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#0013: Willa Cather to Louise Pound, June 29, 1893

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My Dear Louise1;-

I have not written before because I have been too horribly blue and disconsolate to inflict myself upon any one. Not for any reason of course, but the worst kind of blues are those that have no appearant cause.

Well, the tale3 of the tipsy prima donna is done—for better or for worse, heaven knows, I do not and shant till you come down and tell me. I only know one thing about it, namely that it is done by the method of "effects" entirely. I am afraid that is it is too long drawn out and has not enough climax. It is utterly different from anything I ever tried to do before so allowances must be made on that score. It is not rocky, but horribly unconventional. I could not help it. I have not put it in "blank verse" nor "carefully rewritten it," so if its bad there is not much time wasted, only some very good paper.

It is with great joy and gladness that I tell you that I have at last managed to lose that Imogen thing4. If I believed in an overruling providence I should thank it. Say, I dont believe you read the letter5 I sent with the Edna6 effusion7 at all, it had some allusions to them of which your letter showed utter ignorance. It is sometimes wise to glance over my epistles since you answer them, even if you risk finding excessively bad spelling and profanity. This is merely a humble suggestion if you happen to read this letter. You sarcastically ask where I "got" the word bassoon. I "got" it from the o best of all authority, from Ella Wheeler Wilcox8's "Beautiful Blue Danube"9 found on page 29 in "Poems of Passion"10. I also find it in good use in Webster11. By referring to my last letter you will find that the person who bore the "worship of worlds" was not Edna12. Now dont think I am huffy, I had lots of fun over your red ink notes. I knew they were bad and forewarned you. She does not inspire lofty flights.

Well, I dont know what is the matter with 2 the Lincoln13 post office. I weighed that last letter before sending it, and it w did not weigh an ounce.

Is Martha14 still in the city? I wonder if she knows how much real, honest satisfaction I get out of hating her. I am sorry she spoiled15 Sappho16 for me. To hear Martha gently saying to Aphrodite "Whatever woe thou wilt work upon me, work it! So that thou art my ally and the friend of my bosom" was more, much more than I could endure. For Aphro dite's sake, for Sappho's, yes, and for Phaedra's did I cut that class. (This pen is the worst one I ever got hold of.)

We have been having a sensational time down here lately, murders, attempted suicides etc.

Wish you could be down here the 4th, Gilham17 is "orator of the day." He showed me his oration the other day and I must say it is a dandy. He is quite a man, in spite of the disapproval of Mr Peterson18 and the Department of Literature.

I have been reading your favorite "Wallenstein"19 again. How is this for a translation of that last stand of the Countes's, Countess. To the grace and mercy of a greater master Do I yield myself.—Where shall the body Of the Duke find rest its place of rest? In the Chartreuse, which he himself did found At Gitschen, rests the Countess Wallenstein; And by her side, to whom he was indebted For his first fortunes, gratefully he wished He might sometime repose in death, O let him Be buried there. And, likewise for my husband's Remains I ask like grace. The Emperor Is now proprietor of all our Castles. This sure may well be granted us, one sepulchre Beside the sepulchre of our forefathers. Oct. Countess, you tremble, you turn pale! Count. You think More worthy of me than to believe I would survive the downfall of my house. We did not hold ourselves to mean to grasp After a monarch's crown,—the crown did Fate Deny, but not the feeling and the spirit That to the crown belong! We deem it a Courageous death more worthy of our free station Than a dishonour'd life.—I have taken poison.

Pretty good English, I think.


It seems to me that all the accumulated blueness of ages has hurled itself upon me until my whole mental atmosphere is one dense sub-marine color. There is no earthly reason for it and I have tried indolence as a balm but it does no good, and hard work is likewise powerless to aid me. I am not in fit shape to do anything. There is one thing I look forward to for help. Mariel20, Frances21, and "Neddins"22 are going to offer themselves at the shrine of mercy and come down for a few days. I intend to uncork on them all the bottles phials of enthusiasm and '83 claret I had saved for you, and mean to have a good time if I can. I can truly say that "I was and am sick and in affliction and you visited me not,"23 so I have to take the next best. I want to see the girls very much. It is queer that just because I happen to want you, your coming is as impossible as the suspension of the law of gravitation. It is my luck. The strange thing is that I was ever deluded into thinking you would come. On your part there is no particular reason why you should. Perhaps the kids would bother you, there are a good many of them. Of course I am used to them and fond of them and don't mind them. Then things Nonsense! I won't be bad humoured if I am blue. I honestly believe you would come if you could even if it were not so pleasant for you because I am disconsolate and want you. Perhaps I am too confident, if so you have the right to laugh.

How is the Drama getting on? You have not given me any dramatic bulletin for some time. I try not to think much about it under the circumstances. Is there any possibility that the Solar System may stop rotating long enough for you to steal toward the Republican valley? If there is not the slightest possibility that you might be able to come about that time I think I will ask the Gere girls to come about the 10 of July. If you could possibly come then let me know and I will put them off till later. They can just as well come later.

This concentrated sublimated essence of Blueness is getting too much for me. You would either dispell it altogether or make it very much more. You always do one or the other. I am so desperate I long to run the chance of it. If the this worthless feeling don't let up soon I shall Do It and be justified in it. Existance is not worth much of this sort of thing. What I need is to get my mind fixed one on the frivolous things which it is usually occupied with when I am in Lincoln. I dont mean to be uncomplimentary but you understand.


I have done a very bad paper on Mercutio24, but have not done Cleo25. yet. Why, I used to like to do Shakespeare26 papers and now I just l-o-a-t-h-e them! I cant even read Shakespeare. Why I would rather read Hesperian27 editorials, rather read GREEK!! I am in a state of internal revolution. Come thou down and deliver my soul, I beseech thee. Bring your pistol along and do me a kindly service.

W. C. Morning.

Your card just received. Another disappoint- ment. Never mind. I am getting used to them now. I will be in to l Lincoln the 4, 5 & 6 of July. You will be gone then. Again Fate. I don't know that I should call to see you any way. I have set my stipulations. You do not deign to say whether you intend coming down when you return from Chicago28. For goodness sake make up your mind then and come. If you dont come consider matters eternally cut short next year. It has been to much a one sided game. I don't want to be under obligations to any one, even you. O do come my dear fellow, I cant help 5 thinking you dont come because —. Well, you know why. I have tried one whole year to efface that, tried as hard as I ever tried to do anything. For mercy's sake come down and show me I am forgiven. In the meantime Mariel Ned and Frances, and heres to them for their goodness of heart. If you don't come at all remember, it is good bye.