John Muir


image preview

Circa Date




The man that said “the harder they work the sweeter the rest” was never really [thoroughly] [toiled hard] exhaustingly tired in his life

Knew nothing of his antecedents. Uncertain ancestry

He was very grade & quiet

He told his fears in human tones & his agony. Awful in earnestness in presence of death. Only once heard human voice equal his in sublimity of deadly fear when [leaping] in a dream he fancied a bear had attacked him as he lay in bed in camp in woods

Serene self possession solemnity of manner seemed ludicrously unnatural in so small a dog

In some inscrutable way he could divine our movements as if understood our words & knew what was going forward. But for once he was mistook Mistook our object when we went for a few salmon in the dark noticing the canoe paddled off he feared being left behind in the dark though Mr. Y his master & 3 Indians were left to make fire etc. so he plunged in & followed us [swimming] above the multitudes of phosphorescent salmon

# His eyes small & glossy like berries

He was smooth & glossy as a berry


His prompt recognition of danger after crossing a 1000 crevasses without seeming hardly to look at them showed intelligence (far beyond what I could have hoped for in him.) He tried, after gazing into the huge rift to avoid it running eagerly along the brink back & forth again & again from [end] [to] end of the island [as far as he could go] with greater & greater apparent concern until wildly excited [he became fairly rattled & lost control of himself.] His fears the first he had ever shown fairly ran away with him, (and terror distress & despair) until forced as I was to make the desperate trial of the narrow way. Then hushing his piteous cries & holding breath with preternatural caution & skill he stepped his little feet into the steps I had cut & slowly walked the narrow blade looking neither to right or left, eyes fixed on the thread of ice lifting his feet with awful care seemingly fearing to breathe behaving like a man, or rather boy. I leaned over to assist him to climb the last steps but he rushed hooked his feet into the inslanting notches I had made rushed past my head in one concentrated burst of effort & then gave [way] to pent up feelings in hysterical screams of joy running madly in circles of safe at camp leaping up in my face against my breast again & again.

# He must have understood my words. He was just a little wild package of boyish humanity & though he did not exactly speak [in] articulate words his tones gestures were unmistakable.

Resource Identifier

MuirReel33 Notebook01 Img013.Jpeg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.