#0168: Willa Cather to Frances Smith Cather, January 5, 1910

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Dear Aunt Franc1;

Is it too late to wish you a happy New Year? I have been wanting to write to you for a long time. But as soon as I got back to New York5 this fall Mr. McClure6 went South, and then went to Europe7, so I have been getting out the magazine8 alone. As I have not been very well any of the time, my editorial work has not left me with much time or strength for other things. During the Christmas holidays I went to bed for a rest of several days, and since then I have been feeling much better. Miss McClung9, whom you met six years ago, came on from Pittsburgh10 and spent November and December with me. She did a lot of shopping for me and trained a new maid11, and my apartment is really a very comfortable little place. I was so glad to have Isabelle with me at Christmas time, for that is usually a homesick season for me. New York is so full of homesick people then that there is a kind of wistfulness in the air. Last year, on the day before Christmas, I went down to Old Trinity Church12 to hear the children's service—a glorious service, truly glorious, but most of the people who sat near me were crying, and I surmised that they were all thinking of little towns far away, just as I was. Jack13 and Elsie14 always go down to grave yard at home15 on Christmas eve for me, and put holly and evergreens on Mr. and Mrs. Case's16 graves. I always like to think of their doing it, and it will make them always remember those two dear friends. I get great comfort out of Jack and Elsie—they are dear children. And when Elsie is a little older she will not be so "sure" about things.

I have not heard from Bessie17 or Auntie18 lately, but I like to think that they are both together and comparatively free from care. I used to be so worried and distressed about both of them and it was pretty hard to know what I ought to do. That trouble was the only bitter, breaking trouble I have ever had, and everything I did about it seemed a wrong to someone. There was simply nothing to do, it seemed. And now it has all fallen out so fortunately, and everybody is so much happier that things are as they are. It makes every day of every week easier for me. I get up in the morning feeling better. And as for Auntie, there are more untroubled times than she has known for many years, I am sure.

I have the most cheerful letters from home. I have not known Mother19 so well and contented for years, and Elsie is enjoying her work at school.

I remember that I spoke to you about an article20 on Mme. Vera Figner21 I got in London22? I wonder whether you saw it in the December number? I have just been working very hard upon an article23 on the Cherry Mine disaster24 which I got Edith Wyatt25, of Chicago26, to write. It will be in the F March number, and I think it is a very strong and simple piece of work. There is to be a Grand Jury investigation as a result of our article27 on Tammany and the white slave trade28, but the Tammany people are playing their cards so well that I am afraid the investigation will be a very superficial affair.

I expect I shall have to go to London again29 in the spring, but I am hoping to get home next summer, and to run out for a little visit with you. The one this summer was such a satisfactory visit. It was the fist first time I've really seen you for years. Mother was so [illegible] willing about my going into the country this time, and I went with a light heart and enjoyed every minute of it. There is no place in the world where I can be so happy or rest so well. I am so glad that Bess and Auntie are near enough so that you can keep an eye on them. And whenever you see that they need anything, you will let me know, won't you? And I will be so grateful to you. The pleasure of doing things for them is one of the most real in I have.

A great deal of love goes to you with this letter, dear Aunt Franc, and many, many good wishes for you and yours.

Lovingly Willie
Return to W. S. Cather 82 Washington Place New York2 Mrs. Franc C. Cather1 Bladen3 Nebraska MADISON SQ. STA.N.Y.2 JAN 6 1910 630 PM McCLURE'S MAGAZINE 44-60 EAST TWENTY-THIRD STREET NEW YORK2 BLADEN NEB3 1910 JAN 10 8 AM REC D.