The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVII
ARRIVAL OF THR FIRST PONY EXPRESS.

I HAPPENED to be in Sacramento on the thirteenth day of April, 1861, and found the city full of irrepressible excitement. Men on gayly caparisoned horses galloping hither and thither, unfurled flags, and a general air of expectancy on eager faces everywhere betokened an occasion of rare moment. At times hats were swung aloft and cheers rang out tumultuously, only to be hushed by the disappointing murmur, "Not yet." But an instant's quiet, and there was a mad rush of the populace toward Sutter's Fort; then again enthusiasm died, and the crowds ebbed back up J Street, which, some eight or ten feet higher than any other street in the city, extended straight as an arrow from the fort to where the bay steamer lightly hugged the water front, puffing and impatient to be off to San Francisco.

So the anxious waiting continued until the day was well on to its close, when suddenly, vociferous cheers again rent the air, and this time knew no cessation. What a din! With leap and outcry, all faced Sutter's Fort. That was a spectacle to be remembered.

Pony! The pony, hurrah, hurrah! We see a dark

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