Mary L. Swett


M[ary] L. Swett


[Louie Strentzel] Muir


[in margin: 99]


Hill Girt, June 14, 1895

My Dear Mrs. Muir,

Will you kindly hand the two enclosures to Mr. Muir, which I have copied from two letters received from Mrs. Forbes.
And now let me thank you and your husband heartily for the very handsome way in which you have given my darling Helen "a start in life."
She says she knows it is going to be delightful work and I hope it may



[in margin: 99]

Extract from a letter by Mrs. Alex. Forbes

"We are enjoying intensely John Muir's Mountains of California. Verily it is the finest pen-picture of natural scenery ever given to the world, I believe. The reader is with him through it all, witnessing the grand wildness of the mountain storms fraternising with the bears, deer and even the despised coyotes, listening to the songs of the various birds, the humming of the wild bees and the insect cries of countless other forms of life. I regret exceedingly that we missed


prove not only profitable but pleasant to your dear children as well.
I have advised Helen to give up, for the present, all other plans and I know what she, in common with the rest of her family, will appreciate the opportunity this opening gives her, of being at home longer.
You and Mr. Muir have always been kind to my children. I have not forgotten how Emelie could always count on you and how John French always got your names on his subscription papers and now you have taken Helen by the hand.

Yours gratefully M. L. Swett


Thank you also for the seeds of the Columbine. I mean to plant them today.


seeing the great naturalist, it would have been such a pleasure to have looked into his eyes and to have heard his voice, but I am always glad I saw his home and his loved ones and those wonderful paintings on the walls of the upper room and that, too, we were permitted to ramble through the grounds and pluck flowers therein and a sprig of rosemary that I pressed and have in my book. How often I live over those days in California!"




Another extract from a later letter of Mrs. Alex. Forbes

"Thank you for the kind allusion to my words about John Muir's Mountains of California. I do not remember what they were, but I am sure they were in appreciation, however poorly expressed, of his wonderful pictures of natural scenery and animal life and instincts. I would have given anything for a volume with his autograph on the fly-leaf, and, now I think of it, at the risk of being counted among the "autograph fiends" of which I am not one, I will ask




if you cannot induce the gude Scotchman to put his name on paper for the Yankee wife of one of his ain countrie if not of his kin. I will then paste it into the book. I have and try to believe that I am acquainted with the man himself, since I met his "better half" and the "twa bairns" and gazed with delight upon the glittering glacier on canvas which bears his name. It is one of my regrets in connection with a California experiences that I missed of seeing "John Muir" Should he ever come to New England I hope we may have the pleasure of receiving him in one or the other of homes whatever season he may come My two Scotchmen* from Forfarshire would

[in margin: welcome him right heartily." *Her husband and his brother.]


[Martinez, Calif.]

Date Original

1895 Jun 14


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 08, Image 1039

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


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