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#1661: Willa Cather to Sinclair Lewis, March 22, 1944

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Lewis1:

I feel ashamed to confess that I haven’t a pen scratch that would be of any use to Mr. Troxell’s3 collection! I always do first draft in long hand, and then I copy it myself on the machine, mainly because typescriptthat shows up my awful weaknesses. Then I have a professional typist4 type my own typed copy in a different colored ink, because just the different ink and the new spacing on the page shows up more stupidities. The original handwritten drafts usually got lost or messed up in some way. Three handwritten manuscripts I did keep complete - two of them I sold to a collector in England5 and one to a collector in France6. Whether they are still in existence, I doubt. I have not heard from the professor7 in Toulouse8 since the war began, and Toulouse has been terribly bombed. I usually ask the Knopf people to destroy the final typed manuscript, from which the printers worked, and I suppose they did so. I have travelled about this blooming continent so much that I simply haven’t had the room to spare for old manuscripts - and usually I was glad to get rid of them, anyway. I did my darndest on the proofs, and then forgot.

Lewis, I did so enjoy that evening I spent at your apartment, and I liked Marcella9 right off. I love young people when they are genuine and unaffected - and charming. Why one feels pleased with them? One quite forgets how old one is oneself. The friends10 I see most often are all well under thirty. That seems rather foolish, but if they can stand it, I can!

Faithfully yours Willa Cather