desert, we shared our food with you, led you safe to the Chosen Valley, gave you a goodly share of land, and allowed you to wax rich under our protection. Is not this so?
It is so, answered John Ferrier.
In return for all this we asked but one condition: that was, that you should embrace the true faith, and conform in every way to its usages. This you promised to do, and this, if common report says truly, you have neglected.
And how have I neglected it? asked Ferrier, throwing out his hands in expostulation. Have I not given to the common fund? Have I not attended at the Temple? Have I not?
Where are your wives? asked Young, looking round him. Call them in, that I may greet them.
It is true that I have not married, Ferrier answered. But women were few, and there were many who had better claims than I. I was not a lonely man: I had my daughter to attend to my wants.
It is of that daughter that I would speak to you, said the leader of the Mormons. She has grown to be the flower of Utah, and has found favour in the eyes of many who are high in the land.
John Ferrier groaned internally.
There are stories of her which I would fain disbelievestories that she is sealed to some Gentile. This must be the gossip of idle tongues. What is the thirteenth rule in the code of the sainted Joseph Smith? Let every maiden of the true faith marry one of the elect; for if she wed a Gentile, she commits a grievous sin. This being so, it is impossible that you, who profess the holy creed, should suffer your daughter to violate it.
John Ferrier made no answer, but he played nervously with his riding-whip.
Upon this one point your whole faith shall be testedso it has been decided in the Sacred Council of Four. The girl is young, and we would not have her wed gray hairs, neither would we deprive her of all choice. We Elders have many heifers,1 but our children must also be provided. Stangerson has a son, and Drebber has a son, and either of them would gladly welcome your daughter to his house. Let her choose between them. They are young and rich, and of the true faith. What say you to that?
Ferrier remained silent for some little time with his brows knitted.
You will give us time, he said at last. My daughter is very youngshe is scarce of an age to marry.
She shall have a month to choose, said Young, rising from his seat. At the end of that time she shall give her answer.
He was passing through the door, when he turned with flushed face and flashing eyes. It were better for you, John Ferrier, he thundered, that you and she were now lying blanched skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco, than that you should put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four!
With a threatening gesture of his hand, he turned from the door, and Ferrier heard his heavy steps scrunching along the shingly path.
He was still sitting with his elbow upon his knee, considering how he should broach the matter to his daughter, when a soft hand was laid upon his, and looking up, he saw her standing beside him. One glance at her pale, frightened face showed him that she had heard what had passed.
I could not help it, she said, in answer to his look. His voice rang through the house. Oh, father, father, what shall we do?
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