Isabella is in Namaqua.* There is a dance this evening. But first, all of the guests and household members are fascinated by Isabella’s riding partner Jim.
The landlady confesses that Jim’s name is invoked when children are being naughty, by telling them that “he would get them, for he came down from the mountains every week, and took back a child with him to eat!” Yet all assembled seem shocked by how well behaved he is. Plus, he’s something like a celebrity in these parts and Isabella says she “gained a reflected importance. “All the men in the settlement assembled in the front room, hoping he would go and smoke there, and when he remained in the kitchen they came round the window and into the doorway to look at him.”
Everyone clears out for the dance and Jim and Isabella had the kitchen to themselves until midnight. “It was a most respectable dance, a fortnightly gathering got up by the neighboring settlers, most of them young married people, and there was no drinking at all.” Isabella passes the time by writing this letter while Jim recited poems. They get to talking, too.
“… for the last time, I urged upon him the necessary of a reformation in his life, beginning with giving up whisky, going so far as to tell him that I despised a man of his intellect for being a slave to such a vice. ‘TOO LATE! Too late!,’ he always answered, ‘for such a change.’ As I looked at him, I felt a pity such as I never before felt for a human being.”
* There are only a few entries left. We should close out the Rockies by the end of the week. Prepare yourself.