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#0594: Willa Cather to Carl Van Doren, [April 24 or May 1, 1922]

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How good you were to send me a copy of the book4! I found it awaiting me here2 when I got back from the country5, where I went to recuperate after “having my tonsils out” as the current phrase goes. I am proud to be in the pages6 of this volume, and prouder still of the word you wrote of “Antonia”7 on the fly-leaf. But wait for the new one8—I’m in the middle of the page proofs now.—If I fail there, go down into deep wells for contempt black enough and cold enough to pour upon my head. I have never cared or tried for a book like this before. It’s my measure. It’s given me three lovely, tormented, delightful years. It’s been a world in itself. I wish I could be sure of another three years like those. If my character does not walk into my your study and compel you to care for him, make you want to go off across the world with him—then ridicule me, sneer at me, don’t let me off easily. I shall want to be punished—I shall want to be really hurt!

Faithfully yours Willa Cather