W. H. Trout


Meyer-Rotier Printing Co.


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8 On his return journey John Muir notified me that he would be at our Union Station at a given time, and requested me to meet him, which I did most cheerfully. After the greeting he apologized for taking me from my w*ork to meet him, saying he never could trust himself in the cities, they were of man's arbitrary building without any intelligible common plan; "but, said he,"you anight put me down in any dark valley in God's mountains and I could soon find my way out. If you come across a man's face in the dark and feel his nose you know where to find his mouth."On the streetcars going to our home he told me the story of the presentiment regarding his father, which I have given, regarding it as extraordinary. He remained with us about 24 hours. The children greatly enjoyed his talk. None of us retired till midnight. Mother and I were complimented on our family. "See those fine big boys of yours, and I have no boys. They are scarce with the Muirs, there may not be enough to carry the name." He left us to join a commission in Chicago, appointed by President Cleveland, on Forest Reservations to be made in different parts of the United States. This occupied his attention for a year or more, and was the subject of his largest and best book. Well, his day is past, but his story is not told: a life so full of great service can't be fully told. No one knows it all except it be himself and his creator. It is all finished and in the great record, and he passes on with the closing. One of his Eastern literary friends sublimely pictures this in three magnificent stanzas, though we might criticize the phrasing, the imaginative sweep overpowers us, except the last three lines, which approach the commonplace. Chas. l.Edson of the New York Evening Mail is the poetic author. He makes a characteristic answer for John when he says, John o' the mountains says: 'I knew.'"—that is, I have been watching, I have seen it. "John o' the mountains, wonderful John, Is past the summit and traveling on; The turn of the trail on the mountain side, A smile and 'Hail' where the glaciers slide, A streak of red where the condors ride, And John is over the Great Divide. John o' the mountains camps today On a level spot by the milky way; And God is telling him how he rolled The smoking earth from the iron mold, And hammered the mountains till they were cold, And planted the Redwood trees of old. And John o' fee mountains says: 'I knew, ^nd I wanted to grapple the hand o* you; And now we're sure to be friends and chums --aid camp together till chaos comes.'" From Collier's Weekly,Jan.16th,1915. Collier's editor continues, "Of course John Muir and God are friends. Muir fraternized with the birds of the field and forest and chummed with the squirrel and the bear. He rhapsodized over the beauty and sweetness of the flowers and communed with God through the Redwoods and pines. His life was a glorification of God's original handiwork." John was familiar with his Bible, God's revealed will, as well as Nature's book. It was his child study and was ingrained in his mental makeup as his writings abundantly testify. We must now reluctantly part from our friend and his story and again resume the family narration.



Date Original

January 1916

Circa Date


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