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A lady's life in the rocky mountains Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy), 1831-1904 1879

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1  iJSil The University of British Columbia Library
[The Right of Translation is reserved.] Printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh. tyifL
These letters, as their style sufficiently indicates, were
written without the remotest idea of publication. They
appeared last year in the Leisure Hour at the request of
its editor, and were so favourably received that I venture to present them to the public in a separate form, as
a record of very interesting travelling experiences, and
of a phase of pioneer life which is rapidly passing away.
I. L. B.
October 1879.  TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Lake Tahoe— Morning in San Francisco — Dnst—A Pacific mail
train—Digger Indians—Cape Horn—A mountain hotel—A
pioneer—A Truckee livery stable—A mountain stream—Finding a bear—Tahoe . -    . . Pages 1-16
A lady's "get-up'
A tragic tale—
1—Grizzly bears—The " Gem of the Sierras "—
A carnival of colour . . 17-24
A Temple of Morpheus — Utah—A "God-forgotten" town — A
distressed couple — Dog villages — A temperance colony — A
Colorado inn—The bug pest—Fort Collins . 25-39
A plague of flies — A melancholy charioteer — The Foot Hills—A
mountain boarding-house—A dull life— " Being agreeable "—
Climate of Colorado—Soroche and snakes     .       . 40-48
A dateless day—" Those hands of yours "—A Puritan—Persevering
shiftlessness — The house-mother -*- Family worship — A grim
Sunday—A "thick-skulled Englishman"—A morning call—
Another atmosphere—The Great Lone Land—" 111 found "—A
log camp—Bad footing for horses—Accidents—Disappointment ...... 49-72. X CONTENTS.
A bronco mare—An accident—Wonderland—A sad story— The
children of the Territories—Hard greed—Halcyon hours—
Smartness—Old-fashioned prejudices—The Chicago colony—
Good luck—Three notes of admiration—A good horse—The
St. Vrain—The Rocky Mountains at last—" Mountain Jim "—
A death hug—Estes Park    . . . Pages 73-96
Personality of Long's Peak—"Mountain Jim "—Lake of the Lilies
—A silent forest—The camping ground—? Ring "—A lady's
bower — Dawn and sunrise — A glorious view —■ links of
diamonds—The ascent of the Peak—The " Dog's lift"—Suffering from thirst—The descent—The bivouac . 97-118
Estes Park — Big game—"Parks" in Colorado — Magnificent
scenery—Flowers and pines—An awful road—Our log cabin—
Griffith Evans—A miniature world—Our topics—A night
alarm—A skunk—Morning glories—Daily routine—The panic
—" Wait for the waggon "—A musical evening   .        119-142
ma'ams."—A desperado—A cattle hunt—The muster—
A mad cow—A snow-storm—Snowed up—Birdie—The Plains—
A prairie schooner—Denver—A find—Plum Creek—" Being
agreeable "—Snowbound—The grey mare . 143-166
A white world—Bad travelling—A millionaire's home—Pleasant
Park—Perry's Park—Stock raising — A cattle king — The
Arkansas Divide—Birdie's sagacity — Luxury — Monument
Park—Deference to prejudice—A death scene—The Manitou— CONTENTS. Xi
A loose shoe—The Ute Pass—Bergen's Park—A settler's home
—Tiayden's Divide—Sharp criticism—Speaking the truth
Pages 167-192
Tarryall Creek—The Red Range—Excelsior—Unfortunate pedlars
Snow and heat—A bison calf—Deep drifts—South Park—The
Great Divide—Comanche Bill—Difficulties—Hall's Gulch—A
Lord Dundreary—Ridiculous fears . . 193-207
Deer Valley—Lynch law—Vigilance Committees—The Silver
Spruce—Taste and abstinence—The Whisky Fiend—Smartness
—Turkey Creek Canyon—The Indian Problem—Public rascality
—Friendly meetings—The way to the Golden City—A rising
settlement—Clear Creek Canyon—Staging—Swearing—A
mountain town      .....       208-223
The blight of mining—Green Lake—Golden City—Benighted-
Vertigo—Boulder Canyon—Financial straits—A hard ride—
The last cent—A bachelor's home—" Mountain Jim "—A surprise—A night arrival—Making the best of it—Scanty
far® 224-238
A dismal ride—A desperado's tale—"Lost! Lost! Lost!"—
Winter glories—Solitude—Hard times—Intense cold—A pack
of wolves—The beaver dams—Ghastly scenes—Venison steaks
—Our evenings . . . . . 239-252
A whisky slave—The pleasures of monotony—The mountain lion—
"Another mouth to feed"—A tiresome boy—An outcast— 1
Thanksgiving Day—The new-comer—A literary humbug-
Milking a dry cow—Trout-fishing—A snow-storm—A desperado's den .... Pages 253-270
A harmonious home—Intense cold—A purple sun—A grim jest—
A perilous ride—Frozen eyelids—Longmount—The pathless
prairie—Hardships of emigrant life—A trapper's advice—The
Little Thompson—Evans and "Jim"      . .       271-284
Woman's Mission—The last morning—Crossing the St. Vrain—
Miller—The St. Vrain again—Crossing the prairie—"Jim's"
dream—" Keeping strangers "—The inn kitchen—A reputed
child-eater—Notoriety—A quiet dance—" Jim's " resolve—The
frost-fell—An unfortunate introduction    . .        285-296
Estes Park
Bad footing for horses .           .         ^
To face page 67
Grand Crater    .
„ 101
Lava beds, Long's Peak
„ 107
My home in the Rocky Mountains
„         „ 120
The Great Divide
„ 203
An Indian Camp
„ 215 LETTER I.
Lake Tahoe—Morning in San Francisco—Dust—A Pacific Mail-
Train—Digger Indians—Cape Horn—A Mountain Hotel—A
Pioneer—A Truckee Livery Stable—A Mountain Stream—
Finding a Bear—Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe, /
I have found a dream of beauty at which one might
look all one's life and sigh. Not lovable, like the
Sandwich Islands, but beautiful in its own way!--
A strictly North American beauty—snow-splotched
mountains, huge pines, red-woods, sugar pines, silver
spruce; a crystalline atmosphere, waves of the richest
colour; and a pine-hung lake which mirrors all beauty
on its surface.' Lake Tahoe is before me, a sheet of
water twenty-two miles long by ten broad, and in
some places 1700 feet deep. It lies at a height of 6000
feet, and the snow-crowned summits which wall it in
are from 8000 to 11,000 feet in altitude. The air is
keen and elastic. There is no sound but the distant
and slightly musical ring of the lumberer's axe.
It is a weariness to go back, even in thought, to
the clang of San Erancisco, which I left in its cold
morning fog early yesterday, driving to the Oakland
B A lady's life in
ferry through streets with side-walks heaped with
thousands of cantaloupe and water-melons, tomatoes,
cucumbers, squashes, pears, grapes, peaches, apricots,
—all of startling size as compared with any I ever
saw before. Other streets were piled with sacks of
flour, left out all night, owing to the security, from
rain at this season. I pass hastily over the early part
of the journey, the crossing the bay in a fog as chill
as November, the number of " lunch baskets," which
gave the car the look of conveying a great picnic
party, the last view of the Pacific, on which I had
looked for nearly a year, the fierce sunshine and
brilliant sky inland, the look of long rainlessness,
which one may not call drought, the valleys with
sides crimson with the poison oak, the dusty vineyards, with great purple clusters thick among the
leaves, and between the vines great dusty melons
lying on the dusty earth. Erom off the boundless
harvest-fields the grain was carried in June, and it
is now stacked in sacks along the track, awaiting
freightage. California is a " land flowing with milk
and honey." The barns are bursting with fulness.
In the dusty orchards the apple and pear branches
are supported, that they may not break down under
the weight of fruit; melons, tomatoes, and squashes
of gigantic size lie ajmost unheeded on the ground;
fat cattle, gorged almost to repletion, shade themselves under the oaks; superb "red" horses shine, letter I. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 3
not with grooming, but with condition; and thriving
farms everywhere show on what a solid basis the
prosperity of the "Golden State" is founded. Very
uninviting, however rich, was the blazing Sacramento
Valley, and very repulsive the city of Sacramento,
which, at a distance of 125 miles from the Pacific,
has an elevation of only thirty feet. The mercury
stood at 103° in the shade, and the fine white dust
was stifling.
In the late afternoon we began the ascent of the
Sierras, whose saw-like points had been in sight for
many miles. The dusty fertility was all left behind,
the country became rocky and gravelly, and deeply
scored by streams bearing the muddy wash of the
mountain gold-mines down to the muddier Sacramento. There were long broken ridges and deep
ravines, the ridges becoming longer, the ravines
deeper, the pines thicker and larger, as we ascended
into a cool atmosphere of exquisite purity, and before
six P.M. the last traces of cultivation and the last
hardwood trees were left behind.
At Colfax, a station at a height of 2400 feet, I got
out and walked the length of the train. Eirst came
two great gaudy engines, the Grizzly Bear and the
White Fox, with their respective tenders loaded with
logs of wood, the engines with great, solitary, reflecting
lamps in front above the cow-guards, a quantity of
polished brass-work, comfortable glass houses, and
* I
! ||
well-stuffed seats for the engine-drivers. The engines
arid tenders were succeeded by a baggage-car, a mail-
car, and Wells, Eargo, and Co.'s express-car, the latter
loaded with bullion and valuable parcels, and in
charge of two " express agents." Each of these cars
is forty-five feet long. Then came two cars loaded
with peaches and grapes; then two "silver palace"
cars, each sixty feet long; then a smoking-car, at that
time occupied mainly by Chinamen; and then live
ordinary passenger-cars, with platforms like all the
others, making altogether a train about 700 feet in
length. The platforms of the four front cars were
clustered over with Digger Indians, with their squaws,
children, and gear. They are perfect savages, without any aptitude for even aboriginal civilisation, and
are altogether the most degraded of the ill-fated
tribes which are dying out before the white races.
They were all very diminutive, five feet one inch
being, I should think, about the average height, with
flat noses, wide mouths, and black hair, cut straight
above the eyes and hanging lank and long at the
back and sides. The squaws wore their hair thickly
plastered with pitch, and a broad band of the same
across their noses and cheeks. They carried their
infants on their backs, strapped to boards. The
clothing of both sexes was a ragged, dirty combina-,*
tion of coarse woollen cloth and hide, the moccasins
being unornamented.    They  were  all hideous and liETTERI. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 5
filthy, and swarming with vermin. The men carried
short bows and arrows, one of them, who appeared to
be the chief, having a lynx's skin for a quiver. A
few had fishing-tackle, but the bystanders said that
they lived almost entirely upon grasshoppers. They
were a most impressive incongruity in the midst of
the tokens of an omnipotent civilisation.
The light of the sinking sun from that time glorified the Sierras, and as the dew fell, aromatic odours
made the still air sweet. On a single track, sometimes carried on a narrow ledge excavated from the
mountain side by men lowered from the top in
baskets, overhanging ravines from 2000 to 3000 feet
deep, the monster train snaked its way upwards,
stopping sometimes in front of a few frame houses,
at others where nothing was to be seen but a log
cabin with a few Chinamen hanging about it, but
where trails on the sides of the ravines pointed to a
gold country above and below. So sharp and frequent
are the curves on some parts of the ascent, that on
looking out of the window one could seldom see more
than a part of the train at once. At Cape Horn,
where the track curves round the ledge of a precipice
2500 feet in depth, it is correct to be frightened, and
a fashion of holding the breath and shutting the eyes
prevails, but my fears were reserved for the crossing of
a trestle-bridge over a very deep chasm, which is itself
approached by a sharp curve.    This bridge appeared A LADY S LIFE IN
to be overlapped by the cars so as to produce the
effect of looking down directly into a wild gulch, with
a torrent raging along it at an immense depth below.
Shivering in the keen, frosty air near the summit-
pass of the Sierras, we entered the " snow-sheds,"
wooden, galleries, which for about fifty miles shut out
all the splendid views of the region, as given in
dioramas, not even allowing a glimpse of " the Gem
of the Sierras," the lovely Donner Lake. One of
these sheds is twenty-seven miles long. In a few
hours the mercury had fallen from 103° to 29°, and
we had ascended 6987 feet in 105 miles! After
passing through the sheds, we had several grand
views of a pine-forest on fire before reaching Truckee
at 11 P.M., having travelled 258 miles. Truckee, the
centre of the " lumbering region" of the Sierras, is
usually spoken of as " a rough mountain town," and
Mr. W. had told me that all the roughs of the district
congregated there, that there were nightly pistol
affrays in bar-rooms, etc., but as he admitted that a
lady was sure of respect, and Mr. G. strongly advised
me to stay and see the lakes, I got out, much dazed,
and very stupid with sleep, envying the people in the
sleeping-car, who were already unconscious on their
luxurious couches. The cars drew up in a street—
if street that Could be called which was only a wide,
cleared space, intersected by rails, with here and there
a stump, and great piles of sawn logs bulking big in THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS,
the moonlight,, and a number of irregular clap-board,
steep-roofed houses, many of them with open fronts,
glaring with light and crowded with men. We had
pulled up at the door of a rough Western hotel, with
a partially open front, being a bar-room crowded with
men drinking and smoking, and the space between it
and the cars was a moving mass of loafers and passengers. On the tracks, engines, tolling heavy bells,
were mightily moving, the glare from their cyclopean
eyes dulling the light of a forest which was burning
fitfully on a mountain side; and on open spaces great
fires of pine-logs were burning cheerily, with groups
of men round them. A band was playing noisily^
and the unholy sound of tom-toms was not far off.
Mountains—the sierras of many a fireside dream—
seemed to wall in the town, and great pines stood
out, sharp and clear cut, against a sky in which a
moon and stars were shining frostily.
It was a sharp frost at that great height, and when
an "irrepressible nigger," who seemed to represent
the hotel establishment, deposited me and my carpetbag in a room which answered for " the parlour," I
was glad to find some remains of pine knots still
alight in the stove. A man came in and said that
when the cars were gone he would try to get me a
room, but they were so full that it would be a very
poor one. The crowd was solely masculine. It was
then 11.30 p.m., and I had not had a meal since 6 8
A.M.; but when I asked hopefully for a hot supper,
with tea, I was told that no supper could be got at
that hour; but in half an hour the same man returned
with a small cup of cold, weak tea, and a small slice
of bread, which looked as if it had been much handled.
I asked the negro factotum about the hire of
horses, and presently a man came in from the bar
who, he said, could supply my needs. This man, the
very type of a western pioneer, bowed, threw himself
into a rocking-chair, drew a spittoon beside him, cut
a fresh quid of tobacco, began to chew energetically,
and put his feet, cased in miry high boots, into which
his trousers were tucked, on the top of the stove.
He said he had horses which would both " lope"
and trot, that some ladies preferred the Mexican
saddle, that I could ride alone in perfect safety; and
after a route had been devised, I hired a horse for
two days. This man wore a pioneer's badge as one
of the earliest settlers of California, but he had
moved on as one place after another had become
too civilised for him, " but nothing," he added, " was
likely to change much in Truckee." I was afterwards told that the usual regular hours of # sleep are
not observed there. The accommodation is too limited
for the population of 2000,1 which is masculine mainly,
and is liable to frequent temporary additions, and
beds are occupied continuously, though by different
1 Nelson's Guide to the Central Pacific Railroad. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
occupants, throughout the greater part of the twenty-
four hours. Consequently I found the bed and room
allotted to me quite tumbled-looking. Men's coats
and sticks were hanging up, miry boots were littered
about, and a rifle was in one corner. There was no
window to the outer air, but I slept soundly, being
only once awoke by an increase of the same din in
which I had fallen asleep, varied by three pistol-
shots fired in rapid succession.
This morning Truckee wore a totally different
aspect. The crowds of the night before had disappeared. There were heaps of ashes where the fires
had been. A sleepy German waiter seemed the only
person about the premises, the open drinking-saloons
were nearly empty, and only a few sleepy-looking
loafers hung about in what is called the street. It
might have been Sunday; but they say that it
brings a great accession of throng and jollity. Public worship has died out at present; work is discontinued on Sunday, but the day is given up to pleasure.
Putting a minimum of indispensables into a bag, and
slipping on my Hawaiian riding-dress over a silk
skirt, and a dust-cloak over all, I stealthily crossed
the plaza to the livery-stable, the largest building in
Truckee, where twelve fine horses were stabled in
stalls on each side of a broad drive. My friend of
the evening before showed me his " rig," three velvet-
covered side-saddles almost without horns.    Some 10
ladies, he said, used the horn of the Mexican saddle,
but none " in this part" rode cavalier fashion. I felt
abashed. I could not ride any distance in the conventional mode, and was just going to give up this
splendid " ravage," when the man said, " Eide your
own fashion; here, at Truckee, if anywhere in the
world, people can do as they like." Blissful Truckee!
In no time a large grey horse was "rigged out" in a
handsome silver-bossed Mexican saddle, with ornamental leather tassels hanging from the stirrup-
guards, and a housing of black bear's-skin. I
strapped my silk skirt on the saddle, deposited my
cloak in the corn-bin, and was safely on the horse's
back before his owner had time to devise any way
of mounting me. Neither he nor any of the loafers
who had assembled showed the slightest sign of
astonishment, but all were as respectful as possible.
Once on horseback my embarrassment disappeared, and I rode through Truckee, whose irregular,
steep-roofed houses and shanties, set down in a
clearing, and surrounded closely by mountain and
forest, looked like a temporary encampment, passed
under the Pacific Eailroad, and then for twelve miles
followed the windings of the Truckee river, a clear,
rushing, mountain stream, in which immense pine
logs had gone aground not to be floated off till the
next freshet, a loud-tongued, rollicking stream of ice-
cold water, on whose banks no ferns or trailers hang, THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
and which leaves no greenness along its turbulent
progress. All was bright with that brilliancy of sky
and atmosphere, that blaze of sunshine and universal
glitter, which I never saw till I came to California,
combined with an elasticity in the air which removes
all lassitude, and gives one spirit enough for anything. On either side of the Truckee great sierras
rose like walls, castellated, embattled, rifted, skirted
and crowned with pines of enormous size, the walls
now and then breaking apart to show some snow-
slashed peak rising into a heaven of intense, unclouded, sunny blue. At this altitude of 6000 feet
one must learn to be content with varieties of coni-
fero3, for, except for aspens, which spring up in some
places where the pines have been cleared away, and
for cotton-woods, which at a lower level fringe the
streams, there is nothing but the bear cherry, the
raspberry, the gooseberry, the wild grape, and the
wild currant. None of these grew near the Truckee,
but I feasted my eyes on pines1 which, though not so
large as the Wellingtonia of the Yosemite, are really
gigantic, attaining a height of 250 feet, their huge
stems, the warm red of cedar wood, rising straight
and branchless for a third of their height, their
diameter from seven to fifteen feet, their shape
that of a larch, but with the needles long and dark,
and cones a foot long. Pines cleft the sky; they
1 Pinus Lairibertiana. 12
A lady's ldje in
were massed wherever level ground occurred; they
stood over the Truckee at right angles, or lay across
it in prostrate grandeur. Their stumps and carcasses
were everywhere; and smooth " shoots" on the
sierras marked where they were shot down as " felled
timber," to be floated off by the river. To them this
wild region owes its scattered population, and the
sharp ring of the lumberer's axe mingles with the
cries of wild beasts and the roar of mountain torrents.
The track is a soft, natural, waggon road, very
pleasant to ride on. The horse was much too big for
me, and had plans of his own; but now and then,
where the ground admitted of it, I tried his heavy
" lope " with much amusement. I met nobody, and
passed nothing on the road but a freight waggon,
drawn by twenty-two oxen, guided by three fine-
looking young men, who had some difficulty in
making room for me to pass their awkward convoy.
After I had ridden about ten miles the road went up
a steep hill in the forest, turned abruptly, and through
the blue gloom of the great pines which rose from
the ravine in which the river was then hid, came
glimpses of two mountains, about 11,000 feet in
height, whose bald grey summits were crowned with
pure snow. It was one of those glorious surprises in
scenery which make one feel as if one must bow
down and worship. The forest was thick, and had
an undergrowth of dwarf spruce and brambles, but THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
as the horse had become fidgety and " scary " on the
track, I turned off in the idea of taking a short cut,
and was sitting carelessly, shortening my stirrup,
when a great, dark, hairy beast rose, crashing and
snorting, out of the tangle just in front of me. I had
only a glimpse of him, and thought that my imagination had magnified a wild boar, but it was a bear.
The horse snorted and plunged violently, as if he
would go down to the river, and then turned, still
plunging, up a steep bank, when, finding that I must
come off, I threw myself off on the right side, where
the ground rose considerably, so that I had not far
to fall. I got up covered with dust, but neither
shaken nor bruised. It was truly grotesque and
humiliating. The bear ran in one direction, and the
horse in another. I hurried after the latter, and
twice he stopped till I was close to him, then turned
round and cantered away. After walking about
a mile in deep dust, I picked up first the saddle-
blanket and next my bag, and soon came upon the
horse, standing facing me,-and shaking all over. I
thought I should catch him then, but when I went
up to him he turned round, threw up his heels several times, rushed off the track, galloped in circles,
bucking, kicking, and plunging for some time, and
then throwing up his heels as an act of final defiance,
went off at full speed in the direction of Truckee,
with the saddle over his shoulders and the great 14
wooden stirrups thumping his sides, while I trudged
ignominiously along in the dust, laboriously carrying
the bag and saddle-blanket.
I walked for nearly an hour, heated and hungry,
when to my joy I saw the ox-team halted across the
top of a gorge, and one of the teamsters leading the
horse towards me. The young man said that, seeing
the horse coming, they had drawn the team across
the road to stop him, and remembering that he had
passed them with a lady on him, they feared that
there had been an accident, and had just saddled
one of their own horses to go in search of me. He
brought me some water to wash the dust from my
face, and re-saddled the horse, but the animal snorted
and plunged for some time before he would let me
mount, and then sidled along in such a nervous and
scared way, that the teamster walked for some distance by me to see that I was " all right." He said
that the woods in the neighbourhood of Tahoe had
been full of brown and grizzly bears for some days,
but that no one was in any danger from them. I
took a long gallop beyond the scene of my tumble to
quiet the horse, who was most restless and troublesome.
Then the scenery became truly magnificent and
bright with life. Crested blueaiays darted through
the dark pines, squirrels in hundreds scampered
through the forest, red dragon-flies   flashed   like THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
"living light," exquisite chipmonks ran across the
track, but only a dusty blue lupin here and there
reminded me of earth's fairer children. Then the
river became broad and still, and mirrored in its
transparent depths regal pines, straight as an arrow,
with rich yellow and green lichen clinging to their
stems, and firs and balsam-pines filling up the spaces
between them, the gorge opened, and this mountain-
girdled lake lay before me, with its margin broken
up into bays and promontories, most picturesquely
clothed by huge sugar-pines. It lay dimpling and
scintillating beneath the noonday sun, as entirely
unspoilt as fifteen years ago, when its pure loveliness was known only to trappers and Indians. One
man lives on it the whole year round; otherwise early
October strips its shores of their few inhabitants, and
thereafter, for seven months, it is rarely accessible
except on snow-shoes. It never freezes. In the
dense forests which bound it, and drape two-thirds
of its gaunt sierras, are hordes of grizzlies, brown
bears, wolves, elk, deer, chipmonks, martens, minks,
skunks, foxes, squirrels, and snakes. On its margin
I found an irregular wooden inn, with a lumber-
waggon at the door, on which was the carcass of a
large grizzly bear, shot behind the house this morning. I had intended to ride ten miles farther, but,
finding that the trail in some places was a " blind "
one, and being bewitched by the beauty and serenity 16
of Tahoe, I have remained here sketching, revelling
in. the view from the verandah, and strolling in -the
forest. At this height there is frost every night of
the year, and my fingers are benumbed.
The beauty is entrancing. The sinking sun is out
of sight behind the western sierras, and all the pine-
hung promontories on this side of the water are rich
indigo, just reddened with lake, deepening here and
there into Tyrian purple. The peaks above, which
still catch the sun, are bright rose-red, and all the
mountains on the other side are pink; and pink, too,
are the far-off summits on which the snow-drifts rest.
Indigo, red, and orange tints stain the still water,
which lies solemn and dark against the shore, under
the shadow of stately pines. An hour later, and a
moon nearly full—not a pale, flat disc, but a radiant
sphere—has wheeled up into the flushed sky. The
sunset has passed through every stage of beauty,
through every glory of colour, through riot and
triumph, through pathos and tenderness, into a long,
dreamy, painless rest, succeeded by the profound
solemnity of the moonlight, and a stillness broken
only by the night cries of beasts in the aromatic
forests. M0k  T  T   _.
1. 1*. 15. letter II. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 17
A Lady's "Get-up"—Grizzly Bears—The "Gem of the Sierras"
—A Tragic Tale—A Carnival of Colour.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, September 7.
As night came on the cold intensified, and the stove
in the parlour attracted every one. A San Francisco
lady, much " got up " in paint, emerald green velvet,
Brussels lace, and diamonds, rattled continuously
for the amusement of the company, giving descriptions of persons and scenes in a racy Western twang,
without the slightest scruple as to what she said.
In a few years Tahoe will be inundated in summer
with similar vulgarity, owing to its easiness of access.
I sustained the reputation which our countrywomen
bear in America by looking a "perfect guy;" and
feeling that I was a salient point for the speaker's
next sally, I was relieved when the landlady, a
ladylike Englishwoman, asked me to join herself
and her family in the bar-room, where we had much
talk about the neighbourhood and its wild beasts,
especially bears. The forest is full of them, but
they seem  never  to  attack  people  unless when I
c 18
wounded, or much aggravated by dogs, or a she-
bear thinks you are going to molest her young.
I dreamt of bears so vividly that I woke with a
furry death-hug at my throat, but feeling quite
refreshed. When I mounted my horse after breakfast the sun was high and the air so keen and intoxicating that, giving the animal his head, I galloped
up and down hill, feeling completely tireless. Truly,
that air is the elixir of life. I had a glorious ride
back to Truckee. The road was not as solitary as
the day before. In a deep part of the forest the
horse snorted and reared, and I saw a cinnamon-
coloured bear with two cubs cross the track ahead of
me. I tried to keep the horse quiet that the mother
might acquit me of any designs upon her lolloping
children, but I was glad when the ungainly, longhaired party crossed the river. Then I met a team,
the driver of which stopped and said he was glad
that I had not gone to Cornelian Bay, it was such
a bad trail, and hoped I had enjoyed Tahoe. The
driver of another team stopped and asked if I had
seen any bears. Then a man heavily armed, a
hunter probably, asked me if I were the English
tourist who had "happened on" a "grizzlie" yesterday.
Then I saw a lumberer taking his dinner on a rock
in the river, who " touched his hat" and brought me
a draught of ice-cold water, which I could hardly
drink owing to the fractiousness of the horse, and letter II. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 19
gathered me some mountain pinks, which I admired.
I mention these little incidents to indicate the habit
of respectful courtesy to women which prevails, in
that region. These men might have been excused
for speaking in a somewhat free-and-easy tone to
a lady riding alone, and in an unwonted fashion.
Womanly dignity and manly respect for women are
the salt of society in this wild West.
My horse was so excitable that I avoided the
centre of Truckee, and skulked through a collection
of Chinamen's shanties to the stable, where a prodigious roan horse, standing seventeen hands high,
was produced for my ride to the Donne? Lake. I
asked the owner, who was as interested in my enjoying myself as a West Highlander might have been,
if there were not ruffians about who might make an
evening ride dangerous. A story was current of a
man having ridden, through Truckee two evenings
before with a chopped-up human body in a sack
behind the saddle, and hosts of stories of ruffianism
are located there, rightly or wrongly. This man
said, " There's a bad breed of ruffians, but the ugliest
among them all won't touch you. There's nothing
Western folk admire so much as pluck in a woman."
I had to get on a barrel before I could reach the
stirrup, and when I was mounted my feet only came
half-way down the horse's sides. I felt like a fly on
him.   The road at first lay through a valley without 20
a river, but some swampishness nourished some rank
swamp-gra6s, the first green grass I have seen in
America; and the pines, with their red stems, looked
beautiful rising out of it. I hurried along, and came
upon the Donner Lake quite suddenly, to be completely smitten by its beauty. It is only about three
miles long by one and a half broad, and lies hidden
away among mountains, with no dwellings on its
shores but some deserted lumberers' cabins.1 Its
loneliness pleased me well. I did not see man, beast,
or bird from the time I left Truckee till I returned.
The mountains, which rise abruptly from the margin,
are covered with dense pine-forests, through which,
here and there, strange forms of bare grey rock,
castellated, or needle-like, protrude themselves. On
the opposite side, at a height of about 6000 feet, a
grey, ascending line, from which rumbling, incoherent
sounds occasionally proceeded, is seen through the
pines. This is one of the snow-sheds of the Pacific
Eailroad, which shuts out from travellers all that I
was seeing. The lake is called after Mr. Donner,
who, with his family, arrived at the Truckee river in
the fall of the year, in company with a party of
emigrants bound for California. Being encumbered
with many cattle, he let the company pass on, and,
with his own party of sixteen souls, which included
his wife and four children, encamped by the lake.
1 Visitors can now be accommodated at a tolerable mountain hotel. LETTER II.
In the morning they found themselves surrounded
by an expanse of snow, and after some consultation
it was agreed that the whole party except Mr. Donner,
who was unwell, his wife, and a German friend,
should take the horses and attempt to cross the
mountain, which, after much peril, they succeeded
in doing; but, as the storm continued for several
weeks, it was impossible for any rescue party to
succour the three who had been left behind. In the
early spring, when the snow was hard enough for
travelling, a party started in quest, expecting to find
the snow-bound alive ^nd well, as they had cattle
enough for their support, and, after weeks of toil and
exposure, they scaled the Sierras and reached the
Donner Lake. On arriving at the camp they opened
the rude door, and there, sitting before the fire, they
found the German, holding a roasted human arm and
hand, which he was greedily eating. The rescue
party overpowered him, and with difficulty tore the
arm from him. A short search discovered the body
of the lady, minus the arm, frozen in the snow,
round, plump, and fair, showing that she was in
perfect health when she met her fate. The rescuers
returned to California, taking the German with them,
whose story was that Mr. Donner died in the fall,
and that the cattle escaped, leaving them but little
food, and that when this was exhausted Mrs. Donner
jdied."   The story never gained any credence, and the 22
truth oozed out that the German had murdered the
husband, then brutally murdered the wife, and had
seized upon Donner's money. There were, however,
no witnesses, and the murderer escaped with the
enforced surrender of the money to the Donner
This tragic story filled my mind as I rode towards
the head of the lake, which became every moment
grander and more unutterably lovely. The sun was
setting fast, and against his golden light green promontories, wooded with stately pines, stood out one
beyond another in a medium of dark rich blue, while
grey bleached summits, peaked, turreted, and snow-
slashed, were piled above them, gleaming with amber
light. Darker grew the blue gloom, the dew fell
heavily, aromatic odours floated on the air, and still
the lofty peaks glowed with living light, till in one
second it died off from them, leaving them with the
ashy paleness of a dead face. It was dark and cold
under the mountain shadows, the frosty chill of the
high altitude wrapped me round, the solitude was
overwhelming, and I reluctantly turned my horse's
head towards Truckee, often looking back to the
ashy summits in their unearthly fascination. Eastwards the look of the scenery was changing every
moment, while the lake for long remained "one
burnished sheet of living gold," and Truckee lay
utterly out of sight in a hollow filled with lake and LETTER II. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 23
cobalt. Before long a carnival of colour began which
I can only describe as delirious, intoxicating, a hardly
bearable joy, a tender anguish, an indescribable
yearning, t an unearthly music, rich in love and
worship. It lasted considerably more than an hour,
and though the road was growing very dark, and
the train which was to take me thence was fast
climbing the Sierras, I could not ride faster than a
The 'eastward mountains, which had been grey,
blushed pale pink, the pink deepened into rose, and
the rose into crimson, and then all solidity ethereal-
ised away and became clear and pure as an amethyst,
while all the waving ranges and the broken pine-
clothed ridges below etherealised too, but into a dark
rich blue, and a strange effect of atmosphere blended
the whole into one perfect picture. It changed,
deepened, reddened, melted, growing more and more
wonderful, while under the pines it was night, till,
having displayed itself for an hour, the jewelled
peaks suddenly became like those of the sierras, wan
as the face of death. Far later the cold golden light
lingered in the west, with pines in relief against its
purity, and where the rose light had glowed in the
east, a huge moon upheaved itself, and the red flicker
of forest fires luridly streaked the mountain sides
near and far off. I realised that night had come
with its eeriness, and putting my great horse into a 24
gallop I clung on to him till I pulled him up in
Truckee, which was at the height of its evening
revelries—fires blazing out of doors, bar-rooms
and saloons crammed, lights glaring, gaming-tables
thronged, fiddle and banjo in frightful discord, and
the air ringing with ribaldry and profanity.
I. L. B. J
letter in. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 25
A Temple of Morpheus—Utah—A "God-forgotten" Town*-A distressed Couple — Dog Villages — A Temperance Colony—A
Colorado Inn—The Bug pest—Fort Collins.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, September 8.
Precisely at 11 p.m. the huge Pacific train, with its
heavy bell tolling, thundered up to the door of the
Truckee House, and on presenting my ticket at the
double door of a " Silver Palace" car, the slippered
steward, whispering low, conducted me to my berth—
a luxurious bed three and a half feet wide, with a hair
mattress on springs, fine linen sheets, and costly California blankets* The twenty-four inmates of the car
were all invisible, asleep behind rich curtains. It was
a true Temple of Morpheus. Profound sleep was the
object to which eveiything was dedicated. Four
silver lamps hanging from the roof, and burning low,
gave a dreamy light On each side of the centre
passage, rich rep curtains, green and crimson, striped
with gold, hung from silver bars running near the
roof, and trailed on the soft Axminster carpet. The
temperature was carefully kept at 70°. It was 29°
outside.     Silence  and freedom from jolting were
I 26
secured by double doors and windows, costly and
ingenious arrangements of springs and cushions, and
a speed limited to eighteen miles an hour.
As I lay down, the gallop under the dark pines,
the frosty moon, the forest fires, the flaring lights and
roaring din of Truckee faded as dreams fade, and
eight hours later a pure, pink dawn divulged a level
blasted region, with grey sage brush growing out of
a soil encrusted with alkali, and bounded on either
side by low glaring ridges. All through that day
we travelled under a cloudless sky over solitary
glaring plains, and stopped twice at solitary, glaring
frame houses, where coarse, greasy meals, infested by
lazy flies, were provided at a dollar per head. By
evening we were running across the continent on a
bee line, and I sat for an hour on the rear platform
of the rear car to enjoy the wonderful beauty of the
sunset and the atmosphere. Far as one could see in
the crystalline air there was nothing but desert. The
jagged Humboldt ranges flaming in the sunset, with
snow in their clefts, though forty-five miles off, looked
within an easy canter. The bright metal track, purpling like all else in the cool distance, was all that
linked one with eastern or western civilisation.
The next morning, when the steward unceremoniously turned us out of our berths soon after sunrise, we were running down upon the Great Salt
Lake,   bounded   by   the  white  Wahsatch   ranges. letter ill. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 27
Along its shores, by means of irrigation, Mormon
industry has compelled the ground to yield fine
crops of hay and barley ; and we passed several
cabins, from which, even at that early hour, Mormons,
each with two or three wives, were going forth to
their day's work. The women were ugly, and their
shapeless blue dresses hideous. At the Mormon town
of Ogden we changed cars, and again traversed dusty
plains, white and glaring, varied by muddy streams
and rough, arid valleys, now and then narrowing into
canyons. By common consent the windows were
kept closed to exclude the fine white alkaline dust,
which is very irritating to the nostrils. The journey
became more and more wearisome as we ascended
rapidly over immense plains and wastes of gravel
destitute of mountain boundaries, and with only here
and there a "knob" or "butte"1 to break the monotony. The wheel marks of the trail to Utah often ran
parallel with the track, and bones of oxen were bleaching in the sun, the remains of those " whose carcasses
fell in the wilderness" on the long and drouthy
journey. The daybreak of to-day (Sunday) found us
shivering at Fort Laramie, a frontier post dismally
situated at a height of 7000 feet. Another 1000 feet
over gravelly levels brought us to Sherman, the highest
1 The mountains which bound the "Valley of the Babbling
Waters," Utah, afford striking examples of these "knobs" or
"buttes." 28
level reached by this railroad. From this point eastward the streams fall into the Atlantic. The ascent
of these apparently level plateaus is called " crossing
the Eocky Mountains," but I have seen nothing of
the range, except two peaks like teeth lying low on
the distant horizon. It became mercilessly cold;
some people thought it snowed, but I only saw rolling billows of fog. Lads passed through the cars the
whole morning, selling newspapers, novels, cacti,
lollypops, pop corn, pea nuts, and ivory ornaments,
so that, having lost all reckoning of the days, I never
knew that it was Sunday till the cars pulled up at
the door of the hotel in this detestable place.
The surrounding plains are endless and verdure-
less. The scanty grasses were long ago turned into
sun-cured hay by the fierce summer heats* There is
neither tree nor bush, the sky is grey, the earth buff,
the air Mae and windy, and clouds of coarse granitic
dust sweep across the prairie and smother the settlement. Cheyenne is described as "a God-forsaken,
God-forgotten place." That it forgets God is written
on its face. Its owes its existence to the railroad,
and has diminished in population, but is a depot for
a large amount of the necessaries of life which are
distributed through the scantily settled districts within
distances of 300 miles by "freight waggons," each
drawn by four or six horses or mules, or double that
number of oxen.   At times over 100 waggons, with LETTER Hi. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
double that number of teamsters, are in Cheyenne at
once. A short time ago it was a perfect pandemonium, mainly inhabited by rowdies and desperadoes,
the scum of advancing civilisation; and murders,
stabbings, shootings, and pistol affrays were at times
events of almost hourly occurrence in its drinking
dens. But in the West, when things reach their
worst, a sharp and sure remedy is provided. Those
settlers who find the state of matters intolerable,
organise themselves into a Vigilance Committee.
I Judge Lynch," with a few feet of rope, appears on
the scene, the majority crystallises round the supporters of order, warnings are issued to obnoxious
people, simply bearing a scrawl of a tree with a man
dangling from it, with such words as " Clear out of
this by 6 A.M., or  ."   A number of the worst
desperadoes are tried by a yet more summary process
than a drumhead court-martial, "strung up," and
buried ignominiously. I have been told that 120
ruffians were disposed of in this way here in a single
fortnight. Cheyenne is now as safe as Hilo, and the
interval between the most desperate lawlessness and
the time when United States law, with its corruption
and feebleness, comes upon the scene is one of comparative security and good order. Piety is not the
forte of Cheyenne. The roads resound with atrocious
profanity, and the rowdyism of the saloons and barrooms is repressed, not extirpated. 30
A lady's life in
m j|i
The population, once 6000, is now about 4000.
It is an ill-arranged set of frame houses and shanties;1
and rubbish heaps, and offal of deer and antelope,
produce the foulest smells I have smelt for a long
time. Some of the houses are painted a blinding
white; others are unpainted; there is not a bush, or
garden, or green thing; it just straggles out promiscuously on the boundless brown plains, on the extreme
verge of which three toothy peaks are seen. It is
utterly slovenly-looking and unornamental, abounds
in slouching bar-room-looking characters, and looks a
place of low, mean lives. Below the hotel windows
freight cars are being perpetually shunted, but beyond
the railroad tracks are nothing but the brown plains,
with their lonely sights—now a solitary horseman at a
travelling amble, then a party of Indians in paint
and feathers, but civilised up to the point of carrying
firearms, mounted on sorry ponies, the bundled-up
squaws riding astride on the baggage-ponies ; then a
drove of ridgy-spined, long-horned cattle, which have
been several months eating their way from Texas,
with their escort of four or five much-spurred horsemen, in peaked hats, blue-hooded coats, and high
boots, heavily armed with revolvers and repeating
rifles, and riding small wiry horses.   A solitary wag-
1 The discovery of gold in the Black Hills has lately given it a
great impetus, and as it is the chief point of departure for the diggings it is increasing in population and importance.—^July 1879. letter in. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 31
gon, with a white tilt, drawn by eight oxen, is probably bearing an emigrant and his fortunes to Colorado. On one of the dreary spaces of the settlement
six white-tilted waggons, each with twelve oxen, are
standing on their way to a distant part. Everything
suggests a beyond.
I have found at the post-office here a circular
letter of recommendation from ex-Governor Hunt,
procured by Miss Kingsley's kinaness, and another equally valuable one of " authentication " and
recommendation from Mr. Bowles, of the Springfield
Republican, whose name is a household word in all
the West. Armed with these, I shall plunge boldly
into Colorado. I am suffering from giddiness and
nausea produced by the bad smells. A " help " here
says that there have been fifty-six deaths from cholera
during the last twenty days. Is common humanity
lacking, I wonder, in this region of hard greed? Can
it not be bought by dollars here, like every other
commodity, votes included ? Last night I made the
acquaintance of a shadowy gentleman from Wisconsin, far gone in consumption, with a spirited wife and
young baby. He had been ordered to the Plains as
a last resource, but was much worse. Early this
morning he crawled to my door, scarcely able to
speak from debility and bleeding from the lungs,
begging me to go to his wife, who, the doctor said, ifflf
was ill of cholera. The child had been ill all night,
and not for love or money could he get any one to
do anything for them, not even to go for the medicine. The lady was blue, and in great pain from
cramp, and the poor unweaned infant was roaring for
the nourishment which had failed. I vainly tried to
get hot water and mustard for a poultice,-and though
I offered a negro a dollar to go for the medicine, he
looked at it superciliously, hummed a tune, and said
he must wait for the Pacific train, which was not
due for an hour. Equally in vain I hunted through
Cheyenne for a feeding-bottle. Not a maternal heart
softened to the helpless mother and.starving child,
and my last resource was to dip a piece of sponge in
some milk and water, and try to pacify the creature.
I applied Eigollot's leaves, went for the medicine, saw
the popular host—a bachelor—who mentioned a girl
who, after much difficulty, consented to take charge
of the baby for two dollars a day and attend to the
mother, and having remained till she began to amend,
I took the cars for Greeley, a settlement on the Plains,
which I had been recommended to make my starting-
point for the mountains.
Foet Collins, September 10.
It gave me a strange sensation to embark upon the
Plains.   Plains, plains everywhere, plains generally
level, but elsewhere rolling in long undulations, like
the waves of a sea which had fallen asleep.   They are letter in. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 33
covered thinly with buff grass, the withered stalks of
flowers, Spanish bayonet, and a small beehive-shaped
cactus.   One could gallop all over them.
They are peopled with large villages of what are
called prairie dogs, because they utter a short, sharp
bark, but the dogs are, in reality, marmots. We
passed numbers of these villages, which are composed of raised circular orifices, about eighteen inches
in diameter, with sloping passages leading downwards for five or six feet. Hundreds of these burrows are placed together. On nearly every rim a
small furry reddish-buff beast sat on his hind legs,
looking, so far as head went, much like a young
seal These creatures were acting as sentinels, and
sunning themselves. As we passed, each gave a
warning yelp, shook its tail, and, with a ludicrous
flourish of its hind legs, dived into its hole. The
appearance of hundreds of these creatures, each
eighteen inches long, sitting like dogs begging, with
their paws down and all turned sunwards, is most
grotesque. The Wish-ton-Wish has few enemies, and
is a most prolific animal From its enormous increase,
and the energy and extent of its burrowing operations,
one can fancy that in the course of years the prairies
will be seriously injured, as it honeycombs the ground,
and renders it unsafe for horses. The burrows seem
usually to be shared by owls, and many of the people
insist that a rattlesnake is also an inmate, but I hope,
D 34
for the sake of the harmless, cheery little prairie dog;
that this unwelcome fellowship is a myth.
After running on a down grade for some time,
&ve distinct ranges of mountains, one above another,
a lurid blue against a lurid sky, upheaved themselves
above the prairie sea. An American railway car,
hot, stuffy, and full of chewing, spitting Yankees,
was not an ideal way of approaching this range
which had early impressed itself upon my imagination. Still, it was truly grand, although it was sixty
miles off, and we were looking at it from a platform
5000 feet in height. As I write I am only twenty-
five miles from them, and they are gradually gaining
possession of me, I can look at and feel nothing
else. At five in the afternoon frame houses and
green fields began to appear, the ears drew up, and
two of my fellow-passengers and I got out and carried
our own luggage through the deep dust to a small,
rough, Western tavern, where with difficulty we were
put up for the night. This settlement is called the
Greeley Temperance Colony, and was founded lately
by an industrious class of emigrants from the East,
all total abstainers, and holding advanced political
opinions. They bought and fenced 50,000 acres of
land, constructed an irrigating canal, which distributes its waters on reasonable terms, have already a
population of 3000, and are the most prosperous and
rising colony in Colorado, being altogether free from THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
either laziness or crime. Their rich fields are artificially productive solely; and after seeing regions
where Nature gives spontaneously, one is amazed
that people should settle here to be dependent on
irrigating canals, with the risk of having their crops
destroyed by grasshoppers. A clause in the charter
of the colony prohibits the introduction, sale, or consumption of intoxicating liquor, and I hear that the
men of Greeley carry their crusade against drink
even beyond their limits, and have lately sacked three
houses opened for the sale of drink near their frontier,
pouring the whisky upon the ground, so that people
don't now like to run the risk of bringing liquor near
Greeley, and the temperance influence is spreading
over a very large area. As the men have no barrooms to sit in, I observed that Greeley was asleep
at an hour when other places were beginning their
revelries. Nature is niggardly, and living is coarse
and rough, the merest necessaries of hardy life being
all that can be thought of in this stage of existence.
My first experiences of Colorado travel have been
rather severe. At Greeley I got a small upstairs
room at first, but gave it up to a married couple with
a child, and then had one downstairs no bigger than,
a cabin, with only a canvas partition. It was very
hot, and every place was thick with black flies. The
English landlady had just lost her " help," and was in
a great fuss, so that I helped her to get supper ready.
<IEi 36
Its chief features were greasiness and black flies.
Twenty meu in working clothes fed and went out
again, " nobody speaking to nobody." The landlady
introduced me to a Vermont settler who Eves in the
" Foot Hills," who was very kind and took a great
deal of trouble to get me a horse. Horses abound,
but they are either large American horses, which are
only used for draught, or small, active horses, called
broncos, said to be from a Spanish word, signifying
that they can never be broke. They nearly all
" buck," and are described as being more " ugly " and
treacherous thai* mules. There is only one horse in
Greeley " safe for a woman to ride." I tried an
Indian pony by moonlight—such a moonlight—but
found he had tender feet. The kitchen was the
only sitting-room, so I shortly went to bed, to be
awoke very soon by crawling creatures apparently in
myriads. I struck a light, and found such swarms
of bugs that I gathered myself up on the wooden
chairs, and dozed uneasily till sunrise. Bugs are a
great pest in Colorado. They come out of the earth,
infest the wooden walls, and cannot be got rid of
by any amount of cleanliness. Many careful housewives take their beds to pieces every week and put
carbolic acid on them.
It was a glorious, cool morning, and the great
range of the Eocky Mountains looked magnificent.
I tried the pony again, but found he would not do THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
for a long journey; and as my Vermont acquaintance
offered me a seat in his waggon to Fort Collins, 25
miles nearer the Mountains, I threw a few things
together and came here with him. We left Greeley
at 10, and arrived here at 4.30, staying an hour for
food on the way. I liked the first half of the drive;
but the fierce, ungoverned, blazing heat of the sun on
the whitish earth for the last half, was terrible even
with my white umbrella, which I have not used
since I left New Zealand; it was sickening. Then
the eyes have never anything green to rest upon,
except in the river bottoms, where there is green hay
grass. We followed mostly the course of the Eiver
Cache-a-la-Poudre, which rises in the mountains, and
after supplying Greeley with irrigation, falls into the
Platte, which is an affluent of the Missouri. When
once beyond the scattered houses and great ring fence
of the vigorous Greeley colonists, we were on the
boundless prairie. Now and then horsemen passed
us, and we met three waggons with white tilts.
Except where the prairie dogs have honeycombed
the ground, you can drive almost anywhere, and the
passage of a few waggons over the same track makes
a road. We forded the river, whose course is marked
the whole way by a fringe of small cotton woods and
aspens, and travelled hour after hour with nothing to
see except some dog towns, with their quaint little
sentinels; but the view in front was glorious.    The
Pi 38
Alps, from the Lombard plains, are the finest mountain panorama I ever saw, but not equal to this; for
not only do five high-peaked giants, each nearly the
height of Mont Blanc, lift their dazzling summits
above the lower ranges, but the expanse of mountains
is so vast, and the whole lie in a transparent medium
of the richest blue, not haze—something peculiar to
the region. The lack of foreground is a great artistic
fault, and the absence of greenery is melancholy, and
makes me recall sadly the entrancing detail of the
Hawaiian Islands. Once only, the second time we
forded the river, the cotton woods formed a foreground,
and then the loveliness was heavenly. We stopped
at a log house and got a rough dinner of beef and
potatoes, and I was amused at the five men who
shared it with us for apologising to me for being
without their coats, as if coats would not be an enormity on the Plains.
It is the election day for the Territory, and men
were galloping over the prairie to register their votes.
The three in the waggon talked politics the whole
time. They spoke openly and shamelessly of the
prices given for votes; and apparently there was not
a politician on either side who was not accused of
degrading corruption. We saw a convoy of 50.00
head of Texan cattle travelling from Southern Texas
to Iowa. They had been nine months on the way !
They were under the charge of twenty mounted letter in. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 39
vacheros, heavily armed, and a light waggon accompanied them, full of extra rifles and ammunition, not
unnecessary, for the Indians are raiding in all directions, maddened by the reckless and useless slaughter
of the buffalo, which is their chief subsistence. On
the plains are herds of wild horses, buffalo, deer, and
antelope; and in the mountains, bears, wolves, deer,
elk, mountain lions, bison, and mountain sheep.
You see a rifle in every waggon, as people always
hope to fall in with game.
By the time we reached Fort Collins I was sick
and dizzy with the heat of the sun, and not disposed
to be pleased with a most unpleasing place. It was
a military post, but at present consists of a few frame
houses put down recently on the bare and burning
plain. The settlers have " great expectations," but of
what ? The mountains look hardly nearer than from
Greeley; one only realises their vicinity by the loss
of their higher peaks. This house is freer from bugs
than the one at Greeley, but full of flies. These new
settlements are altogether revolting, entirely utilitarian, given up to talk of dollars as well as to making
them, with coarse speech, coarse food, coarse everything, nothing wherewith to satisfy the higher cravings if they exist, nothing on which the eye can rest
with pleasure. The lower floor of this inn swarms
with locusts in addition to thousands of black flies.
The latter cover the ground and rise buzzing from it
as you walk. I. L. B. 40
A Plague of Flies—A melancholy Charioteer—The Foot Hills—A
Mountain Boarding-House—A dull Life—" Being Agreeable"—
Climate of Colorado—Soroche and Snakes.
Canyon, September 12.
I was actually so dull and tired that I deliberately
slept away the afternoon in order to forget the heat
and flies. Thirty men in working clothes, silent and
sad-looking, came in to supper. The beef was tough
and greasy, the butter had turned to oil, and. beef and
butter were black with Eving, drowned, and half-
drowned flies. The greasy table-cloth was black also
with flies, and I did not wonder that the guests looked
melancholy and quickly escaped. I failed to get a horse,
but was strongly recommended to come here and board
with a settler, who, they said, had a saw-mill and
took boarders. The person who recommended it so
strongly gave me a note of introduction, and told me
that it was in a grand part of the mountains, where
many people had been camping out all the summer
for the benefit of their health. The idea of a boarding-house, as I know them in America, was rather
formidable in the present state of my wardrobe, and LETTER IV.
I decided on bringing my carpet-bag, as well as my
pack, lest I should be rejected for my bad clothes.
Early the next morning I left in a buggy drawn by
light broncos and driven by a profoundly melancholy
young man. He had never been to the canyon;
there was no road. We met nobody, saw nothing
except antelope in the distance, and he became more
melancholy and lost his way, driving hither and
thither for about twenty miles till we came upon an
old trail which eventually brought us to a fertile
I bottom," where hay and barley were being harvested,
and five or six frame houses looked cheerful. - I had
been recommended to two of these, which professed
to take in strangers, but one was full of reapers, and
in the other a child was dead. So I took the buggy
on, glad to leave the glaring, prosaic settlement
behind. There was a most curious loneliness
about the journey up to that time. Except for
the huge barrier to the right, the boundless prairies
were everywhere, and it was like being at sea without
a compass. The wheels made neither sound nor indentation as we drove over the short, dry grass, and
there was no cheerful clatter of horses' hoofs. The
sky was cloudy and the air hot and still. In one
place we passed the carcass of a mule, and a number
of vultures soared up from it, to descend again immediately. Skeletons and bones of animals were often
to be seen.   A range of low, grassy hills, called the 42
Foot Hills, rose from the plain, featureless and
monotonous, except where streams, fed by the snows
of the higher regions, had cut their way through
them. Confessedly bewildered, and more melancholy
than ever, the driver turned up one of the widest of
these entrances, and in another hour the Foot Hills
lay between us and the prairie sea, and a higher and
broken range, with pitch pines of average size, was
revealed behind them. These Foot Hills, which
swell up uninterestingly from the plains on their
eastern side, on their western have the appearance of
having broken off from the next range, and the break
is abrupt, and takes the form of walls and terraces of
rock of the most brilEant colour, weathered and
stained by ores, and, even under the grey sky, dazzling
to the eyes. The driver thought he had understood
the directions given, but he was stupid, and once we
lost some miles by arriving at a river too rough and
deep to be forded, and again we were brought up by
an impassable canyon. He grew frightened about «
his horses, and said no money would ever tempt him
into the mountains again; but average intelligence
would have made it all easy.
The soHtude was becoming sombre, when, after
driving for nine hours, and travelling at the least
forty-five miles, without any sign of fatigue on the
part of the broncos, we came to a stream, by the side
of which we drove along a definite track, till we came LETTER IVi
to a sort of tripartite valley, with a majestic crooked
canyon 2000 feet deep opening upon it. A rushing
stream roared through it, and the Eocky Mountains,
with pines scattered over them, came down upon
it. A Kttle farther, and the canyon became utterly
inaccessible. This was exciting; here was an inner
world. A rough and shaky bridge, made of the out-
sides of pines laid upon some unsecured logs, crossed
the river. The broncos stopped and smelt it, not
liking it, but some encouraging speech induced them
to go over. On the other side was a log cabin, partially ruinous, and the very rudest I ever saw, its roof
of plastered mud being broken into large holes. It
stood close to the water among some cotton-wood
trees. A Httle higher there was a very primitive
saw-mill, also out of repair, with some logs lying
about. An emigrant waggon and a forlorn tent, with
a camp-fire and a pot, were in the foreground, but
there was no trace of the boarding-house, of which I
stood a little in dread. The driver went for further
directions to the log-cabin, and returned with a grim
smile deepening the melancholy of his face to say it
was Mr. Chalmers', but there was no accommodation
for such as him, much less for me! This was truly
I a sell." I got down and found a single room of the
rudest kind, with the wall at one end partially broken
down, holes in the roof, holes for windows, and no
furniture but two chairs and two unplaned wooden
jsSr\ 44
shelves, with some sacks of straw upon them for beds.
There was an adjacent cabin room, with a stove,
benches, and table, where they cooked and ate, but
this was all. A hard, sad-looking woman looked atv
me measuringly. She said that they sold milk and
butter to parties who camped in the canyon, that
they had never had any boarders but two asthmatic
old ladies, but they would take me for five dollars
per week if I " would make myself agreeable." The
horses had to be fed, and I sat down on a box, had
some dried beef and milk, and considered the matter.
If I went back to Fort Collins, I thought I was farther
from a mountain life, and had no choice but Denver, a
place from which I shrank, or to take the cars for New
York. Here the life was rough, rougher than any I had
ever seen, and the people repelled me by their faces and
manners; but if I could rough it for a few days, I
might, I thought, get over canyons and all other difficulties into Estes Park, which has become the goal of
my journey and hopes.    So I decided to remain.
September 16.
Five days here, and I am no nearer Estes
Park. How the days pass I know not; I am weary
of the limitations of this existence, o This is "a
life in which nothing ever happens." When
the buggy disappeared, I felt as if I had cut the
bridge behind me.   I sat down and knitted for some THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
time—my usual resource under discouraging circumstances. * I really did not know how I should get on.
There was no table, no bed, no basin, no towel, no
glass, no window, no fastening on the door. The
roof was in holes, the logs were unchinked, and one
end of the cabin was partially removed! life was
reduced to its simplest elements. I went out; the
family all had something to do, and took no notice
of me. I went back, and then an awkward girl of
sixteen, with uncombed hair, and a painful repulsive-
ness of face and air, sat on a log for half an hour and
stared at me. I tried to draw her into talk, but she
twirled her fingers and replied snappishly in monosyllables. Could I by any effort "make myself
agreeable?" I wondered. The day went on. I put
on my Hawaiian dress, rolling up the sleeves to the
elbows in an " agreeable " fashion. Towards evening
the family returned to feed, and pushed some dried
beef and milk in at the door. They all slept under
the trees, and before dark carried the sacks of straw
out for their bedding. I followed their example
that night, or rather watched Charles's Wain while
they slept, but since then have slept on blankets on
the floor under the roof. They have neither lamp
nor candle, so if I want to do anything after dark I
have to do it by the unsteady light of pine knots.
As the nights are cold, and free from bugs, and I do
a good deal of manual labour, I sleep well.   At dusk 46
A lady's ufe in
I make my bed on the floor, and draw a bucket of
ice-cold water from the river; the family go to sleep
under the trees, and I pile logs on the fire sufficient
to burn half the night, for I assure you the solitude
is eerie enough. There are unaccountable noises,
(wolves), rummagings under the floor, queer cries,
and stealthy sounds of I know not what. One night
a beast (fox or skunk) rushed in at the open end of
cabin, and fled through the window, almost brushing
my face, and on another, the head and three or four
inches of the body of a snake were protruded through
a chink of the floor close to me, to my extreme disgust. My mirror is the polished inside of my watch-
case. At sunrise Mrs. Chalmers comes in—if coming
into a nearly open shed can be called in—and makes
a fire, because she thinks me too stupid to do it, and
mine is the family room; and by seven I am dressed,
have folded the blankets, and swept the floor, and
then she puts some milk and bread or stirabout on a
box by the door. After breakfast I draw more
water, and wash one or two garments daily, taking
Care that there are no witnesses of my inexperience.
Yesterday a calf sucked one into hopeless rags. The
rest of the day I spend in mending, knitting, writing
to you, and the various odds and ends which arise
when one has to do all for oneself. At twelve and
six some food is put on the box by the door, and at
dusk we make up our "beds.   A distressed emigrant letter rv. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. 47
woman has just given birth to a child in a temporary
shanty by the river, and I go to help her each day.
I have made the acquaintance of all the careworn,
struggling settlers within a walk.    AH have come
for health, and most have found or are finding it,
even if they have no better shelter than a waggon
tilt or a blanket on sticks laid across four poles.
The climate of Colorado is considered the finest in
North America, and consumptives, asthmatics, dyspeptics, and sufferers from nervous diseases, are here
in hundreds and thousands, either trying rthe " camp
cure " for three or four months, or settling hese permanently.    People can safely sleep out of doors for
six months of the year.    The plains are from 4000
to 6000 feet high, and some of the settled " parks," or
mountain valleys, are from 8000 to 10,000.    The
air, besides being much rarefied, is very dry.   The
rainfall is far below the average, dews are rare, and
fogs nearly unknown.   The sunshine is bright and
almost constant, and three-fourths of the days are
cloudless.    The milk, beef, and bread are good.    The
climate is neither so hot in summer nor so cold in
winter as that of the States, and when the days are
hot the nights are cool.     Snow rarely lies on the
lower ranges, and horses and cattle don't require to
be either fed or housed during the winter.   Of course
the rarefied air quickens respiration.    All this is
from hearsay.1    I am not under favourable circum-
1 The curative effect of the climate of Colorado can hardly be 48
stances, either for mind or body, and at present I feel
a singular lassitude and difficulty in taking exercise,
but this is said to be the milder form of the affection
known on higher altitudes as soroche, or " mountain
sickness," and is only temporary. I am forming a
plan for getting farther into the mountains, and hope
that my next letter will be more lively. I killed a
rattlesnake this morning close to the cabin, and have
taken its rattle, which has eleven joints. My life is
embittered by the abundance of these reptiles—
rattlesnakes and moccasin snakes, both deadly, carpet
snakes and " green racers," reputed dangerous, water
snakes, tree snakes, and mouse snakes, harmless but
abominable. Seven rattlesnakes have been killed
just outside the cabin since I came. A snake, three
feet long, was found coiled under the pillow of the
sick woman. I see snakes in all withered twigs, and
am ready to flee at "the sound of a shaken leaf."
And besides snakes, the earth and air' are alive and
noisy with forms of insect life, large and small, stinging, humming, buzzing, striking, rasping, devouring!
exaggerated. In travelling extensively through the Territory
afterwards I found that nine out of every ten settlers were cured,
invalids. Statistics and medical works on the climate of the State
(as it now is) represent Colorado as the most remarkable sanatorium
in the world.
A Dateless Day—"Those hands of yours"—A Puritan—Persevering ShiMessness—The House-Mother—Family Worship—A
Grim Sunday—A " Thick-skulled Englishman "—A Morning
Call—Another Atmosphere—The Great Lone Land—"111
Found"—A Log Camp—Bad Footing for Horses—Accidents—
Canyon, September.
The absence of a date shows my predicament.
They have no newspaper; I have no almanack; the
father is away for the day, and none of the others
can help me, and they look contemptuously upon
my desire for information on the subject. The monotony will come to an end to-morrow, for Chalmers
offers to be my guide over the mountains to Estes
Park, and has persuaded his wife "for once to go
for a frolic;" and with much reluctance, many growls
at the waste of time, and many apprehensions of
danger and loss, she has consented to accompany
him. My life has grown less dull from theirs having
become more interesting to me, and as I have " made
myself agreeable," we are. on fairly friendly terms.
My first move in the direction of fraternising was,
however, snubbed. A few days ago, having finished
!« 50
my own work, I offered to wash up the plates, but
Mrs. C, with a look which conveyed more than
words, a curl of her nose, and a sneer in her twang,
said, " Guess you'll make more work nor you'll do.
Those hands of yours " (very brown and coarse they
were) "ain't no good; never done nothing, I guess."
Then to her awkward daughter: "This woman says
she'll wash up! Ha! ha! look at her arms and
hands!" This was the nearest approach to a laugh
I have heard, and have never seen even a tendency
towards a smile. Since then I have risen in their
estimation by improvising a lamp—Hawaiian fashion
—by putting a wisp of rag into a tin of fat. They
have actually condescended to sit up till the stars
come out since. Another advance was made by
means of the shell-pattern quilt I am knitting for
you. There has been a tendency towards approving
of it, and a few days since the girl snatched it out of
my hand, saying, " I want this," and apparently took
it to the camp. This has resulted in my having a
knitting-class, with the woman, her married daughter,
and a woman from the camp, as pupils. Then I have
gained ground with the man by being able to catch
and saddle a horse. I am often reminded of my
favourite couplet,—
1 Beware of desperate steps ; the darkest day,
Live till to-morrow, will have passed away." THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
But oh! what a hard, narrow life it is with which
I am now in contact! A narrow and unattractive
religion, which I believe still to be genuine, and an
intense but narrow patriotism, are the only higher
influences. Chalmers came from Illinois nine years
ago, pronounced by the doctors to be far gone in consumption, and in two years he was strong. They are
a queer family; somewhere in the remote Highlands
I have seen such another. Its head is tall, gaunt,
lean, and ragged, and has lost one eye. On an English
road one would think him a starving or a dangerous
beggar. He is slightly intelligent, very opinionated,
and wishes to be thought well-informed, which he is
not. He belongs to the straitest sect of Eeformed
Presbyterians (" Psalm-singers"), but exaggerates
anything of bigotry and intolerance which may
characterise them, and rejoices in truly merciless
fashion over the excision of the philanthropic Mr.
Stuart, of Philadelphia, for worshipping with congregations which sing hymns. His great boast is that
his ancestors were Scottish Covenanters. He considers himself a profound theologian, and by the pine
logs at night discourses to me on the mysteries of
the eternal counsels and the divine decrees. Colorado,
with its progress and its future, is also a-constant
theme. He hates England with a bitter, personal
hatred, and regards any allusions which I make to
the progress of Victoria as a personal insult. He
trusts to Eve to see the downfall of the British mon-
w 52
archy and the disintegration of the empire. He is
very fond of talking, and asks me a great deal about
my travels, but if I speak favourably of the climate
or resources of any other country, he regards it as a
slur on Colorado.
They have one hundred and sixty acres of land, a
"squatter's claim," and an invaluable water-power.
He is a lumberer, and has a saw-mill of a very primitive kind. I notice that every day something goes
wrong with it, and this is the case throughout. If he
wants to haul timber down, one or other of the oxen
cannot be found; or if the timber is actually under
way, a wheel or a part of the harness gives way, and
the whole affair is at a standstill for days. The cabin
is hardly a shelter, but is allowed to remain in ruins
because the foundation of a frame-house was once
dug. A horse is always sure to be lame for want of
a shoe-nail, or a saddle to be useless from a broken
buckle, and.the waggon and harness are a marvel of
temporary shifts, patchings, and insecure linkings
with strands of rope. Nothing is ever ready or whole
when it is wanted. Yet Chalmers is a frugal, sober,
hard-working t man, and he, his eldest son, and a
" hired man " " rise early," " going forth to their work
and labour till the evening;" and if they do not
" late take rest," they truly " eat the bread of carefulness." It is hardly surprising that nirie years of
persevering shiftlessness  should   have resulted in THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
nothing but the ability to procure the bare necessaries
Of Mrs. C. I can say less. She looks like one of
the English poor women of our childhood—lean,
clean, toothless, and speaks, like some of them, in a
piping, discontented voice, which seems to convey a
personal reproach. All her waking hours are spent
in a large sun-bonnet. She is never idle for one
minute, is severe and hard, and despises everything
but work. I think she suffers from her husband's
shiftlessness. She always speaks of me as f this," or
j that woman." The family consists of a grown-up
son, a shiftless, melancholy-looking youth, who possibly pines for a wider life; a girl of sixteen, a sour,
repellent-looking creature, with as much manners as
a pig; and three hard, unchildlike younger children.
By the whole family all courtesy and gentleness of
act or speech seem regarded as " works of the flesh,"
if not of "the devil." They knock over all one's
things without apologising or picking them up, and
when I thank them for anything they look grimly
amazed. I feel that they think it sinful that I do
not work as hard as they do. I wish I could show
them " a more excellent way." This hard greed, and
the exclusive pursuit of gain, with the indifference to
all which does not aid in its acquisition, are eating
up family love and life throughout the West. I write
this reluctantly, and after a total experience of nearly 54
two years in the United States.* They seem to have
no " Sunday clothes," and few of any kind. The
sewing-machine, like most other things, is out of
order. One comb serves the whole family. Mrs. C.
is cleanly in her person and dress, and the food,
though poor, is clean. . Work, work, work, is their day
and their life. They are thoroughly ungenial, and
have that air of suspicion in speaking of every one
which is not unusual in the land of their ancestors.
Thomas Chalmers is the man's ecclesiastical hero, in
spite of his own severe Puritanism. Their live stock
consists of two wretched horses, a fairly good broncho
mare, a mule, four badly-bred cows, four gaunt and
famished-looking oxen, some swine of singularly
active habits, and plenty of poultry. The old saddles
are tied on with twine; one side of the bridle is a
worn-out strap and the other a rope. They wear
boots, but never two of one pair, and never blacked,
of course, but no stockings. They think it quite
effeminate to sleep under a roof, except during the
severest months of the year. There is a married
daughter across the river, just the same hard, loveless, moral, hard-working being as her mother. Each
morning, soon after seven, when I have swept the
cabin, the family come in for " worship." Chalmers
" wales " a psalm, in every sense of the word wail, to
the most doleful of dismal tunes ; they read a chapter
round, and he prays.     If his prayer has something J)
of the tone of the imprecatory psalms/he has high
authority in his favour; and if there be a tinge of the
Pharisaic thanksgiving, it is hardly surprising that he
is grateful that he is not as other men are when he
contemplates the general godlessness of the region.
Sunday was a dreadful day. The family kept the
Commandment literally, and did no work. Worship
was conducted twice, and was rather longer than
usual. Chalmers does not allow of any books in his
house but theological works, and two or three volumes
of dull travels, so the mother and children slept
nearly all day. The man attempted to read a well-
worn copy-of Boston's Fourfold State, but shortly
fell asleep, and they only woke up for their meals.
Friday and Saturday had been passably cool, with
frosty nights, but on Saturday night it changed, and
I have not felt anything Eke the heat of Sunday
since I left New Zealand, though the mercury was
not higher than 91°. It was sickening, scorching,
melting, unbearable, from the mere power of the
sun's rays. It was an awful day, and seemed as if
it would never come to an end. The cabin, with its
mud roof under the shade of the trees, gave a little
shelter, but it was occupied by the family, and I
longed for soHtude. I took the Imitation of Christ,
and stroUed up the canyon among the withered,
crackling leaves, in much dread of snakes, and lay
down on a rough table which some passing emigrant
I 56
had left, and soon feU asleep. When I awoke it was
only noon. The sun looked wicked as it blazed like
a white magnesium Hght. A large tree-snake (quite
harmless) hung from the pine under which I had
taken shelter, and looked as if it were going to drop
upon me. I was covered with black flies. The air
was full of a busy, noisy din of insects, and snakes,
locusts, wasps, flies, and grasshoppers were all rioting
in the torrid heat. Would the sublime philosophy
of Thomas a Kempis, I wondered, have given way
under this ? AH day I seemed to hear in mockery
the clear laugh of the Hilo streams, and the drip of
Kona showers, and to see as in a mirage the perpetual
green of windward Hawaii. I was driven back to the
cabin in the late afternoon, and in the evening listened
for two hours to abuse of my own country, and to
sweeping condemnations of all religionists outside of
the brotherhood of "Psalm-singers." It is jarring
and painful, yet I would say of Chalmers, as Dr.
. Holland says of another:—
" If ever I shaU reach the home in heaven,
For whose dear rest I humbly hope and pray,
In the great company of the forgiven
I shall be sure to meet old Daniel Gray."
The night came without coolness, but at daylight
on Monday morning a fire was pleasant. You wiU
now have some idea of my surroundings. It is a
moral,   hard,   unloving,   unlovely,   unreKeved,  un- letter v. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
beautified, grinding life. These people Eve in a
discomfort and lack of ease and refinement which
seems only possible to people of British stock. A
"foreigner" fills his cabin with ingenuities and
elegancies, and a Hawaiian or South Sea Islander
makes his grass house both pretty and tasteful. Add
to my surroundings a mighty canyon, impassable
both above and below, and waUs of mountains with
an opening some miles off to the vast prairie sea.1
An English physician is settled about half a mile
from here over a hiE. He is spoken off as h©lding
" very extreme opinions." Chalmers rails at him for
being " a thick-skulled EngEshman," for being " fine,
polished," etc. To say a man is " poEshed" here is
to give him a very bad name. He accuses him also
of holding views subversive of aU moraEty. In spite
of aU this, I thought he might possess a map, and I
induced Mrs. C. to walk over with me. She intended
it as a formal morning call, but she wore the inevitable
sun-bonnet; and had her dress tied up as when washing. It was not till I reached the gate that I remembered that I was in my Hawaiian riding-dress, and
that I still wore the spurs with which I had been
trying a horse in the morning!    The house was in a
1 I have not curtailed this description of the roughness of a
Colorado settler's life, for, with the exceptions of the disrepair and
the Puritanism, it is a type of the hard, .unornamented existence
with which I came almost universally in contact during my subsequent residence in the Territory.
\A IP'
i ||f
grass vaUey which opened from the tremendous
canyon through which the river had cut its way.
The Foot Hills, with their terraces of flaming red
rock, were glowing in the sunset, and a pure green
sky arched tenderly over a soft evening scene. Used
to the meanness and baldness of settlers' dwellings,
I was delighted to see that in this instance the usual
log cabin was only the lower floor of a smaU house,
which bore a delightful resemblance to a Swiss chalet.
It stood in a vegetable garden fertiEsed by an irrigating ditch, outside of which were a barn and cowshed.
A young Swiss girl was bringing the cows slowly
home from the hill, an EngEshwoman in a clean print
dress stood by the fence holding a baby, and a fine-
looking Englishman in a striped Garibaldi shirt, and
trousers of the same tucked into high boots, was
shelling corn. As soon as Mrs. Hughes spoke I felt
she was truly a lady; and oh! how refreshing her
refined, courteous, graceful English manner was, as
she invited us into the house! The entrance was
low, through a log porch festooned and almost concealed by a " wild cucumber." Inside, though plain
and poor, the room looked a home, not like a
squatter's cabin. An old tin was completely covered
by a graceful clematis mixed with streamers of Virginia creeper, and white muslin curtains, and above
aU two shelves of admirably-chosen books, gave the
room almost an air of elegance.    Why do I write THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
almost ? It was an oasis. It was barely three
weeks since I had left " the communion of educated
men," and the first tones of the voices of my host
and hostess made me feel as if I had been out of it
for a year. Mrs. C. stayed an hour and a half, and
then went home to the cows, when we launched upon
a sea of congenial talk. They said they had not seen
an educated lady for two years, and pressed me to go
and visit them. I rode home on Dr. Hughes's horse
after dark, to find neither fire nor light in the cabin.
Mrs. C. had gone back saying, " Those English talked
just like savages, I couldn't understand a word they
said." I made a fire, and extemporised a Eght with
some fat and a wick of rag, and Chalmers came in to
discuss my visit and to ask me a question concerning
a matter which had roused the latent curiosity of the
whole family. I had told him, he said, that I knew no
one hereabouts, but " his woman " told him that Dr.
H. and I spoke constantly of a Mrs. Grundy, whom
we both knew and disliked, and who was settled, as
we said, not far off! He had never heard of her, he
said, and he was the pioneer settler of the canyon,
and there was a man up here from Longmount who
said he was sure there was not a Mrs. Grundy in the
district, unless it was a woman who went by two
names! The wife and family had then come in, and I
felt completely nonplussed. I longed to teU Chalmers
that it was he and such as he, there or anywhere, 60
with narrow hearts, bitter tongues, and harsh judgments, who were the true " Mrs. Grundys," dwarfing
individuaEty, checking lawful freedom of speech, and
making men " offenders for a word," but I forebore.
How I extricated myself from the difficulty, deponent
sayeth not. The rest of the evening has been spent
in preparing to cross the mountains. Chalmers says
he knows the way weU, and that we shaH sleep tomorrow at the foot of Long's Peak. Mrs. Chalmers
repents of having consented, and conjures up doleful
visions of what the family wiE come to when left
headless, and of disasters among the cows and hens.
I could teH her that the eldest son and the " hired
man " have plotted to close the saw-miH and go on a
hunting and fishing expedition, that the cows will
stray, and that the individual spoken respectfully of
as " Mr. Skunk " wiE make havoc in the hen-house.
Nameless Region, Rocky Mountains, September.
This is indeed far removed. It seems farther
away from you than anyplace I have been to yet,
except the frozen top of the volcano of Mauna Loa.
It is so Ettle profaned by man that if one were com*
peUed to Eve here in solitude one might truly say of
the bears, deer, and elk which abound, " Their tame-
ness is shocking to*me." It is the world of "big
game." Just now a heavy-headed elk, with much-
branched horns fuEy three feet long, stood and looked ml
at me, and then quietly trotted away. He was so
near that I heard the grass, crisp with hoar frost,
crackle under his feet. Bears stripped the cherry-
bushes within a few yards of us last night. Now
two lovely blue birds, with crests on their heads, are
picking about within a stone's-throw. This is " The
Great Lone Land," until lately the hunting-ground of
the Indians, and not yet settled or traversed, or likely
to be so, owing to.the want of water. A solitary
hunter has built a log cabin up here, which he occupies for a few weeks for the purpose of elk-hunting,
but aE the region is unsurveyed, and mostly unexplored. It is 7 A.M. The sun has not yet risen high
enough to melt the hoar-frost, and the air is clear,
bright, and cold. The stillness is profound. I hear
nothing but the far-off mysterious roaring of a river
in a deep canyon, which we spent two hours last
night in trying to find. The horses are lost, and if I
were disposed to retort upon my companions the
term they invariably apply to me, I should now
write, with bitter emphasis, " that man " and " that
woman " have gone in search of them.
The scenery up here is glorious, combining sublimity with beauty, and in the elastic air fatigue has
dropped off from me. This is no region for tourists
and women, only for a few elk and bear hunters at
times, and its unprofaned freshness gives me new
life.   I cannot by any words give you an idea of 62
scenery so different from any that you or I have
ever seen. This is an upland vaEey of grass and
flowers, of glades and sloping lawns, "and cherry-
fringed beds of dry streams, and clumps of pines
artisticaEy placed, and mountain sides densely pine-
clad, the pines breaking into fringes as they come
down upon the " park," and the mountains breaking
into pinnacles of bold grey rock as they pierce the
blue of the sky. A single deE of bright green grass,
on which dwarf clumps of the scarlet poison-oak look
like beds of geraniums, slopes towards the west, as if
it must lead to the river which we seek. Deep, vast
canyons, aE trending westwards, Ee in purple gloom.
Pine-clad ranges, rising into the blasted top of Storm
Peak, aE run westwards too, and aE the beauty and
glory are but the frame out of which rises—heaven-
piercing, pure in its pearly lustre, as glorious a
mountain as the sun tinges red in either hemisphere
—-the splintered, pinnacled, lonely, ghastly, imposing, double-peaked summit of Long's Peak, the Mont
Blanc of Northern Colorado.1
This is a view to which nothing needs to be
added. This is truly the " lodge in some vast wilderness" for which one often sighs when in the midst
1 Gray's Peak and Pike's Peak have their partisans, but after
seeing them all under favourable aspects, Long's Peak stands in my
memory as it does in that vast congeries of mountains, alone in
imperial grandeur. irj
of " a bustle at once sordid and trivial." In spite of
Dr. Johnson, these "monstrous protuberances" do
"inflame the imagination and elevate the understanding." This scenery satisfies my soul. Now, the
Eocky Mountains realise—nay, exceed—the dream
of my childhood. It is magnificent, and the air is
life-giving. I should like to spend some time in
these higher regions, but I know that this wiE turn
out an abortive expedition, owing to the stupidity
and pigheadedness of Chalmers.
There is a most romantic place caEed Estes Park,
at a height of 7500 feet, which can be reached by
going down to the plains and then striking up the
St. Vrain Canyon, but this is a distance of 55 miles,
and as Chalmers was confident that he could take
me over the mountains, a distance, as he supposed,
of about 20 miles, we left at mid-day yesterday,
with the fervent hope, on my part, that I might
not return. Mrs. C. was busy the whole of Tuesday
in preparing what she caEed " grub," which, together
with "plenty of bedding," was to be carried on a
pack mule;. but when we started I was disgusted to
find that Chalmers was on what should have been
the pack animal,.and that two thickly-quilted cotton
"spreads" had been disposed of under my saddle,
making it broad, high, and uncomfortable. Any
human being must have laughed to see an expedition start so grotesquely " HI found."    I had a very 64
old iron-grey horse, whose lower lip hung down
feebly, showing his few teeth, while his fore-legs
stuck out forwards, and matter ran from both his
nearly-blind eyes. It is a kindness to bring him up
to abundant pasture. My saddle is an old McLeEan
cavalry saddle, with a battered brass peak, and the
bridle is a rotten leather strap on one side and a
strand of rope on the other. The cotton quilts
covered the Eosinante from mane to tail. Mrs. C.
wore an old print skirt, an old short-gown, a print
apron, and a sun-bonnet, with the flap coming down
to her waist, and. looked as careworn and clean as
she always does. The inside horn of her saddle was
broken; to the outside one hung a saucepan and a
bundle of clothes. The one girth was nearly at the
breaking-point when we started.
My pack, with my weE-worn umbreEa upon it,
was behind my saddle. I wore my Hawaiian riding-
dress, with a handkerchief tied over my face and the
sun-cover of my umbreEa folded and tied over my
hat, for the sun was very fierce. The queerest figure
of aE was the would-be guide. With his one eye,
his gaunt, lean form, and his torn clothes, he< looked
more like a strolling tinker than the honest worthy
settler that he is. He bestrode rather than rode a
gaunt mule, whose tail hair had aE been shaven off,
except a tuft for a tassel at the end. Two fldur bags
which leaked were tied on behind the saddle, two m\
quilts were under it, and my canvas bag, a battered
canteen, a frying-pan, and two lariats hung from the
horn. On one fctot C. wore an old high boot, into
which his trouser was tucked, and on the other an
old brogue, through which his toes protruded.
We had an ascent of four hours through a ravine
which graduaEy opened out upon this beautiful
I park," but we rode through it for some miles before
the view burst upon us. The vastness of this range,
like astronomical distances, can hardly be conceived
of. At this place, I suppose, it is not less than 250
miles wide, and with hardly a break in its continuity,
it stretches almost from the Arctic circle to the
Straits of MageEan. From the top of Long's Peak,
within a short distance, twenty-two summits, each
above 12,000 feet in height, are visible, and the
Snowy Eange, the backbone or " divide" of the
continent, is seen snaking distinctly through the
wilderness of ranges, with its waters starting for
either ocean. From the first ridge we crossed after
leaving Canyon we had a singular view of j range
beyond range cleft by deep canyons, and abounding
in elliptical vaEeys, richly grassed. The slopes of
aE the hills, as far as one could see, were waving
with fine grass ready for the scythe, but the food
of wild animals only. AE these ridges are.heavily
timbered with pitch pines, and where they come
down on the grassy slopes they look as if the trees
F 66
had been arranged by a landscape gardener. Far
off, through an opening in a canyon, we saw the
prairie simulating the ocean. Far off, through an
opening in another direction, was the glistening outline of the Snowy Eange. But stiE, tiE we reached
this place, it was monotonous, though grand as a
whole: a grey-green or buff^grey, with outbreaks of
brilliantly-coloured rock, only varied by the black
green of pines, which are not the stately pyramidal
pines of the Sierra Nevada, but much resemble the
natural Scotch fir. Not many miles from us is North
Park, a great tract of land said to be rich in gold,
but those who have gone to " prospect" have seldom
returned, the region being the home of tribes of
Indians who Eve in perpetual hostiEty to the whites
and to each other.
At this great height, and most artisticaEy situated,
we came upon a rude log camp tenanted in winter by
an elk hunter, but now deserted. Chalmers without
any scruple picked the padlock; we Eghted a fire,
made some tea, and fried some bacon, and after a
good meal mounted again and started for Estes Park.
For four weary hours we searched hither and thither
along every indentation of the ground which might
be supposed to slope towards the Big Thompson
Eiver, which we knew had to be forded. StiE, as
the quest grew more tedious, Long's Peak stood before us as a landmark in purple glory; and stiE at   THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
his feet lay a hoEow fiEed with deep blue atmosphere,
where I knew that Estes Park must Ee, and stiE
between us and it lay never-lessening miles of inaccessibility, and the sun was ever westering, and the
shadows ever lengthening, and Chalmers, who had
started confident, bumptious, blatant, was ever becoming more bewildered, and his wife's thin voice
more piping and discontented, and my stumbling
horse more insecure,, and I more determined -(as I
am at this moment) that somehow or other I would
reach that blue hoEow, and even stand on Long's
Peak where the snow was gEttering. Affairs were
becoming serious, and Chalmers's incompetence a
source of real peril, when, after an exploring expedition, he returned more bumptious than ever, saying
he knew it would be aE right, he had found a trail,
and we could get across the river by dark, and camp
out for the night. So he led us into a steep, deep,
rough ravine, where we had to dismount, for trees
were lying across it everywhere, and there was almost
no footing on the great slabs of shelving rock. Yet
there was a trail, tolerably weE worn, and the branches
and twigs near the ground were weE broken back.
Ah ! it was a wild place. My horse feU first, rolling
over twice, and breaking off a part of the saddle, in
his second roE knocking me over a shelf of three feet
of descent. Then Mrs C.'s. horse and the mule fell
on the top of each other, and on recovering them- 68
A lady's life in
selves bit each other savagely. The ravine became
a wild gulch, the dry bed of some awful torrent;
there were huge shelves of rock, great overhanging
waEs of rock, great prostrate trees, cedar spikes and
cacti to wound the feet, and then a precipice fuEy
500 feet deep! The trail was a trail made by bears
in search of bear cherries, which abounded!
It was getting dusk as we had to struggle up the
rough gulch we had so fatuously descended. The
horses feE several times; I could hardly get mine up
at aE, though I helped him as much as I could; I
was cut and bruised, scratched and torn. A spine of
a cactus penetrated my foot, and some vicious thing
cut the back of my neck. Poor Mrs. C. was much
bruised, and I pitied her, for she got no fun out of
it as I did. It was an awful climb. When we got
out of the gulch, C. was so confused that he took the
wrong direction, and after an hour of vague wandering was only recaEed to the right one by my pertinacious assertions acting on his weak brain. I was
incEned to be angry with the incompetent braggart,
who had boasted that he could take us to Estes Park
"blindfold;" but I was sorry for him too, so said
nothing, even though I had to walk during these
meanderings to save my tired horse. When at last,
at dark, we reached the open, there was a snow-flurry,
with violent gusts of wind, and the shelter of the
camp, dark and cold as it was, was desirable.   We ii
had no food, but made a fire. I lay down on some
dry grass, with my inverted saddle for a piEow, and
slept soundly, tiE I was awoke by the cold of an
intense frost, and the pain of my many cuts and
bruises. Chalmers promised that we should make a
fresh start at six, so I woke him at ^ve, and here I
am alone at half-past eight! I said to him many
times that unless he hobbled or picketed the horses,
we should lose them. " Oh," he said, " they'E vbe aE
right." In truth he had no picketing-pins. Now,
the animals are merrily trotting homewards. I saw
them two miles off-an hour ago with him after them.
His wife, who is also after them, goaded to desperation, said, " He's the most ignorant, careless, good-for-
nothing man I ever saw," upon which I dwelt upon
his being weE-meaning. There is a sort of weE here,
but our "afternoon tea" and watering the horses
drained it, so we have had nothing to drink, since
yesterday, for the canteen, which started without a
cork, lost aE its contents when the mule fell. I have
made a monstrous fire, but thirst and impatience are
hard to bear, and preventible misfortunes are always
irksome. I have found the stomach of a bear with
fuEy a pint of cherrystones in it, and have spent an
hour in getting the kernels; and lo! now, at haE-
past nine, I see the culprit and his wife coming back
with the animals! ^
1.   Li.   JD. 70
Lower Canyon, September 21.
We never reached Estes Park. There is no trail,
and horses have never been across. We started from
camp at ten, and spent four hours in searching for the
traiL Chalmers tried gulch after gulch again, his seE-
assertion giving way a Ettle after each failure; sometimes going east when we should have gone west,
always being brought up by a precipice or other impossibility* At last he went off by himseK, and
returned rejoicing, saying he had found the trail;
and soon, sure enough, we were on a weE-defined old
trail, evidently made by carcasses which have been
dragged along it by hunters. Vainly I pointed out
to him that we were going north-east when we should
have gone south-west, and that we were ascending
instead of descending. " Oh, it's aE right, and we
shaE soon come to water," he always repEed. For
two hours we ascended slowly through a thicket of
aspen, the cold continuaEy mtensifying; but the
trail, which had been growing fainter, died out, and
an opening showed the top of Storm Peak not far
off and riot much above us, though it is 11,000 feet
high. I could not help laughing. He had deliberately turned his back on Estes Park. He then confessed that he was lost, and that he could not find
the way back. His wife sat down on the ground and
cried bitterly.   We ate some dry bread, and then I M
said I had had much experience in travelling, and
would take the control of the party, which was agreed
to, and we began the long descent. Soon after his
wife was thrown from her horse, and cried bitterly
again from fright and mortification. Soon after that
the girth of the mule's saddle broke, and having no
crupper, saddle and addenda went over his head, and
the flour was dispersed. Next the girth of the woman's
saddle broke, and she went over her horse's head.
Then he began to fumble helplessly at it, railing
against England the whole time, while I secured the
saddle, and guided the route back to an outlet of
the park. There a fire was built, and we had some
bread and bacon; and then a search for water occupied nearly two hours, and resulted in the finding of
a mud-hole, trodden and defiled by hundreds of feet
of elk, bears, cats, deer, and other beasts, and containing only a few gaEons of water as thick as pea-soup,
with which we watered our animals and made some
strong tea.
The sun was setting in glory as we started for the
four Eours' ride home, and the frost was intense, and
made our bruised, grazed Embs ache painfuEy. I
was sorry for Mrs. Chalmers, who had had several
falls, and.bore her aches patiently, and had said several
times to her husband, with a kind meaning, "I am
real sorry for this woman." I was so tired with the
perpetual stumbling of my horse, as weE as stiffened 72
with the bitter cold, that I walked for the last hour
or two; and Chalmers, as if to cover his failure, indulged in loud, incessant talk, abusing aE other reE-
gionists, and railing against England in the coarsest
American fashion. Yet, after aE, they were not bad
souls; and though he failed so grotesquely, he did
his incompetent best. The log-fire in the ruinous
cabin was cheery, and I kept it up aE night, and
watched the stars through the holes in the roof, and
thought of Long's Peak in its glorious soEtude, and
resolved that, come what might, I would reach Estes
A bronco Mare—An Accident—Wonderland—A Sad Story—The
Children of the Territories—Hard Greed—Halcyon Hours—
Smartness—Old-fashioned Prejudices—The Chicago Colony—
Good luck—Three Notes of Admiration—A good Horse—The
St. Train—The Rocky Mountains at last—" Mountain Jim"—A
death hug—Estes Park.
Lower Canyon, September 25.
This is another world. My entrance upon it was signalised in this fashion. Chalmers offered me a bronco
mare for a reasonable sum, and though she was a shifty,
half-broken young thing, I came over here on her to
try her, when, just as I was going away, she took into
her head to " scare" and " buck," and when I touched
her with my foot she leaped over a heap of timber,
and the girth gave way, and the onlookers teE me
that while she jumped I fell over her taE from a good
height upon the hard gravel, receiving a parting kick
on my knee. They could hardly beEeve that no bones
were broken. The flesh of my left arm looks crushed
into a jeEy, but cold-water dressings wiE soon bring
it right; and a cut on my back bled profusely; and
the bleeding, with many bruises and the general
shake, have made me feel weak, but circumstances
'liJUl 74
a lady's life in
do not admit of " making a fuss," and I reaEy think
that the rents in my riding-dress wiE prove the most
important part of the accident.
The Surroundings here are pleasing. The log cabin,
on the top of which a room with a steep, ornamental
Swiss roof has been built, is in a vaEey close to a
clear, rushing river, which emerges a Ettle higher up
from an inaccessible chasm of great sublimity. One
side of the vaEey is formed by cliffs and terraces of
porphyry as red as the reddest new brick, and at
sunset blazing into vermilion. Through rifts in the
nearer ranges there are glimpses of pine-clothed peaks,
which, towards twiEght, pass through every shade of
purple and violet. The sky and the earth combine to
form a Wonderland every evening—such rich, velvety
colouring in crimson and violet; such an orange, green,
and vermilion sky; such scarlet and emerald clouds;
such an extraordinary dryness and purity of atmosphere, and then the glorious afterglow which seems to
blend earth and heaven! For colour, the Eocky Mountains beat aE I have seen. The air has been cold,
but the sun bright and hot during the last few days.
The story of my host is a story of misfortune. It
indicates who should not come to Colorado.1   He and
1 The story is ended now. A few months after my visit* Mrs. H.
died a few days after her confinement, and was buried on the bleak
hill-side, leaving her husband with five children under six years
old, and Dr. H. is a prosperous man on one of the sunniest islands
of the Pacific, with the devoted Swiss friend as his second wife. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
his wife are under thirty-five. The son of a London
physician in large practice, with a Eberal education
in the largest sense of the word, unusual culture and
accomplishments, and the partner of a physician in
good practice in the second city in England, he showed
symptoms which threatened pulmonary disease. In
an evil hour he heard of Colorado with its "un-
rivalled climate, boundless resources," etc., and, fascinated not only by these material advantages, but
by the notion of being able to found or reform society
on advanced social theories of his own, he became an
emigrant. Mrs. Hughes is one of the most charming,
cultured, and lovable women I have ever seen, and
their marriage is an ideal one. Both are fitted to
shine in any society, but neither had the slightest
knowledge of domestic and farming details. Dr. H.
did not know how to saddle or harness a horse. Mrs.
H. did not know whether you should put an egg into
cold or hot water when you meant to boil it! They
arrived at Longmount, bought up this claim, rather
for the beauty of the scenery than for any substantial
advantages, were cheated in land, goods, oxen, everything, and, to the discredit of the settlers, seemed to be
regarded as fair game. Eveiything has failed with
them, and though they " rise early, and late take rest,
and eat the bread of carefulness," they hardly keep
their heads above water. A young Swiss girl, devoted
to them both, works as hard as they do.   They have 76
one horse, no waggon, some poultry, and a few cows,
but no " hired man." It is the hardest and least ideal
struggle that I have ever seen made by educated
people. They had aE their experience to learn, and
they have bought it by losses and hardships. That
they have learnt so much surprises me. Dr. H. and
these two ladies buEt the upper room and the addition to the house without help. He has cropped the
land himself, and has learned the difficult art of milking cows. Mrs. H, makes aE the clothes required for
a famEy of six, and her evenings, when the hard day's
work is done and she is ready to drop from fatigue,
are spent in mending and patching. The day is one
long grind, without rest or enjoyment, or the pleasure
of chance intercourse with cultivated people. The
few visitors who have " happened in" are the thrifty
wives of prosperous settlers, fuE of housewifely pride,
whose one object seems to be to make Mrs. H. feel
her inferiority to themselves. I wish she did take a
more genuine interest in the " coming-on" of the last
calf, the prospects of the squash crop, and the yield
and price of butter; but though she has learned to
make exceEent butter and bread, it is aE against the
grain. The children are deEghtfuL The Ettle boys
are refined, courteous, chEdish gentlemen, with love
and tenderness to their parents in aE their words and
actions. Never a rough or harsh word is heard within the house.   But the atmosphere of struggles and LETTER VI.
difficulties has aEeady told on these infants. They
consider their mother in aE things, going without
butter when they think the stock is low, bringing in
wood and water too heavy for them to carry, anxiously
speculating on the winter prospect and the crops, yet
withal the most chEdlike and innocent of children.
One of the most painful things in the Western
States and Territories is the extinction of childhood.
I have never seen any chEdren, only debased imitations of men and women, cankered by greed and seK-
ishness, and asserting and gaining complete independence of their parents at ten years old. The atmosphere in which they are brought up is one of greed,
godlessness, and frequently of profanity. Consequently
these sweet things seem like flowers in a desert.
Except for love, which here as everywhere raises
life into the ideal, this is a wretched existence. The
poor crops have been destroyed by grasshoppers over
and over again, and that talent deified here under
the name of " smartness" has taken advantage of Dr.
H. in aE bargains, leaving him with Ettle except food
for his chEdren. Experience has been dearly bought
in aE ways, and this instance of faEure might be a
useful warning to professional men without agricultural experience not to come and try to make a Eving
by farming in Colorado.
My time here has passed very deEghtfuEy in spite
of my regret and anxiety for this interesting fandly. 78
I should like to stay longer, were it not that they
have given up to me their straw bed, and Mrs. H.
and her baby, a wizened, fretful chEd, sleep on the
floor in my room, and Dr. H. on the floor downstairs,
and the nights are frosty and chill. Work is the
order of their day, and of mine, and at night, when
the children are in bed, we three ladies patch the
clothes and make shirts, and Dr. H. reads Tennyson's
poems, or we speak tenderly of that world of culture
and noble deeds which seems here " the land very far
off," or Mrs. H. lays aside her work for a few minutes
and reads some favourite passage of prose or poetry,
as I have seldom heard either read before, with a
voice of large compass and exquisite tone, quick to
interpret every shade of the author's meaning, and
soft, speaking eyes, moist with feeling and sympathy.
These are our halcyon hours, when we forget the needs
of the morrow, and that men stiE buy, seU, cheat, and
strive for gold, and that we are in the Eocky Mountains, and that it is near midnight. But morning
comes hot and tiresome, and the never-ending work
is oppressive, and Dr. H. comes in from the field two
or three times in the day, dizzy and faint, and they
condole with each other, and I feel that the Colorado
settler needs to be made of sterner stuff and to
possess more adaptability.
To-day has been a very pleasant day for me,
though I have only once sat down since 9 A.M., and letter vi. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
it is now 5 P.M. I plotted that the devoted Swiss girl
should go to the nearest settlement with two of the
chEdren for the day in a neighbour's waggon, and
that Dr. and Mrs. H. should get an afternoon of rest
and sleep upstairs, while I undertook to do the work
and make something of a cleaning. I had a large
I wash" of my own, having been hindered last week
by my bad arm, but a clothes-wringer which screws
on to the side of the tub is a great assistance, and by
folding the clothes before passing them through it, I
make it serve instead of mangle and Eon. After
baking the bread and thoroughly cleaning the churn
and pails, I began upon the tins and pans, the cleaning of which had faEen into arrears, and was hard at
work, very greasy and grimy, when a man came in to
know where to ford the river with his ox-team, and
as I was showing him he looked pityingly at me,
saying, " Be you the new hired girl ? Bless me,
you're awful smaE!" t^^Af *   ^^" ' nW?~ -
Yesterday we saved three cwt. of tomatoes for
winter use, and about two tons of squash and pumpkin for the cattle, two of the former weighing 140
lbs. I puEed nearly a quarter of an acre of maize,
but it was a scanty crop, and the husks were poorly
fiEed. I much prefer field work to the scouring of
greasy pans and to the wash-tub, and both to either
sewing or writing.
This is not Arcadia.    "Smartness," which con- 80
A lady's life in
sists in over-reaching your neighbour in every fashion
which is not illegal, is the quality which is held in
the greatest repute, and Mammon is the divinity.
From a generation brought up to worship the one
and admire the other Ettle can be hoped. In districts
distant as this is from " Church Ordinances," there
are three ways in which Sunday is spent: one, to
make it a day for visiting, hunting, and fishing;
another, to spend it in sleeping and abstinence from
work; and the third, to continue aE the usual occupations, consequently harvesting and felling and
hauling timber are to be seen in progress. Last
Sunday a man came here and put up a door, and said
he didn't beEeve in the Bible or in a God, and he
wasn't going to sacrifice his chEdren's bread to old-
Ifashioned prejudices. There is a manifest indifference to the higher obligations of the law, "judgment,
mercy, and faith;" but in the main the settlers are
steady, there are few flagrant breaches of morals,
industry is the rule, life and property are far safer
than in England or Scotland, and the law of universal
respect to women is stiE in fuE force.
The days are now brilEant and the nights sharply
frosty. People are preparing for the winter. The
tourists from the east are trooping into Denver, and
the surveying parties are coming down from the mountains. Snow has faEen on the higher ranges, and my
hopes of getting to Estes Park are down at zero. LETTER VI.
Longmount, September 25.
Yesterday was perfect. The sun was brilliant and
the air cool and bracing. I felt better, and after a hard
day's work and an evening stroE with my friends in the
glorious afterglow, I went to bed cheerful and hopeful
as to the climate and its effect on my health. This
morning I awoke with a sensation of extreme lassitude,
and on going out, instead of the deEcious atmosphere
of yesterday, I found intolerable suffocating heat, a
blazing (not brilliant) sun, and a sirocco like a Victorian hot wind. Neuralgia, inflamed eyes, and a
sense of extreme prostration foEowed, and my ac-
cEmatised hosts were somewhat similarly affected.
The sparkle, the crystalline atmosphere, and the glory
of colour of yesterday, had aE vanished. We had
borrowed a waggon, but Dr. H.'s strong but lazy-
horse and a feeble hired one made a poor span; and
though the distance here is only twenty-two miles
over level prairie, our tired animal, and losing the
way three times, have kept us eight and a half hours
in the broiling sun. AE notions of locaEty faE me
on the prairie, and Dr. H. was not much better. We
took wrong tracks, got entangled among fences,
plunged through the deep mud of irrigation ditches,
and were despondent. It was a miserable drive,
sitting on a heap of fodder under the angry sun.
Half-way here we camped at a river, now only a
series of mud-holes, and I feE asleep under the im-
G 82
perfect shade of a cotton-wood tree, dreading the
thought of waking and jolting painfully along over
the dusty prairie in the dust-laden, fierce sirocco,
under the ferocious sun. We never saw man or
beast the whole day.
This is the " Chicago Colony," and it is said to be
prospering, after some preliminary land swindles. It
is as uninviting as Fort Collins. We first came upon
dust-coloured frame-houses set down at intervals on
the dusty buff plain, each with its dusty wheat or
barley field adjacent, the crop, not the product of the
rains of heaven, but of the muddy overflow of " Irrigating Ditch No. 2." Then comes a road made up of
many converging waggon tracks, which stiffen into
a wide straggling street, in which glaring frame-
houses and a few shops stand opposite to each other.
A two-storey house, one of the whitest and most
glaring, and without a verandah like aE the others,
is the | St. Vrain Hotel," caEed after the St. Vrain
river, out of which the ditch is taken which enables
Longmount to exist. Everything was broiling in the
heat of the slanting sun, which aE day long had been
beating on the unshaded wooden rooms. The heat
within was more sickening than outside, and black
flies covered everything, one's face included. We all
sat fighting the flies in my bedroom, which was
cooler than elsewhere, tiE a glorious sunset over the
Bocky Eange, some ten miles off, compeEed us to go THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
out and enjoy it. Then foEowed supper, Western
fashion, without table-cloths, and aE the "unattached"
men of Longmount came in and fed sEently and
rapidly. It was a great treat to have tea to drink, as
I had not tasted any for a fortnight. The landlord
is a jovial, kindly man. I told him how my plans
had failed, and how I was reluctantly going on tomorrow to Denver and New York, being unable to
get to Estes Park, and he said there might yet be a
chance of some one coming in to-night who would be
going up. He soon came to my room and asked
definitely what I could do—if I feared cold, if I
could " rough it," if I could " ride horseback and lope."
Estes Park and its surroundings are, he says, 1 the
most beautiful scenery in Colorado," and "it's a real
shame," he added, " for you not to see it." We had
hardly sat down to tea when he came, saying," You're
in luck this time; two young men have just come in
and are going up to-morrow morning." I am rather
pleased, and have hired a horse for three days; but I
am not very hopeful, for I am almost HI of the
smothering heat, and stiE suffer from my faE, and
not having been on horseback since, thirty miles wiE
be a long ride. Then I fear that the accommodation
is as rough as Chalmers's, and that soEtude wiE be
impossible. We have been strolling in the street
ever since it grew dark to get the Ettle aE which is
moving. 84
A lady's LDJE in
Estes Park !!! September 28.
I wish I could let those three notes of admiration
go to you instead of a letter. They mean everything
that is rapturous and deEghtful—grandeur, cheerfulness, health, enjoyment, novelty, freedom, etc. etc. I
have just dropped into the very place I have been seeking, but in everything it exceeds aE my dreams. There
is health in every breath of air; I am much better
already, and get up to a seven o'clock breakfast
without difficulty. It is quite comfortable—in the
fashion that I like. I have a log cabin, raised on six
posts, aE to myself with a skunk's lair underneath it,
and a smaE lake close to it. There is a frost every
night, and aE day it is cool enough for a roaring fire.
The ranchman, who is half hunter half stockman, and
his wife are jovial, hearty Welsh people from Ilan-
beris, who laugh with loud, cheery British laughs,
sing in parts down to the youngest child, are freehearted and hospitable, and pEe the pitch-pine, logs
half-way up the great rude chimney. There has been
fresE meat each day since I came, delicious bread
baked daily, exceEent potatoes, tea and coffee, and
an abundant supply of milk like cream. I have
a clean hay bed with six blankets, and there are
neither bugs nor fleas. The scenery is the most
glorious I have ever seen, and is above us, around us,
at the very door. Most people have advised me to
go to Colorado Springs, and only one mentioned this THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
place, and tiE I reached Longmount I never saw any
one who had been here, but I saw from the Ee of the
country that it must be most superbly situated.
People said, however, that it was most difficult of
access, and that the season for it was over. In travelling there is nothing like dissecting people's statements, which are usuaEy coloured by their estimate of
the powers or likings of the person spoken to, making
all reasonable inquiries, and then pertinaciously but
quietly carrying out one's own plans. This is perfection, and aE the requisites for health are present,
including plenty of horses and grass to ride on.
It is not easy to sit down to write after ten hours
of hard riding, especiaEy in a cabin fuE of people,
and wholesome fatigue may make my letter flat when
it ought to be enthusiastic. I was awake aE night
at Longmount owing to the stifling heat, and got up
nervous and miserable, ready to give up the thought
of coming here, but the sunrise over the plains, and
the wonderful red of the Eocky Mountains, as they
reflected the eastern sky, put spirit into me. The
landlord had got a horse, but could not give any
satisfactory assurances of his being quiet, and being
much shaken by my faE at Canyon, I earnestly
wished that the Greeley Tribune had not given me a
reputation for horsemanship, which had preceded me
here. The young men who were to escort me
"seemed very innocent," he said, but I have not 86
arrived at his meaning yet. When the horse appeared in the street at 8.30,1 saw, to my dismay, a
high-bred, beautiful creature, stable-kept, with arched
neck, quivering nostrils, and restless ears and eyes.
My pack, as on Hawaii, was strapped behind the
Mexican saddle, and my canvas bag hung on the
horn, but the horse did not look fit to carry " gear,"
and seemed to require two men to hold and coax him.
There were many loafers about, and I shrank from
going out and mounting in my old Hawaiian riding-
dress, though Dr. and Mrs. H. assured me that I
looked quite "insignificant and unnoticeable." We
got away at nine with repeated injunctions from the
landlord in the words, " Oh, you should be heroic!"
The sky was cloudless, and a deep brilliant blue,
and though the sun was hot the air was fresh and
bracing. The ride for glory and deEght I shaE label
along with one to Hanalei, and another to Mauna
Kea, Hawaii. I felt better quite soon; the horse in
gait and temper turned out perfection—aE spring
and spirit, elastic in his motion, walking fast and
easEy, and cantering with a light, graceful swing as
soon as one pressed the reins on his neck; a bEthe,
joyous animal, to whom a day among the mountains
seemed a pleasant frolic. So gentle he was, that
when I got off and walked he foEowed me without
being led, and without needing any one to hold him
he aEowed me to mount on either side.   In addition THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
to the charm of his movements he has the cat-like
sure-footedness of a Hawaiian horse, and fords rapid
and rough-bottomed rivers, and gaEops among stones
and stumps, and down steep hiEs, with equal security.
I could have ridden him a hundred miles as easily as
thirty. We have only been together two days, yet
we are firm friends, and thoroughly understand each
other. I should not require another companion on a
long mountain tour. AE his ways are those of an
animal brought up without curb, whip, or spur, trained
by the voice, and used only to kindness, as is happily
the case with the majority of horses in the Western
States. Consequently, unless they are broncos, they
exercise their intelEgence for your advantage, and
do their work rather as friends than as machines.
I soon began not only to feel better, but to be
exhEarated with the deEghtful motion. The sun was
behind us, and puffs of a cool elastic air came down
from the glorious mountains in front. We cantered
across six mEes of prairie, and then reached the
beautiful canyon of the St. Vrain, which, towards
its mouth, is a narrow, fertEe, wooded vaEey, through
which a bright rapid river, which we forded many
times, hurries along, with twists and windings innumerable. Ah, how brightly its ripples danced in
the gEttering sunshine, and how musicaEy its waters
murmured like the streams of windward Hawaii!
We lost our way over and over again, though the A LADTS UFE IN
"innocent" young men had been there before; indeed,
it would require some talent to master the intricacies
of that devious trail, but settlers making hay always
appeared in the nick of time to put us on the right
track. Very fair it was, after the brown and burning
plains, and the variety was endless. Cotton-wood
trees were green and bright, aspens shivered in golden
tremulousness, wild grape-vines traEed their lemon-
coloured foEage along the ground, and the Virginia
creeper hung its crimson sprays here and there,
Eghting up green and gold into glory. Sometimes
from under the cool and bowery shade of the coloured
tangle we passed into the cool St. Vrain, and then
were wedged between its margin and lofty cliffs and
terraces of incredibly staring, fantastic rocks, lined,
patched, and splashed with carmine, vermilion, greens
of aE tints, blue, yeEow, orange, violet, deep crimson,
colouring that no artist would dare to represent, and
of which, in sober prose, I scarcely dare teE. Long's
wonderful peaks, which hitherto had gleamed above
the green, now disappeared, to be seen no more for
twenty miles. We entered on an ascending vaEey,
where the gorgeous hues of the rocks were intensified
by the blue gloom of the pitch-pines, and then taking
a track to the north-west, we left the softer world
behind, and aE traces of man and his works, and
plunged into the Bocky Mountains.
There were wonderful ascents then up which I THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
led my horse: wild fantastic views opening up con-
tinuaEy, a recurrence of surprises; the air keener
and purer with every mile, the sensation of loneliness
more singular. A tremendous ascent among rocks
and pines to a height of 9000 feet brought us to a
passage seven feet wide through a waE of rock, with
an abrupt descent of 2000 feet, and a yet higher
ascent beyond. I never saw anything so strange as
looking back. It was a single gigantic ridge which
we had passed through, standing up knife-like, buEt
up entirely of great brick-shaped masses of bright-
red rock, some of them as large as the Eoyal Institution, Edinburgh, pEed qne on another by Titans.
Pitch-pines grew out of their crevices, but there was
not a vestige of soE. Beyond, waE beyond waE of
similar construction, and range above range, rose into
the blue sky. Fifteen miles more over great ridges,
along passes dark with shadow, and so narrow that
we had to ride in the beds of the streams which had
excavated them, round the bases of colossal pyramids
of rock crested with pines, up into fair upland
"parks," scarlet in patches with, the poison oak,
jparks so beautifuEy arranged by nature that I
momentarily expected to come upon some stately
mansion, but that afternoon crested blue jays and
chipmonks had them aE to themselves. Here, in
the early morning, deer, bighorn, and the stately elk,
come down to feed, and there, in the night, prowl 90
and growl the Eocky Mountain Eon, the grizzly
bear, and the cowardly woK. There were chasms
of immense depth, dark with the indigo gloom of
pines, and mountains with snow gleaming on their
splintered crests, loveliness to bewEder and grandeur
to awe, and stiE streams and shady pools, and cool
depths of shadow; mountains again, dense with pines*
among which patches of aspen gleamed like gold;
vaEeys where the yeEow cottonwood mingled with
the crimson oak, and so, on and on through the
lengthening shadows, tiE the traE, which in places
had been hardly legible, became weE defined, and
we entered a long gulch with broad swellings of
grass belted with pines.
A very pretty mare, hobbled, was feeding; a
colEe dog barked at us, and among the scrub, not far
from the track, there was a rude, black log cabin, as
rough as it could be to be a shelter at aE, with smoke
coming out of the roof and window. We diverged
towards it; it mattered not that it was the home, or
rather den, of a notorious " ruffian " and g desperado."
One of my companions had disappeared hours before,
the remaining one was a town-bred youth. I longed
to speak to some one who loved the mountains. I
caEed the hut a den—it looked like the den of a
wild beast. The big dog lay outside it in a threatening attitude and growled. The mud roof was covered |
with lynx, beaver, and other furs laid out to dry, THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
beaver paws were pinned out on the logs, a part of
the carcass of a deer hung at one end of the cabin, a
skinned beaver lay in front of a heap of peltry just
within the door, and antlers of deer, old horseshoes,
and offal of many animals, lay about the den. Eoused
by the growling of the dog, his owner came out, a
broad, thickset man, about the middle height, with
an old cap on his head, and wearing a grey hunting-
suit much the worse for wear (almost falling to pieces,
in fact), a digger's scarf knotted round his waist, a
knife in his belt, and " a bosom friend," a revolver,
sticking out of the breast-pocket of his coat; his
feet, which were very smaE, were bare, except for
some dilapidated moccasins made of horse hide. The
marvel was how his clothes hung together, and on
him. The scarf round his waist must have had
something to do with it. His face was remarkable.
He is a man about forty-five, and must have been
strikingly handsome. He has large grey-blue eyes,
deeply set, with weE-marked eyebrows, a handsome
aquiEne nose, and a very handsome mouth. His
face was smooth-shaven except for a dense moustache
and imperial. Tawny hahy in thin uncared-for curls,
feE from under his hunter's cap and over his coEar.
One eye was entirely gone, and the loss made one
side of the face repulsive, while the other might have
been modeEed in marble. " Desperado " was written
in large letters all over him.   I almost repented of 92
A lady's ufe in
having sought his acquaintance. His first impulse I
was to swear at the dog, but on seeing a lady he contented himseK with kicking him, and coming up to
me he raised his cap, showing as he did so a magnificently-formed brow and head, and in a cultured tone
of voice asked if there were anything he could do for
me ? I asked for some water, and he brought some
in a battered tin, gracefully apologising for not
having anything more presentable. We entered into
conversation, and as he spoke I forgot both his
reputation and appearance, for his manner was that
of a chivalrous gentleman, his accent refined, and his
language easy and elegant. I inquired about some
beavers' paws which were drying, and in a moment
they hung on the horn of my saddle. Apropos of the
wild animals of the region, he told me that the loss-
of his eye was owing to a recent encounter with a
grizzly bear, which, after giving him a death hug,
tearing him aE over, breaking his arm and scratching
out his eye, had left him for dead. As we rode
away, for the sun was sinking, he said, courteously,
" You are not an American. I know from your voice
that you are a countrywoman of mine. I hope you
wiE. aEow me the pleasure of calling on you."1   This
1 Of this unhappy man, who was shot nine months later within
two miles of his cabin, I write in the subsequent letters only as he
appeared to me. His life, without doubt, was deeply stained with
crimes and vices, and his reputation for ruffianism was a deserved LETTER VI.
man, known through the Territories and beyond them
as "Eocky Mountain Jim," or, more briefly, as
" Mountain Jim," is one of the famous scouts of the
Plains, and is the original of some daring portraits in
fiction concerning Indian frontier warfare. So far as
I have at present heard, he is a man for whom there
is now no room, for the time for blows and blood in
this part of Colorado is past, and the fame of many
daring exploits is sullied by crimes which are not
easily forgiven here. He now has a "squatter's
claim," but makes his Eving as a trapper, and is a
complete chEd of the mountains. Of his genius and
chivaby to women there does not appear to be any
doubt; but he is a desperate character, and is subject
to "ugly fits," when people think it best to avoid
him. It is here regarded as an evE that he has located
himseK at the mouth of the only entrance to the
Park, for he is dangerous with his pistols, and it
would be safer if he were not here. His besetting
sin is indicated in the verdict pronounced on him by
my host: " When he's sober Jim's a perfect gentleman ; but when he's had Equor he's the most awful
ruffian in Colorado."
one. But in my intercourse with him I saw more of his nobler
instincts than of the darker parts of his character, which, unfortunately for himself and others, showed itself in its worst
colours at the time of his tragic end. It was not until after I left
Colorado, not indeed until after his death, that I heard of the worst
points of his character. 94
From the ridge on which this gulch terminates,
at a height of 9000 feet, we saw at last Estes Park,
lying 1500 feet below in the glory of the setting sun,
an irregular basin, Eghted up by the bright waters
of the rashing Thompson, guarded by sentinel mountains of fantastic shape and monstrous size, with
Long's Peak rising above them all in unapproachable
grandeur, while the Snowy Eange, with its outlying
spurs heavEy timbered, come down upon the Park
slashed by stupendous canyons lying deep in purple
gloom. The rushing river was blood-red, Long's
Peak was aflame, the glory of the glowing heaven-
was given back from earth. Never, nowhere, have I
seen anything to equal the view into Estes Park.
The mountains " of the land which is very far off"
are very near now, but the near is more glorious than
the far, and reaEty than dreamland. The mountain.
fever seized me, and, giving my tireless horse one
encouraging word, he dashed at fuE gaEop over a
mEe of smooth sward at delirious speed. But I was
hungry, and the aE was frosty, and I was wondering
what the prospects of food and shelter were in this
enchanted region, when we came suddenly upon a
smaE lake, close to which was a very, trim-looking
log cabin, with a flat mud roof, with four smaller
ones; picturesquely dotted about near it, two corraU}
1 A corral is a fenced enclosure for cattle.    This word, with
bronco, ranch, and a few others, are adaptations from the Spanish, THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
a long shed, in front of which a steer was being
kiEed, a log-dairy with a water-wheel, some hay-
piles, and various evidences of comfort; and two men,
on serviceable horses, were just bringing in some
tolerable cows to be milked. A short, pleasant-
looking man ran up to me and shook hand's gleefuEy,
which surprised me; but he has since told me that
in the evening light he thought I was "Mountain
Jim, dressed up as a woman!" I recognised in him
a countryman, and he introduced himseE as Griffith
Evans, a Welshman from the slate quarries near
Llanberis. When the cabin-door was opened I saw
a good-sized log room, unchinked, however, with
windows of infamous glass, looking two ways; a
rough stone fireplace, in which pine logs, half as
large as I am, were burning; a boarded floor, a round
table, two rocking-chairs, a carpet-covered backwoods
couch; and skins, Indian bows and arrows, wampum
belts, and antlers, fitly decorated the rough walls, and
equally fitly rifles were stuck up in the corners.
Seven men, smoking, were lying about on the floor, a
sick man lay on the couch, and a middle-aged lady
sat at the table writing. I went out again and asked
Evans if he. could take me in, expecting nothing
better than a shakedown; but, to my joy, he told me
he could give me a cabin to myseE, two minutes'
and are used as extensively throughout California and the Territories
as is the Spanish or Mexican saddle. A lady's life in
walk from his own. So in this glorious upper world,
with the mountain pines behind and the clear lake
in front, in the " blue hoEow at the foot of Long's
Peak," at a height of 7500 feet, where the hoar frost
crisps the grass every night of the year, I have found
far more than I ever dared to hope for.
"Personality" of Long'sPeak—:" Mountain Jim"—Lake of the Lilies
—A silent Forest—The Camping Ground—'' Ring "—A Lady's
Bower—Dawn and Sunrise—A glorious View—Links of Diamonds—The Ascent of the Peak—The Dog's Lift—Suffering
from Thirst—The Descent—The Bivouac.
Estes Park, Colorado, October.
As this account of the ascent of Long's Peak could
not be written at the time, I am much disinclined
to write it, especiaEy as no sort of description within
my powers could enable another to realise the
glorious sublimity, the majestic soEtude, and the
unspeakable awfulness and fascination of the scenes
in which I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Long's Peak, 14,700 feet high, blocks up one end
of Estes Park, and dwarfs aE the surrounding mountains. From it on this side rise, snow-born, the
bright St. Vrain, and the Big and Little Thompson.
By sunlight or moonEght its splintered grey crest is
the one object which, in spite of wapiti and bighorn,
skunk and grizzly, unfailingly arrests the eye. From
it come aE storms of snow and wind, and the forked
lightnings play round its head like a glory.    It is 98
A lady's life in
one of the noblest of mountains, but in one's imagination it grows to be much more than a mountain.
It becomes invested with a personality. In its
caverns and abysses one comes to fancy that it generates and chains the strong winds, to let them loose
in its fury. The thunder becomes its voice, and the
Eghtnings do it homage. Other summits blush under
the morning kiss of the sun, and turn pale the next
moment; but it detains the first sunlight and holds
it round its head for an hour at least, tiE it pleases to
change from rosy red to deep blue; and the sunset,
as if speE-bound, lingers latest on its crest. The soft
winds which hardly rustle the pine needles down
here are raging rudely up there round its motionless
summit. The mark of fire is upon it; and though it
has passed into a grim repose, it tells of fire and upheaval as truly, though not as eloquently, as the
Eving volcanoes of Hawan. Here under its shadow
one learns how naturaEy nature worship, and the
propitiation of the forces of nature arose in minds
which had no better Eght.
Long's Peak, " the American Matterhorn," as some
caE it, was ascended ^ve years ago for the first time*
I thought I should like to attempt it, but up to
Monday, when Evans left for Denver, cold water was
thrown upon the project. It was too late in the season,
the winds were likely to be strong, etc.; but just before leaving, Evans said that the weather was looking LETTER VII.
more settled, and if I did not get farther ;than the
timber line it would be worth going. Soon after he
left, "Mountain Jim" came in, and said he would go up
as guide, and the two youths who rode here with me
from Longmount and I caught at the proposal. Mrs.
Edwards at once baked bread for three days, steaks
were cut from the steer which hangs up conveniently,
and tea, sugar, and butter were benevolently added.
Our picnic was not to be a luxurious or " well-found "
one, for, in order to avoid the expense of a pack mule,
we limited our luggage to what our saddle horses
could carry. Behind my saddle I carried three pair of
camping blankets and a quilt, which reached to my
shoulders. My own boots were so much worn that
it was painful to walk, even about the park, in them,
so Evans had lent me a pair of his hunting boots,
which hung to the horn of my saddle. The horses of
the two young men were equaEy loaded, for we had
to prepare for many degrees of frost, " Jim " was a
shocking figure; he had on an old pair of high boots,
with a baggy pair of old trousers made of deer hide,
held on by an old scarf tucked into them; a leather
shirt, with three or four ragged unbuttone4 waistcoats over it; an old smashed wideawake, from under
which his tawny, neglected ringlets hung; and with
his one eye, his one long spur, his knife in his belt,
his revolver in his waistcoat pocket, his saddle covered
with an old beaver-skin, from which the paws hung 100
down; his camping blankets behind him, his rifle
laid across the saddle in front of him, and his axe,
canteen, and other gear hanging to the horn, he was
as awful looking a ruffian as one could see. By way
of contrast he rode a smaE Arab mare, of exquisite
beauty, skittish, high-spirited, gentle, but altogether
too light for him, and he fretted her incessantly to
make her display herseE.
HeavEy loaded as aE our horses were, "Jim"
started over the haE-mEe of level grass at a hand-
gaEop, and then throwing his mare on her haunches,
puUed up alongside of me, and with a grace of manner which soon made me forget his appearance,
entered into a conversation which lasted for more
than three hours, in spite of the manifold checks of
fording streams, single file, abrupt ascents and descents,
and other incidents of mountain travel. The ridei
was one series of glories and surprises, of "park"
and glade, of lake and stream, of mountains on
mountains, culminating in the rent pinnacles of
Long's Peak, which looked yet grander and ghastEer
as we crossed an attendant mountain 11,000 feet high.*
The slanting sun added fresh beauty every hour.
There were dark pines against a lemon sky, grey
peaks reddening and etherealising, gorges of deep and
infinite blue, floods of golden glory pouring through
canyons of enormous depth, an atmosphere of absolute
purity, an occasional foreground of cotton-wood and   THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
aspen flaunting in red and gold to intensify the blue
gloom of the pines, the trickle and murmur of streams
fringed with icicles, the strange sough of gusts moving
among the pine tops—sights and sounds not of the
lower earth, but of the soEtary, beast-haunted,- frozen
upper altitudes. From the dry, buff grass of Estes
Park we turned off up a traE on the side of a pine-
hung gorge, up a steep pine-clothed hiE, down to a
siriaE vaEey, rich in fine, sun-cured hay about eighteen
inches high, and enclosed by high mountains whose
deepest hoEow contains a lily-covered lake, fitly
named " The Lake of the Lilies." Ah, how magical
its beauty was, as it slept in silence, while there the
dark pines were mirrored motionless in its pale gold,
and here the great white Ely cups and dark green
leaves rested on amethyst-coloured water!
From this we ascended into the purple gloom of
great pine forests which clothe the skirts of the
mountains up to a height of about 11,000 feet, and
from their chiE and soEtary depths we had glimpses
of golden atmosphere and rose-lit summits, not of
" the land very far off," but of the land nearer now in
aE its grandeur, gaining in sublimity by nearness—
glimpses, too, through a broken vista of purple gorges,
of the illimitable Plains lying idealised in the late
sunlight, their baked, brown expanse transfigured into
the likeness of a sunset sea rolling infinitely in waves
of misty gold. -fjpj 102
We rode upwards through the gloom on a steep
trail blazed through the forest, aE my inteEect concentrated on avoiding being dragged off my horse by
impending branches, or having the blankets badly
torn, as those of my companions were, by sharp dead.
Embs, between which there was hardly room to pass
—the horses breathless, and requiring to stop every
few yards, though their riders, except myself were \
afoot. The gloom of the dense, ancient, sEent forest I
is to me awe-inspEing. On such an evening it is
soundless, except for the branches creaking in the
soft wind, the frequent snap of decayed timber, and
a murmur in the pine tops as of a not distant waterfall, aE tending to produce eeriness and a sadness
" hardly akin to pain." There no lumberer's axe has
ever rung. The trees die when they have attained
their prime, and stand there, dead and bare, tiE the
fierce mountain winds lay them prostrate. The pines
grew smaEer and more sparse as we ascended, and
the last stragglers wore a tortured, warring look. The
timber line was passed, but yet a Ettle higher a slope
of mountain meadow dipped to the south-west towards
a bright stream trickling under ice and icicles, and
there a grove of the beautiful silver spruce marked
our camping ground. The trees were in miniature,
but so exquisitely arranged that one might well ask
what artist's hand had planted them, scattering them
here, clumping them there, and training their slim XETTERVii. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
spires towards heaven. Hereafter, when I call up
memories of the glorious, the view from this camping
ground wiE come up. Looking east, gorges opened
to the distant Plains, then fading into purple grey.
Mountains with pine-clothed skirts rose in ranges, or,
solitary, upEfted their grey summits, while close behind, but nearly 3000 feet above us, towered the
bald white crest of Long's Peak, its huge precipices
red with the light of a sun long lost to our eyes.
Close to us, in the caverned side of the Peak, was snow
that, owing to its position, is eternal Soon the afterglow came on, and before it faded a big haE-moon
hung out of the heavens, shining through the silver
blue foliage of the pines on the frigid background
of snow, and turning the whole into fairyland. The
"photo" which accompanies this letter is by a courageous Denver artist who attempted the ascent
just before I arrived, but, after camping out at the
timber line for a week, was foEed by the perpetual
storms, and was driven down again, leaving some
very valuable apparatus about 3000 feet from the
Unsaddling and picketing the horses securely,
making the beds of pine shoots, and dragging up logs
for fuel, warmed us aE. " Jim " built up a great fire,
and before long we were aE sitting round it at
supper. It didn't matter much that we had to drink
our tea out of the battered meat-tins in which it was 104
boEed, and eat strips of beef reeking with pine smoke
without plates or forks.
" Treat Jim as a gentleman and you'E find him
one," I had been told; and though his manner was
certainly bolder and freer than that of gentlemen
generaEy, no imaginary fault could be found. He
was very agreeable as a man of culture as weE as a
chEd of nature; the desperado was altogether out of
sight. He was very courteous and even kind to me,
which was fortunate, as the young men had Ettle
idea of showing even ordinary civilities. That night
I made the acquaintance of his dog " Eing," said to
be the best hunting-dog in Colorado, with the body
and legs of a colEe, but a head approaching that of a
mastiff, a noble face with a wistful human expression, and the most truthful eyes I ever saw in an
animal. His master loves him if he loves anything,
but in his savage moods iE-treats him. "Eing's"
devotion never swerves, and his truthful eyes are
rarely taken off his master's face. He is almost
human in his intelligence, and, unless he is told to do
so, he never takes notice of any one but " Jim." In
a tone as if speaking to a human being, his master,,
pointing to me, said, " Eing, go to that lady, and don't
leave her again to-night." "Eing" at once came to
me, looked into my face, laid his head on my shoulder,
and then lay down beside me with his head on my lap,
but never taking his eyes from " Jim's *face. Letter vii.
The long shadows of the pines lay upon the
frosted grass, an aurora leaped fitfuEy, and the moonlight, though intensely bright, was pale beside the
red, leaping flames of our pine logs and their red
glow on our gear, ourselves, and Eing's truthful face.
One of the young men sang a Latin student's song
and two negro melodies; the other, " Sweet Spirit,
hear my Prayer." " Jim " sang one of Moore's melodies in a singular falsetto, and aE together sang " The
Star-spangled Banner" and " The Bed, White, and
Blue." Then " Jim " recited a very clever poem of
his own composition, and told some fearful Indian
stories. A group of smaE silver spruces away from
the fire was my sleeping-place. The artist who had
been up there had so woven and interlaced their lower
branches as to form a bower, affording at once shelter
from the wind and a most agreeable privacy. It was
thickly strewn with young pine shoots, and these,
when covered with a blanket, with an inverted saddle
for a piEow, made a luxurious bed. The mercury at
9 p.m. was 12° below the freezing point. "Jim,"
after a last look at the horses, made a huge fire, and
stretched himseK out beside it, but " Bing " lay at my
back to keep me warm. I could not sleep, but the
night passed rapidly. I was anxious about the
ascent, for gusts of ominous sound swept through
the pines at intervals. Then wild animals howled,
and " Bing" wdk perturbed in spirit about them. Then 106
it was strange to see the notorious desperado, a red-
handed man, sleeping as quietly as innocence sleeps.
But, above aE, it was exciting to Ee there, with no
better shelter than a bower of pines, on a mountain
11,000 feet high, in the very heart of the Eocky
Eange, under twelve degrees of frost, hearing sounds
of wolves, with shivering stars looking through the
fragrant canopy, with arrowy pines for bed-posts, and
for a night lamp the red flames of a camp fire.
Day dawned long before the sun rose, pure and
lemon-coloured. The rest were looking after the
horses, when one of the students came running to
teE me that I must come farther down the slope, for
" Jim " said he had never seen such a sunrise. From
the chiE, grey Peak above, worn the everlasting
snows, from the sEvered pines, down through moun^
tain ranges with their depths of Tyrian purple, we
looked to where the Plains lay cold, in blue grey, like
a morning sea against a far horizon. Suddenly, as
a dazzling streak at first, but enlarging rapidly into
a dazzling sphere, the sun wheeled above the grey
line, a Eght and glory as when it was first created,
"Jim" involuntarEy and reverently uncovered his
head, and exclaimed, " I beEeve there is a God!"
I felt as if, Parsee-like, I must worship. The grey of
the Plains changed to purple, the sky was aE one
rose-red flush, on which vermilion cloud-streaks
rested; the ghastly peaks gleamed like rubies, the
earth and heavens were new-created.    Surely " tim  " LAVA  BEDS," LONG S PEAK.        .From a Photo. LETTER VII.
Most High dweEeth not in temples made with
hands !" For a fuE hour those Plains simulated the
ocean, down to whose limitless expanse of purple,
cliffs, rocks, and promontories swept down.
By seven we had finished breakfast, and passed
into the ghastlier solitudes above, I riding as far as
what, rightly or wrongly, are caEed the " Lava Beds,"
an expanse of large and small boulders, with snow in
their crevices. It was very cold; some water which
we crossed was frozen hard enough to bear the horse.
" Jim " had advised me against taking any wraps, and
my thin Hawaiian riding-dress, only fit for the tropics,
was penetrated by the keen air. The rarefied atmosphere soon began to oppress our breathing, and I
found that Evans's boots were so large that I had
no foothold. Fortunately, before the real difficulty
of the ascent began, we found, under a rock, a pair o*
smaE over-shoes, probably left by the Hayden exploring expedition, which just lasted for the day. As
we were leaping from rock to rock," Jim " said, " I
was thinking in the night about your travelling alone,
and wondering where you carried your Derringer, for
I could see no signs of it." On my telling him that
I traveEed unarmed, he could hardly believe it, and
adjured me to get a revolver at once.
On arriving at the "Notch" (a Eteral gate of
rock), we found ourselves absolutely on the knife-
like ridge or backbone of Long's Peak, only a few
feet wide, covered with colossal boulders and frag- 108
ments, and on the other side shelving in one precipitous, snow-patched sweep of 3000 feet to a picturesque hoEow, containing a lake of pure green water.
Other lakes, hidden among dense pine woods, were
farther off, whEe close above us rose the Peak, which,
for about 500 feet, is a smooth, gaunt, inaccessible^
looking pile of granite. Passing through the " Notch,"
we looked along the nearly inaccessible side of the
Peak, composed of boulders and debris of aE shapes
and sizes, through which appeared broad, smooth ribs
of reddish-coloured granite, looking as if they upheld
the towering rock-mass above. I usuaEy dislike
bird's-eye and panoramic views, but, though from a
mountain, this was not one. Serrated ridges, not
much lower than that on which we stood, rose, one
beyond another, far as that pure atmosphere could
carry the vision, broken into awful chasms deep
with ice and snow, rising into pinnacles piercing the
heavenly blue with their cold, barren grey, on, on for
ever, tiE the most distant range upbore unsulEe<t
snow alone. There were fair lakes mirroring the
dark pine woods, canyons dark and blue-black with
unbroken expanses of pines, snow-slashed pinnacles,
wintry heights frowning upon lovely parks, watered
and wooded, lying in the lap of summer; North Park
floating off into the blue distance, Middle Park closed
tiE another season, the sunny slopes of Estes Park,
and winding down among the mountains the snowy LETTER VII.
ridge of the Divide, whose bright waters seek both
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There, far below,
links of diamonds showed where the Grand Biver
takes its rise to seek the mysterious Colorado, with
its stiE unsolved enigma, and lose itself in the waters
of the Pacific; and nearer the snow-born Thompson
bursts forth from the ice to begin its journey to the
GuE of Mexico. Nature, rioting in her grandest
mood, exclaimed with voices of grandeur, solitude,
sublimity, beauty, and infinity, " Lord, what is man,
that Thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man,
that Thou visitest him ?" Never-to-be-forgotten
glories they were, burnt in upon my memory by six
succeeding hours of terror. You know I have no
head and no ankles, and never ought to dream of
mountaineering; and had I known that the ascent
was a real mountaineering feat I should not have felt
the slightest ambition to perform it. As it is, I am
only humiliated by my success, for " Jim " dragged
me up, like a bale of goods, by sheer force of muscle.
At the " Notch" the real business of the ascent
began. Two thousand feet of solid rock towered
above us, four thousand feet of broken rock shelved
precipitously below; smooth granite ribs, with barely
foothold, stood out here and there; melted snow,
refrozen several times, presented a more serious
obstacle; many of the rocks were loose, and tumbled
down when touched.    To me it was a time of extreme 110
terror. I was roped to " Jim," but it was of no use,
my feet were paralysed and sEpped on the bare rock,
and he said it was useless to try to go that way, and we
retraced our steps. I wanted to return to the " Notch,"
knowing that my incompetence would detain the
party, and one of the young men said almost plainly
that a woman was a dangerous encumbrance, but the
trapper repEed shortly that if it were not to take a lady
up he would not go up at aE. He went on to explore,
and reported that further progress on the correct line
of ascent was blocked by ice; and then for two hours
we descended, lowering ourselves by our hands from
rock to rock along a boulder-strewn sweep of 4000
feet, patched with ice and snow, and perilous from
rolling stones. My fatigue, giddiness, and pain from
bruised ankles, and arms haK puEed out of their
sockets, were so great that I should never have gone
haE-way had not "Jim," nolens volens, dragged me
along with a patience and skill, and withal a determination that I should ascend the Peak, which never
failed. After descending about 2000 feet to avoid
the ice, we got into a deep ravine with inaccessible
sides, partly fiEed with ice and snow and partly with
large and smaE fragments of rock, which were constantly giving way, rendering the footing very insecure. That part to me was two hours of painful and
unwilling submission to the inevitable; of trembling,
sEpping, straining, of smooth ice appearing when it LETTER VII.
was least expected, and of weak entreaties to be left
behind while the others went on. "Jim" always
said that there was no danger, that there was only a
short bad bit ahead, and that I should go up even if
he carried me!
• Slipping, faltering, gasping from the exhausting
toil in the rarefied air, with throbbing hearts and
panting lungs, we reached the top of the gorge and
squeezed ourselves between two gigantic fragments
of rock by a passage caEed the " Dog's Lift," when I
climbed on the shoulders of one man and then was
hauled up. This introduced us by an abrupt turn
round the south-west angle of the Peak to a narrow
sheff of considerable length, rugged, uneven, and so
overhung by the cEff in some places that it is necessary to crouch to pass at aE. Above, the Peak looks
nearly vertical for 400 feet; and below, the most
tremendous precipice I have ever seen descends in
one unbroken fall. This is usuaEy considered the
most dangerous part of the ascent, but it does not
seem so to me, for such foothold as there is is secure,
and one fancies that it is possible to hold on with the
hands. But there, and on the final, and, to my thinking,
the worst part of the cEmb, one slip, and a breathing,
thinking, human being would Ee 3000 feet below, a
shapeless, bloody heap! "Bing" refused to traverse the
Ledge, and remained at the " Lift " howling piteously.
From thence the view is more magnificent even A LADY S LIFE IN
than that from the "Notch." At the foot of the
precipice below us lay a lovely lake, wood embosomed, from or near which the bright St. Vrain and
other streams take their rise. I thought how their
clear cold waters, growing turbid in the affluent
flats, would heat under the tropic sun, and eventually
form part of that great ocean river which renders
our far-off islands habitable by impinging on their
shores. Snowy ranges, one behind the other, extended to the distant horizonj folding in their wintry
embrace the beauties of Middle Park. Pike's Peak,
more than one hundred miles off, lifted that vast but
shapeless summit which is the landmark of Southern
Colorado. There were snow patches, snow slashes,
snow abysses, snow forlorn and soEed-looking, snow
pure and dazzling, snow gEstening above the purple
robe of pine worn by aE the mountains; while away
to the east, in limitless breadth, stretched the green-
grey of the endless Plains. Giants everywhere reared
their splintered crests. From thence, with a single
sweep, the eye takes in a distance of 1300 miles—
that distance to the west, north, and south being
made up of mountains ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen
thousand feet in height, dominated by Long's Peak,
Gray's Peak, and Pike's Peak, all nearly the height
of Mont Blanc! On the Plains we traced the rivers
by their fringe of cotton-woods to the distant Platte,
and between us and them lay glories of mountain, LETTER VII.
canyon, and lake, sleeping in depths of blue and
purple most ravishing to the eye.
As we crept from the lodge round a horn of rock,
I beheld what made me perfectly sick and dizzy to
look at—the terminal Peak itself—a smooth, cracked
face or waE of pink granite, as nearly perpendicular
as anything could weE be up which it was possible
to climb, weE deserving the name of the "American
Scaling, not climbing, is the correct term for this
last ascent. It took one hour to accomplish 500 feet,
pausing for breath every minute or two. The only
foothold was in narrow cracks or on minute projections on the granite. To get a toe in these cracks, or
here and there on a scarcely obvious projection, while
crawling on hands and knees, aE the while tortured
with thirst and gasping and struggling for breath,
this was the cEmb; but at last the Peak was won.
A grand, weE-defined mountain-top itr is, a nearly
level acre of boulders, with precipitous sides aE
round, the one we came up being the only accessible
It was not possible to remain long. One of the
young men was seriously alarmed by bleeding from
1 Let no practical mountaineer be allured by my description into
the ascent of Long's Peak. Truly terrible as it was to me, to a
member of the Alpine Club it would not be a feat worth perform-
■m 114
the lungs, and the intense dryness of the day and the
rarefaction of the air, at a height of nearly 15,000
feet, made respiration very painfuL There is always
water on the Peak, but it was frozen as hard as a
rock, and the sucking of ice and snow increases thirst.
We all suffered severely from the want of water, and
the gasping for breath made our mouths and tongues
so dry that articulation was difficult, and the speech
of aE unnatural.
From the summit were seen in unrivaEed combination aE the views which had rejoiced our eyes
during the ascent. It was something at last to stand
upon the storm-rent crown of this lonely sentinel
of the Bocky Bange, on one of the mightiest of the
vertebras of the backbone of the North American
continent, and to see the waters start for both oceans.
Uplifted above love and hate and storms of passion,
calm amidst the eternal silences, fanned by zephyrs
and bathed in Eving blue, peace rested for that one
bright day on the Peak, as if it were some region
" Where falls not rain, or hail, or any snow,
Or ever wind blows loudly."
We placed our names, with the date of ascent, in a
tin within a crevice, and descended to the Ledge,
sitting on the smooth granite, getting our feet into
cracks and against projections, and letting ourselves
down by our hands," Jim " going before me, so that I LETTER VII.
might steady my feet against his powerful shoulders.
I was no longer giddy, and faced the precipice of
3500 feet without a shiver. Bepassing the Ledge
and Tift, we accompEshed the descent through 1500
feet of ice andj snow, with many faEs and bruises,
but no worse mishap, and there separated, the young
men taking the steepest but most direct way to the
Notch, with the intention of getting ready for the
march home, and "Jim" and I taking what he
thought the safer route for me—a descent over
boulders for 2000 feet, and then a tremendous ascent
to the " Notch." I had various falls, and once hung
by my frock, which caught on a rock, and "Jim"
severed it with his hunting-knife, upon which I feE
into a crevice fuE of soft snow. We were driven
lower down the mountains than he had intended by
impassable tracts of ice, and the ascent was tremendous. For the last 200 feet the boulders were of
enormous size, and the steepness fearful. Sometimes
I drew myseE up on hands and knees, sometimes
crawled; sometimes "Jim" puEed me up by my
arms or a lariat, and sometimes I stood on his shoulders, or he made steps for me of his feet and hands,
but at six we stood on the Notch in the splendour of
the sinking sun, aE colour deepening, aE peaks glorifying, aE shadows purpEng, aE peril past.
"Jim" had parted with his brusquerie when we
parted from the students, and was gentle and con- 116
siderate beyond anything, though I knew that he
must be grievously disappointed, both in my courage
and strength. Water was an object of earnest desire. My tongue rattled in my mouth, and I could
hardly articulate. It is good for one's sympathies to
have for once a severe experience of thirst. Truly,
there was
• Water, water, everywhere,
But not a drop to drink."
Three times its apparent gleam deceived even the
mountaineer's practised eye, but we found only a
foot of " glare ice." At last, in a deep hole, he succeeded in breaking the ice, and by putting one's arm
far down one could scoop up a little water in one's
hand, but it was tormentingly insufficient. Witii
great difficulty and much assistance I recrossed the
"Lava Beds," was carried to the horse and lifted
upon him, and when we reached the camping ground
I was Efted off him, and laid on the ground wrapped
up in blankets, a humiliating termination of a great
exploit. The horses were saddled, and the young
men were aE ready to start, but "Jim" quietly said,
" Now, gentlemen, I want a good night's rest, and we
shan't stir from here to-night." I believe they were
really glad to have it so, as one of them was quite
" finished." I retired to my arbour, wrapped myself
in a roE of blankets, and was soon asleep. When I
woke, the moon was high shining through the silvery
branches, whitening the bald Peak above, and glittering on the great abyss of snow behind, and pine
logs were blazing like a bonfire in the cold stiE aE.
My feet were so icy cold that I could not sleep again,
and getting some blankets to sit in, and making a
roE of them for my back, I sat for two hours by the
camp fire. It was weird and gloriously beautiful.
The students were asleep not far off in their blankets
with their feet towards the fire. " Bing " lay on one
side of me with his fine head on my arm, and his
master sat smoking, with the fire lighting up the
handsome side of his face, and except for the tones
of our voices, and an occasional crackle and splutter
as a pine knot blazed up, there was no sound on the
mountain side. The beloved stars of my far-off home
were overhead, the Plough and Pole Star, with their
steady light; the glittermg Pleiades, looking larger
than I ever saw them, and " Orion's studded belt"
shining gloriously. Once only some wEd animals
prowled near the camp, when " Bing," with one bound,
disappeared from my side; and the horses, which
were picketed by the stream, broke their lariats,
stampeded, and came rushing wildly towards the
fire, and it was fuEy half an hour before they were
caught and quiet was restored. "Jim," or Mr. Nugent,
as I always scrupulously caEed him, told stories of
his early youth, and of a great sorrow which had led
him to embark on a lawless and desperate life.   His
m 118
voice trembled, and tears roEed down his cheek. Was
it semi-conscious acting, I wondered, or was his dark
soul reaEy stirred to its depths by the silence, the
beauty, and the memories of youth ?
. We reached Estes Park at noon of the foEowing
day. A more successful ascent of the Peak was
never made, and I would not now exchange my
memories of its perfect beauty and extraordinary
sublimity for any other experience of mountaineering in any part of the world. Yesterday snow fell
on the summit, and it wiE be inaccessible for eight
months to come.
I. h. J5.
Vlii"ii«i{ LETTER VIII.
Estes Park —Big Game—"Parks" in Colorado — Magnificent
Scenery—Flowers and Pines—An awful Road—Our Log Cabin
—Griffith Evans—A miniature World—Our Topics—A night
Alarm—A Skunk—Morning glories—Daily routine—The Panic
"Wait for the Waggon "—A musical evening.
Estes Park, Colorado Territory, October 2.
How time has sEpped by I do not know. This is a
glorious region, and the air and Efe are intoxicating.
I live mainly out of doors and on horseback, wear my
haK threadbare Hawaiian dress, sleep sometimes
under the stars on a bed of pine boughs, ride on a
Mexican saddle, and hear once more the low music
of my Mexican spurs. " There's a stranger! Heave
arf a brick at him!" is said by many travellers to
express the feeEng of the new settlers in these Territories. This is not my experience in my cheery
mountain home. How the rafters ring as I write
with songs and mirth, while the pitch-pine logs blaze
and crackle in the chimney, and the fine snow-dust
drives in through the chinks and forms mimic snow-
wreaths on the floor, and the wind raves and howls
and plays among the creaking pine branches and 120
snaps them short off, and the Eghtning plays round
the blasted top of Long's Peak, and the hardy hunters
divert themselves with the thought that when I go to
bed I must turn out and face the storm!
You wiE ask, "What is Estes Park?" This
name, with the quiet Midland Counties' sound, suggests "park palings" weE Echened, a lodge with a
curtseying woman, faEow-deer, and a Queen Anne
mansion. Such as it is, Estes Park is mine. It is
unsurveyed, " no man's land," and mine by right of
love, appropriation, and appreciation; by the seizure
of its peerless sunrises and sunsets, its glorious afterglow, its blazing noons, its hurricanes sharp and furious, its wild auroras, its glories of mountain and
forest, of canyon, lake, and river, and the stereotyping
them aE in my memory. Mine, too, in a better than
the sportsman's sense, are its majestic wapiti, which
play and fight under the pines in the early morning,
as securely as faEow-deer under our English oaks;
its graceful "black-tails," swift of foot; its superb
big-horns, whose noble leader is to be seen now and
then with his classic head against the blue sky on the
top of a colossal rock; its sneaking mountain lion
with his hideous nocturnal caterwauEngs, the great
" grizzly," the beautiful skunk, the wary beaver, who
is always making lakes, damming and turning streams,
cutting down young cotton-woods, and setting an
example of thrift and industry; the woE, greedy and LETTER VIII.
cowardly; the coyote and the lynx, and aE the lesser
fry of mink, marten, cat, hare, fox, squirrel, and chip-
monk, as weE as things that fly, from the eagle down
to the crested blue-jay. May their number never be
less, in spite of the hunter who kills for food and
gain, and the sportsman who kills and marauds for
But stEl I have not answered the natural question,1 "What is Estes Park?" Among the striking
peculiarities of these mountains are hundreds of high-
lying vaEeys, large and smaE, at heights varying from
6000 to 11,000 feet. The most important are North
Park, held by hostEe Indians; Middle Park, famous
for hot springs and trout; South Park, rich in minerals;
and San Luis Park. South Park is 10,000 feet high,
a great rolling prairie 70 mEes long, weE grassed and
watered, but nearly closed by snow in winter. But
Parks innumerable are scattered throughout the mountains, most of them unnamed, and others nicknamed
by the hunters or trappers who have made them their
temporary resorts. They always Ee far within the
flaming Foot Hills, their exquisite stretches of flowery
pastures dotted artisticaEy with clumps of trees sloping lawnlike to bright swift streams fuE of red-
1 Nor should I at this time, had not Henry Kingsley, Lord
Dunraven, and "The Field," divulged the charms and whereabouts
of these "happy hunting grounds," with the certain result of
directing a stream of tourists into the solitary, beast-haunted
paradise. 122
waistcoated trout, or running up in soft glades into
the dark forest, above which the snow-peaks rise in
their infinite majesty. Some are bits of meadow a
mile long and very narrow, with a sniaE stream, a
beaver-dam, and a pond made by beaver industry.
Hundreds of these can only be reached by riding in
the bed of a stream, or by scrambling up some narrow
canyon tiE it debouches on the fairy-like stretch
above. These parks are the feeding-grounds of innumerable wild animals, and some, like one three
miles off, seem chosen for the process of antler-casting, the grass being covered for at least a square mile
with the magnificent branching horns of the elk.
Estes Park combines the beauties of aE Dismiss
aE thoughts of the Midland Counties. For park
palings there are mountains, forest skirted, 9000,
11,000, 14,000 feet high; for a lodge, two sentinel
peaks of granite guarding the only feasible entrance;
and for a Queen Anne mansion an unchinked log
cabin with a vault of sunny blue overhead. The
park is most irregularly shaped, and contains hardly
any level grass. It is an aggregate of lawns, slopes,
and glades, about eighteen miles in length, but never
more than two miles in width. The Big Thompson,
a bright, rapid trout-stream, snow-born on Long's Peak
a few miles higher, takes aE sorts of magical twists,
vanishing and reappearing unexpectedly, glancing
among   lawns, rushing   through romantic ravines, LETTER VIII.
everywhere making music through the stiE, long
nights. Here and there the lawns are so smooth, the
trees so artisticaEy grouped, a lake makes such an
artistic foreground, or a waterfaE comes tumbling
down with such an apparent feeling for the picturesque, that I am almost angry with Nature for her
close imitation of art. But in another hundred yards
Nature, glorious, unapproachable, inimitable, is her-
seE again, raising one's thoughts reverently upwards
to her Creator and ours. Grandeur and sublimity,
not softness, are the features of Estes Park. The
glades which begin so softly are soon lost in the dark
primaeval forests, with their peaks of rosy granite, and
their stretches of granite blocks piled and poised by
nature in some mood of fury. The streams are lost
in canyons nearly or quite inaccessible, awful in their
blackness and darkness; every vaEey ends in mystery;
seven mountain ranges raise their frowning barriers
between us and the Plains, and at the south end of
the park Long's Peak rises to a height of 14,700 feet,
with his bare, scathed head slashed with eternal snow.
The lowest part of the Park is 7500 feet high; and
though the sun is hot during the day, the mercury hovers near the freezing-point every night of
the summer. An immense quantity of snow faEs,
but partly owing to the tremendous winds which
drift it into the deep vaEeys, and partly to the bright
warm sun of the winter months, the Park is never 124
snowed up, and a number of cattle and horses are
wintered out of doors on its sun-cured, saccharine
grasses, of which the gramma grass is the most valuable. The soE here, as elsewhere in the neighbourhood, is nearly everywhere coarse, grey, granitic dust,
produced probably by the disintegration of the surrounding mountains. It does not hold water, and is
never wet in any weather. There are no thaws here.
The snow mysteriously disappears by rapid evaporation. Oats grow, but do not ripen, and, when weE
advanced, are cut and stacked for winter fodder.
Potatoes yield abundantly, and, though not very large,
are of the best quaEty, mealy throughout. Evans
has not attempted anything else, and probably the
more succulent vegetables would require irrigation.
The wEd flowers are gorgeous and innumerable,
though their beauty, which culminates in July and
August, was over before I arrived, and the recent
snow-flurriesfthave finished them. The time between
winter and winter is very short, and the flowery
growth and blossom of a whole year are compressed
into two months. Here are dandeEons, buttercups,
larkspurs, harebells, violets, roses, blue gentian, columbine, painter's brush, and fifty others, blue and yeEow
predominating; and though their blossoms are stiffened
by the cold every morning, they are starring the grass
and drooping over the brook long before noon, making the most of their brief Eves in the sunshine.   Of LETTER Vm\
ferns, after many a long hunt, I have only found the
Oystopteris fragilis and the Blechnum spicant, but I
hear that the Pteris aquUina is also found. Snakes
and mosquitoes do not appear to be known here.
Coming almost direct from the tropics, one is {unsatisfied with the uniformity of the foEage; indeed,
foliage can hardly be written of, as the trees properly
so caEed at this height are exclusively Coniferce, and
bear needles instead of leaves. In places there are
patches of spindly aspens, which have turned a lemon-
yeEow, and along the streams bear-cherries, vines,
and roses lighten the gulches with their variegated
crimson leaves. The pines are not imposing, either
from their girth or height. Their colouring ,is blackish-
green, and though they are effective singly or in groups,
they are sombre and almost funereal when densely
massed, as here, along the mountain sides. The timber bine is at a height of about 11,000 feet, and is
singularly weE defined. The most attractive tree I
have seen is the sEver spruce, Abies Englemanii, near
of kin to what is often caEed the balsam-fir. Its
shape and colour are both beautiful. My heart
warms towards it, and I frequent aE the places where
I can find it. It looks as if a soft, blue, sEver powder
had fallen on its deep-green needles, or as if a bluish
hoar-frost, which must melt at noon, were resting
upon it. Anyhow, one can hardly believe that the
beauty is permanent, and survives the summer heat 126
and the winter cold. The universal tree here is the
Pinus ponderosa, but it never attains any very considerable size, and there is nothing to compare with
the red-woods of the Sierra Nevada, far less with the
sequoias of CaEfornia.
As I have written before, Estes Park is thirty
miles from Longmount, the nearest settlement, and
it can be reached on horseback only by the steep and
devious track by which I came, passing through a
narrow rift in the top of a precipitous ridge, 9000 feet
high, caEed the DevE's Grate. Evans takes a lumber
waggon with four horses over the mountains, and a
Colorado engineer would have no difficulty in making
a waggon road. In several of the gulches over which
the track hangs there are the remains of waggons
which have come to grief in the attempt to emulate
Evans's feat, which, without evidence, I should have
supposed to be impossible. It is an awful road. The
only settlers in the Park are Griffith Evans, and a
married man a mile higher up. " Mountain Jim's "
cabin is in the entrance gulch, four miles off, and there
is not another cabin for eighteen mHes towards the
Plains. The Park is unsurveyed, and the huge tract
of mountainous country beyond is almost altogether
unexplored. Elk-hunters occasionaEy come up and
camp out here; but the two settlers, who, however,
are only squatters, for various reasons are not disposed to encourage such visitors.   When Evans, who LETTER VIIL
is a very successful hunter, came here, he came on
foot, and for some time after settling here he carried
the flour and necessaries required by his family on
his back over the mountains.
As I intend to make Estes Park my headquarters
until the winter sets in, I must make you acquainted
with my surroundings and mode of Eving. The
| Queen Anne Mansion " is represented by a log cabin
made of big hewn logs. The chinks should be fiEed
with mud and Erne, but these are wanting. The roof
is formed of barked young spruce, then a layer of hay,
and an outer coating of mud, aE nearly flat. The
floors are roughly boarded. The "Eving-room" is
about sixteen feet square, and has a rough stone
chimney in which pine logs are always burning. At
one end there is a door into a smaE bedroom, and at
the other a door into a smaE eating-room, at the table
of which we feed in relays. This opens into a very
smaE kitchen with a great American cooking-stove,
and there are two " bed-closets " besides. Although
rude, it is comfortable, except for the draughts. The
fine snow drives in through the chinks and covers the
floors, but sweeping it out at intervals is both fun and
exercise. There are no heaps or rubbish-places outside. Near it, on the slope under the pines, is a
pretty two-roomed cabin, and beyond that, near the
lake, is my cabin, a very rough one. My door opens
into a Ettle room with a stone chimney, and that 128
again into a smaE room with a hay bed, a chair with
a tin basin on it, a sheE and some pegs. A smaE
window looks on the lake, and the glories of the sunrises which I see from it are indescribable. Neither
of my doors has a lock, and, to say the truth, neither
wiE shut, as the wood has sweEed. Below the house,
on the stream which issues from the lake, there is a
beautiful log dairy, with a water-wheel outside, uses
for churning. Besides this, there are a corral, a shed
for the waggon, a room for the hired man, and shelters
for horses and weakly calves. AE these things are
necessaries at this height.
The ranchmen are two Welshmen, Evans and
Edwards, each with a wife and family. The men are
as diverse as they can be. " Griff," as Evans is caEed,
is short and smaE, and is hospitable, careless, reckless,
joEy, social, convivial, peppery, good-natured, "nobody's enemy but his own." He had the wit and
taste to find out Estes Park, where people have found
him out, and have induced him to give them food and
lodging, and add cabin to cabin to take them in. He
is a splendid shot, an expert and successful hunter, a
bold mountaineer, a good rider, a capital cook, and a
generally "joEy feEow." His cheery laugh rings
through the cabin from the early morning, and is
contagious, and when the rafters ring at night with
such songs as " D'ye ken John Peel ?" " Auld Lang
Syne," and " John Brown," what would the chorus be LETTER VIII.
without poor " Griff's" voice ? What would Estes
Park be without him, indeed? When he went to
Denver lately we missed him as we should have
missed the sunshine, and perhaps more. In the early
morning, when Long's Peak is red, and the grass
crackles with the hoar-frost, he arouses me with a
cheery thump on my door. "We're going cattle-
hunting, wiE you come ?" or, "WiE you help to drive
in the cattle ? you can take your pick of the horses.
I want another hand." Free-hearted, lavish, popular,
poor " Griff" loves liquor too weE for his prosperity,
and is always tormented by debt. He makes lots of
money, but puts it into " a bag with holes." He has
fifty horses and 1000 head of cattle, many of which
are his own, wintering up here, and makes no end of
money by taking in people at eight dollars a week,
yet it all goes somehow. He has a most industrious
wife, a girl of seventeen, and four younger children,
all musical, but the wife has to work Eke a slave;
and though he is a kind husband, her lot, as compared
with her lord's, is Eke that of a squaw. Edwards,
his partner, is his exact opposite, taE, thin, and
condemnatory - looking, keen, industrious, saving,
grave, a teetotaler, grieved for aE reasons at Evans's
foEies, and rather grudging; as naturaEy unpopular
as Evans is popular; a " decent man," who, with his
industrious wife, wiE certainly make money as fast
as Evans loses it. 130
I pay eight doEars a week, which includes the
unlimited use of a horse, when one can be found and
caught. We breakfast at seven on beef, potatoes,
tea, coffee, new bread, and butter. Two pitchers of
cream and two of milk are replenished as fast as they
are exhausted. Dinner at twelve is a repetition of
the breakfast, but with the coffee omitted and a
gigantic pudding added. Tea at six is a repetition of
breakfast. " Eat whenever you are hungry, you can
always get milk and bread in the kitchen," Evans
says—"eat as much as you can, it'E do you good,"
and we aE eat Eke hunters. There is no change of
food. The steer which was being killed on my arrival
is now being eaten through from head to taE, the
meat being hacked off quite promiscuously, without
any regard to joints. In this dry, rarefied air, the
outside of the flesh blackens and hardens, and though
the weather may be hot, the carcass keeps sweet for
two or three months. The bread is super-excellent,
but the poor wives seem to be making and baking it
aE day. ?*J*3|
The regular household living and eating together
at this time consists of a very inteEigent and high-
minded American couple, Mr. and Mrs. Dewy, people
whose character, culture, and society I should value
anywhere; a young Englishman, brother of a celebrated African traveEer, who, because he rides on an
English saddle, and clings to some other insular LETTER VUI.
peculiarities, is caEed " The Earl;" a miner prospecting for silver; a young man, the type of intelEgent,
practical "Young America," whose health showed
consumptive tendencies when he was in business, and
who is Eving a hunter's Efe here; a grown-up niece
of Evans; and a melancholy-looking hired man. A
mile off there is an industrious married settler, and
four mEes off, in the gulch leading to the Park,
"Mountain Jim," otherwise Mr. Nugent, is posted.
His business as a trapper takes him daily up to the
beaver-dams in Black Canyon to look after his traps,
and he generaEy spends some time in or about our
cabin, not, I can see, to Evans's satisfaction. For, in
truth, this blue hollow, lying solitary at the foot of
Long's Peak, is a miniature world of great interest,
in which love, jealousy, hatred, envy, pride, unselfishness, greed, selfishness, and seK-sacrifice can be studied
hourly, and there is always the unpleasantly exciting
risk of an open quarrel with the neighbouring desperado, whose "I'E shoot you!" has more than once
been heard in the cabin.
The party, however, has often been increased by
"campers,", either elk-hunters or "prospectors" for
silver or locations, who feed with us and join us in
the evening. They get little help from Evans, either
as to elk or locations, and go away disgusted and unsuccessful. Two Englishmen of refinement and
culture camped out here prospecting a few weeks 132
A lady's life in
ago, and then, contrary to advice, crossed the mountains into North Park, where gold is said to abound,
and it is beEeved that they have faEen victims to the
bloodthEsty Indians of that region. Of course, we
never get letters or newspapers unless some one rides
to Longmount for them. Two or three novels and a
copy of Our New West are our Eterature. Our latest
newspaper is seventeen days old. Somehow the
Park seems to become the natural limit of our interests so far as they appear in conversation at table.
The last grand aurora, the prospect of a snow-storm,
track and sign of elk and grizzly, rumours of a big^
horn herd near the lake, the canyons in which the
Texan cattle were last seen, the merits of different
rifles, the progress of two obvious love affairs, the
probabEity of some one coming up from the Plains
with letters, " Mountain Jim's " latest mood or esca-.
pade, and the merits of his dog " Bing " as compared
with those of Evans's dog " Plunk," are among the
topics which are never abandoned as exhausted.
On Sunday work is nominaEy laid aside, but most
of the men go out hunting or fishing tiE the evening,
when we have the harmonium and much sacred music
and singing in parts. To be alone in the Park from
the afternoon tEl the last glory of the afterglow has
faded, with no books but a Bible and Prayer-book, is
truly deEghtfuL No worthier temple for a "Te
Deum " or " Gloria in Excelsis " could be found than LETTER VIII.
this "temple not made with hands," in which one
may worship without being distracted by the sight of
bonnets of endless form, and curiously intricate " back
hair," and countless oddities of changing fashion.
I shall not soon forget my first night here.
Somewhat dazed by the rarefied air, entranced by
the glorious beauty, slightly puzzled by the motley
company, whose faces loomed not always quite distinctly through the cloud of smoke produced by eleven
pipes, I went to my solitary cabin at nine, attended
by Evans. It was very dark, and it seemed a long
way off. Something howled—Evans said it was a
wolf—and owls apparently innumerable hooted in-
cessantly. The pole-star, exactly opposite my cabin
door, burned bike a lamp. The frost was sharp. Evans
opened the door, lighted a candle, and left me, and I
was soon in my hay bed. I was frightened—that is,
afraid of being frightened, it was so eerie; but sleep
soon got the better of my fears. I was awoke by a
heavy breathing, a noise something Eke sawing under
the floor, and a pushing and upheaving, all very loud.
My candle was aE burned, and, in truth, I dared not
stir. The noise went on for an hour fuEy, when, just
as I thought the floor had been made sufficiently thin
for aE purposes of ingress, the sounds abruptly ceased,
and I feE asleep again. My hair was not, ag it ought
to have been, white in the morning!
I was dressed by seven, our breakfast-hour, and
,.'M 134
when I reached the great cabin and told my story,
Evans laughed hilariously, and Edwards contorted
his face dismally. They told me that there was a
skunk's lair under my cabin, and that they dare not
make any attempt to dislodge him for fear of rendering the cabin untenable. They have tried to trap
him since, but without success, and each night the
aoisy performance is repeated. I think he is sharpening his claws on the under side of my floor, as the
grizzlies sharpen theirs upon the trees. The odour
with which this creature, truly named Mephitis, can
overpower its assaEants is truly awful. We were
driven out of the cabin for some hours merely by the
passage of one across the corral. The bravest man is
a coward in its neighbourhood. Dogs rub their noses
on the ground tiE they bleed when they have touched
the fluid, and even die of the vomiting produced by
the effluvia. The odour can be smelt a mile off. If
clothes are touched by the fluid they must be destroyed. At present its fur is very valuable. Several
have been killed since I came. A shot weE aimed
at the spine secures one safely, and an experienced
dog can kill one by leaping upon it suddenly without
being exposed to danger. It is a beautiful beast,
about the size and length of a fox, with long thick
black or dark-brown fur, and two white streaks from
the head to the long bushy taE. The claws of its
fore-feet are long and poHshed.   Yesterday one was LETTER VIII.
seen rushing from the dairy and was shot. I " Plunk,"
the big dog, touched it and has to be driven into
exile. The body was vaEantly removed by a man
with a long fork, and carried to a running stream, but
we are nearly choked with the odour from the spot
where it feE. I hope that my skunk wiE enjoy a
quiet spirit so long as we are near neighbours.
October 3.
This is surely one of the most entrancing spots
on earth. Oh, that I could paint with pen or
brush! From my bed I look on Mirror Lake, and
with the very earEest dawn, when objects are not
discernible, it Ees there absolutely stEl, a purpEsh
lead-colour. Then suddenly into its mirror flash
inverted peaks, at first a bright orange, then changing into red, making the dawn darker aE round*
This is a new sight, each morning new. Then the
peaks fade, and when morning is no longer " spread
upon the mountains," the pines are mirrored in my
lake almost as soEd objects, and the glory steals
downwards, and a red flush warms the clear atmosphere of the Park, and the hoar-frost sparkles and
the crested blue jays step forth daintily on the jewelled grass. The majesty and beauty grow on me
daily. As I crossed from my cabin just now, and
the long mountain shadows lay on the grass, and
form and colour gained new meanings, I was almost
I 136
false to Hawaii; I couldn't go on writing for the
glory of the sunset, but went out and sat on a rock
to see the deepening blue in the dark canyons, and
the peaks becoming rose colour one by one, then
fading into sudden ghastliness, the awe-inspiring
heights of Long's Peak fading last. Then came the
glories of the afterglow, when the orange and lemon
-of the east faded into gray, and then gradually the
gray for some distance above the horizon brightened
into a cold blue, and above the blue into a broad band
of rich, warm red, with an upper band of rose colour;
above it hung a big cold moon. This is the " daily
miracle" of evening, as the blazing peaks in the
darkness of Mirror Lake are the miracle of morning.
Perhaps this scenery is not lovable, but, as if it were a
strong stormy character, it has an intense fascination.
The routine of my day is breakfast at seven, then
I go back and " do " my cabin and draw water from
the lake, read a little, loaf a Ettle, return to the big
cabin and sweep it alternately with Mrs. Dewy, after
which she reads aloud tiE dinner at twelve. Then I
■ride with Mr. Dewy, or by myseE, or with Mrs.
Dewy, who is learning to ride cavaEer fashion in
order to accompany her invalid husband, or go after,
cattle tiE supper at six. After that we aE sit in the
Eving-room, and I settle down to write to you, or
mend my clothes, which are dropping to pieces.
Some sit round the table playing at eucre, the strange LETTER VIII.
hunters and prospectors Ee on the floor smoking, and
rifles are cleaned, buEets cast, fishing-flies made,
fishing-tackle repaired, boots are waterproofed, part-
songs are sung, and about haE-past eight I cross the
crisp grass to my cabin, always expecting to find
something in it. We aE wash our own clothes, and
as my stock is so smaE, some part of every day has
to be spent at the wash-tub. Politeness and propriety
always prevail in our mixed company, and though
various grades of society are represented, true democratic equaEty prevails, not its counterfeit, and there
is neither forwardness on one side nor condescension
on the other.
Evans left for Denver ten days ago, taking his
wife and famEy to the Plains for the winter, and the
mirth of our party departed with him. Edwards is
sombre, except when he lies on the floor in the evening, and tells stories of his march through Georgia
with Sherman. I gave Evans a 100-doEar note to
change, and asked him to buy me a horse for my
tour, and for three days we have expected him. The I
mail depends on him. I have had no letters from
you for ^ve weeks, and can hardly curb my impatience. I ride or walk three or four miles out on the
Longmount trail two or three times a day to look
for him. Others, for different reasons, are nearly
equally anxious. After dark we start at every sound,
and every time the dogs bark aE the able-bodied of 138
a lady's life in
us turn out en masse.   " Wait for the waggon " has
become a nearly maddening joke.
October 9.
The letter and newspaper fever has seized on
every one. We have sent at last to Longmount.
This evening I rode out on the Longmount trail
towards dusk, escorted by "MountaLocJim," and
in the distance we saw a waggon with four horses
and a saddle-horse behind, and the driver waved
a handkerchief, the concerted signal if I were the
possessor of a horse. We turned back, gaEoping
down the long hill as fast as two good horses could
carry us, and gave the joyful news. It was an hour
before the waggon arrived, bringing not Evans but
two " campers" of suspicious aspect, who have pitched
their camp close to my cabin! You cannot imagine
what it is to be locked in by these mountain walls,
and not to know where your letters are lying. Later
on, Mr. Buchan, one of our usual inmates, returned
from Denver with papers, letters for every one but
me, and much exciting news. The financial panic
has spread out West, gathering strength on its way.
The Denver banks have aE suspended business.
They refuse to cash their own cheques, or to aEow
their customers to draw a doEar, and would not even
give greenbacks for my English gold! Neither Mr.
Buchan nor Evans could get a cent. Business is
suspended, and everybody, however rich, is for the LETTER VIII.
time being poor. The Indians have taken to the " war
path," and are burning ranches and killing cattle.
There is a regular "scare" among the settlers, and
waggon loads of fugitives are arriving in Colorado
Springs. The Indians say, "The white man has
MEed the buffalo and left them to rot on the plains.
We wiE $jj revenged." Evans had reached Long-
mount, and wiE be here to-night.
October 10.
" Wait for the waggon" stiE! We had a hurricane of wind and haE last night; it was eleven
before I could go to my cabin, and I only reached
it with the help of two men. The moon was not
up, and the sky overhead was black with clouds, when
suddenly Long's Peak, which had been invisible,
gleamed above the dark mountains, aE glistening with
new fallen snow, on which the moon, as yet unrisen
here, was shining. The evening before, after sunset,
I saw another novel effect. My lake turned a brilliant orange in the twiEght, and in its stiE mirror the
mountains were reflected a deep rich blue. It is a
world of wonders. To-day we had a great storm with
flurries of fine snow; and when the clouds roEed up
at noon, the Snowy Bange and all the higher mountains were pure white. I have been hard at work all
day to drown my anxieties, which are heightened by
a rumour that Evans has gone buffalo-hunting on the
Platte I 140
This evening, quite unexpectedly, Evans arrived
with a heavy mail in a box. I sorted it, but there
was nothing for me, and Evans said he was afraid that
he had left my letters, which were separate from the
others, behind at Denver, but he had written from
Longmount for them. A few hours later they were
found in a box of groceries!
AE the hilarity of the house has returned with
Evans, and he has brought a kindred spirit with him,
a young man who plays and sings splendidly, has an
inexhaustible repertoire, and produces sonatas, funeral
marches, anthems, reels, strathspeys, and aE else, out
of his wonderful memory. Never, surely, was a
chamber organ compeEed to such service. A Ettle
cask of suspicious appearance was smuggled into the
cabin from the waggon, and heightens the hEarity a
Ettle, I fear. No churlishness could resist Evans's
unutterable joEity or the contagion of his hearty
laugh. He claps people on the back, shouts at them,
wiE do anything for them, and makes a perpetual
breeze. "My kingdom for a horse!" he has not got
one for me, and a shadow crossed his face when I
spoke of the subject. EventuaEy he asked for a
private conference, when he told me, with some confusion, that he had found himseE " very hard up " in
Denver, and had been obEged to appropriate my 100-
doEar note. He said he would give me, as interest^
for it up to November 25th, a good horse, saddle, and LETTER VIII.
bridle for my proposed journey of 600 miles. I was
somewhat dismayed, but there was no other course,
as the money was gone.1 I tried a horse, mended my
clothes, reduced my pack to a weight of twelve pounds,
and was aE ready for an early start, when before daylight I was wakened by Evans's cheery voice at my
door. " I say, Miss B., we've got to drive wild cattle
to-day; I wish you'd lend a hand, there's not enough
of us; I'E give you a good horse; one day won't
make much difference." So we've been driving cattle
aE day, riding about twenty mEes, and fording the
Big Thompson about as many times. Evans flatters
me by saying that I am "as much use as another
man;" more than one of our party, I hope, who always avoided the " ugly " cows.
October 12.
I am stiE here, helping in the kitchen, driving
cattle, and riding four or five times a day. Evans
detains me each morning by saying, "Here's lots
of horses for you to try," and after trying ^.ve
or six a day, I do not find one to my liking. Today, as I was cantering a taE weE-bred one round
the lake, he threw the bridle off by a toss of his head,
leaving me with the reins in my hands; one bucked,
and two have tender feet, and tumbled down. Such
are some of our Ettle varieties.   StiE I hope to get
1 In justice to Evans, I must mention here that every cent of
the money was ultimately paid, that the horse was perfection, and
that the arrangement turned out a most advantageous one for me. 142
off on my tour in a day or two, so at least as to be
able to compare Estes Park with some of the better
known parts of Colorado.
You would be amused if you could see our cabin
just now. There are nine men in the room and three
women. For want of seats most of the men are lying
on the floor; aE are smoking, and the blithe young
French Canadian who plays so beautifully, and catches
about fifty speckled trout for each meal, is playing
the harmonium with a pipe in his mouth. Three
men who have camped in Black Canyon for a week
are lying like dogs on the floor. They are aE over
six feet high, immovably solemn, neither smiling at
the general hilarity, nor at the absurd changes which
are being rung on the harmonium. They may be
described as clothed only in boots, for their clothes
are torn to rags. They stare vacantly. They have
neither seen a woman nor slept under a roof for six
months. Negro songs are being sung, and before that
"Yankee Doodle" was played immediately after
" Bule Britannia," and it made every one but the
strangers laugh, it sounded so foolish and mean.
The colder weather is bringing the beasts down from
the heights. I heard both wolves and the mountain
lion as I crossed to my cabin last night.
" Please Ma'ams"—A Desperado—A Cattle Hunt—The Muster—
A mad Cow—A Snow Storm—Snowed up—Birdie—The Plains
—A Prairie Schooner — Denver — A Find — Plum Creek—
" Being Agreeable"—Snow bound—The Grey Mare.
Estes Park, Colorado.
This afternoon, as I was reading in my cabin, Ettle
Sam Edwards ran in, saying, " Mountain Jim wants
to speak to you." This brought to my mind images
of infinite worry, gauche servants, "please ma'ams,"
contretemps, and the habit growing out of our elaborate
and uselessly conventional life of magnifying the importance of simEar trifles. Then " things " came up,
with the tyranny they exercise. I really need nothing
more than this log-cabin offers. But elsewhere one
must have a house and servants, and burdens and
worries—not that one may be hospitable and comfortable, but for the "thick clay" in the shape of
" things " which one has accumulated. My log-house
takes me about five minutes to " do," and you could
eat off the floor, and it needs no lock, as it contains
nothing worth stealing.
But " Mountain Jim " was waiting while I made 144
A lady's life in
these reflections to ask us to take a ride; and he,
Mr. and Mrs. Dewy, and I, had a delightful stroll
through coloured foliage, and then, when they were
fatigued, I changed my horse for his beautiful mare,
and we gaEoped and raced in the beautiful twiEght,
in the intoxicating, frosty aE. Mrs. Dewy wishes
you could have seen us as we gaEoped down the
pass, the fearful-looking ruffian on my heavy waggon-
horse, and I on his bare wooden saddle, from which
beaver, mink, and marten taEs, and pieces of skin,
were hanging raggedly, with one spur, and feet not
in the stirrups, the mare looking so aristocratic and I
so beggarly! Mr. Nugent is what is caEed " splendid
company." With a sort of breezy mountain recklessness in everything, he passes remarkably acute
judgments on men and events; on women also. He
has pathos, poetry, and humour, an intense love of
nature, strong vanity in certain directions, an obvious
desire to act and speak in character, and sustain his
reputation as a desperado, a considerable acquaintance with Eterature, a wonderful verbal memory,
opinions on every person and subject, a chivaEous
respect for women in his manner, which makes it all
the more amusing when he suddenly turns round
upon one with some graceful raiEery, a great power
of fascination, and a singular love of chEdren. The
children of this house run to him, and when he sits
down they climb on his broad shoulders and play THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
with his curls.    They say in the house that " no one
who has been here thinks any one worth speaking
to after Jim," but I think that this is probably an
opinion which time would  alter.    Somehow, he is
kept always before the public of Colorado, for one
can hardly take up a newspaper without finding a
| paragraph about him, a contribution by him, or a
! fragment of his biography.   Euffian as he looks, the
? first word he speaks—to a lady, at least—places him
| on a level with educated gentlemen, and his conversation is brilliant, and fuE of the Eght and fitfulness
of genius. • Yet, on the whole, he is a most painful
j spectacle.    His magnificent head shows so plainly
| the better possibilities which might have been his.
I His Hfe, in spite of a certain dazzle which belongs to
it, is a ruined and wasted one, and one asks what of
good can the future have in store for one who has for
so long chosen evil ?1
Shall I ever get away ? We were to. have had a
grand cattle-hunt yesterday, beginning at 6.30, but
the horses were aE lost. Often out of fifty horses
all that are worth anything are marauding, and a
day is lost in hunting for them in the canyons.
However, before dayEght this morning Evans caEed
through my door, " Miss Bird, I say we've got to
drive cattle fifteen miles, I wish you'd lend a hand;
1 September of the next year answered the question by laying
him down in a dishonoured grave, with a rifle bullet in his brain.
If 146
there's not enough of us;   I'E give you a good
The scene of the drive is at a height of 7500 feet,
watered by two rapid rivers. On aE sides mountains
rise to an altitude of from 11,000 to 15,000 feet, their
skirts shaggy with pitch-pine forests, and scarred by
deep canyons, wooded and boulder-strewn, opening
upon the mountain pasture previously mentioned.
Two thousand head of half-wEd Texan cattle are scattered in herds throughout the canyons, Eving on more
or less suspicious terms with grizzly and brown bears,
mountain Eons, elk, mountain sheep, spotted deer,
wolves, lynxes, wild cats, beavers, minks, skunks,
chipmonks, eagles, rattlesnakes, and aE the other
two-legged, four-legged, vertebrate, and invertebrate
inhabitants of this lonely and romantic region. On
the whole, they show a tendency rather to the habits
of wild than of domestic cattle. They march to
water in Indian file, with the bulls leading, and
when threatened, take strategic advantage of ridgy
ground, slinking warily along in the hoEows, the
bulls acting as sentinels, and bringing up the rear
in case of an attack from dogs. Cows have to be
regularly broken in for milking, being as wild as
buffaloes in their unbroken state; but, owing to the
comparative dryness of the grasses, and the system
of allowing the calf to have the milk during the
daytime, a dairy of 200 cows does not produce as LETTER IX.
much butter as a Devonshire dairy of fifty. Some
"necessary" cruelty is involved in the stockman's
business, however humane he may be. The system
is one of terrorism, and from the time that the caE is
bullied into the branding-pen, and the hot Eon burns
into his shrinking flesh, to the day when the fatted
ox is driven down from his boundless pastures to be
slaughtered in Chicago," the fear and dread of man "
are upon him.
The herds are apt to penetrate the savage canyons
which come down from the Snowy Bange, when they
incur a risk of being snowed up and starved, and it
is necessary now and then to hunt them out and
drive them down to the " park." On this occasion,
the whole were driven down for a muster, and for
the purpose of branding the calves.
After a 6.30 breakfast this morning, we started,
the party being composed of my host, a hunter from
the Snowy Bange, two stockmen from the Plains,
one of whom rode a violent buck-jumper, and was
said by his comrade to be the "best rider in North
Americay," and myseE. We were aE mounted on
Mexican saddles, rode, as the custom is, with Eght
snaffle bridles, leather guards over our feet, and
broad wooden stirrups, and each carried his lunch
in a pouch slung on the lassoing horn of his saddle.
Four big, badly-trained dogs accompanied us. It was
a ride of nearly thirty miles, and of many hours, one 148
A lady's LIFE in
of the most, splendid I ever took. We never got off
our horses except to tighten the girths, we ate our
lunch with our bridles knotted over our saddle-horns,
started over the level at fuE gaEop, leapt over trunks
of trees, dashed madly down hillsides rugged with
rocks or strewn with great stones, forded deep, rapid
streams, saw lovely lakes and views of surpassing
magnificence, startled a herd of elk with uncouth
heads and monstrous antlers, and in the chase, which
for some time was unsuccessful, rode to the very base
of Long's Peak, over 14,000 feet high, where the
bright waters of one of the affluents of the Platte
burst from the eternal snows through a canyon of
indescribable majesty. The sun was hot, but at a
height of over 8000 feet the air was crisp and frosty,
and the enjoyment of riding a good horse under
such exhilarating circumstances was extreme. In
one wild part of the ride we had to come down a
steep hiE, thickly wooded with pitch-pines, to leap
t over the faEen timber, and steer between the dead
and living trees to avoid being " snagged," or bringing down a heavy dead branch by an unwary toucE
Emerging from this, we caught sight of a thousand
Texan cattle feeding in a vaEey below. The leaders
scented us, and, taking fright, began to move off in
the direction of the open "park," while we were
about a mile from and above them. "Head them
off, boys!" our leader shouted; " aE aboard; hark THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
away!" and with something of the " High, tallyrho-
in the morning!" away we aE went at a hand-gaEop
down-hiE. I could not hold my excited animal;
down-hiE, up-hiB, leaping over rocks and timber,
faster every moment the pace grew, and stiE the
leader shouted, "Go it, boys!" and the horses dashed
on at racing speed, passing and repassing each other,
till my smaE but beautiful bay was keeping pace
with the immense strides of the great buck-jumper
ridden by " the finest rider in North Americay," and
I was dizzied and breathless by the pace at which
we were going. A shorter time than it takes to teE
it brought us close to and abreast of the surge of
cattle. The bovine waves were a grand sight: huge
bulls, shaped Eke buffaloes, beEowed and roared,
and with great oxen and cows with yearling calves,
gaEoped like racers, and we gaEoped alongside of
them, and shortly headed them, and in no time were
placed as sentinels across the mouth of the vaEey.
It seemed like infantry awaiting the shock of cavalry
as we stood as stiE as our excited horses would allow.
I almost quaEed as the surge came on, but when it
got close to us my comrades hooted fearfully, and we
dashed forward with the dogs, and, with beEowing,
roaring, and thunder of hoofs, the wave receded as
it came. I rode up to our leader, who received me
with much laughter. He said I was " a good cattleman," and that he had forgotten that a lady was of 150
the party tiE he saw me "come leaping over the
timber, and driving with the others."
It was not for two hours after this that the real
business of driving began, and I was obliged to
change my thoroughbred for a weE-trained cattle-
horse—a broncho, which could double like a hare,
and go over any ground. I had not expected to
work like a vachero, but so it was, and my Hawaiian
experience was very useful. We hunted the various
canyons and known "camps," driving the herds out
of them; and, untE we had secured 850 head in the
corral some hours afterwards, we scarcely saw each
other to speak to. Our first difficulty was with a
herd which got into some swampy ground, when a
cow, which afterwards gave me an infinity of trouble,
remained at bay for nearly an hour, tossing the dog
three times, and resisting aE efforts to dislodge her.
She had a large yearling calf with her, and Evans
told me that the attachment of a cow to her first
calf is sometimes so great that she wiE kill her
second that the first may have the milk. I got a
herd of over a hundred out of a canyon by myseE,
and drove them down to the river with the aid of
one badly-broken dog, which gave me more trouble
than the cattle. The getting over was most troublesome; a few took to the water readEy and went
across, but others smelt it, and then, doubling back,
ran in various directions; while some attacked the
dog as he was swimming, and others, after crossing,
headed back in search of some favourite companions
which had been left behind, and one speciaEy vicious
cow attacked my horse over and over again. It took
an hour and a haE of time and much patience to.
gather them aE on the other side.
It was getting late in the day, and a snowstorm
was impending, before I was joined by the other
drivers and herds, and as the former had diminished
to three, with only three dogs, it was very difficult to
keep the cattle together. You drive them as gently
as possible, so as not to frighten or excite them,1
riding first on one side, then on the other, to guide
them; and if they deEberately go in a wrong direction, you gaEop in front and head them off. The
great excitement is when one breaks away from the
herd and gallops madly up and down hill, and you
1 In several visits to America I have observed that the Americans are far in advance of us and our colonial kinsmen in their
treatment of horses and other animals. This was very apparent
with regard to this Texan herd. There,were no stock-whips, no
needless worrying of the animals in the excitement of sport. Any
dog seizing a bullock by his tail or heels would have been called
off and punished, and quietness and gentleness were the rule. The
horses were ridden without whips, and with spurs so blunt that
they could not hurt even a human skin, and were ruled by the
voice and a slight pressure on the light snaffle bridle. This is the
usual plan, even where, as in Colorado, the horses are bronchos, and
inherit ineradicable vice. I never yet saw a horse bullied into submission in the United States. 152
gaEop after him anywhere, over and among rocks
and trees, doubling when he doubles, and heading
him tiE you get him back again. The buEs were
quite easEy managed, but the cows with calves, old
or young, were most troublesome. By accident I
rode between one cow and her caE in a narrow place,
and the cow rushed at me and was just getting her
big horns under the horse, when he reared, and spun
dexterously aside. This kind of thing happened
continuaEy. There was one very handsome red cow
which became quite mad. She had a caE with her
nearly her own size, and thought every one its
enemy, and though its horns were weE developed,
and it was quite able to take care of itseE, she
insisted on protecting it from aE fancied dangers.
One of the dogs, a young, foolish thing, seeing that
the cow Vas excited, took a foolish pleasure in barking at her, and she was eventually quite infuriated.
She turned to bay forty times at least; tore up the
ground with her horns, tossed the great hunting
dogs, tossed and kiEed the calves of two other cows,
and finaEy became so dangerous to the rest of the
herd that, just as the drive was ending, Evans drew
his revolver and shot her, and the calf for which
she had fought so blindly lamented her piteously.
She rushed at me several times mad with rage, but
these trained cattle-horses keep perfectly cool, and,
nearly without wiE on my part, mine jumped aside THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
at the right moment, and foiled the assailant. Just
at dusk we reached the corral—an acre of grass enclosed by stout post-and-raE fences seven feet high,
and by much patience and some subtlety lodged the
whole herd within its shelter, without a blow, a
shout, or even a crack of a whip, wild as the cattle
were. It was fearfuEy cold. We galloped the last
mile and a haE in four and a haE minutes, reached
the cabin just as snow began to faE, and found strong,
hot tea ready.
October 18.
Snow-bound for three days! I could not write
yesterday, it was so awful. People gave up all
occupation, and talked of nothing but the storm.
The hunters aE kept by the great fire in the living-
room, only going out to bring in logs and clear the
snow from the door and windows. I never spent
a more fearful night than two nights ago, alone in my
cabin in the storm, with the roof lifting, the mud
cracking and coming off, and the fine snow hissing
through the chinks between the logs, while. spEttings
and breaking of dead branches, wind-wrung and
snow-laden, went on incessantly, with screechings,
howlings, thunder and Eghtning, and many unfamiliar sounds besides. After snowing fiercely aE day,
another foot of it feE in the early night, and, after
drifting against my door, blocked me effectually in.
About midnight the mercury feE to zero, and soon after 154
A lady's life in
a gale rose, which lasted for ten hours. My window
frame is swelled, and shuts, apparently, hermetically;
and my bed is six feet from it. I had gone to sleep
with six blankets on, and a heavy sheet over my
face. Between two and three I was awoke by the
cabin being shifted from underneath by the wind,
and the sheet was frozen to my lips. I put out my
hands, and the bed was thickly covered with fine
snow. Getting up to investigate matters, I found
the floor some inches deep in parts in fine snow, and
a gust of fine, needle-like snow stung my face. The
bucket of water was solid ice. I lay in bed freezing
tiE sunrise, when some of the men came to see if I
" was aEve," and to dig me out. They brought a
can of hot water, which turned to ice before I could
use it. I dressed standing in snow, and my brushes,
boots, and etceteras were covered with snow. When
I ran to the house, not a mountain or anything else
could be seen, and the snow on one side was drifted
higher than the roof. The air, as high as one could
see, was one white, stinging smoke of snow-drift—a
terrific sight. In the Eving-room, the snow was
driving through the chinks, and Mrs. Dewy was
shovelling it from the floor. Mr. D.'s beard was
hoary with frost in a room with a fire aE night.
Evans was lying iE, with his bed covered with snow.
Beturning from my cabin after breakfast, loaded
with occupations for the day, I was lifted off my THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
feet, and deposited in a drift, and aE my things, writing-book and letter included, were carried in different
directions. Some, including a valuable photograph,
are irrecoverable. The writing-book was found, some
hours afterwards, under three feet of snow.
There are tracks of bears and deer close to the
house, but no one can hunt in this gale, and the drift
is blinding. We have been sEghtly overcrowded in
our one room. Chess, music, and whist have been
resorted to. One hunter, for very ennui, has devoted
himseE to keeping my ink from freezing. We aE sat
in great cloaks and coats, and kept up an enormous
fire, with the pitch running out of the logs. The
isolation is extreme, for we are EteraEy snowed-up,
and the other settler in the Park and "Mountain
Jim" are both at Denver. Late in the evening the
storm ceased. In some places the ground is bare of
snow, whEe in others aE irregularities are leveEed,
and the drifts are forty feet deep. Nature is grand
under this new aspect. The cold is awful; the high
wind with the mercury at zero would skin any part
exposed to it.
October 19.
Evans offers me six doEars a week if I wiE
stay into the winter and do the cooking after
Mrs. Edwards leaves! I think I should like playing at being a "hired girl" if it were not for the
bread-making!   But it would suit me better to ride 156
after cattle. The men don't like " baching," as it is
caEed in the wEds—i.e. "doing for themselves."
They washed and ironed their clothes yesterday, and
there was an incongruity about the last performance.
I reaEy think (though for the fifteenth time) that I
shaE leave to-morrow. The cold has moderated, the
sky is bluer than ever, the snow is evaporating, and
a hunter who has joined us to-day says that there are
no drifts on the trail which one cannot get through.
Longmount, Colorado, October 20.
" The Island VaEey of AviEon " is left, but how
shaE I finally tear myseK from its freedom and enchantments ? I see Long's snowy peak rising into the
night sky, and know and long after the magnificence
of the blue hoEow at its base. We were to have left
at 8, but the horses were lost, so it was 9.30 before
we started, the we being the musical young French
Canadian and myseE. I have a bay Indian pony,
"Birdie," a Ettle beauty, with legs of iron, fast,
enduring, gentle, and wise; and with luggage for
some weeks, including a black sEk dress, behind my
saddle, I am tolerably independent. It was a most
glorious ride. We passed through the gates of rock,
through gorges where the unsunned snow lay deep
under the lemon-coloured aspens; caught glimpses of
far-off, snow-clad giants rising into a sky of deep sad
blue; lunched above the Foot HiEs at a cabin where THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
two brothers and a "hired man" were "keeping
bach," where everything was so trim, clean, and ornamental that one did not miss a woman; crossed a
deep backwater on a narrow beaver-dam, because the
log bridge was broken down, and emerged from the
brilliantly-coloured canyon of the St. Vrain just at
dusk upon the featureless prairies, when we had some
trouble in finding Longmount in the dark. A hospitable welcome awaited me at this inn, and an EngEsh
friend came in and spent the evening with me.
Great Platte. Canyon, October 23..
My letters on this tour wiE, I fear, be very duE, for
after riding aE day, looking after my pony, getting
supper, hearing about various routes, and the pastoral,
agricultural, mining, and hunting gossip of the neighbourhood, I am so sleepy and wholesomely tired that
I can hardly write. I left Longmount pretty early
on Tuesday morning, the day being sad, with the
blink of an impending snowstorm in the air. The
evening before I was introduced to a man who had
been a colonel in the rebel army, who made a most
unfavourable impression upon me, and it was a great
annoyance to me when he presented himself on horseback to guide me " over the most intricate part of the
journey." SoEtude is infinitely preferable to uncon-
geniaEty, and is bEss when compared with repulsive-
ness, so I was thoroughly glad when I got rid of my 158
A lady's life in
escort and set out upon the prairie alone. It is a
dreary ride of thirty miles over the low brown plains
to Denver, very little settled, and with trails going
in aE directions. My sailing orders were " steer
south, and keep to the best beaten track," and it
seemed like embarking on the ocean without a compass. The rolling brown waves on which you see a
horse a mile and a half off impress one strangely, and
at noon the sky darkened up for another storm, the
mountains swept down in blackness to the Plains,
and the higher peaks took on a ghastly grimness
horrid to behold. It was first very cold, then very
hot, and finaEy settled down to a fierce east-windy
cold, difficult to endure. It was free and breezy,
however, and my horse was companionable. Sometimes herds of cattle were browsing on the sun-cured
grass, then herds of horses. Occasionally I met a
horseman with a rifle lying across his saddle, or a
waggon of the ordinary sort, but oftener I saw a
waggon with a white tilt, of the kind known as a
" Prairie Schooner," labouring across the grass, or a
train of them, accompanied by herds, mules, and
horsemen, bearing emigrants and their household
goods in- dreary exodus from the Western States to
the much-vaunted prairies of Colorado. The host
and hostess of one of these waggons invited me to
join their mid-day meal, I providing tea (which they
had not tasted for four weeks) and they hominy. m.
They had been three months on the journey from
Illinois, and their oxen were so lean and weak that
they expected to be another month in reaching Wet
Mountain VaEey. They had buried a child en route,
had lost several oxen, and were rather out of heart.
Owing to their long isolation and the monotony of
the march they had lost count of events, and seemed
like people of another planet. They wanted me to
join them, but their rate of travel was too slow, so we
parted with mutual expressions of goodwiE, and as
their white tilt went " huE down " in the distance on
the lonely prairie sea, I felt sadder than I often feel
on taking leave of old acquaintances. That night
they must have been nearly frozen, camping out in
the deep snow in the fierce wind. I met afterwards
2000 lean Texan cattle, herded by three wild-looking
men on horseback, foEowed by two waggons containing women, children, and rifles. They had traveEed
1000 mEes. " Then I saw two prairie wolves, like
jackals, with gray fur, cowardly creatures, which fled
from me with long leaps.
The windy cold became intense, and for the next
eleven mEes I rode a race with the coming storm.
At the top of every prairie roE I expected to see
Denver, but it was not till nearly Gve that from a
considerable height I looked down upon the great
I City of the Plains," the metropolis of the Territories.
There the great braggart city lay spread out, brown
1 160
A LADYS life in
and treeless, upon the brown and treeless plain, which
seemed to nourish nothing but wormwood and the
Spanish bayonet. The shaEow Platte, shriveEed
into a narrow stream with a shingly bed six times
too large for it, and fringed by shriveEed cotton*
wood, wound along by Denver, and two miles up its
course I saw a great sand-storm, which in a few
minutes covered the city, blotting it out with a dense
brown cloud. Then with gusts of wind the snowstorm began, and I had to trust entirely to Birdie's
sagacity for finding Evans's shantie. She had been
there once before only, but carried me direct to it
over rough ground and trenches. GleefuEy Mrs.
Evans and the chEdren ran out to welcome the pet
pony, and I was received most hospitably, and made
warm and comfortable, though the house consists only
of a kitchen and two bed-closets. My budget of news
from " the Park" had to be brought out constantly,
and I wondered how much I had to teE. It was past
eleven when we breakfasted the next morning. It
was cloudless and an intense frost, with six inches of
snow on the ground, and everybody thought it too
cold to get up and light the fire. I had intended to
leave Birdie at Denver, but Governor Hunt and Mr.
Byers of the Pocky Mountain News both advised me
to travel on horseback rather than by train and stage,
telling me that I should be quite safe, and Governor
Hunt drew out a route for me and gave me a circular
letter to the settlers along it. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
Denver is no longer the Denver of Hepworth
Dixon. A shooting affray in the street is as rare as
in Liverpool, and one no~ionger sees men dang3ing~~
to the lamp-posts when one looks out in the morning!
It is a busy place, the entrepdt and distributing-point
for an immense district, with good shops, some factories, fair hotels, and the usual deformities and
refinements of civilisation. Peltry shops abound, and
sportsman, hunter, miner, teamster, emigrant, can be
completely rigged out at fifty different stores. At
Denver, people who come from the east to try the
I camp cure" now so fashionable, get their outfit of
waggon, driver, horses, tent, bedding, and stove, and
start for the mountains. Asthmatic people are there
in such numbers as to warrant the holding of an
" asthmatic convention " of patients cured and benefited. Numbers of invaEds who cannot bear the rough
life of the mountains fiE its hotels and boarding-
houses, and others who have been partiaEy restored
by a summer of camping out, go into the city in the
winter to complete the cure. It stands at a height of
5000 feet, on an enormous plain, and has a most
glorious view of the Bocky Bange. I should hate
even to spend a week there. The sight of those
glories so near and yet out of reach would make me
nearly crazy. Denver is at present the terminus of
the Kansas Pacific BaEroad. It has a line connecting it with the Union Pacific Eailroad at Cheyenne,
M 162
and by means of the Denver and Bio Grande Bail-
road, open for about 200 miles, it is expecting to
reach into Mexico. It has also had the enterprise, by
means of another narrow-gauge railroad, to push its
way right up into the mining districts near Gray's
Peak. The number of " saloons " in the streets impresses one, and everywhere one meets the characteristic loafers of a frontier town, who find it hard even
for a few days or hours to submit to the restraints of
civilisation, as hard as I did to ride sidewise to
Governor Hunt's office. To Denver men go to spend
the savings of months of hard work in the maddest
dissipation, and there such characters as " Comanche
BiE," "Buffalo BiE," "Wild BiE," and "Mountain
Jim," go on the spree, and find the kind of notoriety
they seek. A large number of Indians added to the
harlequin appearance of the Denver streets the day I
was there. They belonged to the Ute tribe, through
which I had to pass, and Governor Hunt introduced
me to a fine-looking young chief, very weE dressed in
beaded hide, and bespoke his courtesy for me if I
needed it. The Indian stores and fur stores and fur
depots interested me most. The crowds in the streets,
perhaps owing to the snow on the ground, were almost
solely masculine. I only saw five women the whole
day. There were men in every rig: hunters and
trappers in buckskin clothing; men of the Plains with
belts and revolvers, in great blue cloaks, relics of the
war; teamsters in leathern suits; horsemen in fur THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
coats and caps and buffalo-hide boots with the hair
outside, and camping blankets behind their huge
Mexican saddles; Broadway dandies in light kid
gloves; rich English sporting tourists, clean, comely,
and superciEous-looking; and hundreds of Indians on
their smaE ponies, the men wearing buckskin suits
sewn with beads, and red blankets, with faces painted
vermilion, and hair hanging lank and straight, and
squaws much bundled up, riding astride with furs
over their saddles.
Town tired and confused me, and in spite of Mrs.
Evans's kind hospitaEty, I was glad when a man
brought Birdie at nine yesterday morning. He said
she was a Ettle demon, she had done nothing but
buck, and had bucked him off on the bridge! I found
that he had put a curb on her, and whenever she dislikes anything she resents it by bucking. I rode side-
wise tiE I was well through the town, long enough to
produce a severe pain in my spine, which was not
relieved for some time even after I had changed my
position. It was a lovely Indian summer day, so
warm that the snow on the ground looked an incongruity. I rode over the Plains for some time, then
graduaEy reached the rolling country along the base
of the mountains, and a stream with cotton-woods
along it, and settlers' houses about every haK-mile.
I passed and met waggons frequently, and picked up
a muff containing a purse with ^ve hundred doEars
in it, which I afterwards had the great pleasure of 164 A LADY'S LIFE IN letter ix.
restoring to the owner. Several times I crossed the
narrow track of the quaint Ettle Bio Grande BaQroad,
so that it was a very cheerful ride.
Ranch, Plum Creek, October 24.
You must understand that in Colorado travel, unless
on the main road and in the larger settlements, there
are neither hotels nor taverns, and that it is the custom
for the settlers to receive traveEers, charging them at
the usual hotel rate for accommodation. It is a very
satisfactory arrangement. However, at Banch, my
first halting-place, the host was unwilling to receive
people in this way, I afterwards found, or I certainly
should not have presented my credentials at the door
of a large frame house, with large barns and a gener-
aEy prosperous look. The host, who opened the door,
looked repeEant, but his wife, a very agreeable, ladylike-looking woman, said they could give me a bed on
a sofa. The house was the most pretentious I have
yet seen, being papered and carpeted, and there were
two "hired girls." There was a lady there from
Laramie, who kindly offered to receive me into her
room, a very taE, elegant person, remarkable as being
the first woman who had settled in the Bocky Mountains. She had been trying the " camp cure " for
three months, and was then on her way home. She
had a waggon with beds, tent, tent-floor, cooking-
stove, and every camp luxury, a Eght buggy, a man
to manage everything, and a most superior "hired LETTER IX.
girL" She was consumptive and fraE in strength, but
a very attractive person, and her stories of the perils
and Kmitations of her early life at Fort Laramie were
very interesting. StiE I " wearied," as I had arrived
early in the afternoon, and could not out of politeness
retire and write to you. At meals the three " hired
men " and two " hired girls " eat with the family. I
soon found that there was a screw loose in the house,
and was glad to leave early the next morning, although
it was obvious that a storm was coming on. I saw
the toy car of the Bio Grande BaEroad whirl past, aE
cushioned and warmed, and rather wished I were in
it, and not out among the snow on the bleak hill-side.
I only got on four miles when the storm came on so
badly that I got into a kitchen where eleven wretched
traveEers were taking shelter, with the snow melting
on them and dripping on the floor. I had learned
the art of " being agreeable " so weE at the Chalmers's,
and practised it so successfully during the two hours
I was there, by paring potatoes and making scones;
that when I left, though the hosts kept " an accommodation house for traveEers," they would take
nothing for my entertainment, because they said I*
was such "good company"! The storm moderated a
little, and at one I saddled Birdie, and rode four more
miles, crossing a frozen creek, the ice of which broke
and let the pony through, to her great alarm. I
cannot describe my feelings on this ride, produced by
the utter loneliness, the silence and dumbness of aE 166
A lady's life in
things, the snow falling quietly without wind, the
obEterated mountains, the darkness, the intense cold,
and the unusual and appalling aspect of nature. AE
life was in a shroud, aE work and travel suspended.
There was not a foot-mark or wheel-mark. There
was nothing to be afraid of; and though I can't
exactly say that I enjoyed the ride, yet there was the
pleasant feeling of gaining health every hour.
When the snow darkness began to deepen towards
evening, the track became quite iEegible, and when
I found myseK at this romanticaEy situated cabin, I
was thankful to find that they could give me shelter.
The scene was a solemn one, and reminded me of a
description in Whittier's Snow-Bound. AE the stock
came round the cabin with mute appeals for shelter.
Sheep-dogs got in, and would not be kicked out.
Men went out muffled up, and came back shivering
and shaking the snow from their feet. The churn
was put by the stove. Later on, a most pleasant
settler, on his way to Denver, came in, his waggon
having been snow-blocked two miles off, where he
had been obliged to leave it and bring his horses on
-here. The "Grey Mare" had a stentorian voice,
smoked a clay pipe which she passed to her children,
raged at English people, derided the courtesy of
English manners, and considered that "Please,"
" Thank you," and the like, were " all bosh" when
life was so short and busy. And stiE the snow fell
softly, and the air and earth were silent. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
A White World—Bad Travelling—A Millionaire's Home—Pleasant
Park—Perry's Park—Stock-raising—A Cattle King—The
Arkansas Divide—Birdie's Sagacity—Luxury—Monument
Park—Deference to Prejudice—A Death Scene—The Manitou—-
A loose Shoe—The Ute Pass—Bergens Park—A Settler's Home
—Hayden's Divide-^Sharp Criticism—Speaking the truth.
Colorado Springs, October 28.
It is difficult to make this anything of a letter. I
have been riding for a whole week, seeing wonders
and greatly enjoying the singular adventurousness
and novelty of my tour, but ten hours or more daily
spent in the saddle in this rarefied, intoxicating aE,
disposes one to sleep rather than to write in the evening, and is far from conducive to mental brilliancy.
The observing faculties are developed, and the reflective Ee dormant WUt
That night on which I last wrote was the coldest
I have yet felt. I puEed the rag carpet from the
floor and covered myseK with it, but could not get
warm. The sun rose gloriously on a shrouded earth.
Barns, road, shrubs, fences, river, lake, aE lay under
the glittering snow.   It was Eght and powdery, and 168
sparkled like diamonds. Not a breath of wind stirred,
there was not a sound. I had to wait tiE a passing
horseman had broken the track, but soon after I set
off into the new, shining world. I soon lost the
horseman's footmarks, but kept on near the road by
means of the innumerable footprints of birds and
ground squirrels, which aE went in one direction.
After riding for an hour I was obEged to get off and
walk for another, for the snow baEed in Birdie's feet
to such an extent that she could hardly keep up even
without my weight on her, and my pick was not
strong enough to remove it. Turning off the road to
ask for a chisel, I came upon the cabin of the people
whose muff I had picked up a few days before, and
they received me very warmly, gave me a tumbler of
cream, and made some strong coffee. They were
" old country folk," and I stayed too long with them.
After leaving them I rode twelve miles, but it was
" bad travelling," from the baEing of the snow and
the difficulty of finding the track. There was a fearful loneliness about it. The track was untrodden, and
I saw neither man nor beast. The sky became
densely clouded, and the outlook was awful. The
great Divide of the Arkansas was in front, looming
vaguely through a heavy snow-cloud, and snow began
to faE, not in powder, but in heavy flakes. Finding
that there would be risk in trying to ride tiE night-
faE, in the early afternoon I left the road and went two THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
miles into the hiEs by an untrodden path, where there
were gates to open and a rapid steep-sided creek to
cross; and at the entrance to a most fantastic gorge
I came upon an elegant frame house belonging to
Mr. Perry, a millionaire, to whom I had an introduction, which I did not hesitate to present, as it was
weather in which a traveEer might almost ask for
shelter without one.
Mr. Perry was away, but his daughter, a very
bright-looking, elegantly-dressed girl, invited me to
dine and remain. They had stewed venison and
various luxuries on the table, which was tasteful and
refined, and an adroit, coloured table-maid waited, one
of five attached negro servants who had been their
slaves before the war. After dinner, though snow
was slowly falling, a gentleman cousin took me a ride
to show me the beauties of Pleasant Park, which takes
rank among the finest scenery of Colorado, and in
good weather is very easy of access. It did look very
grand as we entered it by a narrow pass guarded by
two buttes, or isolated upright masses of rock, bright
red, and about 300 feet in height. The pines were
very large, and'the narrow canyons, which came down
on the Park gloomily magnificent. It is remarkable
also from a quantity of " monumental" rocks, from
50 to 300 feet in height, bright vermilion, green, buff,
orange, and sometimes aE combined, their gay tinting a
contrast to the disastrous-looking snow and the sombre 170
pines. Bear Canyon, a gorge of singular majesty,
comes down on the Park, and we crossed the Bear
Creek at the foot of this on the ice, which gave way,
and both our horses broke through into pretty deep
and very cold water, and shortly afterwards Birdie
put her foot into a prairie dog's hole which was concealed by the snow, and on recovering herseK fell
three times on her nose. I thought of Bishop Wilber-
force's fatal accident from a smaEer stumble, and
felt sure that he would have kept his seat had he
been mounted, as I was, on a Mexican saddle. It
was too threatening for a long ride, and on returning
I passed into a region of vivacious descriptions of
Egypt, Palestine, Asia Minor, Turkey, Bussia, and
other countries, in which Miss Perry had traveEed
with her family for three years.
Perry's Park is one of the great cattle-raising
ranches in Colorado. This, the youngest State in the
Union, a Territory untE quite recently, has an area
of about 68,000,000 acres, a great portion of which,
though rich in mineral wealth, is worthless either for
stock or arable farming, and the other or eastern part
is so dry that crops can only be grown profitably
where irrigation is possible. This region is watered
by the south fork of the Platte and its affluents, and,
though subject to the grasshopper pest, it produces
wheat of the finest quaEty, the yield varying according to the mode of cultivation from 18 to 30 bushels THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
per acre. The necessity for irrigation, however, will
always bar the way to an indefinite extension of the
area of arable farms. The prospects of cattle-raising
seem at present practically unlimited. In 1876
Colorado had 390,728, valued at £2 :13s. per head,
about half of which were imported as young beasts
from Texas. The climate is so fine and the pasturage
so ample that shelter and hand-feeding are never
resorted to except in the case of imported breeding
stock from the Eastern States, which sometimes in
severe winters need to be fed in sheds for a short
time. Mr. Perry devotes himseE mainly to the
breeding of graded shorthorn buEs, which he seEs
when young for £6 per head.
The cattle run at large upon the prairies; each
animal being branded, they need no herding, and are
usuaEy only mustered, counted, and the increase
branded in the summer. In the faE, when three or
four years old, they are sold lean or in tolerable condition to dealers who take them by rail to Chicago,
or elsewhere, where the fattest lots are slaughtered
for tinning or for consumption in the Eastern cities,
while the leaner are sold to farmers for feeding up
during the winter. Some of the wealthier stockmen
take their best lots to Chicago themselves. The
Colorado cattle are either pure Texan or Spanish, or
crosses between the Texan and graded shorthorns.
They are nearly all very inferior animals, being bony 172
and ragged. The herds mix on the vast plains at
wiE; along the Arkansas vaEey 80,000 roam about
with the freedom of buffaloes, and of this number
about 16,000 are exported every fall Where cattle
are kiBed for use in the mining districts their average
price is 3 cents per lb. In the summer thousands of
yearlings are driven up from Texas, branded, and
turned loose on the prairies, and are not molested
again tiE they are sent east at three or four years old.
These pure Texans, the old Spanish breed, weigh from
900 to 1000 pounds, and the crossed Colorado cattle
from 1000 to 1200 pounds.
The "Cattle King" of the State is Mr. Hiff, of
South Platte, who owns nine ranches, with runs of
15,000 acres, and 35,000 cattle. He is improving his
herd rapidly by means of imported shorthorn stock;
and, indeed, the opening of the dead-meat trade with
this country is giving a great impetus to the improvement of the breed of cattle among aE the larger and
richer stock-owners. For this enormous herd 40 mea
are employed in summer, about 12 in winter, and 200
horses. In the rare case of a severe and protracted
snow-storm the cattle get a Ettle hay. Owners of
6000, 8000, and 10,000 head of cattle are quite common in Colorado. Sheep are now raised in the State
to the extent of haE a million, and a chronic feud
prevails between the " sheep men" and the " cattle
men."   Sheep-raising is said to be a very profitable THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
business, but its risks and losses are greater, owing
to storms, while the outlay for labour, dipping
materials, etc., is considerably larger, and owing to
the comparative inability of sheep to scratch away
the snow from the grass, hay has to be provided to
meet the emergency of very severe snow-storms.
The flocks are made up mostly of pure and graded
Mexicans; but though some flocks which have been
graded carefully for some years show considerable
merit, the average sheep is a leggy, ragged beast.
Wether mutton, four and five years old, is sold when
there is any demand for it; but except at Charpiot's,
in Denver, I never saw mutton on any table, pubEc
or private, and wool is the great source of profit, the
old ewes being aEowed to die off. The best flocks
yield an average of seven pounds of wool, and the
worst two and a haE pounds. The shearing season,
which begins in early June, lasts about six weeks.
Shearers get six and a haE cents a head for inferior
sheep, and seven and a haE for the better quaEty,
and a good hand shears from sixty to eighty in a day.
It is not likely that sheep-raising wiE attain anything
of the prominence which cattle-raising is Ekely to
assume. The potato-beetle " scare" is not of much
account in the country of the potato-beetle. The
farmers seem much more depressed by the magnitude and persistency of the grasshopper pest, which
finds their fields in the morning "as the garden of 174
A lady's life in
Eden," and leaves them at night " a desolate wilder-
It was so odd and novel to have a beautiful bedroom, hot water, and other luxuries. The snow began
to faE in good earnest at six in the evening, and fell
aE night, accompanied by intense frost, so that in
the morning there were eight inches of it gEttering
in the sun. Miss P. gave me a pair of men's socks
to draw on over* my boots, and I set out tolerably
early, and broke my own way for two miles. Then
a single waggon had passed, making a legible track
for thirty miles, otherwise the snow was pathless.
The sky was absolutely cloudless, and as I made the
long ascent of the Arkansas Divide, the mountains,
gashed by deep canyons, came sweeping down to the
vaEey on my right, and on my left the Foot Hills
were crowned with coloured fantastic rocks like
castles. Everything was buried under a gEttering
shroud of snow. The babble of the streams was
bound by fetters of ice. No branches creaked in the
stiE air. No birds sang. No one passed or met me.
There were no cabins near or far. The only sound
was the crunch of the snow under Birdie's feet. We
came to a river over which some logs were laid with
some young trees across them. Birdie put one foot
on this, then drew it back and put another on, then
smelt the bridge noisEy. Persuasions were useless;
she only smelt, snorted, held back, and turned her in
cunning head and looked at me. It was useless to
argue the point with so sagacious a beast. To the
right of the bridge the ice was much broken, and we
forded the river there; but as it was deep enough to
come up to her body, and was icy cold to my feet, I
wondered at her preference. Afterwards I heard that
the bridge was dangerous. She is the queen of ponies,
and is very gentle, though she has not only wild horse
blood, but is herself the wild horse. She is always
cheerful and hungry, never tired, looks intelligently
at everything, and her legs are Eke rocks. Her one
trick is that when the saddle is put on she swells
herself to a very large size, so that if any one not
accustomed to her saddles her I soon find the girth
three or four inches too large. When I saddle her a
gentle slap on her side, or any sEght start which
makes her cease to hold her breath, puts it aE right.
She is quite a companion, and bathing her back,
sponging her nostrils, and seeing her fed after my
day's ride, is always my first care.
At last I reached a log cabin where I got a feed
for us both and further directions. The rest of the
day's ride was awful enough. The snow was thirteen
inches deep, and grew deeper as I ascended in silence
and loneliness, but just as the sun sank behind a
snowy peak I reached the top of the Divide, 7975
feet above the sea-level. There, in unspeakable soE-
tude, lay a frozen lake.    Owls hooted among the pines, 176
the trail was obscure, the country was not settled, the
mercury was 9° below zero, my feet had lost aE sensation, and one of them was frozen to the wooden
stirrup. I found that owing to the depth of the snow
I had only ridden fifteen miles in eight and a haE
hours, and must look about for a place to sleep in.
The eastern sky was unlike anything I ever saw
befora It had been chrysoprase, then it turned to
aquamarine, and that to the bright full green of an
emerald. Unless I am colour-blind, this is true.
Then suddenly the whole changed, and flushed with
the pure, bright, rose-colour of the afterglow. Birdie
was sEding at every step, and I was nearly paralysed
with the cold when I reached a cabin which had been
mentioned to me, but they said that seventeen snowbound men were lying on the floor, and they advised
me to ride haE a mile farther, which I did, and
reached the house of a German from Eisenau, with a
sweet young wife and a venerable mother-in-law.
Though the house was very-poor, it was made attractive by ornaments, and the simple, loving, German
ways gave it a sweet home atmosphere. My room
was reached by a ladder, but I had it to myseK and
had the luxury of a basin to wash in. Under the
kindly treatment of the two women my feet came to
themselves, but with an amount of pain that almost
deserved the name of torture.
The next morning was gray and sour, but bright- THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
ened and warmed as the day went on. After riding
twelve miles I got bread and milk for myself and a
feed for Birdie at a large house where there were eight
boarders, each one looking nearer the grave than the
other, and on remounting was directed to leave the
main road and diverge through Monument Park, a
ride of twelve miles among fantastic rocks, but I lost
my way, and came to an end of aE tracks in a wild
canyon. Beturning about six miles, I took another
track, and rode about eight miles without seeing a
creature. I then came to strange gorges with wonderful upright rocks of aE shapes and colours, and turning through a gate of rock, came upon what I knew"
must be Glen Eyrie, as wEd and romantic a glen as
imagination ever pictured. The track then passed
down a vaEey close under some ghastly peaks, wild,
cold, awe-mspiring scenery. After fording a creek
several times, I came upon a decayed-looking cluster
of houses bearing the arrogant name of Colorado City,
and two mEes farther on, from the top of one of the
Foot HiE ridges, I saw the bleak-looking scattered
houses of the ambitious watering-place of Colorado
Springs, the goal of my journey of 150 miles. I got
off, put on a long skirt, and rode sidewise, though the
settlement scarcely looked like a place where any
deference to prejudices was necessary. A queer
embryo-looking place it is, out on the bare Plains,
yet it is rising and likely to rise, and has some big
N 178
hotels much resorted to. It has a fine view of the
mountains, speciaEy of Pike's Peak, but the celebrated
springs are at Manitou, three miles off, in really fine
scenery. To me no place could be more unattractive
than Colorado Springs, from its utter treelessness.
I found the s Eving in a smaE room which
served for parlour, bedroom, and kitchen, and combined the comforts of aE. It is inhabited also by two
prairie dogs, a kitten, and a deerhound.    It was truly
homelike.   Mrs. cooked an exceEent steak, and
her husband got the tea ready. They dispense with
the dubious comfort and certain discomfort of a
"hired girL"   Mrs.    walked with me to the
boarding-house where I slept, and we sat some time
in the parlour talking with the landlady. Opposite
to me there was a door wide open into a bedroom,
and on a bed opposite to the door a very sick-looking
young man was haK lying, haK sitting, fuEy dressed,
supported by another, and a very sick-looking young
man much resembling him passed in and out occa-
sionaEy, or leaned on the chimney-piece in an attitude
of extreme dejection. Soon the door was haK-closed,
and some one came to it, saying rapidly, "-Shields,
quick, a candle!" and then there were movings about
in the room. AE this time the seven or eight people
in the room in which I was were talking, laughing,
and playing backgammon, and none laughed louder
than the landlady, who was sitting where she saw that THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
mysterious door as plainly as I did. All this time,
and during the movings in the room, I saw two large
white feet sticking up at the end of the bed, I
watched and watched, hoping those feet would move,
but they did not; and somehow, to my thinking, they
grew stiffer and whiter, and then my horrible suspicion deepened, that whEe we were sitting there a
human spirit untended and desolate had passed forth
into the night. Then a man came out with a bundle
of clothes, and then the sick young man, groaning and
sobbing, and then a third, who said to me, with some
feeling, that the man who had just died was the sick
young man's only brother. And still the landlady
laughed and talked, and afterwards said to me, " It
turns the house upside down when they just come
here and die; we shaE be haK the night laying him
out." I could not sleep for the bitter cold and the
sound of the sobs and groans of the bereaved brother.
The next day the landlady, in a fashionably-made
black dress, was bustling about, proud of the prospective arrival of a handsome coffin. I went into the
parlour to get a needle, and the door of that room was
Open, and children were running in and out, and the
landlady, who was sweeping there, called cheerily to
me to come in for the needle, and there, to my horror,
not even covered with a face-cloth, and with the sun
blazing in through the unblinded window, lay that
thing of terror, a corpse, on some chairs which were sEl
not even placed straight. It was buried in the afternoon, and from the looks of the brother, who continued to sob and moan, his end cannot be far off.
The s say that many go to the Springs in the
last stage of consumption, thinking that the Colorado
climate wiE cure them, without money enough to pay
for even the coarsest board. We talked most of that
day, and I equipped myseK with arctics and warm
gloves for the mountain tour which has been planned
for me, and I gave Birdie the Sabbath she was entitled
to on Tuesday, for I found, on arriving at the Springs,
that the day I crossed the Arkansas Divide was Sim-
day, though I did not know it. Several friends of
Miss Kingsley called on me; she is much remembered and beloved, This is not an expensive tour;
we cost about ten shillings a day, and the five days
which I have spent en route from Denver have cost
something less than the fare for the few hours'
journey by the cars. There are no real difficulties.
It is a splendid Efe for health and enjoyment. All
my luggage being in a pack, and my conveyance being
a horse, we can go anywhere where we can get food
and shelter.
Great Gorge op the Manitou, October 29.
This is a highly picturesque place, with several
springs, stiE and effervescing, the virtues of which
were weE known to the Indians.    Near it are places, THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
the names of which are familiar to every one—the
Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie, Pike's Peak, Monument Park, and the Ute Pass. It has two or three
immense hotels, and a few houses picturesquely situated. It is thronged by thousands of people in the
summer who come to drink the waters, try the camp
cure, and make mountain excursions; but it is aE
quiet now, and there are only a few lingerers in this
immense hotel. There is a rushing torrent in a
valley, with mountains, covered with snow and rising
to a height of nearly 15,000 feet, overhanging it. It
is grand and awful, and has a strange, solemn beauty
like death. And the Snowy Mountains are pierced
by the torrent which has excavated the Ute Pass, by
which, to-morrow, I hope to go into the higher regions.
But aE may be " lost for want of a horseshoe-nail."
One of Birdie's shoes is loose, and not a naE is to be
got here, or can be got tiE I have ridden for ten miles
up the Pass. Birdie amuses every one with her
funny ways. She always follows me closely, and
to-day got quite into a house and pushed the parlour-
door open. She walks after me with her head laid
on my shoulder, Ecking my face and teasing me for
sugar; and sometimes, when any one else takes hold
of her, she rears and kicks, and the vicious broncho
soul comes into her eyes. Her face is cunning and
pretty, and she makes a funny, blarneying noise when
I go up to her.   The men at aE the stables make a 182
a lady's life in
fuss with her, and caE her " Pet." She gallops up and
down hill, and never stumbles even on the roughest
ground, or requires even a touch with a whip.
The weather is again perfect, with a cloudless sky
and a hot sun, and the snow is aE off the plains and
lower vaEeys.   After lunch, the  s in a buggy,
and I on Birdie, left Colorado Springs, crossing the
Mesa, a high hill with a table top, with a view of
extraordinary laminated rocks, leaves of rock a bright
vermilion colour, against a background of snowy
mountains, surmounted by Pike's Peak. Then we
plunged inft) cavernous Glen Eyrie, with its fantastic
needles of coloured rock, and were entertained at
General Palmer's " baronial mansion," a perfect eyrie,
the fine haE filled with buffalo, elk, and deer heads,
skins of wild animals, stuffed birds, bear robes, and
numerous Indian and other weapons and trophies.
Then, through a gate of huge red rocks, we passed
into the vaEey, caEed fantasticaEy, Garden of the
Gods, in which, were I a divinity, I certainly would
not choose to dwell, Many places in this neighbourhood are also vulgarised by grotesque names. From
this we passed into a ravine, down which the Fountain river rushed, and there I left my friends with
regret, and rode into this chiE and solemn gorge, from
which the mountains, reddening in the sunset, are
only seen afar off. I put Birdie up at a stable, and
as there was no place to put myseK up but this huge THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
hotel, I came here to have a last taste of luxury.
They charge six doEars a day in the season, but it is
nowhaK-price; and instead of four hundred fashionable
guests there are only fifteen, most of whom are speaking in the weak, rapid accents of consumption, and are
coughing their hearts out. There are seven medicinal
springs. It is strange to have the luxuries of life in
my room. It wiE be only the fourth night in Colorado that I have slept on anything better than hay or
straw. I am glad that there are so few inns. As it
is, I get a good deal of insight into the homes and
modes of Eving of the settlers.
Bergens Park, October 31.
This cabin was so dark, and I so sleepy last night,
that I could not write; but the frost during the night
has been very severe, and I am detained until the
bright, hot sun melts the ice and renders travelling
safe. I left the great Manitou at ten yesterday. Birdie,
who was loose in the stable, came trotting down the
middle of it when she saw me for her sugar and biscuits.
No nails could be got, and her shoe was hanging by
two, which doomed me to a foot's-pace and the dismal
clink of a loose shoe for three hours. There was not
a cloud on the bright blue sky the whole day, and
though it froze hard in the shade, it was summer-heat
in the sun. The mineral fountains were sparkling in
their basins and sending up their fuE perennial jets; 184
but the snow-clad, pine-skirted mountains frowned
and darkened over the Ute Pass as I entered it to
ascend it for twenty miles. A narrow pass it is, with
barely room for the torrent and the waggon road which
has been blasted out of its steep sides. AE the time
I was in sight of the Fountain river, brighter than
any stream, because it tumbles over rose-red granite,
rocky or disintegrated, a truly fair stream, cutting and
forcing its way through hard rocks, under arches of
alabaster ice, through fringes of crystalline ice, thumping with a hollow sound in cavernous recesses cold
and dark, or leaping in foam from heights with rush
and swish; always bright and riotous, never pausing
in stiE pools to rest, dashing through gates of rock,
pine-hung, pine-bridged, pine-buried; twinkling and
laughing in the sunshine, or frowning in "dowie
dens " in the blue pine gloom. And there, for a mile
or two in a sheltered spot, owing to the more southern
latitude, the everlasting northern pine met the trees
of other climates. There were dwarf oaks, willows,
hazel, and spruce; the white cedar and the trailing
juniper jostled each other for a precarious foothold;
the majestic redwood-tree of the Pacific met the
exquisite balsam-pine of the Atlantic slopes, and
among them aE the pale gold foEage of the large aspen
trembled (as the legend goes) in endless remorse.
And above them towered the toothy peaks of the
gEttering mountains, rising in pure white against Sie THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
sunny blue. Grand! glorious! sublime! but not
lovable. I would give all for the luxurious redundance of one Hilo gulch, or for one day of those soft
dreamy " skies whose very tears are balm."
Up ever! the road being blasted out of the red
rock which often overhung it, the canyon only from
fifteen to twenty feet wide, the thunder of the Fountain, which is crossed eight times, nearly deafening.
Sometimes the sun struck the road, and then it was
absolutely hot; then one entered unsunned gorges
where the snow lay deep, and the crowded pines made
dark twilight, and the river roared under ice bridges
fringed by icicles. At last the Pass* opened out upon
a sunlit upland Park, where there was a forge, and
with Birdie's shoe put on, and some shoenails in my
purse, I rode on cheerfuEy, getting food for us both at
a ranch belonging to some very pleasant people, who,
like aE Western folk, when they are not taciturn,
asked a legion of questions. There I met a Colonel
Eittridge, who said that he beEeved his valley, twelve
miles off the track, to be the loveliest vaEey in Colorado, and invited me to his house. Leaving the road,
I went up a long ascent deep in snow, but as it did
not seem to be the way, I tied up the pony, and walked
on to a cabin at some distance, which I had hardly
reached when I found her trotting like a dog by my
side, pulling my sleeve and laying her soft gray nose
on my shoulder.    Does it aE mean sugar ?   We had A LADYS LIFE IN letter x.
eight mEes farther to go—most of the way through a
forest, which I always dislike when alone, from the
fear of being frightened by something which may
appear from behind a tree. I saw a beautiful white
fox, several skunks, some chipmonks and gray squirrels, owls, crows, and crested blue-jays. As the sun
was getting low I reached Bergens Park, which was
to put me out of conceit with Estes Park. Never!
It is long and featureless, and its immediate surroundings are mean. It reminded me in itself of some dismal Highland strath—Glenshee, possibly. I looked
at it with special interest, as it was the place at which
Miss Eingsleyhad suggested that I might remain.
The evening was glorious, and the distant views were
very fine. A stream fringed with cotton-wood runs
through the Park; low ranges come down upon it.
The south end is completely closed up, but at a considerable distance, by the great mass of Pike's Peak,
whEe far beyond the other end are peaks and towers,
wonderful in blue and violet in the lovely evening,
and beyond these, sharply defined against the clear
green sky, was the serrated ridge of the Snowy Bange,
said to be 200 mEes away. Bergens Park has been
bought by Dr. BeE, of London, but its present occupant is Mr. Thornton, an EngEsh gentleman, who has
a worthy married EngEshman as his manager. Mr.
Thornton is buEding a good house, and purposes to
build other cabins, with the intention of making the THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
Park a resort for strangers. I thought of the blue
hollow lying soEtary at the foot of Long's Peak, and
rejoiced that I had • happened into it."
The cabin is long, low, mud-roofed, and very dark.
The middle place is fuE of raw meat, fowls, and gear.
One end, almost dark, contains the cooking-stove,
milk, crockery, a long deal table, two benches, and
some wooden stools; the other end houses the English
manager or partner, his wife, and three children,
another cooking-stove, gear of all kinds, and sacks of
beans and flour. They put up a sheet for a partition,
and made me a shake-down on the gravel floor of
this room. Ten hired men sat down to meals with
us. It was aE very rough, dark, and comfortless, but
Mr. T., who is not only a gentleman by birth, but an
M.A. of Cambridge, seems to Eke it. Much in this
way (a Ettle smoother if a lady is in the case) every
man must begin Efe here. Seven large dogs—three
of them with cats upon their backs — are usuaEy
warming themselves at the fire.
Twin Rock, South Fork of the Platte, November 1.
I did not leave Mr. Thornton's tiE ten, because
of the sEpperiness. I rode four miles along a back
trail, and then was so tired that I stayed for two
hours at a ranch, where I heard, to my dismay, that
I must ride twenty-four miles farther before I could
find any place to sleep at.   I did not enjoy yester- 188
day's ride. I was both tired and rheumatic, and
Birdie was not so sprightly as usual. After starting
again I came on a hideous place, of which I had not
heard before, Hayden's Divide, one of the great backbones of the region, a weary expanse of deep snow
eleven mEes across, and fearfully lonely. I saw
nothing the whole way but a mule lately dead lying
by the road. I was very nervous somehow, and
towards evening beEeved that I had lost the road,
for I came upon wild pine forests, with huge masses
of rock from 100 to 700 feet high, cast here and
there among them; beyond these pine-sprinkled
grass hills; these, in their turn, were bounded by
interminable ranges, ghastly in the lurid evening,
with the Spanish Peaks quite clear, and the colossal
summit of Mount Lincoln, the Eing of the Bocky
Mountains, distinctly visible, though seventy miles
away. It seemed awful to be alone on that ghastly,
ridge, surrounded by interminable mountains, in the
deep snow, knowing that a party of thirty had been
lost here a month ago. Just at nightfaE the descent
of a steep hiE took me out of the forest and upon a
clean log cabin, where, finding that the proper halting-
place was two miles farther on, I remained. A truly
pleasing, superior-looking woman placed me in a
rocking-chair; would not let me help her otherwise
than by rocking the cradle, and made me " feel at
home."   The room, though it serves them and their THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
two children for kitchen, parlour, and bedroom, is
the pattern of brightness, cleanliness, and comfort.
At supper there were canned raspberries, roEs, butter,
tea, venison, and fried rabbit, and at seven I went to
bed in a carpeted log room, with a thick feather-bed
on a mattress, sheets, ruffled pillow slips, and a pEe
of warm white blankets ! I slept for eleven hours.
They discourage me much about the route which
Governor Hunt has projected for me. They think
that it is impassable, owing to snow, and that
another storm is brewing.
Halls Gulch, November 6.
I have ridden 150 miles since I wrote last. On
leaving Twin Bock on Saturday I had a short day's ride
to Colonel Kittridge's cabin at OE Creek, where I
spent a quiet Sunday with agreeable people. The ride
was aE through parks and gorges, and among pine-
clothed hiEs, about 9000 feet high, with Pike's Peak
always in sight. I have developed much sagacity in
finding a trail, or I should not be able to make use of
such directions as these: " Keep along a gulch four or
five miles tiE you get Pike's Peak on your left, then
follow some wheel-marks tiE you get to some timber,
and keep to the north till you come to a creek,
where you'E find a great many elk tracks; then go
to your right and cross the creek three times, then
you'E see a red rock to your left," etc. etc.   The K.'s 190
cabin was very smaE and lonely, and the life seemed
a hard grind for an educated and refined woman.
There were snow flurries after I arrived, but the first
Sunday of November was as bright and warm as
June, and the atmosphere had resumed its exquisite
purity. Three peaks of Pike's Peak are seen from .
OE Creek, above the nearer hills, and by them they
teE the time. We had been in the evening shadows
for haK an hour before those peaks ceased to be
transparent gold. On leaving Colonel Eittridge's
hospitable cabin I dismounted, as I had often done
before, to lower a bar, and, on looking round, Birdie
was gone! I spent an hour in trying to catch her,
but she had taken an " ugly fit," and would not let
me go near her; and I was getting tired and vexed,
when two passing trappers, on mules, cfrcumvented
and caught her. I rode the twelve miles back to
Twin Eock, and then went on, a kindly teamster,
who was going in the same direction, taking my pack.
I must explain that every mile I have traveEed since
leaving Colorado Springs has taken me farther and
higher into the mountains. That afternoon I rode
through lawn-like upland parks, with the great snow
mass of Pike's Peak behind, and in front mountains
bathed in rich atmospheric colouring of blue and
violet, aE very fine, but threatening to become
monotonous, when the waggon road turned abruptly
to the left, and crossed a broad, swift, mountain THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
river, the head-waters of the Platte. There I found
the ranch to which I had been recommended, the
quarters of a great hunter named Link, which much
resembled a good country inn. There was a pleasant,
friendly woman, but the men were all away, a thing
I always regret, as it gives me haK an hour's work
at the horse before I can write to you. I had hardly
come in when a very pleasant German lady, whom I
met at Manitou, with three gentlemen, arrived, and
we were as sociable as people could be. We had a
splendid though rude supper. While Mrs. Link was
serving us, and urging her good things upon us, she
was orating on the greediness of English people,
saying that " you would think they traveEed through
the country only to gratify their palates;" and
addressed me, asking me K I had not observed it!
I am nearly always taken for a Dane or a Swede,
never for an EngEshwoman, so I often hear a good
deal of outspoken criticism. In the evening Mr.
Link returned, and there was a most vehement
discussion between him, an old hunter, a miner, and
the teamster who brought my pack, as to the route
by which I should ride through the mountains for
the next three or four days—because at that point I
was to leave the waggon road—and it was renewed
with increased violence the next morning, so that K
my nerves had not been of steel I should have been
appaEed.    The old hunter acrimoniously said he 192
" must speak the truth," the miner was directing me
over a track where for twenty-five miles there was
not a house, and where, K snow came on, I should
never be heard of again. The miner said he " must
speak the truth," the hunter was directing me over a
pass where there were five feet of snow, and no
trail. The teamster said that the only road possible
for a horse was so-and-so, and advised me to take
the waggon road into South Park, which I was
determined not to do. Mr. Link said he was the
oldest hunter and settler in the district, and he could
not cross any of the trails in snow. And so they
went on. At last they partiaEy agreed on a route—
" the worst road in the Bocky Mountains," the old
hunter said, with two feet of snow upon it, but a
hunter had hauled an elk over part of it, at any rate.
The upshot of the whole you shaE have in my next
1.   h.   ±5. LETTER XI.
Tarryall Creek—The Red Range—Excelsior!—Importunate Pedlars
—Snow and Heat—A Bison Calf—Deep Drifts—South Park
—The Great Divide—Comanche Bill—Difficulties—Hall's
Gulch—A Lord Dundreary—Ridiculous Fears.
Hall's Gulch, Colorado, November 6.
It was another cloudless morning, one of the many
here on which one awakes early, refreshed, and ready
to enjoy the fatigues of another day. In our sunless,
misty climate you do not know the influence which
persistent fine weather exercises on the spirits. I have
been ten months in almost perpetual sunshine, and
now a single cloudy day makes me feel quite depressed. I did not leave tiE 9.30, because of the
sMpperiness, and shortly after starting turned off
into the wEderness on a very dim tail Soon seeing
a man riding a mile ahead, I rode on and overtook
him, and we rode eight miles together, which was
convenient to me, as without him I should several
times have lost the trail altogether. Then his fine
Ip&erican horse, on which he had only ridden two
days, broke down, while my " mad, bad broncho," on
which I had been travelling for a fortnight, cantered
o 194
tightly over the snow. He was the only traveller I
saw in a day of nearly twelve hours. I thoroughly
enjoyed every minute of that ride. It concentrated
aE my faculties of adLmiration and of locaEty, for
truly the track was a difficult one. I sometimes
thought it deserved the bad name given to it at Link's.
For the most part it keeps in sight of TarryaE Creek,
one of the large affluents of the Platte, and is waEed
in on both sides by mountains, which are sometimes
so close together as to leave only the narrowest canyon
between them, at others breaking wide apart, till,
after winding and climbing up and down for twenty-
five miles, it lands one on a barren rock-girdled park,
watered by a rapid fordable stream as broad as the
Ouse at Huntingdon, snow-fed and ice-fringed, the
park bordered by fantastic rocky hills, snow-covered
and brightened only by a dwarf growth of the beautiful sEver spruce. I have not seen anything hitherto
so thoroughly wild and unlike the rest of these parts.
I rode up one great ascent where hiEs were tumbled about confusedly; and suddenly across the broad
ravine, rising above the sunny grass and'the deep-
green pines, rose in glowing and shaded red against
the gEttering blue heaven a magnificent and unearthly
range of mountains, as shapely as could be seen, rising
into colossal points, cleft by deep blue ravines, broken
up into sharks' teeth, with gigantic knobs and pinnacles rising from their inaccessible sides, very fair to THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
look upon—a glowing, heavenly, unforgetable sight,
and only four miles off. Mountains they looked not
of this earth, but such as one sees in dreams alone,
the blessed ranges of " the land which is very far off."
They were more brilliant than those incredible colours
in which painters array the fiery hills of Moab and
the Desert, and one could not beEeve them for ever
uninhabited, for on them rose, as in the East, the similitude of stately fortresses, not the gray casteEated
towers of feudal Europe, but gay, massive, Saracenic
architecture, the outgrowth of the soEd rock. They
were vast ranges, apparently of enormous height, their
colour indescribable, deepest and reddest near the
pine-draped bases, then graduaEy softening into wonderful tenderness, tiE the highest summits rose aE
flushed, and with an illusion of transparency, so that
one might beEeve that they were taking on the hue
of sunset. Below them lay broken ravines of fantastic
rocks, cleft and canyoned by the river, with a tender
unearthly Eght over aE, the apparent warmth of a
glowing clime, whEe I on the north side was in the
shadow among the pure unsullied snow.
" With us the damp, the chill, the gloom ;
With them the sunset's rosy bloom."
The dimness of earth with me, the Eght of heaven
with them. Here, again, worship seemed the only
attitude for a human spirit, and the question was ever
present, " Lord, what is man, that Thou art mindful 196
of him; or the son of man, that Thou visitest him ?"
I rode up and down hills laboriously in snow-drifts,
getting off often to ease my faithful Birdie by walking
down ice-clad slopes, stopping constantly to feast my
eyes upon that changeless glory, always seeing some
new ravine, with its depths of colour or miraculous
brilEancy of red, or phantasy of form. Then below,
where the traE was locked into a deep canyon where
there was scarcely room for it and the river, there was
a beauty of another kind in solemn gloom. There
the stream curved and twisted marveEously, widening
into shaEows, narrowing into deep boiling eddies, with
pyramidal firs and the beautiful silver spruce fringing
its banks, and often falling across it in artistic grace,
the gloom chiE and deep, with only now and then a
Eght trickling through the pines upon the cold snow,
when suddenly turning round I saw behind, as if in
the glory of an eternal sunset, those flaming and fantastic peaks. The effect of the combination of winter
and summer was singular. The trail ran on the north
side the whole time, and the snow lay deep and pure
white, while not a wreath of it lay on the south side,
where abundant lawns basked in the warm sun.
The pitch pine, with its monotonous and somewhat rigid form, had disappeared; the white pine became scarce, both being displaced by the slim spires
and silvery green of the miniature silver spruce.
Valley and canyon were passed, the flaming ranges THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
were left behind, the upper altitudes became grim
and mysterious. I crossed a lake on the ice, and then
came on a park surrounded by barren contorted hills,
overtopped by snow mountains. There, in some
brushwood, we crossed a deepish stream on the ice,
which gave way, and the fearful cold of the water
stiffened my limbs for the rest of the ride. AE these
streams become bigger as you draw nearer to their
source, and shortly the trail disappeared in a broad
rapid river, which we forded twice. The trail was
very difficult to recover. It ascended ever in frost
and snow, amidst scanty timber dwarfed by cold and
twisted by storms, amidst soEtudes such as one reads
of in the High Alps; there were no sounds to be
heard but the crackle of ice and snow, the pitiful
howling of wolves, and the hoot of owls. The sun to
me had long set; the peaks which had blushed were
pale and sad; the twilight deepened into green; but
stiE " Excelsior!" There were no happy homes with
light of household fires; above, the spectral mountains lifted their cold summits. As darkness came
on I began to fear that I had confused the cabin to
which I had been directed with the rocks. To confess
the truth, I was cold, for my boots and stockings had
frozen on my feet, and I was hungry too, having eaten
nothing but raisins for fourteen hours. After riding
30 miles I saw a Eght a Ettle way from the track,
and found it to be the cabin of the daughter of the
If .jib A LADY'S LIFE IN letter xi.
pleasant people with whom I had spent the previous
night. Her husband had gone to the plains, yet she,
with two infant children, was Eving there in perfect
security. Two pedlars, who were peddEng their way
down from the mines, came in for a night's shelter
soon after I arrived — iE-looking feEows enough.
They admired Birdie in a suspicious fashion, and
offered to " swop " their pack-horse for her. I went
out the last thing at night and the first thing in the
morning to see that " the powny " was safe, for they
were very importunate on the subject of the " swop."
I had before been offered 150 doEars for her. I was
obEged to sleep with the mother and children, and
the pedlars occupied a room within ours. It was hot
and airless. The cabin was papered with the Phrenological Journal, and in the morning I opened my eyes
on the very best portrait of Dr. Candlish I ever saw,
and grieved truly that I should never see that massive brow and fantastic face again.
Mrs. Link was an educated and very intelligent
young woman. The pedlars were Irish Yankees, and
the way in which they " traded " was as amusing as
" Sam Slick." They not only wanted to " swop " my
pony, but to " trade " my watch. They trade their
souls, I know. They displayed their wares for an
hour with much dexterous flattery and persuasiveness, but Mrs. Link was untemptable, and I was only
tempted into buying a handkerchief to keep the sun THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
off. There was another dispute about my route. It
was the most critical day of my journey. If a snowstorm came on, I might be detained in the mountains
for many weeks; but if I got through the snow and
reached the Denver waggon-road, no detention would
signify much. The pedlars insisted that I could not
get through, for the road was not broken. Mrs. L.
thought I could, and advised me to try, so I saddled
Birdie and rode away.
More than haK of the day was far from enjoyable.
The morning was magnificent, but the Eght too dazzling, the sun too fierce. As soon as I got out I felt
as if I should drop off the horse. My large handkerchief kept the sun from my neck:, but the fierce heat
caused soul and sense, brain and eye, to reel. I
never saw or felt the like of it. I was at a height of
12,000 feet, where, of course, the aE was highly rarefied, and the snow was so pure and dazzling that I
was obliged to keep my eyes shut as much as possible
to avoid snow blindness. The sky was a different
and terribly fierce colour; and when I caught a
glimpse of the sun, he was white and unwinking like
a Eme-baE Eght, yet threw off wicked scintillations.
I suffered so from nausea, exhaustion, and pains from
head to foot, that I felt as if I must Ee down in the
snow. It may have been partly the early stage of
soroche, or mountain sickness. We plodded on for
four hours, snow aE round, and nothing else to be 200
A lady's life in
seen but an ocean of gEstening peaks against that
sky of infuriated blue. How I found my way I shall
never know, for the only marks on the snow were
occasional footprints of a man, and I had no means
of knowing whether they led in* the direction I ought
to take. Earlier, before the snow became so deep,
I passed the last great haunt of the magnificent
mountain bison, but, unfortunately, saw nothing but
horns and bones. Two months ago Mr. Link succeeded in separating a caK from the herd, and* has
partiaEy domesticated it. It is a very ugly thing at
seven months old, with a thick beard, and a short,
thick, dark mane on its heavy shoulders. It makes a
loud grunt Eke a pig. It can outrun their fastest
horse, and it sometimes leaps over the high fence of
the corral, and takes aE the milk of &ve cows.
The snow grew seriously deep. Birdie fell
thirty times, I am sure. She seemed unable to keep
up at aE, so I was obliged to get off and stumble
along in her footmarks. By that time my spirit for
overcoming difficulties had somewhat returned, for I
saw a Ee of country which I knew must contain
South Park, and we had got under cover of a hill
which kept off the sun. The trail had ceased; it was
only one of those hunter's tracks which continually
mislead one. The getting through the snow was
awful work. I think we accomplished a mile in
something over two hours.   The snow was two feet THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
eight inches deep, and once we went down in a drift
the surface of which was rippled like sea sand,
Birdie up to her back, and I up to my shoulders!
At last we got through, and I beheld, with some sadness, the goal of my journey, "The Great Divide,"
the snowy range, and between me and it South Park,
a rolling prairie seventy-five miles long and over
10,000 feet high, treeless, bounded by mountains,
and so .rich in sun-cured hay that one might fancy
that aE the herds of Colorado could find pasture there.
Its chief centre is the rough mining town of Fairplay,
but there are rumours of great mineral wealth in
various quarters. The region has been "rushed,"
and mining camps have risen at Alma and elsewhere,
so lawless and brutal that vigilance committees are
forming as a matter of necessity. South Park is
closed, or nearly so, by snow during an ordinary
winter; and just now the great freight waggons are
carrying up the last suppEes of the season, and taking
down women and other temporary inhabitants. A
great many people come up here in the summer. The
rarefied aE produces great oppression on the lungs,
accompanied with bleeding. It is said that you can
teE a new arrival by seeing him go about holding a
blood-stained handkerchief to his mouth. But I
came down upon it from regions of ice and snow;
and as the snow which had faEen on it had aE disappeared by evaporation and drifting, it looked to 202
A lady's life in
me quite lowland and Evable, though lonely and indescribably mournful, " a sEent sea," suggestive of " the
muffled oar." I cantered across the narrow end of
it, delighted to have got through the snow; and when
I struck the "Denver stage-road" I supposed that
aE the difficulties of mountain travel were at an end,
but this has not turned out to be exactly the case.
A horseman shortly joined me and rode with me,
got me a fresh horse, and accompanied me for ten
miles. He was a picturesque figure and rode a very
good horse. He wore a big slouch hat, from under
which a number of fair curls hung nearly to his
waist. His beard was fair, his eyes blue, and his
complexion ruddy. There was nothing sinister in
his expression, and his manner was respectful and
frank. He was dressed in a hunter's buckskin suit
ornamented with beads, and wore a pair of exception-
aEy big brass spurs. His saddle was very highly
ornamented. What was unusual was the number of
weapons he carried. Besides a rifle laid across his
saddle and a pair of pistols in the holsters, he carried
two revolvers and a knKe in his belt, and a carbine
slung behind him. I found him what is termed
"good company." He told me a great deal about
the country and its wild animals, with some hunting
adventures, and a great deal about Indians and their
cruelty and treachery. AE this time, having crossed.
South Park, we were  ascending the   Continental   LETTER XI.
Divide by what I think is termed the Breckenridge
Pass, on a fairly good waggon-road. We stopped at
a cabin, where the woman seemed to know my companion, and, in addition to bread and milk, produced
some venison steaks. We rode on again, and reached
the crest of the Divide (see engraving), and saw snow-
born streams starting within a quarter of a mEe from
each other, one for the Colorado and the Pacific, the
other for the Platte and the Atlantic. Here I wished
the hunter good-bye, and reluctantly turned northeast. It was not wise to go up the Divide at aE, and
it was necessary to do it in haste. On my way down
I spoke to the woman at whose cabin I had dined,
and she said, " I am sure you found Comanche BiE a
real gentleman;" and I then knew that, if she gave
me correct information, my intelligent, courteous
companion was one of the most notorious desperadoes
of the Bocky Mountains, and the greatest Indian exterminator on the frontier—a man whose father and
family feE in a massacre at Spirit Lake by the hands
of Indians, who carried away his sister, then a chEd
of eleven. His life has since been mainly devoted
to a search for this chEd, and to killing Indians
wherever he can find them.
After riding twenty miles, which made the distance for that day fifty, I remounted Birdie to ride
six miles farther, to a house which had been mentioned to me as a stopping-place.   The road ascended A LADTS LIFE IN
to a height of 11,000 feet, and from thence I looked
my last at the lonely, uplifted prairie sea. " Denver
stage-road!" The worst, rudest, dismaEest, darkest
road I have yet traveEed on, nothing but a winding
ravine, the Platte canyon, pine-crowded and pine-
darkened, waEed in on both sides for six miles by
pine-skirted mountains 12,000 feet high! Along
this abyss for forty miles there are said to be only
five houses, and were it not for miners going down,
and freight-waggons going up, the soEtude would be
awful. As it was, I did not see a creature. It was
four when I left South Park, and between those
mountain waEs and under the pines it soon became
quite dark, a darkness which could be felt. The
snow which had melted in the sun had refrozen, and
was one sheet of smooth ice. Birdie sEpped so
alarmingly that I got off and walked, but then
neither of us could keep our feet, and in the darkness she seemed so likely to faE upon me, that I took
out of my pack the man's socks which had been
given me at Perry's Park, and drew them on over her
fore feet—an expedient which for a time succeeded
admirably, and which I commend to aE traveEers
similarly cfrcumstanced. It was unutterably dark,
and aE these operations had to be performed by the
sense of touch only. I remounted, aEowed her to
take her own way, as I could not see even her ears,
and though her hind legs slipped badly, we contrived THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
to get along through the narrowest part of the canyon,
with a tumbling river close to the road. The pines
were very dense, and sighed and creaked mournfully
in the severe frost, and there were other eerie noises
not easy to explain. At last, when the socks were
nearly worn out, I saw the blaze of a camp fire, with
two hunters sitting by it, on the hiE-side, and at the
mouth of a gulch something which looked like buildings. We got across the river partly on ice and
partly by fording, and I found that this was the
place where, in spite of its somewhat dubious reputation, I had been told that I could put up. A man
came out in the sapient and good-natured stage of
intoxication, and, the door being opened, I was confronted by a rough bar and a smoking, blazing
kerosene lamp without a chimney. This is the
worst place I have put up at as to food, lodging, and
general character; an old and very dirty log-cabin,
not chinked, with one dingy room used for cooking
and feeding, in which a miner was lying very El of
fever; then a large roofless shed with a canvas side,
which is to be an addition, and then the bar. They
accounted for the disorder by the building operations.
They asked me if I were the English lady written of
in the Denver News, and for once I was glad that my
fame had preceded me, as it seemed to secure me
against being quietly "put out of the way." A
horrible meal was served—dirty, greasy, disgusting.
[Mil 206
A celebrated hunter, Bob Craik, came in to supper with
a young man in tow, whom, in spite of his rough
hunter's or miner's dress, I at once recognised as an
English gentleman. It was their camp-fire which I
had seen on the hiE-side. This gentleman was lording it in true caricature fashion, with a Lord Dundreary drawl and a general execration of everything;
while I sat in the chimney corner, speculating on the
reason why many of the upper class of my countrymen
—" High Toners," as they are caEed out here—make
themselves so ludicrously absurd. They neither
know how to hold their tongues or to carry their
personal pretensions. An American is nationally
assumptive, an Englishman personally so. He took
no notice of me tiE something passed which showed
him I was EngEsh, when his manner at once changed
into courtesy, and his drawl was shortened by a haK.
He took pains to let me know that he was an officer
in the Guards, of good family, on four months' leave,
which he was spending in slaying buffalo and elk,
and also that he had a profound contempt for everything American. I cannot think why Englishmen
put on these broad, mouthing tones, and give so many
personal details. They retired to their camp, and
the landlord having passed into the sodden, sleepy
stage of drunkenness, his wKe asked K I should be
afraid to sleep in the large canvas-sided, unceiled,
doorless shed, as they could not move the sick miner. MP
So I slept there on a shake-down, with the stars
winking overhead through the roof, and the mercury
showing 30° of frost. I never told you that I once
gave an unwary promise that I would not travel
alone in Colorado unarmed, and that in consequence
I left Estes Park with a Sharp's revolver loaded with
baE-cartridge in my pocket, which has been the
plague of my life. Its bright ominous barrel peeped
out in quiet Denver shops, chEdren puEed it out to
play with, or when my riding-dress hung up with it
in the pocket, puEed the whole from the peg to the
floor; and I cannot conceive of any circumstances in
which I could feel it right to make any use of it, or
in which it could do me any possible good. Last
night, however, I took it out, cleaned and oiled it,
and laid it under my piEow, resolving to keep awake
aE night. I slept as soon as I lay down, and never
woke tiE the bright morning sun shone through the
roof, making me ridicule my own fears and abjure
pistols for ever!
1.   Li.   -D.
!fi 208
Deer Valley—Lynch Law—Vigilance Committees—The Silver
Spruce—Taste and Abstinence—The Whisky Fiend — Smartness—Turkey Creek Canyon—The Indian Problem—Public
Rascality—Friendly Meetings—The Way to the Golden City—
A rising Settlement—Clear Creek Canyon—Staging—Swearing
—A Mountain Town.
Deer Valley, November.
To-night I am in a beautiful place like a Dutch farm
—large, warm, bright, clean, with abundance of clean
food, and a clean, cold little bedroom to myseK. But it
is very hard to write, for two free-tongued, noisy Irishwomen, who keep a miners' boarding-house in South
Park, and are going to winter quarters in a freight-
waggon, are telling the most fearful stories of violence,
vigEance committees, Lynch law, and " stringing," that
I ever heard. It turns one's blood cold only to think
that where I travel in perfect security, only a short
time ago men were being shot like skunks. At the
mining towns up above this nobody is thought anything of who has not killed a man—i.e. in a certain
set. These women had a boarder, only fifteen, who
thought he could not be anything tiE he had shot
somebody, and they gave an absurd account of the LETTER XII.
lad dodging about with a revolver, and not getting up
courage enough to insult any one, tiE at last he hid
himseK in the stable and shot the first Chinaman
who entered. Things up there are just in that initial
state which desperadoes love. A man accidentally
shoves another in a saloon, or says a rough word at
meals, and the chaEenge, " first finger on the trigger,"
warrants either in shooting the other at any subsequent time without the formaEty of a duel. Nearly
aE the shooting affrays arise from the most trivial
-causes in saloons and bar-rooms. The deeper quarrels,
arising from jealousy or revenge, are few, and are
usuaEy about some woman not worth fighting for.
At Alma and Fairplay vigilance committees have
_-been lately formed, and when men act outrageously
and make themselves generaEy obnoxious they receive
a letter with a drawing of a tree, a man hanging from
it, and a coffin below, on which is written " Fore-
' warned." They " git" in a few hours. When I said
I spent last night at HaE's Gulch there was quite a
chorus of exclamations. My host there, they aE said,
would be " strung " before long. Did I know that a
I man was " strung " there yesterday ? Had I not seen
him hanging ? He was on the big tree by the house,
they said. Certainly, had I known what a ghastly
burden that tree bore, I would have encountered the
ice and gloom of the gulch rather than have slept
there. They then told me a horrid tale of crime and
p 210
violence. This man had even shocked the morals of
the Alma crowd, and had a notice served on him by
the vigilants, which had the desired effect, and he
migrated to HaE's Gulch. As the tale runs, the
HaE's Gulch miners were resolved either not to have
a groggery or to limit the number of such places, and
when this ruffian set one up he was "forewarned."
It seems, however, to have been merely a pretext for
getting rid of him, for it was hardly a crime of which
even Lynch law could take cognisance. He was
overpowered by numbers, and, with circumstances of
great horror, was tried, and strung on that tree within
an hour.1
I left the place this morning at ten, and have had
a very pleasant day, for the hills shut out the hot
sun. I only rode twenty-two miles, for the difficulty
of riding on ice was great, and there is no blacksmith
within thirty-five mEes of HaE's Gulch. I met two
freighters just after I left, who gave me the unwelcome
news that there were thirty miles of ice between that
and Denver. " You'E have a tough trip," they said.
The road runs up and down hiE, waEed in along with
a rushing river by high mountains. The scenery is
very grand, but I hate being shut into these deep
gorges, and always expect to see some startling object
moving among the trees.   I met no one the whole
1 Public opinion approved this execution, regarding it as a
fitting retribution for a series of crimes.    ^111111 tm
day after passing the teams except two men with a
I pack-jack." Birdie hates jacks, and rears and shies
as soon as she sees one. It was a bad road, one
shelving sheet of ice, and awfuUy lonely, and between
the peril of the mare breaking her leg on the ice and
that of being crushed by windfalls of timber, I had to
look out aE day. Towards sunset I came to a cabin
where they " keep traveEers," but the woman looked
so vinegar-faced that I preferred to ride four miles
farther, up a beautiful road winding along a sunny
gulch fiEed with silver spruce, bluer and more sEvery
than any I have yet seen, and then crossed a divide,
from which the view in all the ecstasy of sunset
colour was perfectly glorious. It was enjoyment also
in itseK to get out of the deep chasm in which I had
been immured aE day. There is a train of twelve
freight-waggons here, each waggon with six horses,
but the teamsters carry their own camping blankets
and sleep either in their waggons or on the floor, so
the house is not crowded. It is a pleasant two-storey
log-house, not only chinked but lined with planed
timber. Each room has a great open chimney with
logs burning in it; there are pretty engravings on the
walls, and baskets fuE of creepers hanging from the
ceiling.   This is the first settler's house I have been
in in which the ornamental has had any place.
There is a door to each room, the oak chairs are
bright with rubbing, and the floor, though unplaned, 212
is so clean that one might eat off it. The table is
clean and abundant, and the mother and daughters,
though they do aE the work, look as trim as if they
did none, and actuaEy laugh heartily. The ranchman neither aEows drink to "be brought into the house
nor to be drunk outside, and on this condition only
he "keeps traveEers." The freighters come in to
supper quite weE washed, and though twelve of them
slept in the kitchen, by nine o'clock there was not a
sound. This freighting business is most profitable.
I think that the charge is three cents per pound from
Denver to South Park, and there much of the freight
is transferred to " pack-jacks " and carried up to the
mines. A railroad, however, is contemplated. I
breakfasted with the family after the freight train
left, and instead of sitting down to gobble up the
remains of a meal, they had a fresh tablecloth and
hot food. ~ The buckets are aE polished oak, with
polished brass bands; the kitchen utensils are bright
as rubbing can make them; and, more wonderful stiE,
the girls black their boots. Blacking usuaEy is an
unused luxury, and frequently is not kept in houses.
My boots have only been blacked once during the
last two months.
Denver, November 9.
I could not make out whether the superiority of the
Deer VaEey settlers extended beyond material things,
but a teamster I met in the evening said it " made him
-—-i mm
more of a man to spend a night in such a house." In
Colorado whisky is significant of aE evil and violence,
and is the cause of most of the shooting affrays in the
mining camps. There are few moderate drinkers; it
is seldom taken except to excess. The great local
question in the Territory, and just now the great
electoral issue, is drink or no drink, and some of the
papers are openly advocating a prohibitive liquor law.
Some of the districts, such as Greeley, in which liquor
is prohibited, are without crime, and in several of the
stock-raising and agricultural regions through which
I have traveBed where it is practicaEy excluded the
doors are never locked, and the miners leave their
silver bricks in their waggons unprotected at night.
People say that on coming from the Eastern States
they hardly realise at first the security in which they
Eve. There is no danger and no fear. But the truth
of the proverbial saying, " There is no God west of the
Missouri," is everywhere manifest. The " almighty
doEar " is the true divinity, and its worship is universal. " Smartness " is the quaEty thought most of.
The boy who " gets on " by cheating at his lessons is
praised for being a " smart boy," and his satisfied
parents foreteE that he wiE make a " smart man." A
man who overreaches his neighbour, but who does it.
so cleverly that the law cannot take hold of him, wins
an envied reputation as a " smart man," and stories of
this species of smartness are told admiringly round life
every stove. Smartness is but the initial stage of
swindling, and the clever swindler who evades or
defies the weak and often corruptly administered laws
of the States excites unmeasured admiration among
the masses.1
I left Deer Valley at ten the next morning on a
glorious day, with rich atmospheric colouring, had to
spend three hours sitting on a barrel in a forge after
I had ridden twelve mEes, waiting whEe twenty-four
oxen were shod, and then rode on twenty-three miles
through streams and canyons of great beauty tiE I
reached a grocery store, where I had to share a room
with a large family and three teamsters; and being
almost suffocated by the curtain partition, got up at
four, before any one was stirring, saddled Birdie, and
rode away in the darkness, leaving my money on the
table! It was a short eighteen miles' ride to Denver
down the Turkey Creek Canyon, which contains some
magnificent scenery, and then the road ascends and
hangs on the ledge of a precipice 600 feet in depth,
such a narrow road that on meeting a waggon I had
to dismount for fear of hurting my feet with the
wheels. From thence there was a wonderful view
through the rolling Foot Hills and over the gray-
1 May 1878.—I am copying this letter in the city of San Francisco, and regretfully add a strong emphasis to what I have written
above. The best and most thoughtful among Americans would
endorse these remarks with shame and pain.—I. L. B.  llpL
i:;ffii| M LETTER XII.
brown plains to Denver. Not a tree or shrub was to
be seen, everything was rioting in summer heat and
drought, whEe behind lay the last grand canyon of
the mountains, dark with pines and cool with snow.
I left the track and took a short cut over the prairie
to Denver, passing through an encampment of the
Ute Indians about 500 strong, a disorderly and dirty
huddle of lodges, ponies, men, squaws, chEdren, skins,
bones, and raw meat.
The Americans will never solve the Indian problem tiE the Indian is extinct. They have treated
them after a fashion which has intensified their
treachery and " devilry" as enemies, and as friends
reduces them to a degraded pauperism, devoid of the
very first elements of civilisation. The only difference
between the savage and the civilised Indian is that
the latter carries firearms and gets drunk on whisky.
The Indian Agency has been a sink of fraud and corruption ; it is said that barely thirty per cent of the
aEowance ever reaches those for whom it is voted; and
the complaints of shoddy blankets, damaged flour, and
worthless firearms are universal " To get rid of the
Injuns " is the phrase used everywnere. Even their
1 reservations " do not escape seizure practicaEy ;
for K gold " breaks out" on them they are " rushed,"
and their possessors are either compeEed to accept
land farther west or are shot off and driven off. One
of the surest agents in their destruction is vitriolised A LADY S LIFE IN
whisky. An attempt has recently been made to
cleanse the Augean stable of the Indian Department,
but it has met with signal failure, the usual result in
America of every effort to purify the official atmosphere. Americans specially love superlatives. The
phrases " biggest in the world," " finest in the world,"
are on aE Eps. Unless President Hayes is a strong
man they wiE soon come to boast that their government
is composed of the " biggest scoundrels " in the world.
As I rode into Denver and away from the mountains the view became glorious, as range above range
crowned with snow came into sight. I was sure that
three glistening peaks seventy miles north were the
peerless shapeliness of Long's Peak, the king of the
Bocky Mountains, and the " mountain fever" returned
so severely that I grudged every hour spent on the
dry, hot plains. The range looked lovelier and
sublimer than when I first saw it from Greeley, aE
spiritualised in the wonderful atmosphere. I went
direct to Evans's house, where I found a hearty welcome, as they had been anxious about my safety, and
Evans almost at once arrived from Estes Park with
three elk, one grizzly, and one bighorn in his waggon.
Begarding a place and Efe one likes (in spite of aE
lessons) one is sure to think, " To-morrow shaE be as
this day, and much more abundant;" and aE through
my tour I had thought of returning to Estes Park
and finding everything just as it was.   Evans brought LETTER XII.
the unwelcome news that the goodly feEowship was
broken up. The Dewys and Mr. WaEer were in Denver, and the house was dismantled, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards alone remaining, who were, however, expecting
me back.    Saturday, though like a blazing summer
t day, was wonderful in its beauty, and after sunset the
afterglow was richer and redder than I have ever
seen it, but the heavy crimson betokened severe heat,
which came on yesterday, and was hardly bearable.
I attended service twice at the Episcopal Church,
where the service was beautKully read and sung;
but in a city in which men preponderate the congregation was mainly composed of women, who fluttered
\ their fans in a truly distracting way. Except for the
churchgoing there were few perceptible signs of Sunday in Denver, which was fuE of rowdies from the
mountain mining camps. You can hardly imagine
the deEght of joining in those grand old prayers after
so long a deprivation. The "Te Deum" sounded
heavenly in its magnificence; but the heat was so
tremendous that it was hard to "warstle" through
the day. They say that they have similar outbreaks
of solar fury aE through the winter.
Golden City, November 13.
Pleasant as Denver was, with the Dewys and
so many kind friends there, it was too muoii of the
I wearing world " either for my health or taste, and 218
I left for my sixteen miles' ride to this place at
four on Monday afternoon with the sun stiE hot.
Passing by a bare, desolate-looking cemetery, I
asked a sad-looking woman who was leaning on
the gate if she could direct me to Golden City.
I repeated the question twice before I got an answer,*
and then, though easEy to be accounted for, it was
wide of the mark. In most doleful tones she said,
" Oh, go to the minister; I might teE you, may be,
but it's too great a responsibility; go to the ministers,
they can teE you!" And she returned to her tears
for some one whose spirit she was doubtless thinking
of as in the Golden City of our hopes. That sixteen
miles seemed like one mile, after sunset, in the
rapturous freshness of the Colorado air, and Birdie,
after her two days' rest and with a Eghtened load,
gaEoped across the prairie as if she enjoyed it. I
did not reach this gorge tiE late, and it was an hour
after dark before I groped my way into this dark,
unEghted mining town, where, however, we were
most fortunate both as to stable and accommodation
for myseK.
Boulder, November 16.
I fear you wiE grow tired of the details of these
journal letters. To a person sitting quietly at home,
Bocky Mountain travelling, like Bocky Mountain
scenery,* must seem very monotonous; but not
so to me, to whom the pure, dry mountain air RPH
is the elixir of Efe. At Golden City I parted
for a time from my faithful pony, as Clear Creek
Canyon, which leads from it to Idaho, is entirely
monopolised by a narrow-gauge raifroad, and is inaccessible for horses or mules. To be without a
I horse in these mountains is to be reduced to complete
helplessness. My great wish was to see Green Lake,
situated near the timber line above Georgetown (said
to be the highest town in the United States), at a
height of 9000 feet. A single day took me from the
heat of summer into the intense cold of winter.
Golden City by dayEght showed its meanness and
beEed its name. It is ungraded, with here and there
a piece of wooden sidewalk, supported on posts, up
to which you ascend by planks. Brick, pine, and
log houses are huddled together, every other house is
a saloon, and hardly a woman is to be seen. My
landlady apologised for the very exquisite Ettle bedroom which she gave me by saying " it was not quite
as she would like it, but she had never had a lady in
her house before." The young " lady" who waited
at breakfast said, " I've been thinking about you, and
I'm certain sure you're an authoress." The day, as
usual, was glorious. Think of November half through
and scarcely even a cloud in the sky, except the
vermilion cloudlets which accompany the sun at his
rising aad setting! They say that winter never " sets
in " there in the Foot Hills, but that there are speEs
of cold, alternating with bright, hot weather, and that
the snow never Ees on the ground so as to interfere
with the feed of cattle. Golden City rang with oaths
and curses, especiaEy at the dep6t. Americans are
given over to the most atrocious swearing, and the
blasphemous use of our Saviour's name is peculiarly
revolting. Golden City stands at the mouth of
Toughcuss, otherwise Clear Creek Canyon, which
many people think the grandest scenery in the
mountains, as it twists and turns marveEously, and
its stupendous sides are nearly perpendicular, while
farther progress is to aE appearance continuaEy
blocked by great masses of rock and piles of snow-
covered mountains. Unfortunately, its sides have
been almost entirely denuded of timber, mining
operations consuming any quantity of it. The
narrow-gauge, steep-grade railway, which runs up the
canyon for the convenience of the rich mining districts of Georgetown, Black Hawk, and Central City,
is a curiosity of engineering. The track has partly
been blasted out of the sides of the canyon, and has
partly been " built" by making a bed of stones in the
creek itseK, and laying the track across them. I have
never seen such churlishness and inciviEty as in the
officials of that railroad and the stage-lines which
connect with it, or met with such preposterous
charges. They have handsome Ettle cars on the
route, but though the passengers paid fuE fare, they LETTER HE
put us into a baggage-car because the season was
over, and in order to see anything I was obEged to
sit on the floor at the door. The singular grandeur
cannot be described. It is a mere gash cut by the
torrent, twisted, waEed, chasmed, weather-stained,
with the most brilEant colouring, generaEy dark with
shadow, but its utter desolation occasionally revealed
by a beam of intense sunshine. A few stunted pines
and cedars, spared because of their inaccessibiEty,
hung here and there out of the rifts. Sometimes the
waEs of the abyss seemed to meet overhead, and then
widening out, the rocks assumed fantastic forms, aE
grandeur, sublimity, and almost terror. After two
hours of this, the track came to an end, and the
canyon widened sufficiently for a road, aE stones,
holes, and sidings. There a great " Concord coach "
waited for us, intended for twenty passengers, and a
mountain of luggage in addition, and the four passengers without any luggage sat on the seat behind
the driver, so that the huge thing bounced and swung
upon the straps on which it was hung so as to recaE
the worst horrors of New Zealand staging. The
driver never spoke without an oath, and though two
ladies were passengers, cursed his splendid horses the
whole time. Formerly, even the most profane men
intermitted their profanity in the presence of women,
but they " have changed aE that." Every one I saw
up there seemed in a bad temper.   I suspect that
if 222
aE their " smart tricks " in mining shares had gone
The road pursued the canyon to Idaho Springs,
a fashionable mountain resort in the summer, but
deserted now, where we took a superb team of six .
horses, with which we attained a height of 10,000
feet, and then a descent of 1000 took us into Georgetown, crowded into as remarkable a gorge as was
ever selected for the site of a town, the canyon
beyond apparently terminating in precipitous and
inaccessible mountains, sprinkled with pines up to
the timber-line, and thinly covered with snow. The
area on which it is possible to build is so circumscribed and steep, and the unpainted gable-ended
houses are so perched here and there, and the water
rushes so impetuously among them, that it reminded
me slightly of a Swiss town. AE the smaEer houses
are shored up with young pines on one side, to prevent them from being blown away by the fierce gusts
which sweep the canyon. It is the only town I have
seen in America to which the epithet picturesque
could be appEed. But truly, seated in that deep
hoEow in the cold and darkness, it is in a terrible
situation, with the alpine heights towering round it.
I arrived at three, but its sun had set, and it lay in
deep shadow. In fact, twiEght seemed coming on,
and as I had been unable to get my circular notes
cashed at Denver, I had no money to stay over the LETTER XII.
next day, and much feared that I should lose Green
Lake, the goal of my journey. We drove through
the narrow, pEed-up, irregular street, crowded with
miners standing in groups, or drinking and gaming
under the verandahs, to a good hotel declivitously
situated, where I at once inquired if I could get to
Green Lake. The landlord said he thought not; the
snow was very deep, and no one had been up for ^ve
weeks, but for my satisfaction he would send to a
stable and inquire. The amusing answer came back,
I If it's the English lady travelling in the mountains,
she can have a horse, but not any one else."
I. L. B.
Iff 224
The Blight of Mining—Green Lake—Golden City—Benighted—
Vertigo—Boulder Canyon—Financial straits—A hard Ride—
The last Cent—A Bachelor's Home—Mountain Jim—A Surprise—A Night Arrival — Making the best of it—Scanty
Boulder, November.
The answer regarding a horse (at the end of my former
letter) was given to the landlord outside the hotel, and
presently he came in and asked my name, and if I were
the lady who had crossed from Link's to South Park by
TarryaE Creek; so news travels fast. In five minutes
the horse was at the door, with a clumsy two-horned
side-saddle, and I started at once for the upper regions.
It was an exciting ride, much spiced with apprehension. The evening shadows had darkened over
Georgetown, and I had 2000 feet to climb, or give up
Green Lake. I shaE forget many things, but never
the awfulness and hugeness of that scenery. I went
up a steep track by Clear Creek, then a succession
of frozen waterfalls in a widened and then narrowed
valley, whose frozen sides looked 5000 feet high.
That is the region of enormous mineral wealth in MP
silver. There are the " Terrible" and other mines,
whose shares you can see quoted daily in the share
lists in the Times, sometimes at cent per cent premium, and then down to 25 discount. These mines,
with their prolonged subterranean workings, their
stamping and crushing mills, and the smelting works
which have been estabKshed near them, fiK the district with noise, hubbub, and smoke by night and
day; but I had turned altogether aside from them
into a stiE region, where each miner in solitude was
grubbing for himself, and confiding to none his finds
or disappointments. Agriculture restores and beautifies, mining destroys and devastates; turning the
earth inside out, making it hideous, and blighting
every green thing, as it usuaEy Mights man's heart
and soul. There was mining everywhere along that
grand road, with aE its destruction and devastation,
its digging, burrowing, gulching, and sluicing; and
up aE along the seemingly inaccessible heights were
holes with their roofs log-supported, in which soEtary
and patient men were selling their Eves for treasure.
Down by the stream, aE among the icicles, men
were sluicing and washing, and everywhere along
the heights were the scars of hardly-passable traEs,
too steep even for pack-jacks, leading to the holes,
and down which the miner packs the ore on his
back. Many a heart has been broken for the few
finds which have been made along those hiE-sides.
*m 226
A lady's life in
All the ledges are covered with charred stumps, a
picture of desolation, where nature had made everything grand and fair. But even~ from aE this I
turned. The last miner I saw gave me expEcit
directions, and I left the track and struck upwards
into the icy soEtudes—sheets of ice at first, then
snow, over a foot deep, pure and powdery, then a
very difficult ascent through a pine forest, where it
was nearly dark, the horse tumbling about in deep
snow-drifts. But the goal was reached, and none
too soon. At a height of nearly 12,000 feet I halted
on a steep decEvity, and below me, completely girdled
by dense forests of pines, with mountains red and
glorified in the sunset rising above them, was Green
Lake, looking like water, but in reality a sheet of
ice two feet thick. From the gloom and chill below
I had come up into the pure air and sunset light,
and the glory of the unprofaned works of God. It
brought to my mind the verse, "The darkness is
past, and the true light now shineth;" and, as K in
commentary upon it, were the hundreds and thousands of men delving in dark holes in the gloom of
the twilight below.
" 0 earth, so fuU of dreary noises !
0 men, with wailing in your voices,
0 delved gold, the wailer's heap,
O strife and curse that o'er it fall,
God strikes a silence through you aU,
He giveth His beloved sleep." LETTER XIII.
It was something to reach that height and see
the far-off glory of the sunset, and by it to be reminded that neither God nor His e^n had yet deserted the world. But the sun was fast going down,
and even as I gazed upon the wonderful vision the
glory vanished, and the peaks became sad and gray.
It was strange to be the only human being at that
glacial altitude, and to descend again thr }ugh a foot
of untrodden snow and over sloping sheets of ice
into the darkness, and to see the hiE-sides like a
firmament of stars, each showing the place where a
soEtary man in his hole was delving for sEver. The
view, as long as I could see it, was quite awful. It
looked as if one could not reach Georgetown without
tumbling down a precipice. Precipices there were
in plenty along the road, skirted with ice to their
verge. It was the only ride which required nerve
that I have taken in Colorado, and it was long after
dark when I returned from my exploit.
I left Georgetown at eight the next morning on
the Idaho stage, in glorious cold. In this dry air it
is quite warm if there are only a few degrees of frost.
The sun does not rise in Georgetown tiE eleven now;
I doubt K it rises there at aE in the winter! After
four hours' fearful bouncing, the baggage-car again
received us, but this time the conductor, remarking
that he supposed I was just traveEing to see the
country, gave me his chair and put it on the plat- 228
a lady's life in
form, so that I had an exceEent view of that truly
sublime canyon. For economy I dined in a restaurant
in Golden City, and at three remounted my trusty
Birdie, intending to arrive here that night. The adventure I met with & almost too siEy to teE. When
I left Golden City it was a brilEant summer afternoon, and not too hot. They could not give any
directions at the stable, and told me to go out on the
Denver track tiE I met some one who could direct
me, which .started me off wrong from the first. After
riding about two mEes I met a man who told me I
was aE wrong, and directed me across the prairie tiE
I met another, who gave me so many directions that
I forgot them, and was irretrievably lost. The afterglow, seen to perfection on the open plain, was wonderful. Just as it grew dark I rode after a teamster
who said I was then four mEes farther from Boulder
than when I left Golden, and directed me to a house
seven miles off. I suppose he thought I should
know, for he told me to cross the prairie tiE I came
to a place, where three tracks are seen, and there to
take the best^traveEed one, steering aE the time by
the north star. His directions did bring me to tracks,
but it was then so dark that I could see nothing,
and soon became so dark that I could not even see
Birdie's ears, and was lost and benighted. I rode on,
hour after hour, in the darkness and soEtude, the
prairie aE round and a firmament of frosty stars LETTER XIII. .
overhead. The prairie woK howled now and then,
and occasionally the lowing of cattle gave me hope
of human proximity. But there was nothing but the
lone wild plain. You can hardly imagine the longing
to see a light, to hear a voice, the intensely eerie
feeling of being alone in that vast soEtude. It was
freezing very sharply and was very cold, and I was
making up my mind to steer all night for the Pole
Star, much fearing that I should be brought up by
one of the affluents of the Platte, or that Birdie
would tire, when I heard the undertoned beEowing
of a bull, which, from the snorting and rooting up
of earth, seemed to be disputing the right of way,
and the pony was afraid to pass.   While she was
, scuffling about, I heard a dog bark and a man swear;
then I saw a light, and in another minute found
myseK at a large house, where I knew the people,
'only eleven miles from Denver! It was nearly midnight, and Eght, warmth, and a good bed were truly
You can form no idea of what the glory on the
plains is just before sunrise. Like the afterglow, for
a great height above the horizon there is a shaded
band of the most intense and glowing orange, while
the mountains which reflect the yet unrisen sun have
the purple Eght of amethysts. I left early, but soon
lost the track and was lost; but knowing that a sublime gash in the mountains was Bear Canyon, quite
lip? 230
near Boulder, I struck across the prairie for it, and
then found the Boulder track. "The best-laid schemes
of men and mice gang aft agee," and my exploits
came to an untimely end to-day. On arriving here,
instead of going into the mountains, I was obEged to
go to bed in consequence of vertigo, headache, and
faintness, produced by the intense heat of the sun.
In aE that weary land there was no " shadow of a
great rock" under which to rest. The graveEy,
baked soE reflected the fiery sun, and it was nearly
maddening to look up at the cool blue of the mountains, with their stretches of pines and their deep
indigo shadows. Boulder is a hideous coEection of
frame houses on the burning plain, but it aspires to
be a " city " in virtue of being a " distributing point"
for the settlements up the Boulder Canyon, and of
the discovery of a coal-seam.
Longmount, November.
I got up very early this morning, and on a
hired horse went nine miles up the Boulder Canyon, which is much extoEed, but I was greatly disappointed with everything except its superb waggon-
road, and much disgusted with the laziness of the
horse. A ride of fifteen miles across the prairie
brought me here early in the afternoon, but of
the budget of letters which I expected there is not
one.    Birdie looks in such capital condition that LETTER XIII.
my host here can hardly beEeve that she has tra-
veEed over 500 mEes. I am feeling " the pinch of
poverty" rather severely. When I have paid my
biE here I shaE have exactly twenty-six cents left.
Evans was quite unable to pay the hundred doEars
which he owes me, and, to save themselves, the
Denver banks, though they remain open, have suspended payment, and would not cash my circular
notes. The financial straits are very serious, and
the unreasoning panic which has set in makes them
worse. The present state of matters is—nobody
has any money, so nothing is worth anything. The
result to me is that, nolens volens, I must go up to
Estes Park, where I can Eve without ready money,
and remain there tiE things change for the better.
It does not seem a very hard fate! Long's Peak
rises in purple gloom, and I long for the cool air
and unfettered Efe of the soEtary blue hoEow at its
Estes Park, November 20.
I Would that three notes of admiration were aE I need
give to- my grand soEtary, uplifted, sublime, remote,
beast-haunted lair, which seems more indescribable
than ever; but you wiE wish to know how I have sped,
and I wish you to know my present singular circumstances. I left Longmount at eight on Saturday morning,
rather heavEy loaded, for in addition to my own luggage I was asked to carry the mail-bag, which was heavy 232
A lady's ufe in
with newspapers. Edwards, with his wffe and family,
were stiE beEeved to be here. A heavy snowstorm
was expected, and aE the sky—that vast dome which
spans the plains—was overcast; but over the mountains it was a deep, stiE, sad blue, into which snowy
peaks rose sunEghted. It was a lonely, mournful-
looking morning, but when I reached the beautKul
canyon of the St. Vrain, the sad blue became bril-
Eant, and the sun warm and scintiBating. Ah, how
beautKul and incomparable the ride up here is, infinitely more beautKul than the much-vaunted parts^
I have seen elsewhere. There is, first, this beautKul
hill-girdled valley of fair savannahs, through which
the bright St. Vrain curves in and out amidst a tangle
of cotton-wood and withered clematis and Virginia
creeper, which two months ago made the vaEey gay
with their scarlet and gold. Then the canyon, with
its fantasticaEy-stained walls; then the long ascent
through sweeping foothills to the gates of rock at a
height of 9000 feet; then the wEdest and most wonderful scenery for twenty mEes, in which you cross
thirteen ranges from 9000 to 11,000 feet high, pass
through countless canyons and gulches, cross thirteen
dark fords, and finaEy descend, through M'Ginn's
Gulch, upon this, the gem of the Bocky Mountains.
It was a weird ride. I got on very slowly. The
road is a hard one for any horse, speciaEy for a
heavily-loaded one, and at the end of several weeks LETTER XIII.
of severe travel. When I had ridden fifteen miles I
stopped at the ranch where people usually get food,
but it was empty, and the next was also deserted.
So I was compeEed to go to the last house, where two
young-men are "baching." There I had to decide
between getting a meal for myself or a feed for the
pony; but the young man, on hearing of my sore
poverty, trusted me "till next time." His house,
for order and neatness, and a sort of sprightliness of
cleanliness—the comfort of cleanliness without its
severity—is a pattern to aE women, while the clear
. eyes and manly seK-respect which the habit of total
abstinence gives in this country are a pattern to aE
men. He cooked me a splendid dinner, with good
tea. After dinner I opened the maE-bag, and was
deEghted to find an accumulation of letters from you;
but I sat much too long there, forgetting that I had
twenty mEes to ride, which could hardly be done in
less than six hours. It was then briEiant. I had
not realised the magnificence of that ride when I took
it before, but the pony was tired, and I could not
hurry her, and the distance seemed interminable, as
after every range I crossed another range. Then
came a region of deep, dark, densely-wooded gulches,
only a few feet wide, and many fords, and from their
cold depths I saw the last sunEght fade from the
brows of precipices 4000 feet high. It was eerie, as
darkness came on, to wind in anil out in the pine-
■*F 234
shadowed gloom, sometimes on ice, sometimes in
snow, at the bottom of these tremendous chasms.
Wolves howled in aE directions. This is said to
denote the approach of a storm. During this twenty-
mile ride I met a hunter with an elk packed on his
horse, and he told me not only that the Edwardses
were at the cabin yesterday, but that they were going
to remain for two weeks longer, no matter how
uncongenial The ride did seem endless after darkness came on. Finally the last huge range was conquered, the last deep chasm passed, and with an
eeriness which craved for human companionship, I
rode up to " Mountain Jim's" den, but no Eght shone
through the chinks, and aE was silent. So I rode
tediously down McGinn's Gulch, which was fuE of
crackings and other strange mountain noises, and was
pitch dark, though the stars were bright overhead.
Soon I heard the welcome sound of a barking dog.
I supposed it to denote strange hunters, but calling
" Bing " at a venture, the noble dog's large paws and
grand head were in a moment on my saddle, and he
greeted me with aE those inarticulate but perfectly
comprehensible noises with which dogs welcome their
human friends. Of the two men on horses who
accompanied him, one was his master, as I knew by
the musical voice and grace of manner, but it was too
dark to see any one, though he struck a light to show
me the valuable furs with which one of the horses LETTER XIII-
was loaded. The desperado was.heartEy glad to see
me, and sending the man and fur-laden horse on to
his cabin, he turned with me to Evans's; and as the
cold was very severe, and Birdie was very tired, we
dismounted and walked the remaining three miles.
AE my visions of a comfortable reception and good
meal after my long ride vanished with his first words.
The Edwardses had left for the winter on the previous
morning, but had not passed through Longmount; the
cabin was dismantled, the stores were low, and two
young men, Mr. Kavan, a miner, and Mr. Buchan,
whom I was sEghtly acquainted with before, were
I baching " there to look after the stock untE Evans,
who was daEy expected, returned. The other settler
and his wKe had left the Park, so there was not a
woman within twenty-five mEes. A fierce wind had
arisen, and the cold was awful, which seemed to make
matters darker* I did not care in the least about
myself, I could rough it, and enjoy doing so, but I
was very sorry for the young men, who, I knew,
would be much embarrassed by the sudden appearance of a lady for an indefinite time. But the difficulty had to be faced, and I walked in and took them
by surprise as they were sitting smoking by the fire
in the Eving-room, which was dismantled, unswept,
and wretched-looking. The young men did not show
any annoyance, but exerted themselves to prepare a
meal, and courteously made Jim share it.   After he
"J     ill I 236
A lady's life in
had gone, I boldly confessed my impecunious circumstances, and told them that I must stay there tiE
things changed, that I hoped not to inconvenience
them in any way, and that by dividing the work
among us they would be free to be out hunting. So
we agreed to make the best of it [Our arrangements,
which we supposed would last only two or three days,
extended over nearly a month. Nothing could exceed
the courtesy and good feeling which these young men
showed. It was a very pleasant time on the whole,
and when we separated they told me that though they
were much " taken aback" at first, they felt at last
that we could get on in the same way for a year, in
which I cordiaEy agreed.] Sundry practical difficulties had to be faced and overcome. There was one
of the common spring mattresses of the country in
the Ettle room which opened from the Eving-room,
but nothing upon it. This was remedied by making
a large bag and filling it with hay? Then there were
neither sheets,. towels, nor table-cloths. This was
irremediable, and I never missed the first or last.
Candles were another loss, and we had only one
paraffin lamp. I slept aE night in spite of a gale
which blew aE Sunday and into Monday afternoon,
threatening to Eft the cabin from the ground, and
actuaEy removing part of the roof from the Ettle
room between the kitchen and Eving-room, in which
we used to dine.   Sunday was brilliant, but nearly a mm
hurricane, and I dared not stir outside the cabin. The
parlour was two inches deep in the mud from the
roof. We nominaEy divide the cooking. Mr. Kavan
makes the best bread I ever ate; they bring in wood
and water, and wash the supper-things, and I " do "
my room and the parlour, wash the breaHast-things,
and a number of etceteras. My room is easily
1 done," but the parlour is a never-ending business.
I have swept shovelfuls of mud out of it three times
to-day. There is nothing to dust it with but a buffalo's tail, and every now and then a gust descends
the open chimney and drives the wood ashes aE over
the room. However, I have found an old shawl
which answers for a table-cloth, and have made our
I parlour" look a Ettle more habitable. Jim came
in yesterday in a sEent mood, and sat looking vacantly
into the fire. The young men said that this mood
was the usual precursor of an " ugly fit."
Food is a great difficulty. Of thirty milch cows
only one is left, and she does not give milk enough
for us to drink. The only meat is some pickled pork,
very salt and hard, which I cannot eat, and the hens
lay less than one egg a day. Yesterday morning I
made some roEs, and made the last bread into a
bread-and-butter pudding, which we aE enjoyed. Today I found part of a leg of beef hanging in the
waggon-shed, and we were elated with the prospect
of fresh meat, but on cutting into it we found it green
■^ 238
and uneatable. Had it not been for some tea which
was bestowed upon me at the inn at Longmount we
should have had none. In this superb air and phy-
sicaEy active IKe I can eat everything but pickled
pork. We breakfast about nine, dine at two, and
have supper at seven, but our menu never varies.
To-day I have been aE alone in the Park, as the men
left to hunt elk after breakfast, after bringing in wood
and water. The sky is brilliant and the light intense,
or else the soEtude would be oppressive. I keep two
horses in the corral so as to be able to explore, but
except Birdie, who is turned out, none of the animals
are worth much now from want of shoes, and tender
A dismal Ride — A Desperado's Tale — "Lost! Lost! Lost!"—
Winter Glories—Solitude—Hard Times—Intense Cold—A
Pack of Wolves—The Beaver Dams—Gh6stly Scenes—Venison
Steaks—Our Evenings.
Estes Park.
I must attempt to put down the trifling events of
each day just as they occur. The second time that
I was left alone Mr. Nugent came in looking very
black, and asked me to ride with him to see the
beaver dams on the Black Canyon. No more whistling or singing, or talking to his beautiful mare, or
sparkEng repartee. His mood was as dark as the
sky overhead, which was black with an impending
snowstorm. He was quite sEent, struck his horse
often, started off on a furious gaEop, and then throwing his mare on her haunches close to me, said,
I You're the first man or woman who's treated me
like a human being for many a year." So he said in
this dark mood, but Mr. and Mrs. Dewy, who took a
very deep interest in his welfare, always treated him
as a rational, intelligent gentleman, and in his better
moments he spoke of them with the warmest appreciation.     "If you want to know," he continued, 240
" how nearly a man can become *a devE, I'E teE you
now." There was no choice, and we rode up the
canyon, and I Estened to one of the darkest tales of
ruin I have ever heard or read. Its early features
were very simple. His father was a British officer
quartered at Montreal, of a good old Irish family.
From his account he was an ungovernable boy, imperfectly educated, and tyrannising over a loving but
weak mother. When seventeen years old he saw a
young girl at church whose appearance he described
as being of angeEc beauty, and feE in love with her
with aE the intensity of an uncontroEed nature. He
saw her three times, but scarcely spoke to her. On
his mother opposing his wish and treating it as a
boyish folly, he took to drink " to spite her," and
almost as soon as he was eighteen, maddened by the
girl's death, he ran away from home, entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, and remained in
it for several years, only leaving it because he found
even that lawless Efe too strict for him. Then, being
as I suppose about twenty-seven, he entered the service of the United States Government, and became
one of the famous Indian Scouts of the Plains, distinguishing himseK by some of the most daring deeds
on record, and some of the bloodiest crimes. Some
of these tales I have heard before, but never so
terribly told. Years must have passed in that service, tiE he Decame a character known through aE THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
the West, and much dreaded for his readiness to take
offence, and his equal readiness with his revolver.
Vain, even in his dark mood, he told me that he was
idoEsed by women, and that in his worst hours he
was always chivalrous to good women. He described
himseK as riding through camps in his scout's dress
with a red scarf round his waist, and sixteen golden
curls, eighteen inches long, hanging over his shoulders.
The handsome, even superbly handsome, side of his
face was towards me as he spoke. As a scout and as
an armed escort of emigrant parties he was evidently
implicated in aE the blood and broil of a lawless
region and period, and went from bad to worse, varying his Efe by drunken sprees, which brought nothing
but violence and loss. The narrative seemed to lack
some link, for I next found him on a homestead in
Missouri, from whence he came to Colorado a few
years ago. There, again, something was dropped out,
but I suspect, and not without reason, that he joined
one or more of those gangs of " border ruffians " which
for so long raided through Kansas, perpetrating such
massacres and outrages as that of the Marais du
Cygne. His fame for violence and .ruffianism preceded him into Colorado, where his knowledge of and
love of the mountains have earned him the sobriquet
he now bears. He has a squatter's claim and forty
head of cattle, and is a successful trapper besides, but
envy and vindictiveness are raging within him. He
Hi 242
gets money, goes to Denver, and spends large sums in
the maddest dissipation, making himself a terror, and
going beyond even such desperadoes as " Texas Jack "
and "WHd BiE;" and when the money is done
returns to his mountain den, fuE of hatred and seK-
scorn, tiE the next time. Of course I cannot give
details. The story took three hours to teE, and was
crowded with terrific illustrations of a desperado's
career, told with a rush of wild eloquence that was
truly thrilling. When the snow, which for some time
had been falling, compeEed him to break off and
guide me to a sheltered place from which I could
make my own way back again, he stopped his horse
and said, " Now you see a man who has made a devil
of himseK! Lost! Lost! Lost! I believe in God.
I've given Him no choice but to put me with ' the
devE and his angels.' I'm afraid to die. You've
stirred the better nature in me too late. I can't
change. If ever a man were a slave, I am. Don't
speak to me of repentance and reformation.    I can't
reform.   Your voice reminded me of  ."    Then
in feverish tones, " How dare you ride with me ?
You won't speak to me again, wiE you ?" He made
me promise to keep one or two things secret whether
he were Eving or dead, and I promised, for I had no
choice; but they come between me and the sunshine
sometimes, and I wake at night to think of them. I
wish I had been spared the regret and excitement of LETTER XIV.
that afternoon. A less ungovernable nature would
never have spoken as he did, nor told me what he
did; but his proud, fierce soul all poured itseK out
then, with hatred and self-loathing, blood on his
hands and murder in his heart, though even then he
could not be altogether other than a gentleman, or
altogether divest himself of fascination, even when so
tempestuously revealing the darkest points of his
character. My soul dissolved in pity for his dark,
lost, seK-ruined IKe, as he left me and turned away
in the blinding storm to the Snowy Bange, where he
said he was going to camp out for a fortnight; a man
of great abilities, real genius, singular gffts, and with
aE the chances in life which other men have had.
How far more terrible than the " Actum est: periisti "
of Cowper is bis exclamation, " Lost! Lost! Lost!"
The storm was very severe, and the landmarks
being blotted out, I lost my way in the snow, and
when I reached the cabin after dark I found it stiE
empty, for the two hunters, on returning, finding that
I had gone out, had gone in search of me. The snow
cleared off late, and intense frost set in. My room
is nearly the open air, being buEt of unchinked logs,
and, as in the open air, one requires to sleep with the
head buried in blankets, or the eyeEds and breath
freeze. The sunshine has been brilliant to-day. I
took a most beautKul ride to Black Canyon to look
for the horses.   Every day some new beauty, or effect 244
A lady's life in
of snow and Eght/ is to be seen. Nothing that I have
seen in Colorado compares with Estes Park; and now
that the weather is magnificent, and the mountain
tops above the pine woods are pure white, there is
nothing of beauty or grandeur for which the heart can
wish that is not here; and it is health-giving, with
pure air, pure water, and absolute dryness. But there
is something very solemn, at times almost overwhelming, in the winter soEtude. I have never
experienced anything like it even when I Eved on
the slopes of Hualalai. When the men are out
hunting I know not where, or at night, when storms
sweep down from Long's Peak, and the air is fuE of
stinging, tempest-driven snow, and there is barely a
probabiEty of any one coming, or of any communication with the world at aE, then the stupendous
mountain ranges which Ke between us and the plains
grow in height tiE they become impassable barriers,
and the bridgeless rivers grow in depth, and I wonder
K aE my Efe is to be spent here in washing and
sweeping and baking. To-day has been one of
manual labour. We did not breakfast tiE 9.30, then
the men went out, and I never sat down tiE two. I
cleaned the Eving-room and the kitchen, swept a path
through the rubbish in the passage-room, washed up,
made and baked a batch of roEs and four pounds of
sweet biscuits, cleaned some tins and pans, washed
some clothes, and gave things generally a " redding LETTER XIV.
up." There is a Ettle thick buttermilk, fuEy six
weeks old, at the bottom of a churn, which I use for
raising the roEs; but Mr. Kavan, who makes " lovely"
bread, puts some flour and water to turn sour near
the stove, and this succeeds admirably. I also made
a most unsatisfactory investigation into the state of
my apparel. I came to Colorado now nearly three
months ago, with a. smaE carpet-bag containing
clothes, none of them new; and these, by legitimate
wear, the depredations of calves, and the necessity of
tearing some of them up for dish-cloths, are reduced
to a single change! I have a solitary pocket-handkerchief and one pair of stockings, such a mass of
darns that hardly a trace of the original wool remains.
Owing to my inability to get money in Denver I am
almost without shoes, have nothing but a pair of
sEppers and some " arctics." For outer garments—
weE, I have a trained black silk dress, with a black
silk polonaise ! and nothing else but my old flannel
riding-suit, which is quite threadbare, and requires
such frequent mending that I am sometimes obliged
to " dress " for supper, and patch and darn it during
the evening. You wiE laugh, but it is singular that
one can face the bitter winds with the mercury at
zero and below it, in exactly the same clothing which
I wore in the tropics ! It is only the extreme dryness of the air which renders it possible to live
in  such   clothing.    We have   arranged  the work
w 246
A lady's life xn
better. Mr. Buchan was doing too much, and it
was hard for him, as he is very deEcate. You wiE
wonder how three people here in the wilderness
can have much to do. There are the horses which
we keep in the corral to^feed on sheaf oats and
take to water twice a day, the fowls and dogs to feed,
the cow to milk, the bread to make, and to keep a
general knowledge of the whereabouts of the stock in
the event of a severe snowstorm coming on. Then
there is aE the wood to cut, as there is no wood pile,
and we burn a great deal, and besides the cooking,
washing, and mending, which each one does, the men
must hunt and fish for their Eving. Then two sick
cows have had to be attended to. We were with one
when it died yesterday. It suffered terribly, and
looked at us with the patheticaEy pleading eyes of a
creature " made subject to vanity." The disposal of
its carcass was a difficulty. The waggon horses were
in Denver, and when we tried to get the others to
puE the dead beast away, they only kicked and
plunged, so we managed to get it outside the shed,
and according to Mr. Kavan's prediction a pack of
wolves came down, and before dayEght nothing was
left but the bones. They were so close to the cabin
that their noise was most disturbing, and on looking
out several times I could see them aE in a heap
wrangling and tumbling over each other. They are
much   larger   than   the prairie wolf, but  equally LETTER XIV.
cowardly, I beEeve. This morning was black with
clouds, and a snowstorm was threatened, and about
700 cattle and a number of horses came in long files
from the vaEeys and canyons where they maraud,
their instinct teaching them to seek the open and the
protection of man. I was alone in the cabin this
afternoon when Mr. Nugent, whom we beEeved to be
on the Snowy Bange, walked in very pale and haggard-looking, and coughing severely. He offered to
show me the trail up one of the grandest of the canyons, and I could not refuse to go. The FaE river
has had its source completely altered by the operations of the beavers. Their engineering skiE is
wonderful. In one place they have made a lake by
damming up the stream; in another their works have
created an island, and they have made several faEs.
Their storehouses, of course, are carefuEy concealed.
By this time they are about fuE for the winter. We
saw quantities of young cotton-wood and aspen-trees,
with stems about as thick as my arm, lying where
these industrious creatures have feEed them ready for
their use. They always work at night and in concert.
Their long, sharp teeth are used for gnawing down
the trees, but their mason-work is done entirely with
their flat, trowel-like tails. In its natural state the
fur Is very durable, and is as fuE of long black
hairs as that of the sable, but as sold, aE these hairs
have been plucked out of it.   The canyon was glori-
*r 248
ous, ah! glorious beyond any other, but it was a dismal and depressing ride. The dead past buried-its
dead. Not an aEusion was made to the conversation
previously. "Jim's" manner was courteous, but
freezing, and when I left him on my return he said
he hardly thought he should be back from the Snowy
Bange before I left. EssentiaEy an actor, was he, I
wonder, posing on the previous day in the attitude
of desperate remorse, to impose on my creduEty or
frighten me; or was it a genuine and unpremeditated
outburst of passionate regret for the Efe which he
had thrown away ? I cannot teE, but I think it was
the last. As I cautiously rode back, the sunset glories
were reddening the mountain-tops, and the Park lay
in violet gloom. It was wonderfully magnificent, but
oh, so solemn, so lonely! I rode a very large, weE-
bred mare, with three shoes loose and one off, and she
feE with me twice and was very clumsy in crossing
the Thompson, which was partly ice and partly a
deep ford, but when we reached comparatively level
grassy ground I had a gaEop of nearly two mEes,
which I enjoyed thoroughly, her great swinging stride
being so easy and exEilarating after Birdie's short
This is a piteous day, quite black, freezing hard,
and with a fierce north-easf wind. The absence
of sunshine here, where it is nearly perpetual, has LETTER XIV.
a very depressing effect, and aE the scenery appears
in its grimness of black and gray. We have lost
three horses, including Birdie, and have nothing to
entice them with, and not an animal to go and drive
them in with. I put my great mare in the corral
myseK, and Mr. Kavan put his in afterwards and
secured the bars, but the wolves were holding a carnival again last night, and we think that the horses
were scared and stampeded, as otherwise they would
not have leaped the fence. The men are losing their
whole day in looking for them. On their return they
said that they had seen Mr. Nugent returning to his
cabin by the other side and the lower ford of the
Thompson, and that he had " an awfully ugly fit on
him," so that they were glad that he did not come
near us. The evening is setting in sublime in its
blackness. Late in the afternoon I caught a horse
which was snuffing at the sheaf oats, and had a
splendid gaEop on the Longmount trail with the two
great hunting dogs. In returning, in the grimness of
the coming storm, I had that view of the Park which
I saw first in the glories of an autumn sunset. LKe
was aE dead; the dragon-flies no longer darted in the
sunshine, the cotton-woods had shed their last amber
leaves, the crimson trailers of the wild vines were bare,
the stream itseK had ceased its tinkle and was numb
in fetters of ice, a few withered flower-stalks only told
of the brief bright glory of the summer.    The Park
i 9 250
never had looked so utterly waEed in; it was fearful
in its loneliness, the ghastEest of white peaks lay
sharply outlined against the black snow-clouds, the
bright river was ice-bound, the pines were all black,
the lawns of the Park were deserted of Eving things,
the world was absolutely shut out. How can you
expect me to write letters from such a place, from a
Efe "in which nothing happens"? It reaEy is
strange that neither Evans nor Edwards come back.
The young men are grumbling, for they were asked
to stay here for five days, and they have been here five
weeks, and they are anxious to be away camping out
for the hunting, on which they depend. There are
two calves dying, and we don't know what to do for
them; and if a very severe snowstorm comes on, we
can't bring in and feed eight hundred head of cattle.
The snow began to faE early this morning, and
as it is unaccompanied by wind we have the novel
spectacle of a smooth white world; stiE it does
not look like anything serious. We have been
graduaEy growing later at night and later in the
morning.' To-day we did not breakfast tiE ten. We
have been becoming so disgusted with the pickled
pork, that we were glad to find it just at an end
yesterday, even though we were left without meat,
for which in this climate the system craves.   You ■
can fancy my surprise, on going into the kitchen, to
find a dish of smoking steaks of venison on the table.
We ate like famished people, and enjoyed our meal
thoroughly. Just before I came the young men had
shot an elk, which they intended to seE in Denver,
and the grand carcass, with great branching antlers,
hung outside the shed. Often while vainly trying
to swaEow some pickled pork I had looked across to
the tantaEsing animal, but it was not to be thought
of. However, this morning, as the young men felt
the pinch of hunger even more than I did, and the
prospects of packing it to Denver became worse, they
decided on cutting into one side, so we shaE luxuriate
in venison while it lasts. We think that Edwards
wiE surely be up to-night, but unless he brings sup-
pEes our case is looking serious. The flour is running
low, there is only coffee for one week, and I have only
a scanty three ounces of tea left. The baking-powder
is nearly at an end. We have agreed to economise
by breakfasting very late, and having two meals a day
instead of three. The young men went out hunting
as usual, and I went out and found Birdie, and on her,
brought in four other horses, but the snow baEed so
badly that I went out and walked across the river on
a very passable ice bridge, and got some new views
of the unique grandeur of this place. Our evenings
are social and pleasant. We finish supper about
eight, and make up a huge fire.   The men smoke
*r 252
A lady's life in
while I write to you. Then we draw near the fire,
and I take my endless mending, and we talk or read
aloud. Both are very intelligent, and Mr. Buchan
has very extended information and a good deal of
insight into character. Of course our circumstances,
the Ekelihood of release, the prospects of snow blocking us in and of our supplies holding out, the sick
calves, "Jim's" mood, the possible intentions of a
man whose footprints we have found and traced for
three mEes, are aE topics that often recur, and few of
which can be worn threadbare.
1.   JL.   JD. LETTER XV.
A Whisky Slave—The Pleasures of Monotony—The Mountain Lion
—" Another Mouth to feed"—A tiresome Boy—An Outcast
—Thanksgiving Day—The Newcomer—A Literary Humbug—
Milking a dry Cow—Trout-fishing—A Snow-storm—A Desperado's din.
Estes Park, Sunday.
A trapper passing last night brought us the news
that Mr. Nugent is iE; so, after washing up the
things after our late breakfast, I rode to his cabin,
but I met him in the gulch coming down to see us.
He said he had caught cold on the Bange, and was
suffering from an old arrow wound in the lung. We
had a long conversation without adverting to the
former one, and he told me some of the present circumstances of his ruined Efe. It is piteous that a
man like him, in the prime of Efe, should be destitute
of home and love, and Eve a Efe of darkness in a den
with no companions but guilty memories, and a dog
which many people think is the nobler animal of the
two. I urged him to give up the whisky which at
present is his ruin, and his answer had the ring of a
sad truth in it: "I cannot, it binds me hand and foot
—I cannot give up the only pleasure I have."    His
mm 254
ideas of right are the queerest possible. He says
that he believes in God, but what he knows or be-
Eeves of God's law I know not. To resent insult
with your revolver, to revenge yourseK on those who
have injured you, to be true to a comrade and share
your last crust with him, to be chivalrous to good
women, to be generous and hospitable, and at the last
to die game—these are the articles of his creed, and
I suppose they are received by men of his stamp. He
hates Evans with a bitter hatred, and Evans returns
it, having undergone much provocation from Jim in
his moods of lawlessness and violence, and being not
a little envious of the fascination which his manners
and conversation have for the strangers who come up
On returning down the gulch the view was grander
than I have ever seen it, the gulch in dark shadow,
the Park below lying in intense sunEght, with aE the
majestic canyons which sweep down upon it in depths
of infinite blue gloom, and above, the pearly peaks,
dazzling in purity and glorious in form, cleft the turquoise blue of the sky. How shaE I ever leave this
"land which is very far off"? How can I ever leave
it ? is the real question. We are going on the principle, " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,"
and the stores are melting away. The two meals are
not an economical plan, for we are so much more
hungry that we eat more than when we had three. LETTER XV.
We had a good deal of sacred music to-day, to make
it as like Sunday as possible. The "faint melancholy " of this winter loneEness is very fascinating.
How glorious the amber fires of the winter dawns are,
and how gloriously to-night the crimson clouds descended just to the mountain-tops and were reflected
on the pure surface of the snow! The door of this
room looks due north, and as I write the Pole Star
blazes, and a cold crescent moon hangs over the ghast-
liness of Long's Peak.
Estes Park, Colorado, November.
We have lost count of time, and can only agree on
the fact that the date is somewhere near the end of November. Our Efe has settled down into serenity, and
our singular and enforced partnership is very pleasant.
We might be three men Eving together, but for the
unvarying courtesy and consideration which they show
to me. . Our work goes on like clockwork; the only
difficulty which ever arises is that the men do not
like me to do anything that they think hard or unsuitable, such as saddling a horse or bringing in water.
The days go very fast; it was 3.30 to-day before I
knew that it was 1. It is a calm life without worries.
The men are so easy to Eve with; they never fuss,
or grumble, or sigh, or make a trouble of anything.
It would amuse you to come into our wretched little
kitchen before our disgracefully late breakfast, and 256
find Mr. Kavan busy at the stove frying venison,
myself washing the supper-dishes, and Mr. Buchan
drying them, or both the men busy at the stove while
I sweep the floor. Our food is a great object of interest to us, and we are ravenously hungry now that
we have only two meals a day. About sundown each
goes forth to his " chores "—Mr. K. to chop wood, Mr.
B. to haul water, I to wash the milk-pans and water
the horses. On Saturday the men shot a deer, and
on going for it to-day they found nothing but the
hind legs, and foEowing a track which they expected
would lead them to a beast's hole, they came quite
carelessly upon a large mountain Eon, which, however, took itseK out of their reach before they were
sufficiently recovered from their surprise to fire at it.
These Eons, which are reaEy a species of puma, are
bloodthirsty as weE as cowardly. Lately one got
into a sheepfold in the canyon of the St. Vrain, and
killed tliirty sheep, sucking the blood from their
November ?
This has been a day of minor events, as weE as
a busy one. I was so busy that I never sat down
from 10.30 tiE 1.30. I had washed my one change
of raiment, and though I never iron my clothes,
I like to bleach them tiE they are as white as snow,
and they were whitening on the line when some
furious gusts came down from Long's Peak, against 1
which I could not stand, and when I did get out aE
my clothes were blown into strips from an inch to
four inches in width, EteraEy destroyed! One learns
how very Ettle is necessary either for comfort or
happiness. I made a four-pound spiced ginger cake,
baked some bread, mended my riding dress, cleaned
up generaEy, wrote some letters with the hope that
some day they might be posted, and took a magnificent walk, reaching the cabin again in the melancholy
glory which now immediately precedes the darkness.
We were aE busy getting our supper ready when the
dogs began to bark furiously, and we heard the noise
of horses. "Evans at last!" we exclaimed, but we
were wrong. Mr. Kavan went out, and returned
saying that it was a young man who had come up
with Evans's waggon and team, and that the waggon
had gone over into a gulch seven miles from here.
Mr. Kavan looked very grave. " It's another mouth
to feed," he said. They asked no questions, and
brought the lad in, a slangy, assured feEow of twenty,
who, having faEen into deKcate health at a theological coEege, had been sent up here by Evans to work
for his board. The men were too courteous to ask
him what he was doing up here, but I boldly asked
him where he Eved, and to our dismay he repEed,
" I've come to Eve here." So we had to settle what
to do with him. We discussed the food question
gravely, as it presented a real difficulty.   We put
ii A LADY S LIFE IN letter xv.
him into a bed-closet opening from the kitchen, and
decided to see what he was fit for before giving him
work. We were very much amazed, in truth, at his
coming here. He is evidently a shaEow, arrogant
We have decided that to-day is November 26th;
to-morrow is Thanksgiving Day, and we are planning
a feast, though Mr. K. said to me again this morning,
with a doleful face, "You see there's another mouth
to feed." This " mouth" has come up to try the .
panacea of manual labour, but he is town-bred, and
I see that he wiE do nothing. He is writing poetry,
and whKe I was busy to-day began to read it aloud
to me, asking for my criticism. He is just at the
age when everything Eterary has a fascination, and
every Eterary person is a hero, speciaEy Dr. Holland
Last night was fearful from the Kfting of the cabin
and the breaking of the mud from the roof. We sat
with fine gravel driving in our faces, and this morning I carried four shoveKuls of mud out of my room.
After breakfast, Mr. Kavan, Mr. Lyman, and I, with
the two waggon-horses, rode the seven miles to the
scene of yesterday's disaster in a perfect gale of
wind. I felt like a servant going out for a day's
" pleasuring," hurrying " through my dishes," and
leaving my room in disorder. The waggon lay haK-
way down the side of a ravine, kept from destruction
by having caught on some trees.   It was too cold to I
hang about while the men hauled it up and fixed it,
so I went slowly back, encountering Mr. Nugent in a
most bitter mood—almost in an " ugly fit"—hating
everybody, and contrasting his own generosity and
reckless kindness with the selfishness and carefulry-
weighed kindnesses of others. People do give him
credit for having "as kind a heart as ever beat."
Lately a child in the other cabin was taken ill, and
though there were idle men and horses at hand, it
was only the " desperado" who rode sixty miles in
I the shortest time ever made" to bring the doctor.
WhEe we were talking he was sitting on a stone outside his den mending a saddle, skins, bones, and
skulls lying about him, " Bing " watching him with
jealous and idolatrous affection, the wind Efting his
thin curls from as grand a head as was ever modeEed
—a ruin of a man. Yet the sun which shines " on
the evE and the good " was lighting up the gold of his
hair. May our Father which is in heaven yet show
mercy to His outcast child!
Mr. Kavan soon overtook me, and we had an
exciting race of two miles, getting home just before
the wind feE and the snow began.
Thanksgiving Day. The thing dreaded has come
at last, a snowstorm, with a north-east wind. It
ceased about midnight, but not till it had covered my
bed. Then the mercury feE below zero, and everything froze.    I melted a tin of water for washing by 260
the fire, but it was hard frozen before I could use it.
JMy hair, which was thoroughly wet with the thawed
snow of yesterday, is hard frozen in plaits. The
milk and treacle are like rock, the eggs have to be
kept on the coolest part of the stove to keep them
fluid. Two calves in the shed were frozen to death.
HaK our floor is deep in snow, and it is so cold that
we cannot open the door to shovel it out. The snow
began again at eight this morning, very fine and hard.
It blows in through the chinks and dusts this letter
while I write. Mr. Kavan keeps my ink-bottle close
to the fire, and hands it to me every time that I need
to dip my pen. We have a huge fire, but cannot
raise the temperature above 20°. Ever since I
returned the lake has been hard enough to bear a
waggon, but to-day it is difficult to keep the water-
hole open by the constant use of the axe. The snow
may either melt or block us in. Our only anxiety
is about the suppEes. We have tea and coffee enough
to last over to-morrow, the sugar is just done, and the
flour is getting low. It is reaEy serious that we have
" another mouth to feed," and the new-comer is a
ravenous creature, eating more than the three of us.
It dismays me to see his hungry eyes gauging the
supply at breakfast, and to see the loaf disappear.
He told me this morning that he could eat the whole
of what was on the table. He is mad after food, and
I see that Mr. K. is starving himseK to make it hold LETTER XV.
out. Mr. Buchan is very far from weE, and dreads
the prospect of "haK rations." AE this sounds
laughable, but we shaE not laugh K we have to look
hunger in the face! Now in the evening the snow-
clouds, which have blotted out aE things, are Efting,
and the winter scene is wonderful. The mercury is
5° below zero, and the aurora is glorious. In my
unehinked room the mercury is 1° below zero. Mr.
Buchan can hardly get his breath; the dryness is
intense. We spent the afternoon cooking the Thanksgiving dinner. I made7 a wonderful pudding, for
which I had saved eggs and cream for days, and dried
and stoned cherries suppEed the place of currants.
I made a bowl of custard for sauce, which the men
said was " splendid ;" also a rolled pudding, with
molasses; and we had venison steaks and potatoes,
but for tea we were obliged to use the tea-leaves of
the morning again. I should think that few people
in America have enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinner
more. We had urged Mr. Nugent to join us, but he
refused, almost savagely, which we regretted. My
four-pound cake made yesterday is aE gone! This
wretched boy confesses that he was so hungry in the
night that he got up and ate nearly half of it. He is
trying to cajole me into making another.
November 29.
Before the boy came I had mistaken some faded 262
cayenne pepper for ginger, and had made a cake
with it. Last evening I put haK of it into the
cupboard and left the door open. During the night
we heard a commotion in the kitchen and much
choking, coughing, and groaning, and at breakfast the boy was unable to swaEow food with his
usual ravenousness. After breakfast he came to me
whimpering, and asking for something soothing for
his throat, admitting that he had seen tEe " gingerbread," and " felt so starved" in the night that he
got up to eat it. I tried to make him feel that it was
" real mean " to eat so much and be so useless, and he
said he would do anything to help me, but the men
were so " down on him." I never saw men so patient
with a lad before. He is a most vexing addition to
our party,- yet one cannot help laughing at him. He
is not honourable, though. I dare not leave this
letter lying on the table, as he would read it. He
writes for two Western periodicals (at least he says
so), and he shows us long pieces of his published
poetry. In one there are twenty lines copied (as Mr.
Kavan has shown me) without alteration from Paradise Lost; in another there are two stanzas from
Resignation, with only the alteration of " stray " for
"dead;" and he has passed the whole of Bonar's
Meeting-place off as his own. Again, he lent me an
essay by himseK, caEed The Function of the Novelist,
which is nothing but a mosaic of unacknowledged letter xv. THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
quotations. The men teE me that he has " bragged"
to them that on his way here he took shelter in Mr.
Nugent's cabin, found out where he hides his key,
opened his box, and read his letters and MSS. He
is a perfect plague with his ignorance and seK-
sufficiency. The first day after he came whKe I was
washing up the breakfast-things he told me that he
intended to do aE the dirty work, so I left the knives
and forks in the tub and asked him to wipe and lay
them aside. Two hours afterwards I found them untouched. Again the men went out hunting, and he
said he would chop the wood for several days' use,
and after a few strokes, which were only successful
in chipping off some shavings, he came in and
strummed on the harmonium, leaving me without any
wood with which to make the fire for supper. He
talked about his skiE with the lasso, but could not
even catch one of our quietest horses. Worse than
aE, he does not know one cow from another. Two
days ago he lost our mEch cow in driving her in to
be milked, and Mr. Kavan lost hours of valuable time
in hunting for her without success. To-day he told
us triumphantly that he had found her, and he was
sent out to milk her. After two hours he returned
with a rueful face and a few drops of whitish fluid in
the milk-pail, saying that that was aE he could get.
. On Mr. K. going out, he found, instead of our " caEco "
cow, a brindled one that had been dry since the 264
spring! Our cow has gone off to the wild cattle, and
we are looking very grim at Lyman, who says that
he expected he should Eve on milk. I told him to
fiE up the four-gaEon kettle, and an hour afterwards
found it red-hot on the stove. Nothing can be kept
from him unless it is hidden in my room. He has
eaten two pounds of dried cherries from the sheK,
haK of my second four-pound spiced loaf before it
was cold, Ecked up my custard sauce in the night,
and privately devoured the pudding which was to be*
for supper. He confesses to it aE, and says, " I suppose you think me a cure." Mr. K. says that the
first thing he said to him this morning was, " WiE
Miss B. make us a nice pudding to-day ?" This is
aE harmless, but the plagiarism and want of honour
are disgusting, and quite out of keeping with his
profession of being a theological student.
This Efe is in some respects like being on board
ship—there are no mails, and one knows nothing
beyond one's Ettle world, a Very little one in this
case. We find each other true, and have learnt to
esteem and trust each other. I should, for instance, go
out of this room leaving this book open on the table,
knowing that the men would not read my letter.
They are discreet, reticent, observant, and on many
subjects weE-informed, but they are of a type which
has no antitype at home. AE women work in this
region, so there is no fuss about my working, or say- THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
ing, " Oh, you mustn't do that," or " Oh, let me do
November 30.
We sat up tiE eleven last night, so confident
were we that Edwards would leave Denver the
day after Thanksgiving and get up here. This
morning we came to the resolution that we must
break up. Tea, coffee, and sugar are done, the venison is turning sour, and the men have only one month
left for the hunting on which their winter Eving
depends. I cannot leave the Territory tiE I get
money, but I can go to Longmount for the mail and
hear whether the panic is abating. Yesterday I was
alone aE day, and after riding to the base of Long's
Peak, made two roly-poly puddings for supper, having
nothing else. The men, however, came back perfectly loaded with trout, and we had a feast. Epicures
at home would have envied us. Mr. Kavan kept the
frying-pan with boiling butter on the stove, butter
enough thoroughly to cover the trout, roEed them in
coarse corn-meal, plunged them into the butter,
turned them once, and took them out, thoroughly
done, fizzing, and lemon-coloured. For once young
Lyman was satisfied, for the- dish was replenished as
often as it was emptied. They caught 40 lbs., and
have packed them in ice until they can be sent to
Denver for sale.. The winter fishing is very rich.
In the hardest frost, men who fish not for sport, but 266
gain, take their axes and camping blankets, and go
up to the hard-frozen waters which Ee in fifty places
round the Park, and choosing a likely spot, a Ettle
sheltered from the wind, hack a hole in the ice, and
fastening a foot-Enk to a cotton-wood-tree, bait the
hook with maggots or bits of easEy-gotten fresh meat.
Often the trout are caught as fast as the hook can be
baited, and looking through the ice-hole in the track
of a sunbeam, you see a mass of tails, sEver fins,
bright eyes, and crimson spots, a perfect shoal of fish,
and truly beautiful the crimson-spotted creatures
look, lying stiE and dead on the blue ice under the
sunshine. Sometimes two men bring home 60 lbs.
of trout as the result of one day's winter fishing. It
• is a cold and silent sport, however. How a cook at
home would despise our scanty appliances, with which
we turn out luxuries. We have only a cooking-
stove, which requires incessant feeding with wood, a
kettle, a frying-pan, a six-gaEon brass pan, and a
bottle for a rolling-pin. The cold has been very
severe, but I do not suffer from it even in my
insufficient clothing. I take a piece of granite made
very hot to bed, draw the blankets over my head,
and sleep eight hours, though the snow often covers
me. One day of snow, mist, and darkness was rather
depressing, and yesterday a hurricane began about
five in the morning, and the whole Park was one
swirl of drifting  snow, like stinging wood snioke. .LETTER XV.
My bed and room were white, and the frost was so
intense that water brought in a kettle hot from the
fire froze as I poured it into the basin. Then the
snow ceased, and a fierce wind blew most of it out of -
the Park, lEting it from the mountains in such clouds
as to make Long's Peak look like a smoking volcano.
To-day the sky has resumed its deEcious blue, and
the Park its unrivaEed beauty. I have cleaned all
the windows, which, ever since I have been here, I
supposed were of discoloured glass, so opaque and
dirty they were; and when the men came home from
fishing they found a cheerful new world. We had a
great deal of sacred music and singing on Sunday.
Mr. Buchan asked me K I knew a tune caEed
I America," and began the grand roE of our National
Anthem to the words:
" My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty," etc.
December 1.
I was to* nave started for Canyon to-day, but
was awoke by snow as stinging as pinpoints beating on my hand. We aE got up early, but it
did not improve until nearly noon. In the afternoon Lyman and I rode to Mr. Nugent's cabin.
I wanted him to read and correct my letter to yoUj
giving the account of our ascent of Long's Peak, but
he said he could not, and insisted on our going in,
ill 268
for which young Lyman was more anxious than I
was, as Mr. Kavan had seen " Jim " in the morning,
and departed from his usual reticence so far as to say,
" There's something wrong with that manj he'E either
shoot himseK or somebody else." However, the
"ugly fit" had passed off, and he was so very
pleasant and courteous that we remained the whole
afternoon. Lyman's one thought was that he could
make capital out of the interview, and write an
account of the celebrated desperado for a Western
paper. The interior of the den was frightful, yet
among his black and hideous surroundings the grace
of his manner and the genius of his conversation
were only more apparent. I read my letter aloud
—or rather " The Ascent of Long's Peak," which I
have written for Out West—and was sincerely interested with the taste and acumen of his criticisms
on the style. He is a true child of nature; his eye
brightened and his whole face became radiant, and
at last tears roEed down his cheek when I read the
account of the glory of the sunrise. Then he read us
a very able paper on Spiritualism which he was
writing. The den was dense with smoke, and very
dark, Ettered with hay, old blankets, skins, bones,
tins, logs, powder-flasks, magazines, old books, old
moccasins, horseshoes, and reEcs of aE kinds. He
had no better seat to offer me than a log, but offered
it with a graceful unconsciousness that it was any- THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
thing less luxurious than an easy-chair. Two valuable rifles and a Sharp's revolver hung on the waE,
and the sash and badge of a scout. I could not help
looking at "Jim" as he stood talking to me. He
goes mad with drink at times, swears fearfuEy, has
an ungovernable temper. He has formerly led a
desperate Efe, and is at times even now undoubtedly
a ruffian. There is hardly a fireside in Colorado
where fearful stories of him as an Indian fighter are
not told; mothers frighten their naughty chEdren by
telling them that " Mountain Jim" wiE get them,
and doubtless his faults are glaring, but he is undoubtedly fascinating, and enjoys a popularity or
notoriety which no other person has. He offered to
be my guide to the plains when I go away. Lyman
asked me KI should not be afraid of being murdered,
but one could not be safer than with him I have often
been told.
The cold was truly awful. I had caught a chiE
in the morning from putting on my clothes before
they were dry, and the warmth of the smoky den
was most agreeable; but we had a fearful ride back
in the dusk, a gale nearly blowing us off our horses,
drifting snow nearly blinding us, and the mercury
below zero. I felt as K I were going to be laid up
with a severe cold, but the men suggested a trapper's
remedy—a tumbler of hot water, with a pinch of
cayenne pepper in it—which proved a very rapid
cure. They kindly say that K the snow detains me
here they also wiE remain. They teE me that they
were horrified when I arrived, as they thought that
they could not make me comfortable, and that I had
never been used to do anything for myseK, and then
we compEmented each other aE round. To-morrow,
weather permitting, I set off for a ride of 100 mEes,
and my next letter wiE be my last from the Bocky
Mountains. T T
1.   -L.   JD. LETTER XVI.
A Harmonious Home—Intense Cold—A Purple Sun—A Grim Jest
—A Perilous Ride—Frozen Eyelids—Long Mount—The Pathless Prairie—Hardships of Emigrant Life—A Trapper's Advice
The Little Thompson—Evans and Jim.
Dr. Hughes's, Lower Canyon, Colorado, Dec. 4.
Once again here, in refined and cultured society, with
harmonious voices about me, and dear sweet, loving
children whose winning ways make this cabin a true
EngEsh home. " England, with aE thy faults, I love
thee stiE!"   I can truly say,
" Where'er I roam, whatever realms I see.
My heart, untraveUed, fondly turns to thee."
If it swerved a little in the Sandwich Islands, it is
true to the Pole now! Surely one advantage of
travelling is that, while it removes much prejudice
against foreigners and their customs, it intensifies
tenfold one's appreciation of the good at home, and,
above aE, of the quietness and purity of English
xlomestic IKe. These reflections are forced upon me
by the sweet chEd-voices about me, and by the
exquisite consideration and tenderness which are the 272
atmosphere (some would caE it the hothouse atmosphere) of this house. But with the bare, hard Efe,
and the bare, bleak mountains around, who could
find fault with even a hothouse atmosphere, K it can
nourish such a flower of Paradise as sacred human
love ?
The mercury is eleven degrees below zero, and I
have to keep my ink on the stove to prevent it from
freezing. The cold is intense — a clear, brilliant,
stimulating cold, so dry that even in my threadbare
flannel riding-dress I do not suffer from it. I must
now take up my narrative of the nothings which
have aE the interest of somethings to me. We aE got
up before daybreak on Tuesday, and breakfasted at
seven. I have not seen the dawn for some time,
with its amber fires deepening into red, and the snow
peaks flushing one by one, and it seemed a new
miracle. It was a west wind, and we aE thought it
promised weE I took only two pounds of luggage,
some raisins, the mail bag, and an additional blanket
under my saddle. I had not been up from the Park
at sunrise before, and it was quite glorious, the
purple depths of M'Ginn's Gulch, from which at a
height of 9000 feet you look down on the sunlit
Park 1500 feet below, lying in a red haze, with its
pearly needle-shaped peaks, framed by mountainsides dark with pines—my glorious, soEtary, unique
mountain home!   The purple sun rose in front.   Had LETTER XVL
I known what made it purple I should certainly
have gone no farther. Then clouds, the morning mist
as I supposed, Efted themselves up rose-Kghted,
showing the sun's disc as purple as one of the jars
in a chemist's window, and having permitted this
glimpse of their king, came down again as a dense
mist, the wind chopped round, and the mist began
to freeze hard. Soon Birdie and myseK were a mass
of acicular crystals; it was a true easterly fog. I
gaEoped on, hoping to get through it, unable to see
a yard before me; but it thickened, and I was
obEged to subside into a jog-trot. As I rode on,
about four mEes from the cabin, a human figure,
looking gigantic like the spectre of the Brocken,
with long haE white as snow, appeared close to me,
and at the same moment there was the flash of a
pistol close to my ear, and I recognised " Mountain
Jim" frozen from head to foot, looking a century old
with his snowy hair. It was "ugly" altogether
certainly, a " desperado's " grim jest, and it was best
to accept it as such, though I had just cause for
displeasure. He stormed and scolded, dragged me
off the pony—for my hands and feet were numb
with cold—took the bridle, and went off at a rapid
stride, so that I had to run to keep them in sight in
the darkness, for we were off the road in a thicket of
scrub, looking like white branch-coral, I knew not
where. Then we came suddenly on his cabin, and
T 274
dear old " Bing," white like aE else; and the " ruffian "
insisted on my going in, and he made a good fire,
and heated some coffee, raging aE the time. He
said everything against my going forward, except,
that it was dangerous; aE he said came true, and
here I am safe! Your letters, however, outweighed
everything but danger, and I decided on going on,
when he said, " I've seen many fooEsh people, but
never one so foolish as you—you haven't a grain of
sense. Why, I, an old mountaineer, wouldn't go
down to the plains to-day." I told him he could
not, though he would like it very much, for that he
had turned his horses loose; on which he laughed
heartily, and more heartEy stiE at the stories I told
him of young Lyman, so that I have stiE a doubt
how much of the dark moods I have lately seen was
He took me back to the track; and the interview
which began with a pistol-shot, ended quite pleasantly.
It was an eerie ride, one not to be forgotten, though
there was no danger. I could not recognise any
localities. Every tree was sEvered, and the fir-tree
tufts of needles looked like white chrysanthemums.
The snow lay a foot deep in the gulches, with its
hard, smooth surface marked by the feet of innumerable birds and beasts. Ice bridges had formed
across aE the streams, and I crossed them without
knowing when.   Gulches looked fathomless abysses, LETTER XVI.
with clouds boiling up out of them, and shaggy
mountain summits, haK seen for a moment through
the eddies, as quickly vanished. Everything looked
vast and indefinite. Then a huge creation, like one
of Dora's phantom illustrations, with much breathing
of wings, came sailing towards me in a temporary
opening in the mist. As with a strange rustle it
passed close over my head, I saw, for the first time,
the great mountain eagle, cairying a good-sized beast
in his talons. It was a noble vision. Then there
were ten miles of metamorphosed gulches—silent,
awful—many ice bridges, then a frozen drizzle, and
then the wind changed from east to north-east.
Birdie was covered with exquisite crystals, and her
long mane and the long beard which covers her
throat were pure white. I saw that I must give up
crossing the mountains to this place by an unknown
traE; and I struck the old traE to the St. Vrain,
which I had never traveEed before, but which I
knew to be more legible than the new one. The fog
grew darker and thicker, the day colder and windier,
the drifts deeper; but Birdie, whose four cunning feet
had carried me 600 mEes, and who in aE difficulties
proves her value, never flinched or made a false step,
or gave me reason to be sorry that I had come on.
I got down to the St. Vrain Canyon in good time,
and stopped at a house thirteen mEes from Long-
mount to get oats.   I was white from head to foot, 276
A lady's life in
and my clothes were frozen stiff. The women gave
me the usual invitation," Put your feet in the oven;"
and I got my clothes thawed and dried, and a
delicious meal consisting of a basin of cream and
bread. They said it would be worse on the plains,
for it was an easterly storm; but as I was so used to
riding, I could get on, so we started at 2.30. Not
far off I met Edwards going up at last to Estes Park,
and soon after the snowstorm began in earnest—or
rather I entered the storm, which had been going on
there for several hours. By that time I had reached
the prairie, only eight mEes from Longmount, and
pushed on. It was simply fearful. It was twEight
from the thick snow, and I faced a furious east wind
loaded with fine, hard-frozen crystals, which EteraEy
made my face bleed. I could only see a very short
distance anywhere; the drifts were often two feet
deep, and only now and then, through the blinding
whirl, I caught a glimpse of snow through which
withered sunflowers did not protrude, and then I
knew that I was on the track. But reaching a wEd
place, I lost it, and stiE cantered on, trusting to the
pony's sagacity. It failed for once, for she took me
on a lake and we feE through the ice into the water,
.100 yards from land, and had a hard fight back again.
It grew worse and worse. I had wrapped up my
face, but the sharp, hard snow beat on my eyes—the
only exposed part—bringing tears into them, which LETTER XVI.
froze and closed up my eyeEds at once. You cannot
imagine what that was. I had to take off one glove
to pick one eye open, for as to the other, the storm
beat so savagely against it that I left it frozen, and
drew over it the double piece of flannel which protected my face. I could hardly keep the other open
by picking the ice from it constantly with my numb
fingers, in doing which I got the back of my hand
sEghtly frostbitten. It was truly awful at the time.
I often thought, " Suppose I am going south instead
of east? Suppose Birdie should faE? Suppose it
should grow quite dark ?" I was mountaineer enough
to shake these fears off and keep up my spirits, but
I knew how many had perished on the prairie in
similar storms. I calculated that K I did not reach
Longmount in half an hour it would be quite dark,
and that I should be so frozen or paralysed with cold
that I should faE off. Not a quarter of an hour after
I had wondered how long I could hold on I saw, to
my surprise, close to me, haK smothered in snow, the
scattered houses and blessed Eghts of Longmount,
and welcome, indeed, its wide, dreary, IKeless, soundless road looked! When I reached the hotel I was
so benumbed that I could not get off, and the worthy
host Efted me off and carried me in. Not expecting
any traveEers, they had no fire except in the barroom, so they took me to the stove in their own
room, gave me a hot drink and plenty of blankets, 278
and in half an hour I was aE right and ready for a
ferocious meal. " If there's a traveEer on the prairie
to-night, God help him!" the host had said to his
wKe just before I came in.
I found Evans there, storm-stayed, and that—to
his great credit at the time—my money matters were
aE right. After the sound and refreshing sleep which
one gets in this splendid climate, I was ready for an
early start, but, warned by yesterday's experience,
waited tiE twelve to be sure of the weather. The
air was intensely clear, and the mercury seventeen
degrees below zero ! The snow sparkled and snapped
under one's feet. It was gloriously beautiful! In
this climate, K you only go out for a short time you
do not feel cold even without a hat, or any additional
wrappings. I bought a cardigan for myseK, however, and some thick socks, got some stout snow-
shoes for Birdie's hind feet, had a pleasant talk with
some English friends, did some commissions for the
men in the Park, and hung about waiting for a
freight train to break the track, but eventuaEy, inspirited by the good news from you, left Longmount
alone, and for the last time. I Ettle thought that
miserable, broiling day on which I arrived at it with
Dr. and Mrs. Hughes, of the glories of which it was
the gate, and of the "good time" I should have. Now
I am at home in it; every one in it and along the
St. Vrain Canyon addresses me in a friendly way by LETTER XVI.
name; and the newspapers, with their intolerable
personaEty, have made me and my riding exploits so
notorious, that traveEers speak courteously to me
when they meet me on the prairie, doubtless wishing
to see what sort of monster I am! I have met
nothing but civiEty, both of manner and speech,
except that distraught pistol-shot. It looked icily
beautKul, the snow so pure and the sky such a bright,
sharp blue! The snow was so deep and level that
after a few mEes I left the track, and, steering for
Storm Peak, rode sixteen miles over the pathless
prairie without seeing man, bird, or beast—a solitude
awful even in the bright sunshine. The cold, always
great, became piteous. I increased the frostbite of
yesterday by exposing my hand in mending the
stirrup; and when the sun sank in indescribable
beauty behind the mountains, and colour rioted in
the sky, I got off and walked the last four mEes, and
stole in here in the coloured twiEght without any one
seeing me.
The Efe of which I wrote before is scarcely less
severe, though lightened by a hope of change, and
this weather brings out some special severities. The
stove has to be in the Eving-room, the children
cannot go out, and, good and deEghtful as they are,
it is hard for them to be shut up aE day with four
adults. It is more of a trouble than you would think
for a lady in precarious health that before each meal, 280
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.
It is uninteresting down here in the foothiEs. I
long for the rushing winds, the pEed-up peaks, the
great pines, the wEd night noises, the poetry and the
prose of the free, joEy life of my unrivaEed eyrie. I
can hardly realise that the river which Ees ice-bound
outside this house is the same which flashes through
Estes Park, and which I saw snow-born on Long's
Estes Park, December 7.
Yesterday morning the mercury had disappeared,
so it was 20° below zero at least. I lay awake
from cold aE night, but such is the wonderful
effect of the climate, that when I got up at haK-
past five to waken the household for my early
start, I felt quite refreshed. We breakfasted on
buffalo beef, and I left at eight to ride forty-five
miles before night, Dr. Hughes and a gentleman
who was staying there convoying me the first
fifteen mEes. I did like that ride, racing with the
other riders, careering through the intoxicating air
in that indescribable sunshine, the powdery snow
spurned from the horses' feet Eke dust! I was soon
warm. We stopped at a trapper's ranch to feed, and
the old trapper amused me by seeming to think Estes
Park almost inaccessible in winter.   The distance was LETTER XVI.
greater than I had been told, and he said that I
could not get there before eleven at night, and not at
aE K there was much drift. I wanted the gentlemen
to go on with me as far as the DevE's Gate, but
they could not because their horses were tired; and
when the trapper heard that he exclaimed, indignantly, " What! that woman going into the mountains alone? She'E lose the track or be froze to
death!" But when I told him I had ridden the
trail in the storm of Tuesday, and had ridden over
six hundred miles alone in the mountains, he treated
me with great respect as a feEow-mountaineer, and
gave me some matches, saying, "You'E have to
camp out anyhow; you'd better make a fire than be
froze to death." The idea of my spending the night
in the forest tlone, by a fire, struck me as most
We did not start again tiE one, and the two
gentlemen rode the first two miles with me. On
that track, the Little Thompson, there a fuE stream,
has to be crossed eighteen times, and they had been
hauling wood across it, breaking it, and it had broken
and refrozen several times, making thick and thin
places—indeed, there were crossings which even I
thought bad, where the ice let us through, and it was
hard for the horses to struggle upon it again; and
one of the gentlemen who, though a most accom-
pEshed man, was not a horseman, was once or twice
1 282
A lady's life in
in the ludicrous position of hesitating on the bank
with an anxious face, not daring to spur his horse
upon the ice. After they left me I had eight more
crossings, and then a ride of six miles, before I
reached the old trail; but though there were several
drifts up to the saddle, and no one had broken a
track, Birdie showed such pluck, that instead of
spending the night by a camp fire, or not getting in
tiE midnight, I reached Mr. Nugent's cabin, four
mEes from Estes Park, only an hour after dark, very
cold, and with the pony so tired that she could
hardly put one foot before another. Indeed, I walked
the last three miles. I saw Eght through the chinks,
but, hearing an earnest conversation within, was just
about to withdraw, when " Bing " barked, and on his
master coming to the door I found tbat the solitary
man was talking to his dog. He was looking out for
me, and had some coffee ready, and a large fire, which
were very pleasant; and I was very glad to get the
latest news from the Park. He said that Evans
told him that it would be most difficult for any
one of them to take me down to the plains, but
that he would go, which is a great reEef. According to the Scotch proverb, " Better a finger off than
aye wagging," and as I cannot Eve here (for you
would not like the Efe or climate), the sooner I leave
the better.
The soEtary ride to Evans's was very eerie.   It LETTER XVI.
was very dark, and the noises were unintelligible.
Young Lyman rushed out to take my horse, and the
Eght and warmth within were deEghtful, but there
was a stiffness about the new regime. Evans, though
steeped in difficulties, was as hearty and generous as
ever; but Edwards, who had assumed the management, is prudent, K not parsimonious, thinks we
wasted the suppEes recklessly, and the limitations as
to milk, etc., are painfuEy apparent. A young ex-
Guardsman has come up with Evans, of whom the
sanguine creature forms great expectations, to be disappointed doubtless. In the afternoon of yesterday
a gentleman came who I thought was another
stranger, strikingly handsome, weE-dressed, and
barely forty, with sixteen shining gold curls faEing
down his coEar; he walked in, and it was.only after
a careful second look that I recognised in our visitor
the redoubtable " desperado." Evans courteously
pressed him to stay and dine with us, and not only
did he show the most singular conversational dexterity
in talking with the stranger, who was a very weE-
informed man, and had seen a great deal of the
world, but, though he Eves and eats Eke a savage,
his manners and way of eating were as refined as
possible. I notice that Evans is never quite himself
or perfectly comfortable when he is there; and on
the part of the other there is a sort of stiffly-assumed
cordiaEty, significant, I fear, of lurking hatred on
III 284
both sides. I was in the kitchen after dinner making
roEed puddings, young Lyman was eating up the
reEcs as usual, "Jim" was singing one of Moore's
melodies, the others being in the Eving-room, when
Mr. Kavan and Mr. Buchan came from "up the
creek" to wish me good-bye. They said it was not
haK so much like home now, and recalled the " good
time " we had had for three weeks. Lyman having
lost the cow, we have no milk. No one makes bread;
they dry the venison into chips, and getting the
meals at aE seems a work of toE and difficulty, instead of the pleasure it used to be to us. Evans,
since tea, has told me aE his troubles and worries.
He is a kind, generous, whole-hearted, unsuspicious
man, a worse enemy to himseK, I beEeve, than to any
other; but I feel sadly that the future of a man who
has not stronger principles than he has must be at
the best very insecure. _ LETTER XVII.
Woman's Mission—The Lost Morning—Crossing the St. Vrain—
Miller—The St. Vrain again—Crossing the Prairie—Jim's
Dream—"Keeping Strangers"—The Inn Kitchen—A reputed
Child-Eater—Notoriety—A quiet Dance—Jim's Resolve—The
Frost-Fall—An unfortunate Introduction.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, December 12.
The last evening came. I did not wish to realise it, as
I looked at the snow-peaks gEstening in the moon-
Eght. No woman wiE be seen in the Park tiE next
May. Young Lyman talked in a " hifalutin" style, but
with some truth in it, of the influence of a woman's
presence, how " low, mean, vulgar talk " had died out
on my return, how they had " aE puEed themselves
up," and how Mr. Kavan and Mr. Buchan had said
they would like always to be as quiet and gentlemanly as when a lady was with them. "By May,"
he said, " we shaE be Ettle better than brutes, in our
manners at least." I have seen a great deal of the
roughest class of men both on sea and land during
the last two years, and the more important I think
the " mission " of every quiet, refined, seK-respecting
woman—the more mistaken I think those who would 286
forfeit it by noisy seK-assertion, masculinity, or fastness. In aE this wEd West the influence of woman
is second only in its benefits to the influence of reE-
gion, and where the last unhappEy does not exist the
first continuaEy exerts its restraining power. The
last morning came. I cleaned up my room and sat
at the window watching the red and gold of one of
the most glorious of winter sunrises, and the slow
Eghting-up of one peak after another. I have written
that this scenery is not lovable, but I love it.
I left on Birdie at 11 o'clock, Evans riding with
me as far as Mr. Nugent's. He was telling me so
many things, that at the top of the hiE I forgot to
turn round and take a last look at my colossal, resplendent, lonely, sunlit den, but it was needless, for
I carry it away with me. I should not have been
able to leave K Mr. Nugent had not offered his services. His chivalry to women is so weE known, that
Evans said I could be safer and better cared for with
no one. He added, "His heart is good and kind, as
kind a heart as ever beat. He's a great enemy of his
own, but he's been Eving pretty quietly for the last
four years." At the door of his den I took leave of
Birdie, who had been my faithful companion for more
than 700 miles of travelling, and of Evans, who had
been unKormly kind to me and just in aE his dealings, even to paying to me at that moment the very
last doEar he owed me.   May God bless him and his I LETTER XVII.
He was obliged to return before I could get off, and
as he commended me to Mr. Nugent's care, the two
men shook hands kindly.1
Bich spoils of beavers' skins were lying on the
cabin floor, and the trapper took the finest, a mouse-
coloured kitten beaver's skin, and presented it to me.
I hired his beautKul Arab mare, whose springy step
and long easy stride was a reEef after Birdie's short
sturdy gait. We had a very pleasant ride, and I
seldom had to walk. We took neither of the trails,
but cut right through the forest to a place where,
through an opening in the foothills, the plains
stretched to the horizon covered with snow, the surface of which, having melted and frozen, reflected as
water would the pure blue of the sky, presenting a
complete optical Elusion. It required my knowledge
of fact to assure me that I was not looking at the
ocean. "Jim" shortened the way by repeating a
great deal of poetry, and by earnest, reasonable conversation, so that I was quite surprised when it grew
dark.   He told me that he never lay down to sleep
1 Some months later "Mountain Jim" fell by Evans's hand,
shot from Evans's doorstep while riding past his cabin. 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. "Jim" lived long enough to give his own
statement, and to appeal to the judgment of God, but died in low
delirium before the case reached a human tribunal. 288
without prayer—prayer chiefly that God would give
him a happy death, He had previously promised
that he would not hurry or scold, but " fyking" had
not been included in the arrangement, and when in
the early darkness we reached the steep hiE, at whose
foot the rapid deep St. Vrain flows, he " fyked " unreasonably about me, the mare, and the crossing gene-
raBy, and seemed to think I could not get through,
for the ice had been cut with an axe, and we could
not see whether " glaze " had formed since or no. I
was to have slept at the house of a woman farther
down the canyon, who never ceases talking, but
MiEer, the young man whose attractive house and
admirable habits I have mentioned before, came out
and said his house was " now fixed for ladies," so we
stayed there, and I was " made as comfortable" as
could be. His house is a model. He cleans everything as soon as it is used, so nothing is ever dirty,
and his stove and cooking gear in their bright parts
look like polished silver. It was amusing to hear the
two men talk like two women about various ways of
making bread and biscuits, one even writing out a
recipe for the other. It was almost grievous that a
soEtary man should have the power of making a
house so comfortable! They heated a stone for my
feet, warmed a blanket, for me to sleep in, and put
logs enough on the fire to burn aE night, for the
mercury was eleven below zero.    The stars were in- LETTER XVII.
tensely bright, and a weE-defined auroral arch,
throwing off fantastic coruscations, Eghted the whole
northern sky. Yet I was only in the foothills, and
Long's glorious Peak was not to be seen. MiEer had
aE his things " washed up " and his " pots and pans "
cleaned in ten minutes after supper, and then had the
whole evening in which to smoke and enjoy himself
—a poor woman would probably have been " fussing
round " tiE 10 o'clock about the same work. Besides
Bing there was another gigantic dog craving for notice,
and two large cats, which, the whole evening, were on
their master's knee. Cold as the night was, the house
was chinked, and the rooms felt quite warm. I even
missed the free currents of air which I had been used
to! This was my last evening in what may be caEed
a mountainous region.
The next morning, as soon as the sun was weE
risen, we left for our journey of 30 miles, which had
to be done nearly at a foot's pace, owing to one horse
being encumbered with my luggage. I did not wish
to realise that it was my last ride, and my last association with any of the men of the mountains whom
I had learned to trust, and in some respects to admire.
No more hunters' tales told whEe the pine knots
crack and blaze; no more thrilling narratives of
adventures with Indians and bears " and never again
shaE I hear that strange talk of Nature and her
doings which is the speech of those who Eve with her
u 290
and her alone. Already the dismalness of a level
land comes over me. The canyon of the St. Vrain
was in aE its glory of colour, but we had a remarkably ugly crossing of that brilEant river, which was
frozen aE over, except an unpleasant gap of about
two feet in the middle. Mr. Nugent had to drive the
frightened horses through, whEe I, having crossed
on some logs lower down, had to catch them on the
other side as they plunged to shore trembling with
fear. Then we emerged on the vast expanse of the
gEttering plains, and a sudden sweep of wind made
the cold so intolerable that I had to go into a house
to get warm. This was the last house we saw tiE we
reached our destination that night. I never saw the
mountain range look so beautiful—uplifted in every
shade of transparent blue, tiE the subEmity of Long's
Peak, and the lofty crest of Storm Peak, bore only
unsullied snow against the sky. Peaks gleamed in
living light; canyons lay in depths of purple shade ;
100 miles away Pike's Peak rose a lump of blue,
and over aE, through that glorious afternoon, a veE
of blue spiritualised without dimming the outEnes of
that most glorious range, making it look like the
dreamed-of mountains of " the land which is very far
off," tiE at sunset it stood out sharp in glories of
violet and opal, and the whole horizon up to a great
height was suffused with the deep rose and pure
orange of the afterglow.    It seemed all dream-like LETTER XVII.
as we passed through the sunlit soEtude, on the right
the prairie waves lessening towards the far horizon,
while on the left they broke in great snowy surges
against the Bocky Mountains. AE that day we
neither saw man, beast, nor bird. " Jim " was silent
mostly. Like all true children of the mountains, he
pined even when temporarily absent from them.
At sunset we reached a cluster of houses caEed
Namaqua, where, to my dismay, I heard that there
was to be- a dance at the one Ettle inn to which we
were going at St. Louis. I pictured to myseK no
privacy, no peace, no sleep, drinking, low sounds,
and worse than aE, "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!" For the last three miles which we accomplished after sunset the cold was most severe, but
nothing could exceed the beauty of the afterglow,
and the strange look of the roBing plains of snow
beneath it. When we got to the queer little place
where they " keep strangers " at St. Louis, they were
very civE, and said that after supper we could have
the kitchen to ourselves. I found a large, prononce'e,
competent, bustling widow, hugely stout, able to
manage aE men and everything else, and a very
florid sister Eke herseK, top-heavy with hair.   There 292
were besides two naughty children in the kitchen,
who cried incessantly, and kept opening and shutting
the door. There was no place to sit down but a
wooden chair by the side of the kitchen stove, at
which supper was being cooked for ten men. The
bustle and clatter were indescribable, and the landlady asked innumerable questions, and seemed to fiE
the whole room. The only expedient for me for the
night was to sleep on a shakedown in a very smaE
room occupied by the two women and the children,
and even this was not available till midnight, when
the dance terminated; and there was no place in
which to wash except a bowl in the kitchen. I sat
by the stove tiE supper, wearying of the noise and
bustle after the quiet of Estes Park. The landlady
asked, with great eagerness, who the gentleman was
who was with me, and said that the men outside
were saying that they were sure that it was " Bocky
Mountain Jim," but she was sure it was not. When
I told her that the men were right, she exclaimed,
" Do teE! I want to know! that quiet, kind gentleman !" and she said she used to frighten her children
when they were naughty by telling them that " he
would get them, for he came down from the mountains every week, and took back a chEd with him to
eat!" She was as proud of having him in her house
as if he had been the President, and I gained a
reflected importance!   AE the men in the settlement LETTER XVII.
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. The children got on his knee, and,
to my great reEef, he kept them good and quiet, and
let them play with his curls, to the great deEght of
the two women, who never took their eyes off him.
At last the bad-smelling supper was served, and ten
sEentmen came in and gobbled it up, staring steadily
at " Jim " as they gobbled. Afterwards, there seemed
no hope of quiet, so we went to the post-office, and
while waiting for stamps were shown into the prettiest and most ladylike-looking room I have seen in
the West, created by a pretty and refined-looking
woman. She made an opportunity for asking me if
it were true that the gentleman with me was "Mountain Jim," and added that so very gentlemanly a
person could not be guilty of the misdeeds attributed
to him. When we returned, the kitchen was much
quieter. It was cleared by eight, as the landlady
promised; we had it to ourselves tiE twelve, and
could scarcely hear the music. It was a most
respectable dance, a fortnightly gathering got up by
the neighbouring settlers, most of them young married people, and there was no drinking at aE I
wrote to you for some time, whEe Mr. Nugent copied
for himseK the poems " In the Glen " and the latter
haK of " The Biver without a Bridge," which he re- 294
cited with deep feeling. It was altogether very quiet
and peaceful. He repeated to me several poems of
great merit which he had composed, and told me
much more about his Efe. I knew that no one else
could or would speak to him as I could, and for the
last time I urged upon him the necessity of a reformation in his Efe, beginning with the giving up of
whisky, going so far as to teE him that I despised a
man of his inteEeet for being a slave to such a vice.
" Too late! too late!" he always answered, " for such
a change." Ay, too late. He shed tears quietly.
"It might have been once," he said. Ay, might
have been. He has exceEent sense for every one but
himseK, and, as I have seen him with a single exception, a gentleness, propriety, and considerateness of
manner surprising in any man, but especiaEy so in a
man associating only with the rough men of the
West. As I looked at him, I felt a pity such as I
never before felt for a human being. My thought at
the moment was, WiE not our Father in heaven,
" who spared not His own Son, but deEvered Him
up for us aE," be far more pitKul ? For the time a
desire for seK-respect, better aspirations, and even
hope itseK, entered his dark Efe; and he said, suddenly, that he had made up his mind to give up
whisky and his reputation as a desperado. But it
is " too late." A Ettle before twelve the dance was
over, and I got to the crowded little bedroom, which LETTER XVII.
only aEowed of one person standing in it at a time,
to sleep soundly and dream of " ninety-and-nine just
persons who need no repentance." The landlady
was quite taken up with her " distinguished guest."
"That kind, quiet gentleman, Mountain Jim!
WeE, I never! he must be a very good man !"
Yesterday morning the mercury was 20° below
zero. I think I never saw such a brilliant atmosphere. That curious phenomena caEed frost-faE
was occurring, in which, whatever moisture may
exist in the air, somehow aggregates into feathers
and fern-leaves, the loveliest of creations, only seen
in rarefied aE and intense cold. One breath and
they vanish. The air was filled with diamond sparks
quite intangible. They seemed just gEtter and no
more. It was stiE and cloudless, and the shapes of
violet mountains were softened by a veil of the
tenderest blue. When the Greeley stage-waggon
came up, Mr. Fodder, whom I met at Lower Canyon,
was on it. He had expressed a great wish to go to
Estes Park, and to hunt with " Mountain Jim," K it
would be safe to do the latter. He was now dressed
in the extreme of EngEsh dandyism, and when I introduced them,1 he put out a smaE hand cased in a
1 This was a truly unfortunate introduction. It was the first
link in the chain of circumstances which brought about Mr. Nugent's
untimely end, and it was at this person's instigation (when overcome
by fear) that Evans fired the shot which proved fatal. 296
perfectly-fitting lemon-coloured Md glove. As the
trapper stood there in his grotesque rags and odds
and ends of apparel, his gentlemanliness of deportment brought into reEef the innate vulgarity of a
rich parvenu. Mr. Fodder rattled so amusingly as
we drove away that I never reaEsed that my Bocky
Mountain Efe was at an end, not even when I saw
" Mountain Jim," with his golden hair yeEow in the
sunshine, slowly leading the beautKul mare over the
snowy plains back to testes Park, equipped with the
saddle on which I had ridden 800 mEes!
A drive of several hours over the plains brought
us to Greeley, and a few hours later, in the far blue
distance, the Bocky Mountains, and aE that they
enclose, went down below the prairie sea.
I. L. B.
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