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#0002: Willa Cather to Helen Louise Stevens Stowell, May 31, 1889

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My Dear Mrs. Stowell1 and Gorgie3

I suppose that ofin all the varied emotional phases of human life there is none so exhilarating as that of triumph and it is a caprice of fortune that under such I write to you. This day closes the school year and I am favored with the class honers and bear bare off the prize for best Latin translations, of[?] consequently I feel rather cheerful.

My grades are as follows Latin - - - - - - - 95 Physics - - - - - 100 Astronomy - - - - - 100 Retoric - - - - 90 Ancient History - - - - 100 100 is perfect and all grades 90 or above excellent.

On the back of my repordt card Prof. wrote

Friend Willa—

I hope your naturaly aquired taste for the parusal of good literature—a taste through which you have been one of the most pleasent companions & most through students I ever knew—may continue dureing your life, that the fruits of it may, at all times, especially in your mature years render you attractive intellectually and socially.

Your respect for your teacher will, at all times be kindly remembered and your name upon his list of special friends.

Your Sincere Friend & Teacher Jno F. Curran4

2My card was the only one he wrote apon and I can tell you keep it in a safe place.

I have rigged up my roodm of the office anew, a regular library it is now5, here I read and study. I am deep in "Caesar6"— poor vetren, who are we that we should censure Brutus7 when in youth we do the dread dead dayly,— murder Caesar.— Transl[illegible]ating the Latin Bible8, reading Astronomy, geology, history, Homer9, Milton10, Swinburne11 "Ouida"12 & Gorge Sand13.

By the way have you read any of Swinburne's poetry? Some of it is fine I inclose a line or two from "Locrine."14

Had good memorial15 exercises yesterday at the opera house. Jessie16 took part, forty two little girls represented states17 and they had good music. Two weeks ago Mrs Bloom18, Padden19 Briggs20 and Jhonston21 of Superior22 were up. Mrs Curran23 had a big dinner and Mrs Platt24 a tea. We had a high time I assure you.

Yesterday Mrs Weiner25, Higby26, Garber27, Mama28 and their husbands29 and a lot of the boys went on a big picnic, they go very often but seldome take their husbands, they take Ryland30, Dave31, Tom32e, Mr Beechy33 and a few girls. They go to a place in the country34, Mr. Smithe35, where he has made a big pond filled it with fine fish and has two lovely botes boats, they take fine lunch and beer, have a regular 3 "picnic" in the full sense of that expressive word. Anson declares he and papa and Mr Miner36, Mr Curran & Garber will get the girls and have a picnic as well as their better halfs.

I had a big card party last week, all the younger "set" offf girls & boys.

I see a goodeal of Mrs Sill37 for she is at least a imatation of the things I most lack. She is as well self satisfied as ever and her narrations are pretty much the same as they were some four years ago when I met her first. I am, to say the least, familiar with them—say, some things look better at a distance, dont they?—A continental tour is a test of character, some men it makes, some it mars. I am very egar to "press with my profane pedals the native soil of heros and poets," but when I return I dont want my whole life to be "a European Souvenir."

Mary Miner38 is really doing splendidly at her music, she play Listzs39 "Spinning Song"40 adapted I beleive, from Wagner's41 "Flying Dutchman"42 beautifuly, her expression is unusual for a girl who has heard so little. But Mrs. S- has actualy given the child of 16 Listzs 14th Hungarian Rhapsody43!! the idea. What next I wonder? "Moonlight Sonata"44 or Mozarts45 "Requiem"46 perhaps. say, that is profanity, the old masters will turn in their graves.— I dont mean 4 they will turn the music for her.— If Rubenstine47 comes to Omaha48 Mrs S- will take Mary & Lo Bellow49 her best pupils an go up. She has told me her plan. They will purchase the music he will play and when he to whom the crowned heads of Europe bow in reverence strike the keyboard, Pythagoras50 and her disciples wll follow him "with a critical eye,
"Nor pass his imperfections by"51

nodding approval when he does well and frowning when he blunders. Truly they burne strange fire apon the alter of the Gods52 in these dgenerite days.

I may go but not with that intellectual crowd, I shall go as a pilgrim to worship in a far country53. I have a lot of musical book54 and try to kee abrest with music & muscal things and any one who can feel can tell when one play well. Poor "Richard55" how tired and sick he must be of it all. What a fortunate thing he is not brilliant, for himself. But Heaven and earth "talk of the Angels"56—you know the rest—here he coms himself to see about some loans & chattels and I dont want him to see this. In Haste

Your Truly Wm Cather Jr.

P.S. Mama send love to you & Gorge. Bess57 and all the girls join in the latter. The children send many message to Alice58 but I am in a hury. How is Gorgies health now? I think I could cure her soon.

5 P.P. Mrs. Stowell

Our house as usual is a regular "Grenta Green59" for the younge folks60, they are there allways and I flee every night to the office for philosophical solitude. Molly61 is - - well - - she is "Molly"—that is the only way to discribe her.— Mr Harris62 & Crane63 who take Highland's64 & Welch's65 places are "sweet young men" the girls say. I dont know much of them though they are at our house a good de almost every night with Bess, Mollie, Nellie Weiner66 and Miss Johnston67 & Miss Benett68. Gorgie must come to see us all, she would have a good time I can promise. When she tiers of green peas and chocklate cake (I beleve she like them?) and "tailor made" young men she can console herself with my chemicals, stuffed birds, shells and Latin Bibles. Rel I mean it, though no other girl in town dare medel with my "hobbies", you know I allways thought lots of Gorgie though I seldom care for giry[?] girls.

Yours truly Willa Cather

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Wm Cather Jr.