Tag Archives: Isabella Bird

Browsing the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

I’ve made my peace with this world of electronic books—I think I’m glad not to have two hundred pounds of encyclopedia sitting on a shelf awaiting an occasional analog read.  I’ll regret not having it when our infrastructure collapses, though.  Anyways, there I was last night idly browsing Project Gutenberg’s 1911 EB when I read about the indomitable Isabella Bird Bishop, a Victorian travel writer.

Here’s a Bird bibliography from John Mark Ockerbloom’s Online Books Page, featuring such classics as Among the Tibetans, Korea and Her Neighbors, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, and Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan, volumes one and two.

Lake Tahoe, 1873

From Isabella Bird’s epistolary A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains:

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 color; 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 1,700 feet deep. It lies at a height of 6,000 feet, and the snow-crowned summits which wall it in are from 8,000 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.