#2726: Willa Cather to Alfred A. Knopf, December 30, 1943

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ K 1/3 My dear Alfred1:

I opened the box of glorious wine on Christmas Day, and I think you were wonderful to get six bottles of that superb Sherry in a year like this, when the wine shortage is so disheartening. It took the amiable Mr. Dean3 four weeks to get me four bottles of a particular Port which the doctor wanted me to take for "fattening" purposes.

The enclosed letter from Arthur Train4 I am sure will amuse you. Train has a peculiar and poignant dislike for me, though he has never met me. I once heard him exploding in one of the rooms of the Society Library5. I didn't get much of it, but the fact that the two frightened librarians rushed into the next room and silenced him was pretty good evidence as to who was the subject of his remarks. I am really sorry that the balloting6 fell upon me. There were four candidates: Ernest Hemingway7, Sinclair Lewis8, Ellen Glasgow9, Willa Cather. A blank was sent me requesting me to vote for one of these names, but I simply did not vote for anybody. I would have voted for Hemingway, except for the fact that Lewis has always been awfully decent to me and has sometimes gone out of his way to do me a favor. As a ballot cast for Hemingway would have been a ballot cast against Lewis, I did not vote. It never occurred to me that I would be the victim. I have a gold medal from the Academy10 (the Howells medal11, awarded every five or eight years). Governor Cross12 came and took me to the hall, I remember, and we had a rather jolly time. That was thirteen years ago. I doubt whether an "Institute" party would be so pleasant.

Well, Happy New Year, anyway. I hope to have a Happy New Year with a pleasant little story13 I have begun, though just now I am lying low with a temporary setback to my right hand14. I am afraid I wrote too many short notes to very interesting soldier boys.

Always affectionately and gratefully, Willa Cather