(Annie) Wanda Muir
The bear that Mamma did not see.
Yosemite Valley July 10th 1884.
My dear little Wanda, Mamma & Papa got the two new letters that you wrote & Mamma & Papa are very glad because the letters said that you are all right & not crying at all & wailing like a good girl & a sweet baby for mamma & papa to come home. & we are coming home soon to our own sweet baby. Mamma & papa got on to [illegible - the?] cars & the poogh poogh pulled up to Stockton & there are many mosquitoes in Stockton & they stung Mamma & wouldn't let her sleep,. & then we got on to the cars again & another poogh poogh pulled us to Milton. & Milton is a very hot place & we were all wet with sweat. & then we came out of the cars & got into a big buggy & six brown horses with long tails trotted fast & galloped some of the time & pulled us to Copperopolis & then the horses were tired & the man"
that was driving them put them in the stable & gave them a drink of water & some hay to eat & some barley. & got some more horses to pull the buggy to a funny looking little town & its name is Chinese Camp. & then the horses got tired again & they were all dusty & wet with sweat & so the man put them in the stable & gave them some water & hay & barley & then the poor things were all right. & just now a man came to papa when he was writing this letter & said ""is this Mr. Muir"", & papa said yes. & then the man gave papa a little letter from Grandpa & the letter said ""All well, do not hurry down"". & then more horses pulled the buggy up & down man big hills through many bushes with pretty flowers on them & big trees with beautiful cones hanging on the branches & we saw many squirrels"
with long tails & the squirrels were afraid of the horses & so they ran fast up the trees & began to bark like Bruno, & shake their long tails, but the did not bark so loud as Bruno, & some of the squirrels were gray & some of them had yellow stomachs & they all had whiskers & bright shining eyes, & we couldn't catch them & sometimes we jumped out of the buggy to gather pretty flowers that were growing under the big trees. & here is one of the trees, & here is one of the flowers, & here is one of the squirrels.
[sketches of tree, flower, and squirrel]
And then we came to Yosemite Valley, & the horses stopped & mamma & papa jumped out of the buggy & went into a big house to live, til we got home but the people in the big house did not give us anything
good to eat, & the bread was sour & the butter too old to eat & the meat was tough & the tea & coffee very bad & so we came away to another big house & we get many good things to eat now & we wish baby could come too see the pretty flowers & the big trees & the white water falling far down out of the sky. But baby will come with Mamma & papa some other time when she is a little bigger. This morning the man that keeps the big house that we are living in brought about 20 little fishes all covered with pretty red & yellow spots for Mamma to look at & Mamma said to the man that had the fishes, ""Are these catfish"" & the man said ""no these are trout"" & that made papa laugh for catfish have beards & whiskers & trout have no whiskers but Mamma did not know that. Then the man fried the trout & brought them to us to eat for our breakfast & he brought some ice cream too for our"
breakfast & papa said to Mamma ""What a funny breakfast this is ice-cream & catfish instead of much & milk but we had mush & milk too & venison & mutton & ham & eggs & bread. but the funniest things were the little spotted fishes & the ice-cream. An Indian man with long black hair, who never washed his face caught the fishes in a big creek that people call the Merced River A little boy that lives here has a funny little tiny donkey that has long ears & big sleepy eyes & the boy climbs up on to the donkeys back & ships him & makes him trot trot trot up & down the valley & the boy never falls off & everybody looks at the donkey because it looks so little & funny. There are many mules here too & horses & cows & some queer little dogs. & quails & robins & owls. & they make a loud noise some times neighing & lowing & braying & barking & singing & piping but the falling water coming down out of"
The sky makes a far louder noise and that is the sound we hear most, but baby cannot hear it because it is so far away and because there is no telephone to make baby hear.
It is dark now and baby has gone to bed and papa will not write much more until he writes another letter to baby and papa and mamma pray that God will keep baby safely and soon papa and mamma will come back to baby and bring many pretty things for baby. Here is a pretty flower that opens in the night and shines when the stars come into the sky Good night Papa will soon write another letter to baby and papa hopes that baby will be very good and do what grandma and grandpa tells her and be careful not to fall on the stairs or on the steps outside and do not eat anything that will make baby sick. And now papa says to his own sweet baby Goodbye."
Yosemite Valley [Calif.]
1884 Jul 10
Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21 cm.
Muir, John, "1884 jul 10 jm to wanda envelope" (1884). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4840.
MSS 048 John Muir Papers
Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt0w1031nc
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Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters