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#1452: Willa Cather to Zoë Akins, May 20 [1939]

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No, my dear Zoë1, it is I myself who have been in disgrace with myself all winter long—and there has been no Spring. I February I went under with influenza and did not pull out of it until the end of April. I spent March in Atlantic City3, but I got little good there as it rained constantly. The only bright spot in the winter was having Yehudi4 and his dear wife5 here. No artist 2 ever made so good a marriage.

I cannot pull up from the loss of my brother6, who had shared so much of my life with me, or from the death of my oldest and dearest friend7. I think people often write books for just one person, and for me Isabelle was that person. This winter I have been too sick to work at all—so I've not had that consolation. When I am not working I cannot even write letters. I did not even thank you for the slicing board, which will be very useful at Grand Manan8. Do you remember the Chinese Nightingale you sent me several years ago? He still sings as gaily as ever—neither time nor dust hurt his voice. Yehudi always winds him up and makes him sing when he comes.

Now good night, my dear. I am hundreds of letters behind—I'm not going to try to catch up. But I don't want you to feel that I do not think of you, just because I do not write write. I am silent because I am dull. But I wish I were on Bank street9 again, and you on in that queer old hotel on Fifth Avenue.

With my love, as always, Willa

The wrongness of the world10 is a cloud over us all, don't you think?