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#1579: Willa Cather to Zoë Akins, April 28 [1942]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dear Zoë1;

I was giving a little dinner for a man from Pittsburgh4 whom I used to know and like many years ago. Your flowers arrived by special delivery——with the coffee! There were a good many flowers in the room5, but when I opened yours they made the others look pale and prim. Hothouse roses can't stand up against roses grown in the open air. Yours put a fine touch 2 on a reunion of old friends. They were so rich and opulent and full of sun and nature. Oh, the poor hot roses looked as if they had never had a good time time in their lives—they withdrew into shadow.

This was the first little party I had in a long time, and you surely put a magical touch to it. I have had an exhausting life since March 16th. I came home from a dinner that night to find a telegram telling me that my brother6 who lives in Colusa7 was frightfully ill again—pneumonia, with a damaged heart.


He was absolutely unconscious for thirteen days, fed by blood transfusions and nearly all the time in the oxygen tent. On Good Friday I got word that he was definitely improving—and then I went into a hospital myself, and stayed there for two weeks. I was just worn out by anxiety and fright. You see this brother is really all the family I have left. There are two others8, good fellows enough, but they don't count in my life like this one.


The sequel to all this woe is that he is getting well! He is at home, and has written me two long letters apologizing for giving me such a fright.

March and April of this year were the two worst months I ever lived through. So you can see how a box of roses and (camellias!) dropping out of the sky so would seem quite wonderful. Thank you dear Zoë, and I hope you are enjoying your lovely house9 and garden.

Affectionately Willa
Mrs. Hugo Rumbold1 Brigden Road Pasadena3 California NEW YORK. N.Y.2 APR 29 1942 1 PM