The story of a Mormon woman — effects of Polygamy.
, in his ‘"Journey to Great Salt Lake City
,"’ just published in London
, tells this story of life in Utah
On our reaching the borders of the Jordan
, not far from the city walls, we perceived two women sitting on a heap of Indian corn stalks, who appeared to be plunged in the bitterest grief.
They were a mother and a daughter.--The mother, the widow of a near relative of Joseph the prophet, had been married a second time to a priest whom we had once met with on a distant mission.
She was an English woman, and, independently of an education little usual in the class to which she belonged, she was endowed with all those qualities which make her country women so respectable.
Her daughter, Mary, the only child of her first marriage, was a young person from sixteen to eighteen years of age, as intelligent as she was pretty; it was impossible to grow tired of observing in her face that graceful blending of beauty and innocence which inspires in every man of feeling a respectful admiration.
After pressing these women to tell us the cause of their suffering, they made the following statement:
In the spring previous the missionary returned home, after having been preaching to the savages for the space of three years. He was received with open arms, as he had every right to expect.
However, it did not appear to him that the sacrifice of his long absence was sufficiently compensated by the affection of a woman who could not bear him children, and he requested and obtained from the presidency a revelation authorizing him to marry a second wife.
So far no one had reason to complain, since all this was in conformity with the manners of the place and according to law. But the missionary took it into his head to ask the hand of his stepdaughter, Mary.
The poor child refused, at first very timidly and gently, in hope that her step-father would not insist upon it. But he tormented his wife to use her authority over the child, to make her consent to this marriage; but as her mother-heart utterly rejected this office, she did nothing, and the consequence was dissensions in the family.
The supreme authority of Brigham
was invoked; but the pontiff, whose good feeling on this occasion is worthy of praise, refused to do anything more than give his advice.
Neither menaces, nor caresses, nor counsel, had any effect upon the girl, whose noble instincts revolted at the idea of her becoming her mother's rival, and who, moreover, was passionately in love with a man who had solemnly promised to marry her, and her alone.
The missionary found at last that there was no making head against so determined a will, and, out of spite, went and selected a woman from amongst the waiting women attached to the harem of H. C. Kimball
But a new storm was on the point of bursting.
The second wife was no sooner installed in the conjugal dwelling than she found out that she was only a make-shift.
Calling to her aid every article which hatred could suggest, she succeeded in captivating her husband's heart; and the latter had so far forgotten himself as, on the very morning of the day on which we met these weeping women, to male treat them so grossly as to compel them to abandon the roof they had assisted in building and ornamenting with the fruit of their industry.
They made no one responsible for their misfortunes; they inveighed neither against heaven, nor their religion, nor the new wife, nor the missionary.
They prayed God to forgive this man his blind violence, and to read in their hearts the good feelings which animated them.