Envies his being in Italy. Is working on the material about Eddy, after three men failed with it. It drives out every trace of an imaginative idea. Why doesn't he like [Pierre] Loti—afraid of real imagination? He covers up his own with slang and imitations of Kipling. Or maybe he fears being sentimental. McClure has paid $500 for illustrations for "The Valley of the Mills." Was in Pittsburgh a couple of months ago and saw the Willards. Only music saves her in New York. Please ask Mr. Reynolds to send her his work personally. Willa S. Cather [Stout #125]
What a beautiful place! Camellias and roses in bloom all around. Room overlooks the Gulf of Salerno, as blue as the water in a [Pierre] Puvis de Chavannes painting. Yesterday a festival celebrating the arrival of the skull of St. Andrew in Amalfi seven hundred years ago, but enjoyment interrupted by the arrival of some people she used to know in Nebraska. [Alice] Meynell's essays about Italy in the book Jewett gave her are very fine, especially the essay "The Lesson of Landscape," but A. E. Housman writes with equal truthfulness, and she includes a transcription of his "The Olive," a poem he gave her that she has never seen in print. The "White Heron" and the Dunnet ladies [references to copies of books by Jewett] are always with her. Willa Cather [Stout #138]
Letter came at a good time, when she was in bed partly to avoid social obligations, partly because of a stiff neck. Pleased to report people of Red Cloud crowned her picture with a laurel wreath. Has enjoyed reading The Doctor Looks at Literature [by Joseph Collins, 1923]. Recommends Mme Curie's book about her husband. Mother is still vexed by Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt. Unfortunately for Alfred Knopf, just when readers are prepared to buy books by her about the West she starts writing things where setting doesn't matter. P.S.: Is the yellow cat male or female? Willa [Stout #719]
Should have wired him. So pleased that his bank has weathered recent events. Curious about his perspective on the banking sector. Thinks anything is preferable to doing nothing, and though Roosevelt is not a genius, at least the U.S. will be active again. Haven't had a President who can converse in French with the French Ambassador since Theodore Roosevelt. The Laval incident only happened because Hoover and Laval had a misunderstanding. Is very busy, but hopes Roscoe continues to stay in touch about his business activities. Willie.