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Mentone, St. Paul, St. Augustine (Florida), and also in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Monterey (California), afford a subject well worthy of consideration : —
Cold with moisture leads to pulmonary diseases; heat with moisture leads to malarial fevers. From such diseases the coast of Southern California is remarkably free. The dryness of the atmosphere prevents malarial diseases, and is also a great relief to bronchial affections.
You may ask, how can an invalid pass the time; in other words, what amusements and recreations are offered? Samuel Bowles once wrote of Los Angeles, that "It is the happiness of Paradise to breathe the air and to bask in the sunshine of Southern California." To the confirmed invalid who has been for months imprisoned by the rigors of an Eastern winter nothing more would seem desirable; but it would hardly satisfy the convalescent who begins to feel the vigor and buoyancy of returning health. Here again the advantages of California are manifest. In all parts of the State the sportsman finds use for his gun and rod. Squirrels, rabbits, wild geese, quail, ducks and deer can be found near at hand; while larger game, such as panthers, lions and grizzly bears, abound in all the wooded mountains in the State. The streams are alive with trout and salmon, which can be legally taken after April 1st.
Time will not allow me to do more than name some of the numerous springs which abound in all parts of the State. In variety, number and character, they are found in California at convenient points, occasionally grouped together so that the invalid may have the benefits of soda, sulphur, alum, magnesia or iron springs, hot or cold, while staying at one hotel. The waters of Paso Robles, Paraiso, Gilroy, Harbin, Byron, Seigler, and of other hot springs, are beneficial in the treatment of sciatica, rheumatism, gout, paralysis (without organic lesion), and cutaneous complaints. The hot springs of Lake Napa, Sonoma, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties have no superiors in eastern States, while many of ihe cold sulphur, soda and chalybeate springs of Napa Lake and Sonoma Counties excel those of Bethesda and Saratoga. They are all accessible, with good, small hotels, situated in the midst of some of the grandest mountain scenery to be found on the Pacific Coast.
Perhaps the most celebrated of these are the soda springs located six miles northward from Napa City.
These springs furnish a daily flow of four thousand gallons of water impregnated with iron, soda, magnesia, lime and muriate of soda, with free carbonic acid gas, in such happy combination as to impart pleasure, health and physical improvement as the result of their use. From more than twenty of these springs is poured forth the article well known in the commercial world as "Napa Soda."
The water is bottled and sold just as it flows, pure from nature's laboratory, with all her sparkling freshness still upon it.
The place is not what is usually termed a fashionable resort. It is a delightful spot in which to bathe, and hunt, and fish, and sleep, and dream, and rest, and forget the busy, whirling city, with its work, worry and disappointments.
Perhaps I have said enough to indicate, in a general way, the advantages, and a few of the peculiarities, of California as a health resort.
Many extravagant statements have been made by tourists, conveying the impression that frost is unknown, that no fires are needed except for cooking, that it always rains at night, that it is never uncomfortably warm in summer, and various inaccuracies tending to give a false impression of the country.
The residents of Southern California do not claim that their climate has no discomforts; but they maintain stoutly, and with reason, that no clime has fewer. I have noticed that the longer one remains in California, the stronger becomes his attachment, and the less his inclination to return to the changeable climate of New England.
In closing, permit me to briefly indicate some of the classes of invalids which are benefited by coming to the Pacific coast.
Persons having sensitive lungs, and those in the early stages of consumption, always find relief, and sometimes permanent restoration, in the warm, dry regions of Southern California.
So, too, sufferers from rheumatism, neuralgia, nervous prostration and asthma. In fact, all the disorders in which out-door life is indicated may be treated in this dry, warm climate with a fair prospect of success.
On the other hand, as you value the good will of those who look to you for advice, do not subject invalids suffering from chronic, incurable diseases to the discomforts of a long journey, when no radical benefit can be expected. The key to this climate is to be found in the fact that it has a warm sun and cool air. You may sit under the shade and pick ripening figs by day, and then retire to sleep under heavy blankets at night. The day furnishes warrnth which is not debilitating, while the cool nights bring refreshing sleep. There is scarcely a day of the year a large portion of which may not be spent out of doors.
Add to these advantages the choicest and most tempting array of fresh fruits and vegetables for every month of the year, and you have all of the requisites in a climate for invalids.
Thus far only a commencement has been made in settling this great State. At no distant day, when it shall have been cut up into small farms and occupied by thrifty Eastern people, we may expect a veritable Paradise on earth, and such a Sanitarium for invalids as the world has not known.