James D[avie] Butler
Madison, Jany 8 '95
My dear Friend.
I should be writing you now even if you had not written me last Friday. It was my resolve not to write till I had wound up your Californian Bible with its closing Revelation on bees. All is now done.
The book was in you an inspiration--and it inspires all who have any fraction of your communion with nature.
Rocking like a baby in the tree-top (252p) you recall my experience 53 years ago when I ran like a squirrel into the main-top and higher, when the mast swung from side to side over the water--McCloud (p.259) rushes forth from the face of a cliff like the Jordan at Baneas from a spur of Mt Hermon where I camped to gaze the more on the river born full-grown. You know that as I daily circle the park and even in my study I have a taste of your squirrel studies. I see them baffling both dogs and even cats who sometimes run up a tree only to creep down abashed and chapfallen. I doubt if you know the etymology of squirrel. It is Greek [skioupos?] that is "shadow-tail"
You often lead me to quote Shakespeare.
p. 54 A true devoted pilgrim is not weary to measure kingdoms with his feeble steps.
Upon old Hiems thin [chin] and icy crown an odorous chaplet of sweet-summer buds is as in mockery set.
We see the revolution of the times Make mountains level, and the continent weary of solid firmness, melt itself into the sea! and other times to see, etc.
p 103. The baby-figure of a giant-mass of thing to come at large, which in their seeds and weak beginnings lie intreasured.
The the ousel cock so black of hue with orange-tawny bill. On the whole, your Genesis and Exodus is one of the best proofs that truth is stranger than fiction.
I am the more glad you laugh with me in phases--because only laugh at them.
I hope to send you a curious research upon early shipping on Lake Superior. My boys are toiling hard there. My eyes allow me to read or write all waking hours.
New Years I rang at 51 doors--entered more than 40.--was welcomed everywhere
The girls and I are a trio who remain Regardfully yours.
James D. Butler.
Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21.5 cm.
Butler, James Davie, "Letter from James D[avie] Butler to John Muir, 1895 Jan 8." (1895). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 6961.
Reel 08, Image 0709
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