Sarah [Muir Galloway]
[Original letter in possession of Sarah Muir Galloway]1419 Taylor St., S.F.,[Home of John Swett],Jan. 12th, .Dear Sister Sarah:I received your welcome letter to-day. I was beginning to think you were neglecting me. The sad news of dear old Mrs. Galloway, though not unexpected, makes me feel that I have lost a friend. Few lives are so beautiful and complete as hers, and few could have had the glorious satisfaction, in dying, to know that so few words spoken were other than kind, and so few deeds that did anything more than augment the happiness of others. How many really good people waste, and worse than waste, their short lives in mean bickerings, when they might lovingly, in broad Christian charity, enjoy the glorious privilege of doing plain, simple, every-day good. Mrs. Galloway's character was one of the most beautiful and perfect I ever knew.How delightful it is for you all to gather on the holidays, and what a grand multitude you must make when you are all mustered. Little did I think when I used to be, and am now, fonder of home and still domestic life than any one of the boys, that I only should be a bachelor and doomed to roam always far outside the family circle. But we are governed more than we know and are driven as with whips we know not where. Your pleasures, and the happiness of your lives in general, are far greater than you know, being clustered together, yet independent, and living in one of the most beautiful regions under the sun. Long may you all live to enjoy your blessings and to learn to love one another and make sacrifices for one another's good.You enquire about [my] books. The others I spoke of are a book of excursions, another on Yosemite and the adjacent mountains, and another Studies in the Sierra (scientific). The present vol. will be descriptive of the Sierra animals, birds, forests, falls, glaciers, etc., which, if I live, you will see next fall or winter. I have not written enough to compose with much facility, and as I am also very careful and have but a limited vocabulary, I make slow progress. Still, although I never meant to write the results of my explorations, now I have begun I rather enjoy it and the public do me the credit of reading all I write, and paying me for it, which is some satisfaction, and I will not probably fail in my first effort on the book, inasmuch as I always make out to accomplish in some way what I undertake.I don't write regularly for anything, although I'm said to be a regular correspondent of the [San Francisco] Evening Bulletin, and have the privilege of writing for it when I like. Harper's have two unpublished illustrated articles of mine, but after they pay for them they keep them as long as they like, sometimes a year or more, before publishing.Love to David and George, and all you fine lassies, and love, dear Sarah, to yourself.From your wandering brother,[John Muir][1877 supplied as Muir speaks as though he were just beginning to write the material published in 1878 and 1879 by Scribner's.]
 Jan 12
Original letter dimensions: 31.5 x 22 cm.
Reel 03, Image 0487