John Muir


John Muir


Emily [O. Pelton ]


[Page 1]

Fountain Lake Feb 27th 1864

Dear Friend Emily,

I was really glad to receive your letter on reading it I think I felt somewhat ashamed or guilty – or something of that kind. First came Mrs. Newton’s letter, bringing news of a paper sent which I did not receive, at least as from her, then you told me of one of your letters returned you, and the same day received one from Mr. Newton, telling me that he also had written one for the dead letters office, but I promise to be more careful in future. With study and labor I have scarcely been at all sensible of the flight of time since I reached home. In my walks to and from my field work and in occasional rambles I of course searched every inch

"[Page 2]

of ground for botanical specimens, which preserved in water were analyzed at night. My task was seldom completed before twelve or one o’clock. I was just thinking today that soon the little anemones would be peering above ground. You inquire whether or no I intend to study medicine. I did intend to give attention to that branch of science at Ann Arbor, but my plans have, for the present, been broken up. I have by no means however given up all hope of still finding an opportunity to pursue this favorite study some other time.

You speak, Emily, of that feeling of [ ] which at times weighs upon you. You have indeed much to cause grief. I frequently wonder how you can so well bear up under as many great trials; we little know what burdens are prepared for us. My brother-in-law truly said a few "

"[Page 3]

Days ago “John, did we know beforehand how much of trouble was in store for us we would be altogether [ ] for the duties of life” – but you must be careful Emily not to cherish your sorrows – this would overcome the strongest.

I have enjoyed the company of my dear relatives very much during this long visit but I shall soon leave them all, and I scarcely think it probably that I shall be blest with as much of home again. I had not before heard of the union of Mr. Lowell with [ ] Maggie. I think with you that Maggie will make a very good wife. You tell me that Miss Chafee “still survives.” I would rather have heard that she too had committed matrimony. I am sure that I would very heartily enjoy a familiar chat with her for “auld land syne.” Do you never hear anything of Mrs. Goodrich now? I sent"

"[Page 4]

Her a very fine present some time ago, but have not heard whether she ever received it.

It seems strange Emily that you did not hear of my arrival in Pr du Chien, as I called twice at the Mondell house.

You see how fully I have complied with the terms of your mandate respecting the rhyme. I think you will [ ] yourself bored for once the greater part of it was composed as well as written first a few days ago so that the task of correcting and transposing will devolve upon yourself. I think I must now have written enough to make up for my long silence and if there be [ ] in the Roman Catholic doctrine of supererogation, I now have a considerable fund on which I can draw in times of future delinquency. But I must bid goodbye remember me to Mr. Pelton

[margin of page 4]

and to Mrs. Newton, how sad a lot they have sustained. Remember me also to Mr. Wright he spoke kindly to me long ago. Goodbye. May you ever be blessed. J Muir

Write soon I shall receive your letters wherever I may wander to if addressed to Midland."


Fountain Lake, [Wisc.]

Date Original

1864 Feb 27


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

MSS 307 Muiriana

Collection Identifier

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

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages


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



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