Isabella is still on the way to Denver. They have just reached a cluster of houses called “Namaqua.”* She has heard there will be a dance at the inn that night and is dreading it.
“I pictured to myself no privacy, no peace, no sleep, drinking, low sounds, and worse than all, Jim getting into a quarrel and using his pistols. He was uncomfortable about it for another reason. He said he had dreamt the night before that there was to be a dance, and that he had to shoot a man for ‘making an unpleasant remark.’”
After arriving at the rooming house, which is full of people in town for the dance, she was told she could have the kitchen to herself. That is not what happened.
“I found a large, prononcee,** competent, bustling widow, hugely stout, able to manage all men and everything else, and a very florid sister like herself, top heavy with hair.” They were cooking dinner for ten men. “The bustle and clatter were indescribable, and the landlady asked innumerable questions, and seemed to fill the whole room….I sat by the stove until supper, wearying of the noise and bustle after the quiet of Estes Park.”
* It’s now part of Loveland and has its own interesting history.
** not sure if this is an actual word or a typo.