Anne and Helen remained at Wrentham for another three years after John and Anne separated. During these years Anne and Helen, accompanied by Polly Thomson, earned a living primarily through the retelling of the story of Helen's life in lectures. The constant travel and countless public engagements left Anne exhausted.
In the fall of 1916 Anne had to stop work as a result of pleurisy and (incorrectly diagnosed) tuberculosis. On November 20, she and Polly Thomson traveled to Lake Placid, New York without Helen in order for Anne to recover. While they were there Anne spotted an advertisement for travel to Puerto Rico and immediately bought two boat tickets for herself and Polly. Anne's five months of rest was one of the happiest times of her life. She wrote frequently to Helen, filling her letters with the heady sights and smells of the lush Caribbean island:
You know, Helen dear, Socrates believed in the existence of the Fortunate Isles somewhere beyond the blue zenith of our sky—isles which those who have lived in beauty sailed to after death. Well, I found one of the Fortunate Isles while still alive. Here I find freedom from the vexations of wars and politics and duties that have never interested me. This is the realm of warm delight...
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And again Anne writes:
I'm glad I didn't inherit the New England conscience. If I did, I should be worrying about the state of sin I am now enjoying in Porto Rico. One can't help being happy here, Helen—happy and idle and aimless and pagan—all the sins we are warned against. I go to bed every night soaked with sunshine and orange blossoms, and fall asleep to the soporific sound of oxen munching banana leaves.
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