**IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT UNDERGOES, AT A SPEED OF TWENTY MILES AN HOUR, _OURSE OF MORMON HISTORY**
During the night of the 5th of December, the train ran south-easterly fo_bout fifty miles; then rose an equal distance in a north-easterly direction,
towards the Great Salt Lake.
Passepartout, about nine o'clock, went out upon the platform to take the air.
The weather was cold, the heavens grey, but it was not snowing. The sun'_isc, enlarged by the mist, seemed an enormous ring of gold, and Passepartou_as amusing himself by calculating its value in pounds sterling, when he wa_iverted from this interesting study by a strange-looking personage who mad_is appearance on the platform.
This personage, who had taken the train at Elko, was tall and dark, with blac_oustache, black stockings, a black silk hat, a black waistcoat, blac_rousers, a white cravat, and dogskin gloves. He might have been taken for _lergyman. He went from one end of the train to the other, and affixed to th_oor of each car a notice written in manuscript.
Passepartout approached and read one of these notices, which stated that Elde_illiam Hitch, Mormon missionary, taking advantage of his presence on trai_o. 48, would deliver a lecture on Mormonism in car No. 117, from eleven t_welve o'clock; and that he invited all who were desirous of being instructe_oncerning the mysteries of the religion of the "Latter Day Saints" to attend.
"I'll go," said Passepartout to himself. He knew nothing of Mormonism excep_he custom of polygamy, which is its foundation.
The news quickly spread through the train, which contained about one hundre_assengers, thirty of whom, at most, attracted by the notice, ensconce_hemselves in car No. 117. Passepartout took one of the front seats. Neithe_r. Fogg nor Fix cared to attend.
At the appointed hour Elder William Hitch rose, and, in an irritated voice, a_f he had already been contradicted, said, "I tell you that Joe Smith is _artyr, that his brother Hiram is a martyr, and that the persecutions of th_nited States Government against the prophets will also make a martyr o_righam Young. Who dares to say the contrary?"
No one ventured to gainsay the missionary, whose excited tone contraste_uriously with his naturally calm visage. No doubt his anger arose from th_ardships to which the Mormons were actually subjected. The government ha_ust succeeded, with some difficulty, in reducing these independent fanatic_o its rule. It had made itself master of Utah, and subjected that territor_o the laws of the Union, after imprisoning Brigham Young on a charge o_ebellion and polygamy. The disciples of the prophet had since redoubled thei_fforts, and resisted, by words at least, the authority of Congress. Elde_itch, as is seen, was trying to make proselytes on the very railway trains.
Then, emphasising his words with his loud voice and frequent gestures, h_elated the history of the Mormons from Biblical times: how that, in Israel, _ormon prophet of the tribe of Joseph published the annals of the ne_eligion, and bequeathed them to his son Mormon; how, many centuries later, _ranslation of this precious book, which was written in Egyptian, was made b_oseph Smith, junior, a Vermont farmer, who revealed himself as a mystica_rophet in 1825; and how, in short, the celestial messenger appeared to him i_n illuminated forest, and gave him the annals of the Lord.
Several of the audience, not being much interested in the missionary'_arrative, here left the car; but Elder Hitch, continuing his lecture, relate_ow Smith, junior, with his father, two brothers, and a few disciples, founde_he church of the "Latter Day Saints," which, adopted not only in America, bu_n England, Norway and Sweden, and Germany, counts many artisans, as well a_en engaged in the liberal professions, among its members; how a colony wa_stablished in Ohio, a temple erected there at a cost of two hundred thousan_ollars, and a town built at Kirkland; how Smith became an enterprisin_anker, and received from a simple mummy showman a papyrus scroll written b_braham and several famous Egyptians.
The Elder's story became somewhat wearisome, and his audience grew graduall_ess, until it was reduced to twenty passengers. But this did not disconcer_he enthusiast, who proceeded with the story of Joseph Smith's bankruptcy i_837, and how his ruined creditors gave him a coat of tar and feathers; hi_eappearance some years afterwards, more honourable and honoured than ever, a_ndependence, Missouri, the chief of a flourishing colony of three thousan_isciples, and his pursuit thence by outraged Gentiles, and retirement int_he Far West.
Ten hearers only were now left, among them honest Passepartout, who wa_istening with all his ears. Thus he learned that, after long persecutions,
Smith reappeared in Illinois, and in 1839 founded a community at Nauvoo, o_he Mississippi, numbering twenty-five thousand souls, of which he becam_ayor, chief justice, and general-in-chief; that he announced himself, i_843, as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States; and tha_inally, being drawn into ambuscade at Carthage, he was thrown into prison,
and assassinated by a band of men disguised in masks.
Passepartout was now the only person left in the car, and the Elder, lookin_im full in the face, reminded him that, two years after the assassination o_oseph Smith, the inspired prophet, Brigham Young, his successor, left Nauvo_or the banks of the Great Salt Lake, where, in the midst of that fertil_egion, directly on the route of the emigrants who crossed Utah on their wa_o California, the new colony, thanks to the polygamy practised by th_ormons, had flourished beyond expectations.
"And this," added Elder William Hitch, "this is why the jealousy of Congres_as been aroused against us! Why have the soldiers of the Union invaded th_oil of Utah? Why has Brigham Young, our chief, been imprisoned, in contemp_f all justice? Shall we yield to force? Never! Driven from Vermont, drive_rom Illinois, driven from Ohio, driven from Missouri, driven from Utah, w_hall yet find some independent territory on which to plant our tents. An_ou, my brother," continued the Elder, fixing his angry eyes upon his singl_uditor, "will you not plant yours there, too, under the shadow of our flag?"
"No!" replied Passepartout courageously, in his turn retiring from the car,
and leaving the Elder to preach to vacancy.
During the lecture the train had been making good progress, and towards half-
past twelve it reached the northwest border of the Great Salt Lake. Thence th_assengers could observe the vast extent of this interior sea, which is als_alled the Dead Sea, and into which flows an American Jordan. It is _icturesque expanse, framed in lofty crags in large strata, encrusted wit_hite salt— a superb sheet of water, which was formerly of larger extent tha_ow, its shores having encroached with the lapse of time, and thus at onc_educed its breadth and increased its depth.
The Salt Lake, seventy miles long and thirty-five wide, is situated thre_iles eight hundred feet above the sea. Quite different from Lake Asphaltite,
whose depression is twelve hundred feet below the sea, it contain_onsiderable salt, and one quarter of the weight of its water is solid matter,
its specific weight being 1,170, and, after being distilled, 1,000. Fishe_re, of course, unable to live in it, and those which descend through th_ordan, the Weber, and other streams soon perish.
The country around the lake was well cultivated, for the Mormons are mostl_armers; while ranches and pens for domesticated animals, fields of wheat,
corn, and other cereals, luxuriant prairies, hedges of wild rose, clumps o_cacias and milk-wort, would have been seen six months later. Now the groun_as covered with a thin powdering of snow.
The train reached Ogden at two o'clock, where it rested for six hours, Mr.
Fogg and his party had time to pay a visit to Salt Lake City, connected wit_gden by a branch road; and they spent two hours in this strikingly America_own, built on the pattern of other cities of the Union, like a checker-board,
"with the sombre sadness of right-angles," as Victor Hugo expresses it. Th_ounder of the City of the Saints could not escape from the taste for symmetr_hich distinguishes the Anglo-Saxons. In this strange country, where th_eople are certainly not up to the level of their institutions, everything i_one "squarely"—cities, houses, and follies.
The travellers, then, were promenading, at three o'clock, about the streets o_he town built between the banks of the Jordan and the spurs of the Wahsatc_ange. They saw few or no churches, but the prophet's mansion, the court-
house, and the arsenal, blue-brick houses with verandas and porches,
surrounded by gardens bordered with acacias, palms, and locusts. A clay an_ebble wall, built in 1853, surrounded the town; and in the principal stree_ere the market and several hotels adorned with pavilions. The place did no_eem thickly populated. The streets were almost deserted, except in th_icinity of the temple, which they only reached after having traversed severa_uarters surrounded by palisades. There were many women, which was easil_ccounted for by the "peculiar institution" of the Mormons; but it must not b_upposed that all the Mormons are polygamists. They are free to marry or not,
as they please; but it is worth noting that it is mainly the female citizen_f Utah who are anxious to marry, as, according to the Mormon religion, maide_adies are not admitted to the possession of its highest joys. These poo_reatures seemed to be neither well off nor happy. Some—the more well-to-do,
no doubt— wore short, open, black silk dresses, under a hood or modest shawl;
others were habited in Indian fashion.
Passepartout could not behold without a certain fright these women, charged,
in groups, with conferring happiness on a single Mormon. His common sens_itied, above all, the husband. It seemed to him a terrible thing to have t_uide so many wives at once across the vicissitudes of life, and to conduc_hem, as it were, in a body to the Mormon paradise with the prospect of seein_hem in the company of the glorious Smith, who doubtless was the chie_rnament of that delightful place, to all eternity. He felt decidedly repelle_rom such a vocation, and he imagined—perhaps he was mistaken— that the fai_nes of Salt Lake City cast rather alarming glances on his person. Happily,
his stay there was but brief. At four the party found themselves again at th_tation, took their places in the train, and the whistle sounded for starting.
Just at the moment, however, that the locomotive wheels began to move, crie_f "Stop! stop!" were heard.
Trains, like time and tide, stop for no one. The gentleman who uttered th_ries was evidently a belated Mormon. He was breathless with running. Happil_or him, the station had neither gates nor barriers. He rushed along th_rack, jumped on the rear platform of the train, and fell, exhausted, into on_f the seats.
Passepartout, who had been anxiously watching this amateur gymnast, approache_im with lively interest, and learned that he had taken flight after a_npleasant domestic scene.
When the Mormon had recovered his breath, Passepartout ventured to ask hi_olitely how many wives he had; for, from the manner in which he had decamped,
it might be thought that he had twenty at least.
"One, sir," replied the Mormon, raising his arms heavenward —"one, and tha_as enough!"