"My love and greetings to the old friends of my own home town who are remembering me today. I think they know I would rather have their friendship than any other reward. When I was a child I loved my own town more than most children do, but I could not show it. I used to hope that some day I could make my town pleased with me. If I have succeeded it makes me very happy." Willa Cather [Stout #717]
What has she done to upset her so? Hasn't sent anything to Bess [prob. Elizabeth Seymour] or Auntie [Sarah Andrews] since she returned to New York. Hasn't written because she knew Douglass was there. Certainly did not mean to cause discord between her and father about the newspaper story about Margie [Argus, October 30, 1924; apparently following a story in one of the city newspapers in Nebraska]. It caused gossip, but isn't angry about it. Hasn't felt really angry toward her since they quarreled about Mrs. Garber. They've been growing closer and mustn't ruin that now. Hopes she and father will let her buy the house so they can pay Elsie to come live with them and look after them. Willa [Stout #771]
Is sending a contribution toward the Red Cross quota for Webster County, which is appropriate since she owns land there. Has been out of the hospital for almost three weeks but still not well. Throat problem similar to the ones her mother used to have. P.S.: Prefers to write checks on her Chase Bank account because they will be returned for tax records. Glad to give to the Red Cross; one charity that does what it claims to do. Willie [Stout #1482]
Thanks for the box of bittersweet, which she has in a bowl in her bedroom. [several lines blacked out] Wishes they [?] would use Mari Sandoz's book instead of hers. Sandoz would like the publicity. Just wanted to warn her about these people. P.S.: Enclosing checks for the Red Cross and for the Ladies Guild of Grace Church. Willie [Stout #1678]
In previous day's letter forgot to ask if he could send her Webster's Dictionary. Not working in the office much any more and therefore needs one at home. It is the dictionary Charley Moore gave her that father rescued from the fire in Moore's office. Willa
Had first session with Léon Bakst yesterday. He pronounces his name like "boxed," but if one insists on making it sound mid-western, it can be pronounced to rhyme with "waxed." Please tell the family to learn how to pronounce it, as his name will be associated with hers often. Bakst's studio is made up of large rooms filled with gorgeous, meticulously arranged objects from Asia and Europe. In those rooms, it seems as if one is in a church dedicated to all the world's religions. Bakst is the kind of person she has always loved—like Annie Sadilek and Joe Pavelik Sr. and other childhood friends. Though he doesn't speak English well, he is trying to read One of Ours using a dictionary. He uses French to speak to her, and has told her fairy tales from Russia. Thankfully, he did not ask her to dress formally and is painting just her head and shoulders. He picked a green shirt she had, reminiscent of a Russian blouse. Sittings remind her of the days listening to Mr. Ducker as he spat tobacco juice, she is such a student to the master. Time will go quickly in those wonderful, scrupulously neat rooms. [Pasted at the top of the second page is a newspaper clipping in French listing results in horse races, including a horse named Red Cloud, with a note written by Cather pointing out that Red Cloud is winning in Paris.] Willa
Everyone is sorely missing little Virginia, and mother requested that Virginia's tree swing be put up so it would not be a sorrowful reminder of her absence. Was sick and could not attend the circus, but others enjoyed it. Jess just learned from an eye doctor in Hastings that, despite the advice of the traveling doctor/salesman, Mary Virginia ought never to have been wearing glasses. Weather is good. Roscoe has probably heard about the Billy Bense drama through the Argus. Love to his family. Willie.