Mary Hatch


Louie Strentzel Muir


Mary Hatch


Oakland June 27th Dear Lou, A friend of mine reported to me a conversation between two strangers which she overheard while crossing the Oakland ferry the other day. She claimed to hear a name, which she had often hear me mention, of a certain young lady, & so felt interested in the matter on my behalf. Strange is int it, this is the second item of the self same character that has come to me in the same way; the other one proved true, will this one I wonder! I await your reply with the greatest possible impatience. Do be magnanimous and relieve my mind immediately. I do think however that you might have let me into the [secret] yourself & not left me to find it out in such a nonchalant way. But I forget, I haven’t yet told you what it was I heard, & perhaps you may not be able to divine my meaning unless I express it more definitely. I would like just here however to reach you a lecture on the absurdity of your trying to keep such a matter a secret from your best friends while all the world and their neighbors are discussing it aboard steamboats & such like crowded places. Don’t do it again I beg of you. “But to return to my subject” – The first item of which I spoke was the marriage of Jill Camron’s brother which took place several months ago. Alice told me of it the day before the anniversary as a secret. Pshaw! Said I. I heard that a week ago she protested that could not be possible as they had known it only a week themselves, & had told no one outside the family. At any rate, said I, I heard it just the same day you did from an entire strange to you & all your family and I did, a lady had overheard her telling it to her cousin on the ferry coming over, & knowing that I was acquainted with the family naturally told me of it. The old story of little birds you know. The Camrons returned Sunday last by the way, I’ve seen them but a moment, shall go & see Alice & get an account of her trip in a day or two, she looked very tired & we only said welcome home, etc, the evening of their arrival. Our folks had a splendid trip, Amanda wrote that she was enjoying every moment of it, scenery grand etc, as I knew she would. I only wish she had some such appreciative person as you or I to help her out with her enthusiasms. Father & Vince went with her I suppose you know, Mother’s heart failed her and she staid at home, afraid of hot weather. They were all here at Commencement, & you were not. Was it the poison oak? I hoped you would come, even till the last day. – “But to return to my subject – “here I was at the bottom of my last page & haven’t told you what I heard yet. Shall I have it for my next? Or take another sheet? [Prudence] admonishes me to the latter course, besides my curiosity couldn’t [survive] the interval if yours did. – Well the sum and substance of it all was this. A certain lady who is famed for taking a friendly interest in all that concerns her friends, has made a protégé of a certain renowned individual who has studied rocks & glaciers (as it is purportedly supposed) until they have somewhat affected his [cardiacal] region. The tender hearted herself, is naturally opposed to the glacial system so applied, & has interested herself to bring him down to the [matrimonial] [temperature], & had they said, finally succeeded with the aid of a young lady of Contra Costa, beautiful, accomplished, rich, etc. etc. who was fully capable of melting not only any ordinary glacier, but the primeval rocks themselves. The united opinion of these disinterested gossips was the first mentioned lady was a public benefactor & deserved the thanks of the whole community for her zeal in behalf of science etc. in which opinion I most heartily [concur]. My interest however unlike theirs is not in the cause of science (although looking at the matter from my standpoint it takes a more interesting phase than from theirs, for which it is very commonly understood that the outward application of heat will melt the most formidable glaciers, the fact that two frozen bodies will attract each other & by the aid of friction finally amalgamate is not so generally understood.) But as I said my interest is not in the cause of science in the present case, but in the scientist, and as I hear him everywhere spoken of in the highest terms of approbation & administration, I profess the news is “Muir” than that welcome to me. Now Lou do be a real good sensible girl & come & tell me all about it wont you? If you will I’ll promise to assist in any amount of decoration for the momentous occasion. I heard the other day of some Martinez people being in San Fran, selecting a fine piano, was it for the grange? I looked for you a day or two in consequence of that hit of news, thinking of course you were one of the aforementioned persons & hoping you might run over. We have had real thawing weather here recently, the warmest spell ever known & the longest I believe, at any rate we’ve had nothing like it before in my knowledge of Oakland, & I really enjoy it. I froze almost solid coming home from your house & remained in that state for several days, am quite frisky now. Give my very best regards to Father & Mother, and hope they are both well & rested by this time. Gabe sends kindest remembrances to all. Yours Truly, Mary Hatch.


Oakland, CA


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier

No date Jun 27 Mary Hatch to Lou

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

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


8 pages



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.