Bigelow was not shy about defying traditional manners and gender roles. One fellow traveler described her as being a skilled mimic of voices and as possessing a "pure eccentricity." She was late or a no-show for appointments and spoke out of turn without conventional etiquette. When she called on the salon of novelist Ouida, the pen name for Maria Louise Ramé, and was denied a visit on the grounds that Ouida didn't like Americans, Mrs. Bigelow yelled out, "We're the only fools that read your nasty books, anyway!" Ouida, amused by the outburst, invited her inside and ultimately found her such an intriguing character that she asked her to stay a month so that she might study her.