Anne W. Cheney
Monday, Oct. 18th, 1875.
My dear Mr. Muir:
I don't wonder you ask if I ever hear you now, for it is so long since I have written you that I have forgotten when it was. Still we do not forget you, and my intentions are always good, but a housekeeper has so many many things to fill up her time (that is if she does her duties well) that I find my time for letter-writing becomes less every year.
You have been so good to write me as often as you have, and if you only knew how much rest your letters give me, you would be astonished. Here at home in the whirl of society and entertaining a house full of company a great deal of the time, your letters bring with them a freshness and quiet that can only come from the wild country in which you spend your time.
We follow you in your published articles whenever they appear, and are always pleased to hear directly from you. It brings back our old life in the Valley, and makes us long for more of the same sort, and each year we think it possible that we may go out again, and then comes business, and home ties bind us closer than all else, for now Harry is settled here in business and Rob is at boarding-school, and we find it very hard to have to leave them behind. This fall I was very much in hope that we could get away, but there is no chance now. If we could only go over the mountains in Jan. or Feb. I am sure California would see us. As it is we may go to Florida for a short trip.
Poor Mrs. Day is in great trouble, perhaps you may have heard that her brother-in-law is to marry again soon, and her sister (his first wife) only dead a year. I long to go to her, for I know she feels it more than she shows.
Our autumn has been charming, the colors more brilliant than ever, it seems to me. Are you ever coming to enjoy one with us? Your field of study seems so boundless that I am afraid you will never to able to tear yourself away. I hear occasionally from Charlie Stoddard; the last letter a month ago, was from Chester. He is a fortunate boy to be able to loaf about as he does. Many a one would envy his liberty to go and come as he wishes.
We think of you as among the Sequoia, and yet by this time you may have taken a flight to Alaska. Your sketch of a Sequoia is charming. How I long for another summer in the Sierras. It is not often that I allow myself to think of it, for it makes me uneasy and discontented, and after all one cannot live forever on the past. I am so much better in health, and could endure and enjoy so much more than when there before, that I long to get away from this little circle of home ties and live for a while a freer life. You see I say for a while. I could not do so forever. I am too fond of people, and the noise and bustle of life to leave it for very long. I could never think of you, however, as leading any other life but the one you do, and it is so suited to you and you to it, that you make a most delightful whole. Don't get citified on any account, and I really don't think there is any danger of it.
I have written you a commonplace letter enough, and am almost ashamed to send it, but what can you expect from surroundings such as mine? Sometime when you come here you will understand me better. No more this morning. I am going up on the hills to find a little inspiration.
Anne W. Cheney.
[New York ?]
1875 Oct 18
Original letter dimensions: 21 x 26 cm.
Cheney, Anne W., "Letter from Anne W. Cheney to John Muir, 1875 Oct 18." (1875). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 323.
Reel 03, Image 0325
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