M[ary] L. Swett
not dare tell you such things — All your treasures are safe – just as you left them. Mary Frances did not get a situation here at the June vacation and went back to Olema but hopes to get in here before the rainy season. We miss you and regret you – I think you ought to feel proud of the place you have won in all our hearts – We have summered and wintered you and love you still. Familiarity has bred respect esteem and regard – It is a [in margin: 96] remarkable instance – It is usually the other way. When you come back I am prepared to talk you deaf about my summers experiences. I know I shall have a sympathetic listener – O Mt Shasta! O Castle Lake! – O glorious falls on the Sacramento! And O the hard-backed horses I have ridden, the streams I have [underlined: forded]!! the mountains I have climbed. Yours truly M. L. Swett.
[in margin: Don’t you twib me with not knowing how to spell familiarity. I do know how you see.]
[in margin: I was amused at your disclaimer of responsibility in regard to that last fearful exposure to thirst – O [underlined: do try] and keep out of such scrapes, or Mrs. Carr and I [underlined: will] scold. But you acted like a hero in the end.]
[ L. T. ?] Sept. 12, 1878.
Dear John Muir.
It is about a week since we got your letter in which you gave us your address for the next fifteen days, so this may be too late to reach you – but perhaps it will follow you – so here goes at a venture. One of the most delightful summers of my life was the one just gone – and Lissons the nearest Paradise of any place I have yet seen. I am glad you have been there – it would be too discouraging to try to convey with the pen any adequate idea of the softness of the climate, the magnificence of the scenery, the exhilaration of the mountain air, the luxury
of the trout, venison and wild berries. On one walk we ate five kinds of wild berries – huckleberries, black cap raspberries wild black gooseberries, salmon berries (or thimble berries as [underlined: they] call them) and blackberries. Of the wild strawberries we had an abundance. I have seen nine pounds and a half on the table at once. Of huckleberries we had a feast – three times a day for two months. I have seen 42 gallons brought in at one time by those picturesque squaws. Helen does not need reminding to remember you — When we got home from Lissons Elisa took Helen in her lap and asked her if she was glad to be at home. “Yes – where is Mr. Muir?” and looked keenly and thoughtfully for a reply.
She says she wants to go to Lisson’s again but she wants to walk from the cars up to Lisson’s the stage jolts so. This morning she was pouring her tea into the saucer, and she said “this is the way Mr. Muir told me how to pour it” and was careful to keep the bottom of the cup over the saucer. As for the other girl she has Mr. Muir’s photograph in a frame on one end of her mantel and Mr. Lenger’s on the other. We laughed the other night when we saw a beautiful wreath of white convolvulus and a pink amaryllis twined around your portrait and a saucer of stewed plums standing like an oblation in front of Lenger’s. If you were twenty eight instead of (perhaps) thirty eight I should
1878 Sep 12
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25 cm.
Swett, Mary L., "Letter from M[ary] L. Swett to John Muir, 1878 Sep 12." (1878). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 445.
Reel 03, Image 0910
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