S. Hall Young


Laymen's Missionary Conference


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Alaska DAYS '.71TH JOHN MUIR 3 with his view-point, and wants to see a wider vision. We had come up that terrible cliff, making all haste, to within about forty feet of the top. We came along a little shelf, and then John Mair left me, running like a goat along that shelf, trying to get clear to the top, shouting, "r'e must see the sunset from the top." I came to a gash in the cliff. It was about five feet across, and had I not been so weary I could have leaped it. It sloped very steeply for some fifteen feet below, opening on the face of the precipice above the glacier, and was filled to within about four feet of the surface with slaty gravel. I saw a rock the size of my head projected from the slippery stream of gravel. In my haste to overtake Muir I did not stop to make sure this stone was part of the cliff, but stepped with springing force upon it to cross the fissure. Instantly the stone melted away beneath my feet, and shot downward, and was carrying me with it. As I fell I turned on my face and struck out with both hands to grasp the rock on either side. Falling forward hard, both arms were twisted behind me, and I slid down towards that fearful precipice some fifteen feet below. I know what it is to have the thoughts of a lifetime crowded before one's mind in a moment of deadly peril. I had no foundation except that treacherous gravel. I had no hope so far as anything that I could do was concerned. But I was wrong — I had a wonderful friend. He heard my cry as I fell. He looked upon me, and I heard his ejaculation — that "My G-od J" was not profanity, it was a prayer. And then, seeing my helplessness, no more ejaculations of dismay, but cheery words, "Hold fast; I'm going to get you out of this. I can't get to you on this side; the rock is sheer. I'll have to leave you now and come down on the other side." Then he went away, whistling "Bonnie Dundee "and'Highland Mary." And at last, when it seemed as if every moment was my last and every heart-beat seemed to shift me a little farther, and when finally I hung over the face of the cliff I heard his voice, cheery again, "I'm here, I'm going to get you out of this." I could not even turn my head to see the hand that was stretched out to me. Grasping me by one hand he reached far our and presently I felt his grasp as he caught me by my weight. And then, such was my knowledge of my friend, I knew that rather than loose that grip of me he would share my fate and be dashed to the glacier below. And then I saw the glacier a thousand feet below,till he drew me close to him by crooking his arm. As my head came up past his level he caught


San Fransisco

Date Original

February 1916

Page Number


Resource Identifier

MSS048 Va.10

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John Muir, biography, reminiscence, colleagues, contemporaries, archives, special collections, University of the Pacific, California, Holt-Atherton Special Collections, history, naturalist