A Flight for Life
On the morning which followed his interview with the Mormon Prophet, John Ferrier went in to Salt Lake City, and having found his acquaintance, who was bound for the Nevada Mountains, he entrusted him with his message to Jefferson Hope. In it he told the young man of the imminent danger which threatened them, and how necessary it was that he should return. Having done thus he felt easier in his mind, and returned home with a lighter heart.
As he approached his farm, he was surprised to see a horse hitched to each of the posts of the gate. Still more surprised was he on the entering to find two young men in possession of his sitting-room. One, with a long pale face, was leaning back in the rocking-chair, with his feet cocked up upon the stove. The other, a bull-necked youth with coarse, bloated features, was standing in front of the window with his hands in his pockets whistling a popular hymn. Both of them nodded to Ferrier as he entered, and the one in the rocking-chair commenced the conversation.
Maybe you dont know us, he said. This here is the son of Elder Drebber, and Im Joseph Stangerson, who travelled with you in the desert when the Lord stretched out His hand and gathered you into the true fold.
As He will all the nations in His own good time, said the other in a nasal voice; He grindeth slowly but exceeding small.
John Ferrier bowed coldly. He had guessed who his visitors were.
We have come, continued Stangerson, at the advice of our fathers to solicit the hand of your daughter for whichever of us may seem good to you and to her. As I have but four wives and Brother Drebber here has seven, it appears to me that my claim is the stronger one.
Nay, nay, Brother Stangerson, cried the other; the question is not how many wives we have, but how many we can keep. My father has now given over his mills to me, and I am the richer man.
But my prospects are better, said the other, warmly. When the Lord removes my father, I shall have his tanning yard and his leather factory. Then I am your elder, and am higher in the Church.
It will be for the maiden to decide, rejoined young Drebber, smirking at his own reflection in the glass. We will leave it all to her decision.
During this dialogue John Ferrier had stood fuming in the doorway, hardly able to keep his riding-whip from the backs of his two visitors.
Look here, he said at last, striding up to them, when my daughter summons you, you can come, but until then I dont want to see your faces again.
The two young Mormons stared at him in amazement. In their eyes this competition between them for the maidens hand was the highest of honours both to her and her father.
There are two ways out of the room, cried Ferrier; there is the door, and there is the window. Which do you care to use?
His brown face looked so savage, and his gaunt hands so threatening, that his visitors sprang to their feet and beat a hurried retreat. The old farmer followed them to the door.
Let me know when you have settled which it is to be, he said, sardonically.
You shall smart for this! Stangerson cried, white with rage. You have defied the Prophet and the Council of Four. You shall rue it to the end of your days.
The hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon you, cried young Drebber; He will arise and smite you!
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|