October 12

Not a Horse to My Liking

I am still 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 five or six a day, I do not find one to my liking.  Today, as I was cantering a tall well-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 little varieties.  Still I hope to get 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; all 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 all 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 “Rule 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.

I.L B.

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