#2116: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, April 23 [1935]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dear Roscoe1;

Don't think that I did not appreciate your long, understanding, letter about the English reviews. I hope I can sometime have a long talk with you about the peculiar satisfaction I get out of working occasionally in legendary themes4. Rotation of crops is a good thing for gardens and writers.

Things have been pretty thick for me. When I was up in Montreal5 trying to get some work done in a quiet place I had an appendix attack and had to come home. Here2 I have had a second attack, and will have to go up for an operation before long. Isabelle McClung Hambourg6, who has been very ill in Paris7 all winterl, landed on March 26th with her husband8 who came over to tour Canada9 with his two brothers10 They form the Hambourg Trio, playing chamber music. I called my doctor for I sabelle, who found her condition very serious; both kidneys much enlarged and incysted. Nothing malignant, but a condition which keeps them from performing more than half of their proper function, necessitateds the strictest the strictest possible diet and an invalid life from now on. Three surgeons agree that the kidneys were mal-formed at her birth and, for the last eight years, have been growing rapidly worse with the natural changes of body tissue. I am not writing this to any other member of my family, as there are, alas, so many people who rather rejoice ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ in the overthrow of the strong and the generous. Jan was with her for three weeks, while I got some work done in Montreal. Then he had to go off on his tour. I removed her to the Lennox Hill Hospital, about half a mile from me, and will have the whole responsibility until his return, June 1st. She is just as sweet and dignified and uncomplaining as an invalid as she was as a girl, but of course you will understand how sad all this makes me and how much it takes out of me. The doctors are devoted to her. With the strictest care she may live for some years. I have given up my trip to Italy11 this summer and am not trying to work now. I shut up my portefolio in Montreal. After Jan's return I shall have my appendix taken out. Worst of all my perplexities, my dear French woman12, who has been my prop and stay ever since I moved into this apartment (she used to be with me all during they war years, from 1914 to 1918) is going back to her native Pyrenees with her husband13 and daughter14 to stay for good. I'm glad she is to be again among her native mountains which she loves, but it will wreck my life, rather. Noone else will ever so respect me and my calling. She sails on May 25th.

I am trying to live day by day, and not to worry; but when I'm very tored my philosophy fails me! Your love and interest is a help to me.

I will write you later about Virginia's15 letter. She seems to be finding her own way.

Devotedly Willie
Mr. R. C. Cather1, 1225 South Center St Casper,3 Wyoming NEW YORK N.Y. STA Y2 APR 25 1935 1-PM