Jacob stared at the older woman, angry. Lines creased his forehead as he weighed his whether-to's. Finally, he stood and walked into the tent. When he emerged, Rose trailed along behind petulantly, her arm looking to be a permanent attachment to his hand.
"Siddown Rose and hear me out. I ain't comfortable with head-on talkin like this where I have to rein in my temper. Usually fer me, I only talk head-on when I'm bein challenged. But you got to know this thing I already know. If what yer Ma explains is true, you got to know at least this one thing and I'm damned fer tellin ya and damned if I don't."
"Jacob, you don't have to -"
"Shut up, Rose! You tole yer Ma to shut it and now I'm a tellin you the same. Shut yer mouth and jes listen! Unnerstand?"
He was angry ...and afraid...and Rose saw both. She had to laugh.
"Please continue Jacob. You're quite interesting when you're angry."
Blushing, he saw Abigail squelch a giggle, felt his blush and blustered on without fanfare or preamble; just straight to the point.
"Rose, afore he left, Turner Cole tole me he'd marry you with no holdin back at all and made me promise never to tell anybody.
I ain't...til now."
"Then why didn't he say so?"
"Would'na been proper on his part. And how'd he know you would'na joint up with the Church just to egg im on?"
"He thought I would do something like that? Just to catch him?"
And before her own temper pushed out words of disgust, she caught her mother's silent rebuke.
You did do something like that when you got baptized anyway. Don't get righteous about it now.
Abigail was right and Rose could only stare into Jacob's eyes, not sensing the man's pain in discussing her affections concerning another man.
Jacob still had that same feeling in his gut.
Every damn time he thought about her anymore...
"Jacob Hannah, are you telling me Turner Cole went home with the idea he'd ask me to marry him when I came to Utah?"
Sighing, shaking his head and shrugging in a way only a big man does, Jacob looked into the fire.
"That's about the size of it. I think he meant he'd have no problem takin you to wife after you got baptized. He was willin to take the Lord at His word and if your sins was no more rememberd by the Lord, why should Turner Cole remember them?"
"Then why on earth did he get married?"
"Don't for sure know. Me'n Turner've always been close but not so close that he'd share his love life with me.
By the time we got to the age of interest, I spent more time with my Pa bein a woodsman and he stayed closer to the city and the religious stuff. Maybe he was commanded."
"But you both said there weren't arranged marriages in Zion."
"There ain't like that, but maybe he was commanded to start takin wives, but I doubt that too. Turner is still too young to start actin apostle-like."
"Meaning that he still might have marriage with me in mind - as a plural wife?
My God, Jacob!"
Abigail gestured, upset. "I certainly agree there Rose! Jacob, how could Turner or any good man be that casual about this?"
"Whaddaya mean casual? Far as I can see there wasn't nothin casual about thinkin about Rose and whether or not marryin her was somethin real in his heart.
Sharin it with me warn't casual. He never spected I'd ever tell you afore he could do somethin about it hisself.
And if he decided to do nothin, then I'm the only one he'd have to splain it to since you'd never a known. I'm the casual blabbermouth here."
"But Jacob," responded Abigail, “it sounds like he thought we would go dragging a handcart into Utah, ready to accept his proposal just because he wanted it that way. I mean, would Turner just walk up to us, maybe give a hug and tell my daughter,
'Welcome to Zion, Rose. By the way will you marry me?'
No courtship? No wondering if Rose cares in return, assuming he cares in the right way?"
"Hell, I don't know Sister! I ain't been involved with women and don't know how it's done, specially with plurals. I don't think I'll ever be commanded to take more'n one wife."
Oh? And why not, Jacob?", Rose wanted to know.
"Cause I'm not able to do it, maybe not even manage one wife. I don't have the temper to manage women in that way and everybody who knows me knows that too.
Old Brigham'd never be that blind as to call me to take more'n one woman."
"But Jacob, you have just as much right."
Right hell! No I don't.
I ain't the man of the spirit like Turner. If the Prophet tole Turner to get hisself a wife or two, Turner'd have the spirit enough to know it was right.
I ain't that way. If Brigham tole me that, I'd have to take it on faith cause no spirit would ever prompt my soul to know it was right.
My gut feelin would be to tell Brother Brigham right where he could go hang his hat. And since I ain't likely to be some Church big shot any time, I wouldn't have no obligedness to show a public example by acceptin the difficult callin like Heber Kimball did.
My only wife'd never have to pray to God about me stayin awake at night tryin to decide whether or not to refuse that commandment from the Prophet."