PART II. The Country of the Saints.
2. CHAPTER II. THE FLOWER OF UTAH.
It was not the father, however, who first discovered that the
child had developed into the woman. It seldom is in such
cases. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual
to be measured by dates. Least of all does the maiden
herself know it until the tone of a voice or the touch of a
hand sets her heart thrilling within her, and she learns,
with a mixture of pride and of fear, that a new and a larger
nature has awoken within her. There are few who cannot
recall that day and remember the one little incident which
heralded the dawn of a new life. In the case of Lucy Ferrier
the occasion was serious enough in itself, apart from its
future influence on her destiny and that of many besides.
It was a warm June morning, and the Latter Day Saints were
as busy as the bees whose hive they have chosen for their
emblem. In the fields and in the streets rose the same hum
of human industry. Down the dusty high roads defiled long
streams of heavily-laden mules, all heading to the west, for
the gold fever had broken out in California, and the Overland
Route lay through the City of the Elect. There, too, were
droves of sheep and bullocks coming in from the outlying
pasture lands, and trains of tired immigrants, men and horses
equally weary of their interminable journey. Through all
this motley assemblage, threading her way with the skill of
an accomplished rider, there galloped Lucy Ferrier, her fair
face flushed with the exercise and her long chestnut hair
floating out behind her. She had a commission from her
father in the City, and was dashing in as she had done many
a time before, with all the fearlessness of youth, thinking
only of her task and how it was to be performed.
The travel-stained adventurers gazed after her in astonishment,
and even the unemotional Indians, journeying in with their
pelties, relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they marvelled
at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden.