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#0053: Dorothy Canfield, Willa Cather, and Flavia Canfield to Mariel C. Gere, [October 20, 1898]

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Dear Mariel1;

I am sitting curled up on the edge of the bed—where I have been all day—with who do you suppose on the opposite side of the table? Yes, none other than the young lady who has been having the grip so dreadfully at Pittsburgh4! Isnt that too good to be true—that she is here? And this is Monday evening and she has been here since Wednesday, an unusual stay for her.

And moreover be it said with no undue boastfulness she is a very different looking person from the parchment colored invalid who stepped off the train with such a cough! We have been worrying so continually about her for the last month and thinking that it was of no avail—our being nearer to her than the Nebraska5 friends. But it has been of some use to us to live in Columbus2 if we do have the small-pox—I suppose you see in the papers that that is our latest diversion.

At any rate, she has a better color tonight and her cough comes from the top of her throat and not from the depths as it did. Oh, we are lucky we Columbians! We have been having such a good visit one to be remembered and remembered. I've been sick—nothing either alarming or unusual—and that has shut us up together. I hope your ears have burned. If they have any notion of their proper duties as ears and well conducted ones, they have been burning all this week. One thing we have been talking over about you, is the good time you and Mother6 and I are to have next year in Paris7 together.

Do you know about that? Anyhow its a settled thing if only the Nebraska Barkis is willing8

I think it is really a settled thing that I am to graduate in June—always providing there are no flunks lying in wait for me. My heavy work hasn't hurt me one bit either, in spite of everyone's prophecies. But it is Willa's turn and I must.

Hello Mariel1, Hello! How are you? I am pretty fine myself just now. You see I came down here sick in mind and body after a six weeks wrestle with grippe. I hated the world and every one in it. I was just as blue as illness and over work could make me. I was ordered South by my doctor, but at the last moment I decided that I needed Dorothy9 more than I needed the sun Sun, so I came down here to see whether there was one person east of the Missouri10 who would seem either admirable or desirable to a grippy mind. There is, all right, all right. I think you will scarcely be surprised that I have found her so. I leave for Pittsburgh4 in the morning after such Please excuse the mismatched paper. I'll put some sealing wax on to make up for it. a happy week that I'm afraid I shall have to pay a heavy price for it some day. I'm afraid of the Greeks when they bring gifts and when I get a temporary corner on the Fates I tremble. However I'm willing to pay like a little man for this. You know how seldom things are just right—anywhere. Well, they have been just right, that's all, see?

Here I am again almost afraid to put my small hand writing down after her bold one. How are you, anyhow, dear girl. It has been a long time since I heard from any of you. Your Mother's11 lovely letter at Christmas time was the last direct news from the Gere family. I wish you would present my best regards to Miss Frances Gere12, the leisurely young lady, who is not in school this year and ought to have time to do things, and find out if she still remembers a sister Kappa13 away off in Columbus O. If there is any irrelevancy in this letter lay it to the conditions. Since we began writing Father14 and Mother6 and Stella15 and Jim16 have come in and are visiting at a great rate with Willa.

They all have sent the warmest regards with all kinds of messages that are too long to write.

Really though I do think Frances might give us a little news of Lincoln3 and the Geres.

As usual, things are more than humming here, conventions and receptions, and dances and oh such loads of work. But I'm well and cheerful, particularly since the advent of the lady across the table and delighted to have met some Nebraska people who came to this convention. It is so good to see someone from that country. Well, young lady, if you can make head or tail out of this very compound letter you ought to be running a great business—but I hope in my part of the mixture you can make out some of the affection that goes with it. I must stop, as it is getting late.

My best love to all the family—tell Ellen17 that the class of '99 is the only one—and remember the message to Frances. As for your dear Mother you and she know without my saying how every letter from the house of Canfield to the house of Gere is laden with good wishes and best regards.

Goodnight, to you Dorothy.
Dear Mariel;

The girls flatter me by asking me to add a line to their compound letter, I do so with pleasure for I want to echo Dorothys wish to have you join us in Europe18 next year. We are very choosy about asking any one but you to make a trio of our little party. But the dear girl who wired us both last summer, and filled her mothers place so admirably in making her home hospitable we really want to help us during our year abroad.

Love to you & all the Geres. Flavia Canfield

Jim has just departed to take Stella home. Their engagement has been announced, you know and they beam with happiness from afar off. Goodbye, my dearest girl. When I get back to Pittsburgh I'm going to write you again—after my hold on the world gets firm again.

Miss Mariel C. Gere1 D & Ninth Street Lincoln3 Nebraska PITTSBURGH, PA.4 OCT 20 1898 12 -M Oct 2 98Combination letter
Willa, Dorothy, Mrs
LINCOLN, NEBR.3 OCT 22 1898 4 AM