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it was somewhat singular. My own party were all too old travellers to have been in any danger of making such an unguarded self-committal as that of our fellow-passenger at the breakfast table, but for many reasons we felt securer for the knowledge where we Were. “Never been in Utah afore, I reckon?” said the driver half interrogatively. “No nearer than the Wind River Mountains.” “They don't have many o' them fellows up there?” “What fellows 2 ” “Why, these here Mormons.” There was a slighting tone in his voice which we could not fail to recognize as an assumption. If he had meant to speak disparagingly out of a sincere heart, he was too old a hand to select such entire strangers for his confidants. Fortunately we were no younger, and “smoked” him at once without showing that we did. He was throwing out feelers. “You don't seem to like them much, judging from your tone,” said I. “That's unfortunate, seeing you have to drive thirty or forty miles every day in their country. But you just use them well, and go your own way quietly,– you'll never get anything but good treatment from them. If you're a new hand here, as I should judge you are, take an old traveller's advice, and always think half a dozen times before you speak once. If you should happen to be overheard talking about Mormons in such a tone by that tall young man with the bushy eyebrows who sat opposite me at breakfast, you'd be spotted at once, and it might make no end of trouble for you all along the road. You know whom I mean—that browncomplexioned young Mormon: what's his name?”
We looked him in the face without flinching; he looked at both of us with undisguised perplexity, and, as I put the question, answered involuntarily, “Cowperthwaite Well— why — why—how did you know he was a Mormon?” “D'ye remember how the girl knew her father? Jest as easy / How do I know you are one o The same way.” “Well, that's so ! No use o' concealin' on it as I know. I aint ashamed o't, — you bet! But d –d if you aint a queer 'un ? You beat my time, anyhow. Wall, I'm glad to see you're so friendly—give us yer hand.” “We're friends to everybody that's civil and obliging—that goes straight ahead minding his own business well, and letting other people mind theirs. That's the only way to get on in this world, driver.” This colloquy not only afforded us the amusement of beating a man at his own game, but resulted in the greatest convenience to us practically. Without duplicity or the need of insuring ourselves against all risk by exaggerated professions of good-will to every new acquaintance we were brought into contact with, we were immediately crossed off the list of suspects, and had no further anxiety regarding jealous misconstruction or disagreeable espionage. We took an early occasion to warn our incautious fellow-passenger, a little Swiss, who was going out to Washoe to form a watch-making partnership with a brother who had preceded him to this country by several years. When he heard he had got into Utah without knowing it, his knees smote together at the memory of the morning's indiscretion; his jolly round face paled to the
1 I give a fictitious name, of course.
hue of the Jungfrau summit ; his broken English deserted him entirely, and he fell back on his French. * Mon Dieu ! ce n'était qu'une de mes petites plaisanteries ! seulement ça,— seulement, seulement — parole d'honneur ! Je n'ai point de prejugés, moi! Toute ma famille, nous sommes francs-penseurs — mon frère ainé est Voltairien. Ventrebleu ! un des plus preéminens! Je suis Philosophe, —je ne crois rien de tout. Adolphe (c'est notre cadet là), il n'a que vingt ans et ses liaisons montent jusqu'à deux fois ce numerò ! il est vrai libertin — vrai Don Giovanni ! Moi je n'ai point de prejugés — quant aux Mormons, de mon enfance j'ai éprouvé pour ces braves gens des sentimens les plus respecteuses, les plus affectionées. Que voulezvous ? Une femme, deux femmes, trois, quatre, cinq, cent, mil— c'est égal ! Mais quoi ! Si je resterais à Sält-Lac-je ne me gênerais pas par l'arithmetique— je me marierais, je vous le jure ! deux fois par mois — régulièr-r-r-r-ement ! " I now had to caution him against error in the opposite direction, lest, in singing the praises of polygamy, he should rush into such burlesque as to bring himself into worse suspicion. I could see, at succeeding stations along the road, that the beetle-browed young man had not failed to send his * charàcter " ahead of him. He was eyed sharply ; but as we took him to a certain extent under the wing of our party, he escaped trouble,—the excuse that he was a Frenchman, and ignorant of our free institutions (from bigamy upward), also procuring him a certain amount of clemency. A more thoroughly frightened man I never saw in my life. His idea of a Mormon was Dantesque in its horror — an elaborate incarnation of all the choicest varieties of atrocious cruelty, ingenious dishonesty, blasphemous impiety, satyrian immodesty, and quintessential wickedness, loved, sought after, practiced for its own dear, radical, and unassisted sake; a compound of three parts Balfour of Burley, a dozen of some bandit chieftain of the Abruzzi, ten of Autolycus, fifty of Caligula, five hundred of Silenus, and the remaining equivalents in a scale of thousands belonging to the old original Sathanas himself. Seven hundred miles of horse-travel through ninety-six thousand monsters compounded after formulal fancy the agony of a poor little Swiss who had that before him, with half his worldly fortune in French Louis-d'or galling his ribs in a sort of India rubber pack-saddle (Paris patent), and the other half in San Francisco credits, covered with sheets also of rubber, and sewed up within the lining of his coat! I may forget him if I leave his conclusion to fall into its proper chronology; so I will skip ahead with him, and give him his definite dismissal in a few words. Having come to regard our protection as his only salvation, he altered his original plan of going on to Washoe night and day, sans arrête, and stayed over with us during the time we spent in Brigham's capital. We resumed our journey at the peril of our lives, the whole Desert at that time reeking with massacre. Here our horrors began. For three hundred miles we rode expecting death in every cañon. But the Indian had no terrors for poor little Foiedelis. The stoutest hearts that beat in our breasts were heavy as lead, and we thought a great deal of our mothers and sisters and wives. But the face of Foiedelis, with every league that put Salt Lake further behind, grew more and more like a wilted pippin under an exhausted receiver. We reached Ruby Valley one afternoon at sundown. We climbed from the military post at that point through Hastings’ Pass, up the tremendous eastern slope of the first range of the Humboldt Mountains. It was after midnight when our last panting relay stopped to breathe on the summit round of that wonderful scaling ladder of the Titans. Under the unflickering stars of that vaporless upper firmament we seemed unbosomed, purged of all care, — so close to them that their measureless quiet and endurance looked clear down into us, read us, knew us, soothed us like children who had come home to them from prodigal wanderings in the desert of the world below. Set the White Mountains there! the flattered, the boasted of the East. The star-shadows of our lower ridge would eclipse them; taken into the shelter of a sublimity which merged them with its flanking foot-hills, they would be obliterated as independent existences, yet have glory enough in swelling a grandeur by which it is no shame to be conquered. From this height of vision we seemed to see half a world — the globe around and down to its very girdle. It was the grandest night-sight I ever saw in nature. We had well-nigh forgotten the horrors out of which we had now climbed forever. Our hearts seemed to beat close against the everlasting youth of the heavens; we could not think of the imminent slaughter skulking with us three days ago through steppes of dazzling, blistering sand and gnarled, funereal wormwood; probable slaughter yesterday; possible slaughter all day long to-day. Life, life, everlasting life, fresh distilled for our first breathing, right out of the loving heaven itself; dew from the nectaries of amaranth and asphodel, to wipe from the anxious wrinkles of heart and brow the dust