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#0498: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Auld, February 21 [1921]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Mary Virginia1;

Some day when you go over to see Grandmother3, you will find this note for a surprise. Several weeks ago Tony Sarg4 came over for tea, and brought one of his marionetts, carried him over in a large paper sack. He was Prince Bo-Bo5, from Thackeray6's "Romance of the Rose"7. He walked in beside Tony, just like a real man, only very tiny. Tony introduced him to me, and he bowed very politely, and I introduced him to everyone else. I asked him if he would have some tea, but he shook his head and picked up a cigarette out of a tortiseshell box someone brought me from Italy8. I told him he was too young to smoke, and he tossed it into the fire and fell down upon his face a and sobbed piteously, his back just heaved up and down as if he were choking with grief. I told him I was sorry if I had hurt his feelings. Then he wiped his eyes, snuffled a little--tTony does the snuffling-- and sat down on my foot, where hes sat for half an hour in an attitude of deep dejection, while I poured tea for people. He did not forget his manners, however, and whenever a lady came in, or got up to take her leave, he rose instantly to his feet. When Tony came to take him away, the little Prince took up his feathered hat and k kissed my hand very gallantly, and bowed his way out. He really was a wonder; few live men are as entertaining at a tea,- though of course, here, men go to teas, not for the tea but because they want to see the hostess. I do love to live in a world where everybody is polite. Everybody is so much happier. It is merely a habit, anyway, whether people [illegible] get into the way odf saying agreeable things all the time, or disagreeable ones. Never, my dear, get into the habit of knocking! It disfugures people for the company of nice people as much as a hare-lip or a hump nose. Verily, verily, I say unto you!9

I go to the Opera a great deal this winter. My old friend Zoe Akins10, who made a lot of money on her successful play, “Declassée11 has season tickets for every Thursday night, splendid seats, near the front, and she comes down in her car for me, and brings me home in her car, so it’s little effort, even if I’m tired.

I wish you could have seen my little house12 on Valentines day, it was like a conservatory, so full of flowers. I hope you will have a splendid winter, dear. Please give my love to our little neighbor, Helen13.

With heaps of love from Your Aunt Willie