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on hira. And ef they shall, then they vritt I For everything shall come to pass, and not one good word shall i'all to the ground. You who try to explain away the Scriptur' would make it fig'rative. But don't come to Me with none o' your spiritooalizers I Not one good word shall fall. Therefore seoen shall not fall. And of seven shall catch a hold on him, — and, as I jist proved, seven will catch a hold on him, — then seven ought,—and in the Latter-Day Glory, seven, yea, as our Lord said un-tew Peter, 'Verily I say nn-tew you, not seven, but seventy times seven,' these seventy times seven shall catch a hold and cleave. Blessed day I For the end shall be even as the beginnin', and seventy-fold more abundantly.' Come over into my garden."
This invitation would wind up the homily. We gladly accepted it, and I most confess, that, if there ever could be any hope of our conversion, it was just about the time we stood in Brother Rebel's fine orchard, eating apples and apricots between exhortations, and having sound doctrine poked down our throats with gooseberries as big as plums, to take the taste out of our mouths, like jam after castor-oil.
Porter Rockwell is a man whom my readers must have heard of in every account of fearlessly executed massacre committed in Utah during the last thirteen years. He is the chief of the Danites, — a band of saints who possess the monopoly of vengeance upon Gentiles and apostates. If a Mormon tries to Bneak off to California by night, after converting his property into cash, their knives have the inevitable duty of changing his destination to another state, and bringing back his goods into the Lord's treasury. Their bullets are the ones which find their,unerring way through the brains of external enemies. They are the Heaven-elected assassins of Mormonism,— the butchers by divine right. Porter Rockwell has slain his forty men. This is historical. His probable private victims amount to as many more. He wears his hair braided behind, and done up in n knot
with a back-comb, like a woman's. He has a face full of bull-dog courage,—but vastly good-natured, and without a bad trait in it. I went out riding with him on the Fourth of July, and enjoyed his society greatly, — though I knew that at a word from Brigham he would cut my throat in as matter-of-fact a style as if I had been a calf instead of an author. But he would have felt no unkindness toward me on that account. I understood his anomaly perfectly, and found him one of the pleasantest murderers I ever met. He was mere executive force, from which the lever, conscience, had suffered entire disjunction, being in the hand of Brigham. He was everywhere kncrwn as the Destroying Angel, but he seemed to have little disagreement with his toddy, and took his meals regularly. He has two very comely and pleasant wives. Brigham has about seventy, Heber about thirty. The seventy of Brigham do not include those spiritually married, or "sealed ".to him, who may never see him again after the ceremony is performed in his backoffice. These often have temporal husbands, and marry Brigham only for the sake of belonging to his lordly establishment in heaven.
Salt Lake City, Brigham told me, he believed to contain sixteen thousand inhabitants. Its houses are built generally of adobe or wood,—a few of stone,—and though none of them are architecturally ambitious, almost all have delightful gardens. Both fi-uii- and shade-trees are plenty and thrifty. Indeed, from the roof of the Opera - House the city looks fairly embowered in green. It lies very picturesquely on a plain quite embasined among mountains, and the beauty of its appearance is much heightened by the streams which run on both sides of all the broad streets, brought down from the snow-peaks for purposes of irrigation. The Mormons worship at present in a plain, low building,—I think, of adobe,— called the Tabernacle, save during the intensely hot weather, when an immense booth of green branches, filled with benches, accommodates them more comfortably. Brigham Is erecting a Temple of magnificent granite, (much like the Quincy,) about two hundred feet long by one hundred and twenty-five feet wide. If this edifice be ever finished, it will rank among the most capacious religious structures of the continent.
The lake from which the city takes its name is about twenty miles distant from the latter, by a good road across the level valley-bottom. Artistically viewed, it is one of the loveliest sheets of water I ever saw, — bluer than the intensest blue of the ocean, and practically as impressive, since, looking from the southern shore, you see only a water-horizon. This view, however, is broken by a magnificent mountainous island, rising, I should think, seven or eight hundred feet from the water, half a dozen miles from shore, and apparently as many miles in circuit. The density of the lake - brine has been under- instead of over-stated. I swam out into it for a considerable distance, then lay upon my back on, rather than in, the water, aud suffered the breeze to waft me landward again. I was blown to a spot where the lake was only four inches deep, without grazing my back, and did not know I had got within my depth again until I depressed my hand a trifle and touched bottom! It is a mistake to call this lake azoic. It has no fish, but breeds myriads of strange little maggots, which presently turn into troublesome gnats. The rocks near the lake are grandly castellated and cavernous crags of limestone, some of it finely crystalline, but most of it like our coarser Trenton and Black-River groups. There is a large cave in this formation, ten minutes' climb from the shore.
I must abruptly leap to the overland stage again.
From Salt Lake City to Washoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the road lies through the most horrible desert conceivable by the mind of man. For the sand of the Sahara we find substituted an impalpable powder of alkali, white as the driven snow, stretching for ninety
miles at a time in one uninterrupted dazzling sheet, which supports not even that last obstinate vidette of vegetation, the wild-sage brush. Its springs are far between, aud, without a single exception, mere receptacles of a salt, potash, and sulphur hell-broth, which no man would drink, save in extremis. A few days of this beverage within, and of wind-drifted alkali invading every pore of the body without, often serve to cover the miserable passenger with an erysipelatoua eruption which presently becomes confluent and irritates him to madness. Meanwhile he jolts through alkali-ruts, unable to sleep for six days and nights together, until frenzy sets in, or actual delirium comes to his relief. I look back on that desert as the most frightful nightmare of my existence.
As if Nature had not done her worst, we were doomed, on the second day out from Salt Lake, to hear, at one station where we stopped, horrid rumors of Goshoots on the war-path, and, ere the day reached its noon, to find their proofs irrefragable. Every now and then we saw in the potash-dust moccasin-tracks, with the toes turned in, and presently my field-glass revealed a hideous devil skulking in the mile-off ledges, who was nono other than a Goshoot spy. How far off were the scalpers and burners?
The first afternoon - stage that day was a long and terrible one. The poor horses could hardly drag our crazy wagon, up to its hubs in potash; and yot we knew our only safety, in case of attack, was a running fight . We must fire from our windows as tho horses flew.
About four o'clock we entered a terrible defile, which seemed planned by Nature for treachery and ambush. The great, black, barren rocks of porphyry and trachyte rose three hundred feet above our heads, their lower and nearer ledges being all so many natural parapets to fire over, loop-holed with chinks to fire through. There were ten rifles in our party. We ran them out, five on a side, ready to send the first red villain who peeped over the breastworks to quick perdition. Our six-shooters lay across our laps, our bowie-knives were at our sides, our cartouch-boxes, crammed with ready vengeance, swung open on our breast-straps. We sat with tight-shut teeth,—only muttering now and then to each other, in a glum undertone, "Don't get nervous, — don't throw a single shot away, — take aim, — remember it 's for home!" Something of that sort, or a silont squeeze of the hand, was all that passed, aa we sat with one eye glued to the ledges and our guns unswerving. None of us, I think, were cowards; but the agony of sitting there, tugging along two miles an hour, expecting to hear a volley of yells and musketry ring over the next ledge, drinking the cup of thought to its mlscroscopic dregs,—thai was worse than fear I
Only one consolation was left us. In the middle of the defile stood an overland station, where we were to get fresh horses. The next stage was twenty miles long. If we were attacked in force, we might manage to run it, almost the whole way, unless the Indians succeeded in shooting one of our team,—the coup they always attempt.
I have no doubt we were ambushed at several points in that defile, but our perfect preparation intimidated our foes. The Indian is cruel as the grave, but he is an arrant coward. He will not risk being the first man shot, though his band may overpower the enemy afterward.
At last we turned the corner around which the station - house should come in Tiew.
. A thick, nauseous smoke was curling up from the site of the buildings. We came nearer. Barn, stables, station-house, — all were a smouldering pile of rafters. We came still nearer. The whole stud of horses—a dozen or fifteen—lay roasting on the embers. We came close to the spot. There, inextricably mixed with the carcasses of the beasts, lay six men, their brains dashed out, their faces mutilated beyond recognition, their limbs hewn off,—a frightful holocaust steaming up into our faces. I must not dwell on
that horror of all senses. It comes to me now at high noonday with a grisly shudder.
After that, we toiled on twenty miles farther with our nearly dying horses; a hundred miles more of torturing suspense on top of that sight branded into our brains before we gained Ruby Valley, at the foot of the Humboldt Mountains, and left the last Goshoot behind us.
The remainder of our journey was horrible by Nature only, without the atrocious aid of man. But the past had done its work. We reached Washoe with our very marrows almost burnt out by sleeplessness, sickness, and agony of mind. The morning before we came to the silver-mining metropolis, Virginia City, a stout, young Illinois farmer, whom we had regarded as the stanchest of all our fellow-passengers, became delirious, and had to be held in the stage by main force. (A few weeks afterward, when the stage was changing horses near the Sink of Carson, another traveller became suddenly insane, and blew his brains out.) As for myself, the moment that I entered a warm bath, in Virginia City, I swooned entirely away, and was resuscitated with great difliculty after an hour and a half's unconsciousness.
We stopped at Virginia for three days,— saw the California of '49 reenacted in a feverish, gambling, mining town, — descended to the bottom of the exhaustlessly rich " Ophir" shaft,— came up again, and resumed our way across the Sierra. By the mere act of crossing that ridge and stepping over the California line, we came into glorious forests of ever-living green, a rainbow - affluence of flowers, an air like a draught from windows left open in heaven.
Just across the boundary, we sat down on the brink of glorious Lake Tahoe, (once "Bigler," till the ex-Governor of that name became a Copperhead, and the loyal Californians kicked him out of their geography, as he had already been thrust out of their polities,)—a crystal sheet of water fresh-distilled from the suow-peaka,
its granite bottom visible at the depth of up against the very press whence it was
a hundred feet, its banks a celestial gar- wrung. Here, virtually at the end of our
den, lying in a basin thirty-five miles long overland journey, since our feet pressed
by ten wide, and nearly seven thousand the green borders of the Golden State,
feet above the Pacific level. Geography we sat down to rest, feeling that one short
has no superior to this glorious sea, this hour, one little league, had translated us
chaliceofdivinecloud-wineheldsublimely out of the infernal world into heaven.
Within a green and shadowy wood,
The wild-plum blossoms lured the bees,
All else was silent; but the ear
When from the winding river's shore
And echoed from the wooded hill,
Repeated and repeated still,
Through all my soul they seemed to thrill.
For, as their rattling storm awoke,
"We bate I" boomed fiercely o'er the tide;
Quick roared our answer, "We defend!"
"We conquer I" rolled across the wave;
"Ours are tlte brave!" "Be our.? the free I"
As when some magic word is spoken,
The wild birds dared once more to sing,
Then, crashing forth with smoke and din,
And dull and wavering in the gale
And then a word, both stern and sad,
From throat of huge Columbiad, —
"Blind fools and traitors I ye are mad I"
Again the Rebel answer came,
Now bold and strong and stern as Fate
"Return I return !" our cannon said;
And, as the smoke rolled overhead,
"We dare not 1" was the answer dread.
Then came a sound, both loud and clear,
As when beside some death-bed still
I clenched my teeth at that blest word,
I thought of Shiloh's tainted air,
Of Richmond's prisons, foul and bare,
And murdered heroes, young and fair, —