During the difficult winter of 1893–94, Addams pushed herself hard. More than one visitor to Hull House noticed her paleness. At the urging of her doctor, in January she took a brief vacation to Green Bay, Wisconsin, with Mary Rozet Smith. The opportunity for a longer rest came a few weeks later when she left for California on her second paid lecture tour. Her traveling companion was her sister Alice, who joined her train as it passed through Kansas.1
Addams found the train ride across the western states startling. As she peered out the train window she saw something quite different from the gray, suffering world of Chicago's West Side. “I found myself amazed,” she writes in Twenty Years, “at the large stretches of open country and prosperous towns … whose existence I had quite forgotten.” In sunny Los Angeles she and Alice spent time with Mary's oldest son, John Weber Linn; Jane had sent him there to recover from tuberculosis. It was a restful time. She reported to Mary Smith, “I am lounging 'considerable' to live up to the climate.” Traveling north with Alice, she then spoke about the settlement house movement at Stanford University in Palo Alto and the University of California at Berkeley. She also gave three talks in San Francisco: one to workingmen under the auspices of the Socialist Labor Party, one to the Intercollegiate Alumnae Association, and one to the Congress of Women.2
The audiences were appreciative and the conversations interesting, but by mid-February Addams was beginning to find her trip tame. She wrote Sarah Anderson, “I "am" eager for the fray,—in other words quite homesick for Hull House.”3 She invoked the metaphor of battle playfully. She could not know that the most fearsome labor battle of the nineteenth century was about to explode in Chicago and that she would soon find herself at its volatile center.