Interview between Gentile Ladies and Mrs. B. Young, Jr.
A female correspondent of the New York World, who, with others, called on Mrs. Brigham Young, Jr.,—or rather on that one of the Mrs. B. Youngs who accompanied her spouse on his travels—gives the following account of the spouse of the Prophet's heir apparent:
She looked about thirty-five years old, but possibly was not over twenty-five—her life as a pioneer, as a fugitive, as a wife, and the mother of seven children, giving her an expe-rience which might have made her look fifty years old, but which suc ceeded, owing to her natural buoyancy of heart, in making her look only thirty. She was dressed in a striped gray and white linen traveling suit, and looked fresh and cool as a dew drop, which was a revelation in it-itself, for the day was the sultriest of the season, and it almost made one faint to look at the hot, fixy, overdressed women—we can-not call them ladies, for ladies know in-stinctively how to dress—who were promenading Broadway. Her figure was lithe and elegant looking, her face very strong in re-pose, and very mobile in conversation; her manner a union of timidity and equipoise that was pleasing. Altogether she looked lady-like and motherly, and pre eminently wifely.
Now, this wife question being the one we are particularly interested in, in fact the one object of our visit, we made the best of our opportunity of putting questions, "Now, Mrs. Young, did you ever see a wife really, truly, unmistakeably happy who had to share her husband's affections with another woman or other women?" we asked, in a tone of great eagerness. She playfully said some-thing about real, true, unalloyed, unmitigated happiness being a rare and unexceptional thing.
Was she a diplomatist? was that the way of turning our attention from the subject in hand? Further conversation proved not. She asked: "Are all married gentlemen of your acquaintance blind to all the beauty ly-ing about them, or are they proof against it, and do they all live beautiful, exclusive lives?" Of course we admitted the little polygamic tendencies of gentlemen in so-ciety—how could we do otherwise, when it is so well known? She asked, "Do their wives know it?" "Yes, sometimes it comes to light; often they suspect it when it is never proven; but then what they don't know don't hurt them" "Do you think that? We think that everything that hurts the husband hurts a wife, and none of you will surely maintain that it does not injure a man moral-ly to be guilty of deceit—of systematic and sustained falsehood. We think that it would affect even his children's children, and his furthest neighbor's, for not only has every act its rays of influence, but his moral attitude is affecting others for good or evii, whether he sleeps or whether he plows. Now, inasmuch as man is not exclusive in his tastes—and it was for wise reasons that he is not so—we must, not try to make him conform to our idea of his needs or his destiny at the risk of making him so weak as to give in to us, or so mean as to deceive us. Woman's sphere is des-tined by nature. The civilizations of the world are unanimous on that point, no mat-ter on what else they may differ. Her sphere is power; her destiny to replenish the earth. This, if woman would only realize it, is a high and noble destiny. It is the one ambition of the Mormon wife to be a mother in Israel. Our children are all pledges of love to our husbands and jewels in our crowns of honor as wives."
"But are not the wives of one man often jealous of the other?"
"Sometimes; but it is not a feature of our domestic life," Madame replies. The wives of each household are as sisters—sisters in family and in faith. They sometimes indulge in little playful rivalries as to who will get the first kiss, or who can pull him or coax him away from the others, but as a rule they always give precedence to the first wife. The ladies of every gentleman's household are not only affectionate to one another, but they are courteous to a point of etiquette not often witnessed among the ladies of the best society here.
One of the ladies asked if their politeness was not the result of despair—it they were not so “subdued" that acquiescence to everything or anything was natural. She replied that they all entered the state of matrimony know-ingly; that no force or persuasion, beyond what lovers were wont to employ all the world over, was ever brought to bear on ony one.
The only women who might at all feel themselves injured, were the first wives of converts, to whom the thing was strange, and who, preparatory to leaving their own country, made their husbands promise that they would never take, unto themselves any other wives. These men, under increased light, and sustained by public sentiment, and led on by public example, often insisted on their rights, and so convince their wives as to make them willing, but it was but natural to suppose that among such diversity of people and of nations, some of them, not so well grounded in the faith, would afterwards regret having given their consent—but even their regret wore off in time. On the whole, take the Mormon set-tlements through and through, they present-ed a greater amount of happiness than did Gentile settlements of equal advantages. The cause of this was doubtless threefold— first, that the people were united religiously; se-condly, the households were individually so united; thirdly, the public opportunities for amusement, recreation, and exercise are so great and are made so prominent.
Concerning herself, the lady said—and she was so modest we could not get her to speak of herself half enough—but she did say that she was just on her way home after a five years' stay in Europe, during which time her two youngest children were born, and where she had her husband all to herself—but she counted the days that must elapse before she could get to her beautiful home be-yond the mountains. Yet on her very arrival other wives would run to her husband for love, would clamor plafully but pertinaci-ously and eagerly for attention, and that he could not be a bit more glad to see them than she will be.
Then we went to see the babies—one two years and a half old, the other but a few months; there they lay like twin lilies sleep-ing, the happy mother bent above them bless-ing them. Promising to call again before she left the city, we departed.
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