From New Life in New Lands: Notes of Travel
By Grace Greenwood [Sara Lippincott]
New York: J. B. Ford and Company, 1873

You hear a good deal about that "cross" [of polygamy] from both Mormon husbands and wives, but you only see the shadow of it in the faces of the women. I do not mean to intimate that they all look decidedly unhappy. There is rather in their faces a quiet, baffling, negative, and abnegative expression, which certainly is as far from happy content as it is from desperate rebellion. Naturally, they are more alive to the outside pressure of public opinion, more sensitive to the obloquy and ostracism which their position provokes, than men. Patient and passive as they same, they feel these things keenly, -- the more intelligent among them, at least; and, though upheld by a sincere faith in this strange delusion, they have toward strangers a peculiar air of reticence and mistrust, almost of repulsion. I do not wonder at it: their hospitality and confidence have often been abused; they have been intruded upon by impertinent interviewers, and their reluctant answers to persistent questioning published abroad, with startling additions and dramatic embellishments. Those I have met appear to me, I must say, like good and gentle Christian women. They are singularly simple in dress and modest in demeanor. What saddens me is their air of extreme quietude, retirement, and repression. But for the children around them, you would think some of them were women who had done with this world. I am told that the wives of even the highest Mormon dignitaries show little pride in their lords. It were, perhaps, difficult to feel much pride in the sixteenth part of a man, as men go. Even the first wife of a wealthy saint betrays in her husband and household, they say, no exultant joy of possession. An investment in a Mormon heart and home must be rather uncertain stock for a woman. I am assured that the second wife is seldom taken without the consent of the first. Not only are the poor woman's religious faith and zeal appealed to, but her magnanimity toward her sister-woman out in the cold. It must be through great suffering that such heights of self-abnegation are reached. The crucifixion of the divine weakness of a loving woman's heart must be a severe process. But there is some sorry comfort in the thought that for these poor polygamous wives there is no wearing uncertainty, no feverish anxiety; that they are spared the bitterest pain of jealousy, the vague nightmare torture of suspicion, the grief and horror of the final discovery, the fierce sense of treachery and deception. They know they worst. Perhaps it is this "dead certainty" that gives them the peculiar, cold, still look I have referred to. As to the Mormon men whom I have met, mostly leaders in the church, and prominent, well-to-do citizens, I must say that they look remarkably care-free and even jolly, under the cross. Virgil, I believe, has somewhere the expression, "O three times and four times happy!" Well, that is the way they look.

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