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#0928: Willa Cather to Dorothy Canfield Fisher, April 3 [1928]

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New York
My Dearest Dorothy1;

My father3 died on March 3rd, just seven days after I had left home for New York4. He was ill only a few hours—angina. He was happy and gay to the very end. I’d like to show you his picture sometime, he kept such an extraordinarily youthful color and young eyes and figure. He was very handsome, in a boyish Southern way. I have lost people I loved terribly, young people, but this is the first death there has ever been in our family—never a child or grandchild. I did not know death could be so beautiful. I got home5 to him a little after five, just as the dawn was breaking over him. He lay on a little stretcher in the big bay window of his own room, in one of his easy silk shifts, and BORZOLI
New York
all the rest of the tired family were asleep. He looked so happy, so contented, so at home—his smooth fair face shaved—everything as it always was. He was such a sweet southern boy, and he never hurt anybody’s feelings, not even in death.

Think of it, my dear, this winter of all winters, I had here with them6, simply because I felt we could never be so happy again. I stayed because they were both so well, not because they were ailing. Having had those three months as by a miracle, I’ll stand a good deal of punishment at the hands of fate.

Dear, I never knew any Preston in Pittsburgh7. I knew a Preston Cooke Farrar8 but no Preston.

Mother went to California9 with my bachelor brother10 two weeks ago. I’ve been staying BORZOLI
New York
on alone to have a lot of papering and repairing done. Such a nice, wise, kind Bohemian paper-hanger11 to do everything. And just silence in the old house and in father’s room has done so much for me. I feel so rested and strong—,it is as if father himself had restored my soul.

I suppose after Easter I must go back to the world—but not for long,

Lovingly Willa