N. D. Stebbins
Dowagiac,Mich.,Sept.My dear friend J. Muir:Permit me to trouble your eyes once more with one of my scrawls.I want to say I was more than pleased in the perusal of your exceedingly interesting letter Aug. 24. I can't help it, old as I am. Such representation of natural scenery and glacial action fills me With a sort of visionary enthusiasm and sends me kiting in mind, trying to see and make faith a substance.So I imagine those great fields of inclined planes of ice are after me just ready [to] throw off a small mountain of ice. My boat must be away in the distance in safety.Then what an artillery to listen to - second guns, or rather minute reports of the ice artillery.I rec'd your letter while on a visit to Niles. Showed it to an intelligent and wealthy man. Said he, "I must have his book as soon as published." I am using your letter as an advertisement. It is singular how many I find read it with as much enthusiasm, as I claim they can't help it.One gentleman visiting here from Chicago (was a col. in the late evil war of ours) sat right down and wrote' to the Sec. of the Navy for your report. I presume it will be printed in the Naval Reports. I Shall go to Detroit and Chicago. I presume you have no objections to my using your letter for good purposes. I am intimate with the editors [in] Detroit and some in Chicago.I haven't a doubt your books will sell like 'hot cakes.' O that I could see one! I write all this rigmarole to encourage you to hasten its birth into the world, and would like to give, if I could, a little ergot to help it along in its birth.I noticed in reading B.F.Taylor's description of Yosemite Valley he says the altitude of the rocks are reckoned above the sea level. I had always supposed they were reckoned above the Valley. The Valley itself, I was told, was 5 to 7000 feet above the sea level. Am I right? I won't ask for a letter, but if you please put it on a postal - am I right?I often picture to myself your critical and dangerous position when on your trip to the Summit of Mt. Ly[illegible]? when you came to a deadlock abreast a perpendicular bank of ice, when for a moment your heart failed -for a moment. Then came the Divine to your rescue. A new heart and wise step, new force of life - saved! Don't forget that in your book.I thank you most heartily for your letters. As you intimate, we may never see each other again in this world.It is a delightful, joyful thought that we will see each other in the spirit world.May we not become explorers in this grand universe - wonders and such a variety that it will occupy an eternity [to] observe them? You may laugh at my visions - all right. I am quite willing in that spirit world to follow you in the observance and study of all. these - mysteries to me now - then as easily understood as the glaciers at Alaska were to your vision.Please excuse this sheet of wild-goose-fairies' flights if so it irks (to) you.Please remember [me] to Miss Wanda and her mother.Truly ever your enthusiastic friend,N. D. Stebbins
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.
Reel 04, Image 0908
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