Isabella is still in the cabin in Estes Park. Jim just showed up on her doorstep.
He “walked in very pale and haggard looking, and coughing severely. He offered to show me the trail up one of the grandest of the canyons and I could not refuse to go.”
The pair rode along and Isabella admired the work of the local beavers, whose “engineering skill is wonderful.”* The canyon, she says, “was glorious beyond any other, but it was a dismal and depressing ride. The dead past buried its dead….Not an allusion was made to the conversation previously. Jim’s manner was courteous, but freezing, and when I left home on my return he hardly thought he should be back from the Snowy Range before I left. Essentially an actor, was he, I wonder, posing on the previous day in the attitude of desperate remorse, to impose on my credulity or frighten me; or was it a genuine and unpremeditated outburst of passionate regret for the life which he had thrown away? I cannot tell, but think it was the last.”
Historians have speculated that Jim was her one, true love but I don’t know. I think her true love was the freedom to travel and everything else was secondary.