Izzy Bird, it's not all horses
Izzy Bird, but not lovable

Izzy Bird, ten shillings

Isabella still processing how many visitors to Colorado Springs wind up dead.

“The —s say that many go to the Springs in the last stage of consumption, thinking that the Colorado climate will cure them, without money enough to pay for even the coarsest board. We talked most of that day.”

She doesn’t elaborate on the conversation, however, and changes the topic to the logistics of the rest of her long ride into the mountains. It’s been an inexpensive trip thus far.* She’s obtained “arctics” and warm gloves. Birdie has been given a day off.

“It is a splendid life for health and enjoyment. All my luggage being in a pack, and my conveyance being a horse, we can go anywhere where we can get food and shelter.”

The next part of the letter comes from Great Gorge of the Manitou, which is home to Pike’s Peak, the garden of the Gods, and the Ute Pass. There are immense hotels here, even in the 1870s, and thousands flock each summer to take the waters. It is, of course, scenic AF. “It is grand and awful, and has a strange, column beauty like death.”

Her hope is to push on to higher regions the next day but one of Birdie’s shoes is loose and no one has nails.** Still, she and the horse are getting along well.

“She always follows me closely, and today got quite into a house and pushed the parlor door open. She walks after me with her head laid on my shoulder, licking my face and teasing me for sugar, and, sometimes, when any one else takes hold of her, she rears and kicks, and the vicious bronco soul comes into her eyes.”

I kinda love Birdie, you guys. Like, a lot.


* about ten shillings per day, for those who feel like doing the math.

** even she notes the old saying about “want of a nail.”


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