have seduced. She committed suicide a week after Joe's elopement."
"God Almighty! What kind of a creature is this self-styled Prophet....
(remainder of pages 117-178 not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)
[ 179 ]
After leaving Joe, Rigdon had sat for some time with head bowed in his hands, giving himself up to the conflicting emotions that struggled for domination. His body was weary to the point of twitching, and his brain whirled with thoughts diverse and bewildering. Zeal, ambition, pride, fear, colored these thoughts, and through them all, an unconscious motif, there ran the tugging, insistent despair which more and more these days overwhelmed him.
"Why am I so restless, so dissatisfied?" he thought. "The results of the meeting today are excellent. Our plans have been realized far beyond my first dreams. In the beginning I did not dare conceive of success in such magnitude." Figures ran through his mind. "New York, Ohio, Missouri -- must have about five thousand right now, and with the titles on all property represented, we can count on an income of at least $50,000 next year. Should pay for our ten thousand acres all right." He lifted his head, forgetting fatigue as the little yellow gleam played in his eyes. "Ten thousand this year, double that the next year . . . Must get a printing press started. What we need is publicity . . . Print the Revelations and some of the sermons -- my own -- if I can only control that drunken fool!"
At the thought of Joe, weariness and resentment overcame him again. In his mind he pictured the Prophet entering Lem's house . . . Those two were together now -- Joe, with his brutal strength, holding Felicity's slender body . . . He saw them in bed and the thought sent the blood pounding again at his temples. He stirred restlessly, lifting his lean, heavily lined face to the sky.
Drawing a deep breath of the piney fragrance of the night air, there came with it the peculiarly sharp, pungent scent that clung about Her that one night in Kirtland. She said it was thyme. He closed his eyes, remembering how she had looked then -- and this afternoon.
[ 180 ]
Why had the girl come to Zion? He had withstood all other women, kept his vows to his fragile wife, until Frieda . . . Why, she was only a child! It was sinful. Would God ever forgive him?
A hand fell on his closed eyes and passed caressingly over his face. There she stood. He peered at her in the eerie light as if she were a vision.
"I've looked everywhere for you, Sidney," she spoke tenderly. Her warm, masculine voice had a weird music of its own.
"Frieda! You aren't real. You're at home, with your husband!" He couldn't move.
For answer she took his hand, drew him to his feet, and led him away from the open path into the protecting shadows of a partially built house. There she paused, stood close, her arms encircling the miserable man. The scent of thyme, so like the piney odor of the night air, came again to him from the soft, warm breast upon which she pressed his head. For a moment he rested there. It was peaceful, heavenly rest, to let his head lie so. It could not last, but for this moment he would cease being who he was to give himself up in blessed contentment.
"Why do you avoid me, Sidney?" She tenderly reproached him.
"You know -- we sinned! Only by repentance can that sin be wiped out."
"This can't be sin." There was silence. Then, "If it is, I am willing to pay."
He did not answer. She kissed him, with slow tenderness at first, then her lips on his hungry mouth sent them clinging into each other's arms. She is a strange child, he thought, passionate, yet delicate -- not at all like her people.
"Why did you marry?" There was a note of hurt in his voice. "I am going to have a child. You have a wife . . . There was nothing else to do."
Rigdon drew away from her, but leaned close to her face as if studying it to discover the meaning of the words.
"A child? Yours and . . . mine?"
"Yes." She spoke simply, quietly, happily. "Don't be sorry. I shall be glad, if you are."
"Your husband . . . does he know?"
"Of course not," she replied in surprise. "He will think it is his.
[ 181 ]
When she would have embraced him again, the man drew away in horror.
"My God, I am being punished! Child! You don't know what you are saying. To my sin of adultery and seduction, now there is added your deception. We shall be found out, and that will be the end for me."
He had grown agitated. Grasping her shoulders, he spoke to her with vehement intensity. "Frieda, go home to your husband. For God's sake, don't try to see me! We must let no one suspect what you have told me. Don't follow me about. If anyone finds out, we shall be ruined, both of us!"
The girl clung to him, pleadingly, "Don't leave me this way. '1'hc nights are awful. I am so lonely out here in this country. I came because of you. If I could just see you -- talk to you. You weren't like this there in Kirtland. I thought it would be the same out here. Oh, Sidney, I love you. What shall I do?"
Her hands were a torment to him, but sternly he cast her off, speaking with a halting attempt to reassure her, "Go now. I'll see you soon—talk to you about it all. But now -- go, for God's sake! Some one might find us! Your husband may be out looking for you now, at this minute!"
Just then the moon came out, flooding them both in its light: Rigdon, arrested, caught his breath at her beauty. Her fair skin and yellow hair gleamed like silver. Her firm straight body stood quiet -- tragic in its simple misery. She looked like a statue, lost from its home in this primitive place.
Long forgotten emotions stirred in the curious soul of the man -- legends of dryads, wood nymphs, a picture of Daphne earth bound to the myrtle tree -- tales that had tortured him with their charm when he had read them in his youth—tales whose unchristian beauty had haunted him through the feverish years of struggle to achieve great leadership in religion. Upon the pagan he had shut the door, but tonight it opened just for a moment, and he felt a sense of wonder that such things could be . . . For that moment only he forgot his dreads.
Lifting Frieda's face to study its beauty, he saw that her eyes
[ 182 ]
Until her figure disappeared among the trees, he watched her. Then, slowly, he walked back to the main path leading up to the Temple site. Held softly in this oddly delicate mood, Sidney stood still for a moment, quietly letting nostalgic memories of youth flow over him.
He recalled hours spent in an atheist uncle's library in Boston; it was there he had discovered Greece, Rome, Egypt. Even now he recalled the sense of secret sin with which he had read the heathen lore. Yet he had loved it. . . . His parents, now long dead, had sent him into the ministry and he had obeyed. Was it possible that he had made a mistake -- that he had lost something which now could never return to him? With a deep, troubled sigh he shook his mind free of such alien disturbing thoughts and stepped into the open street near the Turner home.
To his horror he saw Lem trying the door of his cabin. Fearful of violence, he ran toward the house, but when he had come within a short distance, he hesitated. How could he explain his presence there at this hour of the night? Perhaps he had better slip away -- let Joe get himself out as best he could. On the other hand, if there were violence, if one of the men were killed, it would ruin all his hopes and plans.
He saw Joe open the door and Lem enter. In a cold sweat of anxiety he made his cautious way to the cabin and pressed his ear close to the door. He could hear nothing. Stealthily he crept along the wall to where a faint gleam of light at one high window came through the thick homespun curtain, tacked down against the inserts. The window was slightly raised. After what seemed an eternity he heard Joe's surprised voice demand, "What the devil are you doing here?"
As Sidney listened, straining to follow the amazing conversation, he forgot that he was eavesdropping in a manner most unapostolic. Disgust and resentment were soon lost in astonishment and alarm when Joe's flagrantly perfidious scheme became clear to him.
"The man's selfish lust has no limit -- beast that he is. He will ruin us all!" The last, whispered aloud, startled him into again realizing where he was. The scraping of a chair warned him that Joe had risen. Dimly he could discern the Prophet's shadow beside that of Lem. He was getting ready to leave. Sidney stepped into the
[ 183 ]
In that moment Rigdon's mind snapped. All of his suppressed resentments against Joe, the man he had made, all of his gnawing fears for the safety of his great religious dream, leaped into flaming anger. Every vestige of his usually shrewd diplomacy, his sternly disciplined self-possession, fell away in a flood of blinding, white anger. Without plan or purpose he sprang up the path after the Prophet. Advancing upon Joe in livid fury, he cried out:
"You damned scoundrel! If there were any kind of a just God, He'd strike you dead this night."
For the second time this eventful day, Joe, speechless in his amazement turned from the door, stared blankly, wondering if his sight betrayed him.
"Jumping Jupiter! Another one! In God's name, what are you doing here? It's my own house this time, isn't it?"
Ignoring the levity, Rigdon broke out in anger, his words eating into Joe like vitriol. The Prophet listened, at first stunned, then enraged, but with a sort of grudging admiration withal.
"It may be your house now, but it won't be long if you continue your corrupt and unmitigated deviltry! I have never had any illusions about you, Joe Smith, but my wildest visions of diabolical fiends never conceived that anyone could devise such schemes for the gratification of lust as your vile nature has tonight. I followed you to the Turners'. I heard all you said to Lem. It can't be, I tell you, and it won't be! I'll kill you before I'll let you wreck all our plans with such unholy abominations!"
Joe raised his eyebrows in mocking surprise, but Rigdon, his voice quivering with rage, went on undeterred.
"In building up this Religion, we've done a lot of things that might be regarded as wrong -- deceptive. But, I've had a definite end in view. I've thought the end would justify us. We both want certain things: power to build up an empire, to achieve strength, fame! And to get these we have pushed aside many laws. I've agreed because we had to succeed. But this is a different matter. Aside from what I think of your swinish, beastly lust for women -- God knows I don't understand it when you have a beautiful wife of your own -- " Here Joe again made a mocking gesture of astonishment. "But I'm telling you that such talk as you gave Lem Turner to excuse your adultery with his wife tonight will ruin us! It's got
[ 184 ]
His voice had risen to a shrill pitch. His eyes flashed as he shook his fist threateningly in the face of the insolently smiling man, who seemed unperturbed and only mildly amused.
"And how will you stop it, Brother Sidney?"
"I'll expose you! I'll tell the truth! I'll go to the people!"
"But I have the manuscript -- the Spaulding Manuscript -- Brother Sidney. And what would you do if I hand that over to the people? You wouldn't expose my secrets, Brother Sidney, would you? But if you do, I shall expose yours -- tit for tat!"
The color left Rigdon's face. He looked like a man mortally wounded. "You have the manuscript? You said you destroyed it -- every page -- as we agreed. You wouldn't dare to have kept it."
"Oh, wouldn't I? I wouldn't dare otherwise. Did you think I'd be fool enough to destroy the one means by which I can curb your avaricious ambition, my beloved Apostle?"
His unctuous, dulcet tones poorly masked his gloating pleasure in Rigdon's agony. "Ah, no. Now, you understand the wisdom, the foresight of your Prophet. I know your love of fame, my dear fellow. In your eyes I sometimes see you dream of yourself as Prophet instead of Apostle. You'd like to be given credit for all the smart, high-sounding Revelations that flow from your master mind. There are times when you think you might dispense with me entirely -- when you feel that the Kingdom of Zion might be yours. My, what a fine One and Only Prophet you would make!" Joe laughed impertinently at the frustrated Sidney. "No, I didn't destroy the Spaulding Manuscript. I was warned by the Angel to preserve it in case I needed to subdue any rebellious, overly-ambitious subjects. I see the Angel was right as usual."
Rigdon was beaten. He wanted to get away. His voice sounded strangely weak and inadequate when he said, "You may be lying. But you may not. You are a devil and I know that you will probably ruin us all, but -- "
"Gentlemen!" The door had opened and Emma stood before them. "Will you stop quarreling long enough to go and fetch Aunt Martha and a doctor?"
Her voice was weak, exhausted, and she clung to the door as though to keep herself from falling. Even in the dim candle light the men saw that her face was drawn into a mask of pain, but
[ 185 ]
With a touch of impatience Emma went on, "I called several times, but you did not hear. Hurry, please!" She seemed about to fall.
While Joe dashed down the path to summon the midwife, Aunt Martha, Sidney sprang to Emma's side and half carried her to the great walnut bed. Emma's eyes were closed, her face drawn, and a low cry escaped her compressed lips. Sidney stood over her, trembling, afraid of many things. He thought sardonically, "What a climax to this ugly night . . . Did she hear our talk out there? . . . She is beautiful -- even in pain."
At last, in terror, he whispered, "Is there anything I can do?"
When the seemingly endless pain had passed, Emma opened her eyes and read his frightened thoughts.
"It is all right . . . Everything is all right . . . Soon I shall have a child . . . Then nothing will matter . . . I don't mind the other. Really! Don't look that way, Brother Sidney."
Rigdon had a curious impulse to kneel beside Emma and worship. He was living an oddly alien life tonight. He had never seen a woman in childbirth, and the whole mystery of it transcended the personal. This was no longer Sister Emma, wife of the Prophet. She was a woman, mother of the race. "Woman! Woman!" he muttered and felt a brief moment of release from all grossness and ugliness. He had felt so once before, on a woman's soft breast -- Oh, long, long ago -- when was it? He couldn't quite remember -- long, long ago!
Emma's hand on the coverlet drew his eyes. It was work-roughened, but strong and shapely. A moment before it had grasped the bed to stay her against crying out. Now it lay limp, pathetic, helpless. On an impulse he lifted it and kissed it reverently.
Emma's eyes raised to his in a faint question at the strange, humble act. Although she did not fathom this curious being, she understood that, for the moment at least, Sidney Rigdon was a kindly, tragic man. The tears in his eyes helped her. She gave him a wan little smile of understanding gratitude.
"Please go. I shall be all right . . . "
[ 186 ]
[ 293 ]
Early the next morning Emma went directly to Sidney Rigdon's home. Nancy met her at the door, but something in the older woman's face checked the questions that sprang to the girl's lips.
"May I see your father alone for a little while, Nancy?"
"Yes, certainly, Sister Emma. Go into the parlor. He's with mother now, but I'll fetch him right away."
"Nancy -- I'd rather your mother didn't know I am here. Need we disturb her?"
"No, no, Sister Emma. I shall arrange it," the girl assured her as she darted away.
While she waited in the neat front room which served also as Apostle Rigdon's study, Emma's mind flew back over the years to another grave interview with Sidney Rigdon. Then he had sought her out on her lonely walk across a New York hillside. Then he had appealed to her to take Joe back into her heart -- to work with them all for the Power and Glory of Zion. The scene came back like a clear, vivid picture, subtle in nuances. She had been influenced that day by Brother Sidney's pleading. She had taken Joe back, had come with them, all the way, to do her part in the building of the Empire.
Today the situation was curiously reversed. She was seeking out Sidney Rigdon to ask of him a great favor. Would he remember that other time? The years had made great changes in them both. Through all their vicissitudes and triumphs, there had been no recurrence of that intimacy of mind that had marked their morning talk there near the old Smith shack but a short while before Joe's flight to the West.
There had been brief moments when Emma had caught glimpses of the other man -- the real man she sensed in Sidney Rigdon, a man quite unlike the nervous, fanatical preacher whose ambition for fame and glory would not yield to Joe's unscrupulous, irresponsible
[ 294 ]
Emma had ceased to wonder why Brother Rigdon remained with the Mormons. Intuition told her that knew more in his perceptive grasp of human beings and life itself than the Prophet would ever know. But wonderment at his presence in Nauvoo came back as her eyes scanned the titles of the leather-bound books on the shelves lining one side of the room, books which Sister Rigdon had brought from their Boston home -- Plato, Marcus Aurelius, a book, there in one corner, entitled The Everlasting Mercy. This last Emma had seen before and recalled it now as the Bible of a thirteenth century monk named Cyril, who claimed to have received it, engraved on copper plates, from the Angel of the Lord. How strangely like the story of their own Golden Plates this was.
On the walls hung pictures of crumbling structures -- the Parthenon, the Forum, the Arch of Titus. No other Nauvoo parlor knew such pictures. Emma sensed a beauty in the permanence of these bleak ruins that vaguely corresponded with Apostle Sidney's inner self. It linked up with his austere, tender devotion to a suffering, invalid wife, with his scrupulous guardianship of his children, with his unspoken deference to her, the Prophet's wife. It was to this man, the hidden other man, to whom Emma knew she must now appeal. Casually she picked up the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and turned the pages. Her eye caught the penciled lines along the margin of a paragraph, and she paused to read.
Often think of the rapidity with which things pass by and disappear, both the things which are and the things which are produced. For substance is like a river in a continual flow, and the activities of things are in constant change, and the causes work in infinite varieties; and there is hardly anything which stands still. And consider this which is of the future in which all things disappear. How then is he not a
[ 295 ]
Howard Babcock Drake
(Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1951)
A Historical Novel
HOWARD B. DRAKE
DORRANCE & COMPANY
[ 175 ]
Joe reflected how unprofitable it must be to keep a dry-goods store open until so late an hour in this little village in the Pennsylvania hills. Franklin, to be sure, now boasted of being an oil town. During the daytime the dust rose in clouds from heavy wagons loaded with pipe and drilling supplies, rumbling down the narrow street. The staring small panes of the wooden stores glared at each other across the street in constant rivalry, and were always dirty. After supper few customers entered the store and Joe had noticed that passers-by were mostly men on their way to a nearby bar. As they came under the wooden awning Joe greeted them with a smile or a friendly word.
Often someone stopped to chat with him and usually had some comment on the dummy in the
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(pages 176-187 not transcribed)
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"There's something I was glad to get last night!" he said with a grin. Metta came over to him smiling, wiping her hands on a towel.
Simon picked up the paper and put on his steel-rimmed spectacles to look it over. "Well, congratulations, my boy. You got the contract for the school, did you?"
Inez and Metta crowded close to look over Simon's shoulder and then congratulated their cousin. His Aunt Celia, beaming with pride, gave him a motherly kiss on the cheek.
"Where will you stay when you are teaching?" asked Metta.
"I've arranged to board with one of the trustees in the settlement up there," said Joe, "but I hope to get downtown for Saturdays and Sundays."
"When the snow drifts in next winter, if you can do that you'll be lucky," said Celia with a smile, as she stacked the dishes into the pan in the sink. Water was steaming in a heavy iron pot over a crackling wood fire in the low black stove. The girls stood by
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After a few minutes Joe and Simon each carried a rocking-chair out the door to the shady lawn.
"Yes, I was glad to get that contract, Uncle Simon. Perhaps next fall I call get ahead a little with my account in the First National. It has been pretty hard to do that, so far, I've found. It probably won't help the bank much," he laughed.
"Just as much fun to watch a bank account grow as a field of wheat," remarked Simon. "Sometimes it grows a lot slower, though... Guess the new bank has been getting along pretty well. Let's see, it must be about four years ago that it started. Guess George Robinson made out well earlier with his private bank, before he started the national bank with Mr. Miner and Colonel Wellman."
"Someone told me that Mr. Robinson, before he came to Friendship twelve years ago, was a high official of the Mormon church, out in Illinois," said Joe.
"Yes, so they say. George Robinson, the president of the new bank, married a daughter of Sidney Rigdon."
"I know Mrs. Robinson. She often comes into the store with her little girl, May, who must be about five years old."
"Rigdon and Robinson were both 'high-ups' in the Mormon church. Robinson, they say, was treasurer. You probably have gotten acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, haven't you, Joe?"
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"You may not realize it, Joe, but Sidney Rigdon's name will go down in history -- he has had the most interesting career of any man you'll meet for many a day. They say that he helped to found the Mormon Church, with Joseph Smith, at Palmyra, and that the whole idea was Rigdon's in the first place. Peleg Babcock told me a lot about, it. He had known Smith.
"I read once, Joe, that this Sidney Rigdon, when he was a printer at Pittsburgh, ran across an imaginary account of the history of the world, back five hundred years before Christ. And he started out teaching a new doctrine, with that as a basis -- some theory about the lost tribes of Israel. Then, as Peleg said, Rigdon got acquainted with this Joseph Smith at Palmyra and the two of them worked out the plan for the discovery of the Book of Mormon, founded on this doctrine; Smith had his visions, and they got a lot of followers. But folks in this state didn't take too well to some of their ideas, and the Mormons went on further west. *
"They say that when the Mormons had established their colony at Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were at the head of the church. Then Smith announced a revelation instructing him to
* Note: The Mormon leader, Sidney Rigdon, died in Friendship in 1876, at the age of 83 and is buried there near his grandson, Hon. Edward W. Hatch.
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"Several years earlier, a man named Brigham Young had joined them, and was now one of the Twelve Apostles. He was a pretty smooth worker, I guess, and had a large following. When Joseph Smith was killed, it was between Brigham Young and Rigdon as to who would be the head of the church. Young won out. He excommunicated Rigdon, and Sidney came back East with his family, and Robinson and Wingate.
"George Robinson, Stebbins said, must have had a real good position that brought him a good income from the church, for when they came back to Friendship in 1847, Robinson built a brick store and carding mill, and was soon operating a private bank."
"That's surely interesting, Uncle Simon," said Joe. "Neither Mr. Rigdon nor General Robinson -- as they call him -- says much about those days now, I guess. I've never heard them mention it in the store."
[ 192 ]
As he came back into the quiet streets of the village the sun was slanting through the yellowed leaves of the maples along the graveled walks. His dog ran on eagerly ahead as they neared the large, freshly painted house on lower Main Street. It was the symbol of the General's financial success. His finger had been in many pies since he had come to Friendship sixteen years before. His investments in local enterprises -- several of which he owned in partnership with his brother-in-law, Ned Wingate -- had brought him good returns. He was a prominent and influential figure in the community; for many years he had been president of the bank.
Robinson always preferred to let his memory stray over these pleasant, peaceful years in Friendship Village
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His neighbor, George Willetts, was raking leaves on his side lawn as the General came along. They talked for a moment about the weather and Robinson showed him the two fat partridges in his hunting-coat pocket.
"A couple of men were lookin' for you an hour or so back, General," said Willetts. "Strangers in town, 'cuz they asked which of these here houses was yourn. They went over and knocked on the door and your wife talked to 'em."
"I wonder who they were," said Robinson. "Well, I'd better get: these birds in to 'Thalia." He turned across the road to the handsome, two-story house set closely to the street. The Robinson home was always pointed out proudly to visitors by the local residents.
And the General might well eye it with satisfaction. When he had bought the lot, there was only one small structure on it, used as a grocery store by Bill Colwell. This now formed the two back rooms on the ground floor of the large residence, and in the rear was a large carriage house and barn.
George Willetts was still raking his lawn when he heard in the distance the faint whistle of the five o'clock train. One could hear it for a long distance in the clear, crisp air. Just then Willetts saw the General's team whirl his polished red buggy out of
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Soon after, he heard the train clatter to the station and come to a stop. After a few minutes he saw Mrs. Robinson driving down the street alone. The General had evidently made the train. Willetts edged out closer to the roadway with his rake.
"General gone away?" he called.
"Yes, George had to go away on a business trip," she answered. "Don't know just how long he will be gone." The neighbors were always so nosy!
As the rocking train puffed out of the village, westward bound, General Robinson leaned back against the hard back of the car seat with satisfaction. He took out a large handkerchief and wiped his brow. Didn't have much time to spare, he reflected. But we didn't see anything of those two "saints" from Illinois, anyway. If they wait around for me to get back from Buffalo, they'll have a good wait.
His brow puckered as he fell to wondering whether 'Thalia would surely remember to call in the carpenter the next day and get those iron bars on the windows of his room. When he came back it would probably be better to get the iron safe -- none too heavy, anyway -- out of that ground floor room and into a room upstairs. His bedroom would really be the best place for those sheaves of greenbacks and the precious
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Robinson opened up the evening payer which he had bought from a train butcher, but he could not seem to concentrate on the news which filled the front page with its fine print. Between his eyes and the page came vivid memory pictures from early days. He laid down his newspaper and was soon lost in reverie.
He was back again, years ago, at his birthplace in Vermont, a little town in the rolling green hills, called Pawlet. He saw again clearly the family grouped around the table in the candlelight at supper time. Happy memories of his school days came back to him, and the central figure was always the laughing, bright-haired girl whose books he had carried from the little schoolhouse in the hollow. And most vivid of all was the memory of the day when they had stood up before the red-bearded preacher and said their marriage vows. Athalia had laughed afterwards about the size of the Bible which the good man had held with difficulty as he read the marriage lines.
Athalia Rigdon had been the youngest of a large family of children, and her father -- now away from home most of the time and fast becoming famous -- was Sidney Rigdon. For several years he had been one of the leaders of the Mormon Church, She had prized the letter received from him congratulating his "littlest one" on her marriage. His mother had
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Athalia gave the letter to her husband. But she did not tell him about the note which had come, a few weeks before, to Grandfather. She had overheard him discussing it one evening with her mother. Sidney and Joseph Smith, the prophet, were in some kind of "hot water" in Ohio, and there was something about a "failure" of a "Bank of the Saints." The two leaders had gone on farther west in the night.
"Sidney was always smart," she had heard Grandfather say, "but sometimes a little tricky. Hope he won't get too smart for his own good."
Athalia had said nothing to George. She didn't want him to know that her father, of whom they were all so proud, had been in trouble.
During the past year missionaries from the Mormon Church had traveled East and spread through every county, even into small hamlets such as Pawlet where the Rigdons and the Robinsons lived. George and Athalia Robinson -- proud of their family connection with Sidney, who was now one of the triumvirate at the head of the church -- were among the first in the village to espouse the religion of the Latter Day Saints.
Early in that year of 1838, another letter came to Athalia from her famous father, now at Far West, in Missouri. It told of his pleasure when he heard that they had found the True Faith. He urged them to
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George Robinson and his young wife Athalia decided to join a caravan bound for Missouri. The journey was long and full of peril. Several bands of redskins raided the wagon train, but the Robinsons luckily escaped unharmed. At long last, they reached their destination beyond the Mississippi. The welcome they received from Sidney and his friends made it all seem, at last, worth while.
But they had not been in Missouri long before increasing skirmishes, then actual warfare, broke out between the Saints and armed mobs of "Gentiles," bent on driving the new sect from the state. The Prophet Joseph, who had wanted only peace and a life of study and reflection on God's mercy and goodness, found himself and his followers besieged on all sides,
With Joseph Smith's approval, a society had formed that year among the younger men of the Saints, for both defense and counter-attack. It was called the Danites; "Avenging Angels" was a more popular name. Ned Wingate, another son-in-law of Rigdon, a big, stout-hearted lad, was at the head of this growing band. All of the Saints were assessed by Smith and Rigdon to provide arms for defense. Soon enough gold, silver, and pieces of jewelry came into the coffers of the church to buy a huge stock of arms
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George Robinson, to his horror, learned of many instances, on both sides, of cold-blooded murder and arson and rape. The Prophet was soon in despair and felt that his people were fast reverting, in this struggle for survival, to savages who had lost sight of God.
And there came to the governor of the State protests from all sides. At last, despairing of any peaceful settlement of the bloody warfare which the coming of this new sect had precipitated in Missouri, soldiers came front the State capitol and drove the Mormons back across the Mississippi. Sidney Rigdon was thrown into a dungeon, but the other leaders all escaped with their scattered followers. After a few days, with the help of some of the faithful, Sidney escaped from prison and was soon on his way across the river into Illinois.
During these terrible times, another leader had come to the front because of his bravery and resourcefulness. Many a scattered band was found, fed and started on the way to join the others, due to the untiring efforts of a young Mormon -- also from Vermont-Brigham Young. He was soon to rise high in the councils of the Saints and become one of the Twelve Apostles. Sidney Rigdon looked askance at the rise of Brigham Young. He sensed that here was a man to he reckoned with.
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Joseph Smith now found nearby a large tract of swampy land which he learned could be bought cheaply by the church. He had a vision of a great Mormon city there. Rigdon whole-heartedly agreed to the project and soon the site was teeming with settlers. Bogs were filled and brush was cut. Tents soon gave way to houses. The city grew apace, and Joseph Smith gave it the name Nauvoo.
Smith had dispatched men on horseback to cross the river and bring back hundreds of Saints who were still hiding in the Missouri hills; Brigham Young continued as a strong right arm of the Prophet in this work. The following year, the Saints in Nauvoo numbered over fifteen thousand.
The Mormons had made the barren swamp into a thriving city, with fine stores and homes and well-lighted streets. On a hill within the city limits they now erected a splendid marble temple, the finest church in all the land. Near the bank of the river stood a long brick house, where the officials transacted the business of the church. Sidney Rigdon had grown very fond of young George Robinson and respected his ability. He soon arranged Robinson's appointment
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From the increasing number of Mormons, not only in Nauvoo but throughout the entire nation, gold and silver poured into the church coffers. The church was in its heyday of prosperity, with its banks and other church-owned properties. And from every state in the Union hundreds streamed each day into the city of Nauvoo.
Then into this new Eden came the woman with the apple. And the Prophet Joseph ate thereof. Soon others of the leaders followed his example, and at last, in the pattern of tradition, stark and tragic trouble followed.
"Sidney," Joseph Smith had said one day to Rigdon, "I have had another revelation. We all well know that our progress in the world to come will depend upon how well we serve God here. And the most important way to serve Him, I was reminded in my vision, is to provide many children to be raised here in the faith. I learned that it will greatly please the Almighty if each of us who can do so will take unto himself not one wife alone but several. And I shall lead the way."
As he was relating to his friend Sidney the details of his heavenly vision, a new and more worldly vision crossed the Prophet's mind. He was already selecting two attractive, full-breasted damsels for the initial honor. He had long since cast on them an appreciative eye and he felt sure that they would readily respond to his advances.
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"We shall always try to guard against that possibility, Sidney," Smith replied. "I am sure that all things will work together for good."
He told Sidney that he wanted to get the plan of plural marriages into operation at once, and that he expected to take two new wives during the week to come, and no doubt two more in the next week after. Two other likely candidates had come to mind.
"If you can keep up that average for a year, Joe," said Rigdon, "you'll have quite a household!"
"You should not approach this matter," the Prophet rebuked him, In a spirit of levity. We must all go into the new order with prayerful consideration."
When Sidney Rigdon told George Robinson about his astounding conversation with Smith, he said; "And he evidently expects us all to go along with him, George. I'm afraid Athalia wouldn't care for that!"
"Athalia will never have to worry about me," replied George. And he was true to his word. While most of the leaders joined the Prophet willingly in the new order of affairs, the young love of George and Athalia was too steadfast to be shared with others.
There were few men who even attempted to keep pace with Joseph Smith. Week after week saw new additions to his list of wives, selected from the younger and more attractive single women in Nauvoo
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After other leaders of the Latter Day Saints had followed the Prophet's example, he began to feel that plural marriages, like the horse and buggy, had come to stay. And when the supply of attractive single females began to run low, Joseph, more zealous now than ever in this new activity for the glory of the Church, turned to those who were already married, and added several of these to his collection of wives. The total was now nearing thirty.
That was the beginning of trouble. There were increasing mutters of discontent from the deserted husbands, and finally one of these, seemingly unmindful of the honor which had been bestowed upon his wife, took steps in the matter. Deliberately, and surely with malice aforethought, he set out to arouse public opinion in the whole county against the polygamous practices at Nauvoo. Smith heard of the brother's defection and read him out of the church. But the mischief had been done.
Yet the Prophet considered himself personally immune against trouble. As ruler of: a city, commander of an army of trained men and head of a powerful church, he felt that he had nothing to fear.
Then came the fateful week which was a greater nightmare to George Robinson than the bloody days
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Before the trouble broke, it happened that Joseph Smith had sent the Twelve Apostles, including Brigham Young, on a mission to the East. And Sidney Rigdon had left for a brief visit in Pittsburgh.
Then, in an attempt to quell the disorder and rioting, armed soldiers began to stream into the city from the state capital. And, on warrants issued at the request of crusading Gentiles in the county, two of the minor leaders were thrown into jail. George Robinson felt that the end was upon them -- it perhaps was the handwriting on the wall for Joseph Smith and all his favored clique of leaders of the Saints. He went to Smith and urged him to leave the city, at least until the trouble was over. The young church treasurer reminded him that thousands of the faithful were already on their way westward.
"This storm will blow over, George," the Prophet told him. "You go with the others and take Athalia to a place of safety. But I shall stay. I am head of the church. It would ill become me to flee at this hour. God will be my shield and buckler."
As George Robinson came down the steps of the Prophet's mansion, the rumbling of an advancing; mob quickened his feet. He could see in the distance
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Robinson ran the seven blocks to his home. He found Athalia calmly ironing in the kitchen. Hearing the dread tidings, she realized their peril and joined him in packing a few belongings for a hasty flight. George hurried to his secret wall safe and emptied the contents into his money belt. Valued church records and early correspondence with the Prophet he packed with clothing in a canvas bag. Then he ran to the stable and saddled two horses.
Soon he and Athalia were on their way toward the eastern borders of Nauvoo. On one of the streets, as they galloped through, they passed a figure on horseback. They recognized Ned Wingate, evidently speeding toward the Prophet's mansion. Ned did not hear them when they called. They hastened on until they crossed the city line and entered the open country.
In the evening of the following day the Robinsons stopped at a small city in eastern Indiana. There they were stunned to read a newspaper account of the tragic death of Joseph Smith. Ned Wingate had not arrived in time with his secret police. From his luxurious mansion with its many bedrooms, the Prophet, after his armed guards had been overpowered, had been ruthlessly dragged to the street and hanged on the public square.
Later they read that many of the other leaders, including Danite Ned Wingate, with his wife Sarah,
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When, after weeks of weary travel, George and Athalia Robinson reached their old home in Vermont, they were thankful just to live quietly in the little country village. Shortly after their arrival, they read of a spirited contest between Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young for the mantle of the fallen Prophet. Learning of the death of Joseph Smith, the two leaders had both hastened back to Nauvoo, to wage vigorous campaigns for the honor of succession.
Brigham Young, the Robinsons were grieved to learn, in a test vote of the people, had won a substantial majority; he had then straightway excommunicated Rigdon. It was believed, the account in the newspaper stated, that Rigdon, with his son-in-law Ned Wingate, had returned to his home in Pittsburgh.
George and Athalia received soon afterward a letter from Sidney, confirming this unpleasant news. He was very bitter toward some of his former friends who had gone over to the side of the younger leader.
Two years later George Robinson received another letter from his father-in-law, this time from Friendship, a small village in western New York, where another daughter of Sidney lived, Mrs. Jeremiah
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"You and Athalia had better join us soon," he had written. "There are some good opportunities here for a man with capital. We might like to go in with you on a few ventures.... We want you to come this fall, George. In fact, we shall be expecting you."
(the remainder of this text was not transcribed)
Albion Winegar Tourgée (by Margaret Toth)
Albion Winegar Tourgée: soldier, carpet-bagger, judge, and novelist, was born in Williamsfleld, Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1838. His early years were spent on his father's farm in Williamsfield, and later in Kingsville, except for a brief excursion to Lee, Massachusetts, where he lived with his uncle, Jacob Winegar. In 1859, after alternately teaching in an elementary school and attending Kingsville Academy, he was admitted to the University of Rochester as a sophomore. He left the University in January, 1861, taught for a short time in Wilson, Niagara County, New York, and in April of that year enlisted in the 27th New York Volunteers. In accordance with the common practice of awarding degrees to students who had enlisted before completing their academic work, the University granted him an A.B. degree in June 1862... (University of Rochester Library Bulletin, Spring 1953)
Albion Winegar Tourgée was the son of Louisa Emma Winegar and Valentine Tourgee, who were married in Ohio in 1837. Louisa Emma Winegar was born on June 5, 1809 in Lee, Berkshire, Massachusetts; she was the daughter of Jacob Winegar (1771-1852) and Sally West. Jacob was the son of John Winegar (1743-1798) and Elizabeth Doty.
One of the brothers of John Winegar was Samuel Winegar (1747-1808) whose son Samuel Thomas Winegar (1782-c.1848) joined the Mormons near Kirtland Ohio in 1833. Thus, Samuel Thomas and Jacob were first cousins and Jacob's daughter Louisa Emma was a second cousin to the Mormon children of Samuel Thomas Winegar -- one of whom was the g-g-grandfather of the current transcriber (Dale R. Broadhurst).
(under construction)Lily Dougall
The Mormon Prophet focuses on the life of Susannah Croome who becomes the wife of Angel Halsey, a devotee of Joseph Smith. A young and impressionable girl, Susannah is fascinated by the rumors circulating in the neighborhood about her neighbor Joseph Smith, and decides to find out more about him. Fascination quickly leads to involvement, and Susannah casts her lot with the new religious sect after meeting and falling in love with Angel Halsey.
Susannah is never really converted to Mormonism, and she soon becomes disillusioned with her husband, but she remains with the Mormons for duty's sake, until the group has moved from New York State into Ohio, then to Missouri and Illinois. The Mormon Prophet is a basically accurate, somewhat biased recounting of the Mormon movement, stopping short of the final trek to Utah where the church is based today.
In addition telling Susannah's story, this novel also centers upon Joseph Smith's life -- which is chiefly important to history for its psychological explanation of Smith's puzzling character.
Lily Dougall was the Canadian authoress of a dozen novels and the first editor of The World Wide, a Montreal journal of contemporary though. Her works reflect a deep sensitivity to moral and religious ambiguity. Inaddition to her interesting and insightful presentation of the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, she also attempts to explore in an even-handed manner the role of women in early Mormon society.
The Canadian authoress -- attempting to report on Joseph Smith's expected public refutations of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon -- could locate no such rebuttal and was forced to put fictional words in his mouth (see p. 320).
Literary World, 4/29/1899, p. 141. N. Y. Times Book Review, 4/29/1899, p. 277. N. Y. Times Book Review, 9/23/1899, p. 636.
Stephen W. Fullom
Fullom's fictional fantasy is far from realistic when he describes the events of a Mormon dancing party, complete with tobacco, liquor, and a fiddle-playing Joseph Smith. While the writer's description of Smith is somewhat convincing, he fails totally in his effort to depict "a dark, sinister-looking" Elder Sidney Rigdon -- who, nevertheless is an approving affectionado of popular music. On pages 230-31 of the 1854 combined-volume 3rd edition, Fullom has his fictional Rigdon devising a parable from the lyrics of a dance tune, which results in an unconvincing picture of the Mormon leader. In fact, Rigdon was not even residing in Nauvoo at the time the scene supposedly takes place.
Even less accurate is Fullom's description of the March, 1832 tarring and feathering of Smith and Rigdon, which he retrospectively places in a non-existant "Hiram, Jackson county," Missouri (page 234). In Fullom's imagination, the tarring and feathering incident happened "in Missouri," sometime prior to 1844, "when that Judas, Simmonds Rider" [sic - Symonds Ryder] "sold" Joseph Smith "to the mobbers, at Father Johnson's, in Jackson county." Such an account not only mistakenly transfers the location from Portage county, Ohio, to Missouri, but also makes the ex-Mormon elder, Symonds Ryder, a falsely pretending faithful member, who hands the trusting Smith and Rigdon over to their persecuting enemies.
In fairness to Mr. Fullom, it should be noted that there were few published accounts of reliable Mormon history available for his consultation at the beginning of the 1850s. Few non-LDS books or articles of that period mention the 1832 tarring and feathering incident -- for example, Eber D. Howe evidently did not feel it was an event of suitable significance for inclusion in his 1834 Mormonism Unvailed. Subsequent non-LDS writers, who relied upon Howe's reporting, were generally liable to pass over the 1832 assault without mention, or with a muddled conflation of sundry 1830s Mormon "persecution" accounts. Instances of such conflation can be seen in newspaper articles published throughout the 19th century: two typical reports were published in the Utica Morning Herald of Aug. 31, 1877 and the Pines Plaines (NY) Register of Oct. 22, 1886, both of which mistakenly tie the Hiram incident with 1837-38 reaction to the Kirtland bank failure. Probably not until Stenhouse (1873), Kennedy (1888), and Bancroft (1889), were relatively accurate histories of the Hiram period in Mormon history made widely available by non-LDS writers.
Fullom's incidental mention of a "Pelatiah Allen, Esquire, of Hiram," who "gave the mobbers a barrel of whiskey," helps identify the author's source material for his "Unknown Tongue" chapter.That source was almost certainly the anonymously-authored 1851 history, The Mormons, (attributed to Charles Mackay).
On pages 62-65 of that book's first edition, the 1832 tarring and feathering is related, complete with a reference to "Pelatiah Allen, Esq., who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey." The English writer of the 1851 history merely reproduced Joseph Smith's own story of the assault -- probably copying the text from the Liverpool Millennial Star, which had reprinted Smith's account from an 1844 issue of the Nauvoo Times and Seasons.
Fullom adds a detail lacking in either the original Mormon text, or its 1851 British reproduction. The fictional account has Joseph Smith boasting: "That Simmonds Rider, mark ye, took sick and died." Now this is a particularly strange assertion, placed on the lips of the Mormon leader; for in 1845, a year after Smith's death, his newspaper at Nauvoo was still speaking of a very much alive Symonds Ryder:
Resolved, That as a last passing notice to all our enemies and apostates, of all grades, from Simonds Rider down to John C. Bennet and Sidney Rigdon, inasmuch as their bowels and mouths are like Etna and Vesuvius, full of filth and fire consuming their vitals, that they vomit toward the northern ocean, and leave Nauvoo, to take breath and live awhile in peace.
In fact, Elder Symonds Ryder lived to the ripe old age of 78, as is documented on his 1870 tombstone, at Hiram, Ohio. Elder Ryder's survival into old age may actually have been an indirect indication that he did not participate in the March 24, 1832 attack upon Smith and Rigdon. In 1846 Luke S. Johnson (a son of John Johnson, the Mormon leaders' host in 1832) visited Nauvoo and was reported as saying: "all but one who were engaged in mobbing, tarring and feathering Joseph and Sidney in the town of Hiram, Portage county, had come to some untimely end, and the survivor, Carnot Mason, had been severely afflicted" (see note 4 in Max Parlin's 1966 "Conflict at Kirtland," page 250). If, by December, 1846 "all but one who were engaged in mobbing" of 1832 had died, then Ryder's continued earthly existence seems to have argued in favor of his having not been a participant in the tarring and feathering activities.
S. W. Fullom's 1854 book is readable and occasionally entertaining. It offers a slightly higher grade of mid-19th century British fiction featuring Mormons, than does its contemporary effort by Percy B. St. John, Jessie, the Mormon's Daughter. But the modern reader (particularly an historically informed one) will find the storyline hopelessly outdated and unedifying.
Albert G. Riddle
One of the novels written by A. G. Riddle, the Mantua writer, was "The Portrait." The scene of the story is mainly Mantua, but virtually all towns in Portage County enter into it. The characters, many of them, are actual Portage County people of the period. Of these are Prophet Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader, Sidney Rigdon, and others. Writer Riddle gives the following character sketch of Smith: "The Prophet was then about twenty-five years of age, and nearly six feet in height; rather loosely but powerfully built, with a perceptible stoop of his shoulders. The face was longish, not badly featured, marked with blue eyes, fair blond complexion and very light, yellowish flaxen hair. His head was not ignoble, and carried with some dignity; and, on the whole his person, air and manner would have been noticeable in a gathering of men. He was attired in neat fitting suit of blue, over which he wore the ample cloak of, blue broadcloth, which he threw back, exposing his neck and bosom -- all with a simple and natural manner."