A Truthful Woman in Southern California CHAPTER I. HINTS FOR THE JOURNEY.
The typical Forty-niner, in alluring dreams, grips the Golden Fleece.
The fin-de-siècle Argonaut, in Pullman train, flees the Cold and Grip.
En Sol y la Sombra—shade as well as sun.
Yes, as California is. I resolve neither to soar into romance nor drop into poetry (as even Chicago drummers do here), nor to idealize nor quote too many prodigious stories, but to write such a book as I needed to read before leaving my "Abandoned Farm," "Gooseville," Mass. For I have discovered that many other travellers are as ignorant as myself regarding practical information about every-day life here, and many others at home may know even less.
So let me say that California has not a tropical, but a semi-tropical climate, and you need the same clothing for almost every month that is found necessary and comfortable in New York or Chicago during the winter.
Bring fur capes, heavy wraps, simple woolen dresses for morning and outdoor life; and unless rolling in wealth, pack as little as possible of everything else, for extra baggage is a curse and will deplete a heavy purse,—that rhymes and has reason too. I know of one man who paid $300 for extra baggage for his party of fifteen from Boston to Los Angeles.
Last year I brought dresses and underwear for every season, and for a vague unknown fifth; also my lectures, causing profanity all along the line, and costing enough to provide drawing-room accommodations for the entire trip.
Why did I come? Laryngitis, bronchitis, tonsilitis, had claimed me as their own. Grip (I will not honor it with a foreign spelling, now it is so thoroughly acclimated and in every home) had clutched me twice—nay, thrice; doctors shook their heads, thumped my lungs, sprayed my throat, douched my nose, dosed me with cough anodynes and nerve tonics, and pronounced another winter in the North a dangerous experiment. Some of you know about this from personal experience. Not a human being could I induce to join me. If this hits your case, do not be deterred; just come and be made over into a joyous, healthful life. I would not urge those to take the tedious journey who are hopelessly consumptive. Home is the best place for such, and although I see many dragging wearily along with one lung, or even half of that, who settle here and get married and prolong existence for a few years, and although some marvellous cures have been effected, still I say the same.
And what is to be put in the one big trunk? Plenty of flannels of medium thickness, a few pretty evening dresses, two blouses, silk and woolen or velvet for morning wear, with simple skirts, a gossamer, rubbers, thick boots for long tramps and excursions, parasol, umbrella, soft hat to shade the face, and gloves for all sorts of occasions. I do not venture to suggest anything for men, they travel so sensibly. The more experienced one is, the less he carries with him.
So do not load up with portfolio and portable inkstand, your favorite stationery, the books that delighted your childhood or exerted a formative influence upon your character in youth....