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#0216: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, [March 12, 1912]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Elsie1

So many things have happened since I got your long letter: Getting away from New York5 was difficult because the Chief, Mr. McClure6 arrived and sought me out several days before I came away. When I got here I found Miss McClung7’s mother8 much worse. On Saturday she had a stroke of some sort (no one could know less about what sort than the doctors seem to know) and has been unconscious ever since, though there is no paralysis. Something has happened in her brain, but noone knows more than that. You will be wondering what I am doing, I expect. But really I am doing very well. I am something languid as the result of a bad fright, but really I have managed to get the proper amount of food and sleep and to keep from being excited. This latter has been difficult, but I really have done it. The moment I feel myself getting strung up, I go for a long walk in the wet somber air, and it quiets me like a soporific. Of course when the whole household is waiting rather than living, one cannot lead a normal life, but I do the best I can.

Ah I’d be more than glad to have you in Arizona9, highbrow though you are, but you see I am even more plan-less than usual, and more at the bidding of chance. I don’t know when I can leave here, to begin with. Not, of course, until Mrs. McClung begins to pull up a little. Then I dont know whether I shall have to stop a few weeks or only a few days with my mother10, and I dont know the least little thing about Winslow11, the town in which my brother12 lives. Sometime in April I shall arrive there; if it seems to me a good place, I shall at once let you know; then if you are still unfettered and not already sold into summer slavery, you might take your chance with me and try the desert country. But you see there are so many family complications that I have to be thus casual. All I know is that I shall at alight at Winslow sometime this spring.

I was just called to Mrs. McClung’s room to find her for the moment quite conscious. She soon dropped off again but this may be the beginning of a turn for the better. We all feel as if a tight string had snapped ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ and the snapping thereof will bring this dull note to a close. O tea for me, and slumber: The rain without and the fire within have brought me to a state of cat-like drowsiness. Perhaps I shan’t even wait for tea but, like Harry Greene13 on The Birth Night, sink to sleep on the hearth rug. It’s so good to have people get better. And this gray, sullen weather of itself puts one to sleep. Forgive me that My this letter is one week late and empty and drowsy. Many good wishes go with it.

Faithfully yours W. S. C.
Miss Elizabeth Sergeant1 4 Hawthorne Road Brookline3 Mass. PITTSPURGH,P.A.2 MAR 13 1912 TRIP-3