#2137: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, November 6 [1938]

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ACCOMMODATIONS FOR
200 GUESTS
The Shattuck Inn
and Annex
ALL MODERN
CONVENIENCES
AT THE FOOT OF MONADNOCK MOUNTAIN
JAFFREY, N.H.
AMERICAN PLAN
OPEN ALL THE YEAR
My Dear Brother1;

How can I help worrying when you let yourself be carved up a smooth talking insurance man? The surgeons whom I consulted in N.Y.4 said quietly that your hemorrhages were the result of bad technique or bad judgment, probably both, on the part of your doctor. You would have saved time in the end, and much vitality, if you had gone to the Mayo Clinic where thousands of similar operations have taught the men to guard against possible consequences, and where the surgeons aren't looking for operations but looking toward the long afterwards. I have a hard appendix, but they refused to operate because it would take too much out of my vitality and working power. For the same reason they refused to remove Dorothy Canfield's5 very disfg disfiguring goitre.

Your one fault, my dear boy, (the only one I know of) is that you have always been too willing to trust people—you think too well of them. It's an engaging fault. I don't mind when it concerns your mind and estate, but for heaven's sake don't let the persuasive talkers practice on your body. You have but one, you know. You are trusting the ACCOMMODATIONS FOR
200 GUESTS
The Shattuck Inn
and Annex
ALL MODERN
CONVENIENCES
AT THE FOOT OF MONADNOCK MOUNTAIN
JAFFREY, N.H.
AMERICAN PLAN
OPEN ALL THE YEAR
ability of your two well–meaning brothen brothers6 much too far, I think. But that concerns only money losses, it doesn't endanger your life.

I am up here2 alone at this hotel7 in the woods where I have done most of my best work and where the proprietors8 are so kind to me. I finished "Antonia"9 here, finished "A Lost Lady"10 and began the "Archbishop"11. The best part of all the better books was written here. It was Isabelle12 who first brought me here. You cannot imagine what her death13 means to me. It came jut just four months after Douglass'14 death15, before I had got my nerves steady again. No other living person cared as much about my work, through thirty–eight years, as she did. As for me, I have cared too much, about people and places—cared too hard. It made me, as a writer. But it will break me in the end. I feel as if I couldn't go another step. People talk about say I have a "classic style". A few of them know it's the heat under the simple words that counts. I early learned that if you loved your theme enough you could be as mild as a May morning and still make other people care—people in countries who ACCOMMODATIONS FOR
200 GUESTS
The Shattuck Inn
and Annex
ALL MODERN
CONVENIENCES
AT THE FOOT OF MONADNOCK MOUNTAIN
JAFFREY, N.H.
AMERICAN PLAN
OPEN ALL THE YEAR
read it in the strangest languages—Hungarian and Roumanian16 are the latest. Some day you must come and see my whole bookcase full of translations17. It's the one thing that simple really caring for an old Margie18, an old cat, an old anything. I never cultivated it, from the age of twenty on I did all I could to repress it, and that effort of mind did, after years, give me a fairly good "style"—style being merely the person writer, no the person himself; what he was born with and what he has done for himself. But the ma Isabelle watched me every step of the way. But the machine is source of supply seems to be getting low. I work a little every day (1 1/2 hrs.) to save my reason, to escape from myself. But the sentences don't come sharp and clear as they used to—the pictures are a little blurred. Perhaps it's fatigue only—I hope so. This book19 has been twice interrupted by death, and twice by illness. I keep it up not for the book itself, but for the peace it brings me to follow old activities ACCOMMODATIONS FOR
200 GUESTS
The Shattuck Inn
and Annex
ALL MODERN
CONVENIENCES
AT THE FOOT OF MONADNOCK MOUNTAIN
JAFFREY, N.H.
AMERICAN PLAN
OPEN ALL THE YEAR
that used to be so happy—so rapid and so absolutely absorbing.

Goodbye dear. I've not written so long a letter in a long time—except to Isabelles poor desolate devoted and now desolate husband20.

W.
From Willa Cather THE SHATTUCK INN
AT THE FOOT OF
MONADNOCK MOUNTAIN JAFFREY, N. H.2
Mr. R. C. Cather1 First Savings Bank of Colusa Colusa3 California Air Mail