John Muir


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he came into the valley I heard the hotel people saying with solemn emphasis. “Emerson is here”, and I was excited as I had never before, and my heart throbbed as if an angel direct from Heaven had alighted on the Sierra rocks. But so great was my awe and reverence, I did not dare to go to him or speak to him. I hovered on the outside of the crowd of people that were pressing forward to be introduced to him and shaking hands with him. Then I heard that in 3 or 4 days he was going away, and then in the course of sheer desperation I wrote him a note and carried it to his hotel telling him that El Capitan and Tissiack demand him to stay longer. Next day he inquired for the writer and was directed to the little saw mill. He came to the mill on horseback attended by Mr. Thayer and inquired for me I slipped out and said I am Mr. Muir. Then Mr. M, must have brought his own letter said Mr. Thayer and Emerson said “Why did you not make yourself known last evening I should have been glad to have seen you. Then he dismounted and came into the mill. I had a study attached to the gable of the mill, overhung my [ ] skins into which I invited him, but it was not easy of access being reached by a series of sloping planks roughened by slats like a hen ladder, but he bravely climbed up and I showed him my collection of plants and sketches drawn from the surrounding mtns wh seemed to interest him greatly. He asked many questions pumping unconseronably. He came again and again and I saw him every day while he remained in the valley, and on leaving I was invited to accompany him as far as Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. I said I’ll go, Mr. Emerson, if you promise to camp with me in the grove. I’ll build a glowing campfire and the great brown boles of the giant Sequoias will be most impressibly lighted up and they might well be glorious. At this he became enthusiastic like a boy his sweet perennial smile

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 14.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist