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- The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 6 - 5/9 -


me while I was in Utah.

It was leap-year when I was there--and seventeen young widows--the wives of a deceased Mormon--offered me their hearts and hands. I called on them one day--and taking their soft white hands in mine--which made eighteen hands altogether--I found them in tears.

And I said--"Why is this thus? What is the reason of this thusness?"

They hove a sigh--seventeen sighs of different size--They said--

"Oh--soon thou wilt be gonested away!"

I told them that when I got ready to leave a place I wentested.

They said--"Doth not like us?"

I said--"I doth--I doth!"

I also said--"I hope your intentions are honorable--as I am a lone child--my parents being far--far away."

They then said--"Wilt not marry us?"

I said--"Oh--no--it cannot was."

Again they asked me to marry them--and again I declined. When they cried--

"Oh--cruel man! This is too much--oh! too much!"

I told them that it was on account of the muchness that I declined.

(Picture.) This is the Mormon Temple.

It is built of adobe--and will hold five thousand persons quite comfortably. A full brass and string band often assists the choir of this church--and the choir--I may add-- is a remarkably good one.

Brigham Young seldom preaches now. The younger elders-- unless on some special occasion--conduct the services. I only heard Mr. Young once. He is not an educated man--but speaks with considerable force and clearness. The day I was there there was nothing coarse in his remarks.

(Picture of) The foundations of the Temple.

These are the foundations of the magnificent Temple the Mormons are building. It is to be built of hewn stone--and will cover several acres of ground. They say it shall eclipse in splendor all other temples in the world. They also say it shall be paved with solid gold.

It is perhaps worthy of remark that the architect of this contemplated gorgeous affair repudiated Mormonism--and is now living in London.

(Picture of) The Temple as it is to be.

This pretty little picture is from the architect's design-- and cannot therefore--I suppose--be called a fancy sketch. (Artemus had the windows of the temple in his panorama cut out and filled in with transparent colored paper, so that, when lighted from behind, it had the effect of one of the little plaster churches, with a piece of lighted candle inside, which the Italian image-boys display at times for sale in the streets. Nothing in the course of the evening pleased Artemus more than to notice the satisfaction with which this meretricious piece of absurdity was received by the audience.)

Should the Mormons continue unmolested--I think they will complete this rather remarkable edifice.

(Picture of the) Great Salt Lake.

Great Salt Lake.--The great salt dead sea of the desert.

I know of no greater curiosity than this inland sea of thick brine. It is eighty miles wide--and one hundred and thirty miles long. Solid masses of salt are daily washed ashore in immense heaps--and the Mormon in want of salt has only to go to the shore of this lake and fill his cart. Only--the salt for table use has to be subjected to a boiling process.

These are facts--susceptible of the clearest possible proof. They tell one story about this lake--however--that I have my doubts about. They say a Mormon farmer drove forty head of cattle in there once--and they came out firstrate pickled beef.--

* * * * *

* * * * *

* * * * *

I sincerely hope you will excuse my absence--I am a man short--and have to work the moon myself. (Here Artemus would leave the rostrum for a few moments, and pretend to be engaged behind. The picture was painted for a night-scene, and the effect intended to be produced was that of the moon rising over the lake and rippling on the waters. It was produced in the usual dioramic way, by making the track of the moon transparent and throwing the moon on from the bull's eye of the lantern. When Artemus went behind, the moon would become nervous and flickering, dancing up and down in the most inartistic and undecided manner. The result was that, coupled with the lecturer's oddly expressed apology, the "moon" became one of the best laughed-at parts of the entertainment.)

I shall be most happy to pay a good salary to any respectable boy of good parentage and education who is a good moonist.

(Picture of) The Endowment House.

In this building the Mormon is initiated into the mysteries of the faith.

Strange stories are told of the proceedings which are held in this building--but I have no possible means of knowing how true they may be.

Salt Lake City is fifty-five miles behind us--and this is Echo Canyon--in reaching which we are supposed to have crossed the summit of the Wahsatch Mountains. These ochre-colored bluffs--formed of conglomerate sandstone--and full of fossils--signal the entrance to the Canyon. At its base lies Weber Station.

Echo Canyon is about twenty-five miles long. It is really the sublimest thing between the Missouri and the Sierra Nevada. The red wall to the left develops farther up the Canyon into pyramids--buttresses--and castles--honey-combed and fretted in nature's own massive magnificence of architecture.

In 1856--Echo Canyon was the place selected by Brigham Young for the Mormon General Wells to fortify and make impregnable against the advance of the American army--led by General Albert Sidney Johnson. It was to have been the Thermopylae of Mormondom--but it wasn't general Wells was to have done Leonidas--but he didn't.

(Picture of) Echo Canyon.

The wild snowstorms have left us--and we have thrown our wolf-skin overcoats aside. Certain tribes of far-western Indians bury their distinguished dead by placing them high in air and covering them with valuable furs--that is a very fair representation of these mid-air tombs. Those animals are horses--I know they are--because my artist says so. I had the picture two years before I discovered the fact.--The artist came to me about six months ago--and said--"It is useless to disguise it from you any longer--they are horses."

(Picture of) A more cheerful view of the Desert.

It was while crossing this desert that I was surrounded by a band of Ute Indians. They were splendidly mounted--they were dressed in beaver-skins--and they were armed with rifles--knives--and pistols.

(Picture of) Our Encounter with the Indians.

What could I do?--What could a poor old orphan do? I'm a brave man.--The day before the Battle of Bull's Run I stood in the highway while the bullets--those dreadful messengers of death--were passing all around me thickly--IN WAGONS--on their way to the battle-field. (This was the great joke of Artemus Ward's first lecture, "The Babes in the Wood." He never omitted it in any of his lectures, nor did it lose its power to create laughter by repetition. The audiences at the Egyptian Hall, London, laughed as immoderately at it, as did those of Irving Hall, New York, or of the Tremont Temple in Boston.) But there were too many of these Injuns--there were forty of them--and only one of me--and so I said--

"Great Chief--I surrender." His name was Wocky-bocky.

He dismounted--and approached me. I saw his tomahawk glisten in the morning sunlight. Fire was in his eye. Wocky-bocky came very close to me and seized me by the hair of my head. He mingled his swarthy fingers with my golden tresses--and he rubbed his dreadful Thomashawk across my lily-white face. He said--

"Torsha arrah darrah mishky bookshean!"

I told him he was right.


The Complete Works of Artemus Ward, Part 6 - 5/9

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