Anonymous Blonde

The Anonymous Blonde's Ancestress' Oregon Trail Journal!

Editor's Note: I found the following manuscript wrapped up in twine in my paternal grandmother's attic, between a box of vintage prophylactics and a couple of Jell-O molds. When I questioned my grandmother, she said it had been purchased years ago from an antiquities dealer named Omar Gookin who thought we might have an interest in it. Apparently one of my ancestresses was a mysterious, anonymous blonde who achieved legendary status on the Oregon Trail as "The Nameless Fair," an accomplished sharpshooter, murderess, abortionist, and matriarch. She supposedly inspired my gradmother's efforts in the family-planning movement, and apparently was a Mormon for a while. But who knew I was possibly descended from someone with no corporeal form? Fascinating!

April 30, 1859
Here begins the journal of the Nameless Fair, formerly a gunsmith. Tomorrow we leave Independence behind to begin our journey west to Great Salt Lake City. We must still purchase the supplies that our large farmwagon will hold to sustain us during our long trek. I hope that the following skills will prove of some use along the trail: medical, sharpshooting, botany, cooking, musical, sewing.
I have told all the admirable & God-Fearing folk of this town that I am the orphaned daughter of a Gunsmith, and that the artillery I carry is only the Tools of my father's Trade and the only legacy he left me when he died tragically of Typhus. Luckily none have seen fit to Question me much about my Past, or the strange Scar I bear upon my right Cheek, and none have pressed me too strongly to reveal my real Name. There are many here in Independence who seek to forget something, and I resolve to drown my sorrows in the great Salt Lake, howevermuch they may hope to Float in its buoyant Waters.

May 1, 1859
Decided not to buy a package deal. I can do better on my own! Purchased 14 oxen, 5 chickens, 3 milk cows, 2 spare ox yokes. Purchased 18 blouses, 10 bonnets, 10 pairs of boots, 12 dresses, 2 hats, 10 pairs of long underwear, 5 pairs of mittens, 2 pairs of pants, 18 petticoats, 5 raincoats, 3 shirts, 10 pairs of shoes, 12 skirts, 15 pairs of socks, 5 winter coats, 5 winter scarves. Purchased 10 yards of brown muslin cloth, 1 dress, 5 30-yard spools of mending yarn, 3 umbrellas. Purchased 25 boxes of 20 bullets, 2 25-lb. kegs of gunpowder, 3 rifles. Purchased 1 spare wagon axle, 1 spare wagon tongue, 1 spare wagon wheel, 1 wagon cover. Purchased 100 pounds of bacon, 20 5-lb. tins of biscuits, 10 pounds of butter, 20 pounds of candy, 20 8-oz. cans of sardines, 50 pounds of celery, 30 pounds of cheese, 30 pounds of coffee beans, 4 10-lb. sacks of cornmeal, 10 5-lb. tins of crackers, 4 10-lb. sacks of dried beans, 5 5-lb. tins of dried bread, 50 5-lb. sacks of dried fruit, 50 5-lb. sacks of dried vegetables, 10 10-lb. sacks of flour, 3 5-lb. sacks of garlic, 15 16-oz. jars of honey, 3 5-lb. slabs of lard, 1 1-lb. jar of licorice, 5 16-oz. tins of maple syrup, 10 16-oz. jars of molasses, 5 10-lb. sacks of onions, 30 pounds of pemmican, 2 25-lb. kegs of pickles, 5 20-lb. sacks of potatoes, 5 5-lb. tins of preserved potatoes, 10 8-oz. jars of preserves, 2 10-lb. sacks of rhubarb, 2 20-lb. sacks of rice, 5 3-lb. boxes of saleratus, 10 1-lb. tins of smoked salmon, 20 pounds of tea, 1 30-lb. keg of vinegar, 3 5-lb. boxes of yeast cake. Purchased 2 6-oz. bottles of allspice, 2 8-oz. bottles of alum, 2 16-oz. bottles of ammonia, 2 6-oz. bottles of anise, 1 ax, 1 banjo, 2 6-oz. bottles of basil, 5 blankets, 2 16-oz. boxes of borax, 10 16-oz. bottles of brandy, 1 butcher knife, 10 pounds of butter, 2 8-oz. bottles of camomile, 2 4-oz. bottles of camphor, 5 dozen candles, 5 canteens, 3 16-oz. bottles of castor oil, 1 checkers board and set, 2 6-oz. bottles of cinnamon, 2 6-oz. bottles of cloves, 1 coffee mill, 1 coffee pot, 1 compass, 2 8-oz. jars of dandelion, 3 decks of playing cards, 1 Dutch oven, 2 12-oz. bottles of epsom salts, 1 fiddle, 3 fishing nets, 3 fishing poles, 3 fishing spears, 2 10-lb. sacks of flour, 1 flute, 2 frying pans, 2 6-oz. bottles of ginger, 2 10-lb. jars of grease, 1 guitar, 1 hammer, 1 harmonica, 1 hatchet, 2 8-oz. jars of horseradish, 1 hunting knife, 1 4-oz. bottle of iodine, 2 8-oz. bottles of linseed oil, 5 boxes of matches, 1 mirror, 2 6-oz. bottles of mustard, 2 6-oz. bottles of nutmeg, 2 20-lb. sacks of oats, 3 16-oz. bottles of olive oil, 1 pail, 1 pan, 5 8-oz. bottles of pepper, 2 4-oz. bottles of peppermint, 1 pick ax, 1 pitchfork, 1 pot, 5 30-foot lengths of rope, 2 6-oz. bottles of rosemary, 5 6-oz. bottles of sage, 3 10-lb. sacks of salt, 2 4-oz. bottles of sarsaparilla, 2 6-oz. bottles of sassafras, 1 set of cooking utensils, 5 sets of eating utensils, 1 shovel, 1 skillet, 2 10-bar boxes of soap, 2 4-oz. bottles of spearmint, 2 10-lb. sacks of sugar, 1 tent, 1 thermometer, 5 tin cups, 5 tin plates, 5 5-lb. sacks of tobacco, 2 16-oz. bottles of turpentine, 1 washboard, 2 water kegs, 20 gallon jugs of whiskey, 2 8-oz. bottles of witch hazel. Purchased 2 8-oz. jars of aloe vera, 2 4-oz. bottles of calomel, 2 4-oz. bottles of capsicum, 2 8-oz. bottles of hydrogen peroxide, 2 4-oz. bottles of ipecac, 2 16-oz. bottles of isopropyl alcohol, 5 4-oz. bottles of laudanum, 2 6-oz. bottles of lecithin, 2 12-oz. bottles of magnesia, 3 4-oz. bottles of quinine, 3 6-oz. bottles of sulfur, 5 gallon jugs of whiskey. Heard some gunfire in the distance near Blue River Bridge. Much concern all around. Misplaced my guidebook at Westport today. Luckily we found it before leaving.

The skills I bring with me are few: the sharpshooting I learnt not from my Father but from the Lover whose loathsome influence I Flee, and the skills in plant lore I have learnt from the knee of my mother. But to my great surprise, I, who had thought to have journeyed Alone, have found instead Companions! Whilst gathering Provisions for my journey, I fell in with a dusky-eyed virgin of Araby, whom some might call a brunette--but some would call that a misnomer. As we conferred in whispers, a drunken Strumpet in a yellow dress accosted us and insisted that she join our band of women. And as we were beginning to load our purchases into the wagon, a dark form approached us. "Ladies traveling alone?" quoth the form. "None of your business," quoth us. The form moved on, but moments later the flame-haired strumpet, whom I have dubbed the Ignominious Russe, disappeared after him. She returned with a basket inside of which small bottles shimmered and clanked. "I think we should bring him along with us, ladies," she murmured, wiping her mouth. "He's a chemist, with fine medical knowledge, and on top o' that he's a gentleman, and there are wolves in this world." I agreed that there were wolves, and the dark form darkened our waggon.

May 2, 1859
Made it to New Santa Fe.

May 3, 1859
We came upon a portion of the trail that was flooded, and had to try to ford through the water.

In New Santa Fe we were trying to get our waggon out of some water when a little mite appeared with soot on her head. The mite attached itself to my foot and would not let go. I threatened to shoot it in the face but it clung with sharp little teeth to my pantaloon and thus we have gained ourselves a new Companion, which the IR calls "Little Rat" and feeds idly with bits of pemmican and swigs of Whisky.

May 4, 1859
Passed Westport today. Purchased 5 4-oz. bottles of laudanum. Purchased 13 gallon jugs of whiskey. Passed Blue River Bridge about noon.

The IR had a fit yesterday and scratched up her face. I don't know why. The Dark Form says we must turn round and return to Westport, which we have done. We went into a chemist's shop and the Dark Form made some purchases which he has recorded in this Log, even though I told him it is my Secret Diary. I decided we needed more Whisky because the Rat drinks it all.

May 5, 1859
Arrived at Independence.

Aw, shit. We meant to turn around again. Okay, now we will.

May 6, 1859
Nooned near Blue River Bridge. The trail continues to provide wonders and surprises! Today we made it to Westport.

That WAS a surprise. I didn't think we would make it anywhere this morning, when the Little Rat chewed a hole through one of the oxen's anklebones. Luckily the MB had a strange Arabian instrument which could be used as a Substitute for an ankle bone. She made some strange Passes over it with her hands and breathed upon it, and the bone was as Good as new. The Little Rat withdrew in fear and commenced to suckle on one of our milk cow's Teats.

May 7, 1859
Camped today near New Santa Fe.

There are many Spaniards about. One of them assayed to make Love to me with the help of his Moorish mandolin. I told him I was well-pleased with his music-making but desired no further acquaintance with him. He pressed on, and I had to make him feel the cold steel of my Rifle against his groin. Since I have purchased three new Rifles at Independence, I always have one at the ready to press into an Over-Eager groin.

May 8, 1859
A chicken died today.

The IR insists it died of natural causes, but I noticed little white feathers trembling outside of the lip of Little Rat. The MB has composed this Arabian ode in honor of the chicken: O chicken! How blessed is thy flesh!/And yet thy flesh is not to enjoy the blessing of being eaten/ but rather the blessing of a slow rot!/O chicken! Thou has passed the space of seven days in our company, and yet my heart/ aches as if thou hadst been my mother's own chicken/ or my mother's breast. /O chicken! We will not eat thee/ for fear of rabies!

May 9, 1859
We saw a small party of coyotes today, just a mile or so west of Lone Elm.

We all howled at it. Because I am no little student of the human soul, this is why I think we howled: Firstly, the MB howled because the Moon is sacred to her, and also it is sacred to the Coyote. Secondly, Little Rat howled because of his/her animal Nature. Thirdly, the IR howled because she appears to be affected by Waking Dreams. Fourthly, I howled because of the Agony that holds my Soul in its death-grip, and because Years of Experience have taken my innocence. I know not why the Dark Form howled. I have not yet seen his Face

May 11, 1859
We were inconvenienced by a serious thunderstorm. We chose to continue as usual.

How could I, a woman who has weathered so many spiritual Storms in my short life, whose hands are stained with the blood of the guilty and the innocent, whose Face has been drenched with more Tears than any deluge has held Water, have anything to fear from a rainstorm? We exulted in the rain, and it gave Little Rat a much-needed bath. The MB stayed in the waggon, however, because in her land water is not something to be taken Lightly.

May 12, 1859
Saw an empty wagon abandoned on the trail today near Blue Mound. If it could talk, what stories it might tell! Near Lawrence, had a wagon train meeting to discuss our current circumstances.

Perhaps it could tell as many tales as I could tell, if in truth I could talk myself. For though my tongue works as well as any other's at the physical act of Speech, it is nonetheless bound to silence, by Prudence, Conventional Morality, and Shame.

I wonder perhaps too if the Dark Figure has anything to hide. He does happen to be a Dark Figure, nameless & foreboding. But I cannot judge, can I? I who have seen so many things.

May 13, 1859
Today we have traveled 100 miles.

We made up an ode about it, but I will not recite it here.

The IR's part of the ode was odd, though. It was about how the MB's breasts were Serpents that wanted to eat of human Flesh.

May 14, 1859
Stopped near Topeka for a while.

I expected some tapioca pudding but was disappointed.

May 15, 1859
Today came to Kansas River. Decided to caulk the wagon and float it across.

Strangely enough, the IR was very good at caulking the waggon. Her eyes, which on most days are glazed with her curious waking dreams, brightened with a strange intensity as she set about smearing Pitch everywhere. Little Rat joined her with great energy, spitting pitch everywhere and swallowing more than (s)he managed to apply to the waggon. Also the Dark Form used his manly force to help. The MB, who is an Arab but not very religious, and I lay on the bank eating strawberry preserves and drinking whisky. When complimented on her work, the IR said, "If I know one thing, it's how t stop up a hole!"

May 16, 1859
After much travail, we came to Saint Mary’s Mission. Purchased 10 gallon jugs of whiskey. Saw an empty wagon abandoned on the trail today near Red Vermillion River. If it could talk, what stories it might tell! Fording the river looks to be our best option.

We bought more whisky because we need it.

May 17, 1859
A mighty severe thunderstorm came up. We’re going to continue as usual.

I told everyone my speech about thunderstorms but they were not Interested. However, in the wake of the storm I went with the IR and the MB to a little valley into which we wrung the rainwater from our garments. We then left our garments stretched on a rock to dry and proceeded to gambol for a spell in a local stream, and when we returned, we found that our garments had been Troubled: someone had been rifling through them! We instantly suspected Little Rat but found her/him snoozing on a rock covered in pitch, and there was no pitch on our garments.

May 18, 1859
Rested for a time near Scott Spring.

In the wake of the storm I went with the IR and the MB to Scott Spring, into which we wrung the rainwater from our garments. We then left our garments stretched on a rock to dry and proceeded to gambol for a spell in the bubbling waters, singing the songs beloved by the fabled Lorelei and the Sirens. MB taught us keening melodies of Araby; the IR sang of vaginas. When we returned, we found that our garments had been Troubled: someone had been rifling through them! We instantly suspected Little Rat but found her/him snoozing on a rock covered in pitch, and there was no pitch on our garments.

May 21, 1859
Passed Alcove Spring today. Saw an empty wagon abandoned on the trail today near Big Blue River. If it could talk, what stories it might tell!

As an experiment, we stopped once again at this Spring. It is indeed shaped like an alcove, with a gay stream of water falling like a curtain before a narrow, vaulted space. As I washed my flaxen tresses, I remembered the fateful day in the Cathedral at Rouen, when, my hands Dampened with Holy Water, I first vowed to betray my One True Love before the niche that contained the holy Statue of Our Lady of the Human Breast, Saint Agatha. I was overcome by a frisson of Regret that went unnoticed, as the IR was declaring that the Dutch Oven was a Vagina Dentata come to avenge all fallen Women.

May 23, 1859
A milk cow died today. A delay prevented us from crossing at Big Blue River. We're going to wait our turn to cross. Decided to ford the river.

I forgot to say that once again our Cloaths had been molested. This time I believe that it was the IR's rust-colored Petticoat that was most troubled.

We spent the time waiting at the river bemoaning the death of our Milk Cow. Little Rat has made a special mask of its severed head. The MB composed this ode:

O Milk Cow! Allah has blessed thee with a River Death. O noble Cow.

This accompanied by much Ululation.

May 24, 1859
Our wagon tipped over. We lost 1 pair of mittens; 1 pair of pants; 1 petticoat; 1 raincoat; 3 skirts; 2 pairs of socks; 1 box of 20 bullets; and various other items.

Confound it! Our clothes are very important to us, for although we are all very Spiritual, we like having Outfits. Also, the IR is very distressed because our supply of Laudanum has been completely depleted. Oddly enough, I don't think we lost it to the River. I reminded her that no one in our Company has shown any signs of Scarlet Fever, but she spat in my Eye and clawed some of the flesh away from her pretty Face. I told her that we still had 46 gallons of whisky, so she drank some of that, and she and Little Rat collapsed in a smelly little heap.

May 25, 1859
Heard some gunfire in the distance near St. Joseph Road Junction. Much concern all around. After much travail, we came to Hollenberg Ranch. Purchased 10 gallon jugs of whiskey. Purchased 1 hat, 2 sets of clothing.

I have taken to sleeping with two guns on my Person at all Times, and have distributed some of my other weapons to my Companions. The IR appears, however, to be Disconsolate. She spends all of her time clutching with white Knuckles at the masculine contours of our Companion, the Dark Form, who has spoken little since this journey began but who is undoubtedly a Man, and who, I have divined, was the one rifling through our undergarments. Perhaps it is the case that he and the IR are in Love. Certainly she clutches at him with great Ardour, and what with Little Rat gnawing her ankle, they are almost like a Holy Family.

May 26, 1859
Commenced early today; saw Rock Creek Station. Purchased 7 pairs of boots. Purchased 2 16-oz. bottles of brandy, 1 10-lb. sack of cornmeal, 2 gallon jugs of whiskey.

Today the IR kicked at the brick walls of Rock Creek Station until she broke the toe of her pretty little boot. Thus, we purchased seven more pairs, because we all have very fine Ankles.

May 29, 1859
Saw eagles today near The Narrows. What majestic creatures!

The Eagles plunged me into a strange Melancholy. I think perhaps that their Soaring Flight, higher and more Majestic, as I have said, than any other Creature's, put me in mind of my own Soul when I was young and my virtue Untouched, a time when I was capable of great Passion and great Joy. Also it had been a long time since I had killed any living Creatures, and I felt a vague desire to do so. Also, I have been not a little Jealous of the Passion growing between the IR and the Dark Form, who is possibly her Unholy Lord, as I see them wrestling with great Fervor behind the campsite at night.

May 30, 1859
A sudden thunderstorm caught us on the trail. I decided it is best to continue as usual.

No one wants to listen to my speech. They listen to the MB's odes and ululations, but who even cares about that?

The IR and the dark form wrestled more to-night. Their silhouettes were dark and sinuous against the raging electrical storm. I believe the IR was hissing and gnashing her Teeth. Then, suddenly, her voice became very Tender. Through the howling winds, the only words I could Discern from my hiding place behind the Milk Cow were these: "I have real nice breasts you know you want to touch 'em."

June 1, 1859
Saw eagles today near Thirty-two Mile Station. What majestic creatures! Purchased 1 16-oz. bottle of turpentine.

I did not purchase the turpentine. Who did? We do not need turpentine.

June 2, 1859
Sore feet today, but I'll manage. Saw “The Coast of Nebraska”.

I certainly cannot use Turpentine to assuage the pain. If we had laudanum I could take that, but we don't.

June 3, 1859
Stopped at noon near Fort Kearny and rested from our morning’s labors.

I think the IR and the Dark Form have had a lovers' quarrel. I found her this morning lashed to one of the oxen with foam all over her mouth and scratches on her face. The Dark Form seems depressed. I wonder if I could chear him? I asked the MB and she answered with a strange epigram. I asked Little Rat and (s)he spat in my face.

Later I saw Little Rat scurrying with a jug of turpentine to the oxen to which the IR had been lashed, and then Little Rat caught on fire but she didn't mind.

June 4, 1859

We had to rest because the IR loosed her bonds and disappeared. I do not mind that she loosed her bonds as it is not my lover's quarrel. She came back with lots of straw and gun-powder in her hair and also with the glazed look in her eyes that was once so familiar. The MB says that the IR has found peace, but I think that is only something the Orientals say.

June 5, 1859
the M.B. came down with cholera. We've got to administer laudanum.

Suddenly we have laudanum. I wonder where that came from?

I hope that the MB survives, as she is very wise and good at ululating.

June 7, 1859
A chicken died today.

The MB is too unwell to compose an ode. Little Rat composed one instead. It goes like this:

Chicken chicken chikcen cheick
ha ha
ha ha
rachicken cut my face chicken chick
ha ha ha ha

Then, she suckled at the IR's breast, which the IR considered very charming.

June 8, 1859
The weather turned mighty hot, so we’re planning to continue as usual. Saw some Indians in the distance not far from Plum Creek. No incident, but some concern. We stopped along the trail to hunt. We obtained 106 pounds of meat.

The MB looks something like an Indian. I considered giving her to them as a Bride in the hopes that they would cure her of her ailment. I have decided that in order to cure myself of my Melancholy I must hunt more. Despite the fact that taking human life is a Sin, I still enjoy taking the life of a nice Deer. I shot two lovely Deer and several small Rodents that looked like rabbits with no Ears. I did not, however, succeed in felling the great Bears that roam these lands. Little Rat had great fun smearing herself with deer's blood and reenacting the Great Marriage with the IR, who I think is stoned.

June 10, 1859
A sudden thunderstorm caught us on the trail. I decided it is best to continue as usual.

Once again, I found the IR lashed to an ox. I do not presume to judge, but I think the IR and the Dark Form are too kinky for my liking.

June 12, 1859
Played cards with Mr. Tillman today while nooning near Midway Station. I suspect he cheats. Purchased 10 gallon jugs of whiskey. Purchased 1 set of clothing. Purchased 1 box of 20 bullets.

I do not mind that Mr. Tillman cheats. He exudes an animal sensuality that appeals to my adventurous Character, and anyway if he were to really cheat significantly I could Shoot him.

The MB is making excellent progress and thus I thought we could celebrate with more whisky. I am rather drunk right now but my aim is still true. If Mr. Tillman causes any trouble with my garments I shall shoot him.

June 15, 1859
We suffered a terrible loss. Little Rat has died of cholera. We plan to provide a proper burial.

This was a surprise, as Little Rat had been nowhere near the MB since her illness. She had however been drinking from stagnant pools.

We were deeply saddened. The Dark Form and I set to digging a proper grave, and the MB got as far as the third line of her funeral ode: "O little Rat! It is now your time/ to gambol and smear yourself with doe's blood/in the honeyed fields where the black-eyed houri . . . " when we realized Little Rat was not a human after all, just a rat. We discovered this when we were undressing Little Rat to measure it for its shroud.

June 16, 1859
Spotted a group of strangers. We decided to approach them. We talked to them. Every day our journey comes closer to its end. Today we made it to O’Fallon’s Bluffs.

We talked to them, all right, and they threatened us with tacit threats. At first the beardless upstart who led the bandits thought a group of women traveling with just one, possibly sexless, Dark Form was a heavensent package of carnal pleasures and free bonnets, but I let him feel the cold muzzle of my guns against his Groin and his Brow and he reconsidered. The MB did, however, perform her famous Stomach-Dance for the bandits after we had securely lashed them to O'Fallon's Bluffs and stuffed their mouths with turpentine-soaked brown muslin cloth.

June 18, 1859
Passed the five hundred mile mark today.


It is a pity Little Rat did not live to see this Day, for she would have loved to rub her little fleabitten body against the mark.

June 19, 1859
A thick fog rolled in today. Looks like we'll continue as usual.

A curious thing happened today. As I was making my way through the fog, whispering to myself the prayers of the Rosary that my long life of pain and Experience has not been able to erase from my Consciousness, I smelled a familiar odour. The odour, pungent and unmistakable, was yet mistaked by me -- I could not identify it -- & yet it summoned up in my mind a strange and powerful memory, something connected with the dark events of my Past. When the fog cleared, I realized that I had been walking the whole time next to the Dark Form. What can it be? Was I once the priestess to some unholy lord? Is thi s the kind of thing one forgets? If the Dark Form were not so clearly enchanted by the IR and their strange carnal secrets, I would perhaps have the courage to ask him. Who would have thought that I, the most famous of all lady gunslingers on two Continents, should be so consumed and Defeated by Jealousy?

June 20, 1859
We lost a milk cow today.

The MB created an Ode, but it was not so different from her first ode. The IR was struck by grief as she remembered Little Rat's delight in animal deaths. She slept with her face nestled in the cow's cold flank, suckling at its Teat.

June 21, 1859
The ox yoke broke, and I decided to try to repair it. We were unable to make the repair. We were able to replace it from supplies.

I was never much good with wood.

June 22, 1859
These blasted mosquitoes! We've decided to continue. Mr. Lumare figured we would reach South Platte River today, and he was right. Traded 9 gallons of milk for 1 dollar. Decided to ford the river.

I sure am itchy, and Mr Lumare sure is smart.

We are now true Businesswomen and also Dairymaids, which the IR believes to be very quaint. She has hitched up her petticoats and has taken to calling herself Chloe, which she says is a shepherdess name.

June 23, 1859
We had to double-team the animals to try to get our wagon out of the mud.

June 24, 1859
Found a clean, well-formed ox skull a short ways from Ash Hollow; tempted to take it with me, but decided against it.

Little Rat would have made a cute mask out of it.

June 27, 1859
We stopped along the trail to hunt. We obtained 189 pounds of meat.

I got a bear this time!

Sometimes I think that, what with all the loss on this journey, and the jealousy that eats at my heart like a Canker, the only thing that sustains me is Hunting.

Also the MB is teaching me how to do the Stomach Dance and we are making our garments polka-dotted for Summer. This involves a wax-relief method and various Vegetable Dyes I have gathered on my Solitary Rambles. Also we have made bearskin Caps but they are too hot to wear.

June 29, 1859
June 30, 1859
Sore feet today, but I'll manage. Saw Courthouse and Jail Rocks.

I think my feet are sore because I should be in Jail myself. Perhaps you have forgotten that I have a dark Past, O diary. I have not.

July 1, 1859
Saw a small, foul-looking pool of water near Chimney Rock. Could be poison; I prevented our animals from drinking it.

Alas I have come by this wisdom by cruel Experience--Little Rat died from drinking foul water. Would that we came from our mother's Wombs with our Wisdom fully developed, or at least as developed as our tiny Limbs and infant Faculties for Sight and Sound. Instead, Wisdom is thrust into our hearts and minds with much rending of Flesh and Bone, and as it comes it pushes out other Things: Tenderness, Mercy, and the Capacity to think Rocks are very Interesting.

July 2, 1859
Mr. and Mrs. Billings came by for a visit today near Scotts Bluff; had a very nice chat. The wagon train reached Mitchell Pass this day. We stopped along the trail to hunt. We obtained 8 pounds of meat.

They are a lovely couple. Their eyes brim with Respect and Mutual Understanding, & for that reason my eyes brim with bitter Tears. For once I knew the tenderness of Marriage, and threw it away for Blind Passion. But I was young and Inexperienced, & my unformed mind had not yet encompassed the true Sanctity of the Conjugal bond.

My Stomach Dance is improving every day.

July 4, 1859
Today is Independence Day and we've decided to continue.

We drank much whisky and I performed my Stomach Dance to the general Delight of the Company. However I noticed that the IR seemed uninterested in the proceedings, and spent most of her time alone, attending to the Chickens and singing a strange, wordless Melody.

July 6, 1859
Reached another prominent landmark today: Laramie River. In good spirits today; got as far as Fort Laramie. Purchased 2 pairs of long underwear. Purchased 5 pounds of butter, 20 pounds of celery, 2 10-lb. sacks of cornmeal, 1 kettle, 1 ladle, 5 lanterns, 5 16-oz. tins of lantern oil, 5 20-lb. sacks of potatoes, 1 saw, 3 10-bar boxes of soap, 2 10-lb. sacks of sugar.

It was pleasant to restore our dwindling provisions. The IR continues to be strange, however, and strange in a different way than usual. She burst into hysterical sobs when a soldier at the fort complimented her upon her delicate ankles, when under ordinary circumstances she would have at least hit him up for some laudanum or turpentine or something, and probably would have encouraged him to palpate her Firm and Womanly breast. I have noticed too that the Dark Form treats her with more gentleness and no longer lashe s her to anything.

July 7, 1859
Passed Register Cliff. Road fair to middling.

July 11, 1859
The eternal dust of the wagons ahead of us is most troublesome. We will continue as usual. Made it to Ayers Natural Bridge.

That smell thing happened again.

July 12, 1859
The dust from other wagons has gotten bad. We decided to continue as usual.

My stomach dance is really very good. I did it for a bunch of gentlemen and then shot them all dead. Do not worry; this sin will not weigh heavily upon my Conscience. For one thing, my soul is already too blackened with Betrayals of all colors to be much marred by the deaths of a couple of dozen Rascals on their way to become Mormons. Also, what kind of Mormons would want to look at a woman's stomach?

July 13, 1859
The other wagons are churning up thick dust. We're going to continue as usual.

This Mormon thing is beginning to interest me greatly. Someone told me that if I were going to Salt Lake City I must be some kind of Mormon. They all are. I just am going to forcibly and difficultly drown my troubles in the Lake. But I don't want to Marry anyone.

July 14, 1859
The dust from other wagons has gotten bad. We decided to continue as usual.

What if I have to marry someone and he likes his other wives better than me? Also, have I not already betrayed the sanctity of marriage by Murdering my husband? Oops, I was not supposed to reveal that, even in these pages. But anyway that was my Great Sin. I did it at the urging of my Lover. That was the business in the Church.

Actually it doesn't matter that I wrote it here, because I told the MB about it whilst we were having whisky-and-turpentine cocktails by moonlight after rehearsing our Stomach Dance. The IR has caused us to enjoy these confections. At any rate, the MB said, "I have noticed that you perform the writhings of the Stomach Dance as one who conceals a terrible Secret and also a great Passion. You may tell me the Secret, for in the Deserts of Araby, where women are bought and sold for little more than the price of some plain brown muslin cloth, we have learned to keep each other's secrets." I told her, and then I told her about how I'm afraid I'm going to have to be a Mormon. The MB reminded me that there is polygamy in Araby, too. She escaped a harem using her great Cunning. "I, too, have secrets, O Mysterious and Nameless Fair," she mused.

July 15, 1859
The eternal dust of the wagons ahead of us is most troublesome. We will continue as usual. Rested for a time near North Platte River Bridge. Made it to Mormon Ferry Trading Post. Purchased 2 5-lb. tins of dried bread, 5 20-lb. sacks of rice, 5 gallon jugs of whiskey. Had a bit of a run-in with another wagon party today near Emigrant Gap, but we patched up our differences before nightfall.

July 16, 1859
The dust from other wagons has gotten bad. We decided to continue as usual. Today we saw Willow Springs. What a sight!

So apparently the MB killed her husband, too, only with some kind of scarab and not with a rifle and not for a lover. Perhaps I'm not so special after all!

July 17, 1859
We hope for some rain to settle the dust. For the time being, we'll continue as usual.

July 18, 1859
We're nearly choking on the dust of the trail. We've decided to continue as usual. Today came to Independence Rock.

July 19, 1859
A milk cow died today. Sang and told stories around the noon campfire near Devil’s Gate.

Well, no more milk cows for us.

I would feel a sense of foreboding about Devil's Gate and my dark past, but the MB has convinced me to look ahead to the future. She is very positive. We have taken to sitting in the front of the waggon wearing identical pale scarves round our heads and shielding our eyes from the sun by peculiarly tinted dark spectacles. Sometimes we smoke tobacco and laugh with our heads thrown back, our bright mouths full of teeth looking very Glamorous. This one time the MB slept with a cattle hand and he took all our money but we didn't care because we had each other.

July 20, 1859
Our expectations of reaching Split Rock were fulfilled this day.

July 21, 1859
Traveled past Three Crossings this afternoon. For a time today we feared we were lost. We were much relieved to find ourselves at an identifiable location, Sweetwater River. Fording the river looks to be our best option.

The MB and I have taken to shooting any man who looks at us funny. But our hilarity is tempered by the obvious Melancholy of the IR, who only drinks turpentine and sings to the chickens, and by my powerful, unnameable Desire for the strong arms of the Dark Form, who has still never taken off his coat or strange hood.

July 23, 1859
The fog is as thick as pea soup. I reckon we'll continue as usual. Today's wind whipped up a terrible duststorm. We shall continue as usual. Mr. and Mrs. Billings came by for a visit today near Ice Spring Slough; had a very nice chat.

July 24, 1859
A thick fog rolled in today. Looks like we'll continue as usual.

So I have noticed that the IR's garments are oddly tight around her waist. I believe that perhaps the cause of her melancholy is that she bears a Child within her womb. She is obviously made unhappy by this fact. I wonder why? If I bore the child of the Dark Form, I would be filled with contentedness. I would like to sympathize, but I am jealous.

July 25, 1859

July 26, 1859
Our wagon tipped over. We lost 1 chicken; 1 bonnet; 2 pairs of boots; 1 dress; 1 pair of long underwear; 1 petticoat; 3 pairs of socks; 1 winter scarf; and various other items.


July 27, 1859
Today our eyes were greeted with the sight of Lander Cutoff. Purchased 10 pounds of cheese, 10 10-lb. sacks of flour, 2 20-lb. sacks of oats, 1 skillet. After much travail, we came to Final Sweetwater River Crossing. Decided to ford the river.

The IR came to the water of the river and wept into it. I asked her if I could be of any help to her. She gestured weakly and wept more. I think perhaps I could help her, with my knowledge of herb lore, but is that what she truly desires? Or do I desire to rid her womb of the Dark Form's child out of jealousy?

July 28, 1859
We were fortunate to happen upon some wild vegetables. We will stop and gather vegetables. We gathered 35 pounds. Passed South Pass today. Our expectations of reaching Pacific Springs were fulfilled this day.

Amid the vegetables I found the herbs necessary to bring forth the IR's child. I decided to question her about the child, but she only wept and spat at me.

July 29, 1859
Rested the animals near Dry Sandy Trading Post.

The IR tried to trade a bunch of chicken feathers for a length of rope at the trading post. I think she means to suicide!

July 30, 1859
Today came to “Parting of the Ways”.

I thought the IR had the romantic notion that the Parting of the Ways would be a good place to kill herself, for I found her tying a rope to a post there. I begged her to reconsider and told her of the wonders that awaited her when she and the Dark Form became proud parents. She looked at me like I was crazy. "I ain't killing myself," she said. "I'm trying to catch a new rat. Also, I ain't gonna be parents with the Dark Form, that bastard." I told her that if she didn't want to have a child she could drink the potion I had distilled from the herbs we found. She laughed and said, "What, does it give you bad breath?" The MB and

August 1, 1859
Passed the thousand mile mark today! Camped today near Green River. Decided to take advantage of the ferry.

I could not decode this mysterious statement.

The ferry was free! Who wouldn't take it?

August 2, 1859
We found some wild vegetables and decided to stop and gather vegetables. We gathered 31 pounds.

The IR was retching by the side of the road today. The MB and I approached her, our aprons full of vegetables. I asked her if she had taken my potion. She said no, it was just that she had been spending time with kind of a bad new rat, nothing like Little Rat, so she thinks maybe she is allergic to bad rats. We think she is delusional.

August 3, 1859

August 4, 1859
We were fortunate to happen upon some wild fruit. We will stop and gather fruit. We gathered 22 pounds. Had a lengthy chat with Mr. Lumare today near Church Butte.

As we were gathering fruit today, the MB and I noticed something heavy fall out of the IR's skirt. We ran to her side. "Have you taken the potion?" I cried.

"No!" she said. "I hate that potion, it's terrible and it gave me stomach cramps."

"So you did take it," I said.

She sighed. "I didn't want to tell you how damned nasty it was. Anyways, I got problems. I done lost my lump of cheese!"

August 5, 1859
Saw Name Rock today.

As we relaxed on Name Rock, the MB and I asked the IR why she named her baby "Lump of Cheese." She looked at us with her glazed eyes. "What baby?" she said. Then she lifted her skirts to show us a lump of cheese, maybe three or four pounds' worth, strapped to her petticoats. Apparently she breaks off pieces and uses them to lure rats to her. I asked her if she had ever been with child at all.

"I thought I was," she said, "and I was real sad. But then I figured I'd like a baby, because I liked Little Rat so much. But then I weren't pregnant, so I want a new rat."

August 6, 1859
The other wagons are churning up thick dust. We're going to continue as usual. Today we saw New Fort Bridger. How sublime it appears by moonlight.

I lay in the moonlight contemplating my own loneliness and the sin that still occasionally weighs heavily upon my soul. At about midnight I saw the IR emerge from the waggon in her corset and petticoats. She went running towards Fort Bridger, her skirts and her long red hair flying behind her like the Standards of some glorious Army. After a time, the Dark Form went flying behind her. I could hear his manly breath cut the August air. Oh, my. I had better go to sleep.

August 7, 1859
We found some wild fruit and decided to stop and gather fruit. We gathered 17 pounds.

I rose at dawn to gather fruit. As the fingers of light caressed the sky, I saw the IR stumble back to the waggon, her apron as full of clanking glass bottles as mine was full of prickly pears. I looked for the figure of the Dark Form, but he was nowhere to be found. Then my foot hit something. A Dark Form. How odd, I thought, that two dark forms should be in the same campground. But it was my dark form that I love! "How did you get here so fast?" I asked him as he rose to his dark feet. "What do you mean?" he said. "I slept here all night, in the hopes that you would come here to gather fruits."

August 9, 1859
We have been traveling for 100 days, today. Saw Bear River, sight is most reassuring. Decided to take advantage of the ferry. Passed The Needles today.

What a marvel! The Dark Form loves me. Also, he is my long-lost Husband, Irwin the chemist, whom I had given up for dead, because I had thought to have Killed him.

Apparently he did not die, but only was badly burned enough that he lost his corporeal form and can only exist as a sort of Theoretical Force, and with great effort he can assemble his Energies into a shadowy Form. He has followed me on this journey to Protect and Encourage me, for he knew that in my heart I still loved him even though my Lover had taken my innocence. Hooray!

August 10, 1859
Terrible fog during the early part of the day. We chose to continue as usual. For a time today we feared we were lost. We were much relieved to find ourselves at an identifiable location, Cache Cave. Mr. and Mrs. Billings came by for a visit today near Echo Canyon; had a very nice chat.

Mr and Mrs Billings were pleased to find that I already had a Husband, because they believe me to be a nice girl.

When they had gone I asked Irwin why he had an affair with the IR, and he told me that he had not had an affair with her. He was trying to help her kick her addiction to laudanum. When he rifled through her petticoats he was confiscating the very supply of laudanum that he had purchased for her. She had tried to seduce him to get the laudanum! Instead, she had to seduce soldiers at forts to get laudanum.

August 12, 1859
Our path was blocked by fallen rocks on the trail. We decided to try to clear the path. One of the oxen got injured, and we're trying to continue as usual.

I didn't mind any of it. I'm so in love! I can't wait to have little shadowy half-formed Mormon babies!

August 13, 1859
Arrived at Weber River Bridge, despite some “help” from Nicholas J. Tillman. Today we passed Pratt’s Pass. Made an early start this morning; passed Hogsback Summit.

I had to shoot Nicholas Tillman, even though I'm attracted to him. I'm a married woman now.

August 14, 1859
Nooned at East Canyon.

You bet we nooned! I had forgotten the delights of physical passion.

August 15, 1859
Our wagon tipped over. We lost 2 blouses; 1 bonnet; 2 pairs of boots; 2 dresses; 1 hat; 4 pairs of long underwear; 1 petticoat; 1 raincoat; and various other items.

On the plus side, the IR found a prairie dog who looks kind of like Little Rat. It is, however, hard to train a prairie dog to do a reenactment of the Great Marriage, even when you smear it with bears' blood. Also, it does not like turpentine, although it looks cute with laudanum-glazed eyes.

August 16, 1859
Arrived at Big Mountain Pass.

We're almost at Salt Lake City. Apparently you have to have at least three wives to live there, so I've decided to allow the other girls to marry Irwin too so we can all live together. The MB knows how to make beautiful harem pants, so it will be fun, and if I can tear the IR away from her new rodent long enough to teach her the stomach dance, we can perform many fine Routines for doomed Mormon perverts. I do not worry that the other wives will distract my husband from my many charms. The MB seems more interested in odes, ululations, and cattle-hands than in dark forms, and the IR is transfixed by her rat and her drug habit. So at the Little Mountain shindig we will all officially be married.

August 17, 1859
Sang and told stories and got married around the noon campfire near Little Mountain. Got as far as Emigration Canyon Quarantine Station today. Today our labors were rewarded with the sight of Donner Hill. Commenced early today; saw Great Salt Lake City. Purchased 14 blouses, 10 bonnets, 10 dresses, 10 skirts. Purchased 1 16-oz. bottle of brandy.

We do worry somewhat about the IR and laudanum, but we think in due course of time her love for the rat will take over. Or whatever you call the rat.

We bought lots of beautiful wedding clothes in Salt Lake City, which is rather Classical in nature, with many columns. Also, I am preparing to wrestle my troubles to the bottom of the lake. First I require a nap.

August 18, 1859
Arrived today at Great Salt Lake City!! At last we have reached our destination! Truly this is the land of opportunity!

A lovely pale-blue day for wrestling troubles. And what a stroke of luck! My old lover, who taught me to use a gun, lives here in Salt Lake City, where he is a moneylender and a ballet dancer. I met him outside the courthouse and used my feminine charms to lure him to the shores of the Lake, where the MB helped me wrestle him beneath the surface. And lo and behold! He became a beautiful rat! We were filled with joy. The MB composed a fine ode, and the IR allowed him to suckle her breast. Here is the ode:

O rat! You have come from evil/But now o rat you will say/ Ochicken o chickenn chick checik chicken."

October 11, 1859
Obtained a land deed today from the county for 310 acres. Now I can begin to build my new life! Final Score: 5810

I feel entirely ready to do so, now that my old lover is a rat. O cleansed soul! O new life! O 310 acres of sharpshooting, stomach-dancing, hallucinating, and carnal pleasures! O that my descendants should appreciate what I have gone through to obtain these blessings for posterity!

Already I feel quickening in my womb the Dark Form/Irwin's child. We wrote a collaborative ode:

O Child! Thou art better than a rat/for thou art not smelly nor full of fleas/and thou shalt never enact the Great Marriage/or eat pitch.

October 12, 1859
the Nameless Fair settled in the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1859
, building a home on 310 acres of land. The fortitude and determination that had served the Nameless Fair so well on the Mormon Trail proved equally valuable in the new land, contributing to tremendous social and economic success. Regrettably, several of the Nameless Fair’s descendants—including a major figure in an early twentieth-century government and business scandal—have managed to tarnish the family’s good name.