#0464: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, May 30 [1919]

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FG RLS Dear Mr. Greenslet1;

Excuse my delay in replying to your kind and friendly letter3. For ten days now the town2 has been full of returned Nebraska boys4, and, quite aside from the fact that it is a great and exhausting pleasure for me to be with them, they are just now rather distinctly mon affair5.

I now feel quite satisfied about the charge6 for proof corrections. I am perfectly willing to stand half of it, as I think that is an entirely fair distribution. I was right7 about Drieeiser8, however, for I have since inquired of his publisher.

Yes9, on the whole, I think we had better have a talk about some of these details when it is possible. I have decided not to sign p up with anybody until the fall. I am leaving for Toronto10 tomorrow to spend a month or more with the Hambourgs11. Later I may be in Jaffrey12 for a few weeks later in the summer before I go West. I expect to spend September and October in Red Cloud13.

The discouraging thing I get from your letter14 is that Houghton Mifflin, having already handled my books in the way they think adequate, would probably do m not more for them in the future than n in the past. I think, on the other hand, that among the people who form opinion, I have a very different position from that which I had five years ago, and that this fact, for a publicity department interested in such things, makes me a very different business proposition. I am also writing better than I was then, considerably better, which at least is a feature in the case. The publisher here15 of whom I have been thinking favorably, told me frankly that it was a deciding fact in the case a deciding fact in the case with him, and that he wanted "somebody who could do that kind of work and keep it up", and that my three books16, read one after another, had convinced him that I could keep it up. In other words, he wants my "distinction" enough to take risk and trouble for it, while Houghton Mifflin have plenty of distinction, past and inherited, and for the last six years they have been out for quite another sort of bird, in fiction, at least.

By the way, have you read Overton's17 amusing book18 on authorines? Voila ces dames! He wriggles and lies like a gentleman, and the Worst of the Virtuous Tribe he lets speak for themselves----don't they do it, thought! but I thought him [illegible] about no who[?] the [illegible]

I am returning some of the documents19 you sent me. Do you know what Swedish firm are translating "O Pioneers!"? Wonderful punctuation! I hope you'll have a fine fishing trip. Nobody20 shall see Claude21 until fall. He22 is getting big enough to look after himself. Frankly, I won't hand him over to anybody who won't do a good deal for him.

Faithfully yours W. S. C.