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#0084: Willa Cather to Will Owen Jones, May 7, 1903

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My Dear Mr. Jones1;

I do believe you’ve got me fairly launched at last, at least it looks so. About a week after I sent my stories to S. S. McClure6, he telegraphed me to go to New York7 at once. I went and our first business talk took up two hours of a fine Spring morning. Life has simply been another proposition to me ever since. I go about with care because I have become so much more valuable to myself. last At ten oclock last Friday I was not much afraid of street car accidents and things, but when I left the office at one I had become worth saving. He will publish the collection8 in book form, but will first run them in the magazine9 to give me the benefit of the extra revenue. Howells10, the thinks, will use some of them in Harpers11. The book will be out next winter. But the important result of our several interviews is that he has agreed to take everything I do and place it for me if he cannot use it himself, and that he has so encouraged and strengthened me that I feel as though I want to do well almost as much for him as for myself. What a genius he has for proselyting! He takes hold of you in such a personal way that business ceases to be a feature of your relations with him. He has the enthusiasm of a boy. He took me right out to his house and wanted me to stop with him, but I only stayed there one day as I had promised to go to the Canfields12. Then Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson13 was at the house and she had read the yarns and talked very helpfully. In the end Mr. McClure took them without any changes at all. I don’t think there was a circumstance of my personal life the man did’nt go into and discuss and plan for. If he were a religious propagandist he would have people going to the stake for him through sheer personal devotion.

Surely you never did such a good turn to anyone as when you gave H. H.14 a strong talk about me. Several of these same stories had been sent back to me by Mr. McClure’s readers without having ever reached him at all. During my first interview with him he rang for the boy and had the two readers sent in and asked them to give an account of their stewardship. Surely I sat and held me chin high and thought my hour had struck. A moment of that sort turns back the clock of time for one and makes one feel almost as important as when one was editor15 of the Hesperian16.

There are other plans in the wind, but if I wrote them all I should write until midnight. In the meantime, here’s to you here’s thanks to you, for this and for Auld lang Syne17, and its with a light heart I write you.

Faithfully always Willa S. Cather

Where is Sarah Harris18? I've written her three times and elicited no reply.

Mr. Will Owen Jones1 Nebraska "State Journal"3 Lincoln4 Nebraska PITTSBURG, PA.2 MAY 8 1903 11:30 AM