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#0249: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, December 7 [1912]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Elsie1

such a splen-did letter as you did write me! I’ve been over it until I’ve deciphered every pencil stroke. Thanks for the tip about Harrison4. I have nothing but work to talk about, as I’m on the home stretch with the new story5. It is running about the same length as “Alexander”6 and is certainly a great deal better than The Bohemian Girl7. It has been rather a pull because it’s knit so much closer than anything I have ever done before. No, I don’t think one can write much when one is getting the material—at least I, for one, can’t. But, do you know, I think getting the material, coming up against the surfaces of things, is the exhausting part of it. The mere working it off one’s pen is on the whole a peaceful chore. I don’t believe you can write over there unless you have a flat of your own and insulate yourself! One has to sleep to work, and one has to be dull to sleep.

Have you read Tchekov8? “The Cherry Orchard”9 etc? Do! I’ve been reading such lots of things that I never have time to read in New York10. I assume the office chains again January 1st, but not for long! There are too many things I want to write. I say, it’s great sport when you get down to it—get down and see! Do you know that rhyme11 “Oh London, London, my Delight!12 The flower that blossoms but by night; Oh bloom and bloom I see them stand, The iron lilies of the Strand!”

I want to write many things to you, but Christmas - - people - - a bloody murder in my story13—(I’ve been three mortal days a-killing them!) all these have reduced me to a state where I can only make a few stratches and wish you well and well and well. Christmas in Paris3 seems good luck enough to wish any mortal—only I should go to Provence14 to meet the Three Holy Kings! Oh I hope I can be there where you are, sometime!

Yours W. S. C.
Miss Elizabeth Sergeant1 c/o Hottinguer & Cie, Bankers 38 rue de Provence Paris3 France c/o Madame Easton Paris 85 Rue de Sivres PITTSBURGH, PA.2 DEC 7 1912 TRIP-7