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   Chapter 26 No.26

The World As I Have Found It / Sequel to Incidents in the Life of a Blind Girl By Mary L. Day Characters: 7050

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"Westward the star of Empire takes its way;

The four first acts already past,

A fifth shall close the drama with the day;

Time's noblest offspring-is the last."

Our first emotion upon our introduction to Utah was one of fear and foreboding, for our landlord seemed so assured that we should meet with no success, selfishness being the established character of the Mormons, who never allowed their hearts to go out in sympathy to any one outside of their own church or community.

Far away from home, "a stranger in a strange land," felt like those old-time wanderers who sat them down by the "waters of Babylon," and hanging their harps upon the willow, sang sad songs and wept bitter tears.

I gathered sufficient courage to call upon the editor of the daily paper, and his gentlemanly reception was very reassuring. He gave me a lengthy and commendatory notice, and this emanating from a man with five wives gave me a more charitable sentiment than I had formerly maintained toward Mormon institutions, and it likewise gave me courage and a better opinion as to my prospects. We remained there two days, and met with such unexpected success that we turned in a more hopeful mood toward Salt Lake City.

On the road to that city is a celebrated sulphur spring, whose presence is indicated for miles before it is reached by somewhat infernal fumes. A woman in the car, overcome by the unpleasant odor, exclaimed, in evident disgust: "Is that the way the Mormons smell?" She seemed so impressed with the nearness of his Satanic Majesty, whom she intimately associated with Mormondom, that it recalled the somewhat vulgar story of the "Teuton," who, in nearing the Virginia White Sulphur Springs, with the same fumes in his nostrils, cried out: "Mein Gott! pe shure, hell is not more as a mile off!"

Arriving at Salt Lake City at the close of a beautiful day, the western sky gleaming with the royally gorgeous hues of a clear, bright sunset, while the delightful surroundings and stimulating atmosphere lured us to walk from the depot.

Salt Lake being at that time a city of twenty thousand souls, and this being prior to the opening of the mines, it was probably in the hey-day of its beauty, and could boast of but one saloon, whereas they are now very numerous. Its broad, regular avenues were shaded with trees of such immense growth as are known only in our western lands, the coolness and shade of whose leafy, spreading branches invitingly appeal to the passer-by. Streams of limpid, crystal water, born in the pure mountain snows, gurgle down each street, and, in their beautiful borders of nature's green enamel, impart an almost marvelous beauty to the city.

The twenty-third of July being the twenty-third anniversary of the founding of the "City of the Saints," I had the pleasure of going to their Temple and listening to the earnest oratory of their representative men, and among them the "Prophet" himself. George Francis Train being also a visitor in the city, gave a characteristic oration, in which he rehearsed the pilgrimage of this people, their persecution, privations and pains before reaching their haven, which seems, in its rare beauty, an almost magical city, rising up in the wilderness as a lovely refuge, for, after all, what magic is so potent as industry and perseverance, and how much of both of these elements must have been brought to bear in the accomplishment of so much in the short space of twenty-three years.

The Honorable George Cocannon, the able editor

of their daily paper, representative in Congress, and one of their distinguished elders, gave me a telling editorial, which, from its influential source, benefited me very greatly, and could not fail to facilitate my sales.

We called at the residence of Brigham Young, and he kindly gave us a half hour of his valuable time, a favor much appreciated, and one which threw great additional light upon their institutions.

We visited their public schools, found the system of graded departments, high schools, etc., very similar to our own, and all in an equally flourishing condition. My companion was peculiarly attracted by the uncommon beauty of the pupils, never having seen in an equal number of children so much personal fascination. I also visited the public market, where a man in one of the stalls bought a book, remarking at the same time that he supposed he ought to buy four, as he had that number of wives. A bystander asked if this did not sound very strangely in the ears of one so unaccustomed to a plurality of wives. I quickly responded that the men of Utah must have large hearts to be capable of taking in four wives, or even more, when our men had scarce courage to marry one. My reply evidently touched some responsive chord, for all at once bought books. Their system of co-operative trade ofttimes leaves them destitute of ready cash, but all who had money gave me the most liberal patronage.

There is a peculiar feature of Salt Lake society which is truly worthy of note, and that is the fact that even in social gatherings they open and close with prayer.

Thus, with the highest respect and gratitude for its citizens, I left Salt Lake and returned to Ogden, where I hoped for a new supply of books.

Finding neither letters nor books, and board being four dollars per day, I began to feel symptoms of the "blues." Going to the landlord and stating the case, he bade me have no fear, for no more would be demanded of me than I was able to pay; and cheered by this unexpected kindness, I resolved to patiently wait the issue of events. The next day being election, it was strange to witness the procession of women voters wending their way to the polls; but here, as in Salt Lake, the utmost order and quiet prevailed, nor was bolt or bar necessary for protection at night, when we were permitted to rest in sweet security from harm.

On going to the express office we were approached by a gentleman, who, pointing to me, handed Hattie an envelope with the simple words, "If you please;" few indeed, but fraught with mystery to us, our only solution being that the envelope contained election tickets, and we were supposed voters.

With a sense of relief we found the books at the express office, and we took that opportunity to open the mysterious package, in which we found five dollars. Describing the gentleman to the express agent, he said he was a clerk in an eating house near by, a bachelor, and very liberal. Certainly this act spoke nobly for the fraternity of bachelors, who are supposed to go about armed with a coat of mail, especially invulnerable in the region of the heart, while this unsolicited kindness unquestionably indicated a large degree of tenderness of nature.

We sent him a note of acknowledgment, which we felt to be but a feeble expression of our gratitude, and, as "all seemed to work together for our good," we left Utah with a benediction in our hearts and a silent but no less earnest prayer on our lips, and turned toward the setting sun.

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