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1 occurrence of roughing it
[Clear Hits]


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1 occurrence of roughing it
[Clear Hits]




WE had a fine supper, of the freshest meats and fowls
and vegetables—a great variety and as great abundance.
We walked about the streets some, afterward, and
glanced in at shops and stores; and there was fascination in
surreptitiously staring at every creature we took to be a Mormon.
This was fairy-land to us, to all intents and purposes—
a land of enchantment, and goblins, and awful mystery. We
felt a curiosity to ask every child how many mothers it had,
and if it could tell them apart; and we experienced a thrill
every time a dwelling-house door opened and shut as we
passed, disclosing a glimpse of human heads and backs and
shoulders—for we so longed to have a good satisfying look at
a Mormon family in all its comprehensive ampleness, disposed
in the customary concentric rings of its home circle.

By and by the Acting Governor of the Territory introduced
us to other “Gentiles,” and we spent a sociable hour
with them. “Gentiles” are people who are not Mormons.
Our fellow-passenger, Bemis, took care of himself, during this
part of the evening, and did not make an overpowering success
of it, either, for he came into our room in the hotel about
eleven o'clock, full of cheerfulness, and talking loosely, disjointedly
and indiscriminately, and every now and then tugging
out a ragged word by the roots that had more hiccups
than syllables in it. This, together with his hanging his coat
on the floor on one side of a chair, and his vest on the floor
on the other side, and piling his pants on the floor just in


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[Description: 504EAF. Page 109. In-line image of a frazzled man looking at the flame of a candle. The candle is sitting on an empty table which has an empty chair next to it.]
front of the same chair, and then contemplating the general
result with superstitious awe, and finally pronouncing it “too
many for him” and going to bed with his boots on, led us
to fear that something
he had eaten had not
agreed with him.

But we knew afterward
that it was something
he had been
drinking. It was the
exclusively Mormon
refresher, “valley tan.”
Valley tan (or, at least,
one form of valley
tan) is a kind of whisky,
or first cousin to
it; is of Mormon invention
and manufactured
only in Utah.
Tradition says it is
made of (imported)
fire and brimstone. If
I remember rightly no public drinking saloons were allowed
in the kingdom by Brigham Young, and no private drinking
permitted among the faithful, except they confined themselves
to “valley tan.”

Next day we strolled about everywhere through the broad,
straight, level streets, and enjoyed the pleasant strangeness of
a city of fifteen thousand inhabitants with no loafers perceptible
in it; and no visible drunkards or noisy people; a limpid
stream rippling and dancing through every street in place of
a filthy gutter; block after block of trim dwellings, built of
“frame” and sunburned brick—a great thriving orchard and
garden behind every one of them, apparently—branches from
the street stream winding and sparkling among the garden
beds and fruit trees—and a grand general air of neatness, repair,
thrift and comfort, around and about and over the whole.


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[Description: 504EAF. Page 110. In-line image of a crest with two bears and a barrell of alcohol. The other image is of a beehive in a circle.]
And everywhere were workshops, factories, and all manner of
industries; and intent faces and busy hands were to be seen
wherever one looked; and in one's ears was the ceaseless clink
of hammers, the buzz of trade and the contented hum of
drums and fly-wheels.

The armorial crest of my own State consisted of two dissolute
bears holding up the
head of a dead and gone
cask between them and making
the pertinent remark,
United, We Stand—(hie!)—
Divided, We Fall.” It was
always too figurative for the
author of this book. But
the Mormon crest was easy.
And it was simple, unostentatious,
and fitted like a
glove. It was a representation
of a Golden Beehive,
with the bees all at work!

The city lies in the edge of a level plain as broad as the
State of Connecticut, and
crouches close down to the
ground under a curving wall
of mighty mountains whose
heads are hidden in the
clouds, and whose shoulders
bear relics of the snows of
winter all the summer long.
Seen from one of these dizzy
heights, twelve or fifteen
miles off, Great Salt Lake
City is toned down and diminished
till it is suggestive
of a child's toy-village reposing
under the majestic protection of the Chinese wall.

On some of those mountains, to the southwest, it had been


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[Description: 504EAF. Page 111. In-line image of a frustrated young man holding his head in his hands against the backdrop of a library.]
raining every day for two weeks, but not a drop had fallen in
the city. And on hot days in late spring and early autumn
the citizens could quit fanning and growling and go out and
cool off by looking at the luxury of a glorious snow-storm going
on in the mountains. They could enjoy it at a distance,
at those seasons, every day, though no snow would fall in their
streets, or anywhere near them.

Salt Lake City was healthy—an extremely healthy city.
They declared there was only one physician in the place and
he was arrested every week regularly and held to answer under
the vagrant act for having “no visible means of support.”
[They always give you a good substantial article of truth in


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[Description: 504EAF. Page 112. In-line image of Heber Kimball, a solemn balding man with a neck tie.]
Salt Lake, and good measure and good weight, too. Very
often, if you wished to weigh one of their airiest little commonplace
statements you would want the hay scales.]

We desired to visit the famous inland sea, the American
“Dead Sea,” the great Salt Lake—seventeen miles, horseback,
from the city—for we had dreamed about it, and thought
about it, and talked about it, and yearned to see it, all the first
part of our trip; but now when it was only arm's length away
it had suddenly lost nearly every bit of its interest. And so
we put it off, in a sort of general way, till next day—and that
was the last we ever thought of it. We dined with some hospitable
Gentiles; and visited the foundation of the prodigious
temple; and talked long with that shrewd Connecticut Yankee,
Heber C. Kimball (since deceased), a saint of high degree
and a mighty man of commerce.
We saw the “Tithing-House,” and
the “Lion House,” and I do not
know or remember how many
more church and government
buildings of various kinds and
curious names. We flitted hither
and thither and enjoyed every
hour, and picked up a great deal
of useful information and entertaining
nonsense, and went to
bed at night satisfied.

The second day, we made the acquaintance of Mr. Street
(since deceased) and put on white shirts and went and paid a
state visit to the king. He seemed a quiet, kindly, easy-mannered,
dignified, self-possessed old gentleman of fifty-five or
sixty, and had a gentle craft in his eye that probably belonged
there. He was very simply dressed and was just taking off a
straw hat as we entered. He talked about Utah, and the Indians,
and Nevada, and general American matters and questions,
with our secretary and certain government officials who
came with us. But he never paid any attention to me, notwithstanding
I made several attempts to “draw him out” on


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[Description: 504EAF. Page 113. In-line image of the great Mormon Brigham Young. Young has a thick beard and serious looking eyes.]
federal politics and his high handed attitude toward Congress.
I thought some of the things I said were rather fine. But he
merely looked around at me, at distant intervals, something as I
have seen a benignant old cat look around to see which kitten
was meddling with her tail. By and by I subsided into an
indignant silence, and so sat until the end, hot and flushed,
and execrating him in my heart for an ignorant savage. But
he was calm. His conversation with those gentlemen flowed
on as sweetly and peacefully and musically as any summer
brook. When the audience was ended and we were retiring
from the presence, he put his hand on my head, beamed down
on me in an admiring way and said to my brother:

“Ah—your child, I presume? Boy, or girl?”