Let’s all accept that the next adventure will start on Monday. Isabella will be off to a place that we might think we know — but due to the passage of time, we likely don’t.
In many ways, Palser Havely* points out, Isabella likely didn’t fabricate stories out of whole cloth but might have enhanced reality a tad.** It’s not so much that what happened didn’t happen, it’s more that she left out all of the boring stuff and stressed the exciting stuff. As Palser Havely points out, Bird would be the equivalent of a maker of spectacular tv travel shows today. “A television documentary about a remote corner of the world follows similar conventions. It makes the most of both the pleasures and the dangers of the experience and excludes the tedious and the routine. It creates an illusion of great intimacy with the land and the local people which for the most part depends on an elaborate pretense that there is no intervening technology and no intervening foreign sensibility. It was only later that Bird took a camera on her journeys, but she inevitably took with her the mental attitudes of a Victorian gentlewoman… she remained a traveler, a passer-through, and her naive delight at the spectacle of herself in outlandish places and among exotic characters is very charming.”
“To some extent,” Palser Havely notes, “she was living out a fantasy when she traveled… she never positively lied about what she did, though sometimes her stories are a little tall.”
And, tomorrow, I’ll share one of the tallest tales about Bird I’ve found….
* this is actually her name. Add this to the long list of simple things I’ve messed up because it’s 2020.
** My husband will be laughing his arse off when he reads this.