J. E. Calkins


John Muir


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Lordsburg, Cal., Dec. 3o, I9o8.

Dear Mr. Muir:-

Your valued letter of Dec. 2 is before me, and has been more than once in the days that have followed its arrival here. It brought good news in three respects, viz: that you are in good health, that Helen is likewise well at Daggett, and that you are steamed up and making good headway with your writing. I suppose if I were to try to tell you how glad I am of the latter I should fail, because I should be likely to put it so strongly that I should make it sound absurd; so I am going to let you imagine my unmeasured satisfaction at this piece of intelligence.
One thing I do not like, and that is your working alone in the big old house up there at Martinez. There are many reasons why that is a good arrangement, and there are some others that seem to me to argue that it is not good. The solitude, for one thing. It is not good for man to be alone too much, even when he is busy, and I can fancy that you would prefer the right sort of company, and the atmosphere of cheer that comes from such companionship. I have gone over my own situation, in my mind, many times, laying it side by side with yours, and my wife and son have held council with me upon it. From what we gather,from our personal knowledge of your situation, and from what you write, you are working at some considerable disadvantage in several respects. We infer that you have very little of the atmosphere of domesticity, in its cheering and comforting aspects;thatyou are doing your work all alone,with no aid of any kind; that you are liable again to that dreadful infection, the grippe, as the weather draws on into the fogs and damps of the winter, with the accompaniment of "the melancholy mud." Out of all this cogitation has finally grown the resolution to risk a proposal, or, perhaps, rather a suggestion in thedirection of your removal of your work to this place. This suggestion I am going to make at the hazard of being suspected of mercenary motives; but I hope that a judicial view of the matter will convince you that I have nothing of that sort in mind.
I have ten acres here, on which I am continually busy. To handle the place aright one must be busy- or keep some other body busy in his place.
We have a dwellingplace of five rooms, none of them too


Lordsburg, Calif.

Date Original

1908 Dec 30


Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 18.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 17, Image 1131

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University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Page Number

Page 1


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