Skip to main content

#0277: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, February 24, 1914

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

Not much to say. I’ve been here a week and shall be here one or two more. Operation went very well, I believe; back of my head shaved and most of the scalp seems to be missing. Dressings very painful and are to continue five weeks if all goes well, three months if it goes not so well. Seems it takes scalp a long while to grow back. These details are enough, are they not? There are others but they are just as unpleasant. As Fremstad4 says “if it had been a railroad wreck one THE ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL FIFTY-NINTH STREET, WEST CHAS B. GRIMSHAW SUPERINDENDENT New York,___________191_ might endure it; but when it’s a pin scratch, it’s simply silly.” And it simply is.

There’s no place in my scheme of life for the unlucky. I’ll have to think it over. People who go and have grotesque accidents are clowns, and I feel toward them exactly as the people who used to go from London5 to Bedlam6 felt toward the sport they went to behold. I can’t share the tender feeling of our time toward the abbreviated. People minus their leg or their hair are roaringly funny and ought to be laughed at and exhibited, not coddled.

It’s very little coddling I’m giving myself these days. Don’t expect to hear from me. If anything worse turns up I’ll let you know. But for the present I’m in hiding—trying to grow hide. I have not, I’m sorry to say, begun to grow any yet. I’ll have to wait a week or two more before I begin to heal, and then it’s slower than time. Very well, once I get out of this place I’ll [illegible] work, and curse! Can’t help about five weeks dead loss of time, and plenty of losses in other directions, especially self-respect.

Yours W. S. C.
THE ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL 59TH STREET, WEST NEW YORK CITY2 Miss Elizabeth Sergeant1 4 Hawthorne 4 Hawthorn Road Brookline3 Mass. NEW YORK, N.Y. STA. G2 FEB 24 1914 830 PM