R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson
Chico, June 27, 1889.
Dear Mr. Muir:
I was so rushed during the last 48 hours of my stay that I did not get time to write you. I was much disappointed to hear you could not come north. As I can only stay here to-day I have brought along Mr. Shinn, who will attend to getting the article out of the General --- perhaps by the help of a Sacramen to stenographer. We went over last night and I was charmed with both the General and Mrs. Bidwell. We are to go over this morning and take lunch with them, and get down to business.On no account could we omit so intelligent a man and so important a figure from the series. I only wish I might have seen him as I came into California. He will be of great assistance in many ways. I am among my other obligations to you much indebted for your note to him which has paved the way for me here. Both the General and his wife speak warmly of you and I have given them your messages.
The bear-skin reached me in good time, thanks to your thoughtfulness in sending it. About midnight it began raining cats and dogs, and now at 8 o'clock it is still pouring. This for the dry season! Wonderful country, isn't it? However, it gives us a shy at Gen. Bidwell, for he can't go out of doors.
Since seeing G. B. I have found a lot of illustrative material concerning the old days, and have struck three promising leads which Mr. Shinn will pursue. I found some interesting things at Sacramento.
Mr. Oge was somewhat alarmed for fear we were going to switch you off the straight and narrow gauge road to Picturesque California. I reassured him and said we only could get a single paper out of you --- on the Yosemite and on different lines from that already written. Other things being equal, we should like that soon --- and of course the Mormon sermons, which you can do with the little finger of your left hand.
I talked with Stanford, and Sam Miller and Pixley about the Olmsted business. Stanford gave no response but to express confidence in Olmsted, but I fancy I made some impression on him. (I didn't get to see his darned university.) Miller tackled me and 1 told him I was working in his interest. He is a poor stick. Pixley fenced and pretended he had no confidence in Olmsted, and when I demanded specifications he said Olmsted had not known how to keep the sand hills of Golden Gate Parkfrom blowing away, while he (Pixley) had discovered in Holland the right kind of evergreen to plant to hold them.Ergo Olmsted is not a practical man? He is also too expensive, and of course not needed, but the Commission would give "him every facility if we should send him out." He showed signs of weakening toward the last, when he flattered the Century, which at first he pooh poohed. I gave him to understand that we consider Olmsted the first man in his profession, and so, he acknowledged, did the public in general.
I was asked by the Evening Post to be interviewed concerning Yosemite in double-leaded type, but I declined on the ground that it could be done better quietly.
Give my kindest regards to Mrs. Muir and tell her to give you no rest till you get back into the literary harness. Goodbye, and thanks for all your kindness.
R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson
1889 Jun 27
Original letter dimensions: 20 x 24.5 cm.
Johnson, Robert Underwood, "Letter from R[obert] U[nderwood] Johnson to John Muir, 1889 Jun 27." (1889). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1827.
Reel 06, Image 0113
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