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#0899: Willa Cather to Mary Miner Chreighton, September 17 [1927]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dear Mary1;

Why surely, I'd be glad to do it; for you, for Evelyn3, most of all for Mrs. Brodstone4. But I wonder what kind of inscription is wanted? There are so many kinds! I should think it ought just to tell something true about Mrs. Brodstone, something that was like her—that we remember her by. Can't you give me some hints, tell me some of the things that, in talking it over, you and Carrie5 have said ought to be mentioned?

I got your letter only today, and just at a first flash I put down some lines that seemed like the memory of Mrs Brodstone that came up in my mind. An inscription really has to be a little stiff to have dignity—can't be flowery, or very wordy. I suppose the first part of this tablet, the first lines, will be a statement of gift, and the name of the hospital, will they not? I mean something like:

The Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Given to the City of Superior6 by Evelyn, Lady Vesty, in loving memory of her mother, _______ ______ Brodstone, who was born in (Bergen7, wasn't it?) 18-- had a and died in Superior, Nebraska 19--

(What I mean, Mary, is that this formal part would be arranged by Evelyn, or her secretary, or the Board, wouldn't it? And you want me to come in with a personal note, just after. Am I right?)
Well, the lines that flash into my mind as being really like Mrs. Brodstone, as I knew her, are something like this that follows: ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩

She brought across the seas a high courage, a warm heart, a rich relish of life, and a hand skilled and untiring in those domestic ar arts which that give richness and beauty and reality to daily living.

In later life she travelled far, and found much to interest her in distant lands but her heart was here, and all her journeys brought her home.

The second paragraph, "In later life etc" seems to hint at the later years of her life, which were so different from the earlier part of it, and which never changed her in the least, except to make her sounder and more seasoned than ever. But that paragraph might well be omitted. Of course Mrs. Brodstone was lots of things not mentioned about above; she was, even when I first knew her, so eminently 'sound and seasoned'; but an inscription ought to hint at the most characteristic qualities, and to me the fine thing about Mrs. Brodstone was the way she could make flowers grow and gardens grow, and the way she could cook gorgeous food and do things with her hands, and the hearty way in which she accepted life.

Now maybe some special sort of inscription is wanted, laying stress on certain things. If so, you'll have to give me the requisite information, and I'll do the best I can. I do wish I had my typewriter here, dear Mary. I know my handwriting gets more impossible every year, and I hate to put you to the pains of reading it.

Bless you for the word you say about seeing Father8 and Mother9 out driving. I get awfully blue about them sometimes.

With love always Willie
Mrs. E. A. Creighton1 Red Cloud10 Nebraska JAFFREY, N.H.2 SEP 20 1927 530 AM