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#1749: Willa Cather to E. K. Brown, January 24, 1947

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Professor Brown1:

I have been tardy in answering your letter3 because I have as yet no definite plans for the spring or summer. I must be in California4 for a part of the spring and probably all of the summer. I have two brothers5 living there and a number of nieces6 and nephews7 scattered between San Diego8 and San Francisco9. If I am in the city2 when you come on for your lectures in the Graduate School of New York University, I will certainly arrange a meeting. There are a great many things I would like to talk to you about - things more important than would directly concern you or me. What about the new edition of Shakespeare10, arranged by that terrible teacher11 at Middlebury, Vermont12, who retains what he considers the important scenes and cuts out what he considers superfluous or dull? I never feel apprehensive about Dos Passos13 and his kind, and I don't believe it is wise for the law to interfere with them, but I wish there were some way by which the law could interfere with an expurgated Shakespeare.!

No,14 it will be a long time before we have another Brandeis15 on the Supreme Court bench. During the three years I spent in Boston16, I was often at Mr. Brandeis' house in the evening. He was then working on one of his most difficult cases (one of his secretaries told me that his morning's mail would usually fill a peck measure); but during all this time I never heard him talk about anything that related to his professional life. Those were the days of the opera in Boston, and I used often to see Mr. and Mrs. Brandeis17 in the audience. It was Mrs. Brandeis who first took me to see Mrs. James T. Fields18, the widow of the great Boston publisher19. The Brandeises lived on Otis Place and Mrs. Fields' house, 148 Charles Street20, was just around the corner. I haven't happened to know another great man who was so fortunate in his wife as Mr. Brandeis. She was very handsome, very intelligent, and 'worldly' in a ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ good sense - she had an instinctive knowledge of people, and she loved people and life - found everything interesting, even the absurd. She did not survive the Justice long.

Life stretches out as being rather long when one stops to remember all the fine people one has known and admired in this country and abroad. I used to spend a good deal of time in London21,. and I remember how William Archer22 and I sat in Lady Gregory23's box on the night that the Abbey players made their debut in London. They played The Rising of the Moon24 for the curtain raiser - and then The Playboy25. It was a puzzled audience, and I was puzzled. When we went afterward for some supper, Archer asked me what I thought of the performance. I said I thought it was interesting but not very dramatic. Mr. Archer said very gently, "To me, anything that is interesting in the theater belongs there - and is dramatic."--- wWe learn a great deal from great people. The mere information doesn't matter much --- but they somehow strike out the foolish platitudes that we have been taught to respect devoutly, and give us courage to be honest and free. Free to rely on what we really feel and really love --- and that only.

I shall look forward, then, to some discussion of our values when you come to New York in the spring.

Faithfully yours Willa Cather
From Cather Professor E. K. Brown1 5432 East View Park Chicago 15, Illinois26 NEW YORK, N.Y.2 JAN 24 1947 1—PM