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#1530: Willa Cather to George Allen Beecher, February 25, 1941

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To Florence
3-13-'41
G.A.B.
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Bishop Beecher1:

You have probably heard from my friends that I have been unable to write since the middle of November, because of an injury3 to my right hand. I neglected the hurt and the consequences which followed have been rather serious. Even my Christmas checks to old friends at home had to be signed by Miss Bloom4, my secretary. The hand is still in splints and I do not know how soon I shall be able to use it. I took advantage of a slight improvement to set it to work again, and had a severe relapse.

Now, as to titles. If I say "my dear Bishop," why shouldn't you say "my dear Willa?" I don't like my first name very well - I never like feminine forms of masculine names. And if I had known when I began to write that I would eventually be rather extensively published, I would have used my mother's5 name. However, my old Red Cloud6 friends call me Willa, and a very few people in New York2 and England7 call me by my first name. I certainly would like to add Bishop Beecher to that small number. So henceforth, let it be Willa.

I spent Christmas and New Year's in the French Hospital8 here, and I can truly say it was a very happy Christmas, if not a merry one. It was pleasant to hear the French language about me all the time, and all the nurses are very intelligent and well trained.

I wish I could have been in the church9 with you all when you bade farewell to our dear Mollie Ferris10. Elsie11 wrote me a very moving description of that solemn service. I had hoped, as you know to be at home for a time this winter, but this painful condition of my right hand (the tendon in the ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ right thumb was snapped and the inflamation of the sheath extended to the first and second thumb joint, and which makes my whole hand absolutely useless) made it impossible to travel. There is one consolation about having a hand that is not working. I shall be able to go to service during Lent12 oftener than I ever have before. I carry my hand in a sling13 and am able to take a reasonable amount of exercise in the Park14. You may be sure that during the Lenten services, during every service, my mind will go back to the little church at home and to my old friends in Red Cloud and to my dear Bishop and his wife15.

Lovingly and faithfully, Willa Cather WILLA CATHER Willa Cather