Helen [Hunt] Jackson
1600 Taylor St.,
San Francisco, June 8, 1885.
My dear Mr. Muir,
I want some help from you. I have been terribly ill for four months, severe malarial poisoning contracted in Los Angeles.
The doctors say that in six weeks I may be strong enough to be laid on a bed in a wagon and drawn about. I know, with the certainty of instinct, that nothing except three months out of doors night and day will get this poison out of my veins. I want to get where it is cool, and moist, and among trees. I cannot endure heat. I cannot bear a high altitude -- nothing over 4000 feet. The best I can hear of is to be taken by train to the Sierra foothills, say the Dutchman's Flat region, and work up towards Truckee. Can you suggest anything better? or more? I want to keep moving. I cannot go away from Wells Fargo posts. I must have even more than comfortable fare.
I have the fortune to know an old guide and camper who will conduct my train and has made estimates for me. I must have eight horses, four vehicles -- an ambulance for me in bed, two camp wagons for tents, and a comfortable phaeton buggy -- four servants, myself, maid, and doctor.
Now do you know any good itinerary for such a cumbrous caravan as this? How you would scorn such lumbering methods! I am too ill to wish any other. I shall do this as a gamester throws his last card!
I have always hoped I should see you. I believe I know every word you have written. I never wished myself a man but once -- that was when I read how it seemed, to be rocked in the top of a pine tree in a gale.
…San Francisco, [Calif]
1885 Jun 8
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 26 cm.
Jackson, Helen Hunt, "Letter from Helen [Hunt] Jackson to John Muir, 1885 Jun 8." (1885). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1601.
Reel 05, Image 0266
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