Izzy Bird, box of matches
December 22, 2020
Isabella is at the Hughes’ house, near as I can tell.
It is cold and “the weather brings out some special severities. The stove has to be in the living room, the children cannot go out,* and, good and delightful as they are, it is hard for them to be shut up all day with four adults…before each meal, eggs, butter, milk, preserves, and pickles have to be unfrozen. Unless they are kept on the stove, there is no part of the room in which they do not freeze.”
Isabella finds this pernicious cold boring. She longs for more active winter weather, “the rushing winds, the piled-up peaks, the great pines, the wild night noises, the poetry and the prose of the free, jolly like of my unrivaled eyrie.” She’s about to get her wish because they will soon ride to Estes Park.
The morning of the ride, the mercury has disappeared, which means it is at least 20 below zero. After a breakfast of buffalo beef, she left on her ride. She stopped for a warm meal at a trapper’s cabin. Said trapper was pretty sure a woman out in the weather solo would freeze to death. She explained that she’d ridden 600 miles through the territory on her own and liked her odds. He gave her some matches and said, “You’ll have to camp out anyhow; you’d better make a fire than be froze to death.” She has zero intention of stopping to camp, by the way, and is certain she’ll make Estes Park by nightfall.
* That phrase — the children cannot go out — makes my blood run cold.