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I feel as if I must manage to reach you at Christmas time, though I’ve no idea where you are. Forgive this dreary letter-paper - - Could anything be a better index of the dreary way in which I now live? I can’t take an apartment, you see, when I have to make two trips a year3 to California4. I’m going there again in January.
Dear Dorothy, I can’t thank you enough for the letter you wrote me from Spain5 this summer. I still have
it by me. It reached me in my little house at Grand Manan6, an island about thirty-five miles out from the New Brunswick shore. I went up there immediately
after the Yale Commencement7 and stayed
until late in September—really got rested and began to like life again. Then I went
to a place8 I often stay in New Hampshire9 and
came back to town2
in November, because I had to see my dentist, oculist10, lawyer, etc. One does have to
come back to cities for some things, and it’s easiest where one has connections all ready made (I mean all ready, not already.) But as soon as I get back here, I
get rather used up. The old New York of ten years ago wouldn’t
35 FIFTH AVENUE
New York tire me, but the present New York - - words fail me!
Yes, that actress in Pittsburg11 was Lizzie Hudson Collier12, cousin of Willie Collier13. I wonder where she is now? She was
ag and good as new milk, or fresh bread. The
worst of living fast and hard is that one can’t keep in touch with all the people
one cared for. But the first little circle, I’ve always kept close to them. I
yesterday sent off eight Christmas boxes, (very carefully chosen and bought, the
contents) to as many old women on farms within 25 miles of Red Cloud14. There used to be fourteen of them (not
so old, then) Swedish, Danish, German, Bohemian, Irish. In all these years, since the early
Pittsburgh days, I’ve never been too poor or too busy or too sick to send them
something at Christmas time. I’ve had some true lovers among them.—You see, I’d
loved them first. “In
often,” the daughters write me afterward. I live only
to get back to those old friends again—as I have kept going back, winter and summer,
whenever I could, for half a life-time. But you see I can’t go now, with mother15 so ill. She’s terribly jealous—it will
hurt her if I even stop there.
Mother’s condition changes little—has improved a trifle, they tell me. Please give my love to your mother16 if you are with her. If you and I have to become the older generation, why in mercy’s name can’t it be done without so much pain? It’s like dying twice.
Well, I honestly set out to write you a cheerful letter—things are not so bad with
me; I’m quite well, for instance. Instead of a chatty letter, it’s turned out a
homesick wail. I suppose my heart is always
there at Christmas time (it is so bleak, you know; and if one can love the bleak and bare at all—why one loves it more
things. than this that's all. If I take up a pen at all, I’m very apt to write
what I’m thinking hardest about, so you get this queer letter, my poor Dorothy!
However, I do wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, God knows! If you are in town before the end of January, won’t you please let me know at this hotel17?Lovingly Willa