J. H. Mellichamp
1328 Carrollton Ave.New Orleans, La., 1 Mch., 1889.To Prof. John Muir,Martinez, Cal.My dear Sir,A little while ago, while looking over an old bundle of letters, I came across the immature and androgynous flowers of my old friend P. Cubensis, and although they are hardly yet formed, I am glad that I met with them so that I could send them on to you and ask you if such are commonly found among the pines and firs of the California mountains. I have been told that such is the case, whereas after finding this lone tree on May River I have looked almost in vain for any other pine containing male and female flowers conjoined, either of P. Australia, or Toeda, or Cubensis or Serotina, or mitis of our seaboard --- save once only when I espied a single androgynous 'catkin" of P. Cubensis. This one I sent long ago to Prof. Sargent, I believe. The first tree which i saw on May River was covered not only with the usual separate male and female flowers, but also with the conjoined or androgynous ones. They were very beautiful, and of a glowing lake or carmine colour. I was immensely enthused (if there be such a word) at my supposed discovery, and sent on to Prof. Sargent my finest specimens. Afterwards l sent others to Dr. Masters of London, who most courteously replied to me and sent me his two learned pamphlets. I have written to a good Yankee friend of mine in Bluff ton, asking him to go to my tree at Hunting Isld. Pt. and see if the usual androgynous blooms are there, and if so, to procure some for me, which if they be of any account I shall send on to you. I enclose a very rough sketch, about their size, I think. But you will hardly care to see our May T. P. Cubensis androgynous flowers, as your mountain trees are full of their kind!We have all of us, save Herbert, been down with grippe, as I think I may have mentioned, and Dr. Woodward's temperature went over 105 and remained there for 2 days. He was an ill man. I was anxious and unhappy about him. My two granddaughters also suffered terribly from Haemorrhage and dysentery and my daughter also was quite sick, while I, who was only half sick (or I pretended or fancied I was only half sick) am now the last to get well, for I have had some ancient symptoms not so favourable and I have been coughing, which makes me think of the villainous, saponaceous clay and mud where they will chuck me if I am not very careful, whereas I had always desired to rest in S. Carolina in the s. isld. county, in St. Luke's churchyard, St. Luke's Parish. At least this is what I promised, so I had better look out and take care of myself. I shall be 70 9th May next, but I wanted to stand under the shadow of the Sequoi before I bade goodbue to sublunary things, and I pray God I shall. I've been re-reading your "Mountains of California" and indeed most of what you have written, and I still enjoy the Douglas Squirrel and Water Ouzel immensely, immensely, and I go into Audubon again and again. The snow and the sleet and the ice quite shocked these tender-limbed people, as if they had never seen such things before and it was pretty hard on them, or hard on their palms and plants and camphor trees, for I'm afraid these trees are all dead at St. Charles, etc. --- but they may come out again --- there's no telling! If DuBois sends the P. Cubensis I'll send. Hope you can make this out, and that all things are well with you and yours. Mr. Woodward sends his kindest regards and my boys and girls their love.Yours sincerely,J. H. MellichampI was glad you liked the lines on my old college friend, the beloved Herr Teuflesdröch --- yes! --- the great, the dearly loved Scotchman, Thos. Carlyle! Yes! I shall be very glad to see & read Audubon's letter --- I have never seen it. I'll try to send a nice little biography by a New Orleans lady, a Mrs. Mary Fluker Bradley, which is well worth reading. I went to the bookstore the other day, but they couldn't find a copy. It was a labour of love for the Audubon monument which these people purpose erecting one of these days, but they seem pretty slow about honouring their really great
…New Orleans, La
1889 Mar 1
Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14.5 cm.
Reel 06, Image 0047
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