This scene was deleted from the end of Chapter 10 when the family had to camp in a hollow on the prairie because it was too dark to carry on:
“We’re going through rough uplands, Dodie,” said Dad. “Lots of ducks in those sloughs. Wish we had time to stop and shoot ourselves a feed.”
The thought of roast duck reminded Dorothy how hungry she was. She looked ahead where the trail curved down into a hollow. At the bottom a round white tent was pitched beside a covered wagon. “Look Dad, there`s someone camped there. Shall we join them?”
“Yes,” agreed Lydia, “let’s do that, Dad. You men need to change out of your wet clothes.”
“Humph,” said Dad. “I hoped to make a few more miles.”
Lydia put her hand on his arm. “Not today, Dad. Everyone’s tired.”
The horses plodded slowly down into the dip and just stopped. They lowered their heads and started munching the thick green grass, so different from the dried grasses of the open prairie.
Dorothy jumped down from the wagon. “The grass is so soft here. Our beds will be comfortable tonight!”
At the sound of voices, there was a rustling inside the bell tent just ahead. The bottom of the wall lifted and a voice called, “Who are you?”
Dorothy looked toward the tent. She found herself staring at a round face with big blue eyes and curly blond hair. Inhaling sharply, she stuttered, “Rose?”
Two arms appeared, then an entire body wiggled out from under the canvas wall. The body wore short pants and a Norfolk jacket. It was a little boy. Dorothy breathed deeply to calm her racing pulse. His face looked so much like Rose that he could have been her twin.
“Hi” she said, “what’s your name?”
“Philip,” he said. “I’m four years old.”
The tent flap opened and a young woman stepped out. Pushing stray hair off her hair, she smiled wanly. “I’m glad to have company,” she said.
“My goodness,” said Dorothy, “Your little boy looks so much like my friend Rose. She’s four years old too. My mother stayed in Saskatoon to nurse her because she has scarlet fever. I hope she’s better soon.”
The colour drained from the woman’s face. “Scarlet fever,” she repeated. Putting both hands over her face she stammered, “Excuse me,” and disappeared back into the tent.
This scene was deleted from Chapter 13, just after the family struggled up the steep trail on the far side of Eagle Creek:
Finally Dorothy crawled forward and clutched the seat. Craning her neck, she peered around the curving canvas wall. The wagon perched at the very edge of an abyss.
“Be still, Dodie,” cried Dad. “We’re almost to the top!”
Dorothy sucked in a mighty breath and huffed it out. Now she felt calmer. She gazed at the far cliff, where she had stood yesterday. Several wagons gathered there like round white insects. Suddenly her wagon levelled off and they were on the flat prairie again.
“By golly, we did it!” Dorothy cheered so loudly, she was sure the colonists on the far side looked over and waved.
“By grit and by golly,” said Dad, thumping Frank and Patrick on the back.
Lydia climbed onto the wagon and sagged against a crate. “That was more adventure than I want for a lifetime. My skirt is filthy from carrying that rock.”
“Lydia,” called Dad, “may we have a spotta tea, while the horses catch their breath? I’ll just walk them forward past the rim.”
Soon the wagon stopped. Lydia climbed down, sighing wearily.
Suddenly there was a piercing shriek and Lydia scrambled up again. “Go, go, go!” she screamed. Jumping up beside her, Dad flicked the reins over the tired horses.
“Whatever happened?” gasped Dorothy. No one answered.
They trotted forward a short while until Dad called, “Whoa!” He patted Lydia’s knee. “Stay here, love, I’ll make the tea.”
Lydia nodded, gazing numbly ahead. For several minutes she sat in a trance.
Dorothy waited with her mouth agape, scarcely breathing. At last she whispered, “What happened back there?”
Lydia stared at her with a frightful grimace. “Oh, Lord, it was AWFUL!”
Dorothy’s heart thumped. “But, but… What was awful?”
Finally Lydia answered, “A dead horse beside the trail. I almost stepped on him.” She shuddered. “A bird had already pecked out his eyes. And his tongue was hanging out. And -”
“That’s enough, Lydia,” said Dad, delivering tea and sliced bread. “Dodie doesn’t need to hear about that.”
“Why did the horse die, Dad?” asked Dorothy, trying to imagine the poor animal lying flat on the ground.
“Mr. Snow told me some colonists are pushing their horses too hard. That’s why we’re resting ours and giving them a feed of oats.”