Izzy Bird, fyking
December 24, 2020
Isabella and Evans are riding up to Jim’s cabin. Jim will ride with her the rest of the way into Denver.
Evans sang the praises of Jim, whose chivalry toward women was well established. His heart was kind, Evans said, but he is his own worst enemy. A few months later, Evans would shoot and kill Jim. The story about why remains unclear. Of the event, Isabella writes, “The story of the previous weeks is dark, sad, and evil. Of the five differing versions which have been written to me of the act itself and its immediate causes, it is best to give none. The tragedy is too painful to dwell upon.”
But back in the here and now,” Jim is alive.
“At the door of his den I took leave of Birdie, who had been my faithful companion for more than 700 miles of traveling,** and of Evans, who had been uniformly kind to me and just in all his dealings, even to paying to me at that moment the very last dollar he owed me. May God bless him and his!”
Isabella and Jim faff around a bit before leaving from his cabin, mostly so that Jim can present her with his finest beaver skin. When they finally set off, the weather isn’t great.
“[Jim] had previously promised that he would not hurry or scold, by ‘fyking’*** had not been included in the arrangement, and when in the early darkness we reached the steep hill, at whose four the rapid deep St. Vrain flows, he ‘fyked’ unreasonably about me, the mare, and the crossing generally, and seemed to think I could not get through…”
But get through she did.
* which isn’t here nor now but you know what I mean.
** I’m more torn up about this separation than about Jim’s death, frankly.
*** apparently this is a valid word in Scrabble but I have zero idea what it means. Thanks for nothing, internet.
(I'm going to leave Isabella here until Monday. FYI.)
I pulled out the OED, which says that fyke means "A bag-net used for catching fish, esp. shad." Not much help, since from the context, I would have guessed it meant fussed, and that doesn't really fit.
Posted by: Caroline Reich | December 24, 2020 at 04:07 PM
"Fussed at" is close, I think. But, yeah. It's weird that this term seems to have completely slipped out of existence.
Posted by: Adrienne Martini | December 25, 2020 at 10:30 AM
Possibly a Scottish word?
(Scottish is full of the MOST delightful words!)
Posted by: Susan | December 25, 2020 at 06:53 PM
That's probably it!
I also like the word "snirt," which is cited in one of the example sentences....
Posted by: Adrienne Martini | December 26, 2020 at 09:09 AM