Is pleased that Elsie had a fulfilling summer, but hopes she will relax now and revel in accomplishments. Appreciated Bessie's lengthy letter—read it several times—but wishes she would use a soft lead pencil. Elsie was kind to welcome Ethel [Garber Cather, sister-in-law] and her children; Helen Louise and Charles Edwin surely had a fine time. Is very glad Charles got on with Jess and her sons [William Thomas Auld and Charles Auld]; he is very sensitive. Used the incorrect name [in the short story "Two Friends"] to describe the astrological phenomenon which she saw in 1893 from the Wieners' porch, and scientists are in a tizzy. Proper description is "occultation" of Venus, not "transit." The second printing [of Obscure Destinies] is revised. Heard about it first not from an astronomer but from the omnipresent Professor Phelps of Yale University. Enclosed is his response to Cather's acknowledgment, which Elsie may destroy after reading.
"Occultation" is correct. Saw it as a girl sitting on wooden sidewalk in Nebraska, and people there called it "transit." Was foolish not to research it more carefully when writing the story ["Two Friends"], but it has been corrected in second printing [of Obscure Destinies]. Thank you. Willa Cather
Apologizes if previous letter seemed lethargic, but it is hard to maintain energy when dealing with a lot of correspondence. Appreciates his kind words about Obscure Destinies. She has a very direct, intimate connection to those stories. Also, she wants American readers to better appreciate the long short story and not dismiss such works automatically. It is that prejudice which values Conrad's Arrow of Gold over his "Youth." The French have valued the genre for a long while, and hopes Americans can, too. Is not worried that a Baltimore man is writing a thesis, but hopes it is better that Mr. MacNamara's article in the Catholic World [McNamara, R., "Phases of American Religion in Thornton Wilder and Willa Cather," Catholic World 135 (May 1932): 641-649]. His sense that spiritual and intellectual advancement is linear is silly; it comes in bursts. Believes Catholicism is wise and humane enough to understand this about people. Willa Cather
Is writing a follow-up to the letter she sent regarding Virginia. For the last two years has wanted to send him a book to read and return. Changed English publishers several years ago because she no longer cared for the partners that remained at Heinemann. Shadows on the Rock was the first book published by the new firm, and after publication they sent a scrapbook of all the English reviews. Had never made such a scrapbook herself, but it does give a sense of her standing in England. The reviews were from both top journals and sporting newspapers. He is only family member who cares about her work, so wanted him to see the scrapbook. Cassell made a similar book for Obscure Destinies, and the reviews were even more insightful, as the sporting papers were not included. Doesn't want to overwhelm him with too much, though. Thinks he will enjoy this collection if he has leisure to read it. PS: Hasn't heard from Douglass or Elsie. What could be bothering them? Current book isn't about Red Cloud! Willie.