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her own.

"All but this," Mildred had said. "This which I call 'Sunset in the
Marshland' I am going to give to Dorian."

The mother had looked over the pile of sketches. There was a panel in
crayon which the artist said was the big cottonwood down by the Corners.
Mrs. Trent remarked that she never would have known it, but then, she
added apologetically, she never had an eye for art. There was a winter
scene where the houses were so sunk into the earth that only the roofs
were visible. (Mrs. Trent had often wondered why the big slanting roofs
were the only artistic thing about a house). Another picture showed a
high, camel-backed bridge, impossible to cross by anything more real
than the artist's fancy. Mrs. Trent had chosen the bridge because of its
pretty colors.

"Where shall we hang Dorian's picture?" Mildred had asked.

They had gone into his room. Mildred had looked about.

"The only good light is on that wall." She had pointed to the space
occupied by Dorian's "best girl."

And so Lorna Doone had come down and Mildred's study of the marshlands
glowed with its warmer colors in its place.

The plowboy arose from the grass. "Get up there," he said to his horses.
"We must be going, or there'll be very little plowing today."

Carlia Duke was the first person to greet Mildred as she alighted at the
Trent gate. Carlia knew of her coming and was waiting. Mildred put her
arm about her friend and kissed her, somewhat to the younger girl's
confused pleasure. The two girls went up the path to the house where
Mrs. Trent met them.

"Where's your baggage?" asked the mother of the arrival, seeing she
carried only a small bag and her violin case.

"This is all. I'm not going to paint this time - just going to rest,
mother said, so I do not need a lot of baggage."

"Well, come in Honey; and you too, Carlia. Dinner is about ready, an'
you'll stay."

By a little urging Carlia remained, and pretty soon, Dorian came
stamping in to be surprised.

"Yes; we're all here," announced Carlia, as she tossed her black curls
and laughed at his confusion.

"I see you are," he replied, as he shook hands with Mildred. After which
ceremony, it did not just look right to slight the other girl, so he
shook hands with her also, much to her amusement.

"How do you do, Mr. Trent" she said.

"Carlia is such a tease," explained the mother.

"For which I like her," added Mildred.

"We all do. Even Dorian here, who is usually afraid of girls, makes
quite a chum of her."

"Well, we're neighbors," justified the girl.

After dinner Carlia took Mildred home with her. It was not far, just
around the low ridge which hid the house from view. There Mildred met
Pa Duke, Ma Duke and Will Duke, Carlia's older brother. Pa Duke was a
hard-working farmer, Ma Duke was likewise a hard-working farmer's wife,
and Will Duke should have been a hard-working farmer's boy, but he was
somewhat a failure, especially regarding the hard work part. Carlia,
though so young, was already a hardworking farmer girl, with no chance
of escape, as far as she could see, from the hard-working part. The Duke
house, though clean and roomy, lacked the dainty home touches which
mean so much. There were no porch, no lawn, no trees. The home was bare
inside and out.

In deference to the "company" Carlia was permitted to "visit" with her
friend that afternoon. Apparently, these two girls had very little in
common, but when left to themselves they found many mutual interests.

Toward the close of the afternoon, Dorian appeared. He found the girls
out in the yard, Carlia seated on the topmost pole of the corral fence,
and Mildred standing beside her.

"Hello girls," Dorian greeted. "I've come to give you an invitation."

"What, a party!" exclaimed Carlia, jumping down from her perch.

"Not a dancing party, you little goose - just a surprise party."

"On who?"

"On Uncle Zed."

"Uncle Zed. O, shucks!"

"Well, of course, you do not have to go," said Dorian.

"I think you're mean. I do want to go if Mildred is going."

"I don't know Uncle Zed," said Mildred, "but if Mrs. Trent and Dorian
wish me to go, I shall be pleased; and of course, you will go with us."

"She's invited," repeated Dorian. "It's Uncle Zed's seventy-fifth
birthday. Mother keeps track of them, the only one who does, I guess,
for he doesn't do it himself. We're just going down to visit with him
this evening. He's a very fine old man, is Uncle Zed," this last to
Mildred.

"Is he your uncle?"

"Oh, no; he's just uncle to everybody and no one in particular. He's all
by himself, and has no folks?"

Just before the dusk of the evening, the little party set out for the
home of Zedekiah Manning, generally and lovingly known as Uncle Zed. He
lived about half a mile down the road in a two-roomed log house which
had a big adobe chimney on one side. His front yard was abloom with the
autumn flowers. The path leading to his door was neatly edged by small
cobble stones. Autumn tinted ivy embowered his front door and climbed
over the wall nearly to the low roof.

Uncle Zed met the visitors at the door. "Well, well," he exclaimed,
"come right in. I'll light the lamp." Then he assisted them to find
seats.

Mildred looked keenly at Uncle Zed, whom she found to be a little frail
old man with clean white hair and beard, and kindly, smiling face. He
sat down with his company and rubbed his hands in a way which implied:
"And what does all this mean?" Mildred noted that the wall, back of his
own chair, was nearly covered with books, and a number of volumes lay
on the table. The room was furnished for the simple needs of the lone
occupant. A fire smouldered in the open grate.

"Now, Uncle Zed, have you forgotten again?" inquired Mrs. Trent.

"Forgotten what? I suppose I have, for my memory is not so good as it
used to be."

"Your memory never was good regarding the day of the year you were
born."

"Day when I was born? What, has my birthday come around again? Well,
sure; but I had quite forgotten. How these birthdays do pile up on one."

"How old are you today?" asked Dorian.

"How old? Let me see. I declare, I must be seventy-five."

"Isn't he a funny man," whispered Carlia to Mildred, who appeared not to
hear the comment, so interested was she in the old man.

"And so you've come to celebrate," went on Uncle Zed, "come to
congratulate me that I am one year nearer the grave."

"Now, Uncle Zed, you know - "

"Yes; I know; forgive me for teasing; I know why you come to wish me
well. It is that I have kept the faith one year more, and that I am
twelve months nearer my heavenly reward. That's it, isn't it?"

Uncle Zed pushed his glasses up on his forehead to better see his
company, especially Mildred. Mrs. Trent made the proper introduction,
then lifted the picnic basket from the table to a corner.

"We're just going to spend an hour or so with you," explained Mrs.
Trent. "We want you to talk, Mildred to play, and then we'll have a bite
to eat. We'll just sit about your grate, and look into the glow of the
fire while you talk." However, Dorian and Mildred were scanning the
books.

"What's this set?" the young girl asked.

Dorian bent down to read the dim titles. "The Millennial Star" he said.

"And here's another set."

"The Journal of Discourses" he replied.

"My, all sermons? they must be dry reading."

Uncle Zed heard their conversation, and stepped over to them. "Are
you also interested in books?" he asked. "Dorian and I are regular
book-worms, you know."

Oh, yes, she was interested in books.

"But there are books and books, you know," went on Uncle Zed. "You like
story books, no doubt. So do I. There's nothing better than a rattling
good love story, eh, young lady?"

Mildred hardly knew just how to take this remark, so she did not reply.

"Here's the most wonderful love story ever written." He took from
the shelf a very ordinary looking volume, called the "Doctrine and
Covenants." Carlia and Mrs. Trent now joined the other three. They also
were interested.

"You wouldn't be looking in the 'Doctrine and Covenants' for love
stories, would you; but here in the revelation on the eternity of
the marriage covenant we find that men and women, under the proper
conditions and by the proper authority, may be united as husbands and
wives, not only for time, but for eternity. Most love stories end when
the lovers are married; but think of the endlessness of life and love
under this new and everlasting covenant of marriage - but I mustn't
preach so early in the evening."

"But we like to hear it, Uncle Zed," said Dorian.

"Indeed, we do," added Mildred. "Tell us more about your books."

"Here is one of my precious volumes - Orson Pratt's works. When I get
hungry for the solid, soul-satisfying doctrines of the kingdom, I read
Orson Pratt. Parley Pratt also is good. Here is a book which is nearly
forgotten, but which contains beautiful presentations of the gospel,
'Spencer's Letters'. Dorian, look here." He handed the young man a
small, ancient-looking, leather bound book. "I found it in a second-hand
store and paid fifteen cents for it. Yes, it's a second edition of
the 'Doctrine and Covenants,' printed by John Taylor in Nauvoo in 1844.
The rest of my collection is familiar to you, I am sure. Here is a
complete set of the 'Contributor' and this is my 'Era' shelf, and here
are most of the more modern church works. Let us now go back to the
fire."

After they were again seated, Mildred asked him if he had known Brigham
Young. She always liked to hear the pioneers talk of their experiences.

"No" replied Uncle Zed, "I never met President Young, but I believe I
know him as well as many who had that pleasure. I have read everything
that I could get in print which Brigham Young ever said. I have read
all his discourses in those volumes. He was not a polished speaker, I
understand, and he did not often follow a theme; but mixed with the more
commonplace subjects of irrigation, Indian troubles, etc., which, in his
particular day had to be spoken of, are some of the most profound gospel
truths in any language. Gems of thought shine from every page of his
discourses."

Carlia was nodding in a warm corner. Uncle Zed rambled on reminiscently
until Mrs. Trent suddenly arose, spoke sharply to Carlia, and lifted the
basket of picnic on to the table.

"We'll have our refreshments now," she said, "and then we must be going.
Uncle Zed goes early to bed, and so should we."

The table was spread: roast chicken, brought by Carlia; dainty
sandwiches, made by Mildred; apple pie from Mrs. Trent's cupboard; a jar
of apricot preserves, suggested by Dorian. Uncle Zed asked a blessing
not only on the food, but on the kind hands which had provided it. Then
they ate heartily, and yet leaving a generous part to be left in Uncle
Zed's own cupboard.

Then Dorian had a presentation to make. He took from the basket a small
package, unwrapped it, and handed a book to the man who was seventy-five
years old.

"I couldn't do much by way of the eats," said Dorian, "so my present is
this."

"'Drummond's Natural Law in the Spiritual World'" read Uncle Zed. "Why,
Dorian, this is fine of you. How could you guess my wishes so nicely.
For a long time, this is just the book I have wanted."

"I'm glad. I thought you'd like it."

"Fine, fine," said the old man, fondling the volume as he would some
dear object, as indeed, every good book was to him.

Then Mildred got out her violin, and after the proper tuning of the
strings, she placed it under her shapely chin. She played without music
some of the simple heart melodies, and then some of the Sunday School
songs which the company softly accompanied by words.

Carlia poked the log in the grate into a blaze, then slyly turned the
lamp wick down. When detected and asked why she did that she replied:

"I wanted to make it appear more like a picnic party around a camp fire
in the hills."




CHAPTER FIVE.


Dorian's high school days in the city began that fall, a little late
because he had so many things to set right at home; but he soon made up
the lost time, for he was a student not afraid of hard work. He walked
back and forth the three miles. Mrs. Brown offered him a room at her
large city residence, but he could not accept it because of his daily
home chores. However, he occasionally called on the Brown's who tried to
make him feel as much at home as they did at Greenstreet.

Never before were days so perfect to Dorian, never before had he so
enjoyed the fleeting hours. For the first week or two, he was a little
shy, but the meeting each morning with boys and girls of his own age and
mingling with them in their studies and their recreations, soon taught
him that they were all very much alike, just happy, carefree young
people, most of them trying to get an education. He soon learned, also,
that he could easily hold his own in the class work with the brightest
of them. The teachers, and students also, soon learned to know this.
Boys came to him for help in problems, and the younger girls chattered
about him with laughing eyes and tossing curls. What a wonder it was! He
the simple, plainly-dressed country boy, big and awkward and ugly as he
thought himself to be, becoming a person of some importance. And so
the days went all too swiftly by. Contrary to his younger boyhood's
experience, the closing hour came too soon, when it was time to go home
to mother and chores and lessons.

And the mother shared the boy's happiness, for she could see the added
joy of living and working which had come into his life by the added
opportunities and new environment. He frequently discussed with his
mother his lessons. She was not well posted in the knowledge derived
from books, and sometimes she mildly resented this newer learning which
he brought into the home and seemed to intrude on her old-established
ideas. For instance, when the cold winter nights came, and Dorian kept
open his bedroom window, the mother protested that he would "catch his
death of cold." Night air and drafts are very dangerous, especially if
let into one's bedroom, she held.

"But, mother, I must have air to breathe," said Dorian, "and what other
kind of air can I have at night? I might store a little day-air in my
room, but I would soon exhaust its life-giving qualities at night.
You know, mother," he went on in the assurance of his newly acquired
knowledge, "I guess the Lord knew what He was about when He enveloped
the earth with air which presses down nearly fifteen pounds to the
square inch so that it might permeate every possible nook and corner of
the globe." Then he went on to explain the wonderful process of blood
purification in the lungs, and demonstrated to her that the breath is
continually throwing off foul matter. He did this by breathing into a
fruit jar, screwing on the lid for a little while, and then having the
nose make the test.

"Some bed rooms I've gone into smell just like that," he said.

"Here, mother is a clipping from a magazine. Listen:

"'Of all the marvels of God's workmanship, none is more wondrous than
the air. Think of our all being bathed in a substance so delicate as to
be itself unperceived, yet so dense as to be the carriage to our senses
of messages from the world about us! It is never in our way; it does not
ask notice; we only know it is there by the good it does us. And this
exquisitely soft, pure, yielding, unseen being, like a beautiful and
beneficent fairy, brings us blessings from all around. It has the skill
to wash our blood clean from all foulness. Its weight keeps us from
tumbling to pieces. It is a reservoir where the waters lie stored, until
they fall and gladden the earth. It is a great-coat that softens to us
the heat of the day, and the cold of the night. It carries sounds to
our ears and smells to our nostrils. Its movements fill Nature with
ceaseless change; and without their aid in wafting ships over the sea,
commerce and civilization would have been scarce possible. It is of all
wonders the most wonderful.'"

At another time when Dorian had a cold, and consequently, a loss of
appetite, his mother urged him to eat more, saying that he must have
strength to throw off his cold.

"What is a cold?" he smilingly asked.

"Why, a cold is - a cold, of course, you silly boy."

"What does it do to the activities of the body?"

"I'm not a doctor; how can I tell."

"All mothers are doctors and nurses; they do a lot of good, and some
things that are not so good. For instance, why should I eat more when I
have a cold?" She did not reply, and so he went on: "The body is very
much like a stove or a furnace; it is burning material all the time.
Sometimes the clinkers accumulate and stop the draft, both in the human
as well as the iron stove. When that happens, the sensible thing to do
is not to throw in more fuel but to clean out the clinkers first."

"Where did you get all that wisdom, Dorian?"

"I got it from my text book on hygiene, and I think it's true because it
seems so reasonable."

"Well, last night's talk led me to believe that you would become a
philosopher; now, the trend is more toward the doctor; tomorrow I'll
think you are studying law."

"Oh, but we are, mother; you ought to hear us in our civil government
class. We have organized into a Congress of the United States, and we
are going to make laws."

"You'll be elected President, I suppose."

"I'm one of the candidates."

"Well, my boy" she smiled happily at him, "I hope you will be elected to
every good thing, and that you will fill every post with honor; and now,
I would like you to read to me from the 'Lady of the Lake' while I darn
your stockings. Your father used to read the story to me a long, long
time ago, and your voice is very much like his when you read."

And thus with school and home and ward duties the winter passed. Spring
called him again to the fields to which he went with new zeal, for life
was opening to him in a way which life is in the habit of doing to the
young of his age. Mildred Brown and her mother were in California. He
heard from her occasionally by way of postcards, and once she sent him
one of her sketches of the ocean. Carlia Duke also was not forgotten by
Mildred. Dorian and Carlia met frequently as neighbors will do, and they
often spoke of their mutual friend. The harvest was again good that
fall, and Dorian once more took up his studies at the high school in the
city. Carlia finished the grades as Dorian completed his second year,
and the following year Carlia walked with Dorian to the high school.
That was no great task for the girl, now nearly grown to young
womanhood, and it was company for both of them. During these walks
Carlia had many questions to ask about her lessons, and Dorian was
always pleased to help her.

"I am such a dunce," she would say, "I wish I was as smart as you."

"You must say 'were' when you wish. I were as smart as you," he
corrected.

"O, yes: I forgot. My, but grammar is hard, especially to a girl
which - "

"No - a girl who; which refers to objects and animals, who to persons."

Carlia laughed and swung her books by the strap. Dorian was not carrying
them that day. Sometimes he was absentminded regarding the little
courtesies.

The snow lay hard packed in the road and it creaked under their feet.
Carlia's cheeks glowed redder than ever in contact with the keen winter
air. They walked on in silence for a time.

"Say, Dorian, why do you not go and see Mildred?" asked Carlia, not
looking at him, but rather at the eastern mountains.

"Why? Is she not well?"

"She is never well now. She looks bad to me."

"When did you see her?"

"Last Saturday. I called at the house, and she asked about you - Poor
girl!"

"What do you mean by that?"

"You are very smart in some things, but are a stupid dunce in other
things. Mildred is like an angel both in looks and - everything. I wish I
was - were half as good."

"But how am I such a dunce, Carlia?"

"In not seeing how much Mildred thinks of you."

"Thinks of me? Mildred?"

"She just loves you."

Carlia still looked straight ahead as though fearful to see the
agitation she had brought to the young man; but he looked at her, with
cheeks still aflame. He did not understand Carlia. Why had she said
that? Was she just teasing him? But she did not look as if she were
teasing. Silently they walked on to the school house door.

But Dorian could not forget what Carlia had said. All day it intruded
into his lessons. "She said she loves me" he whispered to his heart
only. Could it be possible? Even if she did, what final good would come
of it? The distance between them was still too great, for he was only a
poor farmer boy. Dear Mildred - his heart did not chide him for thinking
that - so frail, so weak, so beautiful. What if she - should die! Dorian
was in a strange state of mind for a number of days. He longed to visit
the Brown home, yet he could not find excuse to go. He could not talk
to anybody about what was in his mind and heart, not even to his mother
with whom he always shared his most hidden thoughts.

One evening he visited Uncle Zed, ostensibly, to talk about a book.
Uncle Zed was deep in the study of "Natural Law in the Spiritual World"
and would have launched into a discussion of what he had found, but
Dorian did not respond; he had other thoughts in mind.

"Uncle Zed," he said, "how can I become something else than a farmer?"

The old man looked questioningly at his young friend. "What's the matter
with being a farmer?" he asked.

"Well, a farmer doesn't usually amount to much, I mean in the eyes of
the world. Farmers seem to be in a different class from merchants, for
example, or from bankers or other more genteel workers."

"Listen to me, Dorian Trent." Uncle Zed laid down his book as if he had
a serious task before him. "Let me tell you something. If you haven't
done so before, begin now and thank the Lord that you began life on this
globe of ours as a farmer's child and boy. Whatever you do or become in
the future, you have made a good beginning. You have already laid away
in the way of concepts, we may say, a generous store of nature's riches,
for you have been in close touch with the earth, and the life which
teems in soil and air and the waters. Pity the man whose childish eyes
looked out on nothing but paved streets and brick walls or whose young
ears heard nothing but the harsh rumble of the city, for his early
conceptions from which to interpret his later life is artificial and
therefore largely untrue."

Uncle Zed smiled up into the boy's face as if to ask, Do you get that?
Dorian would have to have time to assimilate the idea; meanwhile, he had
another question:

"Uncle Zed, why are there classes among members of our Church?"

"Classes? What do you mean?"

"Well, the rich do not associate with the poor nor the learned with
the unlearned. I know, of course, that this is the general rule in the
world, but I think it should be different in the Church."

"Yes; it ought to be and is different. There are no classes such as you
have in mind in the Church, even though a few unthinking members seem to
imply it by their actions; but there is no real class distinction in the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, only such that are based on
the doing of the right and the wrong. Character alone is the standard of
classification."

"Yes, I see that that should be true."

"It is true. Let me illustrate: The presiding authority in the Church
is not handed down from father to son, thus fostering an aristocratic
tendency; also this authority is so wide-spread that anything like a
"ruling family" would be impossible. In a town where I once lived, the
owner of the bank and the town blacksmith were called on missions. They
both were assigned to the same field, and the blacksmith was appointed
to preside over the banker. The banker submitted willingly to be
directed in his missionary labors by one who, judged by worldly
standards, was far beneath him in the social scale. I know a shoemaker
in the city who is a teacher in the theological class of his ward,
whose membership consists of merchants, lawyers, doctors, and the like.
Although he is poor and earns his living by mending shoes, he is greatly
respected for his goodness and his knowledge of Scriptural subjects and
doctrine."

"So you think - that a young fellow might - that it would not be wrong - or
foolish for a poor man to think a lot of - of a rich girl, for instance."

Uncle Zed peered at Dorian over his glasses. The old man took him gently


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