Skip to main content

#1851: Willa Cather to Elsie Cather, May 7, 1934

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Sister1:

I am so awfully sorry to hear that you have been sick and low spirited - any one who is sick is low spirited. Now you must not take all those rumors from Red Cloud4 too seriously. Will Auld's5 behavior may affect our fortunes, but it cannot affect our honor. The more he shows himself up there, the more people will understand that we got a very bad deal - no, nobody wrote me what has been going on. Mrs. Rickerson's6 little card to Molly7, which you yourself sent me, told me the whole story.

I had that pleasant evening with Bishop Beecher8 just about a week before I got my hand hurt. Of course I realize, my dear, that you had plenty of troubles of your own - and if I had only known that you had them, I might have sent you a few books or a few flowers or something to amuse you; but like you, I was pretty much concentrated on my own troubles. An absolutely smashed hand9 is such a serious thing for a writer,-and just now it proves to be a very serious thing for Alfred Knopf10 to have a writer with a smashed hand. I really cannot get the book11 done for fall publication, as I see things now. For two months I have simply put in the whole of every day with doctors, massage, electric treatments and hot water treatments. I have at last got out of splints, but my wrist and thumb are now veryabsolutely stiff as the result of being tied to a board for two months, and it will take a lot of massage to give them back any elasticity. However, I am working again now every morning by hand (of course, I cannot type), and as a result am feeling much more cheerful. Alfred Knopf read the first third of the new book last night, and telephoned me this morning that he would wait any number of months or years for the rest, and that he had "scarcely believed he had it in him any more to be so enchanted by the sheer grace of a character in a story". The book is about a very young girl and the title will be simply "Lucy Gayheart". It is modern, western, very romantic, non-Catholic12, Sso there we are!

I have been sending a lot of books to the Red Cloud library13 - some very good ones - and if only I had known you were sick, I would have sent them to you. Don't hesitate for a minute to go back to Red Cloud this summer; it is full of our friends and there are very few friends of J. W. Auld there.

Lovingly, Willie

P.S. Here is a little check I want you to spend on keeping up your yard. I always feel that if the yard14 is nice, people think pleasantly of father15 and mother16 when they pass by.

Miss Elsie Cather1 1030 S. 52nd Street, Lincoln3, Nebraska. NEW YORK STA.Y2 MAY 8 1934 11 PM Air Mail