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Izzy Bird, goodbye Colorado

After Jim and Isabella had their talk about his drinking, they retired to their respective rooms and slept.
In the morning, the mercury was to 20-below. “I never saw such a brilliant atmosphere…The air was filled with diamond sparks and quite intangible…It was still and cloudless, and the shapers of the violet mountains were softened by a veil of the tenderest blue.”
The stage to Greeley pulled up and Mr. Fodder* was already inside. He told Isabella that, one day, he’d like to go hunting with Jim, if she thought it would be safe. She did, and introduced the two men. Mr Fodder put out his hand “cased in a perfectly fitting lemon-colored kid glove.” This glove and handshake, she adds in a footnote, would later lead to the events that cause Jim’s death. But doesn’t provide many details in the note, other than implying that Fodder started it. The stage pulled away. Fodder keeps talking on about Jim, so much so that “… I never realized that my Rocky Mountain life was at an end, not even when I saw Jim, with his golden yellow hair in the sunshine, slowly leading the beautiful mare over the snowy Plains back to Estes Park, equipped with the saddle on which I had ridden 800 miles!
“A drive of several hours brought us to Greeley, and a few hours later, in the far blue distance, the Rocky Mountains, and all that they enclose, went down to the Prairie Sea.”
And there ends her story of the American West.**
* we met him weeks ago - but that’s really not that important.
** as for me, I’m going to take a little break on Isabella stories while I catch up on some other things. However, I have plenty of other trips to choose from once I have some time again.

Izzy Bird, devil Jim

Isabella is in Namaqua.* There is a dance this evening. But first, all of the guests and household members are fascinated by Isabella’s riding partner Jim.

The landlady confesses that Jim’s name is invoked when children are being naughty, by telling them that “he would get them, for he came down from the mountains every week, and took back a child with him to eat!” Yet all assembled seem shocked by how well behaved he is. Plus, he’s something like a celebrity in these parts and Isabella says she “gained a reflected importance. “All the men in the settlement assembled in the front room, hoping he would go and smoke there, and when he remained in the kitchen they came round the window and into the doorway to look at him.”

Everyone clears out for the dance and Jim and Isabella had the kitchen to themselves until midnight. “It was a most respectable dance, a fortnightly gathering got up by the neighboring settlers, most of them young married people, and there was no drinking at all.” Isabella passes the time by writing this letter while Jim recited poems. They get to talking, too. 

“… for the last time, I urged upon him the necessary of a reformation in his life, beginning with giving up whisky, going so far as to tell him that I despised a man of his intellect for being a slave to such a vice. ‘TOO LATE! Too late!,’ he always answered, ‘for such a change.’ As I looked at him, I felt a pity such as I never before felt for a human being.”

* There are only a few entries left. We should close out the Rockies by the end of the week. Prepare yourself.