Is offering a revision of the character of Jessie Darcey [singer Thea Kronborg accompanies in The Song of the Lark] and will be glad to revise more. Thea has control over her own fortune; was a liar and was lied to. She expected to marry Fred, despite the fact that her Methodist childhood would not have led her to expect it. She ended up punishing Fred for what she did herself. Won't make all this entirely clear, because doesn't want character of Thea to alienate readers. Isabelle is going away for a few days to rest. [Stout #305]
Appreciates his returning proofs quickly; couldn't finish until she got his help. Isabelle will be leaving for Pittsburgh in a few days and she will follow. In the meantime she and all of New York interested in a group of eight morris dancers staying across the street from her who are causing trouble for their stage manager due to having lost all their gear en route. [Stout #313]
. . . So cannot travel to Red Cloud this year. Has been forced to give up a lot. Enclosed is a request from the Carnegie Corporation [the letter invited Cather to represent the United States on the Permanent Committee on Arts and Letters of the League of Nations], which she declined; it would be too exhausting. Suggested that Mr. Keppel invite Thornton Wilder instead, and Wilder agreed. Wilder is fluent in French and Italian and is both scholarly and gregarious. Keep this quiet. Would like Wilder to think he was the top pick. Tell Carrie and Mary, however. Hopes Red Cloud won't have too much heat and that Elsie will enjoy another summer there. Hopes Elsie will use check to pay for household help. Likes the nieces very much and will write more about them soon. Also loved Mary Creighton's wonderful letters. Willie
Is forwarding a copy of a letter to Elsie. [Enclosed is a copy of letter #1926 to Elsie Cather.] Agrees with his decision regarding the house: why should Elsie worry about its upkeep? Had wonderful times there, as did Douglass, and even gave up European vacations—funded by the Carnegie Foundation—to spend time there. That last winter spent at home with their parents was very happy. The house will be there always for Douglass, and for her as long as she retains her memories. Elsie has not been going it alone as much as he thinks, though: since 1930, has given $1,740 for the care of the house. Some of the checks were sent to Carrie Sherwood since she was there and could attend to things. Hopes Elsie doesn't sell the house to Retta or Jennie. Thanks for good advice regarding the Nebraska property, and will respond to it soon. Has trusted Willard Crowell with the management of the property, and worries he might neglect to send a statement of taxes paid. That is important for income tax purposes. The government is very particular about evidence on property taxes, especially on Western farmland. PS: It's too bad Douglass didn't survive to see the Montebello oil field pay off, since he cared so much about it. It costs one so much to care. Willie.
Needs his help. Simply must escape business correspondence—also honorary degrees. Could he write to the six businesses shown below and ask that financial correspondence be sent to: Willa S. Cather, Chase National Bank, Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, New York, NY, attention Mr. Milne. Wants all business correspondence—except from him—sent to the bank, not to the Park Avenue address. Mr. Milne, an officer in the bank, takes care of her accounts. There are so many different apartments in the Park Avenue building that mail tends to go missing. The porters cannot do everything, and now her secretary is away. Wants to reach a sensible stopping place in the book before she leaves— still not know where she is going. Should she give Crowell power-of-attorney for Nebraska concerns? Will in the fall. Must abandon Nebraska real estate and California oil fields now to concentrate on the work she is suited to. Writing is hard work: the revisions and corrections for the Autograph Edition took ten months! Hard to find time for a new novel. Must be hasty if she is to write to him at all. Wishes people understood! Sorry to complain, but it feels like being pulled under by quicksand. PS: These are the companies: 1) TransAmerican Corporation, 2) Bank of America, 3) Ocean Front Oil Co, 4) McVicar-Rood, Montebello Ltd., 5) Barnsdall Oil Co, and 6) Standard Oil of California. Willie.