Alhambra, August 23, 1880.
My beloved husband,
Day after day I have waited hoping to be able to write you the "lovely letter" I promised, but even now these poor pencilings are all that I can send for thought of you. I am not in [a] doleful mood to-day, being so much better that I hope in just a little while to be really my own self again -and there seems to be no reason for fearing that any harm has been done. I have been miserably ill, but after many sleepless nights of strange shadows and wild wandering phantoms, the fever cooled away yesterday at daybreak, leaving me free from pain, hopeful and strong of heart. The whole week after you left, there was almost continual pain, but nothing more. Then the fever began; still for several mornings I was able to rise at seven and go slowly about the garden for half an hour in the warm sunshine, and train the smilax, etc. After the lightest of breakfasts, oatmeal and boiled fruit juice, I rested in bed until nearly sunset when the fever cooled, and I dressed and then spent an hour or so with mother and the visitors who "came to keep her from lonesomeness."
But all this failed to bring quiet sleep at night until at last my dizzy brain seemed on fire, burning - Oh, my love, do not be troubled because of this; for now I trust that the strange weakness and unstrung nerves and foolish fancies have all been burned away through these fierce days - and that hereafter I shall not fail you when your heart has need of me.
My darling, my darling, I longed so for the touch of your hand, to see you and hear your voice, if only for one moment this side the unfathomable depths of arctic mists. You seemed so utterly beyond my reach or call - but yesterday in the Sabbath stillness, you came to me and I was comforted.
Now I know that neither time nor space can ever separate us and that wherever you be, here or there, I am with you truly so long as my soul is faithful to you.
Dear heart, when you come home to me again I shall know better how to be good to you and then, please God, our own Precious Hope will seem so near that every thought of it will bring to us all quietness and recompense.
September 1st will be 20 weeks from our wedding day. O John, if you can only know all the loving thoughts and kisses and prayers I shall give you on that day! My beloved, my husband, I give you all every day, praying that God will bless you and love you and bring you safely home to your faithful wife,
Two fresh letters from far Alaska are added to my precious store of messages from you, John my own. For an hour I have been resting quietly without thinking or fearing, only feeling the comfort of your presence, as if you were indeed here beside me, soothing me to sleep and happy dreams.
The three Columbia letters seemed to my fevered brain tokens of far departure only, and after that there came the old fancies of treacherous Indians, and cruel glacier-caves.
But now, I can trust that the Father holds you ever in his tender care, and his good angels guard and lead you unharmed through all wild ways of darkness.
I think of you rejoicing in the light of that glorious aurora and the stars above, and of the sunrise glow on glacier and snow-crowned dome, the rose of Paradise - and then thrilled with gladness over the dewy beauty of mosses and wild roses, and the fresh grand strength of storm-reared pines. The blossoms of the snow! Oh beloved, I am rejoicing with you in them all, and while there are summer days in the north I will not complain, if only you come while there is yet fair October sunshine.
1880 Aug 23
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.
Muir, Louie, "Letter from Louie Muir to [John Muir], 1880 Aug 23." (1880). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 577.
Reel 04, Image 0285
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