One thing I’ve notice about this younger Isabella — the rocky mountain adventure was in 1873; Japan was 1878 — is that she loves a long, florid description of pretty much everything. Some of that is just the style of the late 1800s. Some of it is a lack of confidence to say something plainly. I know this dilemma.
She’s spent the last little bit riding around Truckee and Tahoe. It is absolutely gorgeous.
“Crested blue jays darted through the dark pines, squirrels in hundreds scampered through the forest, red dragon-flies flashed like ‘living light,’ exquisite chipmunks ran across the track, but only a dusty blue lupin here and there reminded me of the earth’s fairer children.”
A couple of sentences later, she finds a trappers hut and it is surrounded by* “dense forests which bound it, and drape two-thirds of its gaunt sierras, are [full of] hordes of grizzles, brown bears, wolves, elk, deer, chipmunks, martens, minks, skunks, foxes, squirrels, and snakes.”
As the sun goes down at the end of one ride, she describes it with a collection of words that Dickens would envy. “It passed through every stage of beauty, through every glory of color, through riot and triumph, through pathos and tenderness,** into a long, dreamy, painless rest, succeeded by the profound solemnity of moonlight, and a stillness broken only by the night cries of beasts in the aromatic forest.”
Expect more such prose to come as she travels to Cheyenne.
* deep breath
** Sure. Why not