Appreciates his kind words in his Second Reader, three years ago now, and appreciates his reprinting of Kenneth Grahame's Golden Age, as well as his bringing to her attention the paper on Boswell by Pottle. Recommends Johnson without Boswell, recently published by Knopf. Is it really he who is acting in The Man Who Came to Dinner? Such a surprise! Recommends French Hospital, where nurses speak French and even cooks are French. Had very good care and good food. A Catholic hospital, but nurses not nuns, so no black habits about. One accompanied the wife of ex-president of Chile on airplane when President Roosevelt provided her transportation back to Santiago. American airmen so fine—keep up her faith in America in spite of Communists having gotten hold of much of the country. Willa Cather [Stout #1533]
Is working hard after two weeks in Virginia, and Isabelle is preparing for her sister Edith's wedding. Pleased Elsie is doing some horseback riding. Wishes to get back to beautiful Nebraska. Sending a review from the Nation [97 (4 Sept. 1913): 210-211]. Likes beating out Norris and Phillips [Nation reviewer compared O Pioneers! to their work]. Willie
Enclosed review [of O Pioneers!] is from the Nation [97 (4 Sept. 1913): 210-211], which rarely publishes a positive review of a novel. Used to see Phillips at the Waldorf and said to herself that she understood the west better than he did, but no one would ever believe a woman. Now they do! Is very pleased. Please send back after Roscoe sees it. Willie
The critic who authored the significant review [Bourne, Randolph, "Morals and Art from the West," Dial, 65 (14 December 1918): 557] of My Ántonia she recently sent has just died of influenza. He was among the best critics in the U.S., and she worried about his review of the book. He didn't like Song of the Lark very much, except for the first section. Appreciates his favorable comparison of her with William Allen White. Has always disliked the way White and Graham Phillips wrote about life in the West. Sensed all along that there was a better, truer way of presenting it. Naturally Ántonia could have been written in the same folksy, rolicky way White prefers. He thinks he's being realistic, but he is really only showing off his commonness. Sure, White sells far more books than she does, but she is not trying to connect with the same readers. Doesn't worry about sales too much while she still has the money she saved from her days working at McClure's. Received an encouraging letter a few weeks ago from Edwin Winter, who used to be president of the Missouri Pacific. Winter had earlier worked for Union Pacific in Nebraska and built the first bridge over Dale Creek canyon—actually a wooden bridge! He wanted to visit with her, and he came over on Friday. He is a very impressive person! It's better to have one admirer like him than to sell a thousand copies. He found the book stirring and felt compelled to meet her after reading it. He wondered if she were actually Swedish, as he thought the novel was too literary to be the work of an American. What a vibrant, wonderful new friend to have! Please return the issue of the Dial and other clipping about Bourne, and inform Meta that she continues to enjoy the wonderful jam Meta sent: the scuppernong is gone and the pineapple is next. Would like to have been with them over the holiday.