Izzy Bird, all the adjectives
Izzy Bird, wildlife

Izzy Bird, side of beef

Isabella is still describing Estes Park and where she is lodging to her sister.

She goes into great detail about the main cabin but the mental image she creates of her personal cabin, which is a little ways away from the big house, moves me more.

“My door opens into a little room with a stone chimney, and that again into a small room with a hay bed, a chair with a tin basin on it, a shelf and some pegs. A small window looks onto the lake, and the glories of the sunrises which I see from it are indescribable.* Neither of my doors has a lock, and, to say the truth, neither will shut, as the wood has swelled.”

For this room (which sounds perfect, frankly, even though the hay bed would make me sneeze all night), Isabella pays $8 a week. This includes the unlimited use of a horse and meals.

“We breakfast at seven on beef, potatoes, tea, coffee, new bread, and butter. Two pitchers of cream and two of milk are replenished as fast as they are exhausted. Dinner at twelve is a repetition of breakfast, but with the coffee omitted and a gigantic pudding added. Tea at six is a repetition of breakfast.”

It appears that the formal meals end after tea. But guests are encouraged to eat as much milk and bread as they’d like whenever the mood suits them.

Where does the beef come from?**

“The steer which was being killed on my arrival is now being eaten through from head to tail, the meat being hacked off quite promiscuously, without any regard to joints. In this dry, rarefied air, the outside of the flesh blackens and hardens, and though the weather may be hot, the carcass keeps sweet for two or three months.***”

There are other guests and long-term residents who circulate in and around the property. Mountain Jim lives about four miles away but he seems to spend a lot of time at Isabella’s lodge while she is in residence. This is, she says, “a miniature world of great interest, in which love, jealousy, hatred, envy, pride, unselfishness, greed, selfishness, and self-sacrifice can be studied hourly, and there is always the unpleasantly exciting risk of an open quarrel with the neighboring desperado, whose ‘I’ll shoot you!’ has more than once been heard in the cabin.”


* Given how wordy writers of her time are, I’m a little surprised she didn’t spend three or four paragraphs going on about the purple-ness of the Lady Dawn’s first fingers as they reached across the expiring night sky, etc.

** Whichever one of you just said “cows, I think” is now on my list.

*** This would not work nearly as well nearly anywhere with any humidity. Unless, of course, you like your meat with a side of about nine thousand different kinds of bacteria that will kill you. To say nothing of the insects.


The comments to this entry are closed.