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#0507: Willa Cather to Viola Roseboro', June 5 [1920]

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Dear Miss Roseboro'1

For me the voyage was magnificent—I nearly always feel too good to be true at sea, and this time we had heavenly weather. Miss Lewis4 was miserable, as always on the water, but she was not violently ill. One of my pleasures on the way over was the reading of your book5, which seems to me very different from any American novel I have ever read. The first thing that struck me was that no other picture of our manners had made us of[?] so deeply and, I might say, warmly provincial as that. It’s as if every town was a big, quarrelling family. The people, even the enemies, are so intimate with each other—an intimacy that almost makes one shudder, whether it is in enmity or friendship. I realize at once, on seeing it presented, that this is characteristic of of our communities, but I had never thought much about it before. Of the individual people, I think I found “Tura Lura” the most interesting. There is a fascination about her which I can’t explain to myself, and a haunting quality which is quite apart from the pathos of her fate. She moves through the pages in a curious way of her own and one continually feels the beauty and mysteriousness of her. Brace and his wife are both wonderful characters, and they help to interpret everybody else. The rebel college professor stands out among the best of the people. I would like to have a whole book about him. Perry seemed to me more clear in the first part of the book than in the last—but the ferment which makes a personality was the theme of your book, was it not? That ferment I feel more than I feel the man who emerged from it.

I must wait until I can talk it over with you to go into the story in detail, but I do not want to wait that long to tell you what a singularly live and vital book I think it. There is everywhere a kind of heartening vigor about it, like the sound of hammer on the anvil—one of the sounds I always find most stimulating in the activities of of mortal men. There is such a throb of energy in the story, apart from its emotional richness, a kind of prod[?] prodigal interest in people and things that keeps perpetually kindling as one reads.

Paris2 was never so beautiful before, and we have had golden weather with soft gray days between. We are staying in this hotel just across the river from the Lourve Louvre, and look out upon it and the green river and the bridges perpetually. The Luxembourg gardens are all gold and green, as beautiful as youth [illegible] itself. The many crippled soldiers who take the air there in motor-tricycles, and the old veterans of 1870 who come to help them about, and the little boys who come by to help both sets of cripples,—all these make one remember that all this beauty is preserved and kept at a cost. We will have much to tell you when we get back. In the meantime, we send you a great deal of love. Please don’t move away from Bank street! I like to think that you are there.

With my love and gratitude Willa Cather
Miss Viola Roseboro'1 13 Bank Street New York City3 U.S.A. [missing]SAINTS-PER2 7-6 20 60 W 10