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#0047: Willa Cather to Mariel C. Gere, January 10 [1898]

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C My Dear Mariel1;

It is with considerable fear and trepidation that I address my spidery scrawl to the proud possessor of the library hand4. The reasons that I have'nt done it before are many, chiefly because I am doing more work5 than I ever did in my life before and just the kind of work that everyone always said I'd never be able to do—work requiring care and judgment I don't do it perfectly by any means, but it seems to suit the publishers.

I don't need to tell you how much care and anxiety and grief Roscoe's6 illness7 has caused me. It seemed at times that I must go to him, but if ever the lad needed money he did then and my duty seemed to be to stay here and edit telegraph. I can never thank you for your kindness to him, Mariel. How strange it seems that you should be going to comfort him as you once did me8. I look back upon those years now with a sort of wonder and doubt if it were really I. Golden days, Mariel, we won't see their like again. I am so deeply sorry for Allie9. Poor little Allie! she was the gentlest and most easily hurt of us all and it seems as if she were having the toughest time.

I scarcely know how to tell C you about my life here. It is a queer one, cut up between rather rigorous work and the craziest possible diversions. The theatre is about the only part of the old life that merges into this. Mr. Farrar10 broke his leg in a foot ball game several months ago, so I only see him in plaster, but now that he does'nt really suffer any more it is rather fun. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to feel very deeply about him. His friendship is so warm and comforting and near to me that I don't want to change it for the other article in which the personal equation would be sure to make trouble. O I have grown enamoured of liberty! To be wholly free, to really be of some use somewhere, to do with one's money what one likes, to help those who have helped me, to pay the debts of one's loves and of one's hates!

Mrs. Canfield11 and Dorothy12 came to see me at Christmas time and I had to introduce Mrs. C to a lot of club magnates. Fancy her coming to me for that. O it does my wickid un-Christian heart good to get even, to pay off the old scores and make people take back the bitter things they said in those years when bitter things Last pages of Jan 10, 189[8] (7) letter: hurt so. But you must not take this too seriously, I'm not really such a cross sour old thing. I suspect the trouble tonight is loss of sleep. First it was Melba13 in opera, next night a supper party given by Mrs. Collier14 to Mr15. and Mrs. Crane16, next night a dinner to Ethelbert Nevin17 the composer, and tonight I was out to dinner with a crowd at the Bishop's.

I have met some very interesting people this year. Got to know Anthony Hope Hawkins18 quite well, he was here several days and one of my friends here knew him at Alforth. Marion Crawford19 is a terrible snob. Nansen20 is all the Norse gods and heroes in one, though he would talk nothing but Browning21 and Ibsen22. Ethelbert Nevin is prince and king of them all. He went shopping with me this afternoon and carried my bundles and got me a bunch of violets as big as a young moon. Think of it, the greatest of American composers and a fellow fo thirty with the face of a boy and the laugh of a girl. You know his "Thine eyes are stars of morning"23 and "O that we two were maying"24 "Narcissus"25 & "Little Boy Blue"26.

I will do better than this when I'm not so sleepy. my love to you all

about noted people she meets—Ethylbert Nevin in particular Jan 15 1898 Written Jan 1010 Miss Mariel Gere1 9th and D. Str Lincoln3 Nebraska PITTSBURGH, PENN2 JAN 15 98 230 PM LINCOLN. NEBR2 JAN 17 98 AM