Skip to main content

#0235: Willa Cather to S. S. McClure, June 12 [1912]

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Mr. McClure1;

I sent two letters4 to you in Paris5 while I was in New Mexico6, but your letters missed me when I was off in the desert on my horseback trip. I reached home yesterday and sent you a telegram explaining. I am distressed to hear of Mrs. McClure7's condition and of all the business troubles which awaited you in New York3. You have always been so generous with other people that it seems terribly unjust that you should be harassed and tormented about money in this way. I cannot believe that there is not some way out. I cannot believe that your career is over. As I told you in New York I never felt the power to do things so strong in you as now. If this were were the end of your work, that would be much more remarkable than your original success—quite too remarkable to happen, it seems to me. But I don't wonder that you are tired. The original contract has undergone so many changes and modifications that I cannot make just what the state of your a affairs is now, or what your actual holdings in the stocks of the company are. What ever else I am doing this fall I could certainly give you some help on the Autobiography8. Going to London9 would, I should think, increase the cost of producing it, both for you and for me. I think I ought to be able to do it along with other work, so that I would not have to carge "charge" you at all for my own work on it. You would have the expense of a good stenographer anyway. My interest in the work would be an interest of friendship, a purely personal interest, and I think I could do it better and would feel more zest in the doing of it, if there were no question payment at all. You have done more favors for me than a few,(more than I could count!) and I should like to have the opportunity to do a small one for you. If I had money or influence, believe me, they should be yours a to command. There, alas! I have not. But if ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩my wit can help you out any, that will be a pleasure to me indeed. Of course, I may not be able to write the articles in the way you wish them written; the way in which one writes a thing, you know, is not altogether under one's control. There were chapters of Christian Science10, for instance, which I simply could not write in the way you would have liked best. And so it might be with these autobiographical articles; the events that sing one tune to you might sing another to me; I might not be able to catch step with you. As to all that, we can but try. But if, as the old song says "a willing heart goes all the way," we shall make out very well; for I was never more willing about a piece of work.

I have not written a line since I left New York, but I have such a head-full of stories that I dream about them at night. I've ridden and driven hundreds of miles. You would not know me, I'm so dark-skinned and good humored. Ah please forget how cranky I had to be when I was tired! I hope Miss Roseboro'11 will forget, too. I can't bear to have either of you remember me like that. It all seems so foolish now; such an ado about nothing. But I'm never going to get fussy like that again. I've never been so happy since I was a youngster as I have been this summer, back in my own country with my own people. Those weeks off in the desert with my big handsome brother12—six feet four-, he is—and his wild pals, are weeks that I shall never forget. They took all the kinks and crumples out. I feel as if my mind had been fully washed and ironed, and were ready for a new life. I feel, somehow, confident; feel as if I had got my second wind and would never torture my self about little things (like the ART DEPARTMENT [!]) again. A thousand, thousand good wishes to you, and loyalty and hope:

Faithfully Willa Cather
Miss W. S. Cather Red Cloud2 Nebraska Mr. S. S. McClure1 McClure's Magazine 449 Fonte ave & 20th St New York3 RED CLOUD, NEBR.2 Jun 12 1912 730P