Izzy Bird, Mrs Grundy
Izzy Bird, a tall tale

Izzy Bird, Bumptious Chalmers

Isabella is on the move. Today’s letter to her sister is titled “Nameless Region, Rocky Mountains, September.” It seems, she says, “farther away from you than any place I have been to yet.”

The scenery is giving Isabella joy. It is “glorious, combining sublimity with beauty, and in the elastic air fatigue has dropped off from me. This is no region for tourists and women, only for a few elk and bear hunters at times, and its unprofaned freshness gives me new life. I cannot by any words give you an idea of scenery so different from any that you or I have ever seen. There is an upland valley of grass and flowers, of glades and sloping lawns, and cherry-fringed beds of dry streams, and clumps of pines artistically placed, and mountain sides densely pine clad the pines breaking into fringes as they come down upon the ‘park,’ and the mountains breaking into pinnacles of bold grey rock as they pierce the blue of the sky.

“This is view to which nothing needs to be added,” she says. “It is magnificent, and the air is life giving.”

What isn’t bringing her joy is “the stupidity and pigheadedness of Chalmers.”

First, their saddles are insufficient to their needs, with rotting straps, a broken girth, and too many quilts beneath. The horse carrying their packs should be one they ride; the one Chalmers is riding would be better suited to carrying packs.

Second, after a four hour ride, Chalmers couldn’t find the trail to Estes Park. They know roughly where the town is, mind, but can’t figure out how to get there.

“Chalmers, who had started out confident, bumptious*, blatant, was ever becoming more bewildered, and his wife’s thin voice more piping and discontented, and my stumbling horse more insecure, and I more determined that somehow or other I would reach that blue hollow, and ever stand on Long’s Peak were the snow was glittering. Affairs were becoming serious, and Chalmers’s incompetence a source of real peril …”

Will they make it? Find out tomorrow!


* a word that needs to come back in fashion.


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