« PředchozíPokračovat »
Na Sunday afternoon in 1900, the vessel vines of his ranch in the foothills of Contra
bearing the Harriman Alaska Ex Costa County, in California, and wonders that
pedition steamed into sight of the men labor years to buy fine houses to shelter Stikine Mountains, gloriously tinted with the them, and fine raiment to cover their bodies. alpenglow. Below decks, most of the party For he has lived a lifetime under the open sky drowsed through chapel services. On the and the stars, and has found Nature always bridge, John Burroughs watched the beauties kind in providing for his comfort, and has of the northern sunset flung from the sky to won from his study of the earth a richness of the rainbow peaks. Spying John Muir pacing intellectual experience, and a serenity of mind the deck below, he called down to him:
that few men possess. “This is well enough “John Muir, you should have been up here as a place to earn a living for my family,” he twenty minutes ago, enjoying this, instead of says, indicating the fertile valley around him, sleeping down there in your bunk in the cabin!” “but yonder," sweeping his arm toward the
"John Burroughs,” Mr. Muir called back, Sierra, “they are home.” "you should have been up here twenty years In 1849, his father, Daniel Muir, brought ago, enjoying this, instead of sleeping down him to Wisconsin from Dunbar, Scotland. there in your cabin on the Hudson!”
Here, on a backwoods clearing, the boy worked Mr. Muir's retort contains a suggestion of an for years at farm tasks. His father's ideas of epitome of his own life. He has preceded discipline denied him much recreation during most people by about twenty years in the knowl- the day. But he learned that his will was edge and the enjoyment of the things in which master of his mind, so nightly he set a mental he takes delight. Twenty years before the alarm clock that waked him at one o'clock lure of gold made Alaska a familiar land, he had every morning. Then, for four hours, by explored its glaciers and described its floral candle light in the comparative warmth of the beauties. Before the world knew much about cellar, he read Shakespeare, “Pilgrim's Progthe Sierra Nevada, except that it was heavy ress," and Scott's novels, studied botany and with gold and that it was the scene of Bret mathematics, and worked out some ingenious Harte's best tales, John Muir had lived amongst inventions. Though he had never seen the its peaks for ten years to study its plant life mechanism of a clock, he carved one of wood and forests, and to trace its history through that kept time, struck the hours, and indicated geologic ages.
the moon's phases. To-day, yet young-hearted as a boy, he The neighboring farmers admired the boy's knows the Sierra Nevada better than any other inventions so much that they persuaded him to
As a scientist, he has contributed per take them to a state fair at Madison. There haps more than any other to the accurate they attracted much attention, and the friendly knowledge of glaciers and of their action in interest of some people in Madison incited him hewing out mountains and filling in valleys. to enter the University of Wisconsin. He His work to preserve the trees that protect our worked his way, taking a special course in streams and valleys is primarily responsible chemistry, botany, and mathematics, and left for the reservation by the Federal Government without his classical degree. of our vast system of national parks and forest He was very methodical in his habits at reserves. And now, after a long career of college, and devised a machine to facilitate his fruitful scientific research and practical, help- routine. This device, operated by clockwork, ful work for the country, he stands among the
lit the fire in his stove in the morning, rang an
alarm bell to wake him up, and automatically Through this plain he walked to the Sierra, brought up his text books, one at a time, on a which he has ever since called home. For study-shelf, in the order and at the hour that he thirty years he has lived among these mountains, preferred to study each.
exploring one huge section of them so minutely From college, Mr. Muir explored alone the that there is scarcely a single peculiar rock forregion of the Great Lakes. His special inter- mation or tree of unusual size that is not ests were botany and geology. After this trip recorded in his note-books. For one period he had trouble with his eyes and was threatened of ten years he saw white men almost as rarely with total blindness. He determined to see as a New Yorker sees a blanket Indian on as much of the beauty of the world as he could Broadway. During these years he proved before he should lose the power to see. He scientifically that the Yosemites were formed started tramping again, sleeping in the open by glacial erosion, and not by a prehistoric wherever night overtook him, and gathering cataclysm, as scientists before him had conbotanical specimens as he went. At Indian tended. He traced the course of nearly every apolis, he ran out of funds. For a year he glacier that, ages ago, carved out the mountains managed a wood-working shop in the absence and canyons of the Sierra, and he discovered of the owner. When the owner returned, he nearly every one of the remnant glaciers on found his shop producing as much as ever with the higher range. He gave to science its first about half the former force of men, because of accurate knowledge of the Big Trees. He several inventions that Muir had installed. discovered one of the greatest glaciers in the He offered Muir a partnership, but the offer world, in Alaska-named the Muir Glacier was refused. Mr. Muir continued his tramp by Commander G. C. Hanus, then of the through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and United States Coast Survey. He has written Florida. At Tampa he embarked for Cuba, books and articles for newspapers and magaintending to go on to South America to explore zines that are the highest authority on the the Amazon. But after an attack of Cuban greatest mountain range in North America and fever he sailed, by way of the Isthmus, to on the greatest forests in the world. He reCalifornia.
cently discovered two “petrified forests” in He landed in San Francisco in 1873. The Arizona that had never been recorded before. city was gay and prosperous, and he was almost And now, nearing seventy, he regrets that his penniless. But one day of town was enough years do not permit as active a life of investifor him. The next morning he asked a man gation as he has lived. But the task now in the street, “Where is the Sierra Nevada ?” presses on him to sit down to collate, from the
"Over yonder," replied the man, pointing east. stacks of note-books he has filled, the mature
And Mr. Muir started to walk to the Sierra, knowledge of his long life of independent a hundred miles away. He was soon in the research in Nature's own laboratory. San Joaquin Valley, alone except for the occa The patience and hardihood required by his sional companionship of antelope. In his method of investigation are astonishing. Years “Mountains of California,” he has described ago he refused several offers of professorships the scene through which he passed:
of botany and geology in Eastern colleges. “The Great Central Plain
“No,” was his reply, “there are already too
was one smooth, continuous bed of honey-bloom, so marvelously rich that,
many men teaching things they have got out in walking from one end of it to the other, a distance of
of books. What are needed are original in400 miles, your foot would press about a hundred flowers vestigators to write new books." Therefore at every step. Mints, gilias, nemophilas, castillejas, and he has devoted his life to research. He has innumerable compositæ were so closely crowded together gone alone into unexplored wildernesses, carrythat, had ninety-nine per cent. of them been taken away, ing practically no luggage and using no pack the plain would still have seemed to any but Californians animal. For years his camp equipment in the extravagantly flowery. The radiant, honeyful corollas, mountains, summer and winter, consisted of touching and overlapping, and rising above one another,
a tin cup, a packet of tea, a sack of bread, and glowed in the living light like a sunset sky-one sheet of
a hand-axe. He never carries arms, tent, or purple and gold, with the bright Sacramento pouring
even blankets. He has therefore been able to through the midst of it from the north, the San Joaquin from the south, and their many tributaries sweeping in at
go where only goats have been before him, and right angles from the mountains, dividing the plain into
to live for weeks where only the birds have besections fringed with trees."
fore found sustenance.
He first earned the money to buy this simple equally good administration of the valley, or equipment by coming out of the mountains result in the taking over of the national reserve. in midwinter and doing a month or two's Mr. Johnson offered to cooperate in this scheme, manual labor on a farm-just enough to net and arranged for a series of articles by Mr. him $50 for another year's supplies. After he Muir, to appear in the Century, to start the had settled in the Yosemite Valley, he managed movement. When these articles appeared, a sawmill there during the summer months, Mr. Johnson appeared before Congress. In so that he need never leave the mountains. October, 1890, a bill was passed to set apart All the lumber that the mill cut was from fallen the reserve.
The effect of Mr. Muir's trees, for Mr. Muir has never cut down a healthy original impulse and unceasing later work can tree, even for scientific purposes. He lived the hardly be overestimated in its productiveness year round, now, in a little suite of rooms over of good in the preservation of the forests and the mill. Here he kept his books and speci- the scenic parks of the country. mens, and added to his income by writing In 1893, Mr. Muir traveled through Norway articles for the newspapers, especially several and Sweden to study their glaciers. In 1900 series for the San Francisco Bulletin. Here he he started around the world with Professor entertained Asa Gray, the great botanist, Sargent, the great authority on trees, stopping and Emerson, and other distinguished visitors in Siberia, Palestine, Ceylon,
, India, the to the Yosemite. Every one went away Philippines, and Australia, to study their astonished at his scientific knowledge, and forests. On this latter expedition Mr. Muir they carried his fame to every part of the world. walked hundreds of miles alone to reach forests
The fruit of a few years of this life was $500 inaccessible by established modes of travel. saved-so goes the story that he does not con Though he prefers to be alone in his retradict. Now he would be free. That $500 searches, that he may go where he will, when would pay his expenses for ten years of moun he will, he is not a recluse. On the Harriman taineering and study.
expedition he organized many parties for side He quit his job, and went to San Francisco to excursions, of which he was the guide and lay in supplies. There he met and married most entertaining philosopher. In a company, Miss Louise Strentzel, the daughter of Dr. he usually leads the conversation. As a teller John Strentzel, a famous Polish refugee and of stories from his own experiences, he has a physician. The bridal journey was a trip to world-wide reputation amongst his acquaintthe Yosemite. At the end of the honeymoon ances. His description of his dog “Stickine," the $500 was gone.
“And the moral of that whom he coaxed to cross a crevasse on a narrow is,” says Mr. Muir, “never take your bride to bridge of ice, is a fit companion of “Rab and the Yosemite."
His Friends” and “Bob, Son of Battle.” He That was in 1880. In 1881 the Corwin has been president since its organization of expedition was organized to search for the lost the Sierra Club, the California mountaineering Jeannette, containing the De Long Arctic society which he leads every summer to some exploration party. Mr. Muir went with the ex part of the range. pedition, and later wrote “The Cruise of the Mr. Muir often complains that the writing Corwin," a series of articles for the Bulletin of his books is a most difficult struggle to make describing their work.
the words express the beauties he wishes to In 1889, he accompanied Mr. Robert Under- describe. But few men have so suggestively wood Johnson, the associate editor of the expressed their own observation of Nature as Century Magazine, to the Yosemite Valley. he. In his “Mountains of California,” the Mr. Johnson was much interested in Mr. clean odor of pines, the majesty of the mounMuir's sorrow that the beauty of the valley and tains, the music of the streams are brought its surrounding country was being threatened surely to the senses of the reader. He adby the inefficient state control of the valley. dresses his writings to “every lover of fine
Mr. Muir's suggestion for a remedy was that wildness," and with him the reader may “wade the National Government might set apart a out into the grassy sun-lake, feeling yourself forest reserve which should entirely encircle contained in one of Nature's most sacred the state reserve of the Yosemite, with the hope chambers, withdrawn from the sterner inthat an efficient administration of the national fluences of the mountains, secure from all reserve would either shame the state into an intrusion, secure from yourself, free in the
universal beauty.” Or he may see with him 'Wel, Magee,' I called out, ‘how do you trees like the “grand old patriarch
like skeeing?' that has enjoyed five or six centuries of storms, “He thought I hadn't seen his tumble, so and attained a thickness of ten or even twelve he called back: feet, living on undecayed, sweet and fresh in " Fine! Fine! Why it's the poetry of every fibre," with wood that “is deliciously motion.' fragrant, and fine in grain and texture;
'Poetry of motion! Humph!' said I. 'If of a rich cream-yellow, as if formed of con you could have seen yourself writing your densed sunbeams.” And, by the grace of God, name on the sky with your feet you'd have he may even come to a faith in the serene thought it looked like the poetry of motion. philosophy of Mr. Muir that “these mountain You must mean Walt Whitman's kind of mansions are decent. delightful, even divine, poetry.' places to die in, compared with the doleful The spirit of eternal youth is in Mr. Muir's chambers of civilization."
unflagging zeal to learn, to find out from any, His native Scotch wit has matured into a however humble, source new facts about the fund of gentle, clean humor. Some one asked wonderful organization of Nature whose unhim last year what he thought of Walt Whit- folding mysteries have been the delight of his man as a poet.
life. By chance I rode with him last year "He had big ideas," said Mr. Muir, "un- through Arizona and California usual ideas But his verse reminds me of almost empty railroad train. In the smoking an experience I once had with Tom Magee. compartment of the sleeping car Mr. Muir Magee is a real estate dealer in San Francisco. spent hour after hour in recounting to two of For several years he had been after me to take us the adventurous incidents of his pursuit of him out and give him some practical lessons knowledge. At length the news agent on the in mountaineering. So I telegraphed him train, a dreamy eyed boy who had come West one day to meet me at Truckee, near Lake from Philadelphia for his health, after sucTahoe. He showed up promptly, and proudly cessive failures to sell us oranges, chocolate, displayed a pair of skees he had brought and the latest magazines, laid aside his tray along.
and sat down to listen to Mr. Muir. The “I want to learn how to use these,' he said. conversation was about the pleasures of the “ 'Alright,' said I, I'll show you.'
wilderness. The news agent broke in. “We started off over the snow, and I ex "O, I've tried that business of tramping plained to him how he must slide along, and through the mountains. Another fellow and how to steady himself with an alpenstock. I did it last year when I had to get out for my Pretty soon we struck a beautiful hillside, with health.
health. We took a couple of pack horses and a clean slope about three-quarters of a mile started to walk a hundred miles between two long. About half a mile down, there was a towns, and it nearly killed us." level shelf to one side of the incline. I told Mr. Muir's gentle rebuke was this: Magee to go ahead and that I'd watch him and “You made your mistake in the first place in criticize his performance later. But he taking the pack animals. They are enough insisted on seeing how I did it first. After bother to spoil any trip.
bother to spoil any trip. And your other miscautioning him particularly to keep his feet take was in starting out to ‘get somewhere.' parallel when he followed, I started down. That is the mistake of most people. The true
“When I got to that level shelf two-thirds way to enjoy the mountains is to start out to of the way down, I turned over to it and walk, not to a particular destination in a cerstopped to watch Magee. Here he came, tain time, but as you happen to feel like walktraveling like an express train, and going well, ing. When you get tired, stop and make camp. too. But just before he got to me his toes If you like the looks of a side trip, take it, and got crossed, and he turned a double somersault when you have exhausted the pleasure of it, about fifteen feet in the air and went down go on again toward your destination. But head first into the snow, with just his legs forget time. Take it easy until you are used showing. I shot on down to the bottom of to longer distances, and in the delay you will the hill, and by the time I could look back he enjoy enough beauties to pay up for the lost had righted himself and was zigzagging his hours."
The conversation drifted on to the mountains
way on down.
through which we were passing. The news by independent investigation of natural phenomagent, ignorant of Mr. Muir's fame as a In its practical aspect-practical in geologist, described at length the geologic the workaday sense of the word-his work formations about us. Mr. Muir was all at for the preservation of the forests is an intention, asked questions, and gave all deference calculably great service to the United States. to the answers, though I think with some sly He has lived a clean life of hard work for humor at the moment thai she was being told worthy ends, indifferent material reward. things he had discovered. But in two days'
But in two days' He has influenced many thousands of men to journey no hint of this was thrown out to the appreciate the livable beauties of Nature boy, and he and M. Muir continued boon without descending to an ignorant or meaningcompanions for the rest of the trip, exchanging less sentimentality over them. Nature has ideas and facts about the rivers, mountains, also been to him a means of approach to a desert and varying flora which the train passed. solution of the spiritual problems of men. And it cannot be doubted that somewhere in He has brought back from the majestic solitudes those two days Mr. Muir caught some new of the mountains only peace and gentleness glimpse of truth for which he was grateful. I and kindly wisdom and a stronger sense of know the newsboy did.
fellowship with humanity. Mr. Muir's work has produced a rich addition In each of five homes in the United States to the scientific knowledge of botany and there is a “ John Muir room.” They are geology. He has also produced a real litera never used except when he knocks at the door ture of nature that is sound scientific knowl and is welcomed as if he were a member of the edge, besides being most delightful reading. family just returned from a journey. That His example in research has given a great is one measure of John Muir's quality as a impetus to the method of scientific study
SOME BOOKS ON
ON GEOGRAPHY AND
A READING JOURNEY FROM AFRICA TO THE ARCTIC
CYRUS C. ADAMS
E MAY be sure that many a European should have thought his absorbing amusement geographer is already looking beyond unpleasantly resembled hard work. But it
the library and the classroom to plan was the breath of life to him, and his few weeks a little for his summer play spell. He will take a of clambering bore results that contribute to change of air, in the physical sense, but he the geographical knowledge of those islands. has no mind to get out of the atmosphere Though geography and travel description geographical that always envelops him. Where are the inspiration of many books, much of is the little island whose study may yield a the best geography, the very essence of it, often plum or two; the lake not yet sounded, meas appears first in modest papers or monographs ured, or tested for transparency and chemical buried in scientific periodicals or government constitutents; the valley, plain, or mountain reports. It comes into book form only when that may newly illustrate the relations between it filters in, at second hand, because it is apforms of life and their geographical environ proximation of the truth that cannot be ignored. ment? Scores of savants, next summer, will Many an explorer never wrote a book. Among be enjoying such a play spell. If we had been recent examples are de Brazza, the founder of with Dr. Sapper, a while ago, when he gave the French Congo, and Delcommune and twenty-five days to mapping one of the Canary Grenfell, the most extensive travelers in the Islands and part of another, and to studying Congo basin; these men have never appeared in their geology, land forms, and streams, we publishers' lists, though their work has largely