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I have had two letters from you within the last eight days. The first3 is important, because it tells me that you have been fishing, and assures me that you have really quite recovered and are yourself again. It was a great disappointment not to see you when I was in Boston4 for several days last summer. I can only hope you had some very good books to read, and enjoyed the feeling of being responsible for nothing. I must confess I rather enjoyed that feeling in the long weeks of August 1942.
Your second letter5, of October 14th, is certainly not pleasant reading, and puzzles me a good deal. As the little boy said, "Why pick on me?" I am not an extravagant consumer of paper. Two old friends in England6 have written me a little about the paper situation there. They are not business people, and sometimes literary people do not write clearly on business matters. However, I gather from their letters that in England the paper consumption is arranged on such a quota as protects the little fellow and trims the brilliant successes down a little on their paper supply. This quota might, for example, trim a hundredth of an inch off7 THE ROBE8, and thereby allow a few more reams to Mr. Julian Huxley9 or Mr. T. S. Eliot10
Within the last week I have dropped in at several book stores and examined some of these books with title pages announcing double publishers. I do not like the look of them. I hate to be disobliging, but I can not sign the form letter you send me without looking into the possible consequences (to me) of such an agreement. My demands on the Houghton Mifflin paper supply have always, I think, been modest.Cordially yours, Willa Cather