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#0049: Willa Cather to Frances C. Gere, June 23, 1898

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So Fritz Westermann4 has gone to war, nothing so good ever happened! Perhaps that is what the war is for!

My Dearest Frances1;

It was awfully nice of you to remember me with a commencement invitation and it was a great disappointment to me not to be able to see you graduate. I had always counted on being present at that festal time and seeing you dressed for the Senior Prom. and all the rest of it. But the horrors of war seem to be a good deal worse in newspaper offices than in the field and I had to stay on here5 grilling in the heat and writing headlines6 about Cervera7 being bottled up in Santiago harbor8. I expect to start west9 for a two month's vacation the first of August, however, and then I will see you and hear all about the commencement festivities.

Dorothy10 will be with me for a few days week after next. Her mother11 has been having serious trouble with her eyes—threatened with cataracts and a total loss of sight. I believe she don't want Lincoln3 people to know it though. Dorothy is now in Vermont12, where her grandfather13 died a few weeks ago. Poor child, she has been having a rocky summer of it.

I hear that all the old maids in Lincoln have been marrying off in cohorts, cant you find a widower or something for me when I am there this summer? Do try to manage it.

I spent the first two weeks of May in Washington14 where with my cousin Dr. Gore15, a Prof. in the Columbian University, who was sent by the government with the Wellman16 polar expedition17. He was giving farewell dinners to all his friends and going out a great deal and we had a gay time. I met no end of interesting people. The new Turkish charge d'affairs took me out to dinner one night and I have a score of funny things to tell you about him. Then we had the Norwegian ambassador out to dinner, and the secretary of the German legation, Count Alexander Finck von Finckenstein18, and Herr Otto Schenfeldt19, who was the tutor of Signor de Louie's20 sons and who is so pro-Spanish that his mail is under government survillience. My cousin married Lillian Thekla Brandthall21, a famous Christiana belle and daughter of a former ambassador from Norway22 to America23. O my child but she is glorious! l'etoile du Nord24 and no mistake. She is one of the hundred and one cousins of King Oscar of Sweden25, and can relate no end of interesting court experiences. It is all arranged that I am to go back to Norway with her some day—perhaps I may go to the Paris26 Exposition27 with them. But I must save all those charming Washington adventures to tell you by word of mouth. Howard will write me from Siberia28 before he takes the final plunge into the Polar sea29, which we all shudder to contemplate. If I had so lovely a wife as his, and one who could sing Grieg's30 songs as she can and read Ibsen31 like the very Tragic Muse32 herself, I would not go hunting the North Pole. But one is never satisfied it seems, when a man has the front of his coat covered with decorations from the various Majesties and so Royal Socities of the Contenant Continent, and has wedded a very Brunhilda33, then forsooth, he must want the Pole, having nothing else left to wish for.

Goodness how glad I will be to see you all again this summer! I can't seem to like any other place on earth so well. There is nothing I fear so much as that I may gradually drift out of your lives until I will be—O well, just like any other stranger. You won't let that happen, my dear, will you? I think nothing in life could quite make up that loss to me.

With a heart full of love for all of you34 Willa.
Miss Frances Gere1 D & Ninth Streets Lincoln3 Nebraska PITTSBURGH, PA2 JUN 24 98 11 AM Tells about various ambassadorsJune 13 9818 LINCOLN NEBR.3 JUN 26 1898 8 AM