Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

Table of Contents

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CHAPTER XI.
ON THE ROAD.

THE emigrants were divided into parties of five. Each party took charge of a hand-cart loaded with their food and camping equipments. The children too young to walk were also placed in these carts.

A few wagons containing reserve supplies and the baggage of the pilgrims accompanied the caravan.

Brother Simms acted as guide. Captains were chosen, and with the rising of the sun, one August morning, the caravan started.

Oreana and Mr. Delville intoned the hymn:

"O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell,

We're to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell."

The whole band took up the song; and thus, in light-heartedness and exultation, began the terrible march.

The last settlement disappeared from their sight; but they laughed, and louder, louder sang,

"O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell."

Praying, singing, dreaming of Zion, they walked on, on; resting only at night. Thus the days flew by. The days grew into weeks, the weeks into months. The hot summer gave place to mellow autumn. Autumn paled, and winter advanced with rapid strides.

As the days grew shorter, so did their supplies. | | 60 From full rations to three-quarters, then to half rations of poor, unnutritious food.

Ceaselessly they toiled onward; far into the night they extended their march, continuing it again with the morning's dawn. "On to Zion" was the watch-word; and the wearied limbs found new strength, the sinking hearts new courage, as through the air rang the watchword:

"On, on, to Zion."

Onward, ever onward, over the pathless waste; but slower grew the pace, fainter the song, heavier the carts, and farther, farther, seemed the promised land.

How fervently they prayed. Was God deaf? Or was He angry? How could He be angry when they never rebelled, never repined, never doubted? They only prayed more humbly, more earnestly.

History has extolled, and poetry immortalized, those brave pioneers, who, in comfortable wagons, drawn by sturdy oxen, or mounted on fleet-footed horses, opened a path to the far-distant West. Modern travelers, as they whirl along in luxurious palace cars, think upon these brave pioneers with wondering admiration. But who gives a thought to those heroic pilgrims, those weak women, those tender children, those aged ones tottering to the tomb, who, from religious inspiration, made that journey on foot? Pilgrims of the middle ages, you are outdone, your heroism eclipsed by these simple emigrants of our infidel age.

On foot, one thousand miles, pushing before them heavily-laden carts!

On foot, one thousand miles, over prairie solitudes, gloomy mountain passes, rock-strewn paths, deep-flowing streams, and the desert.

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On foot, one thousand miles, scorched by the mid-day sun, choked with alkaline dust, buffeted by the hurricane, chilled by icy winds, bitten by the frosts, blinded by the snow storm!

On foot, one thousand miles, parched with thirst, fainting with hunger, hands and feet blistered and bleeding, weary, exhausted, dying!

To Zion on foot, one thousand miles, deceived yet believing, heroic amidst despair, murmuring only "Thy will be done," praying, hoping, trusting ever. Thus the pilgrims journeyed to Zion on foot, one thousand miles.

Oh! what a glorious epic upon the greatness, the divinity of the soul!

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