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#0045: Willa Cather to Mariel C. Gere, [September 19, 1897]

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My Dear Mariel1;

It was just a week ago3 that I watched you all get further and further away from me, and that I had to overcome a mighty impulse to jump off the train and run back to Lincoln4.

I am fairly settled in my work5 now and like it very much. My duties are those those of day telegraph editor besides doing the dramatic work for which latter I receive extra pay. I edit and write the headlines for all the telegraph matter that comes in from 8 a.m. till 3. p.m. After 3 oclock I am entirely free and have all my evenings to myself except Saturday when I work until midnight.

Five gentlemen met me at the train and every one seems really glad to see me back. But Mariel, I will not be away from Nebraska6 another year. Of what use are money and success if one is not happy? And I can not be happy so far away from home7 and be happy. O Mariel, I am so wea tired of it, their gay Bohemia8! I have seen enough of it. It is not so black as it's painted, but it's such a lone and loveless land and it's so many leagues from home. Sometimes I wonder if I am the same girl who looked at all these gilded lies so eagerly two years ago. I think my heart was asleep in those days, but ah it is awake now, awake and aching for one little lad9 who is asleep in his bed a thousand miles away. No one but God will ever know what that baby has done for me. I think he has killed every unworthy ambition in me forever. I don't want money or fame at all any more, but just my three boys10 always. You believe this, don't you? You see here I get a good deal of—well, of admiration, people here think I am cleverer than I am and of course that is pleasant in a way. But I'd rather have Roscoe's11 good opinion and Douglass'12 laugh than all of it. I guess Mariel, that you were the only person who ever really understood me, for you always said that I never was and never could be a "Bohemian" at heart—even when I tried to be one.

Mrs. Peattie13 entertained me delightfully in Chicago14, and there are a lot of nice things to tell you, but I'm not in the mood for that tonight. When I see you in mine own land I'll tell you all, or when you come Christmas. My window is open and a west wind blows in and that never makes me merry MERRY.

"The winds out of the west land blow, My friends have breathed them there; Warm with the breath of the lads I know Comes east the sighing air." 15

Life is too short for love anyway, one is a fool to be an exile. My best love to you and yours.

Faithfully Willa