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#1232: Willa Cather to Mary Miner Creighton, [August 14, 1934]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Darling Mary1:

A week ago today I and my family lost the kindest of friends, and you lost what what very few people ever have at all, a life-long companion who cherished you and admired you and and found complete happiness in his3 life with you.

You will tell me that this makes it only the harder to bear now. It will make your loneliness greater, I know. 2 But you and I have lived long enough to know that it is possible for human beings to have only a very limited amount of real happiness in this world, and so many people miss it altogether. You had more than most of the people I know. I have known very few marriages as happy as yours. Your devoted care prolonged the Doctor's life for many years, and you made his home so pleasant for him that, as he often told me, he could be happier there than anywhere else 3 in the world. I always loved to meet Doctor on the street because he always looked so happy. His kind, intelligent face glowed with an inner content. I liked to listen to his nice voice when he came to look mother4 over. When I was far away I always felt easy in mind about father5 and mother because Dr. Creighton was there. I knew if anything went wrong he would get there, and get there quick. You remember I kept his telephone number plastered in both bedrooms on sticky labels, so that they could see it without glasses. 4 I wish you and he could have been in New York6 another winter; but I shall always feel grateful to fate that you were both there that one winter.

Sometime, Mary, I want to tell you about a kind thing he did for a young woman of this town. I promised him never to mention it, and I never did. He came to our home7 one morning and said he wanted to see me alone. A patient of his was going to have her second baby just after she had lost her first, and would I please be nice to her! He asked it just like that! Said she was 5⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ nervous and felt every little thing, and when I met her would I please be cordial and jolly her up a little. He said he knew I didn't mean it, but that sometimes I was rather brusque with people. I promised, and I certainly never admired the Doctor so much as when I walked out to his car with him after that interview. Think of the delicacy of the man, to realize the importance of such little 7 6 things, and to come directly to me and ask me to be a little more agreeable! I was complimented that he felt he could frankly ask me to "mend my manners"! Almost any doctor will try to help a hurt foot or hand, but how many will try to help hurt feelings? Not many.

I expect you can guess who the young woman w was, but since he asked me not to mention his unusual professional call that morning, I never shall to anyone 6 7 but you, and I had rather only you and Carrie8 and Irene9 knew about it. Of all my memories of the Doctor, this is the one I like most. It took so many quali qualities in a man to make him do that simple thing! Very few women have as much delicacy as that.

My heart bleeds for you, dear Mary, but how many proud and happy memories you have to comfort you. If I could have tried to plan a happy life for you when we were little girls, I could not have planned anything 8 better than you have had. I never saw a dis-contented look on the Doctor's face. You made him perfectly happy. Only think, he might never have gone to Red Cloud10 at all! His going there meant so much good for my own family and countless others, as well as for you and for him. I shall just try to be thankful to God that he did go there.

So lovingly, dear, Willie
From Willa Cather WHALE COVE GRAND MANAN2 NEW BRUNSWICK CANADA Mrs. E. A. Creighton1 Red Cloud10 Nebraska U. S. A.