Alice Morse Earle
FromAlice Morse Earle.[letterhead]My dear Mr Muir-I am deeply touched and much gratified at receiving your book "Our National Parks" - which you have sent me. Gratified am I not only because the book stirs and stimulates my fancy, but because I am proud to know, through this gift of yours, that you have not forgotten me. And I do so hate to be forgotten - The sting of death to me rests solely in the dread that no one may remember me. Since I first knew your Mountains of California, I have read every word of yours which I could find - among these words [some?] of the papers which now form this book. You have revealed to me through your writings, a new out-doors, on so entirely [illegible] my New England woods and fields that it might04378 be in another planet. Your wild gardens are so strange so beautiful, they seem remote from my life - They are not unreal & they are living places, but they seem so far away. What can a forest or meadow be with these strange wild flowers, [ivesia?] [thocarpus?], draperia, collumia, [Tanscheneria?], allmostoma, manzanita, [acanthus?], [chamaebatia?] - what can they be- Even the lilies seem so strange to me. I have read every word of the chapter Wild Gardens of the Yosemite twenty or thirty times. I cannot comprehend it. The Alpine gardens, the meadow gardens - I partly comprehend - but these gardens whose soil is crystal, mica tormaline all with tiny spangling growing flowers it isnt a real place is it? I am a true lover of larkspur, and though the tint of larkspur is not a pure turquoise then a turquoise always reminds me of larkspur it symbolizes larkspur to me. I never in my entire life bought a jewel, an ornament a trinket for myself- I said a year or two ago to myself I would try myself a jewel with some of the money that has come to me from my books - But I have two daughters, and everything has gone to them. Both girls are to be married in a few weeks - and after that - I am going to buy me a turquoise. I want one clear of color [fine?] of size, and I shall have it set in a ring because then I can see it myself— set just in plain gold. My book Oldtime Gardens is selling well- and I will buy this turquoise with some of the money- and when I look at the turqoise I shall always think of these wonderful California gardens- It will be to me a symbol, an emblem of the color and glory of these gardens.I have an excellent picture of you - I believe it to be good though I never saw you. Tis cut from a magazine, perhaps the Book h[illegible] you have on an overcoat and cloth peaked cap, and hold up a branch of pine cones against the wall. Do you know who Appleseed Johnny was? He furnished apple trees for half a century to all the [pioneer?] settlers of Indiana & Iowa He deemed himself sent by God to furnish apple seeds and young seedling trees to these settlers. He once killed a rattlesnake, and throughout his life he never [cursed?] his self-reproach for his wantonness. I bethought myself of him as I read your pages. I have such a dread, an [immutable?] loathing of a snake that I will not touch a picture of one; I will not even glance at a picture of one in the Dictionary - And one time when someone handed me a pocketbook of snake skin and I was told what the skin was - I vomited so continuously that I had to go to bed and have a nurse - I [abhor?] anyone who would touch a snake - And even your meadow gardens would not allure me if snakes were therein. The question of their malignancy has no bearing upon my attitude towards reptiles.I have spoken [with?] of your fine book of what I believe it will do, namely: make [illegible] [heedless?] people to visit and love and preserve our forest reservations. I wish I could review it for some publication - I will write and see if I cannot I have written a book called Oldtime Gardens- and I am sending a copy to you[in margin: Alice Morse Earle] Mtns of California Review by Alice Morse Earle.Perhaps the most marked characteristic of the book is the intense love shown by the author for all forms & aspects of nature the trees are his brother; he knows their forms, their voices, the different sounds of their rustling leaves, he reads their soul; the birds & beasts are his friends - how he delineates their features! the flowers are his sweethearts; he can never cease telling their endearing traits.The book is wholly self forgetful; in that respect a keen contrast to the self conscious nature-studies of Thoreau. It is almost man-forgetful - though occasional bits of description appears - like this humerous acct of the furred Mono [illegible].The picture of the old miners in their exaggerated dotage shows deep human sympathy. I do not like to end the reviewing of this book any more than like to close its pages, over wh I linger longing to quote the fine thoughts, the fair & symmetrical sentences I ever find, to give the noble expression of the sublimity & power of the winds told in that fairly passionate chapter A wind Storm in the Forest; to tell the revealed meaning of the gestures of the trees; to recount the wonderful almost incredible story of the beautiful brave wild sheep, the analytical study & history of the giant sequoias, the picture of the hanging gardens with larkspurs 8 ft high & that final revel in sweetness, the chapter on the Bee Pastures, those flowery wildernesses whose gladsome praise in melodious phrase makes a picture sweeter than that of honied Hybla, rosier than that of heathery Hymettus.Alice Morse Earle04378
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 35 cm.
Earle, Alice Morse, "Letter from Alice Morse Earle to John Muir, [ca. 1909 ?]." (1909). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 5968.
Reel 18, Image 1003
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