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#1575: Willa Cather to Irene Miner Wiesz, February 27, 1942.

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Irene1:

You have always felt so much affection for Mary Virginia3, that I am sending you the letter which tells of her arrival in Chattanooga4.

The circumstances are briefly: Richard5 and Virginia were in the South this summer on their vacation. They stopped for some time in Chattanooga and liked the country about it very much. Early this winter the only orthopaedic surgeon in Chattanooga was called for Army service. The Chattanooga hospital wrote to the New York2 Orthopaedic Hospital to recommend a man to take his place. Richard Mellen was very highly recommended, both by the Trustees of the New York Orthopaedic Hospital and by several of his fellow surgeons.

"Going South" has, to me, a slight connotation of "going backward". But I went to see two very brilliant New York surgeons, one from Georgia6 and one from Tennessee7, and they assured me that at this particular time when there is so much Government work going on in Chattanooga, it was a fine opportunity for a young man. Then my last doubt disappeared. The enclosed letter will explain to you that Richard and Virginia went down in their own car, and all the contents of their pretty little apartment are following them (or have followed them already) by motor truck.

As the situation stands, I am the only loser. As you know, Irene, when Mary Virginia first came to New York she came without my knowledge, and did not let me know that she was here until she had held her job at Lord & Taylor's for a month and had been regularly engaged there. She did not want me "to have her on my hands". Ever since then she has been in many ways a great help and comfort to me. Edith8 and I have often remarked upon the fact that when we were blue and overtired we were apt to ask Virginia to come in for tea or dinner, ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ because she always left us much more cheerful than she found us. She never brought her troubles to us, and she made us forget ours. In these ten years or so, she has never caused me the slightest anxiety except when, two years ago, she was so ill in the French Hospital9 and I stayed on in town until the end of July, when she was well enough to go into the country. Even then she did me a real favour, for she introduded to me that delightful French Hospital which has since been such a refuge to me, and which has given me such care and kindness. I don't know how I shall get along without that cheerful little person to do my bits of shopping. She used to go to dress sales and telephone me to "hurry down", if she thought there was anything there that I would like. I almost never went away in the summer that she did not come in and help to do my packing for me. But there is no use in trying to enumerate all these things. I shall miss her gay little voice and her jolly little ways of being kind. Her "saleswoman" experience at Lord & Taylor's made her such an easy, comfortable person to shop with. She always had just the right manner with the sales people and her transactions with them never tired her a bit, whereas I usually get very tired if I go shopping alone.

I will ask you, Irene, to send this letter and the enclosure on to Carrie10 and Mary11, for I know they will be interested to know that things look so cheerful for Mary Virginia and her doctor husband.

Lovingly Willie
FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE.12, NEW YORK CITY2 Mrs. C. W. Weisz1, 3270 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago13, Illinois. NEW YORK,N.Y.2 MAR 1 1942 230 PM Mary Virginia