O young wandering Wanda comes out of the west,
Of all the fruit eaters her legs are the best.
She can climb Grizzly Peak, Mt. Diablo also,
And the rocky Sierra, all covered with snow.
Some girls get tired,
But she gets inspired
With determined desire
To climb higher and higher.
Then she seems to have wings
So she laughs and she springs
And her footies rejoice.
And when she comes homing
Tired of lessons and roaming,
She eats very much
Though meat she won't touch.
Some think she is queer,
Just how dont appear,
I think myself she is cranky
But not a bit lanky.
She rides in the rain,
Damp give her no pain,
She just love to get wet,
This dear little pet.
She has lots of ambitions,
And crams definitions,
And get up before roosters,
To write compositions.
On poor me she plays teacher,
Or at times solemn preacher,
And compels me to learn
With a face very stern.
But keeps on eating fruit,
Caring not the least particle
For any flesh article.
And shouts "come Helen let's climb a hill,
You little muggins I'm sure you will,
The wet brush ticks and clover
Make me happy all over."
She is growing wilder all the time,
As I'm trying to tell in prose and rhyme,
And climbs so well it doth appear
Some day she'll be a mountaineer,
So wondrous wise, so wondrous strong,
So wondrous gold, so wondrous long,
Where'er a mountain lifts its head,
Upon its top she'll make her bed,
She'll scale the very highest peak
Of that wild land called Mozambique,
And if you only think to ask her
She'll (tramp the peaks) of Madagascar,
And shout and dance and wave her hat
On the very top of Ararat.
Some doubting say "There's many a slip
Between the mountain's footy and [illegible] tip
But all her features proclaim the climber
As this fine letter proclaims the rhymer.
Her step is firm, her cheeks are rosy,
Her mouth is like a pretty posey,
Made for laughing, made for talking,
Her legs for dancing, climbing, walking.
And should the lass do all her dooty
A thousand peaks will feel her footy.
The Highlands, Alps, and Appenines
She'll climb with naught but bread and beans,
And scramble through the highest passes
With jumping Chamois' eating grasses.
And wandering far I think she'll soon
Try all the Mountains of the Moon,
The "Himmalaya", the very highest,
The Rockies, Andes, wettest, driest,
And fearing naught she'll make a push
For weird and wondrous Hindu Kush.
Meanwhile she keeps the classic shades
With scores of studious Berkeley Maids,
So cool, so calm, sedate she seems,
Her Mountaineering looks like dreams.
Here endeth my letter the dream and the ballad,
And now for a lesson, an orange and salad,
My eyes and my head and my fingers are sore
But if the Muses keep whispering, I'll send you some more
From your admiring
Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21 cm.
Muir, Helen, "Letter from Helen [Muir] to Wandering Wanda, [ca. 1903]." (1903). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2735.
Reel 13, Image 0944
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