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#0155: Willa Cather to James B. Pinker, February 20, 1909

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My dear Mr. Pinker1:-

Of course I have nothing to do with the prices we pay for stories. This I can say, however, that we have not now another story writer on our list who has been paid as well as Mr. Gibbon4. We have reprinted half a dozen of his stories and paid for them exactly as if they had never been printed before. In the matter of payment we have always meant and tried to treat him generously. Personally, I am enough interested in Mr. Gibbon’s work to be very glad indeed to have you sell his stories elsewhere when you can get more money for him than we can pay. I wish, however, that you could concede so far as to send his stories to us first with the price affixed, and then if we cannot meet this price, we will very promptly return you the manuscript or give it to your agent here.

Now about this matter of the promptness orf decisions on manuscripts; of course I know that Mr. McClure5 is apt to mislay and to forget about manus- Mr. James B. Pinker--2cripts, but if you will send Mr. Gibbon’s stories to me personally, Mr. Pinker, I will see that Mr. McClure reads them just as soon as possible and that you get a quick decision on the manuscripts in every case; if I cannot get a decision from him and cannot get permission to make a decision myself, then I will at least get the manuscript back to you. I have always felt great interest in Mr. Gibbon’s work and this much I will guarantee to do out of friendliness.

The manuscript you speak of, “THE STRANGE PATIENT”6, never reached this office, nor have I ever heard of it, but regarding any manuscripts which you send me I can promise you a quick decision and very careful handling.

Very sincerely yours, Willa Sibert Cather Mr. James B. Pinker Talbot House, Arundel St. Strand, London7, W.C.

P.S. In case you should send us stories of Mr. Gibbon’s which we could not use I would be very glad to forward them to any other American magazine you might name, and would report to you the date on which I mailed them to the other publisher.