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#0100: Willa Cather to Dorothy Canfield, [December 18, 1904]

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This was written the Sunday before Christmas, in answer to the telegram. My Dear Dorothy1;

I have just received your telegram3, and I judge that what you wish to know about the story4 is in how far the woman in it resembles Miss Osbourne5. I think she has nothing in common with Miss O, except that she has a scar on her face. She is addicted to loud clothes, but Miss O__'s certainly would could not be put in that category. The story relates chiefly her domestic infelicities and ends with a divorce. The serious tone of your telegram rather perplexes me. A scar is not so uncommon a thing as to point directly to anyone; indeed the painter in this story marries twice and both wives have scars. They could not both be supposed to refer to Miss Osbourne, so you ought not to feel responsible—as, from your telegram I fear you may. I should be very sorry indeed to think that Miss Osbourne would take the story to herself at all, but since the women are both totally unlike her, I dont she how she reasonably could do so. If she did, I should not consider that I would be any more to blame than if I had written the story without having seen her. I surely think you have taken the thing altogether too seriously. Your telegram has sounds as though you were hurt—or furious indignant——and you for that I am concerned, and am heartily sorry to have caused you anxiety. But why, for mercy's sake, should you be anxious? One surely cant be held responsible for the sort of stuff ones friends see fit to write. We all have our own degrees of conscience or conscienclessness about that sort of thing. I'm sorry that I'm not going to be able to see you this week to talk it over with you, for I think I could set your mind at rest. At least dont be annoyed a by it until you've seen it.

Hastily Willa