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#0080: Willa Cather to Dorothy Canfield, [March 28, 1903]

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My Dearest Dorothy1;

I dont know when I have been so beaten out with mental effort and so sick with disappointment. I ought to have been more considerate of you and faced the facts and let you know yesterday, but it just seemed as though I could'nt give it up. I'm almost in despair for fear I cant explain clearly enough for you to really understand. You see, Dorothy, those wretched tales3 went back on me. When I got my Chicago4 mag. work off my hands and came to the pruning and fixing of that set of short stories I just fainted by the wayside. There is weeks of work to be done on them. Then I decided to throw them aside and go without them, but Hill5 and several other people of some experience told me it was a great advantage to take things to the publisher ones self. I will have them ready later in the spring and will have to go on with them then, and as I have to go to Red Cloud6 this summer I cant afford two trips to New York7. I hate to let such a consideration stand between me and what I want to do, and much worse do I hate that it should cause you disappointment. Really, Dorothy, you'll never know how cut up I am, how much I want to go and to go now. It's been a long time since I have wanted anything so desperately hard, I'm almost glad to find that I have'nt lost the capacity. I was so sure about those tales, that itself is a blow under the belt, but its quite faded into mot nothingness at my keener chagrin at disappointing you and not seeing you. After my wretched misunderstanding of things8 last fall, it seemed necessary to see you before the spring days set life fairly in motion again. I can only beg you to help me bear my own disappintment and say with me "another night, another day."9 It really wont be tong long, Dear, and you will have more respect for me if I come with the work done at last. It's bitter hard to grind and grind, when I have so little time to live at all, but if I once get this volume done and done well, I'll be a more agreeable person to know. Some of it is mighty good, and in the next few weeks I'll bring the rest up or just break down trying. Do you want to know the discouraging details I wonder? Well, the last story, "Paul's Case"10 is just undigested, shows the haste in which I put it through, and Pilgrim Joy11 has fallen down completely, will have to be thrown out and another done in its place. Then I'll have my cycle12, 2 painter stories13, 1 actor, 1 sculptor14, 1 musician15, 1 musical study16, 1 actor 1 literary man17, and one case10 of an artistic constitution without talent, and Fulvia18. The title is to be "The Troll Garden" (The Troll Ga Garden) with a sentence sentence from Chas. Kingsley19 to explain its fitness. Bear with me yet a little longer, Dorothy, and then in the day of ripe fruit we'll rejoice20 together.

Oh if only I felt that I could make the two trips, how much we could put into the yarns together! I am so tired of things and people here2 that it seems as if I could not stay and grind the weeks away when you are waiting for me under brighter skies. I want to go so much more than ever I wanted to go abroad last summer. I some how need your counsel and encouragement more than ever I needed it before. But since I must fight it out alone a few weeks longer, dont please think unkindly of me. You know how hard it is for me to give things up. I never knew half how much I wanted to go to you until it was born in upon me that I must not. For just once I'm going to do the hard and irksome duty and hammer away with dull eyes and a heavy heart. Pray for me that it be not in vain. I am going to send Phaedra21 on to you and I want you to ask your mother22 to read it for me too. Heavens! those tales ought to go after this, I feel as though I'm giving up enough for them. Please dont think I'm selfish about them if you can help it, dear,—I'm harder on myself than on you.

Will you please apologize to your mother and father23 for my bad manners? I shant blame them if they just quietly refuse to see me when I do come, nor you if you lose all patience with me. I remember well enough how badly I behaved when you once disappointed me about coming. My dear girl I am just all beaten out with battling with myself, and I'll not write you more now. You'll never know how hard it was to send that second telegram. I feel as though it would be many days before I will really want my dinner. Please let me hear from you that you do understand and have not left me to fight with my failures alone. If I can only get the rest of these things worked up the to the proper key, I believe it will make you as happy as it does me. If you could see what I have done with Fulvia you would see why I am hopeful. It seems as though I really cant say goodbye for five or six weeks longer, but if I can just go to you bringing my sheaves with me—Dear Dorothy burn a candle at some little Latin church for me.

All my love goes to you Willie

I feel that I ought to tell you why I put off reading these things and finding out as to where I stood for so long. We have had no servants for three weeks, Mrs. McClung24 has been sick in bed ever since the cook left, and to cap it all one of Isabelle25's cousins died last week. I cant do much to help in the home26 with all my school work27, but I have not had an evening to myself until Thursday and Friday for about three weeks. I just could not get at my own work before, and when I finally did the blow fell. Isabelle feels dreadfully about it, both on my account and yours.

Miss Dorothy Canfield1 116th St & Seventh Ave. New York7. PITTSBURG, PA.2 MAR 29 1903 1-AM N.Y. & PITTS. R.P.[missing].28 TR 20 MAR 29 1903 J N.Y.7 3-291903 7.P.