I am enjoying a fine rest, I have "the blue room" in this charming home, and it has the daintiest linen and embroidery I ever saw. The bed is so soft and fine I like to lie awake to enjoy it, instead of sleeping. A servant brings in a cup of coffee before I rise.
This morning when I was sipping coffee in bed, a red squirrel looked in the window at me from a branch of a big tulip-tree, and seemed to be saying as he watched me. Churr, churr I why have you left us? Chip churr, who would have thought it? I've had a fine rest in this charming home and feel ready for Florida, which is now cool and healthy. I'm glad to see the South again and may write about it.
A halt in Savannah, Georgia, stirred up old memories, for "here," he writes in a letter to his wife, "is where I spent a hungry, weary, yet happy week camping in Bonaventure graveyard thirty one years ago. Many changes, I'm told, have been made in its groves and avenues of late, and how many in my life! Hodgson, who had nursed him back to health on his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf.
The incident is told in the following excerpt from a letter to his wife under date of November 21, The day before yesterday we stopped at Palatka on the famous St. Johns River, where I saw the most magnificent magnolias, some four feet in diameter and one hundred feet high, also the largest and most beautiful hickories and oaks.
From there we went to Cedar Keys. Of course I inquired for the Hodgsons, at whose house I lay sick so long. Hodgson died long ago, also the eldest son, with whom I used to go boating, but Mrs. Hodgson and the rest of the family, two boys and three girls, are alive and well, and I saw them all to-day, except one of the boys. I found them at Archer, where I stopped four hours on my way from Cedar Keys. Hodgson and the two eldest girls remembered me well.
The house was pointed out to me, and I found the good old lady who nursed me in the garden. I asked her if she knew me. She answered no, and asked my name. I said Muir. My California John? Mellichamp I liked ever so much, and blessed old Mohr more than ever.
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For these good men and many, many trees I have to thank you, and I do over and over again as the main blessings of the passing year. And I have to thank you also for Gray's writings--Essays, etc. More than ever I want to see Japan and eastern Asia.
I wonder if Canby could be converted to sufficient sanity to go with us on that glorious dendrological trip. Confound his Yankee savings bank! He has done more than enough in that line. It will soon be dark. Soon our good botanical pegs will be straightened in a box and planted, and it behooves us as reasonable naturalists to keep them trampling and twinkling in the woods as long as possible. There were not a few among Muir's literary friends, men like Walter Hines Pagee and Richard Watson Gilder, who as early as began to urge him to write his autobiography.
I am not anxious to tell what I have done, but what Nature has done--an infinitely more important story. During the cruise a warm friendship sprang up between him and Mr. Harriman, who came to value highly not only his personal qualities, but also his sturdy independence.
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It was some years afterward, while he was the guest of Mr. Harriman's private secretary. We owe it to the use of this expedient that Muir was enabled to complete at least a part of his autobiography before he passed on. Harriman after his death sprang from memories of many kindnesses, and unheralded occasions too, when Mr.
The Life and Letters of John Muir
Harriman's influence turned the scales in favor of some important conservation measure dear to Muir's heart. Both held in warm regard Captain P. Doran, of the Elder, which in carried the expetionary party. Harriman to Muir on August 8, , shortly after a tragedy of the sea in which Captain Doran perished. I had grown to look upon him as a real friend and knew him to be a true man. I am glad to have shared his friendship with you.
I am fortunate in having many friends and am indeed proud to count you among the best. My troubles are not to be considered with yours and some others, for they are only passing and will be eventually cleared up and understood even by the 'some' to whom you refer. The responsibilities weigh most when such misfortunes occur as the loss of the poor passenger who passed on with brave Doran. All I know of the Rainier and Olympic reservations has come through the newspapers. The Olympic will surely be attacked again and again for its timber, but the interests of Seattle and Tacoma will probably save Rainier.
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I expect to find out something about them soon, as I am going north from Seattle to Cook Inlet and Kodiak for a couple months with a "scientific party. This section of the coast is the only one I have not seen, and I'm glad of the chance.
Jack and Jill, by Louisa May Alcott
Good luck to you. I wish I were going to those leafy woods instead of icy Alaska. Be good to the trees, you tough, sturdy pair. Don't frighten the much-enduring Crataeguses and make them drop their spurs, and don't tell them quite eternally that you are from Boston and the Delaware Huckleberry Peninsula. My love to Canby--keep his frisks within bounds. Remember me to the Biltmore friends and blessed Mohr and Mellichamp. And remember me also to the Messrs.
Hickory and Oak, and, oh, the magnolias in bloom! Heavens, how they glow and shine and invite a fellow! I'll hope to see you in August. I start to-morrow on a two months' trip with Harriman's Alaska Expedition.
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John Burroughs and Professor [W. But I would not have gone, however tempting, were it not to visit the only part of the coast I have not seen and one of the scenes that I would have to visit sometime anyhow. This has been a barren year, and I am all the less willing to go, though the auspices are so good. I lost half the winter in a confounded fight with sheep and cattlemen and politicians on behalf of the forests. During the other half I was benumbed and interrupted by sickness in the family, while in word works, even at the best, as you know, I'm slow as a glacier.
You'll get these papers, however, sometime, and they will be hammered into a book--if I live long enough. I was very glad to get your letter, as it showed you were well enough to be at work again. Have letters for me at Seattle. No use trying to forward them up here, as we don't know where we will touch on the way down home. I hope you are all well and not too lonesome. Take good care of Stickeen and Tom. We landed at four places on the way up here. I was glad to see the woods in those new places, Love to all.
Ever your loving papa J. We are all well and happy. Yesterday was bright and the mountains all the way up from Wrangell were passed in review, opening their snowy, icy recesses, and closing them, like turning over the leaves of a grand picture book. Everybody gazed at the grand glaciers and peaks, and we saw icebergs floating past for the first time on the trip.
We landed on two points on the way up and had rambles in the woods, and the naturalists set traps and caught five whitefooted mice. We were in the woods I wandered in twenty years ago, and I had many questions to answer. Heaven bless you. The Topeka arrived last eve, and sails in an hour or so. I met Professor Moses and his wife on the wharf and then some Berkeley people besides; then the Raymond agent, who introduced a lot of people, to whom I lectured in the street.
The thing was like a revival meeting, The weather is wondrous fine, and all goes well. I regret not having [had] a letter forwarded here, as I long for a word of your welfare. Heaven keep you, darlings. Everybody was delighted with Glacier Bay and the grand Muir Glacier, watching the beautiful bergs born in thunder, parties scattered out in every direction in rowboats and steam and naphtha launches on every sort of quest.
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