John Muir


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Undaunted temper

True wanderers made so not by misery but fullness of joy in freedom

Ordered back but felt perhaps I had no peremptory right to command

He had no pretensions to be considered anything beyond the ordinary class of chance bred curs. Poor outcast mongrels with no traits or accomplishments to render them useful & desirable to mankind

What is he good for – nothing but pity far as I could see. [Cultus] said even the Inds [Indians] who should have known better said he was [cultus]

Mind in wild action. Every hair of him thrilled & intoxicated with terror.

Seemed as much at home in water as a seal or otter & jumped from hummock to hummock & cleared crevasses like a bird.

He was seldom in the way seemed to have a steadiness & indifference of temper that looked like mere apathy Had not a particle of ordinary small dog humility & merriness but neither held himself aloof with easy indifference as superior to his company & had absurd idiosyncrasy caprice of hiding in the rocks & bushes until the boat left the shore

A look at times from his still eyes suggested he might be less stupid than as first appeared

Mankind under all circumstances of hunger & weariness wind & weather perfectly level & provoking equanimity


Fond of hunting weasels of whom he made short work

Groaned & moaned in mortal misery dignified by the danger came abandoned himself to a tumultuous passion of despair

From almost invisible composure he never broke down into a poor helpless pitiful microcosm of misery

Had the danger been less the distress would have had been ridiculous

His natural courage had not simply decayed but vanished utterly

# giddy swirls of gambols storm of yelps & screams of triumph natural rebound of emotions from despair to wild extravagance of joy

In the freshness of joy of deliverance he seemed to fly over rather than jump all the lesser crevasses that lay in our way

# So [ended] the dreadful ice-day to doggie & I

On the vast wilderness of ice night was now descending gloomy & gray & threatening. The clouds began to settle lower in their misty fringes but by the morning wind were draggled & drawn out across the jagged hummocks & chasms blotting them from sight all save the nearest though one that blocked our way & the dreaded snow began to fly thickening the gloom & making the savage landscape all the more bewildering & dangerous

# At length, with hushed breathless courage of despair slipping down into the shadow of death the storm was not heard or seen. I saw only those pathetic feeble little feet as he slipped them over the round brink into the first step, the hind pair followed & all four were bunched in it, then worked them into the next notch & the next. Then hushed & silent lifting his feet slowly in exact measure I breathlessly watched him walk along across the long narwy [narrow]

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MuirReel33 Notebook01 Img031.Jpeg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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