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#0027: Willa Cather to Ellen B. Gere, [June 29, 1896]

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c/o Home Monthly3 Dear Little Neddins1;

Excuse the diminutive, but it always seems to me that Mariel4 and I ought to be grandmothers to you and Frances5.

Well, Neddy, its not half so bad as I feared. They6 are not the infant damnation sort of Presbyterians at all, in fact their church7 split off from the other church because of its more liberal 2 interpretation of the creed regarding predestination and the "summary treatment of infants" as Mr Axtell8 calls it. He means to be a jolly man and is an awfully nice one, but fun does'nt come natural to him. He has told me all about Lyda's9 over-zeal and their worry over her. He seems to look at it quite sensibly. But everything is church here. When they have parties they invite the members of their Sunday school class! 3 I inadvertantly told Mr. Axtell that my folks10 were Baptists—I had to say something—and alas, the Baptist minister lives next door and in ten minutes he had him over and upon me. Pity me! Miss Rush11, one of Lyla's five thousand seven hundred cousins, was over to dinner yesterday. She is going to Vassar12 with Lyda this fall and was talking about the work required in various universities. I told her how many hours I usually carried at 4 the U U. of N. The dear thing looked up in sweet surprise and said innocently, "What, how did you ever find time with your newspaper work13 and church work?" My church work, O Neddy! Here every girl has her church work just as other girls have fans or powder boxes.

We went of an organ recital by William Archer14 at the great Carnegie music hall15 Saturday night. It was great. I never heard Schumann's16 6 "Traumerei"17 on an organ before. The music hall is in the same huge building with the Carnegie library and art gallery. I thought the U. of N. Library was insight[?] nice, but this—its marble from one end to the other and then the colors and frescoes are just one artistic harmony. It is only a short distance from the office and they have all the books in the world there I think. And right near it is the Casino theatre18 and 7 my old friend Pauline Hall19 plays there all next week. I foresee alas, that I will not go to the library on matinee afternoons but will slip across to the Casino to look upon Pauline's glorious anatomy once again. The old Nick is in me Neddy, its no use talking. The Axtells are awfully nice, but they are chilly as a wine cellar and sort of formal even with each other. I cant express it, its just the old infant damnation business. Phillip20 8 is a comfort, for he is little at least. Because I come from the West he expected me to tell him Indian stories, and I fulfill my role in a way that would convulse you could you hear me. When I get through going to church and telling Indian stories I will have no more sense of truth left than Carlyle Tucker21.

I went to Church with the Axtells and their relatives, who comprise the entire population of East 9 Liberty, last night. Opening hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers"22, Golden text23, "whosoever will, let him drink of the water of life freely." Air'nt I doing well?

As to the magazine24 Ned, I fear it will be great rot, home and fireside stuff, about babies and mince pies. But the financial outlook is good, so I guess I'll stay by it for a while anyway. I will be virtually managing editor, Mr. Axtell 10 and I being the only people who have anything to do with the literary de part of it. During his month of absence I am to have sole charge. The proof reading goes all right, I found four mistakes he passed over this morning. I have a nice desk etc. of my own. Write to me soon and tell me if Mr. Oury25 goes to help the Cubans or gets killed or anything. He is real nice, is'nt he?

Hurriedly Willa.