John Muir


[John Muir]


Louie [Muir]



stranger dressed in shabby black He has a kind of unnerved drooping look his shoulders coming together & his toes & his knees & the two ends of his vertebral column, something like a withering leaf in hot sunshine. Poor fellow he looks at our ship as if he wanted to go again to the mines to try his luck. And here comes two Indian women & a little girl trotting after them, They seem as if they were coming aboard, but turn aside at the edge of the wharf & descend rickety stairs to their canoe tied to a pile beneath the wharf. Now they reappear with change of [illegible] & the little girl is carrying a bundle something to [eat?] or sell or sit on. Yonder comes a typical John Bull Grand in size & style Carmen in countenance, abdominous & showing a fine tight curve from chin to knee when seen in profile yet benovelent withal



On board the California 10 A.M. Aug 4th 1880.

Dear Louie we are still lying alongside the wharf at Victoria. it seems a leak was discovered in one of the water tanks that had to be mended & the result was that we could not get off on the 7 o’clock tide last night. Victoria seems a dry dignified half idle town supported in great part by government fees. Every erect or more than erect back [leaning?] man has an office & carries himself with that peculiar aplomb that all the Hail B[illegible] people are so noted for. The wharf & harbor stir is very mild. The steamer Princess Louise lies alongside ours getting ready for the trip to New Westminister on Fraser River. The Hudsons’ Bay’ Company’s steamer [Otter?], a queer old tubby craft left for the N. last night. A few sloops plungers & boats are crawling about the harbor or lying at anchor doing or dreaming a business nobody knows Yonder comes an Indian Canoe with its one unique sail calling up memories [illegible]

[Page 2]


& reliable, confidence-begetting, & here just landed opposite our ship is a pile of hundreds of bears skins black & brown from Alaska brought here by the “Otter”. A few deer skins too & wildcat & wolverine. The Hudson Bay Co men are about them showing their ownership. Ten minutes to twelve oclock. “Let go that line there” etc tells that we are about to move. Our steamer swings slowly round & heads for [Nanaimo?]. How beautiful the shores are How glacial yet how leafy. The days becomes calmer & brighter & everybody seems happy. Our fellow passengers are Major Morris & wife, whom I met last year; Judge Deady. A young Englishmen & dreamy silent old gray man like a minister. 8 P.M. We are entering [Nanaimo?] harbor


many [O?] of my last winters rambles among the icebergs. The water is ruffled with a slight breeze, scarce enough for small white caps. clearer than the waters of most harbors, though not without the ordinary drift of old bottles straw & def[illegible] domestic animals. How rotten the piles of the wharf are & how they smell even in this cool climate. They are taking hundreds of barrels of molasses aboard for what purpose to delight the Alaska younglings with lasses bread & smear their happy chubby cheeks. Or to make cookies & gingerbread? [illegible], Whisky, Indian, whisky. It will be bought by Ind 9/10ths of it & more, they will give their hard-earned money for it & their hard-caught furs for it, & take it far away along many a glacial channel & inlet, & make it into crazing poison.[illegible] too many a ton are coming aboard to boil & fry & raise a watery cry. Alone on the wharf I see a lone


On board the California

Date Original

1880 Aug 4


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0271

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, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

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



2 pages


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



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