James D[avie] Butler
Madison, 518 Wis. Ave.
March 28, 1903.
My dear Friend-
How few here walk the earth whom you saw in these streets at your first coming!- All the closer do I hug those with whom my thoughts have longest brought me into communion. The "printing" I enclose will show that no c[illegible]al man now meets me - no, not one. - My boys were both with me in the holidays, and knew that on birthday I was to be monopolized by those of an outer circle - I wish you had been with us at the [Ides?].
Prof. Snow had earned a sabbatical year and went broad with Agnes in June. Their ideal was realized in a sort of Bohemian honey moon, But seems right and sound made them laggards before they set foot in Italy, and Agnes wrote at Milan - "We have kept the good wine until now,- and alas! cannot stay to drink it." Snow's lectures began with Feb. - and he was on hand -
But about New Years' Hanks our chief banker, and his wife Anges' sister by the higher birth appeared in Naples, saying to Anges, "Abide with us, or we must go it blind-" It was as good in Snow's eyes as hers that she should could stay.- Business soon forced Hanks to start homeward - though I have not seen him yet, But he said to Agnes [illegible]. "go where you will - and stay as long. Foot the streets - (or automobile them) - have no thought of footing bills. So Agnes is having her hearts desire, and Anna finds her cares for me medicinal for [illegible] - and is as self-forgetful as a hen scratching for one chicken.-
Ever since you were here-I have loved the home as much as I had before loved to wander. - [Lib.?] and [illegible]. have grown as in a perpetual spring time - and I have had no sickness except old age - Mrs. Adams and wife, our best of friends - have died where you live - and left their all to our institutions. - Work on the ca[illegible]gie has already begun, - close by the Oark, - my corner.
I see you are to do for Roosevelt what you would gladly have done for me in 1869. - and what nobody but you could do or can. - In some camp you will tell him how you found me, - and perhaps get some match for it from him. - telepathy!
He will be here next Fri. - but barely two hours. - and politicians will hedge him about. - In 1893, he came here in Jan'y and I caught him brow[illegible]ing among the stacks of Dutch books in a back room or garret - thinking him a man I had seen hanging about the legislature for a job as our [porter?] I thought he had gotten the place - and so with a hand-shake said to him; "So you're a going to stop with us!" - "Yes", said he, "but not so long as I would be glad to, etc" - He did not discover my mistake. - We invited him to lecture under our auspices, in the Capitol - and I -(then acting Pres. of the Hist. Soc.)- introduced him - My words - suggested by his vagabondage, - were as prophetic as the witches to Macbeth. - "Mr R. not of Mass. nor of N. York - nor of Dakota - but of the United States-!" He began with special thanks for such a send-off.
My ability to walk and talk for six hours day after day was what I chiefly thank god for on entering the year next-to my ninet[illegible] - May you live as much longer than I [as?] you are most useful. Come and see me!-or at least look me up in the life beyond in a region contrasted with that liberty cap of 1869 as much as that does with the platitudes here.
James D. Butler.
1903 Mar 28
Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21.5 cm.
Butler, James Davie, "Letter from James D[avie] Butler to John Muir, 1903 Mar 28." (1903). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2572.
Reel 13, Image 0340
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