6. Susanna Speaks in Meeting
It was the Sabbath day and the Believers were gathered in the meetinghouse, Brethren
and Sisters seated quietly on their separate benches, with the children by themselves in
their own place. As the men entered the room they removed their hats and coats and hung
them upon wooden pegs that lined the sides of the room, while the women took off their
bonnets; then, after standing for a moment of perfect silence, they seated themselves.
In Susanna's time the Sunday costume for the men included trousers of deep blue cloth
with a white line and a vest of darker blue, exposing a full- bosomed shirt that had a wide
turned-down collar fastened with three buttons. The Sisters were in pure white dresses,
with neck and shoulders covered with snowy kerchiefs, their heads crowned with their
white net caps, and a large white pocket handkerchief hung over the left arm. Their feet
were shod with curious pointed-toed cloth shoes of ultramarine blue--a fashion long since
Susanna had now become accustomed to the curious solemn march or dance in which of
course none but the Believers ever joined, and found in her present exalted mood the
songs and the exhortations strangely interesting and not unprofitable.
Tabitha, the most aged of the group of Albion Sisters, confessed that she missed the old
times when visions were common, when the Spirit manifested itself in extraordinary
ways, and the gift of tongues descended. Sometimes, in the Western Settlement where
she was gathered in, the whole North Family would march into the highway in the fresh
morning hours, and while singing some sacred hymn, would pass on to the Center
Family, and together in solemn yet glad procession they would mount the hillside to
"Jehovah's Chosen Square," there to sing and dance before the Lord.
"I wish we could do something like that now!" sighed Hetty Arnold, a pretty young
creature who had moments of longing for the pomps and vanities. "If we have to give up
all worldly pleasures, I think we might have more religious ones!"
"We were a younger church in those old times of which Sister Tabitha speaks," said
Eldress Abby. "You must remember, Hetty, that we were children in faith, and needed
signs and manifestations, pictures and object-lessons. We've been trained to think and
reason now, and we've put away some of our picture-books. There have been revelations
to tell us we needed movements and exercises to quicken our spiritual powers, and to
give energy and unity to our worship, and there have been revelations telling us to give
them up; revelations bidding us to sing more, revelations telling us to use wordless songs.
Then anthems were given us, and so it has gone on, for we have been led of the Spirit."
"I'd like more picture-books," pouted Hetty under her breath.