George Hansen


Geo[rge] Hansen


[John Muir]




Jan., 12th., 1906.

Dear Father,

Your letter arrived but hours ago. Not knowing what to write, I yet sit down to it, knowing that I have your love to overlook what may appear as being of little sense.
The rains pour in torrents outside, in fact, poured all night. And we impatient mortals have been filling he newspaper-columns with clamour and prediction of calamity for months past. - I say "we" purposely. For free as I feel from ever so many limitations, I, yet, acknowledge my "unbelief". But the Allmighty is helping my weakness. He it was who sent a man to us during these last years, of whom I recollect only,[and never to recollect any thing else], the pointing-out to me of one passage of the Scriptures. "Read the tenth verse of the 46th. Psalm". -I read it, and have lived it since. It says "Be still, and know that I am God". And as another "Man of God" has taught me to spell God, Good, I realize in my trials the peace that is past understanding.
Many and many a time have I re-read the fourth psalm, the one that my eyes were turned to when I prayed for the mortal shell that this imperfect world knew as your wife. It is indeed "turning His glory into shame" when we, doubting, ask "Who will shew us any good?". For, of a truth, "He has put gladness in my heart, in our heart, more than in the time that the corn and the wine of the others increased". --And I then fold the peacefull hands of my soul, and continue" I will both lay me down and sleep; for thou, Lord, only maketh me dwell in safety".
And in "safety I dwell". For what this foolish world thinks to be my" thorn in the flesh", I laugh at it as a hollow scarecrow, and thank


fully contemplate their blindbness, that prevents them from knowing what I know. I am overcoming, now, not in some future day or period. I know that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is revealed in us" . For to me, my kingdom is at hand. God gave us this little child to "lead" us, and I have followed gracefully. His days of schooling have now begun, but never shall our" understanding of witty inventions" get nearer to him than his body if we can assist it. It is not us that teach him; it is us that are taught by him. He would not have a cold, if he had not been taught to and permitted to have one. He reasons by himself that if anybody can "catch" a cold, he can kill it; and no wonder when we, with the earnestness of devoted children, observe him as he sqeezes a "cold that he caught" under a board, and "smashes its head all to pieces". -Our laws require him to be infected with poison thru vaccination. The word "cold" he learned from others, not from mother and father; and so does he not yet know the word "fever", But "fever" he has, so mortal senses say, and suffer he must. But he tosses about in sleepless night, and asks the mother why the nights are so hot. Last night, when undressing, he asked "Mama, is this going to be a cool night? - And ere other thoughts could affect him, I ventured "Haens-chen, Papa is going to ask dear God to make the night cool. Will you ask him too?"
And - O God, I thank thee for the land we live in. - the night was cool.
"Papa," he said , when waking the other morning after his tossings: "papa, you must not snore so loud; it keeps me from sleeping.
O, if we could but cure this age from its superstitious belief in fever, and substitute "snoring" for it. I would gladly proplong my unpleasant habit that has come with my afflictions.
And now, my paper gives ouut; the little man shall be here almost any moment, sheltered in rubber coat, hat and boots, and then, but more seconds, and mother calls for dinner .
And I have no "dinner" with you, but we all of us, broke "bread" together.

Love to the other children from



Berkeley, Calif.

Date Original

1906-01-12 0:00


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 16, Image 0033

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

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

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


2 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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